Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

The tablets of stone

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 03 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1523
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

    Sniggering came from the back rows behind me. I smiled too. “Rubbish,” my inner voice jeered loudly, “Nonsense.” This was my tutorial group’s meeting on the role of the general practitioner in the consultation. No cardigan wearing, bearded, Jethro Tull groupie could convince me of the pagan effect of “the placebo,” nor that doctors were somehow druids empowered with a “therapeutic effect.” (An unlikely Hungarian psychologist called Balint coined the term “drug doctor” to describe this clinical effect.) Fresh from the hospitals, I was …

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