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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs beat GUM at partner tracing

Singlehanders have hit back at concerns about their working practices raised in the Ayling Inquiry.

The inquiry into disgraced former Kent GP Clifford Ayling, who worked as a singlehander for 15 years and was convicted four years ago of indecent assaults on female patients, recommended extra support for singlehanders.

The report warned that singlehanders were more prone to professional isolation.

Small Practices Association chair Dr Michael Taylor said: 'If they want to come and give us a hand they will be made welcome but if they want to march across us with jackboots they will be resisted. It has never really been proved that singlehanders are isolated.'

County Fermanagh singlehander Dr Michael Smyth said that Ayling's singlehanded status was irrelevant to his crimes. 'I'm a singlehander but I don't feel that I work on my own ­ it's quite an intimate building.

'You might find that in a group practice if you're down the end of a corridor you can misbehave.'

Norfolk GP Dr Philip Wood added: 'I think it's unfair. We're something of an easy target. In a sense we are all singlehanders when we're in the consulting room.'

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