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