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#GPnews: Watch the Pulse story on GP closures on BBC News at 10

17:05 There has been a big reaction today to Pulse’s story on a leaked document which reveals an NHS England official’s admission that vulnerable GP practices are being allowed to ‘fail and wither’.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker took to Twitter earlier to reassure GPs that NHS England are indeed ‘committed to supporting vulnerable practices’, despite yesterday’s extraordinary claim from Paul Twomey, medical director of the Yorkshire and Humber NHS England area team. 

15:42 The NHS is now facing an ‘eternal winter’, the president of the Society for Acute Medicine has said.

He was commenting on the latest NHS England performance report, which showed that A&E waiting times this summer were worse than almost every winter for over a decade.

He said: ‘The NHS is on its knees and, this winter, areas will implode around the country. There is no reserve left.’

He went on to warn that ‘over the coming weeks and months, if we see a major increase in admissions due to flu or bed closures due to norovirus, we will collapse’.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said hospitals continue to perform well, seeing nine out of 10 people within four hours, reports the BBC.

14:35 In relation to the State of Care report, the CQC has suggested that actually, the organisation is a bit like marmite. We wonder if GPs would be quite as upset as Tesco customers if it went out of stock, though.

14:10  Elsewhere this afternoon, a major new CQC report has revealed that eight in ten hospitals are not safe enough, with rising numbers overloaded by a crisis in care of the elderly which is on the brink of ‘tipping point’. 

The Telegraph reports that eight in ten hospital trusts were rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’ for safety, along with one third of care homes and a quarter of doctors’ practices. 

CQC chief executive David Behan has subsequently made a rallying call for more resources to be given to hospitals and that ‘urgent action needed to be taken’. 

He added: ‘We are raising this issue because we think urgent action needs to be taken. We think more resources need to be made available. We can’t carry on like this.’

11:50  And in case you missed it last night, here’s the video of Pulse’s story featured on BBC News at Ten yesterday – on an NHS England official saying that small practices should be left to ‘fail’. 

10:15 The story, which was covered on BBC News at Ten last night, focuses on this quote from one NHS manager in the north of England.

09:45 Today we are leading on the news that vulnerable GP practices are being allowed to ‘fail and wither’. An admission which comes from a leaked NHS England document seen exclusively by Pulse and the BBC.

Condemning the stance this morning, Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said: ’The entire basis for the practice resilience scheme was to provide immediate support to the hundreds of GP practices across England which are facing closure because of rising demand, staff shortages and falling budgets. The BMA lobbied intensely and successfully for this funding because there is a real prospect that patients in some areas will be left without access to local GP care.

’It is unacceptable that there now appears to be delays in delivering this crucial funding and that some managers seems to believe that GP practices can be left to close. The term transformation seems to be taking on Orwellian tones when used by a senior NHS manager in a leaked letter published by the BBC today that suggests practices should be allowed to close. There are many practices who were previously performing well and valued by their patients, but are now vulnerable because of spiralling workload and recruitment problems beyond their control.

’These services are not trivial: they provide vital care to families, older people and the vulnerable as the lynchpin of the NHS in the community. The government needs to deliver this funding immediately and deter a mind-set amongst managers that some GP practices can be allowed to disappear.’

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