INDEPENDENT NEWS

Wellington GP to head international body

Published: Wed 15 Nov 2006 05:17 PM
Wellington GP to head international body
Wellington general practitioner Ian St George has been elected to chair the International Physician Assessment Coalition (IPAC).
Dr St George, who is a member of the Medical Council of New Zealand, and the medical director of Healthline, is highly respected internationally for his work on assessing doctors’ performance in their workplaces. He is the author of several papers and a book on this subject, and has presented this work at IPAC meetings around the world over the last five years.
“This recognition of the Medical Council’s pioneering work on performance assessment really puts New Zealand at centre stage internationally,” Dr St George said today. “The recent IPAC meeting in Wellington brought experts from around the world together to share their experiences and their expertise, and we have learned a great deal from them.
“Complaints about doctors too often in the past led to fights in court between doctor and patient, and thus to punishment. That is right and proper for acts by doctors that are wilful, reckless, unethical or criminal. But what is more constructive when a doctor makes a simple mistake, is a proper assessment of performance, with re-education if deficiencies are found. Most people don’t want their doctor to be punished; most just want to make sure the same mistake doesn’t affect other people.
“That’s what we have been working on: valid, reliable, practical assessment of doctors’ performance in their workplace – followed by well targeted and supported remedial education when that is necessary.”
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