Untrained GPs are just latest shoddy short cut

The position of the GP has always been a hostage to political and economic expediency.

It was for example no accident that the advent of compulsory, hospital-based training for GPs in the 1970s coincided with UK entry to the EEC and the subsequent loss of Commonwealth doctors to do poorly paid (with horrendous hours) SHO jobs.

Rather than pay a decent rate and give humane working conditions, much better to replace one lot of cheap labour with another. Now that there is no shortage of such junior doctors, the obvious thing to do is to replace all those expensive, vocationally trained GPs with excess young doctors.

Anyone can see that, as a long term policy, this is a truly terrible idea which will have severe repercussions down the years.

But what do we expect of policy invented on the hoof by politicians whose only horizon is the next general election?

The staggering vanity of our political masters, aided and abetted by much of our media, is going to destroy the fabric of one of the few areas of genuine quality in the kingdom - traditional community- and family-based general practice. Sadly, it seems that we are powerless to prevent it.

Dr Matthew Johnson, West London.

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