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The King's Fund and BMJ Debate: Are doctors neglecting their duty to lead health service change?

John Humphrys

An extensive consultation exercise led by the King's Fund and the Royal College of Physicians with hundreds of doctors across England last year identified a lack of medical leadership. The BMJ and the King's Fund have organised a debate asking if doctors have neglected their duty to lead the NHS.

The debate is chaired by the BMJ's editor, Fiona Godlee, whose welcome address will be followed by the opening vote. Richard Bohmer, senior lecturer of business administration at Harvard Business School, will kick off the debate as the international speaker. Health economist Alan Maynard will propose the motion, with James Mountford, healthcare expert in McKinsey's London healthcare practice, as the second proposer. Mark Goldman, chief executive of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, will oppose the motion, with general practitioner James Cave the second opposer.

Read BMJ feature on the leadership debate:

Opening statements:

Fiona Godlee Fiona Godlee has been the editor of the BMJ since 2005. She qualified as a doctor in 1985, trained as a general physician in Cambridge and London, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. She has written on a broad range of medical and publishing issues.

 ( download file )


Richard BohmerRichard Bohmer is a physician and the MBA Class of 1973 senior lecturer of business administration in the technology and operations unit at Harvard Business School. Professor Bohmer teaches a course at Harvard Medical School on medical management.

 ( download file )


Arguments for the motion:

Alan MaynardAlan Maynard is professor of health economics and director of the York Health Policy Group in the Department of Health Sciences, University of York. He has been involved in NHS management since 1983.

 ( download file )


James MountfordJames Mountford is a senior expert in McKinsey's London healthcare practice. His special interest is how health systems and organisations can deliver safe, high-quality and efficient care through better system design and leadership (especially by clinicians). Before joining McKinsey, James was a surgical trainee in the NHS.

 ( download file )


Arguments against the motion:

James CaveJames Cave has been a GP principal in west Berkshire for 18 years. His practice is a rural dispensing practice covering one fifth of Berkshire. He leads in practice based commissioning and prescribing on the professional executive committee.

 ( download file )


Mark GoldmanMark Goldman was appointed chief executive of the trust in April 2001. Before this, he was a consultant vascular surgeon and medical director for surgery at the trust. He was involved in the original writing of the NHS Modernisation Plan and has subsequently served on the Modernisation Board.

 ( download file )

Comments from the floor:

Various members of the audience share their point of view.

 ( download file )


Summing up and results:

Each speaker has 1.5 minutes to sum up their arguments, and the result of the second vote is revealed.

 ( download file )


Vox pops:

After the debate, various audience members shared their point of view on the question and debate.

 ( download file )