Sahel Medical Journal

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Viewpoint: The ideal qualities of a good consultant: Who does the cap fit?

K I Airede


The ideal qualities of a good Consultant defy definition, and a full description of one is difficult to completely proffer. Such a description, would also depend on which ‘Camp' or ‘School' you belong to. To a junior doctor, a good Consultant is easily accessible, approachable, friendly, with the patience of a Saint, and the sense of humour of an undergraduate.

However, I consider the most important quality to be ‘availability' or ‘presence' - at least on the end of a phone! Tolerance, empathy and understanding are the other basic ideal qualities of a good Consultant. As regards health-care delivery, the good Consultant should have a passionate concern to maintain basic standards of Patient Care. He or she should want his or her colleagues to adopt the same standard and approach towards their Government patients, as they would to their Private patients.

The good Consultant never writes “I have given the patient a supply of my formula for asthma“ or denies access to simple tests like fundoscopy nor audiogram.

Yes, the Consultant can still change his or her characteristics to fit the “ideal”, if there are more significant negative attributes when you complete reading through this viewpoint on Ethics of Medical Practice.

Sahel Med. J. Vol.6(2) 2003: 29-32
AJOL African Journals Online