Proceedings of a Symposium held at College of General Practitioners, London 19th & 20th April 1966

MEETINGS can be of two types. In the first, a small group of experts are invited to describe some aspects of their work or their philosophy to the others present. Provided that the speakers are original, coherent and intelligible there is no problem in publishing a readable version of the proceedings. The second type of meeting depends on a free exchange of ideas between all the participants. Opening speakers are invited only to provide background facts, and to stimulate the group as a whole to creative thinking. It is virtually impossible to publish readable proceedings from such a meeting. Even a heavily edited verbatim report appears rambling and in coherent. A simple description of the discussion tends to lose the spirit of the meeting.

The OHE symposium on General Medical Care in New Towns, which we organised in April 1966 in co-operation with the College of General Practitioners, falls squarely in the second category. We have, therefore, not attempted to produce a comprehensive record of the proceedings. Indeed, in the conventional sense, this publication is not a report of the meeting at all. It aims only to record the conclusions—the areas of broad agreement, as well as the many questions to which no answers emerged—and more particularly to record, in the participants’ own words, some of the highlights of the discussion. In many cases the choice of a passage or remark by one participant reflects a point made equally well by several others. In this sense, the following pages are intended primarily to stimulate the reader rather than to do justice to the many excellent contributions to the meeting.