Letter: The qualified and the quack

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YOUR article 'Harley Street: a suitable case for lament' (1 May) was highly illuminating about the public's difficulty in distinguishing between qualified specialists and charlatans. With the plethora of medical degrees and titles in the UK it is almost impossible for the lay public to determine the real qualifications and status of their doctor.

The Calman Report proposed a new Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) to be awarded to those successfully finishing a Royal College-recognised training programme. Unfortunately the medical establishment has so far refused to give this certificate full legal status.

The Liberal Democrats will be seeking all-party support for an amendment to the Medical Act this autumn for the creation of legal recognition of specialists and the use of the title 'specialist' to be restricted to holders of the CCST.

Liz Lynne MP

London SW1