Between aspiration and reality
Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee gives her opinion on the training of doctors
What makes the perfect modern doctor? The General Medical Council has drawn up new guidance for medical schools as a framework on which to base their curriculums and assessments. Tomorrow's Doctors (see www.gmc-uk.org/) is an idealistic compendium of the best qualities every new doctor should acquire. If medical schools could indeed turn out doctors moulded to this template, then we should expect a new generation of scholar saints and gentle scientists--wise, knowledgeable, sensitive, collegiate, humble, and good beyond imagining.
It is in the nature of every profession to set itself an ideal character and attempt to impose it as best it can on new entrants. It is also in the nature of humanity to fail that ideal most of the time. Visit any training establishment--of barristers, solicitors, police, nurses, or even journalists (a low trade, hardly a profession)--and you will find the most exalted sentiments imparted to the fresh faced