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At the heart of general practice since 1960

February contract calendar

This month could be the busiest month leading up to the new contract, says Dr Bob Button, who looks at key dates for GPs and their practice managers

FEBRUARY 7

Check with the PCO to ensure there is a visit schedule in place that includes your practice. You can then receive a visit to agree the details of the new GMS contract.

FEBRUARY 13

The Government is due to publish its default contract today. This will only be needed if the formal contract has not been agreed between the practice and the PCO by the end of March.

FEBRUARY 17

You should have been reassured the computer arrangements you need have been implemented by the PCO. Information should include a description of what form the maintenance contracts will take from April 1 and whether any forms need to be completed in order for the PCO to accept the necessary responsibilities. You should also have received, or have been given a clear date for receiving, all computer minor upgrade payments and legacy system replacements. The PCO is required to have completed this work by April 1 at the latest and to have funded it in its entirety.

FEBRUARY 20

You should have received your global sum and be in a position to decide on opting out of out-of-hours care. This opt-out must be with the PCO by April 1 even if the PCO is not intending to assume full responsibility at that date.

FEBRUARY 23

You should have revised your practice leaflets ready for publication by April 1. You should also have identified both a Caldicott Guardian and a clinical governance lead inside the practice whose name should be notified to the PCO.

FEBRUARY 29

You should be near to a decision on Saturday morning opening from April 1 onwards. If you're not going to open, make sure your patients know what's happening. Know whether you're going to be opting-out from either additional services or other services on April 1. Decide what enhanced services you are going to offer the PCO. You must also decide whether list closures are going to be necessary and have decided on a defined practice area. Communicate this information to the PCO.

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