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Ministers have duty of care towards GPs

At the inquest into the tragic suicide of GP Dr Dawn Harris last week, the coroner said he was concerned at the high number of cases of self-harm among doctors. He said it was up to the 'governing body of that profession' to consider why this was so and

whether there were systems in place to deal with the problem.

The coroner's concern is spot on. But he is pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

Neither the BMA nor the GMC can set up occupational health schemes for GPs. Nor can they cut GPs' workload. Nor can they improve their childcare. They can only insist these measures are essential to ease the enormous strain facing doctors.

It falls on ministers and NHS managers to make these things happen.

Yet for years they have ignored their responsibility towards GPs and have failed to support them. This has to change.

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