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PCTs accused of abusing power in suspending GPs

I would like to congratulate Pulse on the series of articles on palliative care (July 16). It really does make a difference to hear common-sense, which seems to be a rarity in health care settings recently.

Palliative care has undergone many changes over recent years, so much so that it is now a specialty in its own right and called palliative medicine. I applaud the fact that we now have specialists in this field with whom we GPs can mull over difficult-to-manage or complex cases.

However, palliative care, in my view, should be integral to the practice of every health care professional and not just the domain of the specialist.

Keri Thomas's article clearly shows palliative care is what we as GPs are all about, and should not be confined simply to those of our patients with cancer.

Making palliative care into a specialty has left many GPs with a sense that dying patients need specialist care, and while some patients will need the expert eye of a consultant, the majority will not. Indeed the number of patients who require palliative care will not allow this.

If including palliative care in the QOF is the way to take this forward, then so be it. For me and my practice this would be a welcome challenge as we already have a proactive system using the gold standards framework as a base, which works for our patients and practice.

This would put the heart of every GP practice into the political arena and I look forward to the future of palliative care in primary care, with interest and relish.

Dr Paul Fox


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