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Self regulation at work: a case study

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 28 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:585
  1. William Hamilton, Nicholas Bradley, general practitioners
  1. Exeter

    Professional self regulation is besieged. Reports of fraudulent, or incompetent, doctors appear almost daily. Even the General Medical Council's mantra, “Protecting patients, guiding doctors,” suggests that patients need defending against doctors intent on harming them. Headline abuses of medical privilege do occur, yet there is danger in denouncing self regulation without recognising its strengths.

    WH is deaf. He is a 40 year old job sharing principal and a general practitioner trainer. He probably became deaf as a teenager, but his deafness has become a practical problem only within the past few years. His deafness is moderately severe with a loss of some 100 decibels. Even with powerful bilateral hearing aids, much of his hearing is visual.

    Communication was always adequate and mostly excellent

    How can a deaf general practitioner practise? Differently, is the answer. Despite high technology, telephone conversations are impossible, so all calls go to his secretary, and those requiring a personal reply are made using her as a third party. Lip …

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