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BMA can't be serious over smoking quit rate targets

So the BMA is agreeing with the Government that the QOF should be changed yet again, with a new target measuring how many patients quit smoking ('Smoking quit rate targets set to be added to QOF').

Is the BMA serious? Does it agree we should be paid less if one of our patients decides not to quit smoking despite my advice to do so?

In my view the BMA should be defending us and campaigning for us like any other union. The NUT's slogan at its last conference was 'putting teachers first' - not pupils. The BMA should do likewise with doctors.

I am not saying patients should not quit smoking. But what is next? If Mrs Extremely Obese does not lose one stone or is seen at McDonald's, should I lose pay? If Mr Alcoholic likes his Super Lager too much, should I be brought to account?

This is why I am not a member of the BMA. If in response to the Department of Health's suggestion that smoking cessation rates should influence our pay, the BMA now says: 'No, while we want patients to give up smoking, we don't agree GP pay should be influenced by this and will ballot the profession on strike action if you try and steamroll this over us,' I may change my mind.

In the meantime, I might start smoking just so my GP can get a slap on the back when I stop.

From Dr David Simpson, Hamilton, Lanarkshire

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