Els Borst biography by Nele Beyens launched
On Friday November 5, HHH member Nele Beyens’s long awaited biography Els Borst – Medicus in de politiek (Els Borst – Physician in politics) was launched under wide media attention. In telling the story of the life and works of the prominent physician, health policy administrator and minister of Health, Nele has also written a history of Dutch 20th century health care from varying perspectives.
After Els Borst’s violent death in 2014, at the age of 81, Nele was struck by how appreciatively people of all political colours spoke of her. Most people in the Netherlands knew Borst as the minister of Health who from 1994 to 2002 was responsible for the revolutionary euthanasia law that came into effect in 2001. But there were many more important issues that she pushed forward, such as the law on organ donation, regulations restricting the tobacco industry, and a new health insurance system. Her long career in health care, a.o. as a university hospital medical director and as vice-president of the Gezondheidsraad (National Board of Health), gave her the necessary expertise that enabled her to tackle these complicated issues. In doing so, she always put the perspective of patients and patient’s rights at the forefront of her ambitions.