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Professionalism not league tables raises standards

The only surprise about the Government's plans to publish the quality points scored by practices is that the GPC didn't see it coming. But when the league tables inevitably arrive in 2005 will they matter to GPs? Probably not as much as politicians think they should.

Some GPs will be pilloried for coming towards the bottom. Embarrassing, unjustified and unwelcome publicity. But will there be an exodus of patients? Hardly. Today many GPs have closed their lists as the only way to preserve their sanity.

GPs have also drawn up distinct practice boundaries. So patients looking to move after seeing the publicity of a league table will only be able to do so if they live within the limits.

As things stand, league tables will be another addition to a long list of irritants niggling away at GPs' morale.

Professionalism, not league tables, is what raises standards.

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