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Personal Views

Gaps exist between policy and reality

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 06 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1204
  1. Ann Jacoby,
  2. Kathy McCann

    This summer we each spent five days in hospital because of a pelvic infection. In one case it was after a minor gynaecological procedure—loop diathermy of the cervix—carried out in the outpatient clinic. In the other it was following dilatation and curettage after a miscarriage. Since one of us is a health services researcher and the other a purchaser and former researcher, we saw our experiences as providing an interesting opportunity for some participant observation.

    Boldly displayed at the entrance to the ward to which one of us was admitted was a framed statement of the ward's philosophy. The now hallowed principle of the importance of good communication between staff and patients was enshrined within it, with patients, it stated, being encouraged to be active coparticipants in their own care. While we imagine that most people, doctors and patients alike, would agree that this is a worthy …

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