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Senior doctors must stay part of the picture

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 06 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:103
  1. Peter Mahaffey, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon (
  1. Bedford Hospital

    As I walked out of a provincial hospital in Germany the other day, I noticed in the foyer a board with the names and photographs of all the institution's medical staff proudly displayed. Later, when I got home, a check on the website showed these same names just one click in from the home page, complete with qualifications and notes of their specialist interests.

    Clearly these staff were important to the hospital, an asset to be advertised. That is perhaps hardly surprising. Patients come to a hospital in the expectation of the best treatment, and treatment is carried out by a specialist team. At the head of each team is a senior clinician and it is upon the quality of that consultant that the outcomes for the patient depend. He or she leads the team, sets the standards, conducts the diagnoses, and supervises the treatment.

    Having worked and travelled extensively elsewhere in Europe and America, I have realised that the phenomenon of hospitals expressing pride in the quality of …

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