What tune best sums up the primary care group challenge? Eschewing the obvious Money (or even Money, Money Money), maybe Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown would fit the bill. Not for Bexley and Greenwich PCGs, where visitors to an online PCG theme competition have inexplicably plumped for the theme tune from Neighbours and the Nutcracker Suite respectively.
From Tamar to North Tees, PCG websites are now beginning to proliferate. Mostly these are fairly rough and ready affairs, the work of hobbyist GPs rather than IT and design professionals. But there is an infectious enthusiasm about their efforts.
There is also a lack of clarity about target audiences in some cases. Some of the more professional efforts are at least focused - not that they agree. Stockport, for example, clearly wants to provide an information service for the public, while North Lincolnshire's is a primary care professionals service.
One of the best starting points for PCGs and PCG-related sites is Lytham St Anne's GP Dr Nick Lowe's Holland House Medical Centre. At the last count, he had tracked down getting on for 40 online PCGs, and lots of useful resources and links to official and unofficial information. Among the best are Anglia and Oxford's PCG Resource Unit, part of the regional office's research and development directorate, which looks at training needs, clinical governance, public involvement and so on, and North West region's guide to PCGs, including maps and contact details.
Meanwhile, in the world of medical politics, all the main groups have active websites of their own. Can we read anything into the number of visitors each has had? By the start of last week, the National Association for Primary Care (that's the old fundholders) claimed 3,385, while the NHS PCG Alliance claimed 10,109. Probably safest not to speculate on what it all means.
These and other sites of interest can be reached via HSJ 's website at www.hsj.co.uk