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Our GP insider's evening at number 10

To Number 10 Downing Street, where a couple of nights ago a soiree was hosted for about 100 honoured guests, and cabinet ministers mingled with the great and the good.

By Steve Nowottny

To Number 10 Downing Street, where a couple of nights ago a soiree was hosted for about 100 honoured guests, and cabinet ministers mingled with the great and the good.

Pulse's invitation, unfortunately, was lost in the post (surely that has to be the reason?), but I heard this morning from one senior GPC figure who made it onto the guest list – and it sounds as if he put the opportunity to good use.

Having first hobnobbed Gordon Brown's deputy Harriet Harman (‘she said she fully agreed with me'), our insider in Westminster made a beeline for health minister Ben Bradshaw, who was reportedly on good form.

Mr Bradshaw apparently blamed the press – surely he can't mean Pulse? – for whipping up dissension between the GPC and the Government, and said he was keen to mend fences where possible (the GPC's angry response over the proposed QOF shake-up will be dealt with ‘delicately and sensitively', he promised).

All in all, my GPC contact reports, a very positive chat, and he was impressed by Mr Bradshaw's apparent willingness to engage with GPs. 'The mood was: things are not right, morale is down, and the relationship with the GPC and BMA should be a lot better than what it is,' he said.

But he had one final question to ask Mr Bradshaw.

What about the Government's insistence that every PCT should procure a polyclinic, he asked. What about Tuesday's report from the Health Select Committee, which said it was ‘not convinced' that all PCTs needed a new GP-led health centre, and argued the project should have been piloted first?

All press spin, replied Mr Bradshaw again. We have no intention of fragmenting or destabilising general practice.

To which the man from the GPC came back with the perfect retort.

‘I said let's go to talk to Kevin,' he said, spying Health Select Committee chairman Kevin Barron MP across the room. Mr Bradshaw apparently demurred.

‘He knew he was on a sticky wicket on that.'

What did our GP contact get up to at number 10 on Wednesday night? What did our GP contact get up to at number 10 on Wednesday night? Our GP contact

Bradshaw knew he was on a sticky wicket with the polyclinics report.

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