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In brief


‘Out-of-control’ GP indemnity costs have increased by more


than a quarter in a year. Fees rose by an average of 26% in the 12 months up to November last year, according to a Pulse analysis of responses from more than 900 UK GPs.


Councils are cutting stop-smoking


budgets by hundreds of thousands of pounds. Six major metropolitan and county councils are cutting their budgets, with GPs warning this will set smoking cessation back ‘15 years’.


GP practices across south-west England are being offered


thousands of pounds in new funding. A leaked document from NHS England South West has revealed the area team is ploughing in £1.07m to accelerate the move towards ‘new models of care’.


NICE experts want GPs to use a raft of new tests to diagnose


asthma. However, NICE is still carrying out ‘field work’ to see if the draft guidance will work in practice.


GP hero of the month Dr Lorna Elise Clarson


Striking is just something doctors


should not do Dr Nick


Summerton


Telehealth trap It was groundhog day for some, as NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced a new telehealth initiative. While Mr Stevens gushed enthusiastically about the healthcare potential of ‘biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile


communications and AI


computing’, one Pulse commenter


reminded us of the previous NHS England promise to affect ‘3millionlives’ with telehealth (that was quietly shelved when there was no evidence for it). ‘I’m trapped in the same 18 months again and again,’ he said, forlornly.


Catch up with these, and all the latest news at pulsetoday.co.uk/news


A petition launched by Staffordshire GP Dr Lorna Clarson against cuts to the general practice budget is on course to trigger a parliamentary debate. The petition has attracted some 4,000 signatures and accuses ministers of using GPs as their ‘political scapegoat for all NHS issues’. If it gets 10,000 signatures, the Government must respond. You can sign it at tinyurl.com/ clarson-petition


Catch the news as it happens at pulsetoday.co.uk/ news


GMC chief executive Niall Dickson is to step down at the


end of the year after seven years in the post. He said it was the ‘right moment’ to ‘hand over the reins’ although he will continue to oversee reforms until he leaves, including making the fitness-to-practise process ‘more compassionate’.


NHS chiefs are aiming to boost the number of


people receiving personal health budgets by 2,000%.


Pulse has learned that as many as


100,000 patients could be given NHS cash to buy services as they see fit in the next five years.


Gabapentin and pregabalin could soon become more tightly


regulated. Government advisors have called for them to be classed as controlled drugs following deaths linked to their misuse. They could become ‘Class C’ drugs, which cannot be repeat dispensed, and prescriptions will only be valid for one month.


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Pulse February 2016 7


CHARLES MILLIGAN / GETTY / ALAMY X2


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