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The editorial by Mangin and Toop,1 describes how the QOF has made British GPs into government data collectors and agents of pharmaceutical companies. QOF does not measure our clinical skils or kindness: there are no points for recognising rare diseases at an early stage or in giving sympathy. In medicine, despite all our cleverest scientific advances, all we can do is to influence the process, not the eventual outcome of life, which has an inevitable 100% mortality. A significant part of our role must be to help our patients live their lives to the full. Instead we have made many obsessed with numbers, which they have come to regard as the keys to happiness and eternal life, not realising that what we measure are merely fluctuating bio-statistics. To retain the enormous confidence invested in us by our patients, it is imperative that we keep our critical and clinical skills, honed by our professional training, and use them to the benefit of our patients to provide the best advice and medical care we can in the interest of their individual wellbeing. This surely is the real value of general practice and the art of being a healer.