Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Did you ever hear of a psychiatrist with a campaign manager?

I was recently perusing a document at the website of Professor Patrick McGorry, an Irish-Australian psychiatrist who has had a great amount of influence on federal government health policies in recent years. As I read the document it struck me that it seemed more like something that a politician would write than something that a man of science and/or medicine would write, focused as it was on the creation of policy rather than the search for evidence.

I later discovered an article from March this year in a paper for Irish Australians in which Prof. McGorry discussed the role of his Irish "campaign director" Matthew Hamilton, " He’s got a lot of political skill."

When a professional person whose primary occupation is supposed to be a scientist or a clinician-scientist whose main purpose is the pursuit of scientific truth and the care of patients which is based on the best available scientific evidence, also becomes deeply involved with the world of politics, or acts as a politican, in an occupation in which the primary aim is create versions of the truth that give one the greatest social advantage, I fear that the professional person will likely become less able to properly fulfil the role of a scientist. I'm not saying that scientists can have no role in politics. I'm completely happy with scientists and doctors extending their established roles as advocates for scientific truth and patient welfare into the public arena, but I have concerns when scientists start acting as politicians and appear more concerned with writing policy than their core professional roles. What do you think?

McGorry urges better access to mental health care.
Irish Echo.
15 March 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment