Preventable ill health occurs in Britain too

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7052.304b (Published 03 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:304
  1. A Mahmood
  1. Retired consultant haematologist 11 Roseworth Avenue, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1NB

    EDITOR,—James Owen Drife rightly bemoans the lack of action on preventable disease in India.1 The images—of a lack of anger, of affluent doctors walking away, of greater interest in in vitro fertilisation—are compelling. “Any nation without the will to get angry is a pitiful place,” he says. Just so.

    There is an uncanny echo in the same issue when Graham Watt talks about preventable ill health on our doorstep in Britain.2 The difference is only of dimension. How many who read Drife's article will read Watt's too and discern similar detachment, this time among affluent doctors in Britain. Why is this? With finite money, is there a fear that if more was spent on social issues or prevention then less would be available for technological techniques, such as in vitro fertilisation, that we too prefer? Is this another reason for looking at values in medicine itself—that others follow where we lead?


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