Letter: Doctors will follow where dentists lead

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The Independent Online
Sir: The present crisis in NHS dentistry appears to be one more predictable step in the Government's opting out of publicly funded health care. Access to opticians under the NHS has all but disappeared; dentistry follows now and there are signs that medical care will be next. The 1990 contract for general practitioners has made the lives of family doctors much more difficult and the Government has tried to penalise them, like the dentists, for working harder than the Department of Health predicted.

Seventy-three per cent of GPs now wish to be free of their 24-hour commitment - a situation that would have been unthinkable only three years ago. Much more specialist medical care is provided privately than previously - from being a marginal activity it now increases the earnings of consultants as a whole by 40 per cent.

The gap between rich and poor became greater in Britain during the Eighties; excluding the latter group from equality in health care only worsens the rift.

Yours faithfully,


Lowestoft, Suffolk

28 June