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  1. New practice lease unveiled

    GP practices that rent premises from the NHS are to get a standard leasing agreement with new safeguards, it has been announced.

    Practices have until November next year to sign up for the new lease and get costs of the sign-up, such as stamp duty, refunded by NHS England.

    The deal was announced yesterday by the British Medical Association's GP committee.

    The template lease will allow practices to break it if they lose their contract.

    Practices will also get reimbursement if rents are revised.

    NHS Property Services will not be allowed to relocate practices without their agreement - as previous leases stated.

    And there will also be an agreed dispute resolution process.

    Dr Brian Balmer, from the BMA GP committee, said: “This is the first agreed template lease between NHS Property Services and the BMA.

    "It has been produced after considerable negotiation and we believe it allows practices to sign up to individual leases with the confidence that they are entering into a fair and modern relationship with the landlord.

    “There will of course always be local issues which need to be resolved and this agreement is not a magic bullet to every problem that arises with GP premises. The government still, for example, needs to deliver on their planned investment in GP infrastructure."

    He added: "However, this new agreement is a significant step forward and presents an opportunity that I would urge GP practices to seriously consider, especially as some of the benefits of this agreement are only available for a specific period of time.”

  2. Antibiotic prescriptions fall after campaigns

    The number of antibiotic prescriptions written by GPs in the last year reduced by 2.6 million, according to new figures.

    There was also a 16% reduction in prescriptions of broad spectrum antibiotics - 600,000 fewer in total, according to NHS Improvement.

    The overall reduction in antibiotic use was 7.3%.

    The reduction was attributed to a concerted national drive to reduce antibiotic use and tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

    The national director for patient safety Dr Mike Durkin said: "This fantastic result achieved in just one year is testament to the huge efforts of GPs, pharmacists and local commissioners."

    Royal College of GPs chair Dr Maureen Baker said: "These figures show that healthcare professionals across the UK are taking our warnings about growing resistance to antibiotics, and its terrible consequences, seriously and are working hard to address them.

    "Such a significant drop in prescribing shows that the work the College is doing to support appropriate prescribing and urge healthcare professionals to say 'no' is taking effect, despite the pressure GPs often face from patients to prescribe antibiotics."

  3. Backing for action on junk food

    Most people would agree with tougher government action to protect children from junk food, according to a survey published today.

    The opinion poll found backing for restrictions on advertising unhealthy foods during family television shows.

    There was also support for the government reducing sugar in every day foods.

    The poll was commissioned by the Obesity Health Alliance, an organisation which includes the Academy of the Medical Royal Colleges, the British Heart Foundation, the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and the National Obesity Forum.

    It follows a government decision to place a tax on sugary drinks.

    The survey by YouGov found that 78% agreed with restrictions on advertising - and 77% said they were concerned about the high levels of sugar in foods.

    Professor John Wass, from the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Alarmingly, some children are consuming as much as three times the maximum recommended amount of added sugar. Food and drink manufacturers must be prepared to reduce the amount of sugar and fat in their products. And the fairest way to make this happen is for the Government to set targets independent of the food and drink industry.

    “The Government has been holding off on the childhood obesity strategy for far too long."

    Alison Cox, from Cancer Research UK, said: “The obesity epidemic will get even worse if the Government fails to act. This survey proves that most people think that junk food advertising makes children more likely to want unhealthy food."

  4. Cash for returning GPs

    Practices will be able to access more than £10,000 in funding to help former GPs return to work, it was announced yesterday.

    The money includes up to £8,000 in relocation allowances and up to £2,000 for education costs.

    The scheme will also allow up to £2,000 for locum cover for when a returning GPs are undertaking education, NHS England said.

    The cash will be available for practices that have held a vacant GP post for at least 12 months.

    Royal College of GPs chair Dr Maureen Baker said the scheme made "a lot of sense."

    She said: “It’s important that adequate safeguards remain in order to ensure patient safety, and that every GP who wants to return to practise in the UK is treated equally, but we need to cut through any unnecessary red tape, and working with NHS England, I’m pleased that we are making strides in this area.

    “We hope this scheme will encourage returning GPs in hard to recruit areas in the best interests of providing safe care now and in the future, wherever our patients live.”


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