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Hilary Burton: Get on board with genomics—a call to all clinicians

21 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

hilary_burtonPersonalised medicine has become the “holy grail” of modern medical research and has been embraced by policy makers and healthcare providers as a route to more satisfied patients, more effective and efficient health services, potentially even reducing demand through more effective prediction and prevention of disease. But what do today’s health professionals make of this, beyond their belief that they already provide personalised care—choosing the best treatment according to a patient’s particular medical and social circumstances and reaching agreement jointly with the patient about the best management strategy? more…

David McCoy: Antibiotic resistance is also a food and climate issue

17 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

david_mccoyWhen George Osborne spoke to the IMF in April about antibiotic resistance being a greater threat to mankind than cancer, one might assume that the current government had actually listened to some professional advice from the medical community. Sally Davies, the country’s Chief Medical Officer, has been raising the alarm that the growing emergence of antibiotic resistance is a ticking time bomb of potentially apocalyptic proportions.

This impending crisis has been in the making for decades during which time governments across the world have failed to implement the financing arrangements, laws and policies to ensure proper stewardship over the sale and use of antibiotics. Underlying this failure has been the broad trend towards the deregulation and marketization of health systems, and the effects of structural adjustment programmes and public budget cuts in many countries. more…

Richard Lehman: Is gardening good for your health?

15 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

richard_lehmanAt the rear of the grand London buildings which house the BMA and the BMJ offices, there is a tranquil garden, sheltered by tall buildings and lovingly tended by Daniella Sikora. Over the last two weeks it has provided the backdrop to two early evening lecture sessions on gardening and health, forming part of the Chelsea Fringe programme.

I admit that I set out with mixed feelings. Although I’ve been a member of the Royal Horticultural Society on and off for years, I’ve never been to the Chelsea Flower Show. To me gardening means putting down roots, building a unique shared space over many years of trial and error, and exchanging plants with friends. Gardens as competitive showy things that appear one day and are gone a week later are not gardens at all in my book. more…

Nigel Edwards: The NHS workforce crisis may be irreversible

14 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

nigel_edwards_june_2015A great deal of the current focus in the NHS is on the financial challenges it faces. These are undoubtedly severe, but I think they may be obscuring a problem that is at least as serious: the state of the workforce. There are a number of inter-related components, including poor morale, bullying and looming shortages in key areas.

In our latest survey of 100 health leaders, the majority of panellists report worsening morale in their area over the last six months. Some of their comments are very telling, and many point to the extent to which financial problems—and the local uncertainty this creates—are themselves becoming a factor in deteriorating morale: more…

Lloyd Hughes: The uncertainty of Brexit poses a risk to the wellbeing of the NHS

13 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

EU_brexit“There are substantial risks for the country’s health service and pharmaceuticals industry,” if the UK votes to leave the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) warns an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Report that analyzed the possible impact of a Brexit on the healthcare sector. [1]

To date much of the discussion surrounding Brexit has surrounded the possible economic and political implications of the UK leaving the EU. The EIU report, in line with other major economic forecasters, feel that there will be an initial economic shock with gradual return to market stability. The report highlights that in the event of a Leave vote there would be major political upheaval, or even political crisis, in the Conservative party weakening the governing party. more…

Improving care and support for people living with breathlessness

10 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a type of obstructive lung disease characterised by poor long-term airflow, which carries a high symptom burden, particularly increasing breathlessness. COPD is progressive, accounting for one death every 20 minutes in England and Wales.

National strategy documents from the UK state that quality end-of-life care should be available to patients with any condition. However, in practice people with advanced COPD usually rely on end-of-life planning tools and care pathways that have been developed for cancer, which has a different and more predictable patient journey. more…

Neel Sharma: The dark side of medical education

9 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

As a trainee and keen medical educationalist I have witnessed the rapid rise of movement in medical education. At a time where there was minimal change it seems now that we are in constant flux with new headlines appearing frequently on how best we should teach and assess doctors in training. more…

Bernard Merkel: Brexit and health

8 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

bernard_merkelIn 1991 I was seconded from the Department of Health to the European Commission, and during my subsequent years there, the prevailing view in the UK, with a few limited exceptions, has been that the EU had little to do with health and virtually nothing to do with the NHS. So I never thought that health questions and the impact of Brexit on the NHS would be raised in the referendum debate, let alone that they would feature so prominently.  more…

Alice Munro: The National Emissions Ceilings Directive—a critical week for the health of Europeans

8 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

alice_munroToday EU leaders will attempt to come to an agreement on air pollution reduction targets that will determine the quality of our air for the next 15 years. The National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive is a key piece of EU emissions legislation that is central to efforts to reduce air pollution. [1] The success of the agreement will, however, depend on the UK government and other member states abandoning efforts to weaken and delay the directive.

The new proposed targets cover six pollutants: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds PM2.5 and Methane. How the targets are achieved is up to member states, but all must be committed to intermediate and final targets for 2020, 2025, and 2030.  more…

Dan Kremer: Time limits on published sanctions are needed but we must tailor them to doctors’ circumstances

7 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

dan_kremerWe are pleased that the General Medical Council (GMC) has changed its policy on how long it publishes sanctions imposed on doctors, but do not believe it sufficiently considers individual doctors’ circumstances.

Currently all sanctions on a doctor’s registration, imposed by either a fitness to practise panel or an interim orders panel, remain on the medical register indefinitely, even after the sanction no longer applies. more…

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