Delegates of the COMPASS conference, including many key figures in the supportive and palliative care community, joined the BMJ Group and Editor-in-Chief Bill Noble in Edinburgh on 14 April to celebrate the official launch of the new journal.
As guests were mingling at the champagne reception, the music of the pipes drifted closer. Then in marched the piper with Professor Scott Murray (COMPASS Collaborative) behind, carrying a platter – not with a haggis in it, but with copies of the new journal weighing it down. Placing the platter on a table, Scott welcomed the guests and addressed the new journal with Burns-inspired verse:
“With apologies to Rabbie Burns”, he began, raising a glass “to the new BMJ journal”.
“Fair blue is your honest, sonsie face,
New chieftain in the BMJ-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Heart, Thorax or Gut,
Weel are ye worthy of inspection,
You Noble, Bill Noble perfection!
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your articles like a distant hill,
Your research will help us heal the dying
In great time o need,
While thro your pores wisdom distils
Like amber bead.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae Lancet child ,
nae comic from another larder
But Mark the doctors, sic haggis-fed,
The trembling wards resound their treads
Fair blue is your honest, sonsie face,
New chieftain o the BMJ-race!
“I now invite you all to toast the new blue one, the BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care and hand you over to BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee, the mother of the new child born today.”
The guests enjoyed the entertainment, some, more than others, understanding the finer points contained in the Scottish phrases.
Scott then handed over to Fiona, “mother of the new bairn born today.” She toasted the piper, commenting on the irony of celebrating the birth of a journal about end of life care. She discussed the significance of the launch before handing over to Dr. Alex Jadad (BMJ advisory board member) from Canada, who offered an amusing international perspective on the launch.
Finally Bill Noble spoke, explaining his vision for the title, and introducing Associate Editors Professor Irene Higginson (King’s College London) and Dr Geoff Mitchell (University of Queensland) and others on the editorial board. The piper then led the guests to a most enjoyable dinner in the elegant halls of the Royal College of Physicians, Scotland.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to a very successful launch. We raise a toast to BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care: “Long life, and in due course a timely death, possibly when there is no longer the urgent need to improve the care of the dying”.