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Fears on 'GP cash for pharmacists'

It is GPs, not patients, who search for physical causes to psychological problems, Professor Christopher Dowrick believes.

Professor Dowrick, a GP as well as professor of primary care at the University of Liverpool, rejects the general belief that patients with medically unexplained symptoms become convinced they have physical problems. He says the high incidence of somatic disease in primary care is partly a response to GPs' behaviour.

Professor Dowrick's study found 70 per cent of GPs attempted to treat symptoms with drugs or physical investigations, but only 58 per cent of patients requested such treatment. He said GPs should 'pay attention not just to the symptoms being presented but to the diseases and suffering that may well be behind them.'

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