Extra 5,000 GPs – A Tory pipedream?

Tory health chief Jeremy Hunt has been accused of backtracking on his pre-election pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs by 2020.

He made the vow in the run-up to May 7 but last week stated the plan would need some flexibility because of difficulties recruiting trainee family doctors in some areas of the country.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, of the British Medical Association, said: “Delivering 5,000 extra GPs in five years, when the training of a GP takes 10 years, was never going to be achieved.”

Dr Chaang NagpaulDr Chaang Nagpaul

He had already warned the government is likely to ‘fail dismally’ in its election pledge to recruit 5,000 extra doctors.

The problem is ‘not just a perfect storm, but an absolute hurricane’ as he and his over-stretched colleagues are ‘fundamentally paying the price of years of Government neglect and progressive de-funding of general practice’.

In a speech to GPs at the annual Local Medical Committee (LMC) conference in London, Dr Nagpaul said this ‘unashamed starvation of general practice has come as GPs have taken on the greatest growth in volume of care compared to any other sector in the NHS, seeing an estimated 40 million more patients annually compared to five years ago’.

He said the problem is only set to get worse with the rapidly-ageing population meaning there will be an estimated one million more patients who will have three or more long-term medical conditions in a decade.

Criticising the Tories’ pledge to create a seven-days-a-week service, he said: ‘This is not just a perfect storm, but an absolute hurricane. And a hurricane that will destroy the whole fabric of the NHS if the Government does not act swiftly, since if its foundation that’s general practice collapses, everything above it collapses too.

‘Now the election is out of the way, I call upon the Prime Minister to jettison the political pipedreams of tomorrow and get real about how we resource, resuscitate and rebuild general practice today.

‘It’s absolutely pointless promising 5,000 extra GPs within this parliament if we lose 10,000 GPs retiring in the same period.’

” How did we end up with this situation? – The answer is obvious, and the  question is so hackneyed, but so applicable as healthcare in the UK stays in crisis”

Guidance on assisted suicide – challenge in High Court

John Aston writes in The Independent – Guidelines on assisted suicide for doctors who may become involved in “right to die” cases will come under attack in the High  court.

Human rights lawyers say the current General Medical Council (GMC) guidance is having “an awful effect on those people who wish to consider end-of-life issues with their doctors”.

end of lifeA 50-year-old-man with locked-in syndrome who wants to be able to end his life is asking judges in London to rule on whether the GMC is breaching his human rights by restricting his ability to receive full and proper medical advice. The man, identified only as “AM” or “Martin”, is almost totally paralysed and unable to speak, say his lawyers. His two-day application for a judicial review of the guidance is being heard by Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Collins.

Law firm Leigh Day, acting for Martin, argues the guidelines disproportionately interfere with his Article 8 “rights to private and family life” under the European Convention on Human Rights. They contend that Article 8 includes the personal right to decide how and when to die.

Rosa Curling, solicitor with Leigh Day, said the guidelines are having a chilling effect on those in the medical profession and preventing them from assisting people such as Martin to make end-of-life choices.

“It will be interesting, to say the least, how these judges will apply a ruling on this issue”