Letter: Business plans or care for patients

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The Independent Online
Sir: Graham Blincow in his defence of fundholding for GPs (letter, 24 July) clearly does not appreciate the enormous change of attitude towards public service that has taken place over the past 20 years.

I became a GP in 1961 and - Mr Blincow is quite right - we had no business expertise. We did not regard our practice as a business. We had no list of our patients who were on hospital waiting lists and no statistical knowledge about the needs of patients. We would not have known what to do with such information if we had had it.

We dealt with individuals. We did whatever seemed to be the best thing for the patient in front of us. Asked if Mr Smith was on a waiting list we could have answered yes or no. As a result of "proper business plans", Mr Blincow tells us, everyone now knows what the objectives are. If your practice exists to serve patients, what objectives can there be other than dealing with the individual patient's needs to his best advantage?