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Practitioner 2010; 254 (1733): 38

Putting your stamp on general practice

20 Oct 2010Registered users

Have you seen the latest commemorative stamps? As the royal mail said when introducing them: ‘In a little over a century, British doctors and scientists have made a series of startling breakthroughs' - and the stamps rather beautifully depict those breakthroughs - beta blockers, penicillin, the Charnley hip replacement, lens implants, the understanding of malarial transmission, and CT scanners. So where are the British GPs in all this? I'm not denying the astonishing scientific achievements that these discoveries represent. But I'm always struck that we do 90% of the work of the NHS, caring for most of the health problems of most of the population most of the time. We are becoming busier every year, and clearly offering something that the public appreciates, expects, and demands. I can't think of a single week in the three decades of my professional career when I haven't had more work to do than I could readily complete, so we must be doing something that matters to people. So, if one day the Royal Mail were to notice our frenetic backwater of the medical universe, what half dozen images might sum up most clearly just what it is we do?

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