Editorials

Do professions have a future?

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7105.382 (Published 16 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:382

Perhaps, if they are not defensive or complacent

  1. Julia Abelson, Researchera,
  2. P H Maxwell, Honorary consultant nephrologistb,
  3. R J Maxwell, Chief Executive Officerc
  1. a School of Social Sciences, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY
  2. b Churchill Hospital, Oxford OX3 7LJ
  3. c Kings Fund, London W1M 0AN

    Within the medical profession a perception exists of a growing gap between the providers and users of health care and, more generally, between the health professions and society. The commitment to serve society, a key attribute of all professions, has been questioned from within and outside the ranks of medicine, and the medical professions' powers and privileges of self regulation have been challenged.1 2 3 4 5 6 A King's Fund seminar last autumn on the future of the professions brought together a range of perspectives, including views from architecture, nursing, medicine, and politics.

    Central to the implicit bargain between the profession and society is the exchange of privileges (self regulation and the control of …

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