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Personal Views

BMJ should stop confusing its readers over national differences

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 01 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1221
  1. Arthur Morris, chairman
  1. BMA Scottish council and consultant plastic surgeon, Dundee

    Almost every week the BMJ makes mistakes about which elements of the health service apply in England only and which are true for the rest of the United Kingdom. It is not alone in this. Most of the London based media confuse their readers and viewers about the differences between the four countries of the United Kingdom, and it is time for them to do better. Devolution makes this essential.

    Take NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence). This will work for England and Wales. Scotland, instead, has SHTAC (Scottish Health Technology Assessment Centre). But since the beginning of the year the BMJ has twice told its readers that NICE will cover the whole of the United Kingdom.

    “Devolution is just one of the catalysts for change”

    The journal is similarly confused about the white papers on the health service. The National Health Service, a British institution, has had separate arrangements for the four main countries ever …

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