Traditionally, medical specialists have been seen as crucial in resolving clinical dilemmas and determining best practice. Problems may arise, however, when experts disagree, fail to recognise the limits of their expertise or ignore the views of others that may have equal value. Increasingly, expert opinion is being challenged for being too narrow and out of touch with everyday practice. Our 2002 symposium, Who are the experts, where is the expertise?, addressed the role of experts and expertise, and how these qualities are recognised, encouraged, developed and challenged. Here, we summarise the talks, incorporating ideas raised in discussion.
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