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OOH GPs covering hundreds of thousands of patients; New anti-smoking plans; Rise in ‘moob’ surgery

By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of news headlines on Monday 1 February 2010.

If the page 4 headline in today's Daily Mail looks a little familiar, that may be because it's a bit of a rehash of a story from last week.

‘The 300,000 patients with just one out of hours GP' is the headline, but in actual fact, rather than simply rehashing last week's story the Mail's investigation goes into much more detail about the current state of GP out-of-hours cover.

The Mail has collected figures from 32 areas across the country showing that it's not just in Suffolk where out-of-hours GPs can be responsible for hundreds of thousands of patients overnight. In Wigan, one doctor covers 310,000 people, while in Bolton and Brighton and Hove, GPs cover more than a quarter of a million patients each. Read the full story here.

There's also another health story on the front page of the Mail, with a banner headline warning that more than 500,000 hospital patients every year are ‘sent home to soon'. The story is based upon figures showing a 50 percent rise in emergency readmissions. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley is predictably unimpressed, calling the figures ‘staggering' and pledging that a Tory government would ‘change NHS rules so hospitals are not paid for treating patients they have recently discharged.'

Also in the Daily Mail, there's a report about Alison Dygnas, a GP receptionist from Welshampton, Shropshire, who was reportedly 'paralysed' after being vaccinated against swine flu. The newspaper says that 'doctors believe the jab triggered a rare condition affecting the nervous system known as myasthenia gravis' - Mrs Dygnas now struggles to walk.

First smokers were forced out into the cold – now they could be forced even further out into the cold, under Department of Health plans reported widely in the papers, including the Guardian.

The paper reports that ‘the health secretary, Andy Burnham, now favours extending the 2007 landmark law which banned smoking in pubs, workplaces and other enclosed places, to prevent non-smokers having to walk through clouds of secondhand smoke.'

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field has welcomed the proposals, but has urged ministers to go further – requiring shopkeepers to have a licence to sell tobacco, which they would lose if found to be selling to under-18s, and even calling for a complete ban on smoking in British-made television programmes.

And finally, new figures published by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons show a huge rise in the number of so-called ‘man boob' operations, according to the Telegraph. The number of operations to correct gynecomastia in men has grown by 80% in the past year, we're told, while overall male cosmetic surgery is up by 21%.

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