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The BMJ Today: Handwashing, Medicare, and radiology shortages

29 Jul, 15 | by BMJ Group

A severe lack of specialist radiology training is failing children in the UK, an audit by the Royal College of Radiologists has found. The audit, undertaken in July this year, discovered that 35% of children’s radiographs and scans were performed by radiographers who had not received specific training in imaging children and that a similar percentage of scans were interpreted by radiologists with less than six months’ training in a specialist paediatric centre.

The president of the RCR, Giles Maskell, has said that “these findings are deeply concerning” and that “if missed or mistaken diagnoses are to be avoided, it is essential that all hospitals taking x rays and scans of children can access a specialist’s opinion as and when they need it.” more…

The BMJ Today: Staffing levels, Alzheimer’s disease, blood pressure variability, and otitis media

28 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

• “If staffing were a drug, doctors would be asked to prescribe it,” Margaret McCartney says in her latest column. So she thinks it is a pity that NHS England has told NICE to stop work on discovering what constitutes safe staffing levels. Simon Stevens has decided to bring the operation “in house” and is asking Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings to look at the question. It would be nice to think that the results would be just as evidence based and transparent as if NICE was doing it. But when inquiries are carried out in the depths of the Department of Health, they do not always see the light of day.

The BMJ Today: The landmark announcement that wasn’t

27 Jul, 15 | by BMJ


Farewell to dietary cholesterol
The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has released its recommendations for the next edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In an editorial on, Daan Kromhout writes that the committee’s recommendation that dietary cholesterol should no longer be a “nutrient of concern”, has been cause for much discussion. As has the omission of a recommendation on total fat consumption.


The BMJ Today: Are you closer to pharma than you think?

24 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

BMJ_pharma_cover• Are you closer to pharma than you think?
36 English clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have been involved in medicines management programmes either directly or indirectly paid for by pharma. In a BMJ feature, Margaret McCartney examines the different types of relationships in practice, the potential benefits and harms that can arise from these and what patients know about these relationships. more…

The BMJ Today: Conferences, antibiotics, and general practice

23 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

• In her third blog so far, Lyndal Trevena reflects on the second day of the ISDMISEHC 2015 conference in Sydney. Highlights included Professor Alex Barratt’s keynote address on overdiagnosis, in which he suggested that we should increasingly focus on trying to prevent too many new tests being adopted before there’s clear evidence that they improve people’s health, and use a more transparent approach to present the evidence to patients.

• A major global discussion about how to improve the availability of and access to health research in developing countries is taking place virtually between 20 July and 24 August. The key points of the discussions will be presented and discussed at the Forum 2015 Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health, which will take place in the Philippines in late August, and you can find out more about this initiative in a recent blog. more…

The BMJ Today: Patient data, sweetened drinks, and fruit juice

22 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

statins• Patient data from the clinical trials of statins

In July 2014, an expert panel convened by The BMJ called for anonymised individual patient data from the clinical trials of statins to be made available for independent scrutiny. One year later, Emma Parish and colleagues look at how things have moved on.

• Making patient data available

Sharing patient data was also discussed at the Sowerby eHealth Symposium held in London last week. Richard Smith blogs about how “Everybody seemed to agree that, last year’s attempt to make patient data available, was a disaster.” As Smith writes, a problem with sharing patient data “seems to be that the downside—somebody’s health records being made public—is horrible, concrete, and easy to understand, whereas the upside remains vague, aspirational, and largely opaque to the public.” more…

The BMJ Today: Naming, shaming, and homeopathy wars

21 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

homoeopathic_remedy_production• Homeopathy wars
The Head to Head article “Should doctors recommend homeopathy?” has generated a heated online debate with 48 responses so far. More than 5000 people have responded to the linked poll with 62% voting yes, 38% no. If you have the luxury of a few minutes to spare then join in the debate by posting a rapid response. Rapid responses can be submitted for every article in The BMJ; some are published as formal letters to the editor. more…

The BMJ Today: #ImInWorkJeremy

20 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

jeremy_hunt• NHS news—This weekend social media has been awash with NHS health workers proudly tweeting their secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, with photos and declarations of their commitment to 24/7 service provision. The trending #ImInWorkJeremy, comes on the back of a week of announcements from Hunt around the direction the NHS will take. Hunt has firmly stated a seven day working week will come, challenging the British Medical Association (BMA) to a six week period of negotiation over the “opt-out” clause for weekend working in new consultant contracts. The BMA has stated support for seven day services, which many consultants already work to, and challenge Hunt to explain more about the wider plans and funding to support this, particularly what provisions will be put in place in the community to support seven day discharges in the face of austerity and social care budget cuts. more…

The BMJ Today: Homeopathy, sexual health, and saying sorry

17 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

homoeopathic_remedy_production• Homeopathy: patients like it

Our rapid response boards have been ablaze this week since we published a Head to Head debate on homeopathy.

Many of you have rallied to homeopathy’s defence, agreeing with Peter Fisher of the NHS’s Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, despite a dearth of quality evidence of effectiveness as well as the potential for harm, as sceptic and alternative medicine researcher Edzard Ernst pointed out. more…

The BMJ Today: A new era of drug and device regulation, homeopathy, and avoiding death in hospital

16 Jul, 15 | by BMJ

us_house_of_reps• Watch this space
Will future historians mark 2015 or 2016 as the beginning of a new era of drug and device regulation? Proposed legislation in the United States, popular for its promise to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, easily passed in the House of Representatives last week. However, the 350 page bill, now heading to the Senate, has been called a Trojan horse by prominent critics who say it is promising to deliver new treatments only through weakening standards used in the drug approval process. more…

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