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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Out-of-hours deal 'poisoned chalice'

The more that is revealed of the out-of-hours deal the more of a poisoned chalice it seems.

DrSimonFraddhas calculated the cost to his own practice as near £10,000 per doctor, significantly more than we were told. We also learn it is a one-way ticket ­ we cannot go back and resume out-of-hours control. How on earth did he of all people not know?

A big and rarely stated side-effect of giving up out of hours is the effect on pensions. If the cost is as high as suggested the loss of pension cannot be less than 10-20 per cent ­ a hugely significant amount for a young doctor starting their career.

Politically I feel very strongly that surrendering control over the care of our patients for 65 per cent of the week is a serious weakening of the position of primary care. The rest of what we do could be carved up by a malevolent government and it is highly questionable whether in the long term our pay levels could be sustained for 'just supervising chronic care and a bit of minor illness'. I speak as one approaching retirement and who well understands the burdens of out of hours. Retaining control is not the same as doing the work Am I the only one to feel this? I smell a very good lemming migration this year

Dr Hubert Messing


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