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Sir Donald Acheson's comments, reported by John Warden in "News" on
November 14th, seem entirely right to one whose term as C.M.O. ended
twenty five years ago. The C.M.O.'s function is not that of all-knowing
medical expert, but of the coordinator and spokesman for a balanced staff
with links to the whole range of medicine and allied science. Moreover,
there are formal and informal associations with other departments,
especially Scotland and Wales, and the World Health Organisation. The
position must be even more complex than in my time.
The Permanent Secretary is head of the Department, but the C.M.O.'s post
has always ranked with him or her since the Ministry of Health was
established eighty years ago. I had friendly and fully cooperative
relationships with four successive Permanent Secretaries, with the heads
of other departments, and especially with the Medical Research Council.
This would have been insupportable without the broadly based help of an
able staff. Sir Donald's outspoken comments have my unqualified support.
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