Intended for healthcare professionals


John Lister

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 17 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1204
  1. Edwin Gale, Bristol
  1. edwin.gale{at}

Chronicler of the NHS and pioneer in diabetes classification

John Lister was a pioneering British diabetologist who also wrote a regular column in the New England Journal of Medicine, “By the London Post,” which ran monthly from 1952 to 1980.

The original aim of the column was to keep American physicians abreast of developments in the NHS—a gigantic social experiment viewed from the other side of the Atlantic with emotions ranging from envy to fascinated horror. Lister set out to read everything about it. His files of clippings proliferated, and the carpet around his desk became a sea of literary clutter. He wrote with great clarity for people entirely unfamiliar with the system, and he captured the splendours and miseries of the NHS, together with the sense of perpetual crisis and the endless political U …

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