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Gold, incentives and meh

I've worked under both contracts and believe me, workload is greater now

I am becoming heartily sick of the often repeated statement that the contract of 2004 'threw GPs huge pay increases for reduced work and almost no detectable improvement in healthcare'.

When I became a GP partner in 1992, I worked from 8.30am to 6pm, including a one-hour lunch break. I pretty much got away on time and worked one Saturday morning in three.

All my paperwork was done in opening hours. I did my own on-call - but those were the days when only those who were actually ill called out of hours - and thoroughly enjoyed my life as a GP.

Now, I am at the surgery from 8am to at least 7.30pm (5.30 to 6ish on my half day), have 10 minutes for lunch if I am lucky, and spend several hours most Saturdays and Sundays on paperwork.

I opted to retain 24-hour responsibility and pay the local deputising service to cover my routine out-of-hours cover, while I do my own terminal care. I am contacted by the deputising service for any calls between 7am and 8.15am, and 6pm and 7pm. My core hours are therefore 7am-7pm.

I do not deny I am well-paid, but I work very hard and, with all due respect to Dr Findlater, unless you have worked in general practice before and after the 2004 contract, you do GPs a disservice by believing the media hype.

Dr Eithne MacRae, St Helens, Merseyside

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