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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Medical ethics is no cartoon strip

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Don’t bother with the reading, unless you genuinely don’t know the answers to questions like, 'Is it OK to ring the News of the World to let them know that a TV celebrity has developed troublesome piles?' Your Mastermind specialist topic is the bleeding obvious and you questions start…. now.

I passed with flying colours without so much as a mouse click on the essential background information, and if I can do it, bearing in mind my openly hostile attitude toward anything labelled compulsory by berks with clipboards, then so can you.

I’ve seen more challenging questions on a breakfast TV fund-raising phone-in…. 'The relevant Act of Parliament is known as (a) The Details Protection Act (b) The Data Protection Act or (c) The Doctor Protection Act. Entries cost £2 plus your normal text message charge.'

But this infantilising crap was as nothing compared to the trials and tribulations of Dr Julia and her partner Dr Hicks as portrayed on the GMC’s Good Medical Practice website.

You quite honestly have to see this to believe it. Cartoon imagery in the Roy Lichtenstein style but without the wit, style or any apparent artistic merit.

Not since Ronald Reagan tried to explain his Space Defense (sic) Initiative using a series of cartoon storyboards in the 1980’s has an important topic (in the GMC’s case, a doctor’s obligation to act as a Good Samaritan at an accident, in Ronnie’s, the defence of the free world) been so trivialised.

Reducing medical ethics to two dimensions, both conceptually and figuratively, devalues pretty much everything that GPs do.

Take a look, but, keep a kidney bowl handy. You might need it. Especially when you realise that, via your involuntary annual subscription, you’re actually paying for it too…

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder