I enjoyed your recent article 'Which doctors?' (news focus, 25 February). I also struggle with the difficulties of identifying

the attributes of a good doctor at any age, let alone the tender age of 17.

Like many hospital doctors, I feel limited by the need to specialise earlier and earlier in medicine. In fact, a colleague recently asked me which options her 13-year-old son should choose to maximise his chances of a place in medical school (poor child). Maybe the idea of studying medicine as a postgraduate discipline (after a far more interesting first degree) should be encouraged.

It could help to solve problems of selection and a high drop-out rate, and - who knows? - even produce a generation of well-rounded human beings who happen to be qualified doctors.

Dr FJ Cooke