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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Independent review warns cox-2 risks outweigh marginal benefits

It's a funny thing, but in this part of the country there seems to be a distinct lack of murdering psychopaths among the medical profession (News, January 8). Quite the opposite, in fact. Most of my colleagues are disgustingly caring, as, I suspect, are most of the GPs elsewhere in the country.

However, there is a limit to our patience and toleration, and I think it has been reached. I don't know about anybody else but I am fed up with the constant diet of negative publicity about our profession, which emanates not only from the Government and the press but, more shamefully, from within our own ranks.

For most of my career the NHS has been an underfunded shambles that has only survived because GPs are prepared to see high numbers of patients very quickly. Fortunately, people understood this, and made allowances for it. Not any more. The practice of medicine has been turned into a game of Russian roulette, where you wait for the inevitable case that finishes your career.

I think it is time we recognised this and stopped flogging ourselves to death just to keep the NHS going.

How much time do we need to see patients properly? Fifteen minutes? And how many can we see in a day? Twenty? And the time needed to prepare for revalidation, and keep up to date? An hour a day, perhaps?

This may sound incredibly petty, but if the public want perfect doctors then we should insist on working conditions that give us a chance of defending ourselves. That's the trade-off, and if the great and good don't like it they should have thought about that before they started putting the boot in.

Dr Chris Nancollas

Lydney, Gloucestershire

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