Pressures in outpatient clinics

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7157.541 (Published 22 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:541

Putting up with overcrowded clinics disguises need for change

  1. D J Niblett, Consultant anaesthetist
  1. Bedford Hospital, Bedford MK42 9DJ
  2. West London Neurosciences Centre, Charing Cross Hospital, London W6 8RF

    EDITOR—The pressure on outpatient clinics that Sellu highlights in his Personal View is commonplace and affects other aspects of hospital work, such as the planning of operating theatre schedules.1 He is a victim of a system that exploits its employees while simultaneously making scapegoats of them in order to conceal inadequacies that the purchasers and the government are not honest enough to shoulder responsibility for. I fear that this self sacrifice by consultants who work for free on behalf of the trusts merely compounds the problem and compromises the quality of individual patient care.

    Doctors have a duty of care to individual patients. It is not acceptable to covertly trim this care for the greater good. But when doctors accept an excessive caseload, albeit under …

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