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Make clear boundaries on free time

Amid its blue-sky thinking and half-baked plans, the Government's public health white paper fails to address one blindingly obvious point. Who is going to do the work? Reading the 207-page document, GPs are only mentioned 23 times, mainly in supporting tables or case studies. In the chapter 'Making it Happen' they are not mentioned at all.

But statistics reveal the Government's deceit. Some 76 per cent of patients cite GPs as their main source of health information. Next highest is pharmacists at 26 per cent. GP and practice staff consultations total 1.2 million each day. The rest of the NHS accounts for one third of that.

So when people want help they won't go to new 'health advisers', or walk-in centres or the 'Health Direct' phone service. They'll go to GPs.

Yet again the Government has loaded more work onto practices, and won't admit it.

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