Tom Marshall

Wednesday, February 13 2019 at 7:30PM

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48 John Bright Street
B1 1BN

Tom Marshall

What's the talk about?

 Complementary and alternative medicine is caricatured as unscientific and contrasted with the scientific rigor of mainstream medicine. 

But this is misleading. 


Ineffective treatments and procedures abound in mainstream medicine. There are treatments in widespread use that we know to be ineffective. There are effective treatments given to the wrong patients. There are treatments where harms and costs clearly outweigh any benefit. There are treatments where we really don’t know if they are effective or not. 


This talk will show the clues to overtreatment provided by looking at variations in clinical practice and will provide a number examples. It will also illustrate why the problem is so intractable.


Tom Marshall grew up in the midst of Northern Ireland’s tribal conflict before escaping to medical school in University of Edinburgh. 

He emerged to his surprise with a medical degree despite paying more attention to Fredrick Copleston’s history of philosophy than anatomy textbooks and a high attrition rate among his immediate circle.

Since then he has had a chequered career including brief periods working in remote locations such as the Northern Transvaal, Gibraltar and Norfolk and living in a squat in Camberwell. He also studied health economics, trained as a GP and then as a public health physician before becoming a full time academic at University of Birmingham. 

He has long believed that behind the façade of science medicine remains full of useless, unproven and harmful treatments.

He is currently Professor of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Birmingham where his research includes analysis of electronic health records to see how health care is actually delivered and he has an ongoing interest in over treatment.

This is a free event, but we suggest a donation of £3 to cover speakers expenses.