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Foo20151013 2023 t8n01q?1444774166
7
178

Hypo-Politicosis

Hypo-politicosis = A behavioral condition where political thought and action is dangerously below an optimal range. Leading to the ostrich phenomenon of delusionary belief that there is nothing outside of medicine. In an age of ever great openness, communication and democratic rights, the population of the western world is disengaging with political ideology, political debate and political engagement. This disengagement is nowhere more prevalent than in the UK. The total membership of all the political parties are at the lowest since they were formed. There are less trade unionist today than a century ago. And most importantly the proportion of people that vote regularly is at an all-time low. Surely, this is a sign of a dysfunctional democracy? Can we truly call it a democracy if the state’s citizens have no interest or control over how the state is run? What worries me even more than this dire situation, is the lack of interest in politics from fellow medical students. If you were to sit in a bar in a medical school city, I am sure you would be able to hear groups of medical students unwinding over a pint and discussing some political issues. But those political issues almost always evolve around medicine, such as abortion laws, public health initiatives, doctor’s pay and the re-structuring of the NHS. This insular mind set worries me because there is more to life than medicine! And while so much of our lives may be taken up with the learning and practice of medicine, our lives will be affected by so much more, and before medical school we all had to take an interest in so much more just to get an interview. Do you remember having the time and inclination to take an interest in something that wasn’t medicine? Like reading history or poetry? This insular mindset is detrimental because it means that as a demographic group we may not engage as fully as we should do with the rest of society, this could be bad for us but more importantly bad for the greater society. If medics become too disengaged in the greater political debates then we may find that society decides that doctors are easy targets and easy scapegoats. We may find our working lives extended, our social lives curtailed, our pensions decimated and our earning power diminished because we did not engage with the public and discuss these issues openly. We may also lose influence with the government if medics don’t vote for their local MPs, question their local party officials and fight our corner over important issues via the BMA. The other side of this coin is that medics are selected from some of the brightest in the country, educated at great expense by the state, trained and employed by the state and pay a huge amount of tax to the state. If we engage in politics less then society as a whole may suffer from a lack of highly intelligent, highly educated individuals, who should hopefully have a strong social conscience and interest in well run state, from putting their thinking skills to good use on societal problems. Dr Liam Fox is a conservative back-bench MP and use to be in the shadow cabinet. He has used the skills he developed as a doctor to try and follow an evidence based political career. He recently released a book called “Rising tides” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rising-Tides-Facing-Challenges-New-ebook/dp/B00CUE0DKQ) which analyses many of the world’s current political issues and I would highly recommend as many people as possible read it. I also hope that in future I can walk into a bar, meet some medical colleagues and talk about an issue that affects more of society than just medics! How about using a scientific approach to discuss how Britain’s education system could be improved? Or how Britain could use its welfare resources better to decreased homelessness (which would also reduce a burden on A and E’s)?  
jacob matthews
over 5 years ago
Foo20151013 2023 zwf33b?1444774244
5
92

"So are you enjoying it?"

"When did the pain start Mr Smith?" "Ah so do you enjoy it?" 'It' of course refers to your five year medical degree. Patients can be nice can't they. Often it seems that all patients want to talk about is you. I thought the public didn't like students, aren't students lazy drunks who wake up at midday, squander their government hand-outs on designer clothes, and whose prevailing role in society was to keep the nation's budget baked bean industry in the black? Apparently the same isn't thought of medical students, well maybe it is, but god patients are polite. The thing is I have found these questions difficult; it is surprising how they can catch you off guard. Asking if I am enjoying 'it' after I have woken up at dawn, sat on a bus for 40 minutes, and hunted down a clinician who had no idea I was meant to be there, could lead on to a very awkward consultation. But of course it doesn't "yes it is really good thank you". "Do you take any medications, either from your GP or over the counter?" "Are you training to be a GP then?" Medicine is a fascinating topic and indeed career, which surely human nature makes us all interested in. As individuals lucky enough to be studying it, maybe we forget how intriguing the medical profession is? This paired with patients sat in a small formal environment with someone they don’t know could bring out the polite ‘Michael Parkinson’ in anybody. Isn't this just good manners, taking an interest. Well yes. Just because I can be faintly aloof doesn't mean the rest of the world has to me. But perhaps there is a little more to it, we ask difficult personal questions, sometimes without even knowing it, we all know when taking a sexual history to expect the consultation to be awkward or embarrassing, but people can be apprehensive talking about anything, be it their cardiovascular disease, medications, even their date of birth. We often then go on to an examination: inspecting from the end of the bed, exposing a patient, palpating. Given a bit context you can see why a patient may want to shift the attention back to someone like us for a bit, and come on, the medical student is fair game, the best target, asking the consultant whether they enjoys their job, rather you than me. If we can oblige, and make a patient feel a bit more at ease we should, and it certainly won't be doing our student patient relationship any harm. Hopefully next time my answers will be a bit more forthcoming. "Any change in your bowels, blood in any motions?" "How many years do you have left?" It is a good thing we are all polite.  
Joe de Silva
over 5 years ago
Foo20151013 2023 10r211s?1444774270
5
107

