26/02/12: In the news this week... 20th to 26th February


Society surveys overwhelmingly reject the health bill… A SAM member survey has found 94 per cent of acute physicians do not support the NHS reforms - results summary here - while according to a survey of RCP members over 90 per cent of hospital doctors want  the health bill scrapped (Guardian, 26.02.12).

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health members also voted in favour of an 'outright withdrawal' of health bill with a majority of 79 per cent (Telegraph, 23.02.12).

And perhaps reform is unnecessary anyway… A report in BMJ has said the 'remarkably well' performing NHS does not need radical reform (Guardian, 23.02.12).

Those in charge don’t agree however… A Downing Street briefing document has claimed that if the health bill is changed or scrapped now there would be 'chaos' leaving the government in 'no man's land' (Guardian, 24.02.12) while the Department of Health claimed that the NHS reforms were already working after noting a 0.5 per cent year on year decline in emergency admissions (Public Service, 22.02.12).

The government certainly isn’t keen on releasing the results of reform risk assessments; they have again refused to do so - despite an open letter urging them to signed by medical leaders such the head of the RCN and the BMA (Guardian, 22.02.12) – and they defeated a Labour motion in the commons to reveal the results. The information commissioner has already ordered them to publish the conclusions, a decision the coalition are currently appealing (Guardian, 23.02.12).

The BBC has discovered that some trusts are not giving diabetics the vital checks required; in some trusts less than 10 per cent of patients get the required tests (BBC, 21.02.12).

The BMA will ballot members about industrial action over pension reform; striking will not be an option (Pulse, 25.02.12).

Other news in brief...

Doctors writing in the Lancet warned of 210,000 preventable deaths due to alcohol if laws aren't reformed (BBC, 20.02.12) while a study said that banning selling alcohol below cost price - to be introduced in England in April - will have 'limited impact' (BBC, 23.02.12).

The Prime Minister hosted a meeting on the future of the NHS reforms without inviting any of the critics such as the BMA and RCGPs (Independent, 20.02.12). Even those cautiously supporting the bill used meeting to raise concerns about the reforms (Guardian, 20.02.12) but the government did reassure some groups by stressing that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be responsible for making local care decisions (onmedica, 22.02.12).

Some women may not be getting the right treatment after a heart attack as they do not always have chest pain researchers have found (BBC, 22.02.12).

Just 18 per cent of the general public think Andrew Lansley is doing a good job as health secretary a poll on radio station fivelive has found (BBC, 21.02.12).

Liberal Democrat activists are to table a motion to get the competition section of health bill dropped (Guardian, 21.02.12).

GPs are to recommend health apps to patients (Telegraph, 22.02.12).

A dignity code - guidelines for ensuring minimum standard of care for the elderly – has been launched (onmedica, 22.02.12).

Ministers are concerned that the NHS may need an emergency cash bailout before the next election due to the rising costs of treating the elderly (Independent, 23.02.12).

The Care Quality Commission chief has resigned as a report 'raises significant questions about senior level competence' (BBC, 23.02.12).

The head of Glaxosmithkline has accused the government of delaying bringing in new cancer drugs to save money (Guardian, 25.02.12).