Intended for healthcare professionals


A national health index and ministerial conflicts of interest

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 15 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:0

Numbers can bewitch people. In our world, for instance, editors despair because their impact factors drop by 0.1. We forget the play of chance and that the figures are often not measuring anything meaningful. But if you can't beat them join them. Wouldn't it be good if news broadcasts included a score of the nation's health just as they carry figures on the stockmarket? “The Nikkei rose today by five points but the Japanese health index fell by two points. Health analysts blamed a rise in smoking, …

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