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Partha Kar: Jealousy, rivalry, and disdain—the toxicity of specialty stereotyping

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 31 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2080

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Re: Partha Kar: Jealousy, rivalry, and disdain—the toxicity of specialty stereotyping

Dear Editor,

Hear, hear!

Twenty-five years ago, as LMC chair I was the lone representative of my GP colleagues at the occasional meeting with local hospital consultant colleagues.

Several took the opportunity to be very critical of GPs' knowledge of their specialty. So I put a simple ENT problem to the gynaecologist. He hadn’t a clue how to manage it. The ENT consultant was equally lost when I gave him a common gynae presentation. There was a noticeable change of attitude.

Super-specialist consultants know more and more about less and less. GPs are expected to know more and more about more and more. At least 25 years ago GPs and specialists had joint meetings at which new developments and tricky clinical and administrative problems could be aired, sometimes over a hot meal which definitely increased attendance and collegiality. Such opportunities seem to be rare these days.

All doctors are particularly stressed at the moment but taking a deep breath before responding to derogatory comments and finding opportunities for understanding our colleagues’ experience and points of view is vital. Professional infighting damages us, our reputation, our health, and it damages the care we give patients.

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 September 2021
Judith H Harvey
retired GP