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Independents' Day

GP hours in need of major overhaul

The survey recently published by the CBI which showed large-scale public support for changes in the way GPs operate was not ‘fake', as Dr Tony le Vann claims, but was conducted by Ipsos MORI, one of Britain's most respected pollsters (‘Plummeting GP morale ignored by media', News, 22 October).

We are disappointed to see such knee-jerk reactions to sensible proposals. The vast majority of family doctors do an excellent job, but this does not mean the GP service is not in need of an overhaul. It is largely unchanged from 60 years ago, with GPs still deciding who patients get to see, where and when.

Of course people want more flexible opening hours. There should also be greater use of pharmacies, in-store nurses and walk-in centres, not least to take pressure off surgeries.

While any evidence of low morale among healthcare professionals is worrying – although BMA figures show a significant improvement since 2001 – this should not mean reform should be ruled out.

Effective reforms mean doctors could offer better services to patients. We would hope that would prove an effective morale booster.

Dr Neil Bentley, Director, Public Services, CBI

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