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Editors at large

David Payne: Time to pause Scotland’s “Named Person” policy

16 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.” Was Philip Larkin right, and if so, are state-funded parenting classes the answer? Or should we be offering all children, regardless of their background, access to a state guardian from birth to 18 to help safeguard their wellbeing?

One apparent problem, two potential solutions. John Ashton, outgoing president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, told The Times that between 10-15% of school-leavers are in trouble emotionally or mentally, with one child in ten having a mental health problem. more…

David Payne: “Bed blocking” is an offensive term

9 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

older_patient_hospitalSimon Stevens, head of the NHS in England, has warned MPs that delays in releasing older patients from hospital could continue for up to five years because of social care pressures. His comments were immediately reported as a “bed blocking” crisis.

The term bed blocking certainly trips off the tongue more easily than “delayed transfers of care,” but is the term derogatory? I think it is, implying that one patient is somehow denying another access to care. more…

David Payne: Do we still need hospitals (and hospital beds)?

3 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

IMG_0495During a conference coffee break last week two physiotherapists pushed a hospital bed through the networking area, along with a wheelie bin overflowing with “redundant” bed-related paraphernalia—monitors, clipboards, etc.

The hospital where Shanna Bloemen and Yvonne Geurts work plans to remove beds during the day to encourage patients to get active and get out of the wards. Implementation is due to begin in the department of cardiothoracic surgery and will be extended to others over time. more…

Birte Twisselmann: “It is not your fault”: 4.48 Psychosis—the opera

3 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

birte_twisselmann_2016In the same month in which British journalist Sally Brampton died at age 60 after purportedly walking into the sea near her home on England’s south coast after decades of crippling depression, the Royal Opera House staged a new opera by composer Philip Venables at the Lyric Hammersmith. 4.48 Psychosis is based on playwright Sarah Kane’s last work, completed shortly before she committed suicide by hanging herself in 1999 after a long history of clinical depression. She was 28.

The performances follow a three year residency for Venables at the ROH and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. This won’t be a bundle of laughs, you might think—but this is not to say that there aren’t elements of wonderful humour in the intelligent and intricate musical score for six voices and 12 players—the dialogues between patient and doctor, enacted by two percussionists using different instruments alongside text projections, are one example. more…

Zosia Kmietowicz: A charter for women who are pregnant in prison

27 May, 16 | by BMJ

zosia_birth_charter_blogIt is 20 years since a TV documentary showed a British prisoner give birth while handcuffed to a prison guard. Anyone who remembers the images must be asking why a charter for improving the care of pregnant women in prison and their babies has just been launched. Surely this doesn’t happen anymore?

According to Birth Companions—the charity set up in the wake of the 1996 programme—many pregnant women and new mothers in prison still do not get the care and support they are entitled to. more…

Rebecca Coombes: Beware the medicalisation of female genital cutting

23 May, 16 | by BMJ

rebecca_coombesI met two remarkable women this week. Actually, I met many such females at the vast Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen—obstetricians, lawyers, midwives, and former presidents (including a possible future one when Hillary Clinton made a live appearance on the big screen).

In a cast of thousands, activists Filzah Sumartono, from Singapore, and Mariya Taher, from India, made an impact with their plain speaking about female genital cutting (FGC). Sumartono confronted the growing problem of medicalisation of FGC. Indonesia and Malaysia have called for a standardisation of the procedure, essentially legitimising the practice. more…

Trish Groves and David Moher: How to get published

20 May, 16 | by BMJ


In the run up to Evidence Live 2016, we are running a series of blogs by the conference speakers discussing what they will be talking about at the conference.

The highlight of last year’s excellent Evidence Live was, for me (Trish Groves), a short, private conversation. Two doctors from Pakistan (a husband and wife) sought me out to say they had taken part in my Evidence Live workshop two years earlier, on how to publish research. They went on to complete their research and, for the first time, to successfully publish two papers. “BMJ helped us broaden our vision, and changed our lives” they said.

Similar stories, and a growing realisation that we all need to tackle the huge challenge of waste in research, inspired BMJ to develop Research to Publication. This is a comprehensive eLearning programme for early career researchers. more…

Georg Röggla: Health and migration

17 May, 16 | by BMJ

georg_rogglaI attended a remarkable reception with a focus on health and migration at the UK embassy in Vienna last week.

The ambassador Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque shared her personal experiences of when the wave of refugees reached the eastern Austrian border in 2015. She had seen completely exhausted and traumatised children and a pregnant woman whose waters had broken hours ago. more…

The BMJ research editors: Why The BMJ rejected a “weekend effect” paper

16 May, 16 | by BMJ

Recently, perceived shortcomings of The BMJ peer review system have been extensively discussed on Twitter and elsewhere because we rejected a research paper by Rachel Meacock and colleagues examining the “weekend effect.” The paper was ultimately published in The Journal of Health Services Research and Policy. An author of the paper took the unusual step of publicly identifying Professor Nicholas Freemantle as one of The BMJ peer reviewers and implied that he had inappropriately declared no conflict of interest related to the paper under review. Professor Freemantle’s identity was known to her because of The BMJ’s open peer review process. more…

WIRED Health 2016

4 May, 16 | by BMJ Group

Technology magHealthazine Wired held its annual health conference in London on 29 April, with 21 speakers presenting “the future of the healthcare and medical industries.” Thomas Macaulay was there for The BMJ, and presents his pick of the day’s sessions: more…

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