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Doctors remain ‘most trusted’ profession

Doctors have come out on top again when it comes to occupations that the public trust - but the BMA chairman has warned that this trust could be put at risk in the future by the Government's health reforms.

An Ipsos MORI survey of 1,026 people found that 88% trusted doctors to tell the truth, with the profession beating 20 other professions on honesty, including judges, clergyman and priests, and the police. Just 8% of respondents felt doctors did not tell the truth, and 4% said they did not know.

Doctors also placed number one in the same poll in 2009 and 2010.

The results came as BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum warned that the current high levels of trust that existed could be severely tested by the Government's NHS reforms.

Speaking ahead of the BMA's Annual Representative Meeting next week, Dr Meldrum said that retaining the current trust would ‘be key to getting through the challenges we face over the next few years'.

‘There is a danger that this trust could be put at risk by some of the Government's plans,' he said.

‘Doctors will have a greater role in planning and shaping health services and having a greater say about what is best for patients.'

‘But this will only work if it is a shared responsibility and the Government must be truthful about its intentions for the NHS and its future.'

Dr Meldrum specifically cited the proposed introduction of the quality premium as a potential threat to the trust patients put in their GP.

He said: ‘We are all in favour of GPs and their other colleagues doing the best to commission services well and cost effectively but I think if patients even suspected that their GP might be rewarded for how well they do financially in terms of commissioning... that could seriously damage trust

‘If the Government thought they we're going to get us onside with [the quality premium], they obviously haven't been listening.'