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Independents' Day

Will GPs get a ray of sunshine this Friday?

The long-awaited fully priced new GP contract is due to be published on Friday. So why is the mood among GPs one of foreboding and gloom, rather than eager anticipation?

Despite the GPC negotiators' best endeavours to get the contract right, they have been on a wild goose chase. The fundamental problems they were trying to solve are not the priorities of the Prime Minister and his health ministers.

The contract will not solve the recruitment-retention crisis in the short- or long-term, and it won't redress GPs' excessive workload ­ the issue currently at the heart of the profession's disillusionment.

Moreover, given this Government's propensity to interfere with every aspect of GPs' working lives, the new contract ­ with all its attendant rules, regulations and quality targets ­ runs a real risk of making matters worse.

GPs are realists and do not expect miracles. But a little ray of sunshine would be welcome.

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