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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Shipman was a one-off but all GPs will pay the price

I am sure I am not a lone voice in the wilderness in standing up to say categorically that life has definitely changed for the better since the new contract came into being.

It saddens me to read about merchants of doom lamenting the demise of the Red Book, having complained bitterly about it throughout its existence. Who are they trying to impress? Most certainly not the younger doctors we are trying to attract to the profession.

And here is where my worst fears lie

with all this scaremongering. As a trainer

of 17 years' standing who has witnessed

the old and the new, I fear that our job is being severley hampered by such claims.

So, here it is for the record from an established trainer to all junior doctors contemplating general practice as a career

We have never had it better. I now see my patients throughout the normal hours feeling refreshed and not half asleep and irritable about another out-of-hours shift I am due to start after finishing another long day. I can safely switch my phone off at 6.30pm and know the rest of the time is mine and my family's.

I have enjoyed a tangible rise in income despite the £6,000 cost of passing on the out-of-hours responsibility. I enjoy a good working relationship with my PCT. My pension is secure. I work jolly hard four-and-a-half days a week, and yes, like the next fellow I detest some of the mindless number crunching and statistics and tail-chasing we are forced to do, but it is a small price to pay.

If that is not the case under the new contract, how can you explain the escalating numbers of hospital doctors going on record saying they are seriously contemplating a career change to general practice?

Please do let us get things into perspective and talk up the discipline of general practice ­ at least for the sake of generations to come.

Dr George Boulos

Tilehurst

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