Sir James Whitaker was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Owens College Manchester; he received the MRCS in 1891. He was originally a GP in Great Yarmouth, but most of his career was spent in senior posts with the BMA and in central government. He was appointed organizing secretary, later medical secretary of the BMA in 1902, where he greatly improved its medico-political work. He was appointed deputy chairman of the National Health insurance Commission in 1912 and in 1919 became senior medical officer at the Ministry of Health, and head of the medical department of the National Health Insurance Section.
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