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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
More From
From DR BILL IRISH, Dr PIERS JENNINGS, Dr SAM KNOTT
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests