Letters

Benefits of an honest admission

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7124.74 (Published 03 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:74

Occupational health services aim to deliver proper care

  1. A G Elder, Consultant occupational physiciana,
  2. Ewan B Macdonald, Consultant occupational physiciana
  1. a Lanarkshire Occupational Health and Safety Service, Bellshill Maternity Hospital, Bellshill ML4 3JN
  2. b Southmead Health Services NHS Trust, Westbury on Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB

    Editor—Those who work in occupational health in the NHS will have been dismayed by the personal view about a doctor's ordeal after a needle and syringe were found in his on call flat.1 The occupational health department's poor communication with the anonymous author—who had a history of mild bipolar disorder—is open to criticism, but in defence of the occupational physician, the fact that a domestic assistant finds a full syringe in an on call flat might raise the possibility of self medication or substance misuse.

    From this experience the author castigates occupational health services in general and draws the wrong conclusion. It is untrue to suggest that nurses or any other health professional with “a whiff of mental illness will be filtered out.” The case of Beverley Allitt—a nurse who was found guilty of harming and murdering children in her care—prompted a review of procedures but not a purge of those with mental illness. Given the …

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