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You can't have it both ways

GP tells Kennedy of practice isolation

Charles Kennedy became the second party leader to

take part in the Pulse campaign when he visited

Dr Rachel Weldon

Dr Rachel Weldon told Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy how remote practices have been 'left in limbo' by the new contract when he visited her island practice as part of the Pulse MPs/GPs campaign.

She explained how GPs in such practices are still unable to opt-out of out-of-hours care ­ and how recruitment and retention are suffering as a consequence.

Dr Weldon, whose practice covers the 11-square-mile Isle of Eigg plus three other islands, said: 'It might work for urban practices but not us. We have been left hanging. People have left because of it.'

After the visit, Mr Kennedy said: 'The family doctor service has served the country incredibly well through successive generations and it is not something we should take for granted.'

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber also praised the Pulse campaign for 'focusing on the sense of remoteness that GPs can feel where their elected representatives are concerned'.

Tory leader Michael Howard has already visited a practice in his constituency as part of the Pulse campaign. Prime Minister Tony Blair has so far failed to respond to Pulse's invitation to do so.

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