Pulse Editor wins at the PPA Awards

Congratulations to Pulse Editor, Jaimie Kaffash, who was awarded Editor of the Year by the Professional Publishers Association!

The judges said Jaimie had ‘demonstrated excellent journalism and demonstrable commercial success’.

‘This editor plays a huge part in highlighting important issues and consistently puts out relevant content for the readers.’

Jaimie said: ‘This is a recognition of the team, first and foremost. I have been in awe of how they have managed to produce so much incredible work throughout the pandemic.

‘It is a pleasure to continue editing a magazine for such an engaged and smart audience, who are so willing to highlight problems and injustices in the health service – and occasionally what is going well! – and tell us when we get things right and wrong.’

Pulse was nominated for a further three awards at the PPA Awards: Media Brand of the Year (business), Innovation of the Year (Pulse PCN) and Cover of the Year. The PPA Awards seeks to celebrate the work and achievements made across the UK publishing and media industry since the start 2021.

Pulse in the Press: Half of GPs plan on retiring by the age of 60

An exclusive Pulse survey revealing that half of the existing GP workforce plans to retire at or before the age of 60 has been picked up by the national press.

The story of half of GPs plan on retiring by the age of 60 has been mentioned in the Mail, Independent, the Times and ITV News. Our reporters have also been on Times Radio and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to discuss the findings.

Of more than 800 GPs surveyed across the UK by Pulse, almost half (47%) said they intend to retire at or before 60, including 1 in 8 who said they intended to retire before reaching 55.

Respondents gave a number of reasons why they wanted to retire early, with the most common factors being burnout and workload, although problems around pensions have also been a significant reason.

This story follows another recent Pulse exclusive, revealing that the first female chair of the BMA GP Committee had taken sick leave following sexist comments.

Pulse: Does sexism within BMA House leave GPs in England unrepresented?

This month, a major Pulse investigation focuses on the culture within the BMA as we reveal that the first chair of the BMA’s GP Committee in England in its 109 years had to take sick leave partly as a result.

Pulse reveal how a ‘toxic’ culture is putting off new GPs – especially female ones – from joining the GPC, and how the complaints culture is leading to numerous solicitor-led investigations. The exclusive has since been picked up by the national press, including the Times and the Daily Mail, and has sparked huge debate on social media.

We focus on the NICE guidelines on dependence-forming drugs plus we ask whether a lack of face-to-face GP appointments really was to blame for a spike in stillbirths, as one national news website claimed.

Columnist Dr Shaba Nabi says that the profession needs to evolve or die, while Copperfield is delighted that he is currently facing no complaints.

In the clinical section, we have Key Questions on peripheral arterial disease and a guide on remote consultations for headaches.

Pulse in the Press: BMA GP Committee Chair had to take sick leave following reports of sexist comments

An exclusive Pulse story into sexism at the BMA caused huge controversy.

Pulse revealed that the first female chair of the BMA GP Committee had taken sick leave following sexist comments. This story has since been picked up by the Times and the Daily Mail, and sparked huge debate on social media.

Dr Farah Jameel was elected as the firs female chair of the BMA’s GP Committee (GPC) in England in November 2021. However, in March this year she took sick leave, with the conduct and culture of the GPC contributing to her ill health, a Pulse investigation has concluded. Dr Jameel has now returned to her role.

Pulse PCN roundtable success

The Pulse PCN roundtable on enhanced access was the best attended roundtable since Cogora launched the brand last year.

There were 12 participants, including 10 PCN clinical directors, from across England representing areas including Devon, Bedfordshire, Hampshire, Lancashire, and London.

The hour-long discussion, held virtually in April and chaired by Pulse PCN editor, Victoria Vaughan, shed light on the reaction to the new PCN Network Direct Enhanced Service (DES) contract.

It focussed on the requirement that PCNs must provide appointments in the weekday evenings between 6.30pm and 8pm and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.

The delegates were largely positive about the move with most feeling it was well funded and within their capabilities. For others though, this latest demand nearly saw their network break-up.

A full report of the roundtable will be out in the summer edition of Pulse PCN in June and also available online here.  Previous topics covered in roundtables include place-based partnerships and population health management.

Private sector booms on the back of NHS troubles

Private companies are boosting their profits by up to 100% as the health service struggles to cope, shows a major investigation into the increased privatisation of health in England by Pulse magazine.

The investigation – the most comprehensive since the introduction of the Health and Social Care in 2012 – shows that local commissioners are paying hundreds of millions to private hospitals and that hospitals have also boosted their income from private work.

An analysis of company reports and statements from all the major private hospital chains that make their figures available shows all have boosted their revenues this year.  They say they are gaining from the plight of the NHS, with patients more likely to pay for their care to avoid lengthening NHS waiting lists.

Figures obtained by Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act also show increasing use of private hospitals by clinical commissioning groups, largely in an attempt to reduce waiting lists, with an 18% rise between 2013/14 and 2015/16.

Other FOI figures from hospital trusts show they are taking advantage of their new freedom to carry out more private work (the cap was lifted in 2013) by increasing the amount of private work they do by 14% from 2012/13 to 2015/16, with one trust reporting a 36% increase in income – at a time it is being put through remedial measures due to the length of its NHS waiting lists.

And a number of private companies are now springing up to take advantage of long waiting times for GP appointments, with one promising to deliver a GP on your doorstep in 90 minutes for £120.

BMA council member and former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada, who led much of the GP opposition to the 2012 reforms, says: ‘I am afraid that we are sleepwalking into US health system.’

Pulse editor Nigel Praities said: ‘Our investigation shows a real sea-change in healthcare provision in England. While the NHS crumbles, private companies finding increasing demand for their services. Chronic underfunding is degrading what is a cherished public institution and the Government is culpable for what amounts to an inexorable slide towards an increasingly profit-motivated healthcare system.’

But a DH spokesperson said: ‘This Government was the first to ensure that doctors, not politicians, make decisions about who provides care. In fact, the rate of growth in use of the private sector as a proportion of the NHS budget remains slower than it was before 2010. On the back of a strong economy, we are giving the NHS the £10bn it asked for to fund its own plan for the future.’

Read the latest issue of Pulse magazine online here.

Pulse’s investigation was covered in the Daily Mail and the Times newspapers.

Pulse in the Press: GP closures on BBC News

A senior NHS England official has said vulnerable practices must ‘transform…or be allowed to fail and wither’, a leaked document obtained by Pulse and the BBC has revealed.

Paul Twomey, medical director of the Yorkshire and Humber area team, made the claim in a briefing sent to NHS managers and GP leaders in the region.

He said that NHS England is ‘no longer in a position’ to continue supporting vulnerable practices ‘irrespective of their willingness or ability’ to transform.

The story, which was covered on BBC News at Ten, focuses on this quote from one NHS manager in the north of England, “vulnerable practices must either transform and deliver a quality service or be allowed to fail and wither by the system”.

It comes as Pulse has revealed that a £10 million fund to support vulnerable practices announced 14 months ago has had very little impact, with many area teams having failed to even identify the practices that will receive funding.

Read the full story here.