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Tough words to swallow

One speaker at last week's LMCs conference arrived on stage witha giant tablet to prescribe a dose of quality for a Government that he, and many others at the meeting, believe is ripping the NHS and general practice apart at the seams.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum spoke for many when he suggested the Government might take it in suppository form.Yet light relief could not disguise the genuine anger and frustration felt by the vast majority of representatives at what they regard as the Government's relentless spin campaign against the profession.

Dr Meldrum's keynote speech to the conference captured the mood and won a standing ovation – but for how long will GPs show patience in their leaders?

Strong negotiating stance
With a seemingly inevitable attack on GPs' hours the latest weapon in the Government's armoury, in the form of the controversial patient experience survey, Dr Meldrum's calls for talks with Gordon Brown must become more than just words.

The GPC must adopt a strong but realistic negotiating stance and begin constructive talks with the Government if it is to have any joy with the new Labour leader – or for that matter David Cameron, who appears to have also targeted GPs.

It will take more than a giant plastic tablet, wherever it is applied, to get any mileage from either of those two.

For that, the GPC needs tough, well-thought-out policies and positive leadership all year round, not just at the annual conference.

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