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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Who can treat our ailing GPs?

The majority of the UK's 36,000 GPs have voted to resign from the NHS next April unless new contracts are in place.

The British Medical Association says their ballot shows the medical profession's level of frustration at the slow pace of NHS reform.

The result of the vote came as Tony Blair announced that health would be the driving mission of a Labour government if they were re-elected for a second term.

The Conservatives have criticised Labour's management of the NHS. Shadow Health Minister Dr Liam Fox said a Conservative government would reduce the amount of bureaucracy faced by GPs.

The Liberal Democrats promised to exceed the number of additional doctors and nurses planned by Labour.

Do you think your GP is overworked? Which party is best-suited to treat their current ailments?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Peter Arnold is right that not being in the euro will limit our influence to an extent. However, the points he makes about trade would only apply if we withdrew from the EU altogether. I'm not convinced that we'd be worse off by leaving the EU. We'd certainly be affected by it, but we would lose a lot of the red tape, be able to compete with the EU and deal with our industries in our own way and not do what Brussels dictate. While I understand the arguments of the pro-Euro/EU lobby, I also think that a UK outside of the EU would be leaner, fitter and better able to compete than a bloated EU.
Paul R, UK

With a salary of about 58,000 I think they have little room to complain.

Thomas Lloyd, Wakefield
I do think GP's are overworked to some extent but with a salary of about 58,000 I think they have little room to complain. After all how many of us earn that amount? I presume they got the idea of mass resignation from dentists and we all know it lead to the poorest in society being excluded yet again. Perhaps if GP's focused on the good aspects of general practice, rather than moaning, they would be able to attract more graduates into the profession.
Thomas Lloyd, Wakefield, UK

Presumably GPs think they can do this because they're not salaried employees of the NHS, but effectively running small businesses. This means that the solution to at least some of their problems should be in their own hands. So perhaps it's time that they should become employees.
Steve, UK

Politicians clearly do not care as they all go to private hospitals!

John, UK
All these promises that are being made seem to be a clear indication of desperate tactics to recruit the public to vote for them. Not one party has the interests of the NHS at heart. The treatment of Doctors and Nurses is a scandalous waste of talent at huge cost to the taxpayer. There are thousands of Nurses and Doctors who are available want to work for the NHS but are prevented from doing so. It is no wonder that most move overseas where they are respected as professionals and are not subjected to such disgraceful working conditions. Give all us a NHS to be proud of. At the moment the NHS is a an absolute shambles. Politicians clearly do not care as they all go to private hospitals!
John, UK

I am a GP in Lewisham and currently on the Primary Care Group soon to be replaced by Primary Care Trusts. It is simply not the reality that Primary Care leads anything or that GPs are in control of what is happening or will happen in health planning. This year Primary care has had NO increase in resources in our Health Authority, no money for increase in staff and my practice has had the money available to prescribe medicines reduced. On a PCT there will be perhaps 4 GPs on the executive board out of 13. Not a majority and in any case if the money is all earmarked for special projects by the government as it is at the moment and all these are for hospital things there is never any left in the pot for General Practice. This year there is 200,000 allowed for surgery improvements which would only pay for a room or too hardly massive premises improvements. In London many GPs are approaching retirement age and will be retiring so the likelihood is the numbers will fall not increase. No doctor is bribable by a sum of money to stay on or for that matter to start work what we need is support staff to help with the work load and sensible expectations so we can treat patients and improve the health of the nation.
Helen Tattersfield, UK



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