Being mindful of medical hierarchy

18th July 2019 by Rachel Birch

Being mindful of medical hierarchy

Medical hierarchy may present a challenge, and at times a possible reluctance, to open discussions about patients. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal consultant at Medical Protection, discusses possible reasons for this and provides helpful strategies to overcome this.

Most doctors would agree that a medical hierarchy exists in the hospital setting, with junior doctors and specialist registrars making up most consultants’ teams. In many ways, in general practice, once a GP has qualified and completed their training, they may be considered as equal as any other GP. However, few would disagree that newly-qualified GPs can, and do, still learn a lot from more experienced GPs. As such, there exists a more subtle form of medical hierarchy within general practice.

It is important that sessional GPs are aware of this, especially when there may be disagreement about a patient’s care.

Case scenario

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