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The BMJ Today: Trust me, I’m a patient

23 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

peter_doshiMichel Foucault had much to say—mostly critical—about medicine. But the rarity of any mention of his name in medical journals tells me that medicine has had far less to say about him, perhaps unsurprisingly. Why engage with a philosopher, especially one who suggested in no indirect terms that medicine was inherently political, that the medical interaction was fundamentally a power relationship in which patients were objectified and brought under control? more…

The BMJ Today: Hinchingbrooke, Circle, and tabloid smears

22 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

gareth_iacobucci2The recent news that England’s first privately run NHS hospital was to be placed into “special measures” by healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission has sparked a fierce and rather ugly political debate.

As The BMJ first reported on 12 January, Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire—managed by Circle Healthcare—was subject to the action after a CQC inspection highlighted serious failings with the hospital’s emergency and medical care services. more…

The BMJ Today: Should I prescribe anti-virals to prevent flu for nursing home patients?

21 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

helen_macA news story last week reported scepticism about whether GPs should prescribe anti-viral neuraminidase inhibitors osteltamivir and zanamivir to prevent flu in nursing home patients. Yesterday afternoon, another news story said that some GPs feel pressured by Public Health England to do so. The chair of the BMA’s General Practitioner’s Committee’s Clinical and Prescribing Subcommittee, Andrew Green, has said: “Nobody can compel you to do it, but nobody can advise you not to either.” So, as a GP, if the decision to prescribe is mine, how will I decide? more…

The BMJ Today: Management consultants are like Marmite

19 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

rich_hurley“It must be comforting to live in a Manichaean world where management consultants are devils and doctors are angels,” posted Stephen Black, a confessed management consultant for a “major management consulting firm that often works for the NHS,” on yesterday. “It makes solving the many problems of the NHS so easy.”

He was responding to a recent Personal View by David Oliver, a visiting professor, at London’s City University, which was his call to “Stop wasting taxpayers’ money on management consultancy for the NHS.” more…

The BMJ Today: Rabies, stroke, and screening

16 Jan, 15 | by BMJ Group

rabies_virus_particlesRabies is a neglected tropical disease that predominantly affects the most vulnerable humans—children living in the most disadvantaged areas of the poorest countries.

Many countries have successfully reduced the impact of the disease by tackling the gap between public and animal health through a concerted “one health” approach. more…

The BMJ Today: Raising funds for the fight against Ebola

15 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

BirteAfter a hiatus of more than 18 months, blogger Sandra Lako provides an update from Sierra Leone, where she has been working for the past nine years, improving access to and quality of healthcare for women and children. “A year ago I would not have believed anyone who told me that I would be in the middle of an Ebola outbreak in January 2015,” she writes. “A confirmed Ebola case in West Africa never crossed my mind. Even in May of last year, when the first positive case in Sierra Leone was announced, I could not imagine the extent to which this virus would spread throughout Sierra Leone. No one was ready for the battle we are up against.” Read more about her unique insight into the outbreak. more…

The BMJ Today: Working all hours and alcohol use

14 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

juliet_dobsonYou would have thought that working long hours would leave people with little time left for an after work drink, but according to this meta-analysis by Virtanen and colleagues, people who have long working hours are at higher risk of alcohol use. Editorialist Cassandra A Okechukwu says that the findings of this study add impetus to further regulation of working hours as a public health intervention. She writes that the risks of working long hours cannot be ignored, especially in light of mounting pressure to exclude an increasing proportion of workers from current standards that limit working hours in Europe and other developed countries. more…

The BMJ Today: Polling day

13 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

deputy chair of MJA on stage (1)Tuesday is the day we change our weekly UK poll, which enables us to promote the new topic in the weekly print issue (Tuesday is also press day). Our current one asks if doctors should encourage patients to record consultations, linked to a head to head article published last week. At the time of writing, two thirds of the 278 votes cast say no. more…

The BMJ Today: My mum and Richard Smith

12 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

deputy chair of MJA on stage (1)Yesterday my mum, who died of cancer in February 2007, would have been 91. I’m not an expert on death and so do not know whether hers was “good” or not, but I’ll never forget the last six months of her life, when we knew she was dying and had to make the most of having her around. more…

The BMJ Today: From patients to politicians—something for everyone

9 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

kristina_fisterSurely most patients see doctors for the sole reason of getting healthier. Can recording a consultation help? Does it harm? Even if the law permits patients to record their medical encounters, should they do it? Should doctors encourage it?

One thing seems certain: recording changes the behaviour of doctors as well as patients. Glyn Elwyn argues this could only be for the better; Laurence Buckman disagrees. Do have your say by submitting a rapid response; as usual, the best rapid responses are selected for publication in the letters section of the The BMJ. more…

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