Letter: Why a local chemist would damage this country practice

Share
YOUR article on the dirty dealings in a Wiltshire village ('A case of bad medicine', 31 July) raises an important issue. While we would not condone the reported dubious tactics of these doctors, the implications of removing many rural practitioners' right to dispense needs to be considered.

In our practice, for example, we provide 24-hour a day medical care to a sparsely populated rural area over 100 sq miles. Our surgeries are fully booked until late each evening. Home visits to patients unable to undertake a 5- to 25-mile round trip to the surgery are increasingly common and very time-consuming. We are 'on call' every fourth night and weekend, and also look after patients in two cottage hospitals for negligible remuneration. There is little prospect of sharing these burdens with neighbouring practices because of the distances involved. As a result our patient lists are kept at less than 50 per cent of some other practitioners in the Bath area.

The Government's insistence on pegging the remuneration of practitioners to the size of lists (and to payments such as vaccination and cervical smears related to patient numbers) means that without our dispensing income, we would receive less that two-thirds of the intended average net remuneration for GPs.

Were a chemist to move to our village, the implications for our practice would be dire. We would be forced to shed one of our three principals and curtail investment in staff, equipment and premises. The service we offer would inevitably decline.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Dispensing Doctors Association are arguing over the pros and cons of dispensing doctors. However, it seems unlikely that there is any real difference, in either quality or in overall cost to the taxpayer, between chemists and dispensing doctors.

At a time when fewer and fewer young doctors are applying to train as GPs (most areas are reporting a decrease in applications by 80 to 90 per cent) newly accredited principals are in demand. Already most wish to work in the well-remunerated, pleasant pratices based in market towns. Should this trend continue, rural practice will be set to join that other Cinderella area of general practice, the inner cities.

Dr Bill Irish, Dr Piers Jennings, Dr Sam Knott

The Mendip Country Practice

Bath, Somerset

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
From DR BILL IRISH, Dr PIERS JENNINGS, Dr SAM KNOTT
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prior to the start of the European Council Summit in Brussels last month  

David Cameron talks big but is waving a small stick at the Russian bear

Kim Sengupta
 

Isis in Iraq: Even if Iraqi troops take back Saddam’s city of Tikrit they will face bombs and booby traps

Patrick Cockburn
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003