Letters Quality failures in the NHS

A prescription for amnesia

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39500.453623.1F (Published 28 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:463
  1. Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine
  1. 1Cork University Hospital, Cork, Republic of Ireland
  1. cluke{at}muh.ie

    I think that the (correct) gist of the rapid responses to Ham’s editorial is that Ham’s prescription is one for preposterous revisionism.1 He talks of “leadership,” but he and his (political, health economist) ilk have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in emasculating and proletarianising the medical profession. A brief perusal of the author’s many publications offers a handy history of how the medical profession has been recently vilified, marginalised, and ultimately disempowered.

    The Modernising Medical Careers catastrophe, General Medical Council and Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board “reforms,” and political control through targets and imposed contract settlements (in the teeth of sustained opposition) mean that doctors are now for the most part demoralised technicians or part time professionals.

    The great future of medical leadership is all behind us, Professor Ham, and for health economists or pundits to suggest otherwise is disingenuous indeed.


    • Competing interests: CL is a former NHS consultant and director of postgraduate medical education.


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