The BMJ Today: Educating clinicians and consenting adults

BMJ news highlights ongoing debate around pharmaceutical companies providing medical education with a look at GSK’s plans to employ their own doctors to educate peers rather than using key opinion leaders to do this. The majority vote so far in this week’s poll is that GSK’s new proposal is no more transparent than paying external speakers. Have your say on And while we are on this topic, do you think it is ever possible to provide medical education that is completely free of competing interests?

On the subject of having your say, an observation this week by medical ethicist Daniel Sokol calls for us to “stop consenting patients” believing that the phrase is being wrongly used, with the risk that clinicians see consent as something they “do” to a patient rather than something which a patient offers or relinquishes to them. He gives examples of negligence claims and warns that doctors who avoid talking to patients about the comparative risks of various procedures do so at their peril which is nothing new. The article mentions a useful consent acronym “PARQ” used in parts of the USA. Read more here.

And our education section features a new clinical review on endometriosis. The authors take us through the diagnosis and management of women with this relatively common and sometimes debilitating condition which can negatively impact work productivity and quality of life. Treatment options for women can include expectant management, surgical removal of ectopic implants, ovulation induction, or IVF.

And finally back to informed decision making, Neal Maskrey asks in his recent blog “Where is the evidence for evidence based decision making,” presenting a review of where we are after over 20 years of both evidence based practice and the internet. He says, “Both young. Both flawed. But we can’t seriously imagine life without either of them.” I think we’d all have to agree.

Cath McDermott is Head of Education, BMJ