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It's not a GP's job to ration treatment

Is it a GP's job to ration treatment? For me as a grassroots GP the simple answer is NO in capital letter.

I absolutely agree that resources aren't endless and rationing is inevitable, but the hard truth is that rationing increases suffering and shortens life.

Although this is necessary in economic terms, a doctor cannot be seen to be making such decisions as it would severely damage the doctor-patient relationship.

If GPs are going to get involved in rationing decisions - and I do think it essential to have the input of clinicians - those GPs should preferably no longer be practising medicine, but be in managerial positions as advisers.

In the consulting room, a GP has to work with and negotiate with individual patients in order to find the best management options for them within the resources available. For a GP to have to explain why they are refusing to offer a treatment for the greater good would be wrong.

It would be a step on the road back to the days when a doctor decided to treat those who paid and to let those who didn't suffer or die.

From Dr Lutz Umnus, Warrington, Cheshire

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