The BMA has hundreds of mentions in the media each month, across national and regional, print, TV, radio and online outlets.
Below is a selection of the BMA’s media coverage in January.
Seasonal demand forces NHS England to halt non-urgent operations until February
The BMA’s response to NHS England’s decision to halt non-urgent operations until February to free up capacity for the ‘sickest’ patients was featured in The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Independent, iNews, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and a number of regional publications.
Commenting in a press statement, BMA representative body chair, Dr Anthea Mowat, said: “The NHS is in the grips of another winter crisis, as patients face long delays in care, operations are cancelled and staff find themselves working under extremely difficult circumstances.”
Her comments were also included in print coverage in The Newcastle Evening Chronicle and The Brighton Argus
BMA junior doctor committee chair, Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, was interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live discussing the cancellation of non-urgent operations and the NHS winter crisis.
There was a further regional broadcast coverage by a number of BMA representatives on NHS capacity issues across the country, including:
Comments from Dr Chaand Nagpaul saying doctors were ‘horrified but not surprised’ by figures showing the NHS’s poor performance over winter were used in an article in The East Grinstead Courier & Observer and West Cumbria News & Star.
Letters in response to the winter crisis from BMA regional council chairs were published in The Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, The Hucknall & Bulwell Dispatch and the Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald.
- BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, on BBC Radio West Midlands
- BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, on BBC Radio Sheffield, BBC Radio Cumbria and community television station Made TV
- BMA north east regional council chair, Dr George Rae, on BBC One - Look North, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio Tees. His comments were also included on news bulletins across the Global Radio Network including stations such as LBC, Heart and Smooth
- BMA GP committee deputy chair Dr Mark Sanford Wood on ITV West Country discussing the winter crisis in the South West
BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GP Online: “With limited resources and rising demand it’s the right thing to prioritise the sickest but this is yet another sign of how much pressure the NHS is under.”
Dr Vautrey was also interviewed live on BBC Look North. His comments were used in news bulletins throughout the night on local BBC news bulletins. He also appeared on BBC Radio York to discuss the issue.
BMA council member Dr Tom Dolphin was a guest on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel. He discussed the impact of the winter crisis in healthcare on doctors and patients and what action the Government can take to solve problems in the short term and the long term.
The Guardian spoke to healthcare staff working in trusts across the country dealing with the winter pressure since NHS England cancelled non-urgent surgery and appointments in order to cope.
BMA consultants committee emergency medicine lead, Dr Simon Walsh, said he has staff in tears worried they haven’t given patients what they deserve
Junior doctors committee deputy co-chair Dr Hannah Barham-Brown said: “It’s been harder this year as we are working under more pressure than ever."
Dr Lucie Cocker, BMA Yorkshire junior doctors committee chair and emergency medicine doctor, spoke to HuffPost to find out what its really like working in an emergency department now.
BMA GP trainee subcommittee chair, Dr Tom Micklewright, was interviewed on Sky News to discuss the pressures facing the NHS as he warned that the current workload was unstainable and called for a long-term solution to the recruitment and retention crisis in general practice.
BMA medical students committee co-chairs Mita Dhullipala and Harrison Carter wrote a letter on behalf of medical students to The Guardian expressing students’ concerns for the future of the NHS considering the extent of this winter's performance.
Medical students committee co-chair Mita Dhullipala was also interviewed by The New York Times in a series of interviews with NHS workers, from the UK and Europe, about what it’s like to work in the health service, and their hopes and fears for the future.
Comments from BMA East of England regional council chair, Dr Ian Hume featured in the print edition of the Hereford Times as they reported that bed occupancy at a number of hospitals in the regional was at 100 percent capacity during December.
Medical students drafted in to plug staffing gaps
The Guardian reports on emails revealing inexperienced undergraduates are being asked to help in A&E units and wards to combat increasing winter pressures.
Harrison Carter said: “Not only would this be exploitation of students who may be reluctant to say no, but it raises concerns over patient safety if those working on the frontline are asked to work beyond clinical competence.While the government insists the NHS was better prepared than ever before for winter, this shows hospitals resorting to desperate measures to cope with a system struggling with increased demand and lack of staff and resources.”
The story was also covered in The Independent, iNews, BBC News Online, The Daily Mirror, The Times and Pulse.
Doctors blocked from working in the UK
Doctors who have been offered jobs at NHS hospitals with staff shortages are being blocked from entering the UK by the Home Office, iNews reports.
A clip from an interview with Dr Chaand Nagpaul saying a cap on the number of the non-EU doctors being admitted to the UK was affecting the ability to provide proper healthcare, was used in news bulletins on commercial radio stations across the country including Share Radio and Smooth.
In a letter in the Guardian, the President of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr Jane Dacre, writes that it is ‘astonishing’ that the home office would block appropriately qualified doctors from working in the NHS. In the letter she references recent BMA data revealing huge gaps in rotas which are limiting doctors’ ability to deliver the standard of care they were trained to.
Commenting, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: "Visa restrictions and arbitrary and outdated caps for non-EU workers entering the UK have made recruiting to NHS posts more difficult."
GPs under-pressure treating up to one hundred patients a day
A survey by trade magazine Pulse found GPs are having almost twice the safe number of patients contacts every day.
In a press statement, GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said unmanageable and unsafe workloads are the reason doctors are leaving general practice causing practices to have to close lists to new patients or close entirely.
His comments were picked up in most major newspapers, in print and online, this morning including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Press Association, The Daily Express, iNews, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Times and ITV News Online.
Our response was also mentioned on Sky News’ breakfast programme, Sunrise, and in a comprehensive feature on Sky News Online.
Short-term fixes not fitting for NHS
In response to the current winter crisis in the NHS, a comment piece by BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, featured in The Daily Mirror as he warned that short-term fixes for the NHS will only go so far.
Dr Nagpaul writes: “Problems at the hospital front door are often linked to delays at the hospital back door, as patients who are well enough to leave often have nowhere go due to shortage of social and community care.”
Health unions write letter pleading for emergency NHS funding boost
The Daily Mirror reports 12 major health trade unions including the BMA have written to the health secretary urging for an emergency funding boost and that the health service has the money it needs.
The letter, which appeared in full in print, was signed by BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul
Winter performance figures paint clear picture of overstretched NHS
NHS England published the latest set of daily performance figures which give an impression of how the health service has performed over the festive period.
In a press statement, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “These figures paint a clear picture of just how congested and overstretched the system is, and is further evidence that pressure on the NHS continues to intensify.”
Dr Nagpaul added: “We urgently need more long-term planning to ensure the NHS can meet rising demand on services and has the capacity to deal with the inevitable spike in demand each winter.”
His comments were included in Metro and Pulse. The BMA’s concerns were reflected in articles for Mail Online and The Northern Echo.
Theresa May on Andrew Marr show
The BMA’s response to Theresa May’s interview on the Andrew Marr show, in which she came under pressure to answer questions regarding the poor performance of the NHS this winter, featured in the print editions of The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, Metro and ITV Online.
Commenting, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “The Government must acknowledge that the NHS does not currently have the resources nor capacity to meet the needs of patients, and we need an honest debate about the investment and support the NHS needs to deliver safe, high-quality care.”
Carillion collapse threatens fate of hospitals
Speaking exclusively to The Guardian, the BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, has called for answers over the fate of two major hospitals in Birmingham and Liverpool that Carillion were building when the company went into collapse.
14 hospital trusts across England are linked to outsourcing giant Carillion which has gone into liquidation and The BMA is calling for clarity about what happens to services provided by the company which includes the construction of new hospitals and patient catering services.
In a press statement, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “We urgently need government to provide clarity around what happens next and assurances that the hospitals affected will continue to be able to provide high quality services for patients.”
The story was reported by Mail Online and Press Association.
Sustainable solutions needs to tackle NHS Crisis
Emergency medicine doctor and BMA junior doctor committee chair in Yorkshire, Dr Lucie Cocker, wrote an article for The Yorkshire Post, which appeared in print and as the top story on their website today, describing how unrelenting pressure affects frontline staff.
