Intended for healthcare professionals


GP surgeries were hard to contact over Christmas

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 22 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1422
  1. Andrew Rouse, Senior lecturer
  1. Department of Public Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham BT15 2TT

    EDITOR—Accident and emergency departments were overwhelmed with patients during the Christmas period. The health minister, Frank Dobson, believes that a flu epidemic precipitated this problem. A more likely explanation is that the general practice service in England and Wales broke down; people could not contact their general practitioners during the holiday period.

    As part of a pharmacological research project, I was involved with a telephone survey of general practitioners. We selected a simple random …

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