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Anxiety, apprehension… and what about ‘Billy-no-mates’ practices?

By Gareth Iacobucci

Pulse reporter By Gareth Iacobucci listens to the hopes and fears of grassroots GPs as they meet to discuss the Government's plans for GP consortia

Promised a unique chance to gauge the mood of the profession in the aftermath of the Government's NHS white paper, Pulse last week sat in on the first of four NHS Alliance and RCGP joint workshops, offering delegates a safe space to voice their hopes and fears for the brave new world of GP commissioning.

The event - attended by a mixed bag of GPs, practice managers, NHS bosses and other interested parties - aimed to generate sparky, grassroots feedback for the Government's consultation on its white paper.

But for the most part, an air of uncertainty hung over the room, with general support for the proposals perforated by anxieties about the details.

There were loud calls for clarity on management allowances, the size of GP consortia, and the legacy of PCT deficits. There was widespread anger and bafflement over plans for maternity services - and also warnings of potential tension between consortia and what were charmingly referred to as ‘Billy-no-mates' practices. Naming no names obviously.

A common view expressed was that there isn't yet enough detail to truly understand the implications of what is being proposed. The message to the secretary of state appeared to be clear: ‘Please Mr Lansley, can we have some more..?'

With a second workshop held in Wetherby this week, and two more to be held in Newbury and Leicester, the hope is that GPs and other key players can cook up some fruitful discussion for the DH to chew over.

But one particularly cynical wag was not so sure, as he mused: ‘I think we're going to end up with rotten tomatoes.'

Food for thought, Mr Lansley.

By Gareth Iacobucci is a Pulse reporter.

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