Observations Ethics Man

Searching for medical Rumpoles

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c42 (Published 06 January 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c42
  1. Daniel K Sokol, honorary senior lecturer in medical ethics, Imperial College London
  1. daniel.sokol{at}talk21.com

    Strong characters are needed to illuminate ethicolegal training

    This time last year around 100 teachers of medical ethics assembled to thrash out a new consensus statement on the ethicolegal training of future doctors. The existing statement, published in 1998, was showing signs of age.1 Consultation was thorough, involving the General Medical Council, the British Medical Association, and many other stakeholders. This month the Journal of Medical Ethics published the new statement.2 It is ambitious and admirable. (As a signatory I am, admittedly, biased.) Students, at the end of the revised course, should be familiar with a number of key topics, from professionalism to medical research; be able to “consider, apply and reflect critically on the ethical and legal bases for clinical decisions”; and “identify values of different stakeholders,” including their own. In an accompanying editorial Søren Holm and John Harris note that any medical student who has achieved all the learning outcomes will have “a solid basis in ethics and law.”3

    Solid indeed, for I doubt that many professional ethicists would be able to tick all the boxes. Only now, after …

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