Thursday, 9 January 2014

Minister to Re-negotiate the G.P. Contract

"This will give doctors more time for doctors to spend with their patients"

Minister Drakeford provided BBC Radio with his ( vague ) intentions of agreeing a new contract with our G.P.s.  I was asked to comment by Oliver Hyde as to what we wanted from our GP ( ? ).
Having listened to the Minister - as far as was possible - he stated that the main objective of this work-in-progress was to keep people out of hospital beds and especially from cluttering up AandE departments with their frivolous requests for healthcare.  He also meandered on about; nurse practitioners instead of doctors being a positive step forward, whilst establishing a relationship between the patient and the practice, as opposed to depending on seeing the same doctor.

He then rambled on about practices working in clusters so that patients might not only be unable to see a doctor of their choice but may be required to see an unknown doctor from another practice. It was agreed that, perhaps, a phone-call from the doctor to the patient would help determine the seriousness of the ailment, necessitating the request to be seen by a doctor.

[ I pause here to explain (In layman's terms ) that the GPs already have a contract that was agreed with them four years ago by the incompetent Local Health Boards, who paid them lots more money for less work ( eg no Out of Hours, no minor injuries, and only four days a week). Now, it seems that our government - in the form of Prof. Drakeford - want the GPs to do more work for the same money ( or less ), that might have them opening from 8.00am until 8.00pm, seven days a week.  Of course, the GPs have their contract already, so why would they want to agree to re-negotiate this when they aren't told the extent to which they will be worked ? Legally, the Gps could tell the minister to "get stuffed", unless any new contract is specifically detailed in advance and that they will get more money ( if and when they are dull enough to agree new terms ). ]

To me, there seems to be a boat-load of trust required by the GPs to enable them to formally agree ANYTHING with the minister, especially in the absence of any detail. Let's look at their point of view - Would you buy a used car from Mark Drakeford ?  No? - well how can we expect our hard working GPs to agree anything with a man with a history of unfulfilled promises ?

The minister continued his declarations in fluent Klingon, saying that he is deducting 300 points from the GPs target, but didn't explain what they were.  He assured us that this act would 'in one  Fell Swoop allow the doctor more patient time instead of imposing the maximum 10 minute appointment length.  Some requirements from N.I.C.E ( National Institute of Clinical Excellence ) were not deemed to be necessary, which should add even more free time for the doctor to be with his/her patient.

It was pointed out that the surgeries were limited on diagnostic equipment  X-Ray, Scanners etc.. but no response was given to this important point.

In conclusion, my opinion is that the Minister would be seeking an open-ended contract that would enable him and/or the government to make more changes by further revision to the contract.  So, I feel that this newly negotiated contract will not be worth the papyrus it would be written upon. I'd go so far as to say that this continues the Minister's stupid plans and demonstrates that his word isn't worth trusting, even for a second ! R.W.

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