In all public services some documents should be confidential. Every responsible person recognises this, and would never ask that the contents be revealed. But it is altogether different when whole classes of documents are labelled 'confidential' as a matter of course. It is worse when those documents affect public bodies, which often meet in public and transact business of the utmost interest to the community. Yet this appears to be happening to the Ministry of Health's circulars and memoranda to regional hospital boards and hospital management committees.
This is not the way to keep up the public's interest. How are staff to be trained if essential knowledge is locked away? How is the science of hospital administration to advance? Officers must be free to discuss the ministry's advice, to talk about it at meetings and write about it freely in journals and textbooks. If such freedoms are menaced, the new system of hospital administration will never reach maturity.