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J R Soc Med. 2006 May; 99(5): 220–221.
PMCID: PMC1457764

Public health in the UK: success or failure?

Simon Lammy, Medical Students' Officer

Congratulations for publishing the essay by Gray et al. on public health (March 2006 JRSM1). As a medical student undergoing the rigors of undergraduate medical education, public health is perceived as a triviality when compared to voluminous clinical medicine; and therefore not considered as an academic work out worthy of sweat.

Such an engaging essay has been enlightening by demonstrating that, the phrase `prevention is better than cure' can relate to certain fragments of our world that do not obviously connect to medical practice (e.g. seat-belt usage and the subsequent decrease in associated ward admissions).

This highlights the need for governments to create preventative methods that combat disease and injury that can be accessed by everyone (e.g. obesity needs the government to do more to change our nations thoughts surrounding food consumption and exercise).

But our nation's health is not completely dependent upon public health professionals; and such radical endeavours demand scrutiny and encouragement from everyone.

One could argue further that healthcare professionals should embody noble principles. It is paradoxical that, although smoking bans have been championed by doctors, a significant part of the workforce continues to smoke.


1. Gray S, Pilkington P, Pencheon D, Jewell T. Public health in the UK: success or failure? J R Soc Med 2006;99: 107-11 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press