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GPC has had 18 months to avoid this farce

Hours after the GPC had promised to deliver the finalised GP contract, a new farce was being acted out. Despite 18 months of negotiation and delay, GP leaders were still engaged in tit-for-tat horse-trading with ministers over GPs' future.

GPs are entitled to ask why, at the last minute of the 11th hour, it had to come to this.

Negotiators made plain pensions was always going to be a make-or-break issue, so surely that battle should have been fought sooner. They also predicted last-minute Government meddling, but if the tough compromises had been made earlier then any last-ditch interventions would have been on the detail, not the substance.

Certainly GPs' mood of gloom and foreboding in the weeks running up to the deadline were well-founded. The profession is left to hope it will not be left to repent at leisure the last-minute decisions made in haste by their negotiators.

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