"I would have everie man write what he knowes and no more.

"—MONTAIGNE

BRITISH JOURNAL OF ANAESTHESIA
VOLUME 40, No. 6 JUNE 1968

EDITORIAL

GRADES OF MEDICAL ASSISTANTS?

Downloaded from http://bja.oxfordjournals.org/ at :: on December 27, 2016
The Report of the Royal Commission on Medical (iii) senior registrars (chief assistants) and regis-
Education deserves close study and at this stage trars (MOs. and D.Os.) who have com-
it seems likely that its recommendations in respect pleted their training and who have to wait
of postgraduate education and training are of while seeking a higher post;
particular interest to this specialty. We would (iv) certain doctors and dentists who occupy
hope to make further comment on this in future whole-time posts in very restricted fields."
editorials in the coming months. There is, how-
ever, a more pressing problem to which we would Can it be possible that a post may be suitably
like to draw attention. We refer to the confusion filled by an individual just because he fits into one
which appears to exist at present in respect of the of these categories which differ so widely in res-
"assistant grade". Posts are being designated as pect of background, training, ambition for the
suitable for the appointment of "medical assist- future and concomitant duties outside the hos-
ant", but it is evident that this is a species with pital! Surely there is a need for the assessment
many varieties. of these posts in terms of the particular type of
The Final Joint Report of the negotiations be- medical assistant which is appropriate. For
tween the Health Departments and the representa- example, one post may be suitably filled by a
tives of National Health Service Hospital Doctors Grade I (general practitioner suitably trained) or
and Dentists 1966-68 (paragraph 52) states that: another by a Grade IV (a doctor occupying a
"The assistant grade is now appropriate for the whole-time post in a very restricted field). It is
following types of staff in the hospital service: difficult to see how the same post could be occu-
(i) general practitioners and other doctors and pied by either a Grade I or a Grade IV. This
dentists (e.g. some married women) suitably seems urgently necessary and we would plead
trained and experienced but not carrying with the Ministry to have regard to the problem.
out consultant duties, on part-time contracts
in the hospital service;
ERRATUM
(ii) doctors and dentists who wish to follow a
permanent career in the hospital service but An unfortunate error occurred in the Editorial on
are not fitted to take or do not wish to "Rehabilitation" in our April issue. In the first
accept responsibilities equivalent to full line, "central venous system" should, of course,
consultant responsibility; have read "central nervous system".