March, 2003 - No Snippets
18 February, 2003
Publication of the proposed new GP contract
After 18 months of intensive negotiation, the BMA will publish the proposed
new GP contract on Friday 21 February 2003. A press conference will be held
at 09.30 hrs at BMA house, chaired by Dr John Chisholm, chairman of the
GPC. After the press conference, a special meeting of Local Medical
Committee representatives will be held at Congress Centre, Great Russell
Street, London to present and explain the new contract.
A press release will be issued at 09.30 hrs on Friday 21 February and this
will appear simultaneously on the BMA website. The contract itself will
also be published on the website on publication day. Initially, some of
this may be in the form of pdf links but we hope to get the text of the
contract on the web pages as soon as possible that day.
The Government's bill, which seeks to impose fines on local authorities
that fail to provide the necessary community care to prevent delayed
discharges, has its debate in committee in the next two days (17 and 18
February). The BMA is supporting amendments that would delay
implementation of the fines until at least April 2004 giving social services departments time to use the extra funding, allocated from April
2003, to increase capacity in the community.
Shortened consultant training
Rumours persist that the Department of Health plans to cut the length of
consultant training. Currently, a consultant typically has nine to 12
years postgraduate experience but this could be cut dramatically to between
five and seven years. Combined with the reductions in juniors' hours
associated with the EWTD, the JDC estimates that future consultants would
have only 13,000 hours experience on first appointment, rather than the
current 25,000. Proposals are expected to be published later this month,
to which there will be a pan-BMA response, but the JDC is issuing a
pre-emptive statement later this week warning of the threat to quality of
such a substantial reduction.
12 February, 2003
Sound bite of the week
From an American
politician following the French refusal to allow NATO member Turkey
permission to be defended by NATO: "You always know
where the French are when they want you". This recalls the
First WW, 2nd WW and Viet Nam etc.
was asked in Parliament today by Dr Liam Fox to admit that their policy
over GPs has been an "unmitigated disaster". He went on to ask
how many of the 2000 extra GPs promised by 2004 had been
recruited. Mr Hutton replied "483". Dr Fox
went on to tell the House that 28% of GPs were considering a career
change, there was an increase in vacancies of 70% since 2000 and a fall
in applications from 8.5% in 2000 to 4.4.%. Hutton snarled back
that there were 1500 more GPs than in 1997, more were in training but
more needed to be done.
Milburn was asked about
nurses, by a Labour MP how many new nurses came from the UK rather than
abroad, especially the Phillippines and South Africa.
Milburn said the UK had always recruited from the Phillippines and they
were not short of nurses. He denied using recruitment agencies
that recruited from South Africa. He denied poaching nurses
from the world.
7 February, 2003
Minutes of Leicester Division BMA
meeting of the Leicester Division of the BMA a week or two ago the
GP Contract: It is possible under the new contract GPs will opt
out of out-of-hours work. This should have happened by 2003 but
will now not be possible until 2005.
GP premises are in many
cases unsuitable but no money or opportunity is available for
change. There is also a major shortage of GPs and this jeopardises
continuity of care.. More time is spent "number
crunching" on computers and every appearing NSF increases the work.
The weakness of the contract was revealed in an address given by
Andrew Foster, the Chief Negotiator for the NHS Confederation and
Director of Human Resources at the Department of Health. He
suggested to a meeting of Chief Executives that appraisal could be used
to raise targets higher and higher and if these were not met pay would
be withheld. It was the fear of the power that managers
might have which resulted in the rejection of the contract.
4 February, 2003
At it again
It is reported in
PULSE this week that Dr Meldrum, joint deputy chairman had accused GPs
who wanted to see the alternatives to the contract as "trying to
undermine the negotiations". He went on "There have
always been some people who would like to see Plan B. We suspect
they are not as keen to reach a negotiated settlement as we are". COMMENT
31 January, 2003
Compulsory Allocations of patients
GPs are working under an intolerable workload of a four-fold increase in
forced allocations of patients. This is one area of practice
which nationally GPs hold to be a vital part of the new contract.
Yet GPC has said it may present the contract with this unsolved despite
earlier having said that it would "make or break the contract"
and "no solution to allocations, no contract".
