Role of the Doctor

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2007 was a watershed for the medical profession. Sir John Tooke’s Inquiry into Modernising Medical Careers called for the profession to speak with a coherent voice and to define the role of the doctor. The profession heeded that call. This is the current consensus on the ever evolving role of the doctor. It has been developed in consultation with the undersigned organisations, patient groups and those medical and lay delegates who attended the Role of the Doctor Conference in October. The statement builds on much recent work by the signatory organisations and should be seen in the context of the Duties of a Doctor as defined by the GMC in Good Medical Practice. The Consensus Statement on the Role of the Doctor

Doctors alone amongst healthcare professionals must be capable of regularly taking ultimate responsibility for difficult decisions in situations of clinical complexity and uncertainty, drawing on their scientific knowledge and well developed clinical judgement. The doctor’s role must be defined by what is in the best interest of patients and of the population served. Based on the definition of the role of a medical doctor proposed by the International Labour Organisation it is agreed that: Doctors as clinical scientists apply the principles and procedures of medicine to prevent, diagnose, care for and treat patients with illness, disease and injury and to maintain physical and mental health. They supervise the implementation of care and treatment plans by others in the health care team and conduct medical education and research. All healthcare professionals require a set of generic attributes to merit the trust of patients that underpins the therapeutic relationship. These qualities include good communication skills, the ability to work as part of a team, non judgemental behaviour, empathy and integrity. In addition to possessing these shared attributes doctors must be able to: assess patients’ healthcare needs taking into account their personal and...
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