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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Hewitt admits to tension with GPs

In less than two months as Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt has talked more about the need to consult with GPs than her predecessors seemed to manage in eight years. Having already held a summit with 50 GPs and become the first holder of her post to speak to the BMA's annual conference, her promises appear to have some substance.

Given she is planning legislation that threatens the very fabric of general practice, engaging with GPs would seem common-sense ­ but as common-sense has never been a hallmark of the Department of Health, the change is to be welcomed.

All GPs ever ask for is to be properly consulted and listened to about major policy changes. That way they can hone the ideas, suggest improvements and make sure things work.

The threats to continuity of care and traditional general practice from the Government's agenda are very real.

But GPs are the most innovative and adaptable members of the NHS. As long they remain involved, the future will be more secure.

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