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Found 487 results
  1. Content Article
    A new BMA report, “It’s broken” Doctors’ experiences on the frontline of a failing mental healthcare system", based on first-hand accounts of doctors working across the NHS, reveals a ‘broken’ system of mental health services in England. The current economic cost of mental ill health has been estimated to be over £100 billion in England alone*, but this report demonstrates that across the NHS, doctors are in an ongoing struggle to give patients the care they need because the funding is just not enough, there are not enough staff, and the infrastructure and systems are not fit for purpose. The report makes plain that without a concerted effort from central government to resource mental healthcare based on demand (which continues to grow beyond what the NHS can respond to) as well as changes in society to promote good mental health, the future looks bleak. The BMA carried out in-depth interviews with doctors across the mental health system, including those working in psychiatry, general practice, emergency medicine, and public health.
  2. News Article
    The doctor in charge of medical training for NHS England has apologised unreservedly to the family of a medic who took her own life. Dr Vaish Kumar, a junior doctor, left a suicide note blaming her death entirely on the hospital where she worked, her family revealed last year. Dr Kumar, 35, was wrongly told she needed to do a further six months of training before starting a new role. It meant she was forced to stay at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) in Birmingham, where she had been belittled by colleagues, an inquest heard. In a letter to Dr Kumar's family, seen by the BBC, NHS bosses admitted she did not need to do the extra training. Dr Navina Evans, chief workforce and training education officer for England, told the family in the letter: "I wish to unreservedly apologise for these mistakes and for the impact they would have had. "As an organisation we are determined to learn... not only across the Midlands but across England as a whole." Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 February 2024
  3. Content Article
    Doctors in Distress is a UK-based independent charity that promotes and protects the mental health of all healthcare workers and prevents suicides in the medical profession. It was set up in 2018 by Amandip Sidhu following the suicide of his brother Jagdip, a consultant cardiologist, with the aim of providing support for healthcare staff facing burnout and mental health difficulties. The charity runs free online support groups and webinars for healthcare professionals and students. Previous webinars can be viewed on the Doctors in Distress YouTube channel.
  4. News Article
    Doctors have warned of the risks of “freebirthing” – where a woman gives birth without the help of a medic or midwife. Unassisted births, or “freebirths”, are thought to have been on the increase since the start of the Covid pandemic, when people may have been worried about attending hospitals and home births were suspended in many areas. The practice is not illegal and women have the right to decline any care during their pregnancy and delivery. Some women hire a doula to support them during birth. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said women should be supported to have the birth they choose, but “safety is paramount” and families need to be aware of the risks of going it alone. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it is in the early stages of collaboration with the Chief Midwifery Officer’s teams, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Department of Health to better understand professional concerns about freebirthing and what organisations may need to do. Its statement on unassisted births supports women’s choice, but notes that “midwives are understandably concerned about women giving birth at home without assistance, as it brings with it increased risks to both the mother and baby”. It also states that women need to be informed that a midwife may not be available to be sent out to their home during labour if they change their mind and wish to have help. Read full story Source: The Independent, 8 February 2024
  5. News Article
    Working with physician and anaesthesia associates actually increases a doctor’s workload rather than freeing up time to focus on care of patients, a BMA survey finds.1 The association surveyed more than 18 000 UK doctors to inform its position on physician and anaesthesia associates. Some 55% (7397 of 13 344 who responded to this question) reported that their workload had risen since the employment of medical associate professionals, with only 21% (2799 of 13 344) reporting a decreased workload. The House of Lords will shortly consider legislation to regulate physician associates under the General Medical Council rather than the Health and Care Professions Council. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 2 February 2024
  6. Content Article
    Join Alan Lindemann, an obstetrics-gynecology physician, who shares his insights and real-life experiences, shedding light on the issues surrounding patient care, medical decision-making, and the role of institutions and personal connections in shaping health care outcomes. Discover how the pursuit of quality care can sometimes be obstructed by self-interest and the need to protect reputations. Alan also proposes innovative ideas to enhance transparency and public involvement in health care quality assurance.
  7. News Article
    A group of doctors with Long Covid are preparing to launch a class action for compensation after contracting SARS-CoV-2 at work. The campaign and advocacy group Long Covid Doctors for Action (LCD4A) has engaged the law firm Bond Turner to bring claims for any physical injuries and financial losses sustained by frontline workers who were not properly protected at work. On 25 January Bond Turner, which specialises in negligence cases, complex litigation, and group actions, launched a call to action inviting doctors and other healthcare workers in England and Wales to make contact if they believe that they contracted covid-19 as a result of occupational exposure.1 Sara Stanger, the firm’s director and head of clinical negligence and serious injury claims, said that the ultimate aim was to achieve “legal accountability and justice for those injured.” She told The BMJ, “I’ve spoken to hundreds of doctors with long covid, and many of them have had their lives derailed. Some have lost their jobs and their homes; they are in financial ruin. Their illnesses have had far reaching consequences in all areas of their lives.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 25 January 2024 Nurses, midwives, and any other healthcare workers who are suffering with Long Covid and which they believe they contracted through their work and who wish to join the action should visit the Bond Turner website here: https://www.bondturner.com/services/covid-group-claim/. Although this action has been initiated by doctors in the first instance, it is not limited to doctors. Further reading on the hub: Questions around Government governance My experience of suspected 'Long COVID' How will NHS staff with Long Covid be supported?
