#weekinreview - 23 March

A glance back over this week's primary care news, opinion, top tweets and best gaffes.


This week GP revealed exclusively that the DH has been forced to delay practice boundary pilots agreed as part of the 2012/13 GMS contract.


Top 5 articles this week

1. Exclusive: deal to pay practices for taking on hospital outpatient appointments

2. What the budget means for gps: local pay bargaining, personal allowance and tax changes

3. Exclusive: bma cancels pensions roadshows and postpones industrial action detail release

4. GPs react to health bill passage through lords

5. Exclusive: DH forced to delay practice boundary abolition pilots



Retired GP and chairman of the Medical Practitioners’ Union Dr Ron Singer (@DrRonSinger) fears GPs will leave the NHS at the mercy of private firms:

Sir John Oldham (@SirJohnOldham), GP and the DH’s national clinical lead (quality and productivity) for England, tweeted, perhaps a little wearily:

North Yorkshire's Clive Peedell (@cpeedell), 'co-chairman NHS Consultants' Association, BMA Council, BMA Political Board, consultant clinical oncologist, stereotactic body radiotherapy', re-evoked images of consultants sending GPs Christmas cards:

#weekinreview favourite Kirkby-in-Furness GP Dr Arabella Onslow (@DrBellyButton) was indulging in a last-minute guilty pleasure we can all appreciate:




Pondering how on earth the Health Bill has (almost) become law? Lansley genius and a perfect storm of fortunate outside factors. Obviously. So argues Mike Birtwistle (@MBirty), managing director of the communications agency MHP Health Mandate. He blogs:

So how did it happen that we (nearly) have the Health and Social Care Act?  I am struck, not by the headwind that has faced Andrew Lansley – and we should be in no doubt that these are his reforms, rather than the Government’s – but by the extraordinary beneficence of circumstance which has greeted him.

'First, the Bill would not have made it to the verge of an Act had it not been for the Coalition.  It was the Coalition which has given the Government a stable majority in the Commons, and enough voting feet in the Lords to go through the lobbies.  The Liberal Democrats may hate it, but this Act will reach the statute book because of them. A wafer-thin Conservative majority – given the number of Conservative MPs who are either downright hostile to Number 10, openly sceptical about the benefits the reforms would bring, or even privately contemptuous of the role of a taxpayer-funded NHS – would have evaporated as the Bill reached its endgame.  With a Conservative-only Government, the Act may never have made it.'


#weekinreview favourite, former GP and now Devon MP Dr Sarah Wollaston @drwollastonmp explains how GPs are at the heart of Health Bill reforms and don’t want to privatise the NHS. Just improve it. She blogs:

Some of the shameless shroud waving that has been taking place is an insult to those who have spent the past year developing better pathways of care for their patients. These doctors need clarity and a legal footing for their clinical commissioning groups.

Frankly I do not know any GPs who want to 'privatise' the NHS and since they are the ones who will be referring patients and commissioning their care, how would it happen without them doing so? GPs do not want to destabilise their local hospitals but might like to be able to sideline services which are failing their patients. There are many charities and social enterprises who might be able to provide a service that actually serves.'


  • Abi Rimmer’s (@abi_rimmer) coverage from the Northern Ireland LMCs conference Sunday 25 March.
  • There will be no 4 April edition of GP. Stay tuned to GPonline.com for all the latest news, as it happens.

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