Intended for healthcare professionals


Identifying medical students at risk of subsequent misconduct

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 27 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2169
  1. Alison Reid, medical director
  1. 1New South Wales Medical Board, Public Health Medicine, Gladesville, NSW, 1675, Australia
  1. alison.reid{at}

    Fitness to practise should be determined by both academic and non-academic ability

    Most medical practitioners never cross the path of their professional regulatory body, but in every jurisdiction a small number exhibit serious deficiencies in their professional performance or conduct. As well as exposing their patients to risk or in some cases causing serious harm, they generate a substantial workload and considerable expense for regulatory bodies. These valuable resources could be better used in raising general standards of medical practice and supporting diligent members of the profession. In the linked case-control study (doi:10.1136/bmj.c2040), Yates and James look for factors in a doctor’s medical school career that are associated with subsequent professional misconduct.1

    In medical regulation, as in medical practice, prevention is better than cure. Since the 1990s, progressive regulatory bodies have introduced early intervention and remediation based systems for managing poorly performing practitioners as a supplement to their disciplinary processes. However, these regulatory systems apply only to practitioners who are already medically registered.

    The years that medical students spend at university provide a valuable opportunity to …

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