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Independents' Day

Yet more bad luck casts doubt on GP negotiators' judgment

The quality Napoleon valued more than any other in his generals was that they should be lucky. It didn't matter how skillful they were, if they weren't lucky they weren't up to the job.

It's beginning to look as if the GPC negotiators fail the Napoleon test.

Take the episode of the new ready reckoner. 'Tested to destruction' by GPC joint-deputy chair Dr Simon Fradd, it was delivering some good news for once ­ big income rises for a significant number of GPs ­ when it was abruptly removed from the BMA website because it had erroneously awarded all practices London weighting.

The negotiators blamed the Department of Health, claiming it had fiddled with the reckoner without telling them, but who is to blame is not really the point.

The point is that something always seems to go wrong with this contract, either with its presentation, its content or the timescale involved. 'I was almost in tears when the problem was revealed,' said Dr Fradd. Tearful leaders do not inspire confidence.

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