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Pulse checker: Winter fund applicants face Wordle-style rules, and Gove to ‘level down’ general practice


Pulse Checker


£250m winter funding to be accessed through Wordle clues

NHS England is to team up with Wordle to tighten up eligibility for its £250m winter access fund.

Healthcare managers believed they had made the process sufficiently complex when they announced the fund as part of the general practice ‘support package’.

But they realised more stringent rules were needed when some practices were able to jump through all the hoops, leaving little reason to turn down their bids.

Instructions for accessing the funds will now be hidden, with practices having to guess one word at a time and being told which letters are in the correct position as they play.

An NHS England spokesperson told Pulse Checker: ‘We thought this would be a great way for GPs to show off their quizzing skills, while ensuring as little of the fund as possible is allocated. 

‘The instructions are 20 pages long, and, to keep it authentic, we will be publishing a single word a day.’


General practice should level down, says Gove 

The Government has announced a policy for ‘levelling down’ general practice as part of a plan to save Boris Johnson.  

At the launch of the ‘levelling up’ white paper, minister Michael Gove told Pulse Checker there would be a separate strategy for general practice.  

‘We know patients want GP services to be consistent across the country. We looked at the possibility of “levelling up” services, putting more funding in deprived areas that need it most and supporting the most vulnerable.  

‘But we know GPs are never satisfied and will still grumble that “you’ve only reduced my working hours from 13 to 11” and “you’ve cut all mental health services”.  

‘A “levelling down” approach means everyone will get the same service and, importantly, funds will be freed up for the Prime Minister  to bribe Red Wall MPs.’ 

Mr Gove reassured GPs they’d see no difference. ‘There’ll be no change. We’ve pursued this policy for 12 years, after all.’  


Let’s replace GPs with vets

Pulse Checker columnist and private orthopaedic consultant Dr K Terrier-Morris has a solution to the workforce crisis in the NHS.

All one hears these days is GPs bleating on about how hard life is. ‘Ooh, we have to work 13-hour days’, ‘we are treating more patients with fewer GPs than ever’, ‘the Government uses us as a convenient scapegoat for years of austerity’, and similar nonsense. 

Well, I have news for you. You don’t know how easy you have it compared with us private consultants. When you have to see a patient you dislike, you can finish with them in 10 minutes. I have to spend an hour with mine. Your patients expect you to turn up dishevelled and stressed, whereas anything less than the finest Savile Row suit will have me blackballed from The Burlingham quicker than you can say Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. 

And whereas you get to choose your patient list, we are having NHS patients thrust upon us just to help clear the waiting list backlog that you created with your incessant referrals, and we are barely being paid above our normal consultation fees to deal with them. 

Anyway, it is time to make a stand and, as a senior male consultant, I feel I am (always) the right person to step in. So I have a solution. Why not get vets to do the job of GPs? Treating a single species will be child’s play for them, they’re experienced in dishing out antibiotics and, having already worked with animals, they’ll be comfortable with patients who wear ‘trackies’ and refer to supper as ‘tea’ without shuddering. They’ll  be able to get through your waiting lists in no time. 

And after all, Dr Dolittle is a rather apt name for a GP. 

This article originally appeared in the Telegraph. Dr Terrier-Morris wishes to make it clear he was paid an obscene amount of money for this column