Intended for healthcare professionals

Obituaries

Eric Robert Beck: cofounder of the Doctors Award Redistribution Scheme and major contributor to medical education

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6220 (Published 29 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6220
  1. Barry Hoffbrand, retired consultant physician
  1. London, UK
  1. barry.hoffbrand{at}outlook.com

In 1983, after a pay award to doctors that was far greater than that for non-medical NHS workers, Eric Beck was the senior author of a letter in the Times decrying the award as divisive. The letter went on to say that the signatories would donate the difference, some 4.1% of the rise, to a fund to be called the Doctors Award Redistribution Scheme (DARE) that would be used to fund projects not covered by the NHS and for an annual lecture at the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. The latter continues to this day as the DARE lecture.

One project the fund financed was a telephone helpline in Salford for the mothers of newborn babies who would not stop screaming. One could not have a better example of putting your money where your mouth is.

Principles

Eric was passionate about social justice and equality and the principles of the NHS, attitudes to which his refugee background probably contributed. His German speaking father, Adolph Beck, was born in Austro-Hungarian Prague. He qualified in medicine in Frankfurt, …

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