Why can't we have a NICE'er EU?

The book of the week this week has been Chris Patten’s “Not quite the diplomat” – part autobiography, half recent history and a third political philosophy text. It is a fascinating insight into the international community of the last 3 decades. The book has really challenged some of my political beliefs – which I thought were pretty unshakeable – and one above all others, the EU. I read this book to help me decide who I should vote for in the upcoming MEP elections. I have to make a confession, my political views are on the right of the centre and I have always been quite a strong “Eurosceptic”. Although recently, I have found myself drifting further and further into the camp of “we must pull out of Europe at all costs” but Mr Patten’s arguments and insights have definitely made me question this stance. With the European Parliamentary elections coming up, I thought it might be an interesting time to put some ideas out there for discussion. From a young age, I have always been of the opinion that Great Britain is a world leading country, a still great power, one of the best countries in the world - democratic, tolerant, fair, sensible - and that we don’t need anyone else’s “help” or interference in how our country is run. I believe that British voters should have a democratic input on the rules that govern them. To borrow an American phrase “No taxation without representation!” I believe that democracy is not perfect but that it is the best system of government that humans have been able to develop. For all of its faults, voters normally swing back to the centre ground eventually and any silly policies can be undone. This system has inherently more checks and balances than any meritocracy, oligarchy or bureaucracy (taking it literally to mean being ruled by unelected officials). This is one of my major objections to how the European Union currently works. For all intents and purposes, it is not democratic. Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. Only one of these institutions is elected by the European demos (the parliament) and that institution doesn’t really make any changes to any policies – “the rubber stamp brigade”. The European Council is made up of the President of the European Council (Unelected), President of the European commission (Unelected) and the heads of the member states (elected) and is where quite a lot of the "major" policies come from but not all of the read tape (the European Commission and Parliament). I am happy to be proved wrong but it just seems that the EU, as a whole, is made up of unelected officials who increasing try to make rules that apply to all 28 member states without any consent from the voters in those states – it looks like the rule of “b-euro-crats” (bureaucrats – this version has far too many vowels for a dyslexic person to use). A beurocratic rule which many of us do not agree with but seemingly have to succumb to, a good example for medics is the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) which means that junior doctors only get paid for working 48h a week when they may spend many, many more hours in work. The EWTD has also made training a lot more difficult for many junior doctors and has many implications for how the health service is now run. Is it right that this law was imposed on us without our consent? If we imposed a treatment on a patient without their consent then we would be in very big trouble indeed! I cannot deny that the EU has done some good in the world and I cannot deny that Britain has benefited from being a member. I just wish that we could pay to have access to the markets, while retaining control over the laws in our lands. I want us to be in Europe, as a partner but not as a vassal. In short, I would like us to stay within the EU but with major reforms. I know that any reforms I suggest will not be read by anyone in power and I know they are probably unrealistic but I thought I would put it out there just to see what people think. I would like to see a NICE’er European Union. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB), part of the UK Department of Health but a separate organisation (http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/whoweare/who_we_are.jsp). NICE’s role is to advise the UK health service and social services. It does this by assessing the available evidence for treatments/ therapies/ policies etc and then by producing guidelines outlining the evidence and the suggested best course of action. None of these guidelines are enforced by law, for example, as a doctor you do not have to follow the NICE recommendations but if you ignore them and your patient suffers as a consequence then you are likely to be in big trouble with the General Medical Council. So, here would be my recommendations for EU reform: First, we all pay pretty much the same as we do now for access to the European market. We continue with free movement and we keep the European Council but elect the President. This way all the member states can meet up and decide if they want to share any major policies. We all benefit from free movement and we all benefit from a larger free trade area. Second, we get rid of most of the rest of the EU institutions and replace them with an institute a bit like NICE. The European Institute for Policy Excellence (EIPE) would be (hopefully) quite a small department that looks at the best available evidence and then produces guidance on the policy. A shorter executive summary would hopefully also be available for everyday people to read and understand what the policy is about - just like how patients can read NICE executive summaries to understand their condition better. Then any member state could choose to adopt the policy if their parliaments think it worthwhile. This voluntary opt-in system would mean that states retain control of their laws, would probably adopt the policies voluntarily (eventually) and that the European citizens might actually grow to like the EU laws if they can be shown to be evidence based, in the public’s best interests, in the control of the public and not just a law/red tape imposed from above. The European Union should be a place where our elected officials go to debate and agree policies in the best interests of their electorates. There should therefore be an opt-out of any policy for any member state that does not think it will benefit from a policy. This looser union that I would like to see will probably not happen and I do worry that one day we will wake up in the undemocratic united federal states of Europe but this worry should not force us to make an irrational choice now. We should not be voting to "leave the EU at all costs" but we should be voting for reform and a better more co-operative international community. I would not dare suggest who any of you should vote for but I hope you use your vote for change and reform and not more of the same.  
jacob matthews
over 5 years ago
Preview
5
126

