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Medical Society

Medical Society:

The Provost, Lord Waldegrave
“Money and Health, Managing the NHS”

With an attendance of over 100, The Provost’s speech attracted one of the largest crowds the Med Soc has seen since September.  Lord Waldegrave began by detailing the politics surrounding the birth of the NHS in 1948 and the shortcomings the service experienced in its early years. 

This prompted a discussion of what factors actually improve the overall health of a nation (diet, public hygiene, number of doctors etc) and how health statistics should be interpreted and used to determine the distribution of precious resources within the NHS.  Such decisions are now made by NICE (National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence) which evaluates the cost-effectiveness of new treatments.  Thoughtful questions after the talk prompted further discussion of the thorny moral issues surrounding resource distribution.

The Provost explained that the NHS was an “enormous monolithic organisation” which has in previous years been hindered by inefficiency, as is the case in any organisation employing over a million people.  Lord Waldegrave’s proposed solution was to fragment the NHS into regions and have locally elected politicians responsible for healthcare in their areas.  Today, this has been achieved in part in the form of self contained regional centres and Primary Care Trusts.

The Med Soc would like to thank the Provost for such an engaging and thought provoking evening.

Nicholas von Guionneau ma OS  (NCWS)

DATE POSTED: 20 January 2010

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