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GPs go forth

Why is the network deadline so tight?

Editor’s blog

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At Pulse Towers, we spend our whole days writing about the minutiae of the GP contract. We live in a world where terms like PCNs , additional roles reimbursement, and network participation payment make sense.

But being at Pulse Live this week made me realise that, for most GPs - even partners - these are far away concepts. And for good reason - they are too busy caring for patients, doing 11-hour days to pay a huge amount of attention to these vague concepts

Most of the time, that’s fine. Most years there are - in the grand scheme of things - minimal changes to the annual contract, you receive your funding, you do your work and just get more burnt out. Of course it would be great if a contract actually reduced workload, but that is a pipe dream. 

But the point about this contract is that it does make major changes. Because GPs have six weeks to join new networks by mid May. It is an incredibly tight deadline - one that Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, said is in place so practices can get all the riches on offer quicker.

There are many practices who won’t know what this means and the urgency of it (especially when funding they count on is already being moved to networks). 

This is a decision that will affect the way they work for the next five, ten, fifteen years. There are ways of funneling funding to practices before they agree their networks. So, again, why is this deadline so tight? 

They should think about pushing the deadline back - something that seems to be in fashion in Westminster right now.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at

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Readers' comments (5)

  • National Hopeless Service

    The biggest problem is going to be appointing the clinical director. Who in their right minds would want to herd cats down a blind pointless alley.

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  • Pressure selling a right royal con job,by right royal con merchants.

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  • Maybe your best 'reflection' and advice yet Jaimie?
    'The ship is going down fast but just catatonically wait and observe the insufficiency of lifeboats over-filling and then make your decision?'

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  • Please consider net profit rather than gross income when signing up to this new Network DES. The 7 new national service specs, plus the Investment and Impact Fund conditions, will need huge amounts of extra work. And check clause 7.8 about the Balancing Mechanism to reduce GP partner earnings.

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  • to me same old tactic put pressure on the profession and that will stop them rebelling against the government. Same ploy used for all workforces. same ploy as owning your own home and being tied down by a mortgage for the rest of your life. Same old same old. That's how we are all kept under strict control to obey the rulers of the kingdom by keeping you on the edge of burn out, so you have no time to think a strategic plan or have the energy to employ it. Why do you think we as a profession are so weak we are kept on or within the point of burn out. Added to this of course is the weight of the compulsory chain that is the mortgage fuelled by inflated house prices which the government must be loving. SIMPLES

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