Refocusing Cancer Drug Approval on Patients

On July 10th, the House approved health legislation, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, to streamline how the government approves drugs and medical dev...  
huffingtonpost.com
about 4 years ago
Static.www.bmj
4
21

Government’s move to cut red tape is impeding public health measures, say charities

A government policy designed to reduce the regulatory burden on business is making it increasingly difficult to introduce measures to improve public health in the United Kingdom, such as steering people away from unhealthy foods, a group of medical bodies and charities has warned.  
feeds.bmj.com
about 4 years ago
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2
36

Preventing Overweight & Obesity in Scotland

Scottish Government Obesity Strategy February 2010 Overweight and obesity cannot be tackled by just relying on individuals to change their behaviour as the factors that contribute to gaining weight have been interwoven into the very fabric of our lifestyles to such an extent that weight gain is almost inevitable in today’s society. The evidence also suggests that the provision of health information, although important, is not sufficient and that to make the changes necessary we have to reshape our living environment from one that promotes weight gain to one that supports healthy choices.  
Chris Oliver
over 9 years ago
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2
38

Mental health funding changes in NHS will put lives at risk, say charities

Cutting money from April contradicts government promise to put mental and physical healthcare on an equal footing, they say  
the Guardian
over 5 years ago
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2
53

Pay decisions announced for NHS staff and other public sector workers: Politics live blog

Andrew Sparrow’s rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including the government announcing whether it is accepting pay review body recommendations covering health staff and other public sector workers  
the Guardian
over 5 years ago
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2
41

NHS fraud ‘equal to its entire budget for cancer treatment’

The true cost of fraud inside the NHS could be more than £5bn a year, more than 20 times the official government figure, a new report has warned.  
The Independent
over 5 years ago
Www.bmj
2
123

Vitamin D: some perspective please

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an ever expanding list of diseases, and with this has come almost tonic-like claims for vitamin D supplementation. In observational studies, low vitamin D status has been associated with increased risk of multiple sclerosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, autoimmunity, and allergy.1 The UK government has advised that all pregnant women, and children under 5 years, should take 400 IU vitamin D daily; a recent news story, however, reported a survey conducted by a charity which suggested that only 26% of pregnant women and 46% of healthcare professionals are aware of these guidelines.2 The most recent musculoskeletal trend seems to be the attribution of childhood problems such as Blount’s disease and slipped femoral epiphyses to vitamin D deficiency and the incorrect conflation of rickets with low serum calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) concentrations.3 So are health professionals causing ill health through their lack of awareness and advocacy of vitamin D supplementation?  
bmj.com
over 5 years ago
Foo20151013 2023 1hbf5w2?1444774116
2
255

Creating the Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Service in the West Midlands –The Inaugural lecture of the Birmingham Students Medical Leadership Society