She writes: “The waiting room is heaving, cubicles are overflowing with patients and the waiting time to be seen by a doctor is growing longer and longer.”
Harrison Carter, BMA medical students committee co-chair, wrote an article for the BMJ arguing that asking medical students to volunteer in A&Es paints a woeful picture of the NHS.
The BMA also responded to a report by the NAO (National Audit Office) which revealed that additional funding to help the NHS get on a financially sustainable footing has instead been spent on coping with existing pressures which was featured in The Daily Mail, iNews, BBC News Online, Sky News, Pulse and The Yorkshire Post. Read the full response here.
Quarterly survey reveals rota gaps and widespread vacancies
The BMA’s quarterly survey, published this month which found more than seven in 10 hospital doctors reported rota gaps in their departments, and half of GPs reported vacancies in their practice was covered in The Independent, Mail Online, The Daily Telegraph, Pulse and The Yorkshire Post
BMA south west regional council chair, Dr Helena McKeown, was interviewed on BBC radio stations in the region discussing the problems of rota gaps and GP vacancies
Read the press release here.
Further coverage of the results of the BMA’s quarterly survey was found in The Cornish Times and letters elaborating on the survey’s findings and what the Government can do to alleviate doctors’ concerns from BMA regional council chairs featured in the Sunderland Echo
Government to review prescription drug dependence
The BMA’s response to the announcement that the Government has commissioned a review into the growing problem of addiction to prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines was reported in the The Guardian, BBC News Online, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail and Pulse.
Read the press statement here.
NHS needs a plan
In an exclusive comment piece for the Times red box, emergency medicine doctor and deputy co-chair of the BMA junior doctor committee, Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, wrote about the challenges of being an emergency doctor throughout the busy winter period.
She also joined Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd on their Reasons to be Cheerful podcast to discuss her experiences of winter pressures as an A&E doctor and funding solutions for the NHS.
CQC puts re-inspections on pause
The CQC (Care Quality Commission) has decided to pause re-inspections of good and outstanding GP practices for the month of January according to Pulse.
Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, BMA GP committee deputy chair, said: 'It is right that the CQC has taken the decision to suspend inspections for the vast majority of GP practices and other parts of the NHS that have a good or outstanding rating."
NHS Confed head suggests junior doctors should pay back fees if moving abroad
In an article for The Daily Telegraph, NHS Confederation chief executive suggested junior doctors should be forced to pay back some of their training costs to the NHS is they choose to work abroad after qualifying.
Responding in The Times, The Independent, and The Daily Telegraph, BMA medical student committee co-chair, Dr Mita Dhullipala, said: “We must address the underlying reasons why many leave the NHS, which are primarily to do with workload, stress and burnout.”
GPs spend 55 hours a year revalidating
Pulse reports GPs spend on average 55 hours a year on the revalidation process – equivalent to 1,300 full-time GPs working eight sessions a week – according to a survey conducted by the trade magazine. The story was also covered in The Sun.
GP committee deputy chair Dr Mark Sanford Wood said: "We need a national discussion about the evidence that’s required versus the delivery of patient care, particularly at the moment where we just don’t have enough GPs to do that job."
Missed appointments costing the NHS billions each year
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul was interviewed live on LBC yesterday evening in response to news millions of missed appointments is costing the NHS substantial amounts of money every year.
Speaking to Iain Dale, Dr Nagpaul said: “It’s not just the financial cost, it’s the fact it’s adding to the waits patients have to see their doctor. It’s a problem that needs to be tackled.”
Commenting in an article in The Times, Dr Nagpaul said: “These worrying figures emphasise the scale of waste of precious NHS resources due to millions of missed appointments — appointments that could be used to treat patients given the increase in hospital waiting times.”
GPs and nurses to be 999 first responders
The Independent, The Daily Mirror and The I report on guidance sent to GPs and nurses by a CCG (clinical commissioning group) in County Durham setting out how they may act as “first responders” to some 999 calls.
Commenting, Dr Andrew Green, said: “This is a sad reflection of the pressures that all parts of the health service are under at the moment, due to the failure of the government to provide the resources needed to meet increased demand.”
Rise in flu cases adds to hospital pressures
The Daily Telegraph reports that a spike in the number of flu cases is placing hospitals under increasing pressure as NHS surveillance reveals that flu cases have risen by 67 percent a week in England. They report that officials have written to GPs promising to offer a new ‘superjab’ to older patients from next autumn.
Commenting, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “The scenes on the ground are shocking; patients not just receiving care in corridors but unable to get in the front door.
Bawa Garba case
Pulse reported that doctors have said new guidance is now urgently needed on how doctors’ reflections are used and recorded after a High Court ruling which led to a junior doctor being struck off.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the case raises questions and concerns about how reflections, an important tool for learning and professional development, are used.
BMA fatigue paper
The BMJ exclusively reported on a paper published by the BMA looking at the impact of fatigue and sleep deprivation on doctors and clinical staff. The paper highlights why doctors are at risk of fatigue and the acute and long-term impacts this can have. It also presents a framework for how the Government, organisations and doctors themselves can manage this risk. Commenting, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “This paper highlights the need for reform of current working patterns to safeguard doctors and clinical staff against the impact of excessive workloads and the increasing complexity and number of consultations resulting from wider pressures on the NHS such as staff shortages, funding constraints and growing patient demand.
Survey shows one in five practices cutting routine appointments under intense pressure
Pulse reports workload pressures are pushing GP services to a point ‘close to collapse’ as more than half of GP practices admit they are cutting back on clinical services or consider doing so, a survey has revealed.
The story was also included in The Daily Telegraph in print. GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said this winter wasthe worst the NHS has experienced for 30 years.
NHS Supply Chain may still use instruments procured from unethical manufacturers
The Guardian reports children as young as 12 are making surgical instruments in hazardous conditions in Pakistan, prompting fears that the tools could be used in the health service. The news report builds on the BMA’s work into ethical procurement who have campaigned to end the practice in the developing world.
Coverage of NHS surgeon and founder of the BMA’s Medical Fair & Ethical Trade Group, Mahmood Bhutta, regarding the issue of the use of child labour to manufacture surgical instruments in Pakistan in the International Business Times and Pakistan Today.
Bedside manner is important
BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, response to the announcement by the Patients Association chief exec, Rachel Power, that doctors and nurses should be tested more rigorously on their bedside manner before working in the NHS featured in the Times.
Commenting, Dr Nagpaul, said: “While the priority when hiring medical professionals must be clinical expertise, emphasis must also be placed on a value-led, compassionate approach so that patients can feel comfortable, and have trust and confidence in the care they receive from doctors and other frontline staff during what can be an incredibly distressing time.”
Study shows lack of GP services not reason for A&E pressure
More patients aren’t attending A&E because they can’t get a GP appointment but because they have long term health conditions, according to Pulse.
GP committee deputy chair Dr Mark Sanford-Wood welcomed the findings. He said: “In the past some politicians have sought to blame overcrowding in A&Es on general practice, so it is positive to see further evidence showing that this is not the case.”
Prescribed drug dependence
GP committee clinical and prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green spoke to The Times about patients with prescription drug dependence seeking help in online forums due to a lack of adequate specialist services to treat addiction.
Dr Andrew Green was interviewed by ITV Calendar, the regional news programme for Yorkshire and the North Midlands, about the BMA’s recommendations to tackle prescribed drug dependence including a national 24 hour helpline.
The Mail reported that the NHS is to withdraw funding for a service at mental health charity Mind in Camden to help those addicted to sleeping tablets and tranquilisers. It reported the BMA and other leading medical organisations have called on the government to set up a national helpline to help those struggling with addiction to prescription drugs.
Warning over pregabalin addiction
The Mail on Sunday reported that the BMA has called for more to be done to protect patients against the potential risk of abuse and addiction associated with the prescription of anti-anxiety medication such as pregabalin and gabapentin.
GP pressures in the South West
BMA GP exec committee member, Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, was interviewed on the ITV West Country news following recruitment issues at a surgery in Somerset as he spoke about the wider pressures facing general practice.
