Curing the doctors’ ills
SIR: Reading Tom Stuttaford’s The Doctor’s Surgery (February issue), I am reminded of the words of my father, Dr Horace Joules, who played a small part in setting up the NHS, when he said that ‘Aneurin Bevan allowed the Harley Street doctors to wine and dine him far too much.’
In my opinion, GPS often make the mistake of treating the effect rather than exploring the causes of our problems – but what else can they do in ten minutes? Dad was one of the early pioneers of treating the causes of lung cancer, for example, such as smoking and clean air. How many millions of pounds are spent on painkillers rather than investigating the causes of the pain? It is generally accepted that painkillers are not the answer to long-term pain, yet GPS carry on dishing them out, year after year.
With regard to the training of doctors, Dad examined student doctors for a number of years, and one of his complaints about the big teaching hospitals was that students knew all about rare diseases one would see only once in a lifetime; but show them an X-ray of a lung condition and they were at a loss. I assume this has all changed now, especially with doctors attending refresher courses, as Dad advocated they should. Bryan Joules, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.