GPs ‘will be paid twice’ under NHS reforms

GP’s pay will rise by more than 25 per cent and reach £130,000 a year under the government’s NHS reforms, according to official figures.

Under a radical shake-up of the NHS, GPs will be responsible for organising health services for their patients.

Figures released under Freedom of Information reveal that GPs will receive up to £115 an hour for commissioning healthcare services, on top of their existing salaries.

The average GP salary last year was £105,700 and in some areas family doctors will be paid a further £26,000 to commission NHS services. Last year 210 GPs earned more than £250,000.

The findings will reignite the row over GP pay following salary increases of a third as a result of the 2004 contract.

Under NHS reforms GPs will take control of purchasing care from hospitals, the private sector and charities for almost all treatments from hip replacements and stroke care, to paediatrics and rehabilitation.

Some very specialist treatments like organ transplants will continue to be commissioned centrally.

The Freedom of Information requests by Labour have shown that hourly rates for commissioning work varies from £48 in County Durham to £115 in Hertfordshire.

While in Wiltshire GPs will be paid an annual rate of £26,000 per year to cover their commissioning duties, and in Coventry the chairmen of the new clinical commissioning board will be paid £35,000 each.

The payments are to cover the costs of employing a locum GP to cover their work in their surgeries while they are working on commissioning but if locums are not required GPs will still receive the payments.

Government documents say the groups will be expected to be made up of one GP per 100,000 population and hold six meetings a year with four hours paid for each meeting, however this will vary.

Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “When the NHS needs every penny it can get, patients will be appalled to hear that David Cameron plans to pay GPs twice.

“The Government are putting GPs in a difficult situation with their plans. It makes no sense at all to take GPs away from patient care to become part-time accountants. Patients and taxpayers lose hands down as the NHS foots the bill twice.

“What clearer illustration could there be of the sheer madness of Cameron’s plans than paying GPs twice while 48,000 nursing posts are being axed.

“These figures show the full hidden costs of the Government’s plans, asking the NHS to pay for GPs who choose to attend meetings of the new commissioning boards and again for a second doctor to cover their surgery appointments. In some cases, we’ll see this adding up to tens of thousands of pounds per year for each doctor involved.

“This comes on top of the £3.45bn that the Government has ordered be set aside to pay for this unnecessary reorganisation. It is absolutely scandalous to spend money on redundancy costs when every penny is needed for patient care.

“We are calling on patients, the public and NHS staff to sign the ePetition and add weight to our campaign for the Government to drop this Bill and give the NHS the stability it needs to focus on meeting the financial challenge.”

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said: “From the very start of the NHS reforms the Patients Association has been saying that we were concerned that NHS money would end up in GPs’ pockets.

“Now it is becoming clear that that is exactly what is going to happen. It is outrageous that so much money is to be spent on sending GPs to meetings on top of their salaries for being a doctor.

“This money could be more effectively spent on patient care. With parts of the NHS facing deepening financial problems we cannot afford for money to frittered away like this.

“The Department of Health needs to return GPs to their most important role – the care and treatment of patients – instead of wasting vast sums on a reform programme that nobody agrees with.”

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, said: “Whenever a GP is working away from the surgery, services to patients must not be reduced.

“If a GP is helping to manage the NHS, their “pay” will include the cost of getting a locum in to cover for the GP, as well as the pay for the job itself.

“We also know that these new Clinical Commissioning Groups are going to have to operate on half the funding than the current Primary Care Trusts have so we would expect that to have been factored in when the “pay plus cover” rates were being decided.”

Health Minister Paul Burstow said: “Our plans aren’t about paying GPs twice. “They are about asking GPs to take on a new role working together to plan the health services for their area.

“By harnessing the expertise of GPs in this way we can make £4.5 billion of savings on management costs. Every penny we save will be reinvested in front line NHS care for the benefit of patients.

“If Labour had their way they would leave billions of pounds tied up in NHS bureaucracy and red tape. The Coalition is determined to put power in the hands of front line clinicians, patients and their carers.”


Cricket-playing student at the centre of new human rights row in Britain

Abdullah Munawar is an intelligent, hard-working and courteous 23-year-old trainee accountant. But when judges considered his application to remain in Britain after completing a three-year degree course, they did not base their decision on what contribution he might make to this country.

Instead, their ruling that he can stay in the UK hinged on his cricket hobby and the friendships he has made here in the three years since arriving from his middle-class home in Bangladesh.

The case of the cricketing student now takes its place in the annals of unusual immigration decisions – alongside the “Bolivian cat man”, first exposed in these pages two years ago, who sparked a Cabinet rift at the 2011 Conservative conference.