Stephen Hawkins and doctors granted judicial review
Comments from BMA council member, Dr David Wrigley, featured in an article in the Independent which reported that Professor Stephen Hawking and leading doctors have won permission to take Jeremy Hunt and NHS England to court over proposals to restructure the health service.
Patient information leaflet
The Lancashire Evening Telegraph reported that a new leaflet produced by NHS England, the BMA and the National Association for Patient Participation, has been developed and is available in all GP practices across Lancashire and South Cumbria to help answer common patient questions when they are referred to a specialist or hospital consultant.
Coverage in December
Hospitals running at 99 percent capacity
Hospital trust chief executives have disclosed that they are running close to 100 percent bed capacity. The Guardian reports that they have voiced concerns that patients could be harmed and staff left unable to cope with the seasonal surge in demand for care with bad weather and a major flu outbreak this winter expected to increase demand on services.
Responding, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “These figures are deeply worrying and show an NHS which is now struggling to find free beds year round. The UK already has fewer beds than equivalent European nations and further cuts could exacerbate pressures, which will adversely impact patients.”
Kings College NHS chair steps down amid fears of NHS funding
Former head of the civil service Lord Kerslake stepped down from his position as chair of Kings College Hospital NHS Trust. Kerslake announced his departure in an op-ed in The Guardian claiming ‘dire NHS funding problems’ have left him with no choice.
Responding in a press release, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “This is yet another warning about the worrying lack of funding in the health service. Lord Kerslake knows the ins and outs of Whitehall and his comments should act as a wakeup call for policy makers.” This was included in an article in The Guardian.
Patients continue to wait more than four hours in A&E
New figures reveal the number of people seen in emergency departments in under four hours has hit its lowest point since February, The Daily Mirror reports. The government’s target is 95 per cent but only 88.9 per cent of patient were seen with the target time.
In a press statement, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “Front-line staff are working harder than ever but the system is struggling to cope with the number of patients coming through the hospital door, and the entire system becomes congested.”
Health leaders warn against removal of Working Time Regulations
Following reports that there is support within Government for the removal of the Working Time Regulations (WTR) following Brexit, the British Medical Association, alongside 12 royal colleges and trade unions, wrote to the Prime Minister urging caution and warning that doing so would put patient safety at risk.
In a letter to Theresa May, the BMA’s chair of council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, and the other signatories, stress that the Working Time Regulations protects medical staff from the dangers of overwork whilst protecting patients from overtired doctors and nurses. The news was reported in The Guardian.
NHS fears waiting times will be missed
The board of NHS England met this month for the first time since Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget with many expecting a ‘difficult debate’
Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he was ‘deeply worried’ about NHS England’s warning that the health service wouldn’t meet national standards of care, in a press release.
End ‘crippling’ hospital car parking charges
The Daily Mirror launched a new campaign with NHS staff, patients, visitors and politicians to demand an end to charges to park in hospital car parks costing a record £175m last year.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “Hospital parking fees unfairly penalise people visiting sick family or friends and they should be abolished.”
Opt out organ donation consultation begins
BMA medical ethics committee chair, Dr John Chisholm was interviewed on Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio London to mark the beginning of a government consultation on how the newly proposed system of opt-out organ donation will work.
Dr Chisholm said: “I really welcome this consultation. The BMA has been campaigning for 18 years to seek a change in the law. It's all about saving lives.” His comments were also reported in The Daily Mail.
Dr Chisholm was also interviewed live on the BBC News Channel and BBC Radio Berkshire.
He wrote an article about why the BMA supports opt out organ donation for New Scientist.
A letter from Dr Chisholm was published in regional publications across the country.
GMC report on medical education details the workforce crisis
The GMC (General Medical Council) published a wide-scoped report into the state of medical education in the UK and how the profession is facing a ‘crunch point’ of too few doctors to treat a rising number of patients, as BBC News Online reports.
In a press statement, Dr Nagpaul said: “We know doctors are worried about their ability to provide safe patient care, so it’s important to see the regulator, whose responsibility it is to ensure patient safety, acknowledging the impact that staff shortages has on the delivery of safe, high-quality care.”
He was interviewed live on BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC News Channel and LBC.
The report was also covered by Press Association, The Times, and The Independent.
One in five patients regularly miss GP appointments
Coverage of The Lancet survey in which a fifth of the 50,000 patients surveyed in Scotland missed two or more appointments appeared in iNews.
Commenting in a press statement, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: “Missed appointments do result in valuable time and resources being wasted, but we do need to understand the reasons why this occurs.”
GP recruitment and retention crisis
A survey by Pulse has found a third of GPs plan to close surgeries to new patients as it is the only way they can provide safe care to those already registered.
Dr Vautrey said: “General practice is under unprecedented pressure from rising workload, tightening budgets and widespread staff shortages.” His remarks were also included in Mail Online.
Writing for GP Online, BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey notes that politicians are becoming more aware of the crisis in general practice and taking the necessary steps to address the problem.
BBC News Online reports that an extra 75,000 routine appointments a month will be made available in London as part of a scheme by NHS England to alleviate pressure on A&Es.
Commenting, BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: "There is still an urgent need to address the significant pressure being caused from rising workload, tightening budgets and staff shortages, which are pushing many GP services to breaking point."
Official figures revealed Northamptonshire has one of the highest numbers of patients per GP with each practitioner in the region being responsible for almost 2,000 patients. Dr Richard Vautrey spoke to BBC Radio Northampton about the problem. He said: “It’s a situation that’s likely to get worse as the population grows and practices struggle to recruit GPs.”
BMA concerned about serious impact on health of immigration removal centres
In an exclusive, The Guardian reports The BMA is calling for immigration removal centres to be phased out and replaced with a more humane system of community monitoring because of concerns about their serious impact on the health of detainees.
Senior policy advisor in the BMA’s medical ethics and human rights team, Ruth Campbell, blogged for the BMJ on immigration and health-related human rights.
Dr Chisholm wrote an article exclusively for The Yorkshire Post about why doctors must oppose the detention of asylum seekers.
Read more about the report and watch our video examining the issue here, and our press release here.
Longer term planning is the only cure for the NHS
BMA junior doctor representative and paediatric trainee in South Yorkshire, Dr Melody Redman, wrote an article exclusively for The Yorkshire Post. In it, she details the ‘vicious cycle’ involved in delivering the best care possible in current circumstances.
ACOs (Accountable Care Organisations)
The Guardian reports that Labour is demanding that MPs be allowed to debate and vote on plans for the creation of “accountable care organisations” (ACOs), which they claim could lead to greater rationing of care and the privatisation of health services.
Commenting the BMA’s GP committee chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul backed the calls for greater transparency but said that care services should be integrated.
Dr Nagpaul said: “ACOs will not in themselves address the desperate underfunding of the NHS and may divert more money into processes of re organisation.”
GP trade magazine Pulse reported on the BMA’s response to a Department of Health consultation into the regulatory changes needed to implement ACOs.
Brexit will threaten investment in UK pharmaceutical research
MPs have raised serious concerns about the post-Brexit regulation of the pharmaceuticals sector, warning that the UK’s departure from the EU could make Britain a less desirable place for investment and development, The Independent reports. The BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) committee’s report includes evidence submitted by the BMA, also mentioned on The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.
BMA treasurer and Brexit spokesperson was interviewed for the Financial Times’ podcast, Brexit Unspun, to discuss reciprocal rights to access treatment for EU and UK citizens and how and if they will continue.
In a press statement in response to news negotiations between the EU and the UK were progressing, Dr Dearden said: “Progress now needs to be made on a flexible immigration system that ensures the NHS and medical research in the UK can attract and retain the workforce needed to deliver safe care and maintain world class innovation and research.” His comments were included in coverage in HuffPost.
GMC cuts junior doctor registration fees
The General Medical Council announced cuts to its registration fees that could save new doctors nearly £1200 over six years, according to the BMJ.
Dr Nagpaul welcomed the new rates in a press statement saying doctors would be ‘pleased’ that the GMC is listening to the profession but it’s important the annual retention fee remains affordable and proportionate in the long term.
