Doing as well as thinking

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 05 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:309
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. London

Does a broadcaster have the gravitas to run a health policy organisation? Niall Dickson, the new head of the King's Fund, tells Geoff Watts why he's the man for the job

Sitting in his office reflecting on the condition of the King's Fund, Niall Dickson, the fund's new chief executive, recalls a conversation he's had earlier in the morning. The woman he'd spoken to is the director of a trust. “She said that her life had been transformed, her career transformed, by a King's Fund course… Well, we produce 1500 alumni every year. These are our ambassadors.”

Niall Dickson, lately of the BBC's social affairs department, took over at the fund in early January. As he is aware, the fund needs that reservoir of goodwill—and he may have to draw more heavily on that than some of his predecessors. The organisation may still be the brightest star in the health policy firmament, but it will have to burn more brightly to continue out-shining the competition in quantity and quality.

“Some individuals within the fund remain influential because they do good work,” says Klim McPherson, professor of public health epidemiology at the University of Bristol, “but I'm not sure it has much …

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