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Alternative prescribing and negligence

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:455
  1. David R Blake, professor of bone and joint medicine (
  1. Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath

    Negligence is the lack of proper care and attention; carelessness or an act of carelessness. A negligent act may be of no consequence. It may be of the utmost consequence and for the licensed medical profession, a negligent act can lead to criminal charges and removal of your name from the Medical Register. We are trained to avoid negligence and are now regularly audited to ensure this. Fear of negligence determines much of modern medical practice. Are similar standards applied to others?

    There would have been no form of redress if the treatment had failed

    My story concerns an alternative medical practitioner/pharmacist, an example of the kind of non-traditional practitioner, with apparent training in holistic medicine, that the House of Lords and other bodies have recommended.

    It was a damp Friday evening when I set out from a lecture to return on the train to Bath. Walking along the crowded pavements I was troubled once again by a recurrent low back pain, a longstanding complaint relieved …

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