Many thanks to everyone who attended the Birmingham Students Medical Leadership Society’s first ever lecture on November 7th 2013. The committee was extraordinarily pleased with the turn out and hope to see you all at our next lectures. We must also say a big thank you to Dr Nicholas Crombie for being our Inaugural speaker, he gave a fantastic lecture and we have received a number of rave reviews and requests for a follow up lecture next year! Dr Crombie’s talk focussed on three main areas: 1) A short personal history focussing on why and how Dr Crombie became head of one of the UK’s best Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) services and the first post-graduate dean in charge of PHEM trainees. 2) The majority of the lecture was a case history on the behind the scenes activity that was required to create the West Midlands Pre-Hospital Network and training program. In summary, over a decade ago it was realised that the UK was lagging behind other developed nations in our Emergency Medicine and Trauma service provisions. There were a number of disjointed and only partially trained services in place for major incidents. The British government and a number of leading health think-tanks put forward proposals for creating a modern effective service. Dr Crombie was a senior doctor in the West Midlands air ambulance charity, the BASICS program and had worked with the West Midlands Ambulance service. Dr Crombie was able to collect a team of senior doctors, nurses, paramedics and managers from all of the emergency medicine services and charities within the West Midlands together. This collaboration of ambulance service, charities, BASIC teams, CARE team and NHS Trusts was novel to the UK. The collaboration was able to tender for central government and was the first such scheme in the UK to be approved. Since the scheme’s approval 5 major trauma units have been established within the West Midlands and a new trauma desk was created at the Ambulance service HQ which can call on the help of a number of experienced teams that can be deployed within minutes to a major incident almost anywhere in the West Midlands. This major reformation of a health service was truly inspirational, especially when it was achieved by a number of clinicians with relatively little accredited management training and without them giving up their clinical time, a true clinical leadership success story. 3) The last component of the evening was Dr Crombie’s thoughts on why this project had been successful and how simple basic principles could be applied to almost any other project. Dr Crombie’s 3 big principles were: Collaborate – leave your ego’s at the door and try to put together a team that can work together. If you have to, invite everyone involved to a free dinner at your expense – even doctors don’t turn down free food! Governance – establish a set of rules/guidelines that dictate how your project will be run. Try to get everyone involved singing off the same hymn sheet. A very good example of this from Dr Crombie’s case history was that all of the services involved in the scheme agreed to use the same emergency medicine kit and all follow the same Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), so that when the teams work together they almost work as one single effective team rather than distinct groups that cannot interact. Resilience – the service you reform/create must withstand the test of time. If a project is solely driven by one person then it will collapse as soon as that person moves on. This is a well-known problem with the NHS as a whole, new managers always have “great new ideas” and as soon as that manager changes job all of their hard work goes to waste. To ensure that a project has resilience, the “project manager” must create a sense of purpose and ownership of the project within their teams. Members of the team must “buy in” to the goals of the project and one of the best ways of doing that is to ask the team members for their advice on how the project should proceed. If people feel a project was their idea then they are far more likely to work for it. This requires the manager to keep their ego on a short leash and to let their team take credit. The take home message from this talk was that the days of doctors being purely clinical is over! If you want to be a consultant in any speciality in the future, you will need a basic underlying knowledge of management and leadership. Upcoming events from the Birmingham Students Medical Leadership Society: Wednesday 27th November LT3 Medical School, 6pm ‘Learning to Lead- Preparing the next generation of junior doctors for management’ By Mr Tim Smart, CEO Kings Hospital NHS Trust Thursday 5th December LT3 Medical School, 6pm ‘Why should doctors get involved in management’ By Dr Mark Newbold, CEO of BHH NHS Trust If you would like to get in touch with the society or attend any of our events please do contact us by email or via our Facebook group. We look forward to hearing from you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/676838225676202/ med.leadership.soc.uob@gmail.com  
jacob matthews
almost 6 years ago
Foo20151013 2023 s45v8o?1444774247
2
73

