Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Care less

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 09 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d877
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

We all care—about the environment, the developing world, and poor people. We express our commitment by spending thousands of pounds to send our children to dig toilets in Africa for two weeks, by buying organic chicken, by sharing the school run. Few are committed enough to grow dreadlocks and tunnel into power stations—or spend a decade working in Africa—because caring is difficult.

So, do doctors care? This seems an impertinent, almost ridiculous, question. In every medical school interview teary candidates bleed out their care and commitment to humanity: “I just want to help.” Actually, does it matter …

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