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Views & Reviews Personal View

“I want to see the consultant”

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 15 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1399
  1. David P Crampsey, specialist registrar in otolaryngology, West of Scotland rotation
  1. david.crampsey{at}

    Hospital trainees working in outpatient clinics are familiar with the scenario. The next case record in the pile has a note from the nursing staff saying, “Patient wishes to see consultant.” Invariably these patients will get to see the consultant, but why? Are we bowing to the pressure of assertive patients simply to avoid confrontation? Do patients have a right to insist on seeing a particular member of the team? Patients wishing an exclusively consultant led service are already well catered for—in the private sector. However, the NHS is founded on principles of equality of access, and it also exists to provide training to junior medical and nursing staff and those in professions allied to medicine.

    Some patients have a long established relationship with a particular consultant. Consultants themselves …

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