THE importance of in-person GP appointments, Universal Credit cut and impoverished children were the topics debated by columnists in the newspapers.
Dr Martin Scurr said he noticed the shuffling gait of a former patient when they met for coffee and was worried he may be developing Parkinson’s.
“Within days he’d undergone a brain scan and a lumbar puncture to collect cerebral spinal fluid, and was diagnosed with a brain condition I’d never come across, caused by a dangerous build-up of fluid,” he said. “He underwent urgent neurosurgery to drain the fluid – and within 24 hours he was cured, back to his old self.”
He said the story highlights just why face-to-face consultations matter so much.
“‘Doctoring’ isn’t simply about patients telling you their symptoms – the vital skill is in observing the unspoken signs, their demeanour, how they move, even the way their skin looks, the non-verbal communication.
“The fact is, without seeing a doctor in person, he would probably have died after months of deteriorating health and senility. And I have little doubt an online consultation would not have led to the brain scan that diagnosed this man in time.”
Victoria Richards said Boris Johnson was asked if he could live on £118 a week – what will be paid in Universal Credit once the £20 cut comes into force.
“The prime minister blustered thus: “I have every sympathy for people who are finding it tough, I really, really do – but we have to recognise that in order to maintain the Covid uplift you’ve got to find another £5-6bn in tax. That has got to come out of some people’s pockets.”
She said the real problem is bothering to ask the question in the first place .
“We all know that Boris Johnson wouldn’t (and couldn’t) live off £118 a week, and he’ll never have to.
“Asking a question like that of a man like Boris Johnson, to somehow “shame” him into realising what he’s asking thousands of British people to put up with, simply doesn’t work, because if he felt shame – true shame – or guilt, or remorse, then he wouldn’t be slashing universal credit in the first place.”
Polly Toynbee said that in a succession of budgets, the Conservatives have targeted child benefits, knowingly impoverishing families.
“Though I write it often, I still have to pinch myself to believe that a third of children in the UK live below the poverty line,” she said. “I can fill pages with the ways the government in the last decade has become an abusive parent, raining austerity down hardest on children.
“With an ageing population and fewer babies born, the electoral power of young people grows ever weaker.
“Those complaining that Labour is too cautious, remember Blair and Brown won by promising little and doing much in power: it seems the only way around these hostile, child-unfriendly attitudes.”