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Independents' Day

Funding is the key if GPs are to help patients

The Government appears keen to consult groups of selected patients to discover what

they want from the NHS.

How ironic then that its policies neglect those groups whose need is most pressing ­ those with chronic diseases.

The delay to the publication of the new contract for GPs does no favours to sufferers of ischaemic heart disease or COPD, whose care is bound to improve when GPs are adequately rewarded for providing a high standard of service.

Then there are the repeated delays in publishing the national service framework for diabetes.

Every GP knows that best practice in diabetes care involves labour-intensive lifestyle intervention, tight control of blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure, aggressive management of complications and so on. So it is difficult not to suspect that funding is at the root of the delay.

Many chronically sick patients lack articulacy. GPs are their advocates. They should not be hampered in this role by shortage of funds and uncertainty over pay.

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