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Jeffrey Aronson: When I use a word . . . Medical onomatopoeia

4 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

jeffrey_aronsonSeeking early medical words in the Old English dictionary known as the Epinal glossary, I was not surprised to find that one of the dozen examples I unearthed was onomatopoeic: iesca (yesk or yex, a sob, a hiccup, or the hiccups). Perhaps I should have been surprised that there weren’t more; after all, some early words in all languages must have been onomatopoeic, imitating local sounds, typically those of birds, like chickadee, cuckoo, owl, and peewit. more…

Abi Rimmer: Seven day services lack definition

4 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

abi_rimmer2What exactly are “seven day services?” This is something that I have been wondering ever since David Cameron announced in March that the NHS would run a seven day service by 2020. And, despite all the rhetoric from Cameron and health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the government doesn’t seem to have a clear definition of what seven day services are going to involve.

Without a clear definition, it will be impossible to measure whether we have “seven day services.” Lots of the doctors already work at evenings and weekends, so we need to understand how these new plans will be different from the services already offered by the NHS. more…

Charles Gore: Making the elimination of viral hepatitis a reality

4 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

charles_goreCurrently 400 million people worldwide are living with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C, with no country being left unaffected. For far too long we have allowed 1.4 million people to die every year. For far too long these deaths have been preventable.

So for these reasons the World Hepatitis Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) have jointly organised the first ever World Hepatitis Summit, which convenes in Glasgow this week with support from the Scottish Government, Glasgow Caledonian University, and Health Protection Scotland. It brings together policy makers, patients, civil society, physicians, and representatives from each of the World Hepatitis Alliance’s 200 patient group organisations. Make no mistake, this is a global milestone and it’s an incredibly important one. more…

The BMJ Today: Online medical records, confusing mortality figures, and deciding not to quit

4 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

online_medical_record• Patients promised online access to their medical records by 2018
Today, The BMJ carries the news that England’s health secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged that all patients in England will be able to access and input into their own medical records from any location in the country by 2018.  As part of an ambitious batch of pledges on new technologies in the NHS, Hunt also announced that a quarter of all smartphone users in England will be electronically accessing their medical records and booking appointments via their mobile device by 2018. more…

Simon Nicholas Williams: Big Food could take the fizz out of Jamie Oliver’s soft drink tax

3 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

simon_williamsIn his new documentary, Sugar Rush [airing tonight], Jamie Oliver pledges to “be a pain in the arse to the government” on the issue of soft drink taxes. Unfortunately for Oliver, and for the health of those he seeks to help, compared to the enormous political influence the food and beverage industry can and will exert over such issues, his campaign is likely to be little more than a mild discomfort. more…

The BMJ Today: Where now for seven day services?

3 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

jeremy_hunt• What next for contract negotiations?
As the deadline by which health secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said he would impose new contracts on junior doctors and consultants approaches, Abi Rimmer and Ingrid Torjesen asked a range of consultants, trainees, trust medical directors, and negotiators what should happen next. more…

A patient’s perspective: Dancing the dance

3 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

If I don’t dance to the tune of the care system I don’t get the care I need to survive. I need medicines and other stuff to live well, in fact to stay alive. You, the nurse or the doctor, are the only ones who can give me those things; so I play your game.

I don’t actually need to come and see you. I have Type 1 Diabetes, I was diagnosed in 1979, so I have 35 years of lived experience. I do need to have some bloods done and to see the results, but I suspect I only need to see you if they are unexpected in any way. I do want to know my HbA1C, as I want to know how I’ve been doing. But to be honest whatever it is I know what to do; I should for goodness sake, I’ve been practising it for 35 years this year. more…

Richard Smith: The NHS needs existential psychotherapists

3 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014

Existential psychotherapists help people with the existential, eternal, unsettling, and human problems of meaninglessness, isolation, and the terror of death. These are problems that are causing much suffering in Britain and yet do not respond to the drugs that are the standby of the NHS. That’s why the NHS needs existential psychotherapists. It may have some—but in disguise. more…

Billy Boland: Playing the long game

2 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

billy_bolandI was struck by a pang of existential angst the other day when I was out for dinner with some consultant friends. They were chatting about their impending retirement and their hopes for life after the NHS. I got to jape that it was alright for them, some of us would still be working for the next 30 years. Prone to exaggeration, I quickly did the mental arithmetic. It couldn’t be that long could it? Given changes to life expectancy and pension, well, yes it could. Maybe more in the long run. more…

The BMJ Today: Prescribing predicaments

2 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

• Concern over inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs in people with intellectual disability

antidepressants_prothiadenThe proportion of people with intellectual disability in the UK who have been treated with psychotropic drugs far exceeds the proportion with recorded mental illness, finds this study. Of the 9135 participants treated with antipsychotic drugs by the end of the study period (1 January 1999 to 31 December 2013), 6503 (71%) did not have a record of severe mental illness, with the rate of new antipsychotic prescribing significantly higher in people with challenging behaviour, autism, dementia, and in those of older age. more…

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