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Class action for our PGEA?

The plight of Dr Vanessa Doel (News, February 26) is a timely reminder that despite Government reassurance all is not well with recruitment and retention of principals in general practice.

Fiddling with the NHS pension scheme will worsen this situation. Furthermore, while statistics may indicate that there are suitably medically qualified potential GPs around, many do not wish to enter partnership and some may not be suitable for other reasons.

Dr Doel faces the twin threats of demoralisation and exhaustion in which the climate of fear of making mistakes is as potent as the likelihood of actually making mistakes. Both can have dire consequences to health.

She deserves all the support the PCT can muster. Since she is reportedly 'a victim of her own success' I assume she practises the type of individual and family-centred medicine so popular with patients and so apparently old-fashioned in the presence of politically correct Q&O points accumulation. Doubtless, her 600 points will not look terribly impressive when the new Freedom of Information Act encourages performance league tables to enter the public domain and mitigating circumstances will be conspicuous by their absence.

Hopefully her patients will appreciate there is more to good medical care than mere statistics.

Dr Antony Natt

North Wingfield, Derbyshire

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