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Br J Gen Pract. 2007 July 1; 57(540): 582.
PMCID: PMC2099649

Handshakes and dubious editing

Jim Newmark, GP for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Homeless

You don't seem to have a ‘quick response’ section on your website, which is a bit of a shame as, although a rare contributor, I did feel the need of such a facility on reading the letter from Gary Parkes2 and your subsequent Editorial comment. Don't you think there is a bit of a danger of taking yourselves FAR too seriously? In more blunt Yorkshire terms, you all seem to be in danger of disappearing up your own backsides.

I tolerate the BJGP, despite its overwhelming greyness, although I often wonder why. That letter from Dr Jenkins1 was an unusual shaft of light illuminating the gloom, and making more sense than the most of the rest of the Journal put together. The perception seemed valid to me, representing one of those rewarding aspects of general practice that still happen occasionally even after almost 30 years, and worthy of comment. Whimsical perhaps, but nevertheless appropriate for some light-hearted (but never-the-less valuable) research.

I think that both Dr Parkes' letter and your rather lily-livered response could be actually quite hurtful to Dr Jenkins, if he makes the mistake of taking either seriously. A bit more real general practice such as humanity and humour, and less of this ‘informed consent’ and ‘ethics committee’ nonsense would not go amiss. To use words like ‘fraud’, ‘deceive’, ‘insulting’ and ‘arrogant’ is way over the top. It does make me wonder how many handshakes Dr Parkes gets, or whether he is just content to go home each night with a general feeling of self-satisfied smugness for putting another colleague (or even patient) well and truly in their place …

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1. Jenkins M. Authors response. Br J Gen Pract. 2007;57:500.
2. Parkes G. Handshakes and spoof publications. Br J Gen Pract. 2007;57:411. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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