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Letter: When doctors speak ill of their colleagues

Sir: I and the others involved appreciated the excellent report by Celia Hall ('Doctors call for action on gossips', 27 May) about the press conference we held to highlight the problem of doctors depreciating the character or skill of colleagues. However, there is one point that I would like to clarify in this report.

When I quoted the very senior doctor who, never having met me, described me as a 'socialist, feminist lesbian', I went on to say that I knew of no evidence that doctors in any of these categories were anything other than good practitioners, and that I personally knew many excellent gay and lesbian doctors.

However, the effect, and maybe the purpose of such remarks, is to marginalise the doctor who is thus labelled an outsider by the dominant group. It is this marginalisation that undermines the credibility of the doctor and is difficult to counteract, even if one learns of the rumours.

Yours sincerely,


London, N1

27 May