Any proposal to charge GPs for 'inappropriate' attendance at accident and emergency or walk-in centres requires careful thought to avoid perverse consequences, writes Michael Dixon

GPs are a critical part of the healthcare system. Certainly, their use of resources should be scrutinised and inappropriate behaviour held to account. But kneejerk reactions aimed at applying pressure in only one area are simplistic and unacceptable in a modern NHS.

Clinicians, managers and policy makers should start working together for the benefit of patients. No group should alienate the others with methods that will only demoralise and increase adversarial behaviour. This is an instance of short-term thinking that may resonate with those who see the health service as a feudal machine. It owes more to outdated market practices than the creativity the NHS needs in the 21st century.

Incidentally, if GPs are to be fined when patients walk in to walk-in centres, what exactly are they for?

Dr Michael Dixon, chair, NHS Alliance