Leading Article: Only openness will weed out bad doctors
Monday 16 November 1998
Some cases of incompetence, however, are truly alarming, such as the one we report today, the case of Rodney Ledward, who boasted obscenely that he was the "fastest gynaecologist in the South-east" and who was struck off after injuring as many as 100 women in his care.
He was found out in the end, but the question must be why it took more than 14 years to stop him. As in the case of the Bristol doctors disciplined for poor performance in baby heart operations, the machinery of scrutiny worked far too slowly.
It is curious that most gynaecologists are men, but institutional sexism will take a long time to tackle. In the meantime, what matters above all is openness and the free exchange of information. This is sometimes resisted by the medical profession, on the grounds that league tables of mortality rates and so forth will encourage litigation and force doctors into practising "defensive medicine" - but that is not necessarily so. It suggests too little faith in their own professionalism if doctors feel able to persuade courts that they have acted correctly only by adopting the most invasive and interventionist techniques. And the argument that greater openness will "encourage people to go to the courts" does not survive a moment's examination.
It will only be by the free and open availability of information that bad doctors can be swiftly exposed and swiftly dealt with.
Arts & Ents blogs
Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
Grace Dent on TV: True Detective, Sky Atlantic
Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Jessica Alba interview: From Hollywood superwoman to household product CEO
Captain Phillips actor Barkhad Abdi struggles financially despite Oscar nomination
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it