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No global sum reckoner in prospect

GPs will not be provided with a ready reckoner to enable them to gauge whether their practice will be a global sum winner or loser under the proposed revised formula, writes Joe Lepper.

However, the formula will be published in full at a later date. Dr Eric Rose, a GPC member and member of the formula review group, told Pulse that there would be no ready reckoner for the revised formula, although he understood why GPs would want one.

'It's just too complicated and is not something that will be available,' he said. 'I've been on the review group for two years and it still makes my head hurt.'

An NHS Employers spokesperson confirmed that the full formula would be published but not until the summer at the earliest. It will be after the consultation has been completed and a decision on the global sum made by ministers.

But GPs want more details now to help them decide whether the proposed changes should be accepted or rejected.

Dr Jonathan Munday, a GP in Westminster, said: 'This consultation is a joke. We are being asked for our views on these changes without having any idea of how it is going to affect us. Surely they could publish some more detail to help us, such as a ready reckoner. At the moment I have no idea how this will affect our practice.'

Arthur Dixon, senior manager at accountancy firm Deloitte & Touche, said: 'Having a tool like that would be very handy but I just don't see how it could be done and who would do it. It's enormously complicated so I just don't see it happening.'

Dr Peter Joliffe, Devon LMC chief officer, also wants to see details of the formula published as soon as possible. But he emphasised that GPs should consider the effect of the changes on the profession as a whole ahead of its impact on their own practice.

He said: 'The fact that they will publish it is a good thing as I'm sure there will be hidden detail. While it would be good to have an insight into this detail sooner, it shouldn't alter the principle that our decisions should be based on the effect on the profession.'

Dr David Love, a GPC member and member of the formula review group, warned that even when the full formula was published, 'I'm not sure what good it will do as you would need to know the results of everyone to understand it fully, which is impossible'.

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