Think Doctors are as Interchangeable as Pilots? Read This.

I attended a high-level conference once (chiefs of large organisations, such as the Veterans Health Administration, Kaiser Permanente, and their UK and Australian counterparts). Many seemed to think that a doctor should be like a pilot – you assume they are competent and they are interchangeable. I thought this was cobblers at the time. If you doubt my point of view, please read Geoffrey Rubin’s moving account of telling his patients that his residency was ending, and that this was to be their last visit.[1] The doctor/patient relationship is intimate and highly personal, as discussed in a previous post.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Rubin GA. Breaking Up is Hard to Do. N Engl J Med. 2015; 373(2): 107-9.

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