BMJ Editor’s Triple entendre valedictory piece – is aimed at voters, himself, and by allusion to junior doctors

Tony Delamothe, deputy editor of the BMJ in a clever valedictory piece writes for voters, himself, and, by allusion, for junior doctors contemplating a future in Mr Hunt’s underfunded, covertly post-code rationed, and inequitable Health Services. His parting shot “After 44 happy years here, I couldn’t bear to witness the fallout for my adopted country of such mindlessly inflicted self harm”…. 

(BMJ 2016;353:i3337 )

The United Kingdom is facing its most important decision so far this century. To help UK readers of The BMJ decide how to vote in the referendum on leaving the European Union (“Brexit”) on Thursday 23 June, we have been publishing a series of articles looking at the effects of Brexit on public health, the drug industry, finance, trade, employment law and doctors’ working conditions, science and research, and the NHS. They’re collected on our website at

Our intention was to remain scrupulously even handed. But as the series progressed we concluded that the arguments for remaining in the EU were overwhelming and that now was not the time for balance (doi:10.1136/bmj.i3302). We’re not alone: no prominent UK medical, research, or health organisation has sided with Brexit. In addition, a slew of health experts has come out against Brexit, with Sarah Wollaston, chair of the parliamentary health select committee, an 11th hour convert to the Remain cause (doi:10.1136/bmj.i3295).

Our patch is health and medicine, but we don’t pretend that consideration of these will swing the vote. That’s despite one of the main arguments of the Brexit camp being that the UK’s weekly contribution of £350m (€440m; $500m) to the EU could be better spent on the NHS (a “knowingly deceitful figure,” says Wollaston).

Many of the crucial arguments for remaining in the EU are economic, and the outfits that know about such things are unequivocal. In its cover feature on the issue the Economist magazine damned Brexit as “Bad for Britain, Europe and the West” ( The Financial Times’ senior commentator, Martin Wolf, concluded, “Those in favour of leaving offer fantasies of damage done by staying and of opportunity opened by departure.” Instead, “the rational thing to do is for the UK to continue to enjoy its unique arrangement, which has brought it the advantages of membership with so few of the disadvantages” (

Whatever the outcome, this Editor’s Choice will be my last. I’ll be retired by the time you read it. If the referendum results in Brexit I’ll be off too. As a Commonwealth immigrant married to a German, I’ve vowed to sell up and move to my wife’s house in rural Germany. After 44 happy years here, I couldn’t bear to witness the fallout for my adopted country of such mindlessly inflicted self harm.


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

1 thought on “BMJ Editor’s Triple entendre valedictory piece – is aimed at voters, himself, and by allusion to junior doctors

  1. ytimba

    Brexit is not about Health , Immigration or the short term economic performance of the UK it is about the fundamental principle of democracy the those that represent are elected by the people, consider Portugal , Italy and Greece have all had their democracy usurped by the EU in recent times. The British people can correct the failings of their own government through the ballot box , the EU remains immovable by any means for example David Cameron’s attempt to renegotiate Britain’s membership.


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