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Has the 2014 GP contract wiped the scowl from my face?

It has been a while since my last blog, a consequence of not wishing to sound resolutely negative in every post. But after a period of reflection, which was topped by the announcement last Friday with the contract announcements for 2014/15, I am back at the keyboard.

So is the announcement enough for me to wipe the scowl from my face and begin to see the sun through the clouds?

Well, I suppose it is not nearly as bad as it could be. I cannot really comment on the clinical side, but financially, the monies that are being ‘lost’ are being ploughed back into other services.

Clearly, the unplanned admissions enhanced service is well-funded but will require a lot of work. An average practice taking on all that is on offer will have extra funding of around £7,000 while a practice choosing not to do the unplanned admissions enhanced service will lose approximately £16,000.

The missing link here, and what we need to know, is how the new global sum is going to be allocated to GPs. Will it cover the deprivation currently funded by MPIG? On the positive side, there is now a commitment that the loss of MPIG will be recycled into global sum, so the loss expected may not be that serious. But we need to know how this will work.

I suppose it is a shame that seniority pay will go, although we have it until 2020. The details say the seniority pool must reduce by 15% per annum, but with GPs retiring  - who would have had the larger seniority payments - there may be enough money in the pool for seniority to be paid in full until 2020.

A rather odd requirement is for GPs to publish their earnings. A working party will be established to agree how to define this, but it will be limited to core profits. I suppose an advantage will be that the myths perpetuated by papers such as the Daily Mail can be properly countered.

So, I am sitting here nodding thoughtfully, but the smile (if there is one;  sorry – I mean of course there will be one) will only break out once we find out how the global sum will work in practice.

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