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Our guest for the week is causing a bit of a stir

Guest editor Dr Sam Everington has done his job by provoking debate within the profession. Now it's over to you

By Richard Hoey

Guest editor Dr Sam Everington has done his job by provoking debate within the profession. Now it's over to you

We've spent the last month or so at Pulse working with Dr Sam Everington, formerly deputy chair of the BMA and this week's guest editor of the magazine.

It's been a great deal of fun on a personal level and interesting on a professional one too.

Guest editors give Pulse a fresh, and close to the coalface, perspective on general practice. They also allow us to do stories we might not normally have covered.

Some of this week's issue is straightforward rabble-rousing stuff, such as the extraordinary finding that PCT management salary costs have leapt by a quarter in just two years, just as GP pay has been frozen.

But let's be honest, this week's story about the stark variations in expenses-to-earnings ratios at different practices isn't exactly mainstream Pulse.

Some of our readers have already queried the reliability of our figures.

A few may even be asking what we're doing putting out a story that could place some GPs in a bad light – even if only a small minority – by suggesting they are not investing sufficiently in their services.

My response would be that when you have serious figures in general practice, of the standing of Dr Everington and Dr Michael Dixon, arguing this is an issue the profession needs to address, it's essential we cover it.

The argument Dr Dixon puts in our debate this week is that only by embracing transparency – and by publishing practice accounts – will GPs overcome the scepticism so successfully stoked by the likes of the Daily Mail.

It's an argument I find quite persuasive, although Dr Krishna Korlipara is quite right to point out that there are so many variables in any practice's accounts – from its contract to its premises to the seniority of its staff – that it would be very difficult to publish any information the public would find useful.

But in any case, Dr Everington's issue will hopefully have provoked a much wider debate within the profession about how to encourage future funding of general practice, and that is at least part of the point of having a guest editor.

It's something we'd like to repeat next year, not only with a couple more box-office draws, but also with someone from the grassroots, who may not be a GP name, but does have a passion for general practice and a message to get across.

If that's you, we'd like to hear from you. Follow this link for a brief explanation of what being a guest editor entails, and you could be setting our agenda for a week.

By Richard Hoey, Pulse editor

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