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CAMHS won't see you now

GPs down tools over cremation forms

GPs have been warned over entering individual arrangements with drug companies to run chronic disease clinics, after fears they could damage the doctor-patient relationship.

The RCGP said it was 'absolutely essential' GPs agreed any scheme with their PCT and that letters came directly from a GP and not from a drug company clinic.

The warnings came after Pulse obtained a letter circulated by a practice in north London which had caused concern among patients.

The RCGP criticised the letter, which invited patients to an AstraZeneca-sponsored clinic, for appearing to come from the company and not the GP, and for failing to explain the rationale for the collaboration.

AstraZeneca said it had entered into such arrangements with around 100 practices and that agreements were made at practice level by drug reps.

Dr Jim Kennedy, RCGP prescribing spokesman, said it was essential patients were made aware that the GP had the final say over medication.

What the RCGP advises

·Is the nurse independent?

·Is patient confidentiality secure?

·Is there a written understanding about the role of the nurse adviser?

·Does the practice have complete control over prescribing decisions?

·Has the arrangement been looked over and agreed by the PCT?

·Is the nature of the arrangement clear to the patient?

·Is there a long-term plan? Who will do the reviews in future?

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