Letter: Doctor on the Web

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was pleased to see your article about medicine on the Internet (" 'Ah yes, cancer. Just click here for a cure' ", 18 November). As Dr Robert Baker points out, there are many sites offering both dubious and dangerous remedies. It is impossible to police the Internet, however, and education is the best defence against charlatans.

Medicine in this country is finally moving away from the position of "Doctor knows best - trust me, I'm a doctor." Medical information is freely available. Doctors are now needed to help people interpret that information in the context of their own health.

For too long patients in this country have been starved of real information about their illnesses. The Internet can redress that balance. Doctors must realise that when patients are interested in and well informed about their health, consultations are quicker and more effective.

Many of my patients, particularly those with chronic illnesses, know more about their conditions than I do. They keep me up to date! The role and position of a doctor is changing. I and other many doctors welcome these changes, even if they do not fit within the traditional medical model.

Dr ELIZABETH MILLER

Director, www.med4u.co.uk

London SW6

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