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I read with concern the article by Dr Phil Peverley (Columnists, June 18) as it conveys an erroneous impression of the attitudes of general medical practice towards older people.

As the care of older people has increasingly shifted from hospital to community settings, this has produced great benefits for older people who are able to receive care closer to home or in their own home. This has reduced pressure on hospital beds, particularly through the efforts to reduce delayed discharge. Of course this means that GPs are using their primary care expertise to deliver appropriate care and intervention for older people receiving care outside hospital. Having spent some time in general practice during my postgraduate training, I am aware of the enormous contribution that primary care teams make to the care of older people.

I hope that many GPs will be able to contribute to the consultation for the integrated health and social care White Paper as this creates a unique opportunity to take stock of current pressures and challenges in the care of older people outside hospital and of the contribution that GPs can make to their care.

Professor Ian Philp

National Director for Older People

Department of Health

·Hooray for Dr Phil Peverley and all he writes in his perceptive, humorous, tongue-in-cheek and sometimes provocative column. Heaven help Martin Green and those po-faced individuals who have no sense of humour and no common-sense.

I have an elderly mother with Alzheimer's in a residential home and I think it would be ludicrous to subject her to the same treatment as a young person. That would be inhumane. Maybe it is ageism ­ but sometimes ageism is common-sense. I would never want to see her go through chemotherapy or a painful operation. Dignity, yes, but what is best for a 25-year-old may not be best for a confused, frail, 85-year-old.

Please convey my support and huge thanks for his column ­ it helps me keep sane.

Dr Deborah Halsey

London SW11

·Did I find Phil Peverley's column 'ageist and inhumane'? No I didn't as I have a sense of humour and recognised it for what it is ­ a witty, tongue-in-cheek article. I'm looking forward to his next one as it's the most enjoyable feature in your publication.

Dr Iain Proctor


·I am absolutely livid. I had always been a placid, easy-going chap until my late mother-in-law decided that instead of calling me John, as did everyone else, she would call me Johnny.

I have noticed since that apparently innocuous comments are directed specifically at me. For instance, it is obvious that the term rubber Johnny is not slang for a contraceptive device but is a direct attack on my sexual prowess.

I have put up with a lot, but for Dr Michael Johnson to suggest I am politically correct is outrageous ('Don't let politically correct johnnies muzzle our Phil', Letters, July 23). It is the final insult. I can assure Dr Johnson that I will be reporting him to the GMC, Press Complaints Commission, RCGP and to Action on Johnny Abuse.

Or am I just overreacting?

Dr John Lando



Editor's note: As Dr Phil Peverley's detractors and supporters have now had their say on his recent article about older people, this correspondence is now closed.

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