Healthcare Republic's top 10 news stories of 2009

The Healthcare Republic team has compiled a list of the 10 most popular news stories of the past year.

A year in review, Healthcare Republic's top 10 stories (Photograph: istock)

1. Exclusive: Most GPs may reject swine flu vaccine
With our overall record of clicks for a news story, our exclusive survey conducted back in August revealed that 60% of GPs may choose not to be vaccinated against swine flu, with many concerned about the safety of the vaccine. The story was widely covered by the national media including articles in the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, and the London Evening Standard.

2. GMS practices given 2.29% income increase
On 31 March this year, and earlier than the April date originally planned, the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) announces GMS GPs are to receive a 2.29% gross pay increase intended to produce an average increase of 1.5% in net income. GP newspaper went to press shortly before the GP pay report was published but full details were quickly available online after the DDRB report was published.

3. UK QOF scores hit by poor patient survey uptake
In September, the NHS Information centre announced gloomy QOF scores across the UK for 2008/9, as practices struggle to score points on the patient experience domains.

4. DoH will not bow to Jade Goody cervical screen campaign
Jade Goody's tragic cervical cancer diagnosis and later death sparked a heated debate on whether cervical screening programme in England should be lowered to target women under 25. The government did not bow to the many campaigns but the "Jade Goody Effect" is highly positive with the number of eligible women aged 25 to 64 who attended cervical screening in England rising by almost 12% in the last year.

5. Twitter users support welovetheNHS campaign
In August, a social networking campaign launched by NHS Choices to promote the NHS gets an overwhelming support from Twitter users. Visitors to the NHS Choices website were able to add a 'twibbon' (Twitter ribbon) to their personal Twitter avatars bearing the slogan 'I love the NHS' to show their support. Over 10,000 users added the twibbon to their profile.

6. Buckman slams 'worst ever' Daily Mail article
The now infamous Daily Mail article on GP pay gets slammed across the board. GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman calls it 'the worst example of a deliberate distortion of the truth I have yet come across', in a letter to the newspaper. The front page article claimed GPs were earning up to £380,000, despite acknowledging ‘in some cases figures include cash GPs have to pay out for staff salaries and rents'. The BMA also retaliated on Twitter by posting: 'Daily Mail deliberately misunderstanding the difference between practice income and pay. How can this be front page news'. How indeed?

7. Cut GP pay by 10% says think tank
A report published by think tank Reform claims NHS doctor and manager pay should be reduced by 10% and charges made for GP visits, in order to save £1.3bn. The story generated a whopping 16 comments from readers, mainly criticising the report for openly undermining general practice.

8. Exclusive- Tories to end UK GP contract and write new one
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley announces there would be a new GP contract if the Conservatives take office. Dr Laurence Buckman said he would discuss funding plans for GP commissioning in detail only if the Tories are elected next year. The UK-wide contract would be split up, as the commissioning policy would be enforced in England only. Bring on the next general election...

9. Potential new QOF indicators revealed
In August, NICE calls new indicators for diabetes, epilepsy and Down's syndrome to be included in the 2010/11 QOF. The new indicators were included in a menu of potential indicators which the GPC and NHS Employers will negotiate.

10. UK to boost Tamiflu stockpile to tackle swine flu
Back in April, at the peak of the swine flu pandemic, the government announces it is about to order an additional 16 million doses of Tamiflu to bring the stockpile up to 50 million. Healthcare Republic launches its Swine Flu Resource Centre which becomes the most popular online resource on the website.

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