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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Irked by jack-booted ambulance personnel

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Am I alone in coming to deplore the increasing arrogance of ambulance personnel?

The other day I needed to admit an elderly patient direct from the surgery, as she had had a stroke. The admission was arranged in the usual way through the bed bureau and she was to be transported direct to the acute assessment unit.

While waiting for the vehicle, I wrote a letter to the admitting doctor, included a summary from the computer, and placed it all in an envelope addressed to my colleague.

Eventually, it seemed, a contingent of the jack-booted imperial guard arrived, barking orders and firing questions at the aforementioned little old lady lying on my couch. A paramedic demanded to know whether a letter had been written.

I meekly handed it over, whereupon she tore it

open and started to read it through.

Protesting that the letter was addressed to the doctor at the AAU, I was then subjected to an earful of justification as to why it was her professional duty to find out what was wrong with the patient.

Obviously it had not occurred to her to ask a fellow professional.

On reflection, of course, we have only ourselves to blame. When we GPs were the frontline representatives of the NHS, then we were held in some regard.

Now that we spend all our time taking blood pressures and advising on lifestyle issues, it's little wonder that esteem for our profession is starting

to slip and the new frontliners are beginning to assert themselves.

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