The Centre is never more relevant than it is today. Its closure is inappropriate and will clearly cost lives, in number and quality, in Britain and abroad. I am a neurosurgeon, a subject with a very short history. However I see the role of alternative therapies positively and after 20 years of consultant practice see it as every bit as relevant as ever it was. Patients want it and it works. In another role I was one of the five medics who presented the London 2012 Olympic bid to the IOC in February 2005 before the successful vote in July. The key to its legacy is to deliver a nation and indeed a planet of spectators who will feel inspired to exercise. Inactivity is our biggest killer in the developed nations. The oriental cultures have exercise as a key element to health. Chinese parks are full of exercising elderly. As a result they live longer, more independently and with less disability than do we.
How do I know this? Because of the work uncovered and presented by the Wellcome Centre.
If in history we look back and see that the reason for closure was really as banal as a bid document not being lodged on time the conclusion will be that the process of administration got in front of the mission. And, if that comes to pass we can only hope that the individuals responsible are seen for what that makes them.
Medicine is not immune from the need to learn from and build on its history lest it too is condemned to repeat it. You cannot expect to learn from your history without studying it. No one does that like the Wellcome.
Peter Hamlyn MB BS, BSc, MD, FRCS, FISM
Fellow of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine