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The BMJ Today: Healthy behaviours and the power of the WHO

26 May, 15 | by BMJ

cigarettes_dark•  Campaigners are taking the Dutch state to court over links with the tobacco industry, which is allegedly unlawfully influencing policies on the availability of tobacco products. The fight is on for children, who the industry apparently want to see as “replacement smokers” when those seeking a smoke free society believe it starts with young people never taking up the habit. Documents obtained through freedom of information legislation apparently show evidence of chummy relationships, barbecues and all, where none should exist and none are transparently declared. more…

The BMJ Today: Crisis and corruption

22 May, 15 | by BMJ

nagpaul_chaand• Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA’s general practitioners committee, urges UK health ministers to halt a “surreal obsession” with seven day working at a time when the GP workforce is facing a workforce catastrophe, with more than a third set to retire in the next five years.

Addressing the association’s annual local medical committee conference in London, he warned the new UK government that “unless it turns this around we won’t have a comprehensive general practice service in parts of the UK.” more…

The BMJ Today: Tobacco, tennis, and “unmitigated quackery”

21 May, 15 | by BMJ

cigarettes_darkAn investigation by The BMJ into attempts by big tobacco to prevent the introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes has revealed that MPs and peers accepted gifts from the tobacco industry, including tickets to the men’s final at Wimbledon and the opera at Glyndebourne. Jonathan Gornall’s article showed that 38 MPs received a total of £60,000 of industry hospitality between the time when changes were first mooted in 2010 and the vote this year. more…

The BMJ Today: Patients let down by end of life care, seven day working, and a letter from Australia

20 May, 15 | by BMJ

palliative_care• A new report has found that terminally ill people are enduring painful and distressing deaths through failure by the NHS in England to properly manage care at the end of life. The concerning findings from the parliamentary and health service ombudsman are summarised here by The BMJ’s correspondent Clare Dyer. more…

The BMJ Today: Migrants’ health, screening guidelines, and benefits of social media

19 May, 15 | by BMJ

migrants_arriving_in_italy•  Migrants are finding it increasingly difficult to access healthcare, the charity Doctors of the World has warned. The charity, which provides healthcare to vulnerable groups, found that around two thirds of the people at its clinics had no healthcare coverage. Migrants cited inability to pay, administrative problems, and lack of knowledge as hampering their ability to access healthcare.



The BMJ Today: run, boy, run

18 May, 15 | by BMJ

older_couple_runningExercise as good as stopping smoking

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that thirty minutes of physical activity six days a week in older age is linked to a 40% lower risk of death from any cause, which is as beneficial as giving up smoking.

The researchers said that more effort should go into encouraging elderly men to become more physically active, and doctors should emphasise the wide range of ill health that could be warded off as a result.

The BMJ Today: TripAdvisor, smoking in pregnancy, and CONSORT

15 May, 15 | by BMJ

tripadvisor_1• TripAdvisor for fertility clinics?
Would a user generated website that scores fertility clinics help people seeking treatment? The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says it’s not a question of whether a review service should exist—but when. But the legal implications for people posting reviews, the HFEA, and clinics themselves are huge. Read who is for and against, and what the HFEA is planning to do. more…

The BMJ Today: Tobacco, HPV vaccine, antipsychotics in pregnancy, and problem drinking

14 May, 15 | by BMJ

india_cigaretteTobacco industry lobbying undermines public health in Asia
Martin McKee, Nichola Hopkinson, and K Srinath Reddy discuss the “fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.” Whilst they acknowledge that “many Asian countries have a history of progressive tobacco control policies” such as the longstanding ban on tobacco advertising in Singapore, they highlight the ongoing influence of the tobacco industry in parts of Asia. more…

The BMJ Today: Should medical journals avoid discussing political issues that have a bearing on health?

13 May, 15 | by BMJ

gaza_city• Politics, medical journals, the medical profession, and the Israel lobby–In July 2014, The Lancet published an “Open letter for the people in Gaza” from a group of doctors and scientists, decrying what was in their view Israeli military aggression against civilians in Gaza. Earlier this year, Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet received a complaint signed by 396 physicians and scientists arguing that the journal was being used for “publication of deliberately false material which deepens polarization between Israelis and Palestinians.” In a newly published editorial John Yudkin, emeritus professor of medicine at University College London, explores the issues raised by these events. Is it inappropriate for medical journals to discuss political issues, even when these issues have a direct impact on civilian health? And is there a wider problem of coverage of the conflict in Gaza being stifled? more…

The BMJ Today: Elections, pathogen genomics, and prescription supply problems

12 May, 15 | by BMJ

• In the wake of the UK general election, Chris Ham, chief executive at the Kings Fund, writes about the challenges facing the newly elected Conservative government. He asks what route politicians will take to balance savings in the NHS without compromising patient safety? He cautions politicians to be realistic in the timescale needed to show the results of efficiency savings and asks that they don’t leave “providers no option but to cut back on staff” to balance the books. more…

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