In public health, evidence should dictate policy (mostly)

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 20 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5890
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. 1London

When the question to be discussed is “Public health: should evidence always dictate policy?”, when five panellists assembled to answer it all have some standing in science or medicine, and when the venue is the Royal Society of Medicine, you don’t really expect anyone to say, “No, it shouldn’t.” And no one did. But the spread of views was wider than the audience might have anticipated.

Held on 18 October as a satellite event in the annual conference series put on by the Institute of Ideas, the meeting began with the views of Nigel Hawkes, BMJ columnist and director of Straight Statistics ( Evidence, he said, is necessary but not …

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