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There is no ‘I’ in team, but there are two in civil
  1. Thomas Donaldson
  1. School of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Donaldson, School of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK; thomas.donaldson-2{at}

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McCullough et al’s article about the professional virtue of civility makes a persuasive case that civility should be a core value in medical education, and that civility facilitates the development of organisational cultures committed to excellence in clinical and scientific reasoning.1 In particular, the negative implications of incivility on the well-being of individuals, on team-working dynamics and on patient safety, creates a strong argument that incivility from healthcare professionals is entirely unacceptable. However, in terms of professional attitudes, civility is the bare minimum that modern clinicians require. Modern healthcare involves complex systems in which patients are likely to encounter multiple different healthcare professionals in the course of their investigation and treatment.2 No one clinician has all of the skills or knowledge that patients need and so the practice of medicine is necessarily collaborative.

However, civility can be achieved by individuals who are content to politely and respectfully coexist in …

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  • Contributors TD is the sole author of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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