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At the heart of general practice since 1960

New contract picture is not nearly so black

·As the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies research and debate the safety and efficacy of HRT, it was disappointing to read Dr Sarah Jarvis, representing the RCGP, advise treatment with clover or marsh grass (News, December 6).

In advising unlicensed and unproven treatment Dr Jarvis damages the gravitas of the college and undermines the work of the doctors she claims to represent.

Dr H Ellis

By E-Mail

·I enjoyed reading Dr Graham Archard's views on the benefits of longer, patient-centred consultations and concur with him that he 'probably doesn't spend any more time with the patient in the long-run'.

It would be interesting to know if there was any correlation between variable consultation time and lower rates of errors and complaints.

Dr Tom Young

London W3

·I noted with interest your article on the IT funding crises (News, November 29). In Bristol North the capital costs of getting a lot of practices upgraded to approved systems (Torex Synergy mainly) were well met by the PCT.

Since then the business of ongoing hardware maintenance has been completely stonewalled. We have several PCs with broken components which the PCT say they are going to attend to with 'parts on order'. But whereas we could get such things in 24 hours before, we are still waiting after two months.

Dr Nigel Taylor

Bristol

·I was rather amazed to read the Government will be 'ordering' us to put pressure on patients to get back to work ('GPs ordered to stamp out sicknote culture', News, November 22).

I can't speak for other doctors, but I'm afraid nobody 'orders' me to do anything. If the Government want GPs on their side, to help them win another election, they need to seriously rethink their attitude towards us.

Dr David Turner

Hemel Hempstead

·At the BMA conference on the NHS improvement plan I did not use the word 'fecked' as you reported (News, December 6). This is not language I would use in a public forum. What I actually said was that doctors would not be 'fagged'.

Dr Paul Cundy

London SW15

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