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Claudia Pagliari et al: Smartening-up NHS workforce management with IT

7 Apr, 16 | by BMJ

Media revelations of dramatic unexpected shortages in NHS nursing capacity, excessive dependence on overseas recruitment and costly agency staff (often NHS workers doing private shifts) are contributing to the public perception of a health service that doesn’t know how to effectively plan and manage its workforce. more…

Peter Lees: “The doctors’ mess is dead, long live the doctors’ mess”

5 Apr, 16 | by BMJ

peter_leesI regret not fighting harder for the maintenance of the doctors’ mess. Sure we fought tooth and nail in the late seventies and early eighties when we perceived that the administration (as it was then called) had its eyes on our central prime real estate.

We always won because we were united, we valued the institution and the consultant body backed us to the hilt. The defensive inaction I regret was later when some of my more junior colleagues began to declare, in sometimes derogatory tones, that they had a life outside the hospital and had no need for a workmates club. The combination of a lack of junior doctor support quickly sounded the death knell and even when the mess persisted, its relocation to some distance from the hub made it an impractical abode. more…

Shakir Mustafa: A return to Nepal after the earthquake

30 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

Shakir MustafaIn the immediate aftermath of last year’s earthquake in Nepal I took part in an emergency mission. A few weeks later we returned for an aid and education mission. And now, here we are again, in Dharan, East Nepal for another mission to support local doctors and empower them to implement change and drive healthcare and medical education forward. This is part of a project led by the British Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) and its international education subcommittee, the Norman Rowe International Education Foundation (NRIEF). more…

Michelle White on Mercy Ships—providing free and safe surgery to some of the poorest parts of the world

22 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

Millions of people face financial ruin to afford surgery. Five billion to be precise, that’s how many people in the world currently have to weigh up the dilemma of financial ruin to afford surgery.

After regularly volunteering for a couple of weeks every year, in 2012 I decided to give up my full time job in the UK as an anaesthetist to volunteer full time on the Africa Mercy. It is the world’s largest civilian hospital ship and is run by international charity Mercy Ships. It offers free medical care to some of the poorest countries in Africa. Since the charity’s creation in 1978, Mercy Ships has transformed the lives of more than 2.54 million people across the world. more…

Elizabeth Atherton and Josephine Head: How environmentally sustainable are the UK’s new dietary guidelines?

21 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

Last week saw the launch of the Eatwell Guide—the UK’s official food guide to healthy diets. Astonishingly, despite major changes in eating habits and advances in nutrition science, this is the first review of these guidelines since their original publication 20 years ago. While the update—prompted by expert recommendations on sugar—is long overdue and welcomed, it is increasingly clear that the food we eat doesn’t only affect our individual health, it also has a big impact on the health of our planet. Whilst many are celebrating a step in the right direction, we need to ask if the new Eatwell Guide goes far enough to address concerns about the environment. more…

Andy Cowper: How to march your troops back down again

17 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

andy_cowperAs another bout of industrial action concludes in the junior doctors’ dispute, the BMA junior doctors’ committee leadership has won outright. Their leaders were carried in triumph down Whitehall, celebrating Jeremy Hunt’s resignation as Health Secretary over the issue. “Jerexit” deepened the Government’s split over Europe, and a subsequent wave of defections to UKIP destroyed the Conservative majority in Parliament. There is speculation that Her Majesty may ask JDC leader Johann Malawana to form the next government. more…

Lindsey Hines and Elle Wadsworth: Would the UK benefit from a regulated cannabis market?

16 Mar, 16 | by BMJ








The Liberal Democrats have announced a proposal for cannabis law reform in the UK. It is not without precedent, coming at a time of global change in how governments respond to cannabis use, and is not a niche issue. Government figures show over 6% of the UK population used cannabis in 2014-2015 alone. Produced by experts in substance use, drug policy, and policing, the report takes the debate beyond the binary of prohibit/legalise. Proposals include allowing home cultivation, the creation of a cannabis sales regulatory agency, and taking steps to prevent a “Big Cannabis” industry lobby. more…

Jane Feinmann: Addressing malnutrition

14 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

jane_feinmannDoctors have faced up to the challenge of treating obesity. Is it now time to address that other major weight disorder—malnutrition? Less common in the general population than obesity, malnutrition is an ever-present health risk for older people—with one in ten over 65s either already suffering or at risk of becoming under-nourished, according to a new report by BAPEN (the British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition). more…

Kallur Suresh: Is the dementia plan for England a challenge too far?

14 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

Generation Q 12 June 2012Last week saw the publication of the implementation plan for the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020. This new challenge aims to consolidate and build on the progress made since the first challenge issued by the Prime Minister in 2012. The challenge has the laudable aims of making England the best place to live well with dementia for patients and families by 2020, and the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. more…

Andrew Guest: Pots from pills

11 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

andrew_guestI began making ceramics just over ten years ago, as a counterpart to my main career promoting and creating opportunities for artists and architects. I quickly discovered the allure of casting clay in plaster moulds; first, the precision with which liquid plaster sets to a clean white negative shape, and then the way in which the liquid clay, poured into the plaster mould, takes on the form of the moulded shape and then pulls away to become the final cast object. Firing and glazing the clay form then sets the object into an almost indestructible state. more…

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