But the real question raised by his legal victory is how it might be applied to other people in the future, and whether it will undermine the Coalition’s commitment to cut immigration from the profligate levels seen under Labour.

I have analysed hundreds, if not thousands, of immigration cases for our End the Human Rights Farce campaign, and this case made among the thinnest arguments we have yet seen. Indeed, immigration lawyers have expressed surprise at the evidence and the outcome.

Mr Munawar cannot be blamed for appealing against the Home Office’s initial decision that he should return to Bangladesh. It was made under the points-based system, which was itself a flawed creation of the Labour government.

But we can question the way the immigration tribunal determines what amounts to “private and family life” – conferring a right to remain in Britain – and what does not.

Sixty years ago, with the horrors of the Second World War still fresh and raw, lawyers devised a set of principles designed to prevent a repeat of the Holocaust and other depravities. This was the European Convention on Human Rights, enshrined in British law under Labour’s Human Rights Act in 1998.

In 1950, those lawyers did not set out to protect an immigrant’s right to bowl a cricket ball on a Sunday afternoon, as in this case. Nor did they agonise over any of the other absurd scenarios – uncovered by our campaign – which have also hinged on the convention, particularly the family life measures set out in Article 8.

Take, for example, Lionel Hibbert, a 50-year-old Jamaican criminal who fathered three children by three mothers within four months of each other, and later claimed he should not be deported because of his “right to family life”. British judges agreed, and overturned the Home Office’s decision.

Or in another recent example, the violent drug dealer Gary Ellis, 23, also from Jamaica, who convinced a court he had a stable family life with his young daughter and girlfriend, when in fact she split up with him years ago and refused to allow him in her home.

The courts’ willingness to believe these stories, and attach inappropriate weight to them, is a major problem in our immigration system. Another is the Home Office’s inability to investigate each person’s family life claims, so that misinformation goes uncorrected.

Home Office ministers have indicated that some major reforms will be implemented this year. The most significant of these is expected to arise from a review of Article 8 and the “family migration routes” into Britain, which addresses the thorny problem of foreign-born people, often from Commonwealth nations, who want to join relatives here.

A consultation paper published last July asked whether the Home Office should be able to deport foreigners who showed a “serious disregard for UK laws”, as if there was any possibility that the answer could be “no”.

It remains to be seen how reforms of Article 8 will be taken forward.

Sources have also suggested that ministers will this year attempt to forcefully express their dissatisfaction to the judges – possibly through legislation – in an attempt to turn back the tide of over-generous decisions in the courts.

Appropriate and robust changes must be made as soon as possible, if we are to avoid a surge in cases which undermine our border control by exploiting the latest human rights weaknesses.


Is this the most PC council in Britain? Green man on pedestrian crossing becomes gender neutral ‘green figure’

It is the symbol that has helped us cross the road for decades – a striding green man.

But for one council the term appears to be a little too gender-specific. Lincolnshire County Council is introducing new signs at pelican crossings in Boston telling pedestrians to ‘cross with the green figure’ in a move branded politically correct.

Alan Bell, senior engineer at the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: ‘We need to do all we can to help keep people safe on the county’s roads. ‘These signs remind people to cross only when the green figure is lit.’ He added that the wording of the signs varies across the county.

While some crossings retain the traditional green man, the crossing at John Adams way in Boston has been resigned, now asking baffled residents to ‘cross with the green figure’.

Boston borough councillor Ossy Snell said: ‘It seems a little bit like it’s seen as sexist. Women might think men are controlling if a green man tells them to cross the road.

‘There’s so many of these silly things that people are bringing up, which nobody has ever thought about being offensive to anybody when they were brought in.’

Local residents reacted with confusion at the decision. Geoff Bradley, 64, said he could not understand the move. ‘This must have cost money to do,’ said the retired metal worker. ‘They must have better things to do than waste our money on needless changes.

‘It can’t have offended anyone, it’s a picture of a man, so people called it the green man, it makes no sense at all not to keep calling it that.’

Anne Bristow, who uses the crossing every day, was perplexed by the decision. ‘I didn’t see a problem with it,’ said the 30-year-old bank worker. ‘I cross the street with the same people here every day and no one else had a problem with it, I can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with it.

‘You hear people talking about political correctness going mad and that has always seemed like an overstatement before but this really seems like it has.’


Not so europhoric now: How the BBC has changed its tune after ten years of the single currency

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the BBC announced ‘Euphoria in Euroland’ as it hailed the birth of the euro.

