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Singlehanders unfairly targeted over prescribing

Your news report on GPs who give unnecessary prescriptions (February 10) focused on singlehanded GPs rather than those who see drug reps, dispensing practices and those practices that do not have a trainer.

As a singlehanded GP I have consistently had the highest generic prescribing rate in Leeds (currently 86 per cent). My latest PACT data shows:

 · Total prescribing costs below health authority equivalent by 41 per cent, national equivalent 34 per cent

 · Number of items prescribed

30 per cent below health authority, 24 per cent below national

 · Average cost per item 15 per cent below health authority, 14 per cent below national

 · I appear in the top five GP practices for all the PCT quality prescribing indicators.

I rarely see drug reps and do not attend lunches/dinners with reps.

The report creates the impression that singlehanded GPs give in to patient pressure. However, as the doctor-patient relationship is much more personal, it is easier to resist prescribing and there is no partner to manipulate into giving an unnecessary antibiotic. Practices that do not have clear policies on prescribing are more likely to experience problems and also reinforce the patient's belief that one or other partner 'got it wrong' and the patient was right.

Dr Chris Ellison

Leeds

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