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Just give us the f***ing money

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We’re all used to the Government’s doublespeak tendency to recycle money and reannounce old funding as new. So the ambiguity within this statement on an NHS website about ‘Time for care’ should come as no surprise: ’As announced in the General Practice Forward View, NHS England is establishing a new £30m development programme, supported by a new £45m fund for staff training and a new £45m fund for online consultation systems…’ Nope, me neither.

We are used to being tied in knots by a combination of dumb-ass sloganeering and financial obfuscating

But now the politicians seem to have a new semantic game. Whenever money is supposedly on offer to practices - and God knows we’ve got schemes, pilots and initiatives coming out of our ears – we’re tortured by the dosh being subject to all sorts of absurd conditions and remaining tantalisingly out of reach.

Thus, this new development programme involves, according to Pulse, ‘… a plan for groups of practices to receive a programme of workshops and learning sessions to come up with action plans…. most practices could expect to release about 10% of GP time over the 9-12 month period’. So, just to clarify, if we get together with colleagues to get some teaching to come up with a plan to save some time to free us up to do something else at some point, then we’ll be funded.

In case you’re still confused, the original GP Forward View clarifies that ‘Releasing time for patients’, which may or may not be the same as ‘Time for care’, will provide ‘Free training and coaching for clinicians and managers to support practice redesign,’ so, er, there’s money to train us up to, er, support us, to er, redesign our practice to, er, lose the will to live, presumably.

This kind of bullshit pervades the GP Forward View and all the documents it has spawned. We are used to being tied in knots by a combination of dumb-ass sloganeering and financial obfuscating. But these illusory offers of funding – always one or two or three steps removed and which recede even as we try to approach them - are a new and really effective form of grinding us into submission.

Doubtless the Government would justify this new technique by saying that instead of just splashing the cash, they’re trying to train us to – get the bucket ready – ‘work smarter’. Or, to quote the old proverb: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’. When, in fact, they are just using that fish to slap us in the face.

Look, chaps, if the funding’s there, just give us the f***ing money.     

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield      

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Readers' comments (11)

  • Beatifully put.
    Although of course the funding isn't there, or perhaps it is for a year and then will be withdrawn!

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  • Any nationalised industry such as the NHS is bound to be plagued by the sort of "group think" drivel that Tony describes.
    When will we have the courage to concede we got the paradigm wrong, and the 1949 model does not work in 2016?
    If we don't, we will be condemned to attend courses on "Maritime deckchair arranging in sub polar regions".

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  • I am sure most will agree. They would have less of a headache if they just allowed us to sort ourselves out with adequate funding without strings attached.

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  • Spot on. The sad reality I think is that all this talk is simply for the benefit of the media and 'public relations'. A cynical attempt by government to be seen to be doing something without actually having to come up with any additiinal funding. The promise is to provide money so long as an equivalent sum is 'saved' elsewhere. We must be seen to be working harder or doing extra before we get anything. The current system is woefully underfunded and collapsing but to receive the funding we need to stand still we a being told to run faster. The carrot is dangled just out of reach, the only chance of actually reaching it is to flog ourselves to the point of death so we can taste it only as we expire.

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  • ...and after we've been flogged to death the plan is to replace the dead ones with 6 other poor folk with 6 months training at a faction of the cost and without the knowledge to do the job - but still all the risk and responsibility all the same. Poor bast@€$ds. But so much easier to replace when they are worn out and much easier to control.

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  • All sounds very complicated. North of the Border we are all going to be working in "clusters" which is a brilliant idea, never thought of before & will clearly resolve all our problems. I have applied for funding for an orchestra to play "Abide with me" at each meeting.

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  • My observation from the other side of the globe is that governments here fund such initiatives just enough to fail. But I think you have funding just enough to create a sound bite.

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  • The money is a mirage. Reality is this for us in NI anyway. % funding has been halved from 11% to 5.5% in 12 years from 04 to 16.
    Meanwhile total face to face contacts have gone up from 4 to 6, so we now do 90% of all such contacts on the aforementioned 5.5%.
    Profit per contact has fallen from £ 12 to £ 6.
    I am sorry Dr Copperfield, the whole thing is this mirage that is always in front of you like the horizon.
    You never, ever reach it.
    But hey, yours is only one opinion. There are those much better and bigger than you who think the whole thing is a wonderful idea and there has never been a better time to be a GP.
    In fact, they have Tsars and mentors all over the country, promoting it.
    So well, who is right?

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  • the failure of our completely pathetic and incompetent politico- managerial complex is absolute and total

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  • if only the medical profession would unite and rise up as one and say..no..we will not do what you say but follow medical science and revert to a clinically led nhs;sack 80 % of managers most who are only employed servicing the lunatic garbage like the faked failed internal market commissioning and all the associated bureaucratic bollocks.
    I suspect though it will take a generation to repair the damage to the nhs done by thatcher blair brown and Cameron...

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder