Letter: GP role in the new model NHS

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Sir: It is interesting to note that Virginia Bottomley considers that general practitioners will be the centre of the National Health Service ('A revolution in health care', 23 June) when hospital beds are cut by 40 per cent. The Department of Health has failed to heed warnings that there will be a manpower shortage in general practice in the near future.

In my role as an organiser of a three-year course for training general practitioners in Norfolk, I have seen the number of applications to join the course fall from 20 per place to virtually nil. This decline in interest in general practice as a career coincides with the imposed general practitioner contract of 1990 and the health reforms of 1991.

The successful course that I have been organising for 20 years is now on the point of closing down.

This experience is widespread throughout the country. Indeed some schemes are only continuing by filling their vacancies with EU graduates who will be returning to their own country on the completion of their course.

Yours faithfully,


Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

23 June