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.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 2 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew