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GPs told to stop being paternalistic

GPs need to change their consultation style to avoid being 'overly medical and paternalistic', the Department of Health is advising.

The White Paper impact assessment says GPs need to address the way they consult in

order to encourage more patients to self-care. A shift towards preventive medicine and self-care would save the NHS millions in the long-term, it said.

But the advice provoked a frosty response from GPs.

Dr David Wrigley, a spokes-man for Developing Patient Partnerships and a GP in Carnforth, Lancashire, said GPs already tailored their consultations according to the patient. 'Communication skills in general practice have moved a quantum leap recently.'

Dr Mayur Lakhani, RCGP chair, said paternalism was 'becoming extinct ­ the thrust of training GPs over the last decade has been to promote

patient-centred doctors'.

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