Views & Reviews Personal View

Person centred care or public health improvement?

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 01 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2129
  1. Andre Matalon, director, Department of Family Medicine, Rabin Medical Centre, and lecturer, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  1. matalon{at}

    In recent months I have being thinking about what the most important value in family medicine is. Some doctor friends say that the single most important value is knowledge. I initially thought that experience was the most important, but then what about compassion? Compassion means bringing your whole presence to treat your patients—by listening and understanding and offering love and hope.

    These thoughts and questions came in a period in my life when I was feeling somewhat burned out, which may have been connected to the visit of a senior medical director to my clinic some months previously. He didn’t much want to hear about our work and was critical of our poor achievement in quality outcome measures. But …

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