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We need our doctors
11:46am Thursday 28th June 2012 in Letters
Sir – In recent days we’ve heard little about what goes into making a doctor. First, you must get good A-levels in all the appropriate sciences. Next, you must be prepared to spend the best part of a decade, forgoing all earnings to get the basic medical skills and knowledge.
This will leave you with enormous debt for years to come for being a student. You may then have to undertake further study but will, in any case, have to keep abreast of all medical developments in drugs and treatments on a rolling basis throughout your entire working life.
These can change by the year, by the month, or in certain circumstances by the week — or even the day in emergencies.
As a GP, you will require unflagging qualities of patience, sympathy, understanding, firmness, courage and resilience as your whole days will be spent, one-on-one, with anyone from the shy to the violent. You can never let up on these qualities in your entire working life.
Some think your pensions should be cut, your working life made longer, and your retirement conditions devalued. I don’t. I just say: thank you for giving your life to this work.
We need you — more than we need bankers or even certain politicians.
Ian Flintoff (Dr, but of philosophy!), Oxford