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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GMC to toughen powers with spot drug tests on doctors

Dr Phil Peverley's trenchant, tongue-in-cheek columns have come under fire from social workers and charities for the elderly. Referral

to the GMC has been threatened. But GPs are standing firm

GPs should be aware that the director of the charity Action On Elder Abuse is going to report our Phil Peverely to the GMC, Press Complaints Commission and the RCGP (and anyone else he can think of) over his column about residential care homes (June 18).

Having exchanged a few e-mails with this chap myself, I can't help but think, if abuse of the elderly is their raison d'etre, they would be better served concentrating their efforts and resources on dealing with this issue.

The article in question was by its very nature intended for the 'troops' and, given the current state of our great NHS, including the joke that is care in the community, black humour tends to prevail. But it does raise the question about doctors writing under their real name. Given the current behaviour of the GMC, livelihoods could be in danger if we cross the politically-correct line drawn by the thought police.

The issue of poorly-run nursing homes demanding the time and resources of the fall-guy GP is countrywide. These homes are for-profit organisations and care is frankly variable.

I got the point of the article as, I suspect, did the majority of GPs on the receiving end of idiotic telephone calls from such institutions.

As to using the threat of a complaint to the GMC to silence a GP who writes in an organ intended for GPs, well that smacks of crass bullying.

I hope Pulse responds in kind, and backs Phil to the hilt. The PC johnnies out there should not be allowed to influence what we read, lest we end up with lots of articles about 'nice' social workers and directors of patient empowerment, God forbid.

Dr Michael Johnson


Northern Ireland

The editor replies: For the avoidance of any confusion, Phil Peverley has my total backing and support. The charity referred Pulse to the Press Complaints Commission because I refused to distance Pulse from Phil's comments and publish a retraction. We will continue to defend to the hilt his right to express the frustrations of general practice through his brilliant and biting column.

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