Letter: NHS reforms

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The revelation that one in four patients waits four days to see a doctor (report, 13 April) will come as little surprise to general practitioners.

In practice there is a limit to the number of consultations a practice is able to offer, as time for providing other services must be set aside.

In my "average" suburban practice, I frequently see in excess of 60 patients a day, and GPs in other areas will often record consultation rates higher than this. In order to provide more consultations at peak times we do increase the number of consultations by working longer hours, but also by extending the roles of our practice nurses and nurse practitoners.

If patients took a more responsible attitude towards their access to primary care, then waiting times would be reduced accordingly. Individual patients should be encouraged to use their GPs in a more selective manner, for example by delaying appointment requests for minor, self-limiting conditions until simple remedies and natural resolution have been given time to work.

Reducing waiting times for primary care services needs initiatives from both GPs and their patients.

Dr PAUL MYERS

Romford, Essex

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