Editorials

The future of medicine

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6962.1099 (Published 29 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1099
  1. I Morrison,
  2. R Smith

    Next week the leaders of British doctors will meet to consider the future of medicine. The BMA, the General Medical Council, the royal colleges, and the departments of health will all be represented. This is the first time that these groups have met at such a summit conference since the Christchurch conference of 1961.1 That conference led to the present system of postgraduate education. Next week's meeting occurs against a background of falling morale and is a response to a request to doctors from Ken Calman, the chief medical officer of England.2 He asked us to look beyond the current turmoil in the NHS to consider the core values of medicine, and on p 1140 he sets out his vision of the future. One thing we know about the future is that it will be different from now. Doctors tired of change may long for a period of stability, but this will not happen.

    We must applaud this gathering of the clans of British medicine because all the evidence suggests that groups that look to the future do much better than those that look mostly to the past, hankering for a golden age that probably never existed. The simple fact that these groups, which often disagree in public and in private, are trying to speak with one voice is also important (p 1144). It will be important for the clans to consider how the world will change around them, and this editorial looks at changes that are likely to come …

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