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The BMJ Today: Swingers, surrogacy, and three parent families

24 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

tom_m_sepSexual health and parenthood feature prominently in The BMJ today, in news stories that highlight the need to ensure policies are based on evidence and not prejudice.

Jacqui Wise describes a study that finds that heterosexual couples who swap partners or have group sex have high rates of sexually transmitted infections, a finding that may not surprise many readers.  more…

The BMJ Today: Get your sums right

23 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

The big news today is the publication of the chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens’s five year plan for the NHS.

As Gareth Iacobucci reports in The BMJ today, the report has a strong focus on public health and the prevention of illness. Unsurprisingly, this includes Stevens’s pet topic of tackling obesity.

Stevens claims the report marks a “crossroads” for the NHS. It calls for the historical boundaries between primary and secondary care to be broken down and for new models of care to be developed, such as NHS hospitals taking control of general practice services or GPs heading up multispecialty provider groups. more…

The BMJ Today: Stop reviewing GP crisis and plan a solution

22 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Two articles just posted on thebmj.com focus on general practice—the crisis that is engulfing it, how it suffers at the hand of political promises, and what action can preserve its future.

Veronica Wilkie, professor of primary care at the Institute of Health and Society at Worcester University, compares the current crisis to that in 1950 when JS Collings, an Australian researcher who had observed 55 practices, attacked general practice for being outdated, rarely satisfactory, and a potential danger to public health. more…

The BMJ Today: England’s ongoing battle with liver disease

21 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Today, The BMJ reports the stark warnings from public health experts about the rate of mortality from liver disease in England, and the regional variation across the country.

As Jacqui Wise reports, new profiles from Public Health England show that male mortality rates from liver disease are four times higher in some local authority areas than in others. The profiles also show large variation in hospital admissions for liver disease in different parts of the country. more…

The BMJ Today: How “political” should The BMJ be?

20 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

At the Royal College of Physicians’ Harveian Oration last week, a doctor told me The BMJ had become a “political” rag. And it was not the first time that the accusation has been made. So when are medical and healthcare issues purely scientific matters and when are they “political?”

Dr Michael O’Donnell, former editor of World Medicine, and the subject of our BMJ Confidential column this week, believes that the organisation of healthcare has always been a political matter. His current day job is writing an eyewitness account of the rise and fall of the NHS. He calls Aneurin Bevan “a shrewd political operator,” not least because of the time it has taken “for those who wished to destroy the NHS to make any progress.” more…

The BMJ Today: Aiming for a culture of safety not perfection

17 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

kate_adlington_picDo you believe in the “boundless capacity of medical science?”

In a philosophical podcast to accompany this week’s analysis article, Professor Jerome Hoffman and Dr Hemal Kanzaria, of the University of California, suggest that efforts to reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment should focus on changing physician and public attitudes towards medical error and uncertainty. more…

The BMJ Today: Teenage pregnancy and sleepless nights

16 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Teenage pregnancy (within the ages of 13-19) is a major public health concern. About 16 million females aged 15-19 and about 1 million girls aged less than 15 give birth. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death in 15-19 year old females globally.

A clinical review by McCarthy and colleagues looks at the issues around teenage pregnancy and how to approach them. It discusses how common it is, who is most likely to become a teenage mother, and what can be done to prevent it. The medical and social impacts of teenage pregnancy on mothers and their children are neatly represented in an online infographic. more…

The BMJ Today: The pitfalls of migration

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

I’ve been taking lots of travel histories lately. As a GP who sees lots of patients with fever, patients are even starting to pre-empt me (” . . . and I’ve never been to Africa”). This heightened awareness is unsurprising, given news that some countries are introducing airport screening for Ebola. But will this actually make much difference? Probably not, say editorialists Mabey et al. By their calculations, “an entrance screening policy will have no meaningful effect on the risk of importing Ebola into the UK.” more…

The BMJ Today: The challenge of getting ready for autumn

14 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Emma-ParishAs the seasons shift here in the UK to embrace autumn, more people will seek advice for coughs, sore throats, and hoarseness, but are you up to date on laryngitis? In their clinical review, an Australian ENT team present the diagnostic challenge of this condition, outlining the red flag symptoms to prompt investigation for malignancy—very timely for mouth cancer awareness month in November. more…

The BMJ Today: Ebola and the importance of taking a travel history

13 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

navjoyt_ladherThe new cases of Ebola virus disease reported in Spain and the United States in recent days have reminded healthcare workers around the world to be vigilant for the infection. Several weeks ago, we spoke to Nick Beeching, senior lecturer and consultant in infectious disease at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, about the UK’s response to the outbreak.

In the video, he outlines when to suspect viral haemorrhagic fever and emphasises that cases in the UK are extremely rare in comparison to other imported diseases, such as malaria. more…

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