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Pulse weekly: Blowing a hole in the national GP contract

Pulse editor Steve Nowottny sums up an eventful week in general practice…

Must-read articles this week:

Blowing a hole in the national GP contract

GPs may have greeted the 2014 contract changes with a certain amount of relief, but there was also a nagging question. If ministers and the GPC were both agreed that it made sense to axe box-ticking QOF targets and free up hard-pressed GPs to spend more time with patients, why wait until April?

Well, as Pulse revealed this week, GPs in some parts of the country won’t have to. CCG leaders in Somerset have told practices they can stop recording all QOF work now, while those in Devon and Cornwall can stop chasing targets which will be removed in April. Even more controversially, those areas are apparently considering redesigning the entire QOF in 2014/15 – an extraordinary move which would blow a hole in that national contract and quite possibly signal the end of the QOF as we know it.

As I write in my blog there’s been a deafening silence from NHS England’s national headquarters since we broke the news, and it remains to be seen how they will respond. Pulse readers though have responded largely positively so far, with one practice manager hailing the move as ‘quite inspirational. Let us know what you think here.

Other big news this week includes warnings over NICE’s controversial paracetamol guidance, a familiar face standing for BMA Council and a survey finding that eight out of ten GP partners have taken a pay cut as a result of this year’s contract.

Our main investigation in the magazine this month looked at how CCGs and local authorities are planning to put local enhanced services out to tender from April and in a new CPD module on Pulse Learning, the chief executive of a successful GP federation offers five practical tips on bidding for an AQP service.

Quote Of The Week

‘It will not inform patients at all’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey on the plan to publish GP practice income

 

 

This year’s Pulse Live is shaping up to be another fantastic event, with lively plenary sessions including an interview with Professor Steve Field and GP question time with GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul. Building on last year’s success, we’ll also be offering four streams to enable you to create your own event – choose from Your Practice, Your Patients, Your Future and Your Skills. It takes place in London on 29 and 30 April – to find out more click here.

And finally, after highlighting last week NHS England’s decision to axe funding for occupational health services for GPs, we’ve had a fantastic response. Almost 100 GPs have now signed our open letter to NHS England chair Professor Malcolm Grant – we’ll be sending it shortly, but if you’d like to add you name there’s still time to do so here.

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