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We must be meaner to keep vampire at bay

I read last week's front page about the GP pay squeeze with interest.

We don't blink twice at movie trailers that start with 'Once upon a time in a land where...' and promise an hour or two of terror. But you could take that right out of Hollywood and make a horror movie about what's been happening to GPs in particular and primary care as a whole.

The really scary bit is that there is plenty more material for the never-ending sequels.

With three pay freezes, rising costs and efficiency-driven demons breathing down your back, where do you come up with the money to employ more people?

Who in their right mind would want to be a partner right now? Salaried GPs - although having to wade through the daily grind - have the luxury of an uncluttered mind but trainees are desperate to grab anything that looks like a job advert.

How do you deal with this vampire, sucking away all that is good and original from a world-class general practice? Survival instinct dictates there is comfort in numbers, only this time the comfort is of the 'income kind'.

Privatisation is inevitable but not necessarily for the good. Market forces dictate the frenzied search for the wooden stake that will end this nightmare.

It is time to turn meaner and leaner in running our businesses. After all, the Department of Health is rubbing its hands with glee.

Has its time come? Will it now be able to throttle entrepreneurship in general practice so that creativity is dead forever, or will GPs manage to open the skylight and keep the vampire at bay?

This latest news is a wake-up call for those practices who have been desperately trying to snooze in their cocoons and hope it will all go away.

We need to fight to keep what is good and original and - if need be - turn into chameleons.

The slogan out there is: evolve or dissolve!

Dr Rupen Kulkarni, Redditch, Worcestershire

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