Editorials

Does Britain need an academy of medicine?

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7043.1374 (Published 01 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1374
  1. Richard Smith
  1. Editor, BMJ

    It needs something

    ”The doctor is different, the patient is different, and the medicine is different. In short, everything is different except the way you organise yourselves.” This was what Maurice Shock, former rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, told British doctors in 1994 at their first “summit” meeting for over 30 years.1 2 Because they lacked a body capable of analysing the environment and setting a strategy for the whole profession, doctors were overwhelmed by a “blitzkrieg from the right” at the end of the 80s. If doctors are to regain their influence, then they need a top body concerned primarily with strategic and high political matters. Otherwise, warned Sir Maurice, “the profession will never be able to punch its weight.”

    Although Sir Maurice's diagnosis and prescription were remarkable for their directness, and clarity, they were far from new. British doctors have for 50 years been debating the need for some sort of body that would bring doctors together and speak with a respected and well informed voice on the great matters of the day. Several attempts have been made to create such a body, but all have foundered. Meanwhile, the colleges have gone on splitting, and new committees with unmemorable acronyms have appeared …

    View Full Text

    Sign in

    Log in through your institution

    Free trial

    Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
    Sign up for a free trial

    Subscribe