Ian Douglas-Wilson

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 23 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7187
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Editor of the Lancet

Shortly after being demobbed at the end of the second world war, Ian Douglas-Wilson was interviewed for a job at the BMJ. He was told by its editor, Hugh Clegg, that he was too radical for the then staid publication, and that he should apply for a job at the Lancet. Douglas-Wilson followed Clegg’s advice and was appointed assistant editor at the Lancet in 1946. He stayed with the journal for the next 30 years, the last 11 of which he served as editor.

Whether he could be described as a true radical or not is a moot point, but he certainly did not mind upsetting the establishment—medical or otherwise. In the 1960s, when GPs were threatening to withdraw their services over pay, he wrote an editorial criticising their stance. He also wrote in support of trainee psychiatrists, who had been given a platform in the journal to campaign for a fairer examination system.1 According to Robin Fox, one of Douglas-Wilson’s new recruits at the time, …

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