Cur­ing the doc­tors’ ills

The Oldie - - READER'S LETTERS -

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.

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