Letter: Do Tory-voting GPs have collective Alzheimer's?

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the front page of GP (15 January): 53 per cent of GPs plan to vote Conservative.

Have my colleagues suddenly developed collective Alzheimer's disease?

Have they forgotten what the last Conservative administration did to general practice?

The 1990 contract followed by John Major's patient's charter which together almost destroyed general practice by causing the worst recruitment crisis of all time.

The 1990 contract was withdrawn as it became clear that it disadvantaged doctors in deprived areas and was completely unworkable.

The patient's charter, while appearing innocuous, drove up complaints causing great unhappiness among patients and GPs and driving up hospital admissions to crisis levels.

I still remember sitting in a meeting with senior hospital colleagues who confessed themselves completely baffled as to why we were suddenly sending in so many patients with suspected DVTs.

Then there was fundholding, which was great until the money ran out and we were expected to carry the can.

Nobody will ever persuade me that this wasn't the Tories' primary intention all along.

'It's going to be different this time' I hear you say.

Well, that hoary old confidence trick fundholding appears set to make a comeback as a revamped practice-based commissioning and will doubtless end in tears again.

It also looks as if we may be required to take responsibility for out-of-hours care again.

However, I must admit some things are going to be different this time. For a start, the Tories are committed to a major review of public service pensions.

They have already decided on the outcome of this review of course, as we have already been told that they intend to impose a cap of £50,000 on pensions and the pensionable age for new starters is being raised to 65, so claim yours while you still can.

It may be that some of our younger colleagues cannot actually remember the NHS under the Tories.

Well let me assure them, it was a very nasty place to be. We were overworked and permanently starved of resources.

Can any doctor seriously be considering voting Conservative?

Dr Alan Keith, Rotherham, south Yorkshire

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