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We need pro PR to win battle of spin

I've read Pulse for 12 years and have never felt it necessary to write in, but finally all the difficult press the GP profession is having has forced me to put pen to paper.

It's time we as a profession woke up and smelt the coffee. Having power over how GPs work is an extremely useful political tool for the Government, one which in my opinion was worth paying for in the new contract.

Most of my colleagues, who are excellent GPs, were doing a great percentage of the work in the QOF already, even though we may not have been punching the numbers. But the Government gave us this new money to take control over our working practices, and is now clawing all of it back. It won't be many years before we're in the same financial position we were when the contract started.

We doctors have to stop arrogantly thinking a few extra O-levels and A-levels makes us good negotiators, and better at public relations than the professionals whose job this is. Polls suggest patients still back us, but it won't be long before all the negative press has its desired effect and we will be looked upon like dentists and vets.

We do not appear to be getting our side of the story across, and I suspect we do not have the ear of the media. Other organisations in the NHS are ahead of us on public relations.

I recently found NHS Direct was speaking to PR companies about representation. The time has come for a professional PR company to look after our interests. There are thousands of GPs and a relatively small contribution from all of us can easily afford this service.

From Dr SC Seimon, Northolt, Middlesex

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