Petition for Hunt’s removal as health secretary surpasses 100,000 signatures

Over 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in health secretary Jeremy Hunt in just 24 hours.

The petition launched via, started yesterday and quickly surpassed the 10,000 signature target at which the Government must issue a response. This afternoon it has reached the 100,000 required to be considered for debate in Parliament, having attracted more than one signature per second.

Launched by north London-based consultant in internal medicine Dr Ash Sadighi, it accuses Mr Hunt of ‘alienating the entire workforce of the NHS by threatening to impose a harsh contract and conditions on first consultants and soon the rest of the NHS staff’.

A separate petition launched via on Sunday calling on Mr Hunt to resign, or Prime Minister David Cameron to remove him from his post, has received over 90,000 signatures.

Both petitions were launched by consultants angered by Mr Hunt’s speech at the King’s Fund last week, in which he threatened to impose his terms for the new junior doctor contract and accused the BMA for being out of touch with its members, claiming he had ‘yet to meet’ a doctor not in favour of weekend working.

They follow the success of the #ImInWorkJeremy Twitter campaign to trend over the weekend, uniting GPs and hospital doctors in letting Mr Hunt know they were already keeping a seven-day NHS running.

Meanwhile, geriatric consultant Dr Dan Furmedge, who launched the petition, also said Mr Hunt’s speech had been ‘the last straw’.

His petition read: ‘In essentially calling doctors lazy and suggesting they need “a sense of vocation” he has offended the whole NHS workforce and demonstrated how little regard he has for us and how little he understands what we do.’

Originally published by Pulse.


NHS spend on private sector providers up by 7%

NHS spend on the private sector has increased by 7% in the last year, according to figures released today.

Total amount spent on purchasing healthcare from independent sector providers was £6,913m in 2014/15, compared with £6,467m in 2013/14, according to the Department of Health annual accounts.

Total spend on GP contracts increased by 1.2% in the same time period, from £7,553m to £7,646m. However this followed a decrease the previous year by 2.3%.

Also according to the accounts, NHS England underspent its revenue budget by £375m in 2014/15. However, the DH overall reduced its underspend (combined revenue and capital budgets) to just £173m, having famously handed £2.2bn worth of underspand back to the Treasury two years ago.

Spend with private providers increased in 2013/14 also, but at the time the DH denied a union claim that this meant it was ‘privatising’ healthcare in England.

Commenting on the accounts, DH permanent secretary Dame Una O’Brien said 2014/15 ‘continued to be challenging for the Department and for the NHS’ and highlighted its achievement in ‘sustaining the continuity of NHS services, achieving overall financial performance and budgetary control in the face of increasing pressures, and planning for the future and the forthcoming spending review’.

Originally published by Pulse.

Missed GP appointments ‘should be logged with a health Oyster card’

Patients should be given health ‘Oyster cards’ that inform them of their personal financial impact on NHS resources, a Labour peer has suggested.

The system, inspired by Transport for London’s top-up travelcards, would see patients having to ‘swipe in’ each time they used services with a different amount of points deducted. Should they, for example, miss a GP appointment, a larger number of points would come off the card.

Although no actual money would need to be paid towards the usage, patients would need to ‘recharge’ their cards and at the end of the year they would recieve a bill outlining their total cost to the NHS, Lord Meghnad Desai suggested.

Speaking in a House of Lords debate, the baron said this would ‘make it clear to people that a free NHS is not a costless one’ and thereby perhaps impact their behaviour to minimise wastage of resources.

He said: ‘I propose a sort of health Oyster card for every citizen. Every time they used the NHS, they would have to swipe their Oyster card and a certain number of points would be deducted.

‘The Oyster cards could be recharged. At the end of the year, people would get a bill showing how many points had been used and on which health service facilities. If people missed a GP appointment, 15 points would be deducted rather than two.’

The suggestion comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he supported in principle the idea of charging patients for missed appointments but that it would be difficult to introduce in practice. The Government has since clarified it has no plans to introduce charges for missed appointments.

Originally published by Pulse.

How to cook like a chef

We went to speak to Lance Fink, 69, Cordon Bleu-trained executive chef at Fink’s Salt and Sweet. He has been outrageously generous in imparting wisdom learnt over a lifetime of experimentation. It’s one thing following recipes to the letter, but these are tips you probably won’t find in a cookery book. 

From this day forward, follow these simple rules to instantly upgrade your cooking skills from mediocre to Michelin-starred. You’ll thank us in years to come


Photo taken by Helena Blackstone. All rights reserved.
(Photo: Jess Blackstone. All rights reserved.)

Continue reading “How to cook like a chef”

Welsh Conservative Party bid to fine no-show hospital patients £10

GP leaders have opposed a proposal from the Conservative Party to fine patients referred to Welsh hospitals £10 if they do not go.

The party said the pledge, which comes ahead of next year’s Welsh Assembly elections, is a response to a report showing 1.2m hospital appointments were missed in the last three years at a cost of £60m a year.

The report, by the assembly’s public account committee, also showed that patients failed to show up for over one in every ten GP appointments in Wales.

A a BBC Wales poll from earlier this year showed eight in ten Welsh people would support fines for both missed GP and hospital appointments, however GP leaders said that issuing fines risked damaging the doctor patient relationship.

An RCGP spokesperson told the BBC: ‘Introducing a charge for appointments would fundamentally change one of the founding principles of general practice, that healthcare is free at the point of need.

‘Missed appointments can be frustrating but in many cases there are valid reasons for patients not being able to attend, and they can be warning signs that something more serious is wrong.’

It comes as UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt said last week that he has ‘no problem’ with the principle of charging patients for missed GP appointments.

Originally published by Pulse.

GP appointment waiting times continue to rise

An increased number of patients waited a week or more to see or speak to someone the last time they contacted their GP surgery, the latest GP patient survey has revealed.

NHS England’s ‘GP Patient Survey – National summary report’, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found that the vast majority of patients’ satisfaction with their GP remains highly positive.

However, it also found that there were problems with accessing GPs in hours, finding that one in ten patients were unable to arrange a time to see or speak to someone at all when they last tried to do so.

At the same time, 17.9% of patients this year had to wait for a week or more for a phone or in-person appointment, up from 15.9% last year and 12.8% in 2012.

It comes after a Pulse survey recently revealed that GPs believed the average waiting time for an appointment is set to hit two weeks in a year’s time, due to problems with workload and the continuing recruitment crisis.

Despite the problems faced by GP funding and workload, 92% of the 858,381 patients asked said they had trust and confidence in the last doctor they saw or spoke to from their surgery.

Over 80% had a positive experience the last time they visited their practice, while 87% said their GP was good at listening.

Originally published by Pulse.