Feature Personal Profile

George Godber at 100

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1151 (Published 04 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1151
  1. David Brindle, public services editor
  1. 1The Guardian, London
  1. David.brindle{at}guardian.co.uk

    As deputy chief medical officer from 1950 to 1960, and then chief medical officer until 1973, Sir George exercised an influence over health policy that has remained unmatched, writes David Brindle

    Of the many reasons to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS this summer, not the least is that Sir George Godber—the last surviving member of the 1940s planning group at the Ministry of Health—is still with us to mark the occasion. Indeed, this week he has an exceptional cause for celebration of his own, in the form of his 100th birthday on 4 August.

    Sir George, who became one of the greatest of all chief medical officers, was not strong enough to travel to London to attend the 60th anniversary service at Westminster Abbey. But he has had a keen interest in debate and discussion about the past six decades of free health care. According to his son, Dr Colin Godber, he particularly enjoyed reading the paper by Dr Donald Berwick, a self confessed NHS romantic from the United States, published in the BMJ last month.1

    “He was in absolute agreement and Don …

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