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More doctors would aid communication

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 11 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:717
  1. H Parsons, research fellow in microbiology
  1. Sheffield

    The media continues to bemoan the lack of communication skills possessed by today's doctors, criticising the medical schools' selection procedures and pleading for potential doctors to represent the wider community. Undoubtedly, complaints do occur and many are the result of poor communication between doctors and patients or their relatives, but the link between communication problems and poor selection of candidates is far from proved.

    The root of the problem is junior doctors' hours and workload”

    I applied for medicine because I wanted to help people and study a science based subject. As a scholarship pupil at a mixed public school, having been at a state grammar school for the preceding five years, I was surrounded by people from a different class and background from me who, in general, were incredibly confident and articulate. These contemporaries would not have made worse communicators than state school students; they may well have been better. Yet the relatively high proportion of medical students from private schools is frequently cited as a major …

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