BMA members make list of top influencers in health
BMA representatives made the cut in the prestigious HSJ 100, detailing the most influential people working in health in the UK.
Council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul came in at number 12 and GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey was included at number 48.
Read more about the list here.
Medical students lacking support and guidance on how to report racism on the wards
In a feature for Student BMJ, BME medical students report how they are reluctantly ‘acclimatised to’ excusing experiences of racism in their studies because of a lack of support and guidance.
BMA medical students committee deputy co-chair for welfare, Gurdas Singh, said students should report their concerns to their clinical supervisor at their medical school, who will be able to advise further and help escalate the issue if appropriate.
BMA Foundation for Medical Research award winners honoured
Twenty three medical academics and research scientists have been awarded a total of £725,000 at this year’s prestigious BMA Foundation for Medical Research Awards.
The news was covered in The Eastern Daily Press, The Norwich Evening News and The Lynn News.
Read more about the awards here.
Budget once again fails the NHS
North east regional chair Dr George Rae wrote an article for The Northern Echo published on Friday reflecting on how the Budget will not cover the NHS’s cracks.
In the article, Dr Rae said the retention and recruitment of doctors in the North East is a ‘considerable cause for concern.’
Coverage in November
BMA responds to Chancellor's Budget
GP Online reported on a letter to the chancellor from BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul ahead of the budget announcement, which raised concerns over the crisis in the NHS with doctors being left unable to provide safe, high quality care.
The Chancellor pledged another £2.8bn in one-off funding to help the NHS cope with rising patient demand but the investment fell short of the £4bn NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens called for in his speech to the NHS Providers conference. He also said he would release £335m of that money immediately to help the health service prepare for winter pressures, £1.6bn in 2018/19 and the remainder in 2019/20.
In a press statement, Dr Nagpaul said: “Health spending in the UK would be £10bn more if the UK spent the same proportion of its wealth on healthcare as the average of other leading EU economies, we have fewer doctors and beds than countries like France and Germany, our mental health services are under huge pressure and public health services have been cut to the bone in recent years."
His comments were covered in The Sun, The Independent, i News, Press Association, Pulse, City A.M and The Brighton Argus.
Junior doctors left to ‘fend for themselves’ due to staffing shortages
A new report from medical regulator, the GMC (General Medical Council), reveals patient safety is being threatened because junior doctors have no choice but work beyond their ability due to a shortage of senior colleagues.
Junior doctors’ committee deputy chair Dr Sarah Hallett told The Guardian: “It is an all too common problem that many junior doctors move into new posts without a thorough induction."
Her comments were also picked up by The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and were mentioned on BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme.
NHS Providers warn immigration policy must make it easier to recruit overseas medics
According to a new workforce report from NHS Providers, the Government must ‘urgently confirm the right to remain’ of 60,000 EU staff in the NHS and set how resources will be allocated to fund pay rises, The Independent reports.
Commenting on the report, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “The NHS has always depended on overseas doctors to deliver much needed care to patients and our health service could not operate without them.”
Letters in response to the speech from regional chairs were published in The East Anglian Daily Times and The Western Daily Press.
One in five EU doctors tell BMA they have made plans to leave post-Brexit vote
An exclusive report published by the BMA looking at the impact of Brexit on EU doctors working in the NHS and their decision to stay in the UK received a large amount of coverage including The Guardian, The Independent, HuffPost, Press Association, GP Online and a number of regional publications.
Commenting on the report, BMA treasurer, Dr Andrew Dearden, said: “That so many EU doctors are actively planning to leave the UK is a cause for real concern. Many have dedicated years of service to the NHS and medical research in the UK, and without them our health service would not be able to cope.”
The Yorkshire Post featured a letter from BMA Treasurer, Dr Andrew Dearden warning that too many doctors are planning to leave the EU following the Brexit referendum as he writes that the NHS is “richer for having a diverse workforce”.
Folkestone doctors warn patients in danger as GP shortage forces clinics to shut doors
In a news package organised by the BMA, Sky News visited a GP surgery in Kent forced to close its doors to patients. As Folkestone East surgery closed, around 25 per cent of its patients have not been allocated to another doctor and other practices are already dangerously full.
The BMA told Sky News the situation in Folkestone reflects an acute shortage of doctors in primary care across the country.
In an interview with Sky News, GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: "The pressures that GP practices in Folkestone are facing are a reflection of huge workload pressures that practices are experiencing right around the country. The story was followed up by Pulse and Practice Business.
Capita services continue to fail GP practices
The Guardian worked exclusively with the BMA on a front page story following a letter sent by the Association to NHS England warning that some practices were “having to pay trainees out of already overstretched practice budgets, or trainees are going months without being paid if the practice cannot cover the shortfall”.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP lead on workforce issues, said: “PCSE services remain far below the standards the public should expect.”
A follow up article in The Guardian reported The Labour Party demanded an enquiry into the situation. There was more coverage in The Yorkshire Post and GP Online.
Government moves further from recruitment target
The Independent, The Guardian, The Sun and Pulse reported on the release of NHS Digital figures which revealed the health service has lost the equivalent of 1,000 full-time GPs in the past year as funding and workload pressures have driven doctors out of the profession
BMA GP exec committee member, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, said: “General practice still faces a stark workforce crisis with too many GPs retiring early and too few entering the profession, leaving many GP practices struggling, despite their best efforts, to provide enough appointments to patients.”
GP consultation times among shortest in Europe
Patients in Lithuania, Belgium, Portugal and others around the world enjoy longer visits with their GP than Britons who spend, on average, just over nine minutes at an appointment according to a Cambridge University study published by BMJ.
Dr Richard Vautrey explained: “GPs are working harder than ever before to deliver more appointments to patients and find new ways of providing care more efficiently. The news was covered in The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.
GP leaders gather for LMC England conference
At the LMC England conference in London, Dr Richard Vautrey called on politicians of all parties to build on steps already taken to address the crisis in general practice by expanding investment in the NHS to ensure patients have access to high-quality, timely healthcare.
He highlighted the advances made in the past year by the BMA and the government towards addressing some of the issues facing the NHS.
The story was covered in Pulse and GP Online. There was more coverage from the conference in The Daily Telegraph and The BMJ.
Seven day working won’t reduce weekend deaths
A study published in Emergency Medical Journal concluded NHS standards intended to ensure senior medical staff responsible for urgent tests are available at weekends have no link to reduced mortality rates, The Independent reports.
BMA consultants committee chair, Dr Robert Harwood, said:“ Patients should have access to the best possible care when they fall ill, and doctors work around the clock to provide that care to the most acutely ill patients.
Local plans suggest GPs open on bank holidays to relieve pressure on A&Es
Pulse and The Sun report on local plans in several parts of the country to manage winter demand requesting practices stay open on bank holidays, yet none of these plans detail any extra funding for primary care this winter.
Dr Richard Vautrey warned last month as the NHS prepares for the worst flu season in decades, there is little or no spare capacity to deal with a serious flu outbreak or additional requirements.
Merged regulators could fast-track disciplinary action against healthcare professionals
Doctors, nurses and other health workers accused of misconduct face faster disciplinary action in the biggest overhaul of professional regulation for more than a century according to The Times.
The story included a comment from BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul who said professional regulation should continue to be separate from the regulation of other professions and providers.
Scotland introduces minimum pricing for alcohol
Following the Scottish ruling by the Supreme Court to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol, the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, of which the BMA is a member, wrote a letter published in Telegraph calling on England to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and introduce a minimum pricing for alcohol. The Guardian and Times that the Alcohol Health Alliance UK said that the government “must act now and introduce measures in England”.
More must be done to address bullying in the NHS
An incisive feature in The Guardian examines bullying and sexism in the medical profession and how inappropriate behaviour is being challenged by professional bodies and victims.
Dr Anthea Mowat, BMA representative body chair, said: “We know from speaking to our members that a combination of factors feed into creating environments which permit and perpetuate bullying behaviour: the organisational culture in the NHS; workload pressure; the strong hierarchy within the medical profession; and the ‘silent bystanding’ which means behaviours go unchallenged and become learned by newer staff."
