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There might yet be some horse-trading to come on the new GP contract

OMG. Now this has gone too far. Apparently, Ikea is withdrawing its meatballs after they were found to be contaminated with horse meat. But those meatballs are the only reason I ever visit Ikea. How am I supposed to furnish my home now that an interminable trek through one of their stores can’t be rewarded with my favourite Scandinavian savoury snack?

And what next? Horsemeat contaminating fish and chips? Horsemeat contaminating consultations? Horsemeat contaminating horses?

In fact, to backpedal for a moment, there is some horse-based contamination of the consultation already. Ah yes, that’ll be all the horses**t we have to wade through before we get anywhere near what the patient has actually come about, and which has been grumped on about in this, and other, blogs ad nauseam.

It looks like it’s going to get worse, of course. We continue to be squeezed by a government still seeking retribution at what it perceives to have been an uber-generous historical contract. Quite when it will realise we’re spent, pips and all, I’m not sure. But maybe patients could point out that they’re caught in the crush, too – and that in the push to make GPs do more and more of what politicians want, we’re actually providing less and less of what patients need.

Perhaps, between the government and our mighty leaders, there might yet be some sensible horse trading to reach a reasonable compromise on the revised contract, particularly given the current climate of anguished hand wringing post Mid-Staffs. And failing that, maybe they could just chuck Ikea meatballs at each other.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.