Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Doctors no longer need medical secretaries

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 11 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f226
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

In 1995, learning to type using two fat fingers, I cursed the fact that I hadn’t taken secretarial studies. Since then computers have transformed primary care with online systems, scanned letters, electronic referrals, and searchable databases. Paper is dead. And as a consequence we have dispensed with secretarial support. I type all my own referrals and reports, I answer emails on the go, and I use my phone as my diary. Communication is easier and quicker. Technology is both revolution and revelation. So why has the NHS as …

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