Robert Graves Lecture 2007_Professor Tom O’Dowd

10/09/2007 in Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, 6, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

The private sector in healthcare: contributing to service but not to research

Tom O’Dowd, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Centre for Health Sciences, AMNCH, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland


Public and private medicine has lived cheek by jowl  in Ireland for many years. In Graves’s time, Lyons recounts how ‘‘the vacancy at the Meath Hospital filled by the celebrated J Graves in 1821 occurred after an interchange of money’’ [Lyons JB (1991) 1834–1844. In: The quality of Mercer’s—The story of Mercer’s Hospital, 1734–1991, Glendale, Dublin, p 70]. Indeed Graves retired from the Meath Hospital aged 47 years to concentrate on his private practice. He  continued to work as a consultant to the Adelaide, the Coombe and to Peter’s Parish Dispensary, which was an example of how the philanthropic and the private sector worked together in the 1800s.

Keywords Private/independent healthcare Research versus service  Professionalisation

Irish Journal of Medical Science , Volume 176, Issue 4, pp 261-265

This being the forty-seventh Graves Lecture since its beginnings in 1961.