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Devaluing clinical skills

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 24 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1739
  1. Peter Wilmshurst, consultant cardiologist
  1. Shrewsbury

    Poor clinical performance may be the medical issue of greatest concern to the general public and the press, but most doctors realise that clinical performance and welfare of patients often come second to the interests of institutions and loyalty to colleagues.

    Our major medical institutions have placed their financial interests before the welfare of patients

    The public might reasonably expect that a clinician will possess good or at least adequate clinical skills. Yet within our system those attributes are valued least. Distinction awards have traditionally gone to those who have reduced their clinical responsibilities to find time for speaking at conferences, committee work, and medical politics. Increasingly, universities appoint to posts that are nominally for academic clinicians, doctors who moved soon after qualifying into basic science, commonly molecular biology. The main requirements of the universities when appointing a professor in a clinical specialty are not clinical skills, a record of clinical research, or …

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