Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Clinical Review ABC of health informatics

Referral or follow-up?

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 03 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1072

Rapid Response:

Collusion of anonymity

I was disappointed that Frank Sullivan and Jeremy Wyatt suggested
that the "collusion of anonymity" occurs when hospital and primary care
each thinks the other is arranging follow up. I don't think this is

The phrase was coined, as far as I know, by Michael Balint and and
the collusion truly occurs when "the patient is passed from one specialist
to another with nobody taking responsibility for the whole person"
(Editorial: The Doctor, his Patient and the Illness - revisited. Balint
Society Journal; 2005. 33

This is an important issue which I think is fundamental to good
medical practice and crops up daily.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 November 2005
Wilfrid Treasure
Muirhouse Medical Group, EH4 4PL