Letter Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine; 106(12) 474 DOI: 10.1177/0141076813509148

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Idealism includes compassion and commitment to patients I, and I am sure the whole medical profession including medical students, would strongly endorse the points Mr Sethia makes in his article, ‘In praise of idealism in healthcare’.1 It may be worth emphasising that I believe he uses the word ‘idealism’ in the positive sense that all doctors should both aspire to and can achieve, namely a high quality of professional conduct including compassion, total commitment to patients and their care, altruism and personal integrity. Further, those in positions of influence should seek to actively support their colleagues who may be under pressure to compromise these standards of professionalism as well as young doctors in training and medical students.

These are too important to be eroded by ‘pragmatism’ and budgetary constraints. It is equally essential that these quality standards of medical professionalism must be recognised, respected and supported by management and politicians if they are to be responsible for running the health service. Declarations Competing interests: None declared

Reference 1. Sethia B. In praise of idealism in healthcare. J R Soc Med 2013 106: 344–5.

Margaret Turner Warwick Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Pynes House, 9 Silver Street, Thorverton, Nr Exeter, Devon EX5 5LT, UK Email: [email protected]

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Idealism includes compassion and commitment to patients.

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