Views & Reviews In and Out of Hospital

Flying a desk

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 02 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5832
  1. James Owen Drife, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Leeds
  1. J.O.Drife{at}

A hospital chief executive once sadly remarked to me, “Very few doctors can think at my level.” I remember trying to ignore the gesture his hand was making, rising as he said “my level.” This was in the 1980s, when the idea that a hospital secretary was higher than a consultant was mildly irritating. Today it is a given, and doctors are being encouraged to aspire to becoming a chief executive.

That ambition never crossed my mind, perhaps because I grew up in the wrong era. My favourite childhood reading was …

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