Dr Mowat also wrote a blog on The BMA's work to tackle workplace bullying and harassment for National Health Executive.
Medics say Brexit could disrupt cancer care
Patients who rely on nuclear medicine that uses radioactive isotopes could see their care disrupted leading doctors have warned, The Financial Times reported.
Medical academic staff committee chair Dr Michael Rees gave evidence on the issue at a House of Lords committee yesterday, the article states in print.
Dr Rees told the committee imports of radioactive isotopes, usually from France, Belgium or The Netherlands, are typically delivered overnight via the Channel Tunnel when traffic is light. Any delays caused by custom checks post-Brexit would require larger quantities of isotopes to be imported, raising costs for the NHS, he added.
Winter pressures in general practice
An article in the Financial Times
explored the pressures facing doctors this winter focusing in particular on general practice as the BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, warned that a spike in flu cases could swamp surgeries this winter.
Coverage in October
Sleepwalking into 'winter crisis'
The Daily Mail, The Independent, Press Association and a number of regional publications report that the BMA accused the government of sleepwalking into another winter crisis as new NHS data shows more than 409,000 people waited longer than the official 18-week target for non-urgent treatment in August.
Commenting in a press release, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “Staff across the NHS are gearing up again for the busy winter period and will remember the stress of enduring the worst winter on record last year, with patients facing unacceptable delays for care.
CQC report finds NHS ‘straining at seams’
The CQC published a report, State of Care, which shows that the majority of people are getting good, safe care within the NHS but the future of quality is precarious as the system struggles with complex new types of demand, access and cost.
Dr Nagpaul, in a press statement, said the findings were ‘encouraging’ but that it was worrying that some acute hospital services and mental health services were having their performance affected by lack of resources, systems pressures and chronic underfunding.
His comments were featured in print in The Daily Mirror and in news stories online in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Mirror Online, HuffPost and The Yorkshire Post.
NHS providers to charge overseas patients before treatment
BBC News Online, The Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express, HuffPost and The Press Association reported on the BMA’s response to new NHS migrant charging rules which came into effect this month.
‘Talk before you walk’ scheme
A Pulse exclusive revealed how NHS England is considering pilots to stop walk-in patients attending A&E departments, requiring them to be referred by a GP or NHS 111.
Responding to the pilot scheme in a press statement, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair said: “Trying to solve a problem in one part of the NHS by shifting it onto another won’t work.
The story was also covered by The Daily Mirror, iNews, The Evening Standard, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, The Guardian, Mail Online, The Hartlepool Mail, The East Anglian Daily Times, The Lancashire Telegraph, The Bolton News and The Shropshire Star
Dr Nagpaul was interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live about new research from the BBC which found waiting times targets for cancer, emergency care and scheduled operations have consistently been missed. The BMA’s response was reported by BBC News Online. Dr Nagpaul’s comments featured on news bulletins on BBC Radio 5 Live. In print, they appeared in The Northern Echo
In a briefing, BBC News Online has analysed figures from NHS Digital which demonstrates the proportion of EU nationals leaving jobs in the NHS is rising, which the share of those joining is shrinking.
In response to the findings, Dr Andrew Dearden, BMA treasurer, said: “We know that Brexit has already had a huge impact on the morale of EU NHS staff working here – our own research has shown us that more than four in ten EU NHS staff are considering leaving the UK following the EU referendum.”
Dr Nagpaul was interviewed about the figures by ITV News. He said: “We’re already suffering the impact of a severe doctor shortage and the last thing we can afford to do is to either reduce recruitment from overseas or lose current doctors in the system that we already have.” He was also interviewed by BBC Radio Oxfordshire.
The Secretary of State announced £20,000 golden hello for GPs who will relocate to rural and coastal areas at the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) conference. GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey responded in a press statement saying the proposals don’t acknowledge specific problems. Dr Vautrey’s comments were included in The Daily Mail, The Yorkshire Post, The I, Sky News Online, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, Mail Online, The Independent, GP Online Press Association, Pulse and The Kent Messenger
GPC deputy chair Dr Mark Sanford-Wood wrote a blog for Pulse welcoming the changes to indemnity but that, “the hard work begins now.”
BMA GP rep for Cumbria, Dr David Wrigley, was interviewed on CFM Cumbia radio and BMA North East regional council chair, Dr George Rae, was interviewed on Radio Metro Newcastle.
The Times reported a financial incentive programme for GPs may not improve the quality of care according to researchers including a response from Dr Richard Vautrey.
Dr Vautrey wrote a letter to the health secretary calling for a ‘swift resolution’ to the indemnity crisis.
The letter was covered in print in The Daily Mail, East Anglian Daily Times, The Yorkshire Post, The Wolverhampton Express & Star, The Yorkshire Evening Post, The Liverpool Echo, The Stoke-on-Trent Sentinel, The Eastern Daily Press, The Western Morning News, The Plymouth Herald and The Bradford Telegraph & Argus and online by Press Association, The Independent, Mail Online, and Pulse.
Writing in the BMJ, BMA GP committee representative in Shropshire, Dr Mary McCarthy, argued now is the time for general practitioners to be recognised as the specialists they are.
Pulse reported that NHS England is set to collect 'potentially misleading' appointment data, GP as details of its new system to track access were unveiled. They reported that BMA’s GP committee say the method NHS England proposes to collect data is out to ‘document disaster’.
After GPs expressed their concerns, NHS England has changed its position on plans to introduce a ‘peer review’ of all GP referrals to secondary care according to Pulse.
The Daily Mail reports on the findings of a poll carried out by GP Online in which GPs revealed that one in twenty consultations were wasted by patients who failed to turn up. Commenting, Dr Vautrey, said: “Every appointment wasted in this way is one less available for a patient who really needs to see a GP”.
Minimum unit pricing of alcohol
Board of Science chair Prof Dame Parveen Kumar signed a letter published in The Guardian endorsing the Welsh government’s decision to adopt a minimum price per unit of alcohol, calling for the policy to be rolled out across the UK.
A review by the Care Quality Commission has revealed that young people are facing long waiting times and unequal access to mental health services, BBC News Online reports. Dr Andrew Molodynski, national mental health lead, BMA consultants' committee, said: “The commissioning of this review was an important step in making children and young people’s mental health a priority for the Government.
The BMA responded to the announcement in the Prime Ministers' speech to the Conservative Party Conference of an independent review into the Mental Health Act to be conducted by past president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Sir Simon Wessely. Read BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul's response here.
In a digital feature, BBC News Online used ten charts to map the scale of the UK’s ‘mental health problem’ as the article mentioned the BMA’s investigation into the number of patients sent out of area to receive treatment for a mental health problem.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced at the Conservative Party Conference the government would seek to change the law on organ donation moving to an ‘opt-out system.’ The BMA has long campaigned for a ‘soft’ opt-out organ donation system and increased public campaigning for organ donation. Responding to the speech, Dr Nagpaul welcomed the introduction of an ‘opt-out’ system as ‘excellent news.’
He was also interviewed by BBC Radio 5's Drive Live and explained the BMA's position on a 'soft' opt out organ donation system.
The news made the Daily Mirror front page and was featured in the print editions of The i, The Daily Mail and The Yorkshire Post. Online, Dr Nagpaul’s statement was included in The Guardian’s rolling politics blog and the BMA’s policy was represented in The Daily Mail, Pulse, Press Association, The Daily Mirror, The Independent, HuffPost, The Daily Express, iNews and The Sun.
A letters from medical ethics committee chair Dr John Chisholm in response to comments made by former transplant chief Professor Paul Rudge was published in The Sunday Times.
Letters by Dr Chisholm featured in The Shields Gazette, The Peterborough Evening Telegraph, The Sunderland Echo, The Gainsborough Standard, The Doncaster Free Press, The Basingstoke Gazette, The Surrey Mirror, The Wiltshire Gazette & Herald and The Bridport News and many others.
There was a large amount of coverage of research by the Obesity Health Alliance, of which the BMA is a member, which revealed that junk food companies spend 27 times more on advertising than the Government does on promoting healthy eating. This was included in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Metro and The Times.
