It is time to ditch the 'gold standard

28 Nov 2020

Stephens, T.

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I am a small animal practice owner who very much enjoys practice. But I do have concerns about ‘over-diagnosis’ and ‘over-servicing’ in the profession and agree with Louise Collins that vets are becoming unaffordable (VR, 3/10 October 2020, vol 187, p 278).

The term ‘gold standard’ is mentioned in Collins’ letter. Medicine is an inexact science and we should not be talking about a mythical and undefined ‘gold standard’ – the term should be ditched. We know from surveys that unrealistic standards and expectations lead to angst and poor mental health, especially in new graduates. There is a conflict between taught ‘gold standards’ and the reality of practice where there is no such thing.

There is a conflict between taught ‘gold standards’ and the reality of practice where there is no such thing

Instead let’s focus on using evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) and good professional ethics, that accept...