There are more doctors are coming from Europe to work in the UK than ever, according to a report by the General Medical Council (GMC).
Most overseas-trained doctors had previously come from south Asia, but recently there has been a sharp rise in doctors from southern Europe.
The GMC believes this might have been caused partly by changes to immigration rules which have made it more difficult for doctors from outside Europe to work here.
The report also found that a common theme among doctors working in primary care was feeling "overloaded" and "at risk of burning out". Meanwhile there has been a significant increase in the number of women becoming surgeons and specialists in emergency medicine. The profession as a whole could soon have equal numbers of men and women - women already account for 44% of all registered doctors (up from 42% in 2010) and more than half of medical students are female.
If the NHS cannot afford to fund everything, then it will need to make tough choices about what it does fund. Do we think about increasing our tolerance for longer wait (for care), or do we say, 'NHS funding is only for the health aspects of care and treatment', which means patients being asked to cover their hotel costs for bed and board? Overall funding allocation for health and social care is a political choice. Flat funding in real terms is a choice. Funding that doesn't match an increase in demand is a choice. One-off 'lumps' of money, which gets newspaper headlines but don't allow health service leaders to plan effectively, are a choice.
The NHS will remain free at the point of use. We know that with an ageing population there's more pressure on the NHS, which is why we've increased the budget by £12.7bn over this parliament and are investing in community services to keep people living healthier at home for longer.
Patients admitted to hospital could be asked to pay for their "bed and board" if funding does not match increasing demand, a top health service manager has warned.
Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS commissioners and providers, said the health service would have to make "tough choices".
Although he added plans to charge patients for accommodation had not been drawn up, the Independent quoted an unnamed source suggesting the fee could be £75 a night.
It comes after a cohort of influential health bodies issued an open letter to the leaders of all three main parties stating the NHS was at "breaking point".
Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne says the NHS is "heading rapidly in the wrong direction" after several professional health organisations signed a letter to the three main political parties claiming the service is at 'breaking point'.
Mr Gwynne also accused the Prime Minister of "wasting" £3 billion on a damaging NHS re-organisation.
“Everywhere you look there are signs of an NHS now heading rapidly in the wrong direction...Patients are already seeing waiting times and cancer care heading downhill - people will fear that much worse will be in store next year. You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS."
The letter, warning politicians about the state of the National Health Service was signed by the heads of:
- The British Medical Association
- The Royal College of Nursing
- The Royal College of GPs
- The Alzheimer's Society
- The Anthony Nolan Trust
- The MS Society
- The Royal National Institute of Blind People
- The Teenage Cancer Trust
- The Family Doctor Association
- The Faculty of Public Health
In the letter the groups said:
The NHS and our social care services are at breaking point and things cannot go on like this. An NHS deficit of £30 billion is predicted by 2020 - a funding black hole that must be filled.
While we welcome the fact that the NHS has risen to the top of the political agenda, and some new spending commitments have been made, we need a comprehensive, fully costed, long-term spending plan if an NHS true to its founding principles of universal healthcare, provided according to need not ability to pay, is secured for future generations.
It must also take into account the need for vital social care. This will also require a guarantee that the NHS will be protected from another top-down reorganisation which is not in the best interests of patients, and distracts from the severe, long-term funding pressures facing the health service. The NHS, social services, health and care professionals and above all, the British people, deserve no less.
Political promises of extra cash for the NHS are insufficient to address a funding crisis that is putting at risk the founding principles of the health service, an influential coalition of doctors, nurses and medical charities has warned.
In an open letter to the leaders of all three major political parties published by the Independent, leading organisations said "the longest, and most damaging budget squeeze" in NHS history had left it at "breaking point", with patients increasingly feeling the effects.
Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt has launched a scathing attack on David Cameron after the Prime Minister singled him out during his speech to the Tory conference.
Mr Hunt claimed Mr Cameron's remarks were a "highly personalised attack on me, my family and upbringing" and showed he "has moved on little since his time as a low-rent PR man".
Writing in the Observer, Mr Hunt labels Mr Cameron "the frat-boy prime minister who spills confidences about the Queen and covers up policy failure with personal attacks".
Iain Duncan Smith has indicated that the UK must be allowed to curb European migration in return for staying in the EU.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said individual states should be able to fix the number of EU migrants they let through their borders.
“Control needs to be in the hands of individual nations if they remain in Europe,” the Work and Pensions Secretary told the Sunday Telegraph..
Referring to UK demands for EU reform, Mr Duncan Smith claimed European leaders were now saying to each other "these people genuinely look like they are on the way out unless we do something".
He also warned high rates of migration risked causing "civil unrest" in some area.
Ed Balls claims the tax measures unveiled by David Cameron at the Tory conference amount to a 'Strivers' tax' that will hit 3 million working people.
Writing on his blog, the Shadow Chancellor singled out cuts to tax credits, saying: "It’s a Strivers' Tax which will cost a one earner family with two children on £25,000 a year almost £500."
He implied the policy would cost the Tories at next year's election, as 260,000 families hit by tax credit cuts live in the 50 most vulnerable Conservative seats.
GPs are leaving due to a combination of increased workload and a lack of funding, according to one GP.Read the full story ›