But with the single currency now facing collapse, the Corporation’s coverage of today’s anniversary has been notably more restrained, as senior executives prepare to defend their ‘pro-Brussels bias’ during a showdown meeting with Eurosceptics.

On January 1, 2002, the day that the euro currency first entered circulation, BBC presenters were gushingly enthusiastic.James Naughtie, presenting Radio 4’s Today programme from Paris, talked of ‘a sense of occasion, a genuine excitement, a sense of change in the air especially among young people, a sense of breaking away from the past’.

The opening line on BBC1’s Ten O’Clock News was ‘Euphoria in Euroland’, while a Today reporter in France talked about the ‘feeling that this is a country very much at ease with this latest engagement with Europe’, adding, in an apparent swipe at Eurosceptics: ‘For people here, the euro has got little to do with loss of sovereignty or superstates. It’s about money, pure and simple.’

The BBC’s website found it equally hard to control itself, with headlines including ‘Dawn of a new era’ and ‘Leaders hail currency’s success’.

In 2010, the BBC’s former Brussels correspondent Jonathan Charles candidly admitted he and the BBC had got carried away by the euro launch. He said: ‘Even now, I can remember the great air of excitement.

‘It did seem like the start of a new era… for a few brief days, I suppose I and everyone else suspended their scepticism and got caught up in that euphoria,’ added Mr Charles, now director of communications at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which is part-funded by the EU.

An analysis of Today’s output in the nine weeks leading to July 21, 2000, when the euro argument was dominating domestic British politics, showed that of 121 speakers on the topic, 87 were pro-euro and 34 against.

Rod Liddle, then Today’s editor, has said: ‘The whole ethos of the BBC and all the staff was that Eurosceptics were xenophobes.’

He recalled a meeting with a senior BBC figure over Eurosceptic complaints of bias in which the executive said: ‘Rod, the thing you have to understand is that these people are mad. They are mad.’

The BBC’s bias appeared to re-assert itself last month in its reporting of David Cameron’s veto of a new EU treaty at a Brussels summit. No. 10 was infuriated by the BBC’s ‘funereal’ coverage in the hours after the veto, which they claimed portrayed the action as a national disaster rather than a political triumph.

The euro anniversary has coincided with a period of unprecedented strain for the eurozone, with many leading economists describing 2012 as its ‘make-or-break year’.

The Corporation’s one-sided coverage of the euro’s birth has been highlighted by Eurosceptics planning to present a dossier of evidence of alleged pro-EU bias to Helen Boaden, the BBC’s director of news. Conservative MP Philip Hollobone is expected to join Labour’s Kate Hoey and Eurosceptic peer Lord Pearson at a meeting with Ms Boaden in the coming weeks.

In 2005, after an internal BBC report admitted that it had promoted a pro-EU bias across its output, the Corporation pledged to make its coverage ‘more sophisticated’.

But an analysis by Lord Pearson’s think-tank, Global Britain, to be presented at the meeting, claims that over the past six years, just 0.04 per cent of Today’s output has been devoted to the potential benefits of withdrawing from the EU.

Last night Mr Hollobone said: ‘We want to know what the BBC is going to do about the findings of its own independent report, which concluded that it was institutionally biased against the withdrawalist perspective. ‘It is noticeable that the BBC seems a lot more subdued about the euro a decade later, as it has finally sunk in that there is nothing to celebrate about the single currency.’

Last night, the BBC said today’s coverage of the euro anniversary would be ‘appropriate’. A spokesman said: ‘We don’t recognise the 0.04 per cent figure or claims that our news coverage has been one-sided. Our reporting of the eurozone has reflected the story as it has unfolded and featured a wide range of voices.

‘As with any news story, appropriate coverage will be given to the tenth anniversary of the eurozone examining the past and the future of the single currency.’


Third of British parents give schools thumbs down

A third of parents are so unhappy with their child’s school they would advise other families not to send their children there, new figures from Ofsted have revealed.

Thousands of parents who have rated their schools on a new website run by the schools watchdog have raised concerns about teaching, behaviour, bullying and levels of homework.

An initial analysis of results shows that just under a third of families with children at the 650 primary and secondary schools with sufficient responses to give results said they would not recommend their school to others. This rose to half for schools with a poor Ofsted rating.

More than 9,300 parents have filled in the online anonymous questionnaire since the school inspectorate launched the “Parent View” rating website in October. Results are published if the school has received more than three responses.

