Militant Medics: Examining the Connection Between Two Unlikely Activists in the First National British Doctors' "Strike"
Chris Locke | 17 October 2023
◇ Modern History | British History | Activism
Postscript: When studying for my doctorate I was pleased to find tangible evidence of the connection between McDonald and Layton from an unexpected source. Having obtained a copy of The Old Doctor for a few pounds from an online bookseller, I was delighted to discover, from a signature and date on the inside cover, that the original owner of the book was none other than J. A. MacDonald himself, the signature being identical to that printed in his BMJ obituary. One could imagine MacDonald reading the novel and being struck by the similarities, and the differences, between his and Layton’s situation and experiences as a GP, and their shared hopes for a better and properly financed public medical service. This adds a degree of poignancy to the obvious similarities between their motivation and mindset and those of striking NHS doctors today.
Chris Locke is an honorary research fellow in the History department of the University of Sheffield. His book GPs, Politics and Medical Professional Protest in Britain, 1880-1948 is published this November by Routledge as part of their Studies in Modern British History series.
 BMA Archive, B/203/1/15, minutes of IAC meetings of 26 October 1923 and 7 November 1923.