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CAMHS won't see you now

GPs spot drink problems in less than one in 60 sufferers

The old boys' network is alive and well among consultants, but relatively absent from general practice, research has indicated.

A study of the BMA's cohort of 486 graduates from medical school in 1995 found more than three-quarters of consultants went to a private school. In contrast, two-thirds of GPs among the group went to a state school.

Author Professor Rosemary Crompton, professor of sociology at City University, said past studies had shown patronage was extremely important in getting promoted through medical specialties.

She said: 'Given that the nature of patronage depends on interpersonal relationships, going to a particular type of school puts you in a network.'

Dr Richard Stevens, a GP in Oxford who was privately educated, said the preference of his peers for hospital jobs could be linked to perceived extra prestige. He added: 'If you are comfortable operating in a hierarchical atmosphere then you might feel more comfortable working in a hospital.'

Dr Tom Coffey, a GP in Wandsworth, south London, who attended a state school, said the cohort entered medicine at a time when general practice was less popular.

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