As the party conference season drew to a close, the Conservatives this week came out fighting, with leader David Cameron pledging to rewrite the GP contract.
From a gloomy Blackpool, Mr Cameron, according to the Daily Mail, is set to 'tear up the controversial GP contracts which have sent some doctors' salaries soaring to£250,000 a year'. It said he was to announce that a Conservative government would renegotiate the deal so that family doctors would have to take on more responsibility for out-of-hours care.
Needless to say, doctors reacted angrily. The paper quoted Dr Laurence Buckman, chair of the British Medical Association's GPs committee: 'It is sad that the Conservatives have failed to understand why we needed a new GP contract. It is not safe to ask doctors to work nights and weekends as well as in the daytime.'
Meanwhile, culture, media and sport secretary James Purnell was somewhat embarrassed as it emerged that a photograph of him and three other local MPs - seen in an internal NHS newsletter visiting a new NHS hospital building in Tameside, Greater Manchester - had been taken when he was not present and altered later. The Guardian quoted one Ben Granger, spokesman for the newsletter Staff Matters, who said that 'due to his hectic ministerial schedule, James Purnell was a few minutes late and the other MPs had to go. So we took the decision to take another photograph of him and merge them together. Now we obviously wish we hadn't'.