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There’s a lot to digest in the new contract, and there’s obviously more to come. So reactions at this early stage are going to be more emotional than rational. Then again, GPs are good at gut reaction, it serves us well in the day-job. And I have to say, contract-wise, my personal GI reflex is definitely dyspeptic.
Yes, there are some good bits. Though there is so much smoke and mirrors that, while I’m cautiously accepting some cash in one hand, I’m nervously checking my credit cards with the other.
But. In fact, lots of buts. So many, in fact, they will have to spill into other columns and blogs. And the biggest is that gut reaction. Frankly, for me, it’s a queasy mix of clear defeat and vague insult.
Defeat because there is nothing in the document about controlling workload, the single most significant issue facing GPs today. Remember those halcyon days when the GPC was going to negotiate some kind of tap on the torrent of endless tasks and appointments? This contract is a tacit admission that it simply cannot be done.
The other defeatist admission is that GPs can be conjured up in adequate numbers. Not now, maybe not ever. Instead, the solution is to throw other staff at us in an illusion of help – staff chosen because they’re available and will make pleasing headlines, and if you think I’m making that up, check out P11, 1.8, (i) and (iv).
And insult? Listen. I already belong to two proto-networks, both involving legal agreements, one employing a pharmacist and quite probably neither fulfilling the contract network criteria. So, for starters, we’ve got to unpick that little lot. Then we’re going to have to choose and agree new network partners, solve the Rubik’s cube of geography, define and agree the legalities, sign everyone up, decide who’ll get the funding and appoint a lead. By 15th May 2019.
This is a joke. I have a full time job. I’m busy. Too busy. Workload, remember? Setting an insane deadline shows that, not only has the workload issue been ignored, it’s still not taken seriously.
I feel defeated even before I’ve begun. And dyspepsia? Frankly, I need a bucket.