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NHS pay in firing line, alcoholic toddlers and moving house for IVF

By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Tuesday 15 March.

Overpaid NHS professionals are in the news again today – but for a change it's managers, not GPs, who are in the firing line. The Telegraph reports that a Government review has concluded tens of thousands of public sector managers should face ‘substantial cuts' in their basic pay if they fail to meet performance targets.

Ahead of today's BMA Special Representative Meeting – which Pulse will be covering in full – The Guardian asked former BMA Council member Dr Kailash Chand to write a piece in which he argues for ‘No market for Britain's NHS'. He recalls the last time an SRM was held – over John Major's plans for the NHS – and says that this latest set of reforms will lead to a situation where clinical decision-making is increasingly influenced by financial considerations.

‘This is an affront to the public service ethos that glues the NHS together,' he writes. ‘The traditional role of doctors as the true advocates of patients will soon become history, just as it has in the US.'

In other news, just a day after the Government issued its ‘crackdown' on alcohol abuse. We have the three year old alcoholic hospitalised in the West Midlands. In a case experts called ‘horrifying' the youngster was among 13 children under 12 diagnosed alcoholic by the Heart of England NHS Trust between 2008 and 2010. The Sun helpfully has a picture of a child taking a swig from a Bacardi Breezer (posed by a model) to illustrate this story.

We also have a new report – revealed in Marie Claire – showing 66% of women would move to a different area of the country to ensure NHS funding for IVF treatment. This is disturbing news, particularly because they are then going to have to move again to get that child into the right primary school, and then on to Scotland for free tution fees. What we do for our kids, eh?

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know in the comments and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest