Intended for healthcare professionals


Goodbye and hello

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 15 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:643
  1. Colin Douglas, doctor and novelist
  1. Edinburgh

    Quite a few years ago I went to hear a valedictory lecture by a retiring director of public health. No, really, I did. But please read on. It was fascinating, a crisp analysis of her 30 years in the business: optimism proved false, delusive complacency, and eventual nemesis—the stuff of tragedy.

    When she joined, all the great infectious scourges of mankind—at least in their Scottish manifestation—had been conquered. Immunisation, better housing, and, of course, antibiotics, had vanquished the …

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