Money-back guarantees

Ironically, it seems the health products with the least evidence are coming with the greatest assurances. A few years ago, a package holiday company advertised guaranteed sunny holidays in Queensland (Australia). The deal went something like this: if it rained on a certain percentage of your holiday days, you received a trip refund. An attractive drawcard indeed, but what the company failed to grasp was that the “Sunshine State” is very often anything but sunny. This is especially so where I live, on the somewhat ironically named Sunshine Coast. We had 200 rainy days last year and well over 2 metres of rain, and that was before big floods in January. Unsurprisingly, the guaranteed sunny holiday offer was short-lived. There are some things that really shouldn’t come with guarantees. The weather is one, health is another. Or so I thought… “Those capsules you started me on last month for my nerve pain didn’t work. I tried them for a couple of weeks, but they didn’t do nothin'.” “Perhaps you’d do better on a higher dose.” “Nah, they made me feel kinda dizzy. I’d prefer to get my money back on these ones an’ try somethin’ different.” “I can try you on something else, but there are no refunds available on the ones you’ve already used, I’m afraid.” “But they cost me over 80 dollars!” “Yes, I explained at the time that they are not subsidised by the government.” “But they didn’t work! If I bought a toaster that didn’t work, I’d take it back and get me money back, no problem.” “Medications are not appliances. They don’t work every time, but that doesn’t mean they’re faulty.” “But what about natural products? I order herbs for me prostate and me heart every month and they come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You doctors say those things don’t really work so how come the sellers are willing to put their money where their mouths are?” He decided to try a “natural” treatment next, confident of its likely effectiveness thanks to the satisfaction guarantee offered. Last week I had a 38-year-old female requesting a medical certificate stating that her back pain was no better. The reason? She planned to take it to her physiotherapist and request a refund because the treatment hadn’t helped. Like the afflicted patient above, she didn’t accept that health-related products and services weren’t “cure guaranteed”. “My thigh sculptor machine promised visible results in 60 days or my money back. Why aren’t physios held accountable too?” Upon a quick Google search, I found that many “natural health” companies offer money-back guarantees, as do companies peddling skin products and gimmicky home exercise equipment. I even found a site offering guaranteed homeopathic immunisation. Hmmm… In an information-rich, high-tech world, we are becoming less and less tolerant of uncertainty. Society wants perfect, predictable results — now! For all its advances, modern medicine cannot provide this and we don’t pretend otherwise. Ironically, it seems the health products with the least evidence are coming with the greatest assurances. A clever marketing ploy that patients seem to be buying into — literally and figuratively. I think we all need to be reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s famous words: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” We can’t really put guarantees on whether it will rain down on our holidays or on our health, and should retain a healthy scepticism towards those who attempt to do so. This blog post has been adapted from a column first published in Australian Doctor http://www.australiandoctor.com.au/articles/11/0c070a11.asp Dr Genevieve Yates is an Australian GP, medical educator, medico-legal presenter and writer. You can read more of her work at http://genevieveyates.com/  
Dr Genevieve Yates
over 5 years ago
7
2
11

Cardiovascular disease prevention | Guidance and guidelines | NICE

The guidance is for government, the NHS, local authorities, industry and all those whose actions influence the population’s cardiovascular health (that is, can help keep people’s hearts healthy and prevent strokes).  
nice.org.uk
almost 4 years ago
6
1
37

Radiation Injury / Nuclear MCI

The US government last week released a report that the threat of a nuclear device used in an act of terrorism is high in the next couple of years. In this episode we discuss the some concepts of the medical care required to those exposed to radiation as well as blast injuries. I hope this is information that none of you will ever need.  
Jeffrey S. Guy, MD, FACS
about 9 years ago
Preview
1
19

Subject Ranking 2011-12: Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings' Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health table judges world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The ranking of the world's top 50 universities for clinical and health subjects employs 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.  
timeshighereducation.co.uk
over 5 years ago
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1
23

Ministers accused of contempt for NHS with fresh squeeze on public sector pay

Hundreds of thousands of NHS staff get lower-than-expected rise as government rejects pay review body's recommendations  
the Guardian
over 5 years ago
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1
26

NHS Pay Review Body ignored; NHS staff denied

The Pay Review Body report released today confirms the case for applying the maximum possible uplift to pay for NHS staff.  The Government has ignored this for staff working in England.  Nurses, paramedics, healthcare managers, porters, cleaners, medical records staff and healthcare assistants alike have been sent a clear message by Jeremy Hunt – that he wants to cut further and deeper and they are the ones who will have to pay.  NHS staff in England will only get 1% if they are at the top of their pay band – which means that over two thirds of staff will miss out.   
touchstoneblog.org.uk
over 5 years ago
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1
22

BMA slams government decision on pay

Despite the BMA’s determined efforts to secure a pay increase for doctors, the Westminster government has again chosen to undermine the value of the medical workforce, by announcing another real terms cut in doctors’ pay in England.    
bma-mail.org.uk
over 5 years ago
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1
19

Jeremy Hunt says hospitals will be obliged to report medical errors

Every hospital in England will have a legal duty to own up to mistakes and errors that cause harm to patients under a new “duty of candour” to be introduced by the Government.  
The Independent
over 5 years ago
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1
25

America's Rural/Urban Divide: A Special Series

How governments respond to the widening rift between rural and urban America can either help bridge the gap or drive the country down an even more divergent path.  
governing.com
over 5 years ago