2017 – Lord Turnberg

The annual dinner took place on Tuesday 23rd March 2017 at St John’s Wood Synagogue Hall, 37-41 Grove End Rd. Lord Turnberg was the main speaker at this event.

The dinner was chaired by the London President, Miss Jo Franks, who introduced the speakers and who succeeded skillfully in making sure that the proceedings ran smoothly.

Over 150 doctors and medical students were present.

At the start of the evening a minute of silence was observed for those killed the previous day on Westminster Bridge and outside the Houses of Parliament. It was noted that Lord Turnberg had been in Parliament at the time and had not been allowed to leave; and that Dr Sebastian Vandermolen (a junior doctor present at the dinner) had been one of the St Thomas’s doctors who had gone on to the bridge to tend to the injured.

The loyal toasts were proposed by medical student leaders Jessica Franklin and Avi Korman.

The toast to the Association was proposed by Dr Abigail Swerdlow, junior doctor trainee in psychiatry, who reflected on the activities during the past year..

In his response Prof Katz thanked her on behalf of the Association not only for her toast but also for her contribution to all aspects of junior doctor activities, including the dinner. He highlighted that several junior doctors had contributed to the Association’s programme, during the past year, citing Dr Noam Roth and Dr Adam Levine, who had participated in recent meetings, and Dr Brett Bernstein who had reported on the Anglo-Israel Cardiovascular Meeting. He commended the medical student elective reports which were included in the brochure, and reflected that the Association is the sum of its members.

In her introduction to the guest speaker Ms Franks reminded those present about Lord Turnberg’s contribution to British medicine, and congratulated him on his recent birthday for which a celebratory cake had been included in the desserts.

In his address Lord Turnberg outlined the main features of his recent studies about the Balfour Declaration, which will be published shortly. He noted that the origins of British support for Jewish settlement in today’s Israel dated back to well before the time of Balfour, as evidenced by Lord Shaftesbury’s campaign for the “restoration of the Holy Land to the Jews”. He summarized Balfour’s early career, how he had been influenced by Joseph Chamberlain, and how the role he played in 1917 had to be seen in parallel with the Sykes-Picot agreement which was at that time still secret. He emphasized that although the Balfour Declaration was an important document of principle, the real legal substance of British involvement in the Zionist endeavor emerged from the San Remo Conference in 1920.

Dr Michael Fertleman introduced his remarks by quoting from one of Lord Turnberg’s prescient reports: “We found a health service under pressure. Services across the whole spectrum of care, from those in the community and primary care to those in hospitals, were sorely stretched. Although the impact of these pressures was most keenly felt in the care of elderly people and those with mental illness, others were not immune from the failures to meet an acceptable standard of service . . .Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the pressures are increasing.” Dr Fertleman noted that this item was reported in Parliament in 1999, and that by a quirk of fate the next speaker was a Dr Tonge….He concluded that all present were grateful not only for Lord Turnberg’s talk but also for his eloquent and passionate commitment to Israel.


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