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DH arguments, developing negotiating skills and resorting to a plastic hammer

It is interesting to reflect back on our developing negotiating skills. I have seen a cine film of me at age 15 months clubbing cousin Paul with a plastic toy hammer to get to chew on his rusk with some success.

As we develop we move away from plastic hammers to reasoned argument and debate until finally we arrive at the point where we take on the great British institutions. Now HMRC will generally engage in the arguments and if you are right (and as a wise friend of mine says, if you are right you cannot be wrong) it will acknowledge this.

However, I am sorry to say that if you try to engage in an argument with the DH, it cheats. How does it cheat? - it walks away just before it loses. It just evaporates, and refuses to take part. The most bizarre example of this refusal followed my letter to the (then) health secretary, whose office replied that he could not engage due to a possible breach of the Data Protection Act. Oh really!

Bringing this up to date, I have been having a good argument with a senior chap from a PCT over the use of weighted lists. He says that PMS practices have to be paid on a weighted list basis to ensure parity with existing GMS practices. I say that's not right, most GMS practices are paid on a registered list basis. Hold on - I can hear you all say - Slavin's lost the plot! GMS practices paid on a registered list basis? Surely not!

But take the following example; prior to the 2004 contract, a practice was being paid £65 per patient for 2,000 registered patients, so the practice got £130,000. The weighted list under the new contract in this example is say 1,500 patient, so assuming the same value per patient, the practice now earns £97,500. That practice will have got a correction factor of £32,500, so effectively it is continuing to receive funding on their registered list through the correction factor. If the PCT chap wants to talk about weighted lists and parity with GMS then he has to offer the PMS practices an average correction factor too.

So I have explained this and illustrated this with references to the Statement of Financial Entitlement and clever tables which prove I am right (and according to my friend, that he must be wrong). The response from the chap at the PCT? Silence. His response to my checkmate? A toppling of the king? No. He has just walked away. So frustrating, and actually, so rude!

So I have devised a cunning three point plan to ensure you will win all your arguments with the DH. Here it is:

Step 1. Whatever it asks for, tell it you would love to engage with it.... on its journey... together... to meet the challenges.... (it will love the words) but you are unable to comply under the provisions of the Data Protection Act. If this fails go to step 2.

Step 2. Leave the argument first. Make your point, list your contentions, since you believe you are right, consequently it must be wrong. Until such time that it can demonstrate it is right you have chosen to leave the argument but can be contacted in the usual way. If that fails, go to step 3

Step 3. Get that plastic hammer....

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