Views & Reviews

Shopping for patients on the high street

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 18 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:157
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow (

    Sending doctors out on the streets of our most unhealthy cities to cure the sick? The result is pompous and patronising television, finds Margaret McCartney

    The idea of this series is to send doctors out onto the streets of Britain to meet members of the public wherever they happen to be—in shopping centres, at their office, on the bus home—to diagnose their illnesses and treat them. The BBC press release says that these “unique open air surgeries offer instant reassurance and treatment to patients with a wide number of common complaints and help those unsuspecting members of the public who may have been previously unaware they had a health problem.”

    The four “street doctors” are visiting some of our “unhealthy cities” (the first two programmes are in Liverpool and Glasgow), where “there are countless people living with undetected illness and health problems.” But do not fear, for “it's up to the street doctors to turn the city around.” The doctors carry large signs announcing their presence and are furnished with a patient's trolley, skeleton, and luminous orange medical bags. They unashamedly tout …

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