Understanding the crisis in immunisation

There is a story that I tell to students about two men on a train in Africa. One of them is throwing powder out of the window to the bemusement of the other who asks him what he is doing. ‘Throwing powder to keep the …

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Costa Rica Cycle Challenge for The Urology Foundation in November

Early on the morning of 16th November, 41 intrepid riders, including myself, will leave Gatwick bound for Costa Rica to cycle coast-to-coast across central America in order to raise much needed funds for The Urology Foundation (TUF).This will be the seventh charity fundraising cycle ride …

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Time to end e-cigarette naivety

It is with reluctance and a heavy heart that I lift the pen to once more address the vexed issue of electronic cigarettes and public health. The last time I did this was in 2014, when, as President of the Faculty of Public Health, I …

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Will flexible NHS pensions end the tax misery for consultants?

Back in spring, a parliamentary review refused to listen to industry-wide calls to ‘scrap the taper’ – referring to the harsh pension savings limit known as the tapered annual allowance. However, the subsequent crisis in the NHS workforce (as consultants reduced their hours or retired …

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‘Toxic masculinity’: the problem with men

Worldwide, men’s attitude towards their own health is often one of denial – partly because the act of admitting to a health problem is perceived by some men as degrading to their self-image as an ‘invulnerable male’.
Cultural expectations and peer pressure can compound the problem …

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Unsatisfactory cancer survival statistics in the UK

Sadly, Britain sits at the bottom of a major league table for cancer survival among high-income countries. A recent study, published in Lancet Oncology, demonstrates that while survival rates are improving for patients across the UK, this country performs the worst for the most lethal …

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Testicular torsion: the latest HSIB investigation

The Health Service Investigation Branch (HSIB) published a report last week on the sad case of a young student who had to have his testicle removed after numerous delays in diagnosing him with testicular torsion.
The HSIB is modelled on the Air Investigation Branch, which …

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Deaths from listeria and streptococcus: a wake-up call for public health

As medical students in Newcastle upon Tyne in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we were in fear and awe of a senior surgeon who had seen military service in the Second World War. His teaching on ward rounds was clear and precise: using a …

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How can the NHS resolve its current staff crisis?

The latest NHS statistics are worrying. Last month, a record high of accident and emergency (A&E) patients had to wait for more than four hours to be seen, according to recent statistics from NHS England. 
Alarmingly, the figures show that 275 526 A&E patients were seen …

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Apologising after a medical or surgical mishap

No doctor goes into work in the morning intending to harm a patient; however, medical errors do and always will occur, occasionally with devastating consequences.
Statutory duties of candour now require clinicians to provide a factual explanation and apologise after a notifiable incident. Following the well-publicised …

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