This is one of
the inestimable Milburn's superfluous, duplicate, proscriptive,
punishment quangos. The jobsowrth in charge says that it has too
much work. No doubt several doctors believe it is advertising for
the names of doctors to punish to justify its existence. The poor
sap will fail to meet his Milburnian targets so who knows what will
happen to him. Expect a resignation soon.
In a further
attack on confidentiality, which he places little importance on, Milburn
has made it a token part of The NHS Plan that very Tom, Dick and
Harry in the NHS, Social Services and God knows where else, should have
open access to every intimate detail of every patient. Maybe it's
a good idea then we would know whether his apparent poor decision making
is due to tertiary syphilis or not. However, the PCOs are
demanding, under his influence, that GP computers should be linked to
Big Brother's computers so that every entry during every consultation
can be read by anybody. Even the lowest care worker will be able
to titter about old Mrs Bloggs' mispent youth.
30 January, 2003
Guinness Book of Records
confirmed that diabetic Tony Collins has entered the Book of Records for
the longest hospital trolley wait in the NHS. His stint in Swindon
was 77 hours and 30 minutes. He was given news after a second
wait, of 60 hours.
(Source: Northampton Chronicle & Echo Jan 29 2003).
Mind you, Milburn has now
told hospital managers that they may reclassify trolleys and even A
& E chairs as beds for the sake of statistics. It looks so
much better, don't you think?
No GPs at all
So unpleasant has
the inestimable Milburn made working in the NHS that Kettering health
bosses are combing the world to make up the shortage of 8 general
practitioners in the one small town, the biggest shortage per population
in the country. As this magazine has said before on many
occasions, the crisis would be quickly solved if Milburn was removed and
replaced by somebody with compassion, humanity and a reasonable IQ - oh,
and who has been psychometrically tested.
29 January, 2003
Performance Related Pay
The NUT recently
commissioned an investigation into Performance Related Pay in the public
services. The result was that PRP does not work. Why
then do the GPs negotiators present PRP to GPs as if it is the next best
thing to sliced bread? Are they so far out of date. Don't
17 January, 2003
What the hell...
have said that without agreement on pensions and forced allocations
there will be no contract. Yet this does not square with what
Chisholm is reported as saying this week. He does not rule out
presenting the contract to GPs without any agreement on those two vital
items. As the timetable is so tight between presentation and
vote it must be assumed that he is content for their to be a vote on the
rest before such agreement. The negotiators are deluding
themselves if they expect Milburn to carry on meaningful negotiations on
pensions etc after a YES vote on the rest. No agreement, as has
been said before, should automatically trigger a resignation
vote. Without spinning their mandate the negotiators have no
room to manoevre.
It has been suggested
that Milburn will reveal an "agreement" as late as the day of
the poll giving GPs no time for careful deliberation before
voting. This is totally unnacceptable.
GP retirement crisis
has had to admit that Milburn has made an even worse mess of keeping
doctors within the NHS than they had previously thought. The
government's National Primary Care Research and Development Centre has
reported that in England alone 7000 GPs will retire by 2007 and still
the nauseating little man continues to spin that all is
well. It should be recalled that the government has promised
an EXTRA 2000 GPs by 2004. Panic stations are being manned
in Milburnland as full page ads attempting to attract, bribe or coerce
GPs appear in newspapers in the UK and the rest of Europe. Last
year the net gain in full-time equivalents was just 18. That
huge number is unlikely to be surpassed this year.
Trust me, I'm a
and, being a
Mi9lburn I have the good of the medical profession close to my
heart. And that is why I am refusing to allow GPs to have their
full pensions before the age of 65 in future. It has nothing
whatsoever to do with the fact that I am an incompetent manager who
cannot keep medical staff without bribes or coercion. To prove
that I have increased the minimum age at which a GP can draw his
pension, from 50 to 55 by the year
has released research showing that there has been a 1,450% rise in
complaints referred to GMC since 1990. Now, nobody will be able to
convince this editor that general practice is 1,450 % worse than it was
in 1990. The staggering increase is more to do with the malevolent
machinations of Milburn and the greed of no-win-no-fee legal hacks on
behalf of equally greedy compensation seeking patients.