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Something for nothing

I have news for those of you who complain that every headline about general practice is doom, gloom and despondency. Good news.

Because, first, Jeremy Hunt apparently has no problems with GP’s earning an honest wage – and as he’s promising more resources for primary care, then it seems our favourite health secretary might actually be speaking from an orifice built for that purpose.

And, second, according to the GPC, the much trumpeted ‘named clinician scheme’ will not be onerous for GPs. Why? Because the specific named clinician scheme requirements require us to:

            ‘1 Take lead responsibility for ensuring that all appropriate services required under the contract with the practice are delivered to the patient

            2 Where required, based on the professional judgement of the named GP, work with relevant associated health and social care professionals to deliver a multidisciplinary care package that meets the needs of the patient

            3 Ensure that the physical and psychological needs of the patient are recognised and responded to by the relevant clinicians in the practice

            4 Ensure that the patient has access to a health check if requested, which is already a requirement of the GP contract regulations.’

So, to take those in order,

            1 I do that already

            2 Ditto

            3 Durrr, ditto

            4 Oh, OK, didn’t realise that, but I didn’t realise that was already a contractual requirement, either, and the fact that I didn’t realise that suggests it’s not going to make any difference.

For all of this we get an extra £5 per patient.  And for those of you about to splutter with reflex indignation over a pathetic fiver per punter I’d emphasise that, yes, it’s a fiver per patient (not per patient over 75, as many have misinterpreted). A fiver per patient for doing 1-4 above, which we’ve already demonstrated is what we’re doing already.

In other words – and this is not a sentence I’ve been able to use for years – the idea is that we get paid for nothing. And about sodding time, too, because we are thoroughly fed up with working harder to earn the same or working the same to earn less.

So hooray and two cheers for Mr Hunt. Two cheers? Well, yes. Without wanting to add to the ranks of the doom, gloom and despondency-mongers, I should point out that, while the need to have a name clinician is a contractual requirement, the reward of a fiver is rather less concrete.

Because, according to the NHS England website: ‘CCGs…will be expected to provide additional funding … This funding should be at around £5 per head of population for each practice, which broadly equates to £50 for patients aged 75 and over.’

Yes, that’s ‘expected to provide’ and ‘should be’. But that nice Mr Hunt has promised the money, hasn’t he?  So that’s OK, then. Orifice depending.