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General practice at end of an era as retirement wave begins

I'm currently a freelance GP working in Manchester. I was a GP principal in central Manchester for 10 years until 18 months ago, when I went to live and work in Auckland, New Zealand, but returned to the UK with my family six months later.

One of the reasons for returning to the UK was the poor state of primary care in New Zealand. I came back to the UK singing the praises of British general practice - only to discover that general practice is being fragmented.

Looking around Manchester for partnerships, I've had contact with a number of GPs who are drawing their careers to a close after many years of wonderful service. It saddens me that the next we hear of many of them will be in the obituaries section of the BMJ.

General practice in the UK has already changed so much since the development of out-of-hours co-operatives, and more so since the new contract, and I suspect we may well be seeing the last of a breed of GPs that we'll never see again.

Dr Dominic Hyland, Manchester

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