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Hancock’s comments betray the truth behind networks

I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Hancock doesn’t understand the furore surrounding his comments in Parliament. After all, saying the Government should try and get value for money when it comes to the NHS seems pretty uncontroversial.

But this completely misunderstands the state of general practice. First, general practice is already incredibly efficient and it is bordering on insulting to suggest it is not value for money.

But second, the point of networks should be to save a profession that is in the midst of a crisis. In this context, value for money should be judged on whether general practice stays afloat, not whether care homes are getting weekly visits.

Value for money should be judged on whether general practice stays afloat

If networks are able to stabilise general practice – and I am dubious about whether they can – this will take years. Once we have reduced waiting times, made sure GPs aren’t working 13 hours a day, practices are only closing because they are moving to far better premises and GP numbers are actually rising, then we can start talking about offering extra services.

But Mr Hancock’s comments seem to suggest that the truth behind networks is they are another way of shoving more services on to GPs. As if we were ever in doubt.

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