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Weekly news round-up: Why are we waiting?

Why are we still waiting?

33 dr sanford wood mark power50 2017 33

33 dr sanford wood mark power50 2017 33

It is nearly the end of February and we still have not had sight of the new contract for GP practices in England for 2018/19. Normally the heads of agreement are published in November, so it is quite unusual to not have any details whatsoever at this point.

Normally, this would be a dangerous sign of ministers being intransigent in negotiations, or number 10 trying to put their sticky fingers all over it, but the mood music coming out of the GPC is that not much change is coming. Deputy chair Dr Mark Sanford-Wood gave a presentation saying that a review of QOF for 2019/20 has been agreed, and it seems that the profession is once again being offered a 1% pay rise (although the BMA is arguing for double that).

Some modicum of stability will be a relief for many GPs, particularly after the whirlwind of changes that have been made in previous years – and any pay increase is welcome. But many are not happy with the status quo either. The GP Forward View is failing to deliver meaningful change to practices – with over 80% of GPs saying their workload has worsened – and GP numbers continue to drop steadily.

More of the same may be easy, but it sure isn’t the solution.


Fits the bill

Charging patients - charges - paying - RF

Charging patients – charges – paying – RF

Source: getty images 545460084

It is perhaps a sad reflection of the current state of general practice, but a survey by Pulse shows that the vast majority of GPs would support a move to charge for non-NHS services, such as vaccinations or longer appointments.

Out of the 870 GPs responding to the survey, 79% would like to charge for services and some thought it was an ‘inevitable’ direction of the NHS. However, charges were rejected by 12% of doctors, while 9% said they didn’t know where they stood on the matter.

However, don’t start getting your price lists ready, the move – which was made BMA policy after a vote at the LMCs Conference in May last year – has met a brick wall in negotiations. NHS England is said to be ‘opposed to practices providing their patients with private minor surgery non-NHS services’. Yup, more of the same.


GMC, no mates

GMC nameplate square

GMC nameplate square

GMC nameplate square

The GMC must be feeling very lonely right now. After its handling of the Bawa-Garba case was criticised by the health secretary, the chair of the House of Commons Health Committee, GP leaders, the Academy of Royal Colleges and just about anyone else with a vague connection with the NHS, even its own regulator has weighed in with a jibe.

According to an unpublished review of the case by the regulator’s regulator – the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) – the GMC’s reason for overruling the MPTS decision to suspend, rather than strike off, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba has ‘appeared without merit given the established case law’.

The report cited a Supreme Court ruling from a separate case in 2016, which concluded that a court must approach sanctions imposed by a professional disciplinary committee with ‘diffidence’.

Perhaps this is a lesson that the GMC should take on board.


The good life

boat - fishing - village - coastal - Fife - Scotland - RF

boat – fishing – village – coastal – Fife – Scotland – RF

In their search for a part-time GP, the ‘forward thinking’ Kennoway Medical Group in Fife have really pushed out the boat.

In an ad for a new GP, they encourage a good work/life balance and ‘recent social events have included a curry night, team building afternoon in “Escape rooms”, annual BBQ and summer bus trip along the East Neuk of Fife – “booze cruise’”.

The advert also pointed out that time would be given during working hours for paperwork, with six weeks’ annual leave and one week’s study leave part of the contract.

Sold. I have no GP qualifications, but please give me the job.


Quote of the week

‘We even have a new bridge!’

Fife practice properly sells itself to new recruits