Recent NHS data figures reveal that obesity levels have risen two years running for children starting school and one in five children are obese by the time they leave primary school. The response from the Obesity Health Alliance, of which the BMA is a member, features in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian,The Daily Express, iNews, Press Association, and a number of regional publications.
The Sunday Mirror and The Sunday People reported that an in industry-sponsored study of chocolate sales found popular bars have seen a four per cent drop in purchases as they reference the BMA’s policy calling for a minimum pricing for confectionary with high sugar content.
BMA Workforce Paper
BMA GP executive committee member, Dr Krishan Kasaraneni, wrote an opinion piece in the print edition of the Yorkshire Post following the findings of the recent BMA workforce report which reveals that Yorkshire had the highest number of vacancies across medical specialities in the region.
The Independent’s App edition also featured coverage of the findings of BMA workforce paper.
GP executive committee member Dr Krishna Kasaraneni wrote an opinion piece for The Yorkshire Post after the report revealed Yorkshire had the highest number of vacancies across medical specialities in the country.
Letters from BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul and BMA mental health policy lead Dr Gary Wannan explaining the severity of the recruitment and retention crisis outlined in a recent paper were published in The Southampton Daily Echo, The Mansfield Chad, The Petersfield Post, The Wakefield Express, The Wiltshire Times and The Bristol Post.
Figures from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency show the number of UK-trained doctors registered to practice in the country has risen by almost a fifth the BMJ reported. Junior doctors’ committee chair Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya said: "We can’t underestimate the impact that working under constant and extreme pressure has on the morale and wellbeing of our workforce."
Refugee Doctor Initiative
Co-chair of the BMA/BDA Refugee Doctor and Dentists Liaison Group, Dr Terry John, wrote a blog for National Health Executive about the Refugee Doctor Initiative helping doctors forced to leave medicine in their home countries practice again in the UK.
BMA Patient Information Awards
The Bolton News reports that a book developed by Bolton consultants to help children aged three and over with Tinnitus won the Special Award in the children’s category of the 2017 BMA Patient Information Awards.
The Yorkshire Post reports that a website designed to provide advice for Motor Neurone Disease patients who are considering having a feeding tube placed won the User Engagement and Information Award at the awards.
Coverage in September
Workforce shortages across medical specialties
After a new analysis of vacancy rates, The BMA is warning that patient care is at risk due to a chronic shortage of doctors across most areas of medicine.
Figures obtained by the BMA show that training places across three in four medical specialties in England went unfilled last year, with many specialties experiencing recruitment shortfalls year on year.
In a press statement, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “It is deeply concerning that we are seeing a drop off at each stage of doctors’ training, we have to ask why some, who have spent many years training to become a doctor, are deciding not to continue in the profession.”
Channel 4 News reported on chronic doctor shortages across medicine, taking an in depth look at the BMA's findings and interviewing a number of healthcare professionals. The programme also interviewed BMA mental health policy lead Dr Gary Wannan about the crisis in child and adolescent psychiatry which he called a 'crisis in waiting'.
Writing exclusively for HuffPost, junior doctors' committee chair, Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, writes about the current pressures on doctors in the profession and how, at each stage of training, doctors are dropping out.
The story was covered by The Daily Mirror, ITV News Online, The Daily Express, and Press Association.
Letters from BMA's mental health policy led, Dr Gary Wannan, following the publication of the BMA workforce paper addressing shortages in medical specialities across England, featured in The Bolton News. The Warwickshire Telegraph, The Northern Echo, Lancashire Telegraph, North West Evening Mail and Carlisle Evening Star and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The latest report from the CQC (Care Quality Commission) examining the state of care in general practice found 90 per cent of general practices inspected were rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
Responding to the report’s findings in a press statement, GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: “This report shows that general practice consistently receives the highest ratings for the quality and safety of care delivered to the public despite the unprecedented and growing pressures on GP services throughout England. The news was featured in print in The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Mirror. Online, it was covered by Pulse, The Daily Mail and BBC News Online.
In a blog written exclusively for Pulse, GP committee deputy chair Dr Mark Sanford-Wood argued GPs are providing ‘Premier League performance on non-league budgets’.
The government is falling short of its promised pledge to invest more in GP services according to new BMA analysis of the latest funding figures released by NHS Digital. Dr Vautrey's comments were reported in Pulse.
GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, was interviewed on BBC Radio Gloucester about government plans to base GPs in emergency departments to triage patients.
The results of an indicative survey of GPs in England carried out by the BMA, which revealed that 54 percent of GPs were willing to close their practice lists temporarily, featured in the Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun,The Daily Express, Pulse, GP Online and a number of regional publications and was mentioned on BBC regional radio stations in the South West.
Letters from BMA GP representatives in response to a new NHS pilot to recruit more overseas GPs were published in Rochdale Observer (Dr Samira Anane), and The Hartlepool Mail (Dr George Rae), The Romford Recorder (Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya), The Durham Times (Dr George Rae), The Kentish Gazette (Dr Mark Sanford-Wood), The Kentish Express (Dr Mark Sanford-Wood) and The Southwark News (Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya).
BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey’s response to the news that seven of the eight GP practices in Folkestone have applied to their local CCG (clinical commissioning group) to close their lists to new patients after citing ‘unsustainable’ pressure featured in the Mail Online, The Times, iNews, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, Pulse and Kent News.
A report published by the BMA looking at GP funding levels warns that funding for general practice will be £3.4bn below the level it needs by the end of the decade according to GP Online.
The Daily Mail reported on the BMA’s response to a pilot scheme for practice administrators to be trained as ‘care navigators’ to divert patients to more appropriate care. Dr Richard Vautrey, was interview on LBC Radio, BBC Radio Humberside, Radio Aire and a number of commercial radio stations discussing the scheme.
Following reports that seven out of eight GP practices in Folkestone in Kent, have applied to temporarily close their practice lists, a letter by Dr Richard Vautrey was published in the Folkestone and Hythe Express.
BMA council member, Dr David Wrigley, was interviewed by BBC Radio Lancashire at 8am this morning to discuss GP pressures and recruitment problems.
Reporting on the growing number of GP surgery closures in Brighton, comments from the BMA GP Committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, featured in The Guardian.
Pulse reports that GPs in Margate have spoken up about the ‘enormous pressure’ they’re feeling due to understaffing as the article mentions the BMA’s warning from earlier this year that the ‘winter’ crisis was becoming the year-round norm.
BMA council member Dr David Wrigley was interviewed by BBC Radio Lancashire at 8am this morning to discuss GP pressures and recruitment problems.
The Guardian reports that almost 10,000 NHS staff have quit the NHS since the Brexit referendum according to figures by NHS digital. They report that the findings echo that of the BMA who found that four in ten doctors said they were planning to leave the EU in the aftermath of Brexit.
A BMA spokesperson said: “More than a year has passed since the referendum yet the government has failed to produce any detail on what the future holds for EU citizens and their families living in the UK.”
Opt out organ donation
The BMA’s commitment to enacting an organ donation system in England, backed by two-thirds of the public, was mentioned in news stories in The Times and The Guardian after NHS Blood and Transplant said three families a week were deciding to prevent organ donation of a deceased relative as they were unsure whether they would have wanted to be a donor to mark Organ Donation Week.
The Mirror reported on their fringe event at the Labour Party conference as they were joined at their panel discussion by the BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, as part of their campaign for a change in the law to an “opt-out system” of organ donation.
The Crewe Chronicle (print) reported on that Face of the Daily Mirror’s campaign to reform organ donation laws, nine-year-old Max Johnson, sent ‘the biggest thank you in the world’ to the donor who saved his life. The article mentions the BMA’s survey which found two-thirds of the public support a law change and the Association’s long-standing support for an ‘opt out’ system.
The Mirror report that on their fringe event at the Labour Party conference as they were joined at their panel discussion by the BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, as part of their campaign for a change in the law to an “opt-out system” of organ donation.
Leaked immigration document
BMA treasurer Dr Andrew Dearden commented on a leaked document from the Home Office marks out plans on the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy and how ending the jurisdiction of the European court of justice will weaken family reunion rights for EU nationals in Britain. His comments featured in The Guardian, the Evening Standard and the Times and Star.
