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NHS staff confidenceNine out of 10 patients have “confidence and trust” in their family doctor as well as other general practice staff such as nurses and pharmacists, according to new research published today. Patients rate their overall experience of their family doctor highly, with four out of five saying their GP treats them with “care and concern” and provides them with enough time to listen to their needs. With patient choice a priority the NHS Long Term Plan, nine out of 10 patients felt involved in decisions about their care, while seven in 10 rated their overall experience of making a GP appointment as “good”, the GP patient survey shows.

Dr Nikita Kanani, acting director of primary care for NHS England, said: “Family doctors in England see nearly one million people every day and this survey shows they appreciate the fantastic job they do alongside other practice staff such as nurses and pharmacists.” However, GPs continue to face pressure and increasing demand and while seven in 10 patients were satisfied with the appointment they were offered, some patients were waiting longer than they would have liked to see their GP.

waiting patientsUp to 500 delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of abandoning the fees at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Belfast.  ‘We are doctors not border guards,’ said Dr Omar Risk in Monday’s debate. ‘Charging migrants for accessing NHS services is a fundamentally racist endeavour – we are complicit in the oppressive regime.’ Medics backing the motion said charging made health staff ‘complicit in racism’ and ‘racial profiling’.

Doctors who opposed the move were booed as they spoke. Conservative MPs said that opening up the NHS to the rest of the world was reckless when its resources were so stretched. Health tourism is thought to cost anything from £200million to £2billion a year. The BMA, which is one of the country’s most powerful trade unions, will now lobby the Department of Health to overhaul the charging system. Although the Government sets the rules, they function only if doctors follow them.

A US study suggests that artificial intelligence is better than specialist doctors at diagnosing lung cancer.

The researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois and Google hope the technology could boost the effectiveness of cancer screening.

Finding tumours at an earlier stage should make them easier to treat. The team said AI would have a "huge" role in the future of medicine, but the current software is not yet ready for clinical use. The study focused on lung cancer, which kills more people - 1.8 million a year - than any other type of cancer. It is why the US recommends screening for people at high risk because of years of heavy smoking. However, screening can result in invasive biopsies for people who turn out not to have cancer, and also misses some tumours.

A new study by health experts has shown that the productivity of the NHS has improved almost two and a half times as fast than the wider economy over the last 12 years, meaning more care and treatments for patients and better value for taxpayers. According to the University of York’s Centre for Health Economics, hard-working NHS staff provided 16.5% more care pound for pound in 2016/17 than they did in 2004/05, compared to productivity growth of only 6.7% in the economy as a whole.

Their study, Productivity of the English National Health Service: 2016/17 Update, revealed NHS outputs have continuously increased since they began measuring a dozen years earlier. Some 5.2 million more patients received planned or emergency hospital treatments in 2016/17 than in 2004/05 – an increase of about 42%. Separately outpatient activity has shot up by 131% since 2004/05, with over 60 million more attendances in 2016/17 compared to 2007/08.

footballsNHS England has welcomed moves by football clubs to improve the nation’s health including cookery classes for bereaved men, exercise sessions for people with cancer and sport to help tackle mental ill health. A nation-wide day of action saw 72 football clubs from the English Football League put their full weight behind nationwide community health activities.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to ramping-up personalised care, including placing 1,000 social prescribing link workers in GP surgeries, giving more time to help patients with issues that can have a knock-on effect on health, like loneliness or isolation, and connecting them to suitable local activities.
Social prescribing can offer alternative ways of treating people in their community, with one-in-five of GPs regularly referring patients to these schemes, as studies show 28% fewer GP consultations and 24% fewer A&E attendances where social prescribing ‘connector’ services are working well.

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