Editorial: Give and take of the new GP contract

What a difference a year makes. In December 2012, GP reported how GP leaders had warned that the government had failed to consider the impact on GP practices of plans to impose changes to the GMS contract.

This year, the first with Dr Chaand Nagpaul replacing Dr Laurence Buckman as GPC chairman, a deal has been reached for 2014/15, a full four months ahead of the contract actually starting.

Is the deal any good? Well, we've a variety of opinions in this fortnight's edition of GP, including health minister Lord Howe's, GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey's and, of course, your thoughts (Your views, page 40), but it would be fair to say that the overwhelming thrust is positive. For more views on the new GP contract, go to gponline.com/opinion

This, of course, is the deal for England. Keep an eye on our website, GPonline.com, for contract news in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The England deal has also been good news for the coalition government, which has been able to tell the media that GP earnings will be published (The Times splash, although it's probably a little early to be quite so bold) and that practice boundaries will be abolished, enabling greater patient choice (Daily Mail splash).

Whether the government's change in attitude is indicative of the realisation that the 2015 election is fast approaching and GP goodwill is a necessity if its NHS reforms are to be successful is debatable. But government/GP relations do appear to be improving.

The biggest cliche about the secret of a long and happy marriage? Give and take. Whether the government has taken more than it has given, in this instance, is as yet unclear, but that's perhaps the best way to characterise the 2014/15 new GMS contract deal, with its recycling of lost QOF points and funding, and named GPs.

Our snapshot online poll of GPs, however, found that only 34% thought it was a good deal. Let us know what you think of the new contract by emailing GPletters@haymarket.com

Will the government's relationship with GPs be as harmonious in 2015/16 - or heading for divorce?

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