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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Fragmented GP opinion reflects harsh divisions in Folkestone

In the second of our reports from political leaders' constituencies, John Robinson finds GPs in Michael Howard's Folkestone divided over the future of services in the town

As Dr Ivan Benett points out in his excellent article (Features, 9 April), New Labour has gone much farther than the Tories would ever have dared in the privatisation of the NHS.

I am a Labour Party member, but will have great difficulty in voting for my local Labour candidate, who voted for Foundation Hospitals and for the Iraq war.

The latest bombshell in west London is the proposal to close the Charing Cross Hospital because it is deemed to be failing; John Reid's insistence that more and more routine surgery be diverted to the private sector, despite the fact that Charing Cross has spare capacity, has resulted in wards being closed and all recruitment to vacant posts has been frozen: a triumph of dogma over economic sense.

Dr Ivan Benett should definitely stand as a candidate in the general election.

Dr Judy Atkinson

London SW6

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