Dr Zara Aziz: The 2017/18 GP contract is no more than a sticking plaster

I started this year on a positive note. So what if the temperature barely registered above freezing and the kids took it in turns to bring home germs from hell which then latched onto my chest like the phlegmy monster from the cough mixture advert?

My new year's resolutions still held strong. I was going to have a better work-life balance no matter what it took.

Third week into my hacking cough, and my resolve was beginning to fail. My husband hinted at pneumonia or at least a post nasal drip and I began to panic.

I picked up the phone to call the GP for an appointment. Not to be awkward or anything, but I was only able to get to the surgery between the hours of 12 and 3. The receptionist gave me short shrift and I was too embarrassed to argue. I settled myself down with some Covonia.

And that would have been the end of it except that my indemnity renewal letter landed through the letter box and restarted my coughing fit. I was now paying just under £6,000 as a half-time GP partner. I remember the days of indemnity of £900 as a GP retainer in 2008.

Going through the new GP contract for 2017/18 offered little consolation. It made a tiny gesture of 'yes we feel your pain and here's a sticking plaster - don't hold your breath for any Calpol'.

The admissions avoidance enhanced service in its current form is on its way out - and good riddance, I thought, aware of all the care plans awaiting completion on my desk at work.

However the idea that we will now be the border police scanning passports and EHICs seemed unbelievable at best.

But had I really expected anything else?

Is the new GP contract likely to resurrect general practice? No. But I had hoped that it would not tip the Titanic any further. And although it has not done that yet, I suspect that the status quo will just not be good enough. It feels too little too late.

  • Dr Aziz is a GP in Bristol

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