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At the heart of general practice since 1960

MDU denies it will not help doctors

Dr Gainer is right (Letters, September 10), we are being diddled. More sinisterly, this is part of an ongoing plot to diminish GPs' independence and influence, which has long been a thorn in the Government's side.

As being self-employed becomes less and less attractive because of such manipulations as lumbering us with both parts of superannuation and national insurance, more and more new entrants to general practice will opt for salaried status. By the same token I believe the Government only agreed to the opt-out of out-of-hours because it both reduced our influence over how the service is run and at the same time allowed it to argue that we now only look after patients for a third of the hours in a week.

Intoducing dual registration and walk-in centres are further nails in the coffin of an independent GP workforce. The inexorable increase in part-time salaried GPs is yet another one.

Call me paranoid if you like, but I predict general practice will look very different in 10 years' time because of what is happening now, and doctors and patients alike will rue the day they let it happen.

Dr Thomas Bloch

Broadway, Worcestershire

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