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Why are so many doctors politically illiterate?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 10 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1007
  1. David J Hunter, professor of health policy and management, Durham University
  1. d.j.hunter{at}

    Julian Tudor Hart's latest book hauls New Labour's NHS reforms over the coals and laments the fact that so few doctors have the heart to fight back

    Any reader who needs reminding of why the NHS was established should immediately seek out this book. Those familiar with Julian Tudor Hart's work will know him to be a passionate believer in the enduring values and principles of the NHS, which he calls a “gift economy.” In this book he takes government to task for embracing wholesale the “marketisation” of health care and for dismantling a unique public service. His critique is wide ranging and questions whether political parties in contemporary life are any longer capable of providing leadership towards a future that does not entail the subordination of public services to global markets and rapacious multinational companies.

    Tudor Hart's purpose in writing the book is to provide a big picture for students of health and health care, so that they may appreciate the wider context in which they work. What he really wants to achieve is an end to the “political illiteracy of most doctors.” The …

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