Re: Specialist booking protocol

I have had a similar experience to Dr Wilkinson with the specialist referral system [BCMJ 2011;53:455-456]. I was referred by my cardiologist to another cardiac specialist in August, and told to phone the office to book the appointment.

The first message I left was not returned. The next time I had a brief conversation with an offhand receptionist and told I would be called back. I am still waiting 3 months later.

I discussed this with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and they do not seem to have any specific guidelines on this problem, other than that a reasonable standard of care would be to return phone calls. Perhaps the only way to deal with this situation is to make a formal complaint to the College.

I must add that since retirement 10 years ago I have had to see several specialists for various ailments and have only encountered this problem with this particular referral.
—Robert Walker, MBBS
West Vancouver

Robert Walker, MBBS,. Re: Specialist booking protocol. BCMJ, Vol. 54, No. 1, January, February, 2012, Page(s) 13 - Letters.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.


For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply