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Barbara Harpham: CCGs are not adopting new technologies quickly enough

26 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

barbara_harphamIn December 2011, the NHS identified six ways technology could help patients and, ultimately, save money. A freedom of information request was sent to 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across England in October 2014 looking for a progress update; 189 (90%) responded.

How did they do? Well, it’s a mixed bag, with CCGs naturally opting to cherry-pick where to focus their efforts. But overall the picture is not healthy. more…

Richard Graham: Is it time to unplug?

26 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

Richard_Graham_Portrait

As we approach the first UK National Unplugging Day, one might well ask why there is a need to have a day promoting gadget free time for families. After all, we can switch off our smartphones and tablets any day or at any time, and thus feel reassuringly conscious of and in command of our use of them. Or can we?

Our use of digital devices is now extensive, with Ofcom’s recent “Adults’ media use and attitudes report” indicating that online time for most adults has doubled over the last decade. For young adults, communication and accessing media (predominantly videos now) will take up more than nine hours of each day. For medical practitioners, is this just an issue of lifestyle and choice, or are there consequences of using devices, if only through the disruption of sleep, that we should attend to? Should we consider this use high, problematic, or even a sign of “addiction?” more…

The BMJ Today: The ongoing debate over e-cigarettes, increase in syphilis and gonorrhoea in England, and doctors’ burnout

26 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

electronic_cig• Jonathan Gornall’s feature, “Why e-cigarettes are dividing the public health community,” is continuing to generate interest this week. Gornall’s piece examining how the tobacco industry’s move into e-cigarettes and harm reduction has seen some experts shift their views has already attracted responses online. Join the debate here.

• Today, Susan Mayor reports on some concerning figures from Public Health England, which show a major increase in the number of people with syphilis and gonorrhoea—particularly in men who have sex with men (MSM). The figures show that the number of syphilis diagnoses increased by nearly half and gonorrhoea cases increased by one third in 2013-14. more…

Neville Goodman’s metaphor watch: other sciences, other images

26 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

neville_goodman

PubMed accesses primarily the MEDLINE database of articles written about the life sciences but other sciences are represented too, even astrophysics. The first article turned up by searching black hole was “A possible macronova in the late afterglow of the long-short burst GRB 060614,” which is quite a long way from any biomedical phenomenon with which I am familiar. Scanning down the list of retrieved articles, there were the European Physical Journal, Physical Review Letters and lots more that medical doctors won’t see very often. An article in Physical Review Letters titled, “Search for gravitational waves associated with γ-ray bursts detected by the interplanetary network” had 898 authors, but that turned out to be a small team: “Search for quantum black hole production in high-invariant-mass lepton+jet final states using pp collisions at √s=8  TeV and the ATLAS detector” had 2908. more…

Michelle Webb on the need to improve sepsis recognition and treatment

25 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

Over 100,000 people a year have an episode of sepsis at a cost of around 35,000 lives, more than bowel and breast cancer combined. Sepsis is the third highest cause of death in hospitals and one of the commonest causes of death in pregnancy.

As a result of advances in medicine we are living longer. However, the medicines that we are using more and more to treat cancer, arthritis, and to allow us to perform transplants are also reducing our patients’ ability to fight infection—thereby increasing the risk of sepsis. Over the past 10 years the incidence of sepsis has increased by 8-13%. more…

The African Journal Partnership Project: Raising the visibility of African medical publishing and research

25 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

navjoyt_ladherFor the past 11 years, the African Journal Partnership Project (AJPP) has paired leading medical journals in the UK and the US with counterparts in Africa, aiming to foster the development of medical publishing in the African continent so that valuable African health and medical research is available to a wider international audience.

The project was started after the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Fogarty International Center (part of the National Institutes of Health) recognised that there were problems with the availability and dissemination of medical literature in Africa. As the AJPP website explains: “Despite the recognised benefits of health and medical journals to clinical practitioners, Africa’s health and medical journal production and distribution are low and therefore do not make research from endemic areas available to colleagues on the continent or in the international scientific community.” more…

The BMJ Today: Weekend access to GPs, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and leaving training

25 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

gp_appointmentWeekend access to GPs
A half of the members of the public think that providing weekend access to GPs should be a priority for the NHS, a YouGov poll has shown. Of 2052 adults who responded to the survey, 54% said that the NHS should make provision of access to GPs at weekends a priority for its work over the next five years. Care of elderly people was the most popular of a range of choices for prioritisation, with 57% of respondents saying that it should be a priority for the NHS over the next five years. more…

Iris van der Heide: We need policies to target integrated care for people with multimorbidities in Europe

25 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

PrintThe ICARE4EU project wants to improve the care of people suffering from multiple chronic conditions. It will describe, analyze, and identify innovative integrated care programmes for people with multimorbidity in 31 European countries, and aims to contribute to more effective implementation of such programmes. During the project (from 2013 to mid 2016), members of the ICARE4EU consortium will keep readers of The BMJ informed about project developments.

more…

Tushar Garg: India’s medical curricula are abetting outdated constructions of gender and sexuality

24 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

Tushar_Garg.2kbRecently, India Today exposed licensed medical practitioners in New Delhi offering conversion therapy to cure homosexuality. It is a sad reflection on the contemporary awareness of gender and sexuality that such quackery is still being practised with impunity.

The Pan American Health Organization has stated that such therapies lack medical justification and “constitute a violation of the ethical principles of healthcare and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements.” The international classification of diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) also affirms that “sexual orientation by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder.” more…

Natika H Halil on providing emergency contraception to under 16s

24 Jun, 15 | by BMJ

natika_hallRecently the UK’s press went into overdrive reporting on the recent change in emergency contraceptive pill ellaOne’s product licence—now available to buy over the counter for women of “all reproductive ages,” and therefore including under 16s.

Of course levonorgestrel was already available to under 16s in pharmacies in many areas through patient group directions. In these instances, it has been given outside of product licences, but in line with all guidelines relating to contraception and young people, and with pharmacists working within Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines. more…

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