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Sicknote? How about some CBT?

GPs have scorned proposals for an 'NHS pledge' listing a new set of values the health service should aspire to.

The pledge, trailed by NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp earlier this month, states that the health service's purpose is 'helping you to keep well, making you better and helping you get the most out of life'.

But GPs said the pledge was 'just platitudes' and a meaningless waste of money.

Such was the level of criticism, the NHS was forced to remove a forum on the pledge website www.ourpledge.nhs.uk which asked for comment about the values statement.

Dr Robert Morley, joint chief executive of Birmingham LMC, said the pledge told nothing but self-evident truths.

He added: 'I'd like to know how much it cost ­ how many management consultants were involved at what hourly rate?'

Dr Ron Singer, president of the Medical Practitioners Union, said GPs had no difficulty agreeing with the values, but added: 'There is a difference over the implementation of that vision.'

The NHS pledge

Our purpose

· Helping you to keep well

· Making you better

· When we can't, helping you to get the most out of life

The values that we hold dear

· Care for all, based on need, not the ability to pay

· Respect, dignity, compassion

What you should expect from us

· Advice on living a healthier life

· Safe and high-quality treatment and care

· A comprehensive and convenient service

· The opportunity to make informed choices

How we will work to deliver this

· With you, partners and each other

· Openly, honestly, in confidence

· By being a good and responsible employer

· By spending your money wisely

· By contributing positively to the community

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