Observations BMJ Confidential

Nigel Edwards: Best contribution to medicine—not becoming a doctor

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h855 (Published 18 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h855


Nigel Edwards knows more about health policy than is strictly healthy. He could choose a truly arcane byway—the application of the payment by results tariff to mental health commissioning, for example—and make it his specialist subject on Mastermind. The only problem is that the BBC would have to employ him to devise the questions. He is chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, having held positions at the NHS Confederation and the King’s Fund. His judgments are invariably clear and free of ideology—a rare and precious combination.

What was your earliest ambition?

I wanted to do medicine; my mother was a doctor.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My parents.

What was the worst mistake in your career?

Staying too long in one place. But another mistake was leaving the NHS pension scheme. So, looking at it another way, perhaps it was a mistake not to stay in the same place long enough!

What was your best career move?

Leaving …

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