The BMJ Today: Choosing Wisely makes me happy

Sometimes we all need cheering up on a Monday morning, and today I couldn’t recommend more highly this parody of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, which sings the virtues of the Choosing Wisely campaign.

Featuring some very sprightly OAPs and lyrics such as “antibiotics for a cold will do nothing but make you ill, a routine screen for many things is often overkill,” the song perfectly encapsulates the Choosing Wisely campaign, which is building up steam in the USA and Canada.

Richard Hurley writes in The BMJ about the campaign, which began in the United States in 2012. It helps specialists to agree lists of interventions that should be used with more caution because they are often unnecessary, and therefore wasteful and potentially harmful.

Although there is currently little evidence that the campaign has made a difference—evaluation is in its infancy—making doctors and patients more aware of harmful and wasteful unnecessary care is a powerful thing, Hurley writes. Plus they say laughter is the best medicine, and the Choosing Wisely parody will definitely raise a giggle.

On a more serious note, some people may argue that avoiding unnecessary treatments will become more of an issue for NHS patients as services are increasingly taken over by the private sector.

Ingrid Torjesen reports in The BMJ today that cancer care and treatment services across Staffordshire are being put out to tender in what is believed to be the biggest outsourcing deal in NHS history.

Four of Staffordshire’s clinical commissioning groups have come together to tender contracts for cancer care and end of life services across the county, jointly worth £1.22bn, Torjesen writes. In addition, the Nuffield Trust released a briefing showing how the private sector’s slice of NHS services was growing.

Despite concerns however, Fran Woodard, director for England at Macmillan Cancer Support, said that whoever wins the contracts in Staffordshire will be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

“We hope a whole range of organisations will express their interest, but whoever is appointed will be subject to a rigorous oversight and scrutiny for quality, patient safety, and outcomes, whether they are from the NHS, the voluntary sector, or the private sector,” Woodard said.

 Abi Rimmer is BMJ Careers news reporter.