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The waiting game

Why opting out is necessary for GPs' well-being

The latest Pulse survey has found the vast majority of GPs (83 per cent) intend to opt out of their out-of-hours responsibilities this year and hand this over to their PCO ­ a finding that will come as no surprise to GPs. Practice has becoming more and more stressful and taxing and the new contract is bound to add significantly to GPs' workload.

Opting out of out-of-hours is for GPs a move of self-preservation. Critics of general practice will undoubtedly choose to ignore this and will take the opportunity they get to attack GPs for 'abandoning' their patients.

GPs will get criticism for opting out ­ well that's tough. Their workload post-contract will be untenable and they have their health and sanity to think of, to say nothing of preserving their ability to do the best for their patients.

Nobody will benefit ­ least of all patients ­ if GPs crack up.

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