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12.00 A buffet lunch with the accountant

Pulse blogger and Hertfordshire GP Dr Tom Gillham gets to grips with the numbers as a new financial year gets underway

Today in our surgery, it’s all about the money, money, money!

We’ve submitted our QOF returns, the lines are closed, there’ll be no more counting. I even let an alert go this morning for the first time in six months. Upstairs, our financial lead is deep in discussion with the accountant. We’ll have half an hour each to chat to him individually, then a buffet lunch together where he gives us all a State of The Surgery speech. He’ll tell us what went well, what went badly, and what he expects the next 12 months to bring.

I find the financials taxing, if you’ll pardon the pun. No real training during the Registrar Years on this particular aspect of general practice. I’ve sat in meetings before with accountants and find their meat and drink particularly undigestible. I know what will happen. He’ll talk, we’ll nod. We may even smile briefly if there’s an unexpected bonus (unlikely this year). He’ll get more technical, we’ll concentrate harder, say clever things like ‘Mmmm’ and ‘ohhh, right’ and continue to chomp furiously on the grapes. Then he’ll lose us (well me anyway) and a chirpy question like ‘so how much exactly is a QOF point worth?’ will belie my ignorance.

Perhaps that’s how an accountant feels when he comes to the GP. I do have a tendency to throw in some medical curve-balls confronted in surgery by certain professionals. Words like ‘idiosynratic’ and ‘cryptogenic’ drop themselves into my explanation of their ‘florid pityriasis rosea’.

It’ll be an enlightening lunchtime, and I hope the hard work’s paid off.

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