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Government says £3.8b fund will free GPs of 'red tape'

The Government said it recognises that GPs are "hard-pressed" and has promised its planned £3.8 billion spend on health and social care will enable doctors to spend more time with patients.

GPs do a vital job which is why we increased their overall budget last year as part of this Government's protection of NHS spending.

We recognise GPs are hard-pressed and as part of ambitious changes to the GP contract we will free them up from unnecessary red tape to devote more time to patients.

This will go hand in hand with a £3.8 billion fund to join up health and social care and support the delivery of integrated services.

– A Department of Health spokesman

Read: Patient care 'at risk' over NHS budget slump

New measures to make patient neglect a crime

Under new measures to be unveiled next week, patient neglect is to be made a crime.
Under new measures to be unveiled next week, patient neglect is to be made a crime. Credit: PA

The wilful neglect of patients is to be made a criminal offence under NHS reforms being introduced in the wake of the Mid Staffs and other care scandals.

David Cameron said health workers who mistreated and abused patients would face "the full force of the law" in a package of measures to be unveiled next week.

The offence will be modelled on laws against the wilful neglect of adults under the Mental Capacity Act, punishable by fines or up to five years in prison.

A consultation on what scale of sentence should be applied to the extended law will be carried out over the next few months by the Department of Health.

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NHS services stretched to 'breaking point'

Statistics revealing a decrease in NHS budget spending on general practice, now the lowest on record, is pushing services to "breaking point", according to the chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Commenting on the findings, Dr Maureen Baker said:

The various NHS bodies and governments who decide how we divide the NHS funding cake in the UK have inadvertently allowed a situation to develop in which funding for general practice is being steadily eroded. With services now at breaking point, it's time to come up with a plan to turn the tide.

During the last nine years, GPs across the country have had to cope with a growing and an ageing population, in which more and more people have been affected by multiple, serious long-term conditions - and yet funding for general practice has been slashed.

– Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Dr Maureen Baker

Read: Figures reveal NHS budget decrease in UK and Ireland

Figures reveal NHS budget decrease in UK and Ireland

New analysis from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has found a slump in the amount of NHS budget spent on general practice.

In England, 10.6 per cent of the NHS budget was spent on general practice in 2004/05, but this dropped to 8.5 per cent by 2011/12.

The statistics painted a similar picture in Scotland as 9.5 per cent of the money was spent on general practice in 2004/05, and by 2011/12, this had fallen to 7.8 per cent.

In the same periods across Wales, the budget decreased from 8.6 per cent to 7.8 per cent, and in Northern Ireland, spending was at 8.1 per cent in 2011/12 - down from 8.2 per cent in the previous year. Figures were not available for 2004/05.

Read: Patient care 'at risk' over NHS budget slump

Patient care 'at risk' over NHS budget slump

New statistics have warned patient care in NHS hospitals is being put at risk due to general practice budgets.
New statistics have warned patient care in NHS hospitals is being put at risk due to general practice budgets. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Patient care is being put at risk due to a slump in the amount of NHS budget spent on general practice - now the lowest on record, a royal college has warned.

In 2004/05, 10.3% of the NHS budget was spent on general practice but by 2011/12 this figure had dropped to 8.4%, according to analysis by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the National Association for Patient Participation.

The RCGP said the slump is compromising the standard of care GPs can offer patients, leading to longer waiting times and increasing pressure on hospitals.

This is despite the fact that 90% of contacts with patients across the NHS occur in general practice, it said.

Dr Hilary: Staff will not do the jobs they are on site to do

Clinical staff will not do the jobs they are on site to do with inspectors "standing behind them", Daybreak's Health Editor Dr Hilary said.

The proposed patient rights charter is an "understandable knee-jerk reaction" in response to what happened at Staffordshire hospital he said.

Speaking about the new charter of rights he added, "if it was as easy… don't you think hospitals would have done that before?"

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Hospitals to be given 'clear guidelines' on care

David Prior, the CQC chairman, said patients would be encouraged to complain if the level of care they receive fails to meet the new standards. He told The Times (£):

For patients and their families these fundamental standards will be an unambiguous baseline: if they see or receive care that falls below that line, they should report it at once.

We will give people who lead hospitals clear guidelines about what good care looks like so they know that patients know what to expect.

Patients set to get charter of rights

Doctors and nurses would be issued with new guidelines under proposals to be launched. Credit: PA Wire

Hospitals, care homes and GPs could be judged against a new set of patient rights following a radical overhaul of standards to be announced by the health watchdog, The Times (£) reported.

Doctors and nurses would be issued with new guidelines under proposals to be launched which will set out an "unambiguous baseline" for care.

The new charter of rights could see hospitals taken over by external experts, bosses dismissed and units closed if standards were continuously breached.

The plans - which must first go out to consultation - are set to be rolled out in hospitals before they are extended to adult social care and other sectors later in the year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.

Smart drug improves survival in older patients

Kate Law, Cancer Research UK's director of clinical research, added:

In general the outlook for leukaemia patients has improved dramatically in recent decades. But when leukaemia is diagnosed in older people its much harder to treat and there is a real need for effective treatments that are suitable for this age group.

Importantly this new trial shows that GO may have particular benefits for patients over 60, who may be unsuitable for other more intensive treatments. This is good news and we are now looking to see if these results can be replicated in younger patients.

'Promising' Leukaemia study to boost patients

Chief investigator Professor Alan Burnett, from Cardiff Universitys School of Medicine, commented on the findings:

These promising results demonstrate how targeting a protein present in more than 90 per cent of AML patients can boost treatment without excessively increasing side effects.

Although there has been some controversy around the use of GO following its withdrawal in the US two years ago, these results appear extremely promising and suggest no such cause for concern if the appropriate dose is given. Crucially, this represents some of the first progress in treating AML patients of this age group for at least 20 years.

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