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Real budgets, real headache

Practical Commissioning editor, Sue McNulty, grapples with the subject of real budgets and hopes it doesn't all end in tears

I am trying to put together the next edition of Practical Commissioning which is going to focus on real budgets.

If I were being dramatic I would say tears, tantrums and laughter have gone into this edition.

It hasn't quite been that bad, but if there were a swear box on my desk it would be having a good month.

The problem is everyone is saying different things. The basic definition of what is a real budget isn't even clear. One contributor was adamant he was handling a real budget but the model entails absolutely no risk whatsoever on the part of the GPs involved.

In desperation I phoned a contact who took the call, ironically, in the middle of a discussion with some academics on the very subject of real budgets.

I explained that some people were saying they have a real budget even when there is no risk involved.

He gave a little laugh and said "that's exactly the same conversation we've just been having here today".

Others have lamented how the Conservatives are always talking about real budgets but have actually said very little about how this will or won't affect practice profits and so spelt out the risks involved.

My writers are demoralised (no tears audible) as all their copy has been sent back with question marks over it.

Anyway I'm not giving up on the real budgets focus on – even though some in the office have suggested I should. (Has my mood been that bad?)

Thankfully Dr James Kingsland, national PBC clinical network lead has thrown me a quote to pull all the differing views together.

‘To those who say they have a real budget without any financial risk I would say; add on the end of the sentence the word ‘yet'.'

Glad to have you on board James. Read the results of our efforts in the April edition of Practical Commissioning out on the 28th.

Editor, Sue McNulty Editor, Sue McNulty