Letters, calls and emails: How to stop this torrent of waste paper

Dear Editor

I am intrigued whether other GPs are concerned about the amount of paper waste that they are required to discard during the course of a year.  

This waste is now expensive to have taken away and much of  it arises from governmental and quasi-governmental organisations.   

Commonly, boxes of unsolicited leaflets are delivered by ‘hit and run’ agents, who are unable to wait around while the contents are checked and decisions made whether the leaflets have been requested or are required.   

I have today, yet again, emptied a box of glossy pamphlets into the recycling bin — probably at a considerable cost to the tax payer.  

Questions need to be asked about the total cost of all the publications sent to GP surgeries by organisation such as NICE, the DoH, social services and the Benefit Agency to name but a few. In recent weeks we have had a mass of influenza leaflets, children’s vaccination advice booklets, child pneumonia booklets and how-to-access-social-care booklets, as well as the usual glossy NICE and DoH bulletins.  

Is it not more appropriate for a specimen copy to be dispatched, of which practices can then order more copies if they wish? Or perhaps an electronic copy could be sent for approval, now that we are all linked by NHSnet.  

I propose that we should not accept this repository status conferred upon us by a publicity-dependent government.  

We should reject all hit-and-run deliveries and insist that every box of leaflets contains a pre-paid return slip until the message finally gets through.  

Dr Nigel Higson  

Chief paper-recycler, Hove, East Sussex 

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