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GPs attacked for charging for benefit reports, STI rise blamed on Government ‘dithering’ and the truth about hospital meals

GPs have been attacked for charging ‘between £25 and £130’ for reports to support patient appeals against work capability assessments in the Independent this morning.

The claim comes from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) who says it is concerned about the number of people coming to them for help after being turned down or charged by GPs for reports to support their appeals against work capability assessments. But a BMA spokesperson told the paper: ‘We have GPs across the country whose workload is ultimately increasing because of a fundamentally flawed work capability assessment.’

The Government is being blamed by Labour for a rise in STIs after coalition ‘dithering’ over its sexual health strategy. According to The Mirror, the strategy was delayed for two years amid concerns it would anger traditional Tories – meaning it failed to combat a rise in STIs. 

Labour shadow public health minister Diane Abbott said the ‘unacceptable delay created chaos and brought important work to a standstill’, while the final strategy ‘was too timid’. But the Government said the rise in infections, particularly in Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, was down to better testing and pointing out that teenage pregnancy rates are at their lowest ‘since records began’.

NHS hospitals in England have been accused of covering up their patients’ complaints about the standard of food, the BBC reports this morning. Campaigners from called The Campaign for Better Hospital Food say NHS staff rated 98% of meals served in hospitals ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ when surveys showed over half of patients were dissatisfied with the quality of the food they were offered.

Alex Jackson, co-ordinator of the campaign group said it was time for the Government to ‘come clean about the sorry state of hospital food in England’ and set standards. But while the Department of Health conceded there is ‘too much variation’ in the quality of hospital food in England, it said decisions are best made locally by hospital chefs and catering managers.