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Newspapers attack ‘millionaire super GPs’

The health news headlines on Thursday 10 November 2011.

Despite many GPs freezing pay and contemplating redundancies, (see this Pulse story)   the newspapers are all using the same statistics to focus on the ‘hundreds’ of GPs earning more than £200,000 a year.

True to form, the Daily Mail goes further: ‘these figures mask the handful of so-called “super GPs” on exceptionally high annual pay packets nearing three quarters of a million pounds.’

A Department of Health spokesman took the opportunity to crow over the sixth GP pay freeze in seven years saying: ‘We are committed to securing the best possible value healthcare from the GP contract so that resources are used to the greatest benefit for patients and the taxpayer.’

The Mail also reports a private company will today become the first to be given the go-ahead by the Treasury to take over the management of a ‘failing’ NHS hospital. In a landmark decision, the running of Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire will be handed over to Circle intensifying concerns that the NHS is being privatised.

The Independent reports that the British Medical Journal has taken the unprecedented step of accusing University College London of ‘institutional misconduct’ over the MMR scandal. Dr Fiona Godlee, its editor-in-chief, is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the university’s role in the vaccine scare, saying UCL has “a history of trying to sweep this matter under the carpet”.

Meanwhile the Guardian reports that at least one newborn baby in four is at high risk of death or abuse because one or both parents are beset by a ‘toxic trio’ of domestic violence, mental health difficulties or substance dependency, according to the NSPCC.

The same paper reports that patients previously believed to be in a vegetative state have responded to basic questions through the use of a portable bedside brain scanner, raising hopes that in future, they might be able to communicate with family and friends.