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Br J Gen Pract. 2009 August 1; 59(565): 620.
PMCID: PMC2714794


Faye McCleery, GP Retainer

‘Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia’. Charles M. Schulz US cartoonist (1922–2000).

‘A final g'day to general practice’ is a poignant and thought-provoking commentary on modern general practice.1

As a young GP myself, I see disillusionment among my peers. The emerging two-tier system and a sense of ‘tick-box medicine’ create dissatisfaction among new and old doctors alike. It is little wonder that many young doctors are following the author's lead and emigrating to Oz.

Interesting too are the comments on communication with our hospital colleagues. Last week I met a paediatric oncologist who reminisced mournfully about GPs phoning for ‘a bit of advice’ and expressed a real enthusiasm for more human contact. Choose and Book has yet to reach Scotland but clearly it may widen the communication gap further.

Despite this, general practice remains, I think, a highly rewarding job with much hope and promise for the future. The RCGP publication The Future Direction of General Practice states that ‘The generalist who can provide holistic and patient-centred care is needed now more than ever’.2

Perhaps then it is not time to mourn for the loss of general practice but rather to fight to keep it alive. With the words of Thomas Jefferson, ‘A little rebellion now and then … is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government’.


1. Elliot-Smith A. A final g'day to English general practice. Br J Gen Pract. 2009;59:618–620. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Royal College of General Practice. The Future Direction of General Practice. A roadmap. (accessed 9 Jul 2009)

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners