Letters

More thoughts prompted by the Bristol case

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7187.871 (Published 27 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:871

Damned if you do and damned if you don't?

  1. C Thomson, Consultant physician (Thocmed@aol.com)
  1. Craggs Farm House, Little Broughton, Cockermouth CA13 0YG
  2. Glan-y-Môr NHS Trust, Trinity Buildings, Swansea SA1 5AT

    EDITOR—I can readily identify myself as one of the two consultants principally concerned with the case of whistleblowing or professional assassination reported anonymously as a personal view.1 Many of the problems we had with reporting poor performance should be resolved if the new formal procedures and assessments of the General Medical Council (GMC) work. However, the central issue of a practitioner's first responsibility being to protect patients from underperforming colleagues by speaking out remains. It will be difficult to reassure doctors about the consequences to themselves of so reporting if, later, accusations of malice or personal motives are cited. The alternative of anonymous reporting is unacceptable since it would then be easier to make malicious accusations and it is normal in law for people making accusations to be available for cross …

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