I THINK Lewis Cowen's article (Gazette July 17) gave the impression that the PCT is responsible for closing doctors' lists.

It's actually the doctors themselves who decide.

If the lists were allowed to grow without being monitored the level of care to existing patients would be stretched to such an extent that the patients would surely suffer, both at the primary and secondary care levels.

As one of the pilot surgeries around the country for the government's Advanced Access Scheme we need a stable practice population to provide weekly, monthly and quarterly figures for the PCT.

Of course all the new housing in Devizes has brought new patients to the area but where are the doctors to take these patients on?

Many trained doctors choose not to become GPs leaving the existing lists oversubscribed. As our GPs gradually retire who takes over? There is a nationwide shortage of 12,000 GPs.

It does not take almost two weeks to register with a Devizes doctor.

New residents approaching our surgery are given the telephone number of the Wiltshire Shared Services Consortium based in Pans Lane (formerly known as the Wiltshire Heath Authority).

Working on a rota basis, the registration department allocates them a doctor immediately.

When a new patient presents at the surgery the allocation list is checked, the appropriate forms completed and they're registered on the spot.

This allocation and registration procedure regularly happens within hours.

Why did it take the lady from Herefordshire almost two weeks to register with a Devizes GP?


Office Manager

St James Surgery