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Independents' Day

Guard against swine flu pandemic exploitation

Alongside a deluge of circulars about swine flu, I have been reading The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism1 - a provocative account of how radical free-market revolutions can swiftly be imposed during the disruption following a massive shock to society, bypassing normal safeguards.

The flu pandemic, developing in tandem with a prolonged recession, could be exploited in this way.

We doctors, as an independent profession and as citizens, are I hope able to avoid panic and remain advocates for our patients in the widest sense of public health. The kind of stringent measures adopted elsewhere during periods of abrupt free-market reform tend to hurt the vulnerable and poor most.

As well as providing the necessary medical care during any crisis, we need to be vigilant that the situation is not manipulated by those with unscrupulous agendas.

This will be especially important during the run-up to the next general election.

From Dr Christopher Pelton, Ludlow, Shropshire

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