This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Big stories of the month 1


LMCs vote to consider mass resignation


GP leaders have voted to survey the profession whether it will support mass resignation if the Government fails to deliver a ‘rescue package’ for general practice within the next six months. In an historic vote, LMCs voted through a motion that calls on the GPC to ‘canvass GPs on their willingness to submit undated resignations’ from July if emergency help is not provided. The motion also instructs the GPC to recommend other actions GPs ‘can undertake without breaching their


3


GPs told to warn patients of sick note ‘snooping’


GP leaders have said Government plans to extract data relating to Med 3 certificates amounts to ‘state snooping’. Starting this month, the Department


for Work and Pensions (DWP) will extract information from GP records, including the number of Med 3s, or so-called ‘fit notes’, issued by each practice and the number of patients recorded as ‘unfit’ or ‘maybe fit’ for work. GPs will have to inform patients of this, but cannot withhold information unless a patient explicitly objects. CCG-level data will be published


anonymously, but DWP officials told Pulse they will have access to practice-level data, which they will not be able to share. Family Doctor Association chair


Dr Peter Swinyard said: ‘I think that is state snooping’, while GP and data-sharing campaigner Dr Neil Bhatia expressed concern the data would be used to ‘create league tables, name and shame’. • Full story: pulsetoday.co.uk/snooping


contracts’ and to consider a ballot of GPs regarding what services practices could stop offering in order ‘to ensure safe and sustainable care’ for patients. The vote took place at a Special LMC Conference in London last week. • How the GP fightback began, pages 8-10


2


Rise in surgery closures displaces 200,000 patients


A rapid rise in surgery closures last year saw 200,000 patients forced to register with a new practice or travel further to see their own GP. The Pulse investigation also reveals 31 practices and 41 branch surgeries closed in England as a result of a merger in 2015 – a 40% rise on 2014. Rising workload, funding cuts and a severe shortage of GPs are among the reasons cited by practices. GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey


said: ‘It’s becoming increasingly difficult for small practices to cope with rising levels of bureaucracy and manage their workload.’


But a Department of Health


spokesperson said: ‘These figures represent less than 1% of the total number of GP practices in England.’ Pulse continues to highlight the issue and push for better emergency support with its Stop Practice Closures campaign. • Rescue teams are too little, too late for struggling practices, page 16


6 February 2016 Pulse 4 5


GMC investigates too many doctors says review lead


The GMC may conduct too many fitness-to-practise (FTP) investigations each year, according to the expert it has appointed to review the FTP process. Professor Louis Appleby cited figures


that show 82% of GMC investigations lead to no sanctions and said the validity of complaints against doctors may need to be assessed more effectively. A review last year said FTP procedures


‘may do more overall harm than good in terms of patient care’. In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Professor Appleby questioned whether the stress caused to doctors facing investigation was adding to the risk of mental health problems. • Big Interview, page 46


Just six physician associates hired for GP practices


A scheme intended to attract 200 physician associates from the US with a salary of £50,000 has made just 35 ‘provisional offers’, of which only six are to work in general practice. The trust leading the scheme said it


was unlikely to meet its target, as it had ‘smaller numbers than envisaged’ when it began the scheme last August. GPs said the scheme was ‘gimmicky’,


and showed the Government had no ‘real commitment’ to workforce development’. • PAs are an unknown quantity, page 34


The big question


What is in Jeremy Hunt’s new ‘package’ for GPs?


The health secretary will announce a ‘package of measures’ to tackle the ‘growing pressures’ on GPs later this month. Having conveniently forgotten


his calamitous ‘new deal’ last year, Jeremy Hunt is once again hoping to build bridges with the profession by doing ‘even more to support the profession’ (whatever that might mean). Mr Hunt said he will discuss the


measures with the RCGP and the GPC and he is expected to provide more details of how the NHS will spend the 4-5% increase in GP funding promised from April. But you could forgive GPs for thinking they had heard all this before. Perhaps Mr Hunt should forget the grand gestures and just listen to grassroots GPs?


Your comments • ‘The 4% each year is NOT additional funding... it’s just keeping up with medical inflation.’ • ‘The extra funding will be spent on employing assistants to the physician and pharmacy assistants.’ • ‘Stop. Just stop. Stop spinning. Stop pretending to listen. Stop claiming to support GPs while acting otherwise.’ • ‘It’s too late. You’ve spoiled my job and my life. Now shove off.’ • Join the discussion at pulsetoday.co.uk/ package


What's hot online QOF qualms


A study found practices with a high QOF achievement in certain indicators were more likely to see patients admitted with an adverse drug reaction. As one doctor put it on Twitter: ‘It’s not the QOF that carries you off, it’s the QOFin they carry you off in.’


Strikeout It’s fair to say GP Dr Nick Summerton’s opinion piece saying that ‘striking is something doctors just should not do’ did not strike a chord on the Pulse website. His opinion piece attracted more than 100 comments (most voicing opposition) and was one of the most- read articles on PulseToday last month. But when we last saw him, he remained cheerful, despite being branded ‘the Katie Hopkins of general practice’ #ouch.


THIS MONTH


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108