Letter: NHS changes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: So now, according to Jeremy Laurance, I'm an "expensively trained doctor handing out cough medicines and laxatives to the worried well".

Interested in the facts? Doctors are not coming into General Practice and those over the age of 50 are retiring as soon as possible, leaving those left with unacceptably high levels of workload and sickness. Working in a three-doctor practice in a leafy suburb we are just emerging from a gruelling nine months with one doctor short, being unable until recently to replace a partner who left last June.

The reasons are many, but a central one is being caught between rapidly rising patient expectations on the one hand and government cost-containment on the other.

Mr Blair would do better to support existing services, including the already well established role of the pharmacist in respect of minor illness advice, rather than create a fragmented service (based on American protocols!) with NHS Direct. Treating symptoms whilst ignoring causes is always dangerous, sometimes fatal.

Dr R J NEWTON

Derby

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