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What the newspapers said about the ‘new deal’ for GPs

This morning’s headline in the Express says: ‘Young doctors to be given cash ‘bribes’ to work as GPs in ‘unfashionable’ parts of Britain.’

The story focuses on health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to ‘prop up the NHS in rural areas and less appealing cities’, which are struggling to attract young medics.

TheMail stresses that officials have not yet decided how much the ‘golden hellos’ included in the new deal package will be worth. However, the news story points out that a previous scheme in Leicester offered doctors £20,000 for working in understaffed surgeries for at least two years.

In a Guardian report on the new deal Andrew Gwynne, the shadow health minister, said: ‘David Cameron’s fingerprints are all over the Tory GP crisis. He made it harder to see a GP, scrapping the right to an appointment in 48 hours and cutting the scheme for evening and weekend opening. And he has created a GP workforce crisis by training fewer GPs and sending morale plummeting to rock-bottom.’

A news story in the Telegraph carries comments from Patient Concern. Roger Goss, from Patient Concern, said that he did not think the problem was money. ‘Rather, I think the problem is they are harassed every week by NHS management with instructions, protocols and targets and told how to do their job and not just left to get on with it.’

The Independent points out that some areas have difficulty recruiting GPs because many trainee doctors want to work in London or settle down in the South-east. The North-east and East Midlands have the most vacancies, it says.

The BBC focuses on the fact that the new deal is dependent on GPs signing up to seven-day opening. In return for extra cash and more staff GPs ‘need to get on board with his plans for weekend opening, which involves groups of practices pooling together to share the extended hours’.

The Express and Star carries some comments that Mr Hunt made to BBC Breakfast: ‘We don’t actually have enough GPs to deliver on this pledge as we stand, so what I’m talking about this morning is a 10% increase in the GP workforce – the biggest, most dramatic increase in the GP workforce that we’ve seen for many years – to put the capacity into primary care to make sure we can deliver on that commitment.’