Intended for healthcare professionals


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 15 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1159
  1. Terence Stephenson, Nuffield professor of child health, Institute of Child Health, University College London. and president, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  1. t.stephenson{at}

No one objects to choice or competition, and certainly the poorly performing parts of the National Health Service must do better—as the final report on Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, to be published in early 2012, will show. However, we lose the principles of the NHS at our peril.

The 70 year old grandmother: market economics—Before the second world war, a doctor visited a friend’s elderly mother three times a week for a heart problem. Initially each visit cost one shilling, but it soon rose to one shilling and sixpence and by the war to three shillings …

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