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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Sickness does not respect the clock

Though I retired from general practice many years ago, I have always been very proud of most GPs in this country.

Consequently I have been aghast at the ugly confrontation involving some GPs - and in particular their BMA representatives - over the new contract.

It is essential that public money is not wasted. The contract threw GPs huge pay increases for reduced work and almost no detectable improvement in healthcare.

It intensified the difficulty already experienced by patients in accessing proper medical care, especially out of hours (as if sickness respected the clock).

Compelled to try to rectify this situation, the Government has attempted to renegotiate, but the professional representatives, backed by many GPs, are fiercely resistant to all but the most minor change.

They appear self-indulgently concerned with their work-life balance, rather than with patients' welfare.

It seemed to me that crucial to the NHS was the bedrock idea that every citizen was signed onto the list of a GP, who was that person's personal doctor of first contact, who held their hand through the gateway into whatever avenue their medical problems took them.

Their GP was their advocate, guide, philosopher and friend.

Surely every citizen's personal doctor should ensure proper medical care is available to them at all times?

Dr J Findlater, Silverdale, Lancashire

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