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Tuesday 27 September 2016
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How will primary care fare this year?

And so another year ends, and another begins.

We're still no nearer to putting the first reclaimed brick down on a new (old) build. The meetings with vole/bat/stick-insect specialists open up a new can of worms each time as we strive to resurrect a derelict building into a new surgery. I understand that some people enjoy meetings – the poor, misguided souls.

The swine-flu pandemic hasn't in my view been too much of a drain on us. We've dished out a few hundred jabs as patients have been identified according to Department of Health guidelines. This process continues into the new year.

A more taxing issue during December was the mad dash to accommodate the annual leave that had been accrued and not used during the year. I'm not a bitter man, but l had spaced my annual leave fairly equally throughout the year. So December turned nightmarish as we found ourselves 500 appointments short of our usual availability for that week. Once again, I'm not a bitter man but I will pay a heavy price – I plan to save my annual leave this year until December.

At the moment this seems a good idea, but I may need to re-evaluate this plan on 11 January, when we have another of our greatly anticipated away days scheduled. This involves other halves dragged from home and we will all be doing a ghost walk around the local haunted city. It was either a ghost walk or laser battles.

We are paired into working parties for the away day. I'm paired with one of our salaried doctors, who has offered to do our presentation. He has some good ideas, which we intend to thrash out in the pub after work on Friday. I just hope that my cynicism doesn't dampen his enthusiastic approach. But my sceptical attitude should change this year. I'm 39, so by my next birthday I will be middle-aged and happy!

I am looking forward to the year ahead. There'll be a general election and it will be interesting to see the cycle of primary care turn again. I speculate that PCTs will be renamed Health Administrations and primary care will face a battle to retain services like flu-jab provision, faced with the might of large commercial organisations. Choose and Cook (the results) is too costly and a new government will promote the Back to the Beginning Campaign – where a GP letter will be triaged by a consultant and patients will be forced to wait again.

Happy New Year.