Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Medicopolitical Digest

Junior doctors oppose idea of new non-consultant gradeGeneral practice must changeConsultants have concerns about revalidation

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 25 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:878

Rapid Response:

Divide and Rule

Editor - As a recently retired hospital consultant I was deeply
dismayed by Professor Pringle's "three dreams" as expressed on page 878 of
this weeks BMJ.
In the early 90's I attempted a little effort entitled "The Demise of A
Noble Profession." Publishers at that time agreed that it was
"interesting but not commercially viable." The irony of their comments,
at least as a
reflection of the position of our modern profession, becomes clearer with

One of the fundamentals of politics as illustrated so well by K. Clarke's
White Paper around that time is based on the principle of "Divide and/to
Rule." True to form our sad profession demonstrates its naive gullibility
by continuing to fall straight into this ever present trap.
That General Practitioners represent 70-80% of our practising
professionals is obvious to any Government. Sadly, it has been far too
easy for Governments of the day to exploit this imbalance.

It would have been impossible then and even more impossible
now, if not far too late, to ask Doctors to stick together and fight the
Profession's corner as a whole and united body. Instead we find ourselves
behaving like less noble individuals struggling primarily for a larger
slice of an ever diminishing cake.

Spare a thought for the noble dinosaur. Was he unable to change or did he
just refuse to change? Today's "successful" doctor is, if nothing else, a
survivalist and hardly recognisable!

However, one thing we do know is that Prof. Pringle will win the
affections of the majority of Medical Practitioners and, after all, how
can a politician practise if he can't gain the majority?

RBHutcheson, BA, FRCOG

Gloucester, Glos., GL4 6YS

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 March 2000
R B Hutcheson