Chief medical officers: the need for public health at the heart of government

Re: Chief medical officers: the need for public health at the heart of government

6 February 2013

Gabriel Scally rightly praises Liam Donaldson for using the role of Chief Medical Officer to pressure the Government to act on smoking, but is wrong in stating that this "broke new ground".

The ground was well and truly broken by perhaps the greatest of all Chief Medical Officers, Sir George Godber (1960 - 73), of whose comments about smoking the Times reported that, "Sir George Godber has embarrassed the Government about as much as a civil servant can”.

Competing interests: None declared

Mike Daube, Professor of Health Policy

Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia 6845

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