Vale Dr Julian Tudor Hart

July, 2018

I was saddened today to hear of the death of one of the giants of 20th century Family Medicine.

Dr Julian Tudor Hart is known for having first proposed the ‘inverse care law’ in 1971, which argued that “the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served.”

He was born in London, he studied medicine at the University of Cambridge before moving to small mining community of Glyncorrwg in the Afan Valley, where he worked as a GP for 30 years.

He worked at the Archie Cochrane led MRC Epidemiology Unit and this background in epidemiology taught him to study how his patients’ lifestyles caused their ill health and worked with them to improve this.

A passionate advocate of both the National Health Service and of socialism. He was a prolific researcher with well over 350 peer reviewed journal papers to his name and a number of classic books. He did this all in General Practice and only received an academic post after he retired.

He once said that he learnt medicine 3 times. “What I learnt in medical school was no use to me in hospital and what I learnt in hospital was no use to me in general practice”

In an increasingly technological and mechanistic medical world that we now live in we need the likes of Julian more and more. We need to be reminded that AI and tecnology are not always the answer and we must strive to maintain compassion, human dignity and the importance of a patient and community centred approach to family medicine.

I was fortunate to have met him on a number of occasions. Whenever I met him, I always argued that he was in fact a rural family doctor and we invited him to give the inaugural lecture at the Wonca Rural Health Conference in Santiago de Compostela in 2003.

I enclose his conference address. Please promote it as far and as wide as you can.

He will be dearly missed

submitted by Dr John Wynn-Jones, Chair WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice