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Public will have right to secret audits of GP quality performance

Two of your recent articles (Interview and Features, January 15) highlight one of the most calamitously dangerous and stressful features of general practice: the nightmare scenario of a busy emergency surgery being interrupted by a panic request for a home visit.

The GP is put in the impossible position of having to handle simultaneously two emergencies miles apart. Does this happen to anyone else on the planet? Whatever the views of the three worthy doctors in the feature, I contend that safe practice in these circumstances is impossible and that organisational changes are urgently needed so that the situation never arises.

This would involve having a separate service for emergency home visits ­ something that is surely not beyond the mind of man to devise. A collective of local practices or a deputising service might meet the case.

I would like to see the GMC, supported by the RCGP and the BMA, insist on this reform as essential to patient safety and to be implemented before the introduction of primary care tsar Dr David Colin-Thome's community matrons ­ no amount of which would have prevented the case of the sick child described in your feature.

Dr Justin Robbins

Yealmpton, Plymouth

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