The end of doctors, or the beginning of accountability?

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 17 December 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1604
  1. Jane Smith
  1. BMJ. Focus: London

    Just as this week's Economist is predicting the end of doctors, so doctors are engaging ever more in the process of defining what it is they do and should be doing. This week's letters columns (p 1667) show their response to the challenge laid down by last month's conference on core values in medicine. The same willingness to engage in the debate comes, in very different covers, from Julian Tudor Hart in a Socialist Health Association pamphlet published last month.

    For most of his working life Hart has been a general practitioner to a Welsh mining community. He has been a lifelong socialist, and most doctors will know him for his coinage of the inverse care law. This states that the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served. Since Hart believes that the law operates more completely when medical care is exposed to market forces, it is no …

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