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Alice Gerth: Junior doctors find their voice

22 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

As the strikes continue and the BMA votes to escalate action I have been searching for some of the more positive aspects of the present situation.

Over the past few months a whole generation of doctors has engaged with politics and leadership. We have woken up to the fact that we have a powerful voice and I am excited to see what the long term consequences of this will be. How many of these new voices will take roles in management within the NHS, or will run our future think tanks, or end up on the benches of Westminster? more…

Junior doctor strike: Angels need to eat and pay their bills

17 Mar, 16 | by BMJ Group

David Payne2The junior doctor strike in England triggered an Oxford Union debate last month about the extent to which patient safety is compromised when public sector workers take industrial action. But will health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s revamp of pay and conditions stop at doctors? Are nurses in his sights? And if so, how likely are they to join their medical colleagues on the picket line? 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…

Janis Burns: Why the GMC should advocate for juniors in the contract dispute

11 Mar, 16 | by BMJ

janis_burnsAs a doctor I am regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC) and I have mixed feelings towards this body. Its function is to protect the public from bad doctors. This is simultaneously reassuring and terrifying. Not all doctors who find themselves in front of a fitness to practise tribunal are bad and the experience is, by all accounts, terrifying for those who find themselves there. I hope I never do, but with the proposed junior contract I am fearful. more…

Junior doctors’ strike: March 2016: Live blog

8 Mar, 16 | by BMJ Group

Demotix 17/10/2015

This week, junior doctors in England will be taking industrial action for the third time so far this year in response to the government’s decision to impose a new contract on the profession. The strike action will result in junior doctors offering emergency care only for 48 hours from 8am on Wednesday 9 March to 8am Friday 11 March. If you have any news, pictures, thoughts, or tweets to offer us on the industrial action, please send them to Gareth Iacobucci at giacobucci@bmj.com. more…

Claire Beecroft: Why all medical students need an education in health economics

29 Feb, 16 | by BMJ

Claire Beecroft2How do doctors manage conversations with patients about the availability (or often non-availability) of certain drugs or treatments within the NHS? In most consultations, the patient’s questions around their illness and treatment can usually be answered by drawing on a combination of medical training, formal guidelines, and clinical experience. However, few doctors will have received any training in health economics, and many junior doctors may be facing these questions for the first time and with no previous experience to reflect on.

Five years ago I responded to a request from our medical school at the University of Sheffield to provide some teaching for a programme that would address topics outside of the conventional medical curriculum. more…

David Zigmond: Can we reduce childhood sepsis by more vigilant management? I doubt it

24 Feb, 16 | by BMJ

david_zigmond2Recently the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said “I am determined we blaze a trail across the world in developing a truly safe healthcare system with airline levels of safety.” (Economist Radio, 28/1/16)

He was commenting on the death of a child from sepsis: a condition often of shocking inexorability. His muscular soundbite was bound to be popular—who would disagree with such an aim? But how realistic is it? more…

David Oliver: If you want to explain what’s happening in the NHS, just look at schools and teachers

24 Feb, 16 | by BMJ

david_oliver_2015Imagine you are a teacher or headteacher in a good enough local authority school in an area with its fair share of deprivation and a shrinking funding envelope. The school increasingly struggles to balance its books, yet it’s told to make further savings.

You are experienced and good at your job. You chose and trained for this career because you cared about children’s education. Your school takes all comers—it can’t select its intake. Exclusion is frowned upon and special needs have to be met as best they can.

The school has staffing problems, sickness rates are on the rise, and it relies on supply teachers. But you’ve been told to crack down on hiring those. Senior teachers are retiring this side of 60—burnt out and demoralised. more…

Richard Smith: Putting the H back into the NHS

12 Feb, 16 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014The H in NHS stands not for hospital or healthcare but health, and the NHS needs to do better at promoting health, said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, this week at a meeting organised by the University of Southampton. If England can’t do better at prevention then the NHS will be overwhelmed, said Stevens. Premature deaths from heart attacks have come down by 40% in the past decade: imagine, he said, the pressure on the NHS if that hadn’t happened. But what can the NHS do to counter the “new smoking” of obesity and the 20 year gap in healthy life expectancy between the richest and poorest?

Stevens sees five approaches. more…

Saurabh Jha: Britain’s junior doctors are not apprentices

12 Feb, 16 | by BMJ

Saurabh_JhaIt was Boxing Day weekend. The consultant surgeon summoned the on-call team. “We face a calamity,” he said. The house officer had called in sick. The locum wasn’t going to arrive for another 12 hours. This meant that I, the senior house officer, would have to be the house officer. The registrar would take my place. The consultant, looking tense, would have to be the registrar—i.e. a junior doctor again.

“Junior doctor” is a misnomer because it implies a master and an apprentice. Running the National Health Service (NHS) are apprentices who become Jedis very quickly, and without a Ben Kenobi showing them the ropes. more…

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