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'Contingency plans in place' after helicopter grounding

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that patients should not be affected by the grounding of air ambulances:

We understand this isa precautionary measure and that contingency plans with other air ambulancesand ambulance services are in place to ensure patients are not affected.

– department of health spokesperson

RCGP: Funding per patient has fallen 7% since 2010

The Royal College for GPs has said that the government's ambition to deliver more care to patients closer to home is not matched by resources allotted to general practice.

  • Funding per patient has fallen 7% in England since 2010
  • 80% of GPs say they have insufficient resources to provide high-quality care
  • 47% say they have already cut back on the range of services provided
  • Investment in general practice dropped from £8,865 million in 2009/10 to £8,459 million in 2012/3

Source: RCGP


Doctors 'routinely see up to 60 patients in a day'

Dr Clare Gerada, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, has warned that family doctors routinely see up to 60 patients in a single day due to a "chronic shortfall" of GPs and funding:

Our figures should send out a warning to Government and the rest of the NHS that we will soon have a catastrophe on our hands if urgent action is not taken to reverse the decline in funding for general practice and provide GPs with an appropriate amount to spend on each patient every year ...

GPs are keen to do more for their patients but we are heaving under the pressure of ever increasing workloads and diminishing resources, including a chronic shortfall of GPs.

Some of us are routinely working 11-hour days with up to 60 patient contacts in a single day and this is not safe or sustainable, for patients or GPs. We simply cannot do more without the funding and resources to back it up.

– Dr Clare Gerada, chair, Royal College of GPs

Family doctors 'face £400 million financial black hole'

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) is calling for "emergency" measures to close a £400 million financial "black hole" in services.

Family doctors face a funding crisis, according to the body that represents them Credit: Klaus Rose/DPA/Press Association Images

The family doctors body said funding cuts over the past three years are already having a "disastrous effect on patient care".

They said there has been a seven percent drop in funding per person in England from 2010 to 2013, due to the £400 million fall in investment and population growth.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of RCGP, said that while more than 90 percent of patient contact within the NHS is with a GP, only nine percent of the entire budget is currently awarded to general practices.

DoH: Issues with how hospitals handle complaints

The Department of Health said it is aware there are issues surrounding complaints in the NHS, which is why it has commissioned reports on the systems.

It is in the interests of everyone who cares about the NHS - from patients, to doctors and nurses - that patients can trust that, when they make a complaint, it is dealt with correctly and thoroughly.

We know that there are issues with how hospitals handle complaints and that's why we asked Ann Clwyd and Tricia Hart to carry out a review into the system.

We look forward to their recommendations.

– Department of Health spokesperson


Department of Health: NHS has had a difficult winter

Commenting on figures that show accident and emergency waiting times have hit a nine-year high, a Department of Health spokesman said: "Overall the NHS is performing well and for the fourth week in a row 95 percent of A&E patients have been seen within four hours.

Accident and Emergency waiting times have hit a nine-year high. Credit: Press Association

"Clearly the NHS had a difficult winter and A&E departments were under pressure. This is partly due to the fact that there are over one million more people visiting A&E compared to three years ago.

"We've been absolutely clear that the NHS needs to transform the way health services are delivered to meet the needs of an ageing population focusing more on joined up services and prevention.

"We are working with the NHS to address the long-term problems facing A&E. Sir Bruce Keogh's urgent care review is looking at the range of pressures on emergency services.

"In addition NHS England is ensuring that money is freed up and available to improve A&E services so that they are better able to cope next winter."

Calls for tighter regulation for cosmetic surgery

A committee set up by the Department of Health in the wake of the PIP breast implant scandal has called for tighter regulation of the UK cosmetic interventions industry.

Recommendations announced today by the committee, headed by Sir Bruce Keogh, has recommended tighter controls on advertising, that those administering treatments should have proper qualifications, and that all dermal fillers should be prescription only.

A PIP implant victim holding one of her ruptured PIP implants after having it removed Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The review board, set up following the PIP breast implant scandal, said it was "surprised" to learn that non-surgical treatments are almost entirely unregulated.

The cosmetic surgery industry is worth £2.3 billion a year, with people spending money on a range of procedures from Botox to breast implants.

Management consultants used at 'great expense to little effect'

A report on the financial future of two hospitals in Peterborough and Huntingdon has estimated that the Department of Health is paying £1 million a week to keep the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust afloat.

Criticising the decision to build a new hospital, whilst hiring a private firm to run another one 24 miles away, the report found:

  • Management consultants had been used at "great expense to little effect", with Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust spending £9 million in the last two financial years
  • The Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust had accumulated the highest deficit in the highest in the NHS for 2011/12, of £45.8 million

Unison: Report highlights 'high price paid by locals'

Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health said the report needs to "serve as a warning" over the "dangers" of NHS franchising.

Unison warned from the start that selling Hinchingbrooke off to a private company was the wrong cure for its problems. In just one year some of our worst fears are coming true, and the much-hyped savings that many claimed would be delivered are not materialising.

She added that other trusts around the country were "struggling from bad PFI deals", and that patients may have to pay the price.

This report will make worrying reading for local people and for health workers. It reveals the high price paid by local people when bad decisions are made about NHS services. The lessons must be learnt to avoid these issues happening again.

– Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health
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