Intended for healthcare professionals


Alan Williams

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 30 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:51

Economist who transformed the delivery of health care to patients

Alan Williams was a professor of economics at the University of York for over 40 years. He was driven by the ambition to challenge the orthodoxy and improve the way in which health care is delivered to patients. Those entering his office were immediately struck by a notice on his desk. This declared (only partly humorously), “Be reasonable, do it my way.” Here was a man of principle with an evangelical urge to work collaboratively with other disciplines and practitioners in the medical profession to ensure not only that healthcare resources were used to maximum effect in improving population health, but also that the benefits of health care were equitably distributed among all sections of the population.

He graduated from Birmingham University, and his first academic post was in Exeter, where he taught innovatively in public finance. After sabbaticals at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University, he was recruited to the then new University of York in 1964, where he again focused on the teaching of public finance.

In 1966 he …

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