Digital NHS services
The BMA’s response to an announcement by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester revealing plans to increase access to NHS digital services by 2018, featured in the Telegraph, Sun, Yorkshire Post, and a number of regional publications including the Western Morning News, The Western Daily Press and Pulse. BMA GP Committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey. BMA GP Committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, was interviewed on BBC Radio Kent discussing the issue.
Prescription drug dependence
The BMA’s clinical and prescribing policy lead, Dr Andrew Green, was interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live discussing the issue of addiction to prescription drugs as he outlined recommendations to support those struggling with addiction including the 24hr help line.
The BMA Council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul responded to a new report revealing that two-thirds of doctors are considering leaving the NHS due to staff shortages, workloads and fears of privatisation which was featured in the Daily Mirror.
The Independent reports, online and via its app, that the government has been accused of ‘empty promises’ over boosting mental health provision as new figures reveal half of CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) plan to reduce funding for vital services.
In a media release, consultants committee deputy chair and consultant psychiatrist Dr Gary Wannan said: “It’s very easy to promise investment but it only matters to patients if the money translates into the best care possible, fairly and evenly provided across the country.”
Pulse reported that more than a quarter of CCGs have underspent their mental health budget for 2016/17, amounting to a total of £48.6m not reaching mental health services. Commenting, BMA GP Committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: “This is yet another sign of CCGs not really using the resources that they’ve got and prioritising community based services when we need every single penny spent and invested in general practice and community services.”
The Sun on Sunday reported that almost half of doctors at some NHS hospitals are foreign-trained as they note that United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust had the highest numbers. BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “The government must tackle the reasons why so many UK-trained doctors say they will choose to leave the NHS rather than forcing doctors to stay in a profession in which they can see no future. Demotivated, burnt-out doctors in this situation will not be good for patients.”
BBC South West TV and BBC Radio Cornwall reported on the news that a junior doctor working at a hospital in Plymouth filed an exception report as she and another junior doctor were left in charge of 436 patients during a night shift and warned it was unsafe for patients. They reported that the BMA has warned that this highlights the extreme staffing shortages occurring in hospitals throughout the country.
Decriminalisation of abortion
Following the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists vote to decriminalise abortion, a number of newspapers refer to the BMA’s motion to decriminalise abortion at this year’s ARM in their coverage including The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Evening Standard and Press Association.
Patient Information Awards
The Hull Daily Mail reported that myTube, a resource for MND patients considering a feeding tube, won two BMA awards and came runners-up in another category.
Following the announcement that pregabalin will be classified as a controlled substance, The Guardian reported that the BMA called for Pregabalin to be made a controlled substance in the UK in the same class as steroids and Valium at this year’s ARM.
Prescription drug dependence.
An article in The Daily Mail look at the issues arising from dependence on benzodiazepines reported that the BMA, alongside the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has been calling on the government to provide a 24-hour helpline for those struggling with dependency.
Coverage in August
Council chair interview
In one of his first full interviews with trade publication GP Online, newly-elected BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, discussed the challenges facing the NHS and his plans to lead the medical profession.
NHS 'leaking cash' through PFIs
The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) published a report which says that the NHS is "leaking" money to private companies in contracts to build and run hospitals.
Responding to the findings in a press statement, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “NHS providers and commissioners are being pushed to breaking point because of unprecedented financial pressures so it is outrageous to see over £800m of much needed money being leaked out to private companies for profit alone.
The BMA’s response to an announcement by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt promising 21,000 more mental health staff by 2021 to redress the imbalance between physical and mental health was reported in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Times. BMA consultants committee deputy chair and consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Gary Wannan was interviewed live on BBC News Channel and BBC Radio 5 Live discussing the announcement.
The BMA's research into the number of mental health beds available and dangerously high levels of bed occupancy was mentioned on Sky News before an interview with Dr Sue Mizen, medical psychotherapy faculty chair at the Royal College of Psychiatrists about a high court judge’s criticism of adolescent mental health provision.
A BMA News investigation into the number out-of-area beds for vulnerable children with mental health problems found that the government changed definitions of placements to avoid classifying children travelling more than 200 miles from home as OOA despite promising to end the practice.
The Times, reported the new definition of out-of-area placement meant children could be sent between facilities in massive ‘commissioning hubs’ and still be considered ‘in area’.
Minister for Health, Philip Dunne, announced an extra 1,500 doctors a year will be trained in the NHS by 2020 in the ‘biggest ever expansion’ of the medical workforce in England.
The BMA’s response from medical students committee co-chair, Harrison Carter, was reported in iNews, BBC News, ITV News, The Times, Pulse, The Sun, Metro and The Yorkshire Post.
An interview with Mr Carter appeared on BBC Breakfast, the BBC News Channel and news bulletins nationwide as well as on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, and all local BBC news stations.
Fellow medical students committee co-chair, Dr Charlie Bell, was interviewed by LBC News. Junior Doctor Committee chair Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, was interviewed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
The BMA’s response to a poll carried out by Pulse magazine revealing that a fifth of GP trainees are already planning to leave within five years due to stress and heavy workloads, featured in the Daily Mail, Sun, Yorkshire Post and Cornwall Live.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee workforce lead, spoke to BBC Look East, the regional news programme for East Anglia, on the issue of abuse directed at GPs and why so many general practitioners do not report incidents.
BBC News Online reported that the BMA has said the abuse of staff at a GP surgery in Milton Keynes was unacceptable.
The Times reports the NHS is in talks with private GP landlords over increasing rents in an effort to generate £3.3billion to renovate surgeries in poor condition. BMA GPC executive member, Dr Gavin Ralston, told The Times that many GP buildings were too cramped to provide first-class care.
The Daily Mail reported on the ballot of GPs that is currently being undertaken by the BMA following an early poll by GP Online revealing that over half of doctors would vote in favour of collectively suspending registrations.
The Press Association reported on the BMA’ response to Labour analysis which shows a marked worsening of access to GP surgeries.
BMA GP Committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, was interview on BBC Berkshire discussing GP streaming in A&E’s.
The BMA’S response to a survey by the University of Warwick, revealing that almost a quarter of aspiring GPs plan to turn to locum work after completing their training, was covered by the Press Association.
BMA sessional GP subcommittee chair, Dr Zoe Norris, has warned that locums were being ‘priced out of work’ because they were ‘financially penalised' for working extra sessions by their indemnity costs GP Online reported.
BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, was interviewed by Manchester Evening News following an inquest into the death of a man struggling with mental illness in which a coroner said the lack of NHS resources is putting GP surgeries under so much pressure patients are fighting just to get phone appointments - and doctors are being coaxed out of retirement.
Pulse reported on the launch of a new project by the BMA’s GP committee empowering GPs to turn down requests for so-called mandatory training such as fire safety.
Comments by BMA GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, featured in the Sunday Express following reports that NHS England is to invest tens of millions of pounds into electronic GP consultations.
Pulse reports that the number of full-time equivalent GPs in the workforce has increased by just over 300 from March to June as commenting, BMA GPs committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said,“it is disappointing that once again the latest official figures show only a marginal increase in the GP workforce in England”.
Speaking to Pulse, BMA GPs committee workforce lead, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, warned that GP workforce figures are worse than the government has suggested as the figures failed to take into consideration trainee GPs.
Kent News reported on a new GP pilot in Kent and Medway launched by the government to attract more GPs from overseas as GPs committee deputy chair, Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, warned that the plans did not go far enough.
Both The Daily Telegraph and Pulse carried stories from Lancashire about the problems affecting prison health in the region which have reached such levels local health chiefs had to put out a call asking for GP to volunteers to help keep services afloat.
The announcement of the new GP executive team in England was picked up by both GP Online and Pulse. Commenting, BMA GPs committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: “General practice is facing an unprecedented crisis as it struggles to cope with rising workload, stagnating funding and widespread staff shortages.”
