'The law imposes the duty of care: but the standard of care is a matter of medical judgment'. So says Lord Scarman, outlining the hitherto accepted 'Bolam' standard, in his recent speech in the House of Lords decision of Sidaway v Bethlem Royal Hospital, reflecting earlier judicial dicta suggesting that it is for the medical profession rather than the courts to determine whether or not a medical practitioner has achieved the required standard of care (1). It is suggested here that this concept is bad in principle, and that the weight of judicial authority is against it.
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