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Coming to a screen near you, GPs’ struggle over targets

A new TV series highlights the daily struggles faced by GPs coping with Government targets and a constant stream of policy initiatives.

The four featured GPs were once classmates at St Mary's Medical School, London, and were first filmed by the BBC in 1984, alongside six other junior doctors. But as the eight-part series, Doctors to Be: Twenty Years On reveals, their careers have not always proved easy going.

Dr David Copping, a GP in Oxford and Dr Will Liddell, a GP in Frome, Somerset, are shown battling to practise family medicine amid mounting Government pressures.

Dr Liddell is a partner is one of the UK's biggest practices with 24 GPs caring for 35,000 patients over five sites. He told the BBC cameras: ‘It's our belief that the best people to run general practice are GPs and not big companies.

‘Politicians don't recognise that GPs are keeping a lid on things. The fact there is free healthcare is the bottom line for a lot of deprived communities, if it weren't for that then things would explode.'

And Dr Jane Gilbert, the subject of this Thursday's programme, deserted general practice to became an agony aunt for a teen magazine.

She said she did not have the ‘hard edge' required of GPs and came to dislike an increasingly target-driven mentality from the Government and the pressures on her family life.

The programme is on 14 November, 7.30pm, BBC Four.

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