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The GP recovery plan could work like magic

The GP recovery plan could work like magic

Dr Copperfield on why the GP recovery plan is an exercise in smoke and mirrors

So the not-much-anticipated ‘Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care’ lived down to expectations by being a rambling repetitive rehash of virtually everything we’ve heard before.

That said, you can only stand back in admiration at the virtuoso display of smoke and mirrors around funding commitments. There’s a ‘retargeting’ of £240 million, a ‘redirecting’ of £246 million, and, in case these diversions aren’t enough, the news that £1 billion has already been ‘retargeted’.

That’s in addition to the various quoted amounts they ‘continue to provide’, ‘continue to allocate’ and ‘commit to deliver’ (as per previous announcements).

Anyone who can work out the new money among this accountancy legerdemain deserves this tenner in my hand. That tenner that was in my hand.

Yet, if you look closely and avoid all the misdirection, there is one glimmer of hope.

Check out the ‘National GP Improvement Programme’: a commitment to fund the average practice £13,500 for three weeks to provide transitional cover ‘to clear appointment books’ in anticipation of a ‘Modern General Practice Access’ Big Bang. 

Hang on. That’s getting on for 1.5 weeks of locum cover for three weeks to help clear our backlog of appointments. That could actually be quite useful. True, we have to be experiencing ‘challenging circumstances’ (we are), selected based on need (we do)/ICB nomination (we can ask them to), and committed to extra capacity (yes, of course, for at least three weeks).

Whatever. I’m first in the queue. Even the most antiquated GP access system will give a semblance of functionality if the slate is suddenly wiped clean. And so what if we’re colluding with NHSE’s blatant attempt to ensure their Grand Access Plan is seen to succeed?

It would make a nice change being the magician’s assistant rather than the dope being duped. So pass me that white rabbit, would you?

Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Carpe Vinum 11 May, 2023 11:47 am

And these magical unicorn locums are coming from where exactly? Given that we struggle to find anyone competent or available for simple holiday cover?

Andrew Jackson 11 May, 2023 1:49 pm

This clear the backlog was trialled years ago when advance access was pushed as the solution to Tony Blair’s 48 hour target. The theory that once you have caught up then you have enough capacity going forward is an absolute fallacy.
It might allow some holidays though or cover whilst we strike.
The plan does nothing to change the system and will actually make things worse with all this BP screening. We have lost a reasonable proportion of weekly clinical time to dealing with pharmacy directed raised BPs.
We can’t see all these ill patients and find additional capacity for all this high NNT CVD risk factor treatment.
It has set the scene for what to expect in next year’s contract though.

Christine Paterson 11 May, 2023 4:55 pm

That’s approx 13 days of me working at your practice . But wait I’m already booked up for all the work I want to do in Practices that I am already familiar with so I have’nt got any extra to cover your practice . Sorry .
There are not enough GP’s . Repeat and keeping repeating till it sinks in that means any kind of GP . Locum /salaried or Partners.
Same as there were not enough lifeboats on the Titanic.

David jenkins 11 May, 2023 5:55 pm

i’d really like to help. unfortunately i’m too busy trying to sort out my appraisal. i only work two days a week – financially punitive to do more.
i qualified in 1976, and have been a gp since 1979. i was appraised a few years ago by someone who wasn’t even born when i was working – how is this going to work ?
no face to face courses to attend, and i can’t access nhs webinars from my personal email address. despite moaning since i took early retirement in 2007, they still won’t give me an nhs email address because “i’m only a locum” and therefore not a proper doctor !
i am 73, and running off one lung capacity.

so – no, not unless it is financially worth my while and i get a bit more respect from the daily wail !

David jenkins 11 May, 2023 5:56 pm

p.s. very sorry – lovely to chat, but there’s a bit of welding left to do on my 1939 wolseley 10 !

John Graham Munro 11 May, 2023 8:09 pm

All is not lost—-I had a friend with no medical qualifications at all—–he ran a G.P. surgery for 20 years, with no adverse incident—until the authorities caught up wit him

Anthony Gould 12 May, 2023 10:17 am

Yes I remember the Advanced Access card trick 🤣🤣🤣

Jamal Hussain 17 May, 2023 9:51 am

Winter is coming, it comes every year but this year its arrival will be a surprise like it only happens randomly once every one hundred years. Everything will go to shite as if no one knew it was coming and no one had prepared for it and its consequences on the system.
Whatever changes are made I will bet the tanner in my hand that come the middle of winter no one will care as it will all have gone to shite yet again.
Next year it will be the same.

Looby Loo 18 May, 2023 1:59 pm

@david – actually you CAN now get an NHS email address as a locum –

Hope that helps!

Agree – winter is going to be awful. Again.