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Assessing the performance of doctors in practice

John Ellard

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Abstract

Sometimes there are questions about a doctor’s practice, and so a medical reviewer is asked to comment on some documents. This is what one reviewer does.

Article Extract

Doctors share the attributes of the general population. That is, most of them are honourable people doing their best all the time, but a few are not. There are many reasons for this, and sometimes patient care can be compromised. Not only does this harm some patients but it reflects adversely on the status and reputation of our profession. The 2000 Readers’ Digest survey of 3500 Australians showed that in terms of trust doctors were ranked sixth after pilots, nurses, pharmacists, members of the Armed Services and the police, in that order. There is no sign of improvement.

There are regulatory bodies that have the duty of protecting the public. They take their responsibility seriously and, inter alia, turn to the profession for advice about satisfactory standards of care. Generally this comes from individual reviewers. Since I am one of them I believe that I should write about what I do, for it is important that the process should be as public as possible. I should think that other reviewers do much the same, but I shall write in the first person to make it clear that I am speaking only for myself.

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