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Out-of-hours scandal; GP’s ‘grave’ mistake; Claire Rayner’s spectre hangs over Lansley reforms



By Ian Quinn

Our roundup of health news headlines on Wednesday 13 October.

Pulse sets the agenda for today’s national press, with our exclusive story revealing a shocking lack of checks for EU doctors from outside the UK, featuring heavily in the papers.

The Daily Mail leads with this story on its front page, with the headline, ‘Hundreds of Foreigh GPs Work in Britian Unchecked’.

It features strongly comments made to Pulse by the son of tragic out-of-hours patient, David Gray, who died after being treated by German doctor Dr Daniel Ubani.

Dr Stuart Gray, a GP in Kidderminster, said he was ‘horrified’ by Pulse’s revelation that fewer than a quarter of EU doctors from outside the UK registered to work in England had been tested for their language and clinical skills, despite the huge controversy over the death.

The Mail also features the story on its comments page, calling for the GMC to be freed from the shackles of EU legislation to tackle the problem.

The Telegraph, in its coverage on page two, quotes Pulse editor, Richard Hoey, on the issue: ‘PCTs work in a difficult financial environment, and some of the criticism they get is unfair,’ he says.

‘But in this case they are shirking on the cost of testing an average of just 10 doctors each, and risking a far greater cost in human life.’

As if health secretary Andrew Lansley didn’t have enough on his plate, his boss may be breathing down his neck even more closely over his NHS reforms after the sad death of journalist and everyone’s favourite agony aunt, Claire Rayner.

Apparently in her her last words she warned she would ‘come back to bloody haunt’ David Cameron if he ‘screws up my beloved NHS’.

Whisper it quietly but NHS Harrow, the PCT providing services where she lived, recently reported it risks plunging nearly £12m into the red next year and warned that it was no longer confident of being able to bail out its financial crisis.

Perhaps Mr Cameron may soon be feeling a rather larger presence by his side than Nick Clegg.

Still on matters life and death, a GP has also made the news today after allegedly giving a patient six months to live, following his diagnosis of fatal liver damage, only for the patient to learn he was uffering from a harmless condition.

The Sun and the Mirror tell how the patient had put his home up for sale, given away his dog and flogged his heirlooms for peanuts before finding out the good news.

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know, and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Daily Digest – 13 Oct 2010