Third of UK doctors fear payback if they report colleagues

Some disturbing findings have emerged from a survey of the professionalism of US and UK doctors. According to the journal BMJ Quality and Safety  nearly a fifth of doctors in both the US and UK had direct personal experience of an impaired or incompetent colleague in the previous 3 years -- but one-third in both countries had not reported this colleague to a relevant authority.

More than one-third of UK doctors did not report colleagues because they were afraid of retribution, possibly reflecting unsympathetic treatment of whistleblowers which has been widely reported in the British medical press.

The authors said that it was surprising that only 80% of doctors strongly agreed with the statement that “Doctors should put patients’ welfare above the doctor’s own financial interests”. About 8% of doctors in both countries did not agree that it was “never appropriate” to have a sexual relationship with a patient.

Niall Dickson,CEO of the UK’s General Medical Council, responded to the report: “Doctors have a clear duty to put patients' interests first and act to protect them; this includes raising concerns about colleagues when necessary.” ~ London Telegraph, Mar 7;


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