News Item

June 2012

The Good Doctor - A powerful prescription for change

The Law Foundation funded the recent publication of an important new book, The Good Doctor What Patients Want, by former Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson, now a professor in Auckland University’s Law Faculty.

What makes a good doctor? Why are there bad doctors out there still practising? And how can we protect patients, increase trust and improve medial care? In this book Professor Paterson draws on his decade of experience as Health and Disability Commissioner dealing with patient concerns, to identify the key competencies of a good doctor, the ways in which medical care goes wrong and the roadblocks to ensuring that every licensed doctor is a good doctor.

Professor Paterson argues that it is possible to improve patient care: by lifting the veils of secrecy and better informing patients, by establishing more effective ways of checking doctors’ competence and by ensuring that the medical watchdogs protect the public.

The research calls for radical changes to the Medical Council and its controls over doctors’ competence.

Professor Paterson was awarded the 2009 New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship, which he used to research and write the book.

The book is available from Auckland University Press.