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Appointment and disappointment at the health department

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 15 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:150

What is life without Virginia? Mrs Bottomley's departure from the health department deprives the public and the NHS of their favourite demoness. Not that Mrs Bottomley was demonic in any evil sense. Nor would she claim the alternative definition of a genius. Happily the dictionary offers a third option: a “friendly spirit and person of great energy and enthusiasm.” That one fits, even though overbearing enthusiasm probably contributed to her downfall at the department. Having arrived in 1989 as Florence Nightingale she left last week as Aunt Sally. Few health secretaries have had to endure such odium as Mrs Bottomley; but then few have taken so many hard decision others have ducked.

To the end …

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