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Doctors frightened to report incompetent colleagues

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Think your doctor will be reported if he makes a terrible – even life-threatening – mistake? Think again. Doctors don’t always like ‘shopping’ other doctors, a new study has found.
Around 25 per cent of doctors say they would never report another doctor, even if their colleague’s performance was a danger to patient health, a survey of US and UK medics has revealed.
Around 20 per cent of doctors say they have had direct experience of an incompetent colleague over the past three years, they told researchers. But many of those who said they wouldn’t sound the alarm bells feared retribution.
There were plenty of other surprises in the survey of 3,000 British and American doctors. Only 80 per cent agreed that patient welfare should come before their own financial interests, and just 60 per cent thought it was appropriate to reveal any financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.
(Source: BMJ Quality & Safety, March 7, 2011; doi: 10.1136/bmjqs.2010.048113).

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Article Topics: human, Physician
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