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At the heart of general practice since 1960

60 second interview with Dr Clare Gerada

Dr Clare Gerada MBE is a GP in south-east London. She is founder of the RCGP substance misuse unit and vice chair of the RCGP council, serving on its sex, drugs and HIV working group last year. Dr Gerada is investigating the reclassification of cannabis on the Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and featured in a BBC2 Horizon documentary last week, claiming cannabis and alcohol are far more deadly than class A drug ecstasy.

Dr Clare Gerada MBE is a GP in south-east London. She is founder of the RCGP substance misuse unit and vice chair of the RCGP council, serving on its sex, drugs and HIV working group last year. Dr Gerada is investigating the reclassification of cannabis on the Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and featured in a BBC2 Horizon documentary last week, claiming cannabis and alcohol are far more deadly than class A drug ecstasy.

Should cannabis return to class B status?

[laughs] No comment. I can't tell you that.

Do you think the treatment of drug addiction in primary care is an impossible task?

No, some GPs do a fantastic job.

What single thing could be done to stem the rise of sexually transmitted infections in the UK?

Very difficult question. I think to reduce young people's alcohol consumption. This can be done by putting units of alcohol quite clearly in every single bar. Clear, simple indications that this bottle contains X number of units on the front.

Could GPs do more to diagnose HIV?

No, but I think they should do more to diagnose hepatitis C.

Why is that?

Because it is far more prevalent than HIV. It is treatable and it will be an enormous healthcare burden in the next 10 to 20 years if it is not picked up.

Do you get frustrated that other things get prioritised over sexual health?

Yes. I get frustrated when things that can be managed with drugs get prioritised. So although you want to be evidence-based, it is very difficult, as most evidence is done by pharmaceutical companies with a vested interest. Most of the QOF is about giving a medicine, rather than prevention or care.

Is the Government right to ask GPs to prescribe more long-acting contraceptives?

I think GPs should be managing according to evidence-based practice and their patients' choice. If they want long-acting, then that is great.

What were your hopes for the QOF this year?

I hoped there would be something about reducing consumption of alcohol in it.

What indicator would you have had?

Three. First, to ask about alcohol intake. Then, whether you offered any intervention if they are drinking heavily. And third, whether you referred to an alcohol service.

Dr Clare Gerada

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