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Labour - what exactly is the difference between a “doctor”, consultant and registrar?

(7 Posts)
Koumak Tue 13-Oct-09 21:53:31

You would think that this being my second pregnancy I would know these things! But having said that, I hardly had a midwife present during ds’s birth so probably should be grateful I didn’t need any of the senior staff right?

What situations are they called in and what powers / knowledge do they actually have?

crokky Tue 13-Oct-09 21:56:01

I believe the consultant is the top person. They are all doctors anyway, but I think they are just different levels.

I expect they all have detailed knowledge, the consultant might have the most experience? They will all do as the consultant says I think. Also, if they are not sure what decision to take, they may get the consultant in.

TanyaBranning Tue 13-Oct-09 21:57:13

They're all doctors.

Consultants are the top bods. You usually won't see one unless you a) go private, b) have a high risk pregnancy or c) kick up a big fuss.

Registrars are the rung below, followed by SHOs (Senior House Officers). Often when you are given an appt with a Consultant on the NHS you actually 'only' get to see one of these guys. Not usually a problem unless you really want to see someone very experienced / at the top of their profession, in which case, always see the Consultant.

LadyOfTheFlowers Tue 13-Oct-09 21:58:35

I think Doc is general - knows about everything, consultant specialises in something, registrar is like the consultants right hand man?

Probably wrong.

All my letters to see the Consultant say ' you may not be seen by the consultant named above but by his registrar/member of his team'

Georgimama Tue 13-Oct-09 22:02:31

All consultants are doctors but not all doctors are consultants. It's as Tanya said really - if you have an outpatient appointment in a consultant's clinic you usually get the registrar or the SHO (unless you've gone private or are medically interesting - I became worried about myself when I fell off a horse and got the head of neurosurgery at my bedside - he wanted to stick plates in my spine. I refused. He lost interest and I never saw him again).

trixgus Wed 14-Oct-09 11:32:19

SHO- senior house officer is training in obstetrics and gynaecology- a qualified doctor, but will have different levels of experience- eg some will have 3 or 4 years Obstetrics training behind them, another will be just starting- bear this in mind, especially in February and August when the new ones start wink.
Registrar is someone who has passed the royal college of obstetrics and gynaecology exam and is training to be a consultant.
Consultant is top bod- and as a consultant surgeon will usually be known as Mr or Mrs, whilst all his team including registrar and SHO will be Doctor.
When you deliver chances are it will be the registrar called is there are any problems- and this is usually fine- the registrars are the ones dealing with all the emergency stuff that crops up, whilst the consultant is usually at home. Unless you have a very newly qualified consultant, it is probably a while since they dealt with emergencies in the middle of the night, so personally I would rather put my faith in the registrar who is dealing with it on a daily basis!
I will never forget the sight of a consultant in his 60's who turned up to a difficult delivery with a looped sanitary towel over his forehead and tucked behind his ears to mop up the sweat, and his scrub trousers far too small so gaping in the crotch to give you a full view of his underwear under his extremely large stomach! The poor patient looked horrified- a case in point that consultant does not always equal best care!!!

Koumak Thu 15-Oct-09 19:56:54

oh trixgus that's really interesting!

Thank you all for answering.

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