Hepatitis B and medical student admission

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6945.1710a (Published 25 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1710
  1. A M L Lever
  1. Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ
  2. Special Needs Unit, Guy's Dental Hospital, London SE1 9RT.

    EDITOR, - BMJ was right to publish an editorial on hepatitis B and medical student admissions and to lend its authority to the case for screening of students after admission.1 The editors contributed the slightly provocative subtitle and amended some of the text after my last sight of it (unwisely in my opinion) in the interests, presumably, of making a more hard hitting message. As a means of engendering controversy where there was room for informed and balanced debate, this has been a journalistic “success” and has elicited a predictably nettled response from Peter Richards and Frank Harries, who are provoked to tilt at the person (“the luxury of opinion without responsibility”) and the journal (“irresponsible”), without producing a substantive argument in support of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals' guidelines.2 This contrasts with letters published simultaneously from the BMA medical students committee and from A G Elder, in which in clear terms are laid out the case for screening after admission3 and that against screening before admission.4 My only slight disagreement with Elder is that if he does not believe hepatitis B is the thin end of the wedge, he should …

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