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Leave your ivory towers and find solutions on GP surgery

I have been following with interest the recent discussions about GP minor surgery. It appears an intellectual debate has been hijacked and is in danger of becoming an unseemly turf war. We are losing sight of our common goals and losing respect for each other's views and professions.

I have worked as a GP for 28 years, but I have always provided a surgical service. Initially this was mainly for skin lesions, cysts and so on.

In the early days I received much guidance from local dermatologists who were keen to see GPs contribute to services. All manner of skin cancers were discussed and dealt with, including squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas where appropriate.

Where individuals are seeking to continue their professional development, adjusting to changing patient demands and seeking to improve healthcare provision, they should be supported and encouraged by those with the ability to do so. I am saddened by the apparent attitude of certain high-ranking medical academics who are aggressively touting poor quality papers as evidence in an attempt to stop GPs who wish to provide a minor surgical service from doing so.

I would agree entirely that those wishing to provide surgical services should be adequately trained, accredited and audited. But it is the will of the Government and the public that care should be provided in the community where appropriate. Would it not be far better for researchers to address shortcomings by looking at how to improve things? There are already many specialists involved in GP training in the community.

I applaud this enlightened view and would encourage others to come on board.

I am disappointed with the attitude of some individuals within academia. The impression given to the press is that GPs are incompetent and incapable of being trained. This is at best misinformed and at worst insulting.

I wonder if I should cancel the two basal cell carcinomas from my list next week. It already includes three inguinal hernias, eight carpal tunnels, a paraumbilical hernia, circumcision, three trigger fingers, 10 vasectomies and a chalazion.

Perhaps I could do with a hand from a professor?

From Dr John Tisdale, Probus Surgical Centre, Cornwall

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