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A faulty production line

Taking a tough line on GP role in drug strategy

The Home Office is pushing on with its plans to increase five-fold the number of drug users prescribed diamorphine, and ministers have their hearts set on GPs for the job. Many GPs do not believe in the principles underlying opiate maintenance treatment or have had their goodwill abused when they have taken on methadone prescribing. If forced to participate, they may refuse to register addicts for general medical services.

GPs can take some comfort from the assurance that the drug strategy will fall under the enhanced services section of the new contract ­ which GPs can choose to opt-in to. But with the Government committed to stringent targets, how much pressure will practices come under to 'agree' to provide these services?

The GMC must be ruthless in ensuring such controversial tasks fall only to GPs wishing to do them ­ and that they are generously rewarded.

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