Items for category: Blog

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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Complex PTSD: my own experience of treatment

In 2008, I joined the Royal Marines with the intention to fulfil a 22-year career. Unfortunately, after 11 years of service I was medically discharged after being diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
During my career in the armed forces I conducted four tours of …

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Recreational drug use: not a victimless crime

The problems of knife crime, often associated with drug gangs, have been highlighted by a blog in this journal prompted by a conference at the Royal Society of Medicine.
According to recent media reports, there is an increasing group of people who use drugs intermittently and …

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