Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Professional judgment v customer expectations

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 28 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1366
  1. Rebecca Rosen, senior fellow in health policy at the Nuffield Trust, GP
  1. Greenwich, UK
  1. rebecca.rosen{at}

We need to find a way to deal with the tension between professional judgment and consumer sovereignty

At recent meetings I’ve attended, doctors have been berated for their ongoing failure to think of patients as customers; for the continued paternalism of the profession; and for its failure to adapt to modern expectations.

One doctor responded by asking what value should be attributed to professional expertise and judgment when it is pitted against customer expectations?

The new NICE guidance on prescribing antibiotics for sore throats, and the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, throws this question into sharp relief.

In the past few months, I have had to refer two people with urine infections to hospital for intravenous antibiotics because all oral antibiotics had failed. I have been a GP for 20 years and never had to do this before, …

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