Letters: Retailers can teach GPs about customers

The Times reports that GPs in the shops will save workers' time (18 September). The CBI alleges that more than £1 billion is lost to the economy by restricted surgery times which is an onerous charge indeed (GP, 21 September).

Of course there is a variation across the country, but our rural practice like so many others sees patients until 7pm or until demand is satisfied.

We offered late surgeries some months ago and found them unpopular because the majority of appointment requests involve patients who are elderly, disabled, children or unemployed.

We need to be careful that any new offerings are a response to real need and not vague aspiration.

However, top retailers like Tesco do have much to teach the NHS in terms of listening to 'customers' and determining proportional and prompt responses. The tax payer's money that was spent on NHS Direct and walk-in centres could have beefed up primary care beyond all recognition.

Dr John Havard Saxmundham, Suffolk.

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