General practice opening hours to be scrutinised

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From October general practices in England will be financially penalised if they close during core working hours during the week, the chief executive of NHS England has said.

Simon Stevens told MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that changes to the GP contract, which will be introduced in October, will allow NHS England to scrutinise GP opening hours more closely and take action where necessary.

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General practice should be recognised as speciality in UK, leaders argue

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General practice leaders have called on the government and the General Medical Council to correct the “anachronistic anomaly” whereby GP postgraduate training remains unrecognised as a medical specialty in the United Kingdom.

In a joint statement,

GP leaders from the BMA and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) from across the four UK nations said that this recognition was “long overdue” given the rigorous training and examination that GPs undergo.

Improved GP retainer scheme with increased funding is launched

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NHS England has announced a range of improvements to its GP retainer scheme, including increased funding for GPs and practices. The scheme provides financial incentives and development support to encourage GPs who might otherwise leave the profession to remain in general practice.

NHS England said that, from 1 July 2016, it would increase the money for practices employing a retained GP and the annual payment towards professional expenses for GPs in the scheme.

Want to know more about Zika Virus?

The news about the Zika Virus outbreak in South America is changing daily.

There are several resources which can help you learn more and keep up to date on the topic: Public Health England has published information about the virus. Details can be found here

Information has also been published on the NHS Choices website follow the link here to an update on 29th January.

The National Library for Medicine in the US has published a list of resources and information here

Stressed GPs are promised national occupational health service

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The NHS plans to launch a new national occupational health service from next April to support general practitioners experiencing burnout and stress.

A national service specification based on successful local programmes will form part of a wider, major new drive from NHS England to improve the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. The scheme will include serving healthier food, offering health checks in the workplace, and promoting physical activity among staff.NHS_England

Physician associates are as good as GPs in treating same day patients but cost less, study finds

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Physician associates could be a solution to overburdened general practices, researchers have said, after they found that outcomes in patients seen by these health professionals were similar to those in patients seen by GPs and that they cost less to practices.

The researchers looked at the medical records of 2086 patients presenting for same day appointments at 12 general practices in England over four weeks in 2011 and 2012 (two weeks in winter and two weeks in summer) who were seen by a physician associate or GP. Physician associates have previously been known as physician assistants.