The UK Shape of Training Steering Group, of which the BMA is a member, published its report on the way in which doctors are trained. BMA junior doctors committee chair, Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, welcomed a ‘pragmatic approach’ advised by the report. The story was covered in Pulse, GP Online and National Health Executive.
In an exclusive article for The Huffington Post, the BMA’s medical students committee co-chair, Dr Charlie Bell, writes about his experiences of training to become a doctor and outlines his concerns for the future of the profession
A letter from BMA representative body chair, Dr Anthea Mowat, was published in The Yorkshire Post reflecting on research from Labour which revealed the shocking extent of which hospitals have had to temporarily close maternity wards to new admissions.
The Obesity Health Alliance, of which the BMA is a member, responded to the government’s announcement of the next stages in their childhood obesity plan to tackle the amount of calories in food. Their response was covered by The Guardian, BBC News Online, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, and a large number of regional publications.
BMA board of science chair, Professor Dame Parveen Kumar’s response to the government’s announcement features inThe Daily Mail.
A letter by BMA treasurer, Dr Andrew Dearden, featured in The Runcorn Weekly News as he backed calls for a soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic post-Brexit to ensure patient care is not adversely affected.
Yorkshire-based paediatric trainee and BMA representative Dr Melody Redman wrote an article for The Yorkshire Post about the emotional toll of being a doctor considering the “many frustrations and challenges that come with working in an under-resourced and politicised healthcare system".
The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail and The Sun reported on a Pulse investigation which revealed that £21 million has been spent on management consultants to overhaul the NHS as part of sustainability and transformation plans across the country. Responding, BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “This is an obvious and ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money.”
The Daily Mail and Pulse reported that a new scheme by the NHS will require GPs to seek approval from a medical panel for all non-urgent medical referrals. Responding, the BMA GPs committee clinical and prescribing lead, Dr Andrew Green, said: “I wish NHS England put a tenth of the effort they expend on reducing pressure on hospitals into reducing pressure on GPs, which is the area of the health service with the biggest growth in workload.”
Coverage in July
NHS at breaking point
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul responded to performance data for English accident and emergency departments which showed delays for care are still commonplace in The Guardian.
Dr Nagpaul said the announcement of £325m in capital funding to support local STP projects was ‘unlikely to go far enough’ in GP Online.
The BMA’s response to the publication of NHS workforce figures is reported in The Independent, The Daily Mirror, Pulse and in the print editions of The Daily Mail and The Times. The figures show that staff vacancies have risen by more than 10 per cent in the last year, with tens of thousands of posts left unfilled.
The BMA’s response to new data obtained by Labour revealing that four out of ten maternity services who responded to an FoI request had to close their doors at some point throughout 2016, features in the The Daily Telegraph.
Letters from the BMA’s regional council chairs responding to the release of figures by NHS digital showing a ten percent rise in NHS staff vacancies were published in the print editions of The Brighton Argus,The Farnham Herald, The Ripley & Heanor News, The Lancaster Guardian,The East Anglian Daily Times, The Matlock Mercury, The West Sussex County Times, The Nottingham Post, The Oldham Evening Chronicle, The Surrey Advertiser, The Brighton Argus, The Hucknall & Bulwell Dispatch, The Grantham Journal, The Leicester Mercury, The Rochdale Observer, The Shropshire Star, The Birmingham Sunday Mercury, The Western Morning News and The Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser.
The BMA’s analysis into the financial and clinical effect of STPs is mentioned in a BBC News Online feature examining A&E closures nationwide and The Nottingham Post.
A letter from BMA treasurer, Dr Andrew Dearden, responding to an article from home secretary Amber Rudd calling on the government to work alongside organisations to ensure a flexible immigration system was published in The Financial Times.
A BMA investigation into the number of out of area placements in mental health trusts was reported in The North Western Mail, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner and a letter from Dr Andrew Molodynski, mental health policy lead for the BMA’s consultants committee, on the results was published in print in a number of local newspapers including The Western Gazette, The Buxton Advertiser and The Matlock Mercury
A Cumbria MP demands a parliamentary investigation based on our out of area findings.
Dr Molodynski wrote an article about out of area placements for The Yorkshire Post.
BMA GPs committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey commented on a BMJ (British Medical Journal) investigation which revealed a surge in the number of funding requests that doctors in England are being forced to make on behalf of their patients for treatments that are no longer routinely funded in their area.
Read more in The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Sun, iNews, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express and The Northern Echo. The story was also mentioned on BBC Radio 4 and all regional BBC stations.
The Daily Mail reports Dr Vautrey’s response to news up to 100,000 patients were affected by Capita’s failure to protect NHS patient data.
Dr Vautrey was also interviewed live by BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio York, BBC Radio Oxford and in a pre-recorded segment to appear on BBC Look North, the regional BBC TV news programme, about new figures which showed the number of patients fined for claiming free prescriptions when not eligible has doubled.
Dr Vautrey condemned new data showing 200 GP surgeries shut their doors last year in The Daily Star, The Times and The Western Daily Press.
In a series of interviews in Pulse, GP Online and The HSJ, the BMA’s newly elected GPs committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, outlines his vision for the coming year in his new position.
The Press Association reports on the BMA’s response to Labour analysis suggested a marked worsening of access to GP surgeries following a survey of over 800,000 patients in England. Dr Gavin Ralston’s comments were also reported in The Newcastle Chronicle, Birmingham Mail, GP Online and The Yorkshire Post.
Responding to news NHS England plans to recruit 2,000 overseas doctors to address GP shortages, Dr Vautrey called this a “sticking plaster” in The Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, iNews, Independent, GP Online and Pulse.
The BMA’s response to the RCGP (Royal College of GPs) assessment of the GPFV (GP Forward View), one year since its introduction, is featured in The Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and GP Online, The Worcester News, The Western Morning News, The Wolverhampton Express & Star and The Cambridge News. In April, the BMA produced its own assessment of the GPFV, looking at what was promised in the first year and what has been delivered so far. Read the paper.
The BMA’s response to a poll carried out by Pulse magazine revealing that a fifth of GP trainees are already planning to leave within five years due to stress and heavy workloads, features in The Daily Mail, The Western Morning News, The Sun, The Yorkshire Post, Cornwall Live and The Somerset County Gazette.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni was interviewed about recruitment and retention problems for GP surgeries across the country on BBC Radio 5 Live. Dr Kasaraneni also spoke out against reports of increasing levels of verbal abuse directed at GPs to BBC News Online, BBC Look East and The Milton Keynes Citizen.
The BMA condemned cuts to local authorities forcing them to spend at least five per cent less on public health initiatives such as sexual health clinics than four years ago in The Independent.
A letter from BMA board of science committee chair, Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, reinforcing the BMA’s position on minimum unit pricing was published in The Guardian.
The BMA’s response to the Department of Health’s Tobacco Action Plan was reported in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Press Association, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Independent, Pulse, GP Online and The Times.
A letter by BMA board of science chair, Professor Parveen Kumar, on the government’s new tobacco strategy featured in The Shields Gazette, The Bracknell News, The Crewe Chronicle, The Nuneaton News, The Durham Times, The Leicester Mercury, The Burton Mail, The Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, The Tamworth Herald, The Mansfield Chad, The Gainsborough Standard, The Cornish & Devon Post, The Aldershot News & Mail, The Sunderland Echo and The Hinckley Times.
BMA junior doctor committee chair Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya was interviewed by Buzzfeed News for a special feature a year since industrial action.
BMA representative Dr Melody Redman wrote about how the public sector pay cap contributes to the ongoing NHS crisis for The Yorkshire Post.
A letter from Dr Wijesuriya responding to a GMC review of patient care in hospitals across the East Midlands was published in The Hinckley Times, The Leicester Mercury and The Mansfield Chad.
Capped Expenditure Process
An exclusive BMA investigation into CEP (Capped Expenditure Process) is reported in The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Independent, ITV Online, The Liverpool Echo, Devon Live and the print editions of Metro, The Yorkshire Post, Carnforth Visitor and The North Devon Journal.
The Sunday Express reported on a BMA paper warning that the effects of the government’s proposed Capped Expenditure Process could be “devastating” on the NHS.