Letter: NHS bid for power

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Do not let your readers be fooled about government's motives on NHS Direct, the planned telephone consultation service staffed by nurses. It is not about quality of care or saving doctors' time or even efficiency; it is about control.

Power corrupts; absolute power is much more fun! As a GP and chairman of a campaign for equal rights for GPs who do their own night cover I have spoken with government officials. Nurses, newly appointed and with rigid protocols, will be much more accountable to bureaucracy than independently contracted GPs.

Having been in practice for over 25 years I have seen standards of general practice rise substantially and the majority of improvements have been led by the profession. Despite all the fine words of the Government, their interventions have resulted, in the main, in more paper work, more accountability and fewer young doctors wanting to become GPs.

Dr ROBERT ALLIOTT

Thetford, Norfolk

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