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Is general practice really so bad?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 12 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:843
  1. Robin Gatenby, general practitioner (
  1. Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire

    The medical press paints a depressing picture of general practice. Apparently we GPs are a dying species, demoralised, burnt out, undervalued by the public and secondary care doctors alike.

    It appears that the image of poor pay, ridiculously high demands from patients, and having to deal with constant trivia and mountains of paperwork is frightening medical students and young doctors away from general practice. Then there is the stress arising from the fear of ever increasing complaints and the pressures of revalidation and clinical governance.

    How many doctors are made redundant or sacked?

    Can all of this really be true? Is job satisfaction no longer there? Were things really so much better 10 or 20 years ago? And is it correct that most of us would not recommend medicine to our children?

    I am one of the no longer silent minority of GPs who believe that things are not as bad everywhere as it may seem. Maybe it is because I am in a small practice in a …

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