Letter: NHS charges

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The Independent Online
Sir: Polly Toynbee writes sharply as always ("As the season of suffering looms, doctors should be brought to account", 6 October) and in some cases she is on the button about doctors influence on the finance of the NHS.

However, she gives the impression that doctors are lazy and interested only in financial or other personal gain. Most doctors do work hard, often too hard to have time to adequately keep up with training and reading myriad journals, (a well-recognised problem) and high rates of suicide, alcoholism and divorce point to the effect their work on behalf of the NHS has on them. Swanning off to the Bahamas is unlikely to be contributing.

Interest in remuneration above the basic salary is understandable. A junior doctor on call overnight works for less than the cleaners in the hospital and a consultant's basic salary equates with that of an associate solicitor in a provincial legal firm. This reflects not only the fact that we work in the public sector, but also the failure of the last government to fulfil the pay review body's recommendations.

SIMON GRANT

Senior Registrar in Obsetrics and Gynaecology,

Birmingham Women's Hospital

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