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Welcome to the new world of general practice

The revolution starts now. Finally. After three years of new dawns, delays and black days, most GPs will start work under the new GMS contract on April 1.

The pros and cons of the deal have been analysed ad nauseum.

Backers hail the end of out-of-hours, a potential quality pay bonanza and record investment in the infrastructure of general practice. Knockers revile a shift towards tick-box medicine, more bean counting and the failure to take from the rich and give to the poor. But whatever your standpoint, the contract marks a seismic change.

The quality and outcomes framework, for example, is the biggest health care improvement experiment ever undertaken.

It is understandable that GPs, as the guinea-pigs in this clinical trial, should feel anxious about what their future holds.

Certainly the coming year promises to be chaotic and difficult. Implementation has been too hasty, enhanced services are a mess and uncertainty over out-of-hours arrangements abounds.

But looking further ahead there are opportunities for GPs to reduce their workload and improve their quality of service and quality of life.

We believe GPs will make a success of this contract, for themselves and their patients.

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