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Workforce wimps swamping GPs, schoolchildren facing bleep tests and women ‘better at booking GP appointments’

By Ian Quinn

Our roundup of the news headlines on Tuesday 16 March.

Today's Times carries a letter from GP leaders and other leading health professionals, claiming that tens of thousands of the worried well are putting GPs under unsustainable pressure which threatens to cripple the NHS.

The letter, in the form of a health manifesto backed by signatories including the likes of Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, Professor David Haslam, former chair of the RCGP and Dr John Chisholm, former chair of the BMA's GP committee, to name but a few, has already whipped up a storm of controversy.

‘We are now in a society in which common disturbances to normal good health, such as coughs and colds, account for nearly one fifth of GP workload,' says the letter, which the Times claims has the backing of current GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman, as well as a Who's Who of leading academics.

There is something of the boot camp about this and today's other health stories which could be indicative of the future of the NHS in such embattled economic times.

Patients are being told to stop placing a burden on the economy by smoking, drinking and having fat kids, while those who visit their GPs too often have been branded a bunch of wimps who are overloading the system.

Warning - Your Child is Unfit, screams the headline on the front page of today's Daily Mail, which follows up on plans outlined by Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson for children to face regular fitness tests in school.

Several other papers also cover the story, which could mean children facing bleep tests in their school gym. Good news for school rugby teams up and down the land then, but it has been criticised by some human rights activists.

Sir Liam also wants his legacy as CMO to include the NHS making good on his plan to introduce a minimum price for alcohol, to follow the ban on smoking in pubs, which combined with plans for a tougher drink drive limit should just about do for the remaining country pubs.

The Mail continues the boot camp theme, at least as far as women are concerned, with a story that, among other things including mopping the kitchen floor, ironing and making a bed, women are better at booking a GP appointment than men. Although presumably it's normally just for their obese child's runny nose.

Daily Digest