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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 19 June 2008
Accountable to patients

• WHEN writing about my anger at GPs being likened to the private sector health industry, Tom Foot, in his otherwise excellent report (The great polyclinics rebellion, June 12), misquotes me seriously.
He quotes me as saying: “We are not accountable to our stakeholders.”
I actually said that, unlike the private sector, “GPs are not accountable to shareholders”.
We absolutely are accountable to our stakeholders – the local community, the primary care trust, the National Health Service itself and, above all, our patients.
The overwhelming majority of GPs put the quality and continuity of patient care way above personal financial gain, let alone the gain of greedy shareholders and obscenely rich corporate executives half-way across the world.
Fortunately, and despite the government’s relentlessly vicious and untruthful propaganda campaign against GPs, the overwhelming majority of our patients know this.
Dr Stephen Amiel
Caversham Group Practice
Chair, Camden & Islington Local Medical Committee

Threat to pharmacies

• ONE unintended consequence of any introduction of polyclinics will be the closure of local pharmacies who rely on prescriptions coming from local GP surgeries.
Let’s not forget the key, if informal role, that they play in the local health infrastructure.
CLLR Roger Freeman
Swiss Cottage ward

No need to shed tears

• WE should shed no tears over the demise of the GPs’ practice.
By restricting access to the surgery to within 48 hours (because the practice is being paid more to see patients within that period), these partnerships have grown increasingly lucrative as their patients have become more disadvantaged and frustrated.
This has got to the point where no appointments are available for the day one phones up (because they were all taken the previous day) but only for the next day, and not a day more.
In the scramble for those remaining places, all are taken within minutes of the lines opening. (My own practice, along with three others, is now using expensive, automated lines and even receives a share of the costs!)
One is, then, lucky if one can see any doctor at all, let alone have any choice in the matter.
So much for the rhetoric of “the vital doctor-patient relationship”.
Anything must surely be an improvement on this regime.
Belsize Grove, NW3

Polyclinic is not for me

• I AM strongly opposed to the introduction of polyclinics.
I have received excellent continuity of care by my GP at the Keats group practice for more than 10 years and also receive good NHS dental treatment locally.
I do not wish to see an anonymous GP/dentist at a polyclinic situated in the Royal Free Hospital, a further mile away from where I live.
It is time the government stops trying to replace the good with mediocre.

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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