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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs' contract messages to negotiators

With her 1,300-page report, Shipman Inquiry chair Dame Janet Smith has sent a seismic shudder through general practice.

If her 100 recommendations are accepted by the Government, GPs will be subject to a level of scrutiny far greater then they have ever faced.

The GMC has been left in no doubt that

root-and-branch reform is not just an option

­ it is a must.

Every right-thinking GP would agree with Dame Janet's assertion that regulators must put protecting patients ahead of protecting doctors. But there is a danger that what she has proposed will put doctors a too-distant second.

It is vital ministers look at this report carefully and act reasonably. Otherwise there will not be enough GPs around to truly protect patients.

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