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Political opening hours

As a medical student, I sat in on GP clinics and recall whole mornings with patients seeing their charming GP, chatting, then leaving the room reassured but without a new diagnosis or treatment, writes Jake Low-Beer

Many of us felt this was not why we had come to medical school. You may say: "What's wrong with the low-risk consultation?" Nothing - but don't expect the taxpayer to pay for it.

There is no evidence that GP surgeries that stay open to 8pm improve health. But prime minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron can see this buys votes.

When UnitedHealth chief executive Simon Stevens writes, "the evidence says that UnitedHealth's new primary care services in Derby are reducing health inequalities" in the "deprived and ethnic minority population", "enhancing access for deprived communities" and are "highly popular with patients", it sounds as if poor people's votes are cheaper to buy than rich ones.

He says: "This is exactly what local patients want their primary care trusts to be concerned with." Since when was being a doctor about giving patients what they want? That's politics and business - and the taxpayer pays. Most doctors are not interested in political services masquerading as healthcare.

Jake Low-Beer, trainee eye surgeon, Somerset

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