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An anatomy of occupational medicine
  1. W. R. Lee
  1. aDepartment of Occupational Health, University of Manchester, Clinical Sciences Building, York Place, Manchester M13 OJJ


    Lee, W. R. (1973).British Journal of Industrial Medicine,30, 111-117. An anatomy of occupational medicine. Previous writers have attempted to describe occupational medicine by considering the functions of a doctor working in industry. In different communities, and even in the same community at different times, a doctor working in industry may have different functions. `Occupational medicine', so described, would therefore not be a discipline but would merely be medicine practised in a certain area. Furthermore, such an approach leaves out other aspects of occupational medicine such as recompense for injury at work and statutory supervision of workplaces, and any interaction between these two.

    Men think in terms of conceptual models which predetermine to a greater or less extent their approach to future problems. The present essay attempts to formulate a coherent intellectual framework of occupational medicine.

    The conceptual model proposed here is based on the globe proposed by Himsworth (1970) as a model representing the structure of scientific knowledge. Using this, a place for occupational medicine can be determined related to medicine, industry, and the `basic' sciences. Occupational medicine is thus seen as a coherent entity.

    The argument is supported by a comparison of some of the provisions for occupational medicine in this country and in France. In this comparison the underlying components are distinguished from the mechanisms set up to deal with them. It is these components which go to make up the structure of occupational medicine and it is the coherence and close relationship of them which must be studied to find and describe an entity to be called occupational medicine.

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    • 1 Based on the BMA MacKenzie Industrial Health Lecture, 1972, delivered at Winchester, 13 July 1972