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More quit-smoking scripts are needed

You reported 'a near doubling in prescriptions of smoking cessation drugs last year led to only a negligible rise in the national quit rate' (News, May 26). This completely missed the point. Rather than concluding, as it does, that we prescribe too many smoking cessation drugs it should have said we prescribe too few.

The reason the quit rate is slow to rise is the vast majority of attempts to stop smoking are still without our support.

Also the suggestion that 'a lot of money is being wasted on products people are taking and still smoking' is quite wrong. Of course there are significant numbers of relapses and failures when treating smokers because nicotine addiction is so powerful. But despite this, to quote NICE guidance on the use of nicotine replacement therapy and bupropion for smoking cessation in March 2002: 'Both bupropion and NRT are considered to be among the most cost-effective of all health care interventions.'

There are few more powerful statements from NICE and we should be using more smoking cessation treatments not less.

Dr Alex Bobak, Chair SCAPE

(Smoking Cessation Action

in Primary carE)

Wandsworth, South London

Dr Caroline Dain's observations on the abolition of individual PGEA payments and its effects on income for part-timers are pertinent (Letters, Jane 16).

A part-time GP clearly needs to be trained fully and updated, which has up to now been recognised by full PGEA payment. Planned improvements in seniority allowance will not compensate for this loss of income.

We will be going back to the dark ages, with part-timers (usually women juggling family and job) having to hold uncomforatble negotiations with their partners for an increase in profit share, and potentially more uncomfortable battling with their PCT to receive their justifiable seniority allowance.

Dr Debra Newell

Part-time Partner, Leeds

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