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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs are being give the chance to save the NHS

I take some of the sceptical opinions about commissioning expressed in the medical publications with a pinch of salt. Those views may be good for posturing, but in this case ministers are actually asking us to lead the way in improving the NHS, making it more cost-effective and preserving it for future generations.

There's no doubt taking on such a huge task is not for the faint-hearted. But general practice over the years has adapted to reforms and always commanded the respect of our patients. We have to meet the challenge. Instead of dithering, we have to get on with the job and show to all other professionals how good we are.

We need to reflect what has happened to us in the last 10 years. We have been hounded by bureaucrats and subjected to the humiliation of working to conveyor-belt guidelines under the pretence of quality.

It is natural for us to wonder why the Government treats us so harshly. But it is time for us to rise to the occasion to shape the NHS for the future.

Let us be realistic: if the country runs out of money, do we kid ourselves into believing the NHS can be preserved in its present format?

It will be broken down to maintain the essential services, with the rest contracted out piecemeal to whoever shows interest.

In my view, Prime Minister David Cameron and health secretary Andrew Lansley are sincere about the NHS.

They have given us another chance to lead the way and are relying on us. If we do not see them eye to eye we lose our credibility and a lifetime opportunity for ever. Then we all know what will happen.

From Dr Ravi Vibhuti
Chatham, Kent

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