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New ideas about medical professionalism

Donald H Irvine
Med J Aust 2006; 184 (5): 204-205.
Published online: 6 March 2006

Public trust depends on promoting good practice and protecting the public from poor practice

Traditional medical professionalism derives from medical practice in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In the past 10 years, the search has been on in the United Kingdom — and in other countries — for a “new professionalism” more in harmony with patients’ expectations and the nature of medical practice today.1-5 Last month, the Royal College of Physicians of London affirmed its commitment to professionalism as the foundation of good quality medical practice through a Working Party report titled “Doctors in society: medical professionalism in a changing world”.6 That commitment is important, and has relevance beyond the UK. It comes at a time when some consider the very notion of “profession” and “professionalism” to be outmoded. The report and a supplement of excellent evidence7 (underpinning the report) is seen as the starting point for further development.

  • Donald H Irvine

  • Picker Institute Europe, Oxford, United Kingdom.

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