Letter: NHS shakeup

Sir: The transformation of the Health Service is welcomed by most GPs. The nurse-run 24-hour help line NHS Direct will be a welcome friend to the busy GP.

It will provide sensible health information and direct patients to the most appropriate health resource. It will provide an opportunity for the innovative resolution of numerous problems faced by general practice - co-ordination of out-of-hours service, single point of contact for social and community care, confidential point of contact for access to emergency contraception.

On the day that Jeremy Laurence acted as a prophet of doom I attended the launch of the New Health Network. In a complete contrast, health professionals gathered together to highlight the transformation of the NHS and debated the exciting opportunities of implementation.

The workload of GPs had been increasing over the last decade with no comparable increase in the number of GPs. Hence, the difficulty Mr Laurence has in seeing his GP for a routine appointment.

The modernisation of the Health Service will not spell the demise of the GP; it will actually allow him or her to prosper.

Dr TOM COFFEY

Primary Care Group Chair

Balham, Tooting & Wandsworth PCG

London SW18

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