Ombudsmen in the operating theatre

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 09 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1526

Doctors in Britain can be excused if they feel themselves to be in multiple jeopardy from patients with a grievance. A surge in consumerism is being avidly reinforced by government action. No fewer than four examples are current, beginning with legislation to bring professional performance within the orbit of the General Medical Council, followed by a new litigation authority to cope with rising negligence claims; a new catch all NHS complaints procedure from next April; and, last week, a bill to extend the ombudsman's jurisdiction into complaints about clinical judgment and primary care. Unlucky is the clinician who falls foul of all four. Plainly, the consumer society is closing in.

Its latest manifestation, the Health …

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