Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Almost a quarter of Royal College fellows say their hospitals cannot deliver continuity of care

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 19 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4942

Rapid Response:

Re: Almost a quarter of Royal College fellows say their hospitals cannot deliver continuity of care

And they boast of something called National Institute of Clinical Excellence?

The catalogue of NHS woes listed by Professor John Walshe [1] make sad reading even for those of us who have seen some woes in the Third World and who, like him had been privileged to sample the NHS of the vintage of Sir Richard Bayliss (Her Majesty’s Physician), Sir Clement Price-Thomas (Surgeon of King George VI), Sir Stanford Cade (Surgeon Extraordinary), Sir Arthur Bell FRCOG – all of Westminster Hospital; Sir John McMichael FRS FRCP, Sir John Dacie FRCP, FRCPath, Sir Christopher Booth FRCP – all of Hammersmith Hospital; Dame Sheila Sherlock FRCP and Dr Stanley Shaldon FRCP both of Royal Free Hospital; Professor Sheila Sherlock’s husband Dr Geraint James FRCP of Royal Northern Hospital; Professor Brian Maegraith FRCP of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Professor Hermann Lehmann FRS FRCP of Addenbrooke Hospital, and their remarkable Registrars who themselves rose to become great Consultants and who, with their Nursing and other staff having such efficiency as could only be described as proverbial – well, the gap between that kind of mid Twentieth Century NHS excellence which we were proud to take to Africa to show how the fabulous British did things, and what Professor Walshe describes now is enough to make me blush if one can diagnose a Black African’s blush.

But what makes me tremble is when people begin to boast in the UK today about something called The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). Should such an Institute not address some of the things Professor Walshe has mentioned in the interest of Clinical Excellence for the patient as happened in the days of my teacher Sir Richard Bayliss and others? When I myself became increasingly aware in recent years in the UK of certain things I posed the question: “So where is NICE?” [2]

1 Walshe John. Standards in the NHS. BMJ Rapid Response September 3 2012

2 Konotey-Ahulu FID. UK drug related deaths are still rising: So where is NICE? BMJ Rapid Response September 6 2009. [Responding to Susan Mayor (below) 1 September 2009]

3 Mayor Susan. Drug related deaths continue to rise in the UK. BMJ 2009; 339: b3536 September 1 2012.

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 September 2012
Dr Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies
9 Harley Street Ltd, Phoenix Hospital Group, London W1G 9AL