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A grade C-section for effort

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This may be the busiest time in the year for news. Conferences are in full swing, which always brings outlandish promises and statements from politicians (and truly, horribly embarrassing attempts to connect with voters).

It’s around this time of the year that reviews get published, such as the interim findings from the review of the partnership model from Dr Nigel Watson. There are also deadlines for commissioners, such as rolling out seven-day access across England from 1 October – despite a lack of appetite from the public for extended access. And that’s without even mentioning the advertising watchdog scolding Babylon.

But let’s face it, there is only one story any GP is talking about right now – the proposal from NHS Oxfordshire CCG that the local trust’s maternity services might be saved by training GPs to do… C-sections. Yes, you read that right.

First off, let me say it is highly unlikely to happen. It was one of nine options and the CCG has already distanced itself from the suggestion post-publication. It said: ‘Out of respect to those who suggested this option, it has been included at this early stage (before shortlisting) for completeness’ – about as damning as a CCG statement will get.

It’s an extension of the thinking that gaps in secondary care can be plugged by a bottomless well of GPs

But there is a reason this story has generated so much interest from GPs – because it is actually believable. It’s an extension of the current thinking that the gaps in secondary care provision can be plugged by a bottomless well of GPs ready to step in. It is the same attitude that drives the Government to persist with extended access, despite the fact general practice is unable to cope with routine weekday care as it stands. It is the same attitude that is trying to put more and more specialised care in the hands of GPs – despite the massive patient safety implications.

This particular proposal may be dead in the water. But it is indicative of a dangerous strain of thought among commissioners right now.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at