It is designed to give families more power to raise concerns about schools and can, with other indicators, trigger a snap inspection. Parents’ views will also be passed to inspectors carrying out routine visits.

Jean Humphrys, Ofsted education director, said: “It is very useful to parents when they are choosing schools. Parents very often go by word of mouth. They like to go by other peoples’ experiences so it will help them in that respect.

“It also helps people who are unsure about whether what they are experiencing at the school is a one-off event that is happening to their child or whether it is more common.

“As the results build it will be possible for parents to get a good view about what other families are thinking and feeling about the school. “Schools will also be able to look instantly at the areas that parents are very happy with and where they may have concerns.”

Minster School in Nottingham, which is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted has received 107 responses from parents so far.

While many were positive, nearly one in five parents disagreed with the statement that their child made good progress at the school and 23 per cent did not think pupils received appropriate homework.

A similar proportion said the school did not respond well to concerns raised by parents. More than 80 per cent of parents said they would recommend the school to others.

More than a quarter of parents disagreed with the statement that their child was taught well at Hanson School, a secondary in Bradford, which has received 69 responses. More than half of parents said they would recommend the school.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Slightly over two thirds of parents have answered that they would recommend their school. If you look only at the responses for schools which are inadequate you still see close to half of parents saying they would recommend their child’s school.”


Textbooks ‘being replaced by smartphones and e-readers’

Traditional textbooks are dying out in schools as children increasingly rely on smartphones and e-readers to access information, according to a leading headmistress. Handheld technology is changing the way education is delivered because it allows children to learn “anywhere, anytime, any place”, it was claimed.

Louise Robinson, incoming president of the Girls’ Schools Association, said pupils were more inspired by the “magic” of using hand Ipads and other tablet computers than reading a book.

The comments come after figures showed a six-fold rise in the number of e-books – editions downloaded from the internet onto electronic devices – sold over the last 12 months. Amazon now sells almost 2.5 books via its Kindle reading device for every one hard copy.

Mrs Robinson, the headmistress of Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School in Crosby, Liverpool, said the shift was having a knock-on effect in the classroom.

In an interview, she said: “Taking on board the fact that textbooks will be on your mobile, whatever shape, name or type of fruit your mobile relates to, and therefore anywhere, anytime, any place… it’s going to be a huge possibility.

“But also, not only that, the fact that they’ll be able to access anything they want to, in advance of your lesson, so if you say ‘the next lesson’s going to be on the skeleton’ what you can see online now in terms of the skeleton and where you can go with it, makes children have far more control over their learning than they ever could do before. “One click and you’re into another world.”

Mrs Robinson said it was no longer relevant if textbooks were in hard copies. Children still have to be taught how to access information from a book, library or on a computer, she said.

“You and I wouldn’t send a child into a library and say ‘go and have a look’, you’d actually help them, show them where the information is to access, and which bits they should be looking at for their age and stage,” she said.

“But that doesn’t stop them going ‘I’d like to have a look at that one’ and when you see a young child on their tablet, or internet, the magic that they are seeing in that information, the way that they absorb it and reflect it back at you is just wonderful.”

Mrs Robinson added: “I can understand the concept that there’s the smell of a very old book, I’m not going to throw them all on the bonfire at all. “I do believe that there will be a time and a place for going in to look at an old book. “But when you’re doing class reading, why buy the hard copy?”

The GSA represents 179 fee-paying schools educating more than 100,000 pupils. Mrs Robinson, who becomes GSA president in the New Year, said she would use her 12 months in office to champion female entrepreneurship.


World Health Org. Adviser: Eat Meat Only Once Per Week to Fight Obesity, Global Warming

Gosh! The World Health Organization says that? I had better go and do it then!

The WHO is as corrupt as the rest of the U.N. And a diet heavy in meat — such as Atkins — is in fact a particularly effective weight-loss regime

If Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at City University in London and adviser to the World Health Organization, had his way, we would only eat meat once a week. Eating meat only on special occasions, like feast days, he suggests could help reduce obesity and curb global warming.

The Telegraph reports Lang as advocating that people adopt meat-eating practices like those in medieval times:

“Let’s go back to where culture has been for thousands of years, which is meat is an exception,” Prof Lang said. “If you were growing meat yourself, it is an incredibly slow process and killing and eating an animal is a special day.

“At Christmas if we were well off we had beef. It was a big deal. We killed an animal as an exception, for a feast.” …

Sir Paul McCartney has advocated Meat-Free Mondays but Prof Lang said: “I am saying instead of having one day where you do not eat meat, eat meat once a week and have really good, grass-fed meat.”


There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up


About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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