Patients gain when hospital beds are matched to changing needs

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LETTER : From Dr P. P. Davies

Sir: If the Government had consulted the medical profession in 1990 they wouldn't find themselves today with the situation of an increase in hospital bed usage ("Untried cure kills hospitals", 6 March). Following the 1990 general practice contract and the NHS reforms of 1991, general practitioner stress and workload has vastly increased, according to numerous surveys. This in turn leaves less time to spend with individual patients. The Government also raised the public expectation of what the NHS can deliver and at what speed. The patient's charter has increased the level of complaints and litigation.

Thus, general practitioner stress and workload, patient expectation and fears of litigation have all led to increased demand for hospital admission, which, of course, adds considerably to the NHS budget. If the Government wishes the general practitioner to be the "gatekeeper" of NHS services, it is a pity that they didn't listen to the profession in 1990 and since then.

Yours faithfully,

P. P. DAVIES

Great Yarmouth,

Norfolk

6 March

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