Birth of the National Health Service | The early history of the NHS

Ideas for Slimming Advice

The BBC considers publishing diet sheets.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1951

Page 1/2


To D.Tel.
From H.Tel.T.

SLIMMING

13th March 1951 11.00a.m.

1) Notes on telephone conversation with Dr. Charles Hill

Confidential

Dr. Charles Hill said he could only advise us in his private capacity. Nevertheless, he thought we should certainly proceed and publish the diet sheet. He himself has given many such slimming diets over the air and, as he said, "'generally remembered to say 'it's a good idea to consult your own doctor'". He thought that we should, in our own interests and on the advice of the clinicians concerned, include the sentence "Consult your doctor etc.," adding "unless you have already consulted him".


He gave it as his private opinion that the BMA were mainly concerned with whether they could get a fee for this advice, i.e., whether slimming advice comes outside the provisions of the National Health Service. The BMA would argue that "slimming" i.e., "cosmetic" advice, ought to be able to get a private consultant's fee for such advice.

He said there were 20,000 doctors, and even if every one of the 50,000 who received a diet sheet went for consultation, that would only be 2 1/2 patients per doctor - which could not be represented as a burden.

Dr. Hill said the BMA were legitimately trying to exercise pressure on us. In resisting this, he said we should of course "show willing" to receive the advice of the BMA on health broadcasts, but he was strongly against setting up any machinery to do this.


He said the BMA are behind the times in thinking they can resist the force of television orother (sic) forms of popular health education.


Finally, he suggested a form of words to the BMA: "We are anxious to avail ourselves of their advice on medical and health questions,
and that we will, where it seems appropriate, consult them."


2) Notes on telephone conversation with Sir Henry Dale - 5.30 p.m., 12th March Sir Hy. Dale had not consulted anyone. He was still inclined

[Page 2/2]

to think that the BMA were making an unnecessary fuss. He would be prepared to meet the BMA with you and myself, but he is not prepared to talk with them on his own. On balance he is in favour of publishing the diet sheet, but at the same time thought we might do well to have another meeting with the BMA, in which we expressed our wish to consult them over such matters before we actua1ly issued it.


NB: URGENT
If the diet sheets are going to be published this week we need to act with great speed and the date-line would be last thing tonight or first thing in the morning.

Otherwise, there would be a further delay of one week before issuing. I attach the first page of the diet sheet which contains the safeguards etc., and includes Charles Hill's additional phrase "unless they have already done so".


Mary Adams


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Document Type | Notes about telephone conversation

13 March 1951

Document version

Writtenin

1951

Synopsis

These notes about whether or not the BBC should publish diet sheets for slimming advice show how much ideas about obesity have changed since 1951. Whereas now it is regarded as a matter of governmental concern, then it was felt by the BMA to be only a question of 'cosmetics' that doctors should consider to be outside the remit of the NHS.

Did you know?

Dr Henry Dale was a Nobel Prize-winning physiologist and pharmacologist who discovered histamine and set up international standards for hormones, vitamins and various other drugs.

Contributors

Sir Henry Dale
Subject of document
Subject of document

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The BBC considers publishing diet sheets.

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