Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editorials Christmas 2012: Editorial

When managers rule

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 19 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8239

Rapid Response:

Re: When managers rule

At my age especially in the Festive Season everything takes a little longer but I applaud this editorial which illustrates some current NHS woes. It points out that whistleblowing can lead to rapid professional oblivion, illustrated by the following Editorial, BMJ 2012;345:e8330 on Ignaz Semmelweis.

I may have a partial answer. My 2010 unpublished investigation into retired doctors in N Ireland confirmed that most who replied could see ways in which their services to patients could have been improved but that their professional advice was usually ignored by the powers that be.

Retired doctors can have more detached judgement than younger colleagues and often know how to go about generating change without causing uproar. They have more time to engage with the media if appropriate and as potential patients can display enlightened self interest. Having no careers to blight they could act as effective proxy whistleblowers.

Though many retired doctors are happy to be removed from the medical scene, others are not and would welcome a chance to be of continuing service. Is this a neglected resource?

Competing interests: Elderly retired GP who misses being out of the action and who doubtless will soon be in need of good NHS care!

05 January 2013
Robert Lewis Miller
Retired GP
Ex Woodstock Medical centre
222 Woodstock Road, Belfast BT6 9DL