Medicopolitical Digest

From the public health conferenceTransport policies should be reviewedPublic health faculty should be restricted to doctorsDiscrimination in admission to medical school should endProposal for school family planning clinics defeatedConference welcomes core values documentCommunity doctors have had some successTrainees are concerned over manpowerThe conference ..NHS to have code of practice on opennessMinister gives assurance on GMC's performance reviewHealth secretary sets out aimsJunior doctors' salaries must be protectedWMA secretary calls for doctors to remain patients' advocatesNHS socialised medicine works, says health secretaryThe ethics of audit must be considered

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 17 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1608
  1. Linda Beecham
  1. Copies of the guidance are available to BMA members from BMA local offices.

    From the public health conference

    Public health doctors must have freedom of speech

    Public health doctors have condemned the NHS Executive for refusing to allow regional directors of public health freedom of speech and to continue to issue independent reports. At the BMA's conference of public health medicine and community health last week a rider was added to this motion, which was carried overwhelmingly, calling on the BMA to “challenge the NHS Executive to break loose of the shackles of civil service tradition and allow regional directors of public health to speak out on behalf of their populations.”

    “This is one of the most fundamental issues for public health,” Dr Noel Olsen (Plymouth) told the meeting. The executive was trying to end the balance that public health doctors had to strike between their managerial accountability, their professional and scientific credibility, and their ethical accountability to their populations.

    Northern Ireland had a particular problem when the post of chief medical officer was advertised on a short term basis. Dr Colin Hamilton said that the matter had been resolved after it had been raised with the health minister and the deputy chief medical officer was appointed but he warned that similar moves might be made in Britain. The conference deplored what had happened in Belfast.

    Dr Sandy Macara, chairman of council, pointed out that there had already been some downgrading of medical officers in the Department of Health, with the medical officer in each division having to report to a non-medical civil servant. Although regional directors had been denied freedom of speech, Dr Macara said that they should be assured of the profession's full support. It should not be assumed that they would not have any influence.

    Transport policies should be reviewed

    Although the meeting agreed that people were free to choose unhealthy lifestyles, there were several motions on the agenda which, if implemented, would improve the environment and make …

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