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Networks will be great! (As long as you don’t like seeing patients)

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I have today proposed a series of (non-binding) indicative votes to help us towards the development of our primary care network (known hereafter as PCN). Quite what outcome this will bring remains to be seen, but time is short. Our initial deadline was to have this confirmed by the start of the new contract, but it seems we have been allowed an extension and the timetable is now a little blurred, but we will press on undeterred.

From reading the press, you could have been led to believe that our new contract (the best, and only contract on offer), and the (non-compulsory) PCNs that form a central part of that have been received with great acclaim. We can rest in the knowledge that primary care is safe, and saved for the future by the latest iteration of our five year plan/contract/primary care organisation/deckchairs on the Titanic, etc etc.

Signed your lives away with gay abandon to the poorly performing practice down the road

No doubt you will all have read the contract, attended the roadshows, and signed your lives away with gay abandon to the poorly performing practice down the road. If you have, then you can kick back, have a cup of tea and enjoy your pooled resources to enable you to have just one answering machine delivering the same message to 30,000 patients (possibly more, possibly even less in some circumstances, as yet to be decided) that there are still no appointments available, as all the clinicians are at some meeting trying to decide on a clinical director and what to actually do with their day other than see patients.

If you haven’t signed up yet – what’s stopping you? Here’s my guide to indicative voting and the way forward:

1. Does your practice have more than 30,000 patients?

Yes – Relax, the CCG/NHSE will donate you some extras anyway, like it or not.

No – The CCG/NHSE will facilitate if you haven’t got any mates.

2. Is life too short?

Yes – Stick your head in the sand, pick up a blue passport and retire.

No – This is your time. This whole scenario was designed for you.

3. Do you enjoy seeing patients?

Yes – tough times ahead.

No – party time.

4. Do you like meetings?

Yes – sign up now.

No – Your type are not wanted round here.

5.Have you joined a WhatsApp group devoted to PCN discussion?

Yes – *!@%$

No – Stick to the cat videos.

6. Will PCNs still be a thing when Brighton win the FA Cup?

Yes – But that’s only two months away.

No – They might not win it for two years.

Oh well, good luck and enjoy the ride.

Dr Richard Cook is a GP partner in West Sussex. You can follow him on Twitter @drmoderate