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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Pensions deal puts Scots on par

Fiona MacTaggart's busy schedule meant the only day the Home Office minister could visit The Avenue Medical Centre in Slough was also the launch of the practice's annual influenza vaccine campaign.

Dr Neil Coleman said the local MP saw the practice operating at its busiest time. 'Fortunately we had things running smoothly thanks to a phenomenal team effort,' he said.

When the MP and GP took time out to discuss the issues of concern to the practice, which is in a highly deprived area, the problem of patients missing appointments came to the fore.

Dr Coleman told Ms MacTaggart about a 19-year-old who had missed 10 appointments so far because she didn't want to get out of bed for early-morning consultations.

Dr Coleman said he was surprised and impressed by Ms MacTaggart's genuine interest in some of the intricacies of general practice ­ such as the square root formula on disease prevalence. He added: 'It was a privilege to have showed her the frontline of her Government's health policy.'

Ms MacTaggart said she prided herself on having a good relationship with local GPs and has supper with the doctors working in Slough every nine months or so.

'I don't usually visit GPs in their surgeries though, so this was a good opportunity for me.'

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