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J R Soc Med. 2007 May; 100(5): 209.
PMCID: PMC1861412

Demise of nursing in the UK: ODPs are not the cause

I am truly aghast and disappointed at the recent article published by the JRSM titled ‘The demise of nursing’, authored by Professors Shields and Watson (JRSM 2007;100:70-74).

I myself am an Operating Department Practitioner. I qualified some years ago in the UK and am now working within New Zealand under the role of an anaesthetic technician, and can without a shadow of a doubt state that the authors are clearly ignorant of the role of an ODP, and most probably should retire as their comments are made on laughable and at best dodgy references which are clearly from an era when anaesthetists smoked cigars whilst manually pumping the gases and the surgeons didn't wash their hands between patients.

I am also astounded—given that the authors are of professorial standing, and more importantly of the standing that they are within teaching programmes—that they should be so clearly ignorant of the other professions out there, without which the morbidity and mortality rate of the nation would drastically increase.

Where would we be without sonographers when diagnosing unborn fetal abnormalities, or the MRT who treats for cancer with radiation therapies, or HCAs who provide psychological and physiological support for patients but don't have a degree? You cannot tell me that these professions don't care.

I feel for these professions, and if nothing else comes from the said article, you have united many professions together to further outcast this antiquated way of thinking and evoke change.

I would like a full retraction of the article and an apology from the journal and the authors.


Competing interests C Clarke is an ODP.


1. Shields L, Watson R. The demise of Nursing in the United Kingdom: a warning for medicine. J R Soc Med 2007;100: 70-4 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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