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Whatever happened to medical politics?
  1. Nathan Emmerich
  1. Correspondence to Nathan Emmerich, The Institute of Governance, Queen's University Belfast, 63 University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK; nemmerich01{at}


This paper argues the case for coming to see ‘medical politics’ as a topic or subject within medical education. First, its absence is noted from the wide array of paramedical subjects (medical ethics, history of medicine, the medical humanities, etc) currently given attention in both the medical education literature and in specific curricula. Second the author suggests that ‘the political’ is implicitly recognisable in the historical roots of medical ethics education, specifically in certain of the London Medical Group's activities, and also that the medical profession, or indeed any profession, cannot be understood as an apolitical form of social organisation either in its institutional or scientific (epistemic) forms. Some brief suggestions for introductory and advanced topics in medical politics are discussed and the degree to which medical politics ought to be taken seriously and delivered as part of medical education is considered. Ultimately the author concludes that medical politics might be considered a useful subject within medical education, but it is perhaps best understood as a perspective or approach that can contribute to the development of a more expansive perspective within the extant paramedical subjects.

  • education
  • education/programmes
  • London Medical Group
  • medical politics
  • paramedical subjects

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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