Alan Harold Williams 1927–2005

Robert Sugden

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 150 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VI

Published by British Academy

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264232
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734243 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Alan Harold Williams 1927–2005

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Alan Williams was, by common consent, the leading health economist in Britain. Indeed, it is in large part due to him that there is a community of health economics for anyone to lead. Williams was renowned for the logical rigour of his thinking, for his passionate commitment to the principle of universal health care supplied according to need, for his determination to ensure that health-service resources are used to the best effect, and for his evangelical sense of mission in advocating the use of the quality-adjusted life year as a measure of health-service effectiveness. He was also famous for the notice on his desk – later moved to his door so that callers would be forewarned of what to expect – with the injunction: ‘Be reasonable do it my way’. That so many people remember this message shows that it was something more than an office joke.

Keywords: health economist; health economics; biography; obituary

Chapter.  8187 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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