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GPs go forth

Here's hoping 2020 brings another Hancock app

Dr Pete Deveson 

By the time you read this, it will be the 2020s, and you’ll be enjoying what, if you were born in the 1970s like me, is the sixth decade you’ve lived in. (Sorry, as soon as I heard that fact, I had to inflict it on everyone else.)

But what delights can we expect from Season 6, Episode 1 of this shark-jumping box set in which you’re now too invested to abandon?

As usual, this is the list of what I think is going to happen, not what I’d like to happen – otherwise it’d go like ‘January 1st: Awaken from a curious nightmare, and breathe a sigh of relief when I remember that Britain exists happily under Emperor Lineker’s benign dictatorship, whose central tenet is that upper respiratory tract infection is a self-limiting illness for which no one would ever dream of consulting a doctor on pain of banishment.

Sorry, but that ship has sailed, and we’re headed for choppier waters instead.

Can’t go over a tax threshold if you don’t earn enough to pay tax

The Conservative manifesto pledged to ‘overhaul NHS screening and use new technology and mobile screening services to prevent ill health’.

What do you get if you combine genomic testing, artificial intelligence and Dominic Cummings? Why, it’s Matt Hancock’s new app Gattacr™, which will allocate a personal health budget according to your DNA profile. The implementation of this service will mysteriously eat up the whole of the much-heralded £350m-a-week Brexit dividend.

In happier news, the Government will deliver the promised 6,000 new GPs. Well, if you read the small print, it’s actually ‘6,000 new doctors in general practice’, which means the headcount will now include: GP registrars; random FY2s unwillingly rotating through on their way to Australia; patients in to collect their Med3s for long-term burnout; pictures of doctors in the waiting room magazines; Dr Scholl sandals; cans of Dr Pepper; and the ghosts of your predecessors.

This is what’s known as ‘skill mix’.

This unprecedented increase in personnel will have another welcome upside, as the reduced workload it brings will justify long-deserved pay cuts across the board, thus solving in one fell swoop the GP pension crisis.

Can’t go over a tax threshold if you don’t earn enough to pay tax, can you? Genius.

Happy New Year everyone!

Dr Pete Deveson is a GP in Surrey

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