Personal Views

Barts, the general, and the fat controller

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6982.810 (Published 25 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:810
  1. Charles Clarke

    Dr Charles Clarke, consultant neurologist at St Bartholomew's Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital, Walthamstow, writes to his parents. Sir Cyril Clarke is a former professor of medicine and past president of the Royal College of Physicians. Lady Feo Clarke is an 84 year old housewife, mother of three, geneticist, and entomologist.

    Dear Mum and Dad, Was it at Christmas 1954 that I stole The Little World of Don Camillo and read it under the bedclothes?

    “Lord,” said Don Camillo, “am I going mad?”

    The Lord thought not, just a little misguided. And, of course, everyone was doing their best and sinned a little from time to time.

    I do not believe in the Lord. I am relatively sane. But this last month things do seem to have got out of hand. It has been busy in this arm of the NHS where everyone is agreed on the mission statement—to provide the patients of a deprived area of east London the service they deserve. There is a chance to build a superb hospital from two great institutions, the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospital, and more money has been poured in than ever before. There is care in the community, money is following the patient, and resources are being placed by experienced managers in areas where there is real need. Thereafter, opinions are divided.

    There has been about four inches of administrative paperwork. At Whipps Cross there have been two highlights. Firstly, there is a conflict …

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