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What will the new government mean for the NHS? This week’s Friday Five

New government commits to fixing nursing shortage

Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday night that all nursing students will receive a grant of at least £5000 per year to attract more nurses to the profession.

This funding comes as part of the government’s pledge to increase nurse numbers by 50,000 over the next 5 years.

However, the Royal College of Nursing has said that the new policy is only the “first step” to restoring nurse numbers and that more funding is needed.

Read more at GOV.UK and in the Independent.

“Digital Aspirant” programme introduced to help digitalise NHS trusts

As part of his promise to make “infrastructure” one of his top priorities, Matt Hancock has introduced a new “digital aspirant” programme which will focus investment on less digitally advanced hospitals, rather than just leading ‘exemplar’ trusts.

Up until now, most tech investment in the NHS has been via the Global Digital Exemplar programme which focused on on the most digitally advanced trusts on the basis that they had the potential to improve and could act as examples for other trusts.

The announcement of the new “Digital Aspirant” programme followed on from the new government’s promise to invest in tech and to “double down on the tech agenda and bring the NHS into the 21st Century”.

Read more in the HSJ.

Part-time work is becoming commonplace for GPs

A survey by the General Medical Council has revealed that 45% of GPs are working less than full-time, with a third cutting their hours in the past year.

Rising workloads has been cited as the key reason, with several GPs reporting that they work part-time but still clock up full-time hours.

The findings come after the government promised to recruit 6000 extra GPs by 2025 as part of their election campaign.

Read more in the BBC News.

Royal College urges PM to reconsider review of ‘sin taxes’

Following the election, The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh called on the prime minister to reconsider his plans to review ‘sin taxes’ on foods high in salt, fat and sugar.

The ‘sugar tax’ on soft drinks was implemented in April 2018 and there is evidence to show that there has been a significant decline in their sale since.

In the lead up to the election Boris Johnson suggested he would review the sugar levy saying; “The recent proposal for a tax on milkshakes seems to me to clobber those who can least afford it. If we want people to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, we should encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise. Rather than just taxing people more, we should look at how effective the so-called ‘sin taxes’ really are, and if they actually change behaviour”.

However the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh criticised the prime ministers comment by explaining that a reverse on the “sugar tax” in particular “would will significantly worsen the publics’ health”.

Read more in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

In Her Majesty’s speech, the Queen re-iterated the new government’s pledge to improve the NHS workforce and spoke of a new visa that would enable foreign medical professionals to work in the UK.

“Steps will be taken to grow and support the National Health Service’s workforce and a new visa will ensure qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals have fast-track entry to the United Kingdom.”

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