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The two major causes of the linguistic problems encountered by
medical secretaries are clearly described by Mclachlan(1). The first type
is easily and cheaply solved by replacing the outdated technology of
cassette tapes with modern digital machines, as my own practice has found.
Accents and poor command of language are less responsive to treatment,
although the effectiveness of topical measures applied by all secretaries
is generally recognised.
However there exists a third and much more dangerous cause of errors,
which unfortunately lies outside the control of secretaries. The very
common failure of writers to proof-read their letters before signing them
is a reason for the greatest concern. It requires systemic treatment with
remedial education, and penalties for persistent offenders, whether
individual writers or organizations that fail to encourage better
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