  8. News Article
    Theatre staff at a major hospital “deliberately slowed down” elective activity to limit the number of operations that could be done each day, an NHS England review has been told. The culture in theatres at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, run by East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, was a “significant issue” according to an education quality intervention review report into trauma and orthopaedic training at the hospital. The review, dated October and made public by NHSE in December 2023, was launched after concerns were raised by staff at the trust in the General Medical Council’s national training survey, published every July. Problems raised by junior doctors and their supervisors to the NHSE review included perceptions that juniors were made to feel uncomfortable by the trauma theatre team and that there was also “animosity” from the trauma theatre team towards surgeons. The review said trauma theatre staff were heard “bragging” about their behaviour towards surgeons and that they resisted the number of cases scheduled on a list, claiming it was “unrealistic". Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 19 January 2024
  9. Content Article
    This study published in the BMJ evaluated the effect of chair placement on length of time physicians sit during a bedside consultation and patients’ satisfaction. The study concluded that chair placement is a simple, no cost, low tech intervention that increases a physician’s likelihood of sitting during a bedside consultation and resulted in higher patients’ scores for both satisfaction and communication.
  10. News Article
    Senior doctors are urging MPs to reject government plans to regulate “physician associates”, whose growing use in the NHS has divided the medical profession. The British Medical Association has said that allowing the General Medical Council (GMC) to regulate physician associates (PAs) would “blur the lines” between doctors and non-doctors. Many medics are opposed to the increased use of PAs, who they fear patients will wrongly see as doctors, even though they do not have a medical degree. They have expressed concern that letting the GMC – which regulates doctors – regulate PAs from April, as ministers plan, is “potentially dangerous” because it could confuse the public, diminish the status of doctors, and leave patients at risk of being treated by someone without the appropriate skills. The BMA is running advertisements in the Guardian and on social media asking MPs on a Commons committee examining the plan to vote against it when they consider it on Thursday. “PAs are not the same as doctors, and blurring the lines can have tragic consequences for patients who think they have seen a doctor when they have not,” the adverts say. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 January 2024
  11. Content Article
    This open letter penned by four senior female NHS doctors outlines the issues caused by ongoing misogyny in the medical profession in Wales. They call for real change to ensure that the trainees and medical students of the future do not experience the same harassment, inappropriate comments and bullying from senior colleagues that each of them can recall during their careers. "The four of us have risen to senior leadership positions in our respective specialties. We work in cancer, general practice, psychiatry and HIV medicine. And every single one of us can think of experiences from our own career that at the time we ignored, brushed off, pretended not to hear or not to see–but we saw, we heard, and we still remember."
  12. Content Article
    People with diabetes often encounter stigma in the form of negative social judgments, stereotypes and prejudice, which can adversely affect emotional, mental and physical health, self-care, access to healthcare and social and professional opportunities. On average, four in five adults with diabetes experience diabetes stigma and one in five experience discrimination due to diabetes in healthcare, education, and employment. Diabetes stigma and discrimination are harmful, unacceptable, unethical, and counterproductive. Collective leadership is needed to proactively challenge, and bring an end to, diabetes stigma and discrimination. To help achieve this, an international multidisciplinary expert panel conducted rapid reviews and participated in a three-round Delphi survey process. The group achieved consensus on 25 statements of evidence and 24 statements of recommendations. The consensus is that diabetes stigma is driven primarily by blame, perceptions of burden or sickness, invisibility and fear or disgust.
  13. News Article
    An alarming number of Britons are turning into “DIY doctors” because of the struggle to get an NHS GP appointment in 2023, new polling has revealed. Some 23% of those surveyed said they could not get an appointment, while three in 10 (33 per cent) said they had given up on booking one altogether, according to a Savanta poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats. Many said they had resorted to “DIY” medical care or gone to A&E instead. One in seven (14 per cent) said they had been forced to treat themselves or ask someone else untrained to do so, with the same proportion seeking emergency care. One in five people said they had bought medication online or at a pharmacy without advice from a GP, and one in three had delayed seeing a doctor despite being in pain, as pressure on the NHS mounts. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey described the figures as “utterly depressing” and said they should serve as an “urgent wake-up call for ministers asleep on the job”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 January 2024
  14. News Article
    NHS bosses fear patient safety could be compromised during this week’s junior doctors strikes if medics do not honour an agreement to abandon picket lines if hospitals become overwhelmed during the winter crisis. Hospital bosses can ask the British Medical Association (BMA) to allow junior doctors to return to work to help if an emergency arises during their six-day strike starting on Wednesday. But there is concern among health trust leaders that the doctors’ union could reject such “recall requests” – or take worryingly long to consider them – despite “highly vulnerable” hospitals having too few staff on duty to cope with a surge in patient numbers. A spike in cases of flu, Covid and norovirus has left the NHS under intensifying strain in the first week of the new year, a period in which its winter crisis often bites. On the eve of the 144-hour strike – the longest in NHS history – the NHS Confederation, which represents trusts, urged the BMA to ensure the “recall system” worked reliably if it was triggered. “With the next round of junior doctors strikes coinciding with what is always an exceptionally busy week for the NHS, health leaders hope that escalation plans run smoothly and with a shared understanding that protecting patient safety is the most important priority,” Danny Mortimer, the confederation’s deputy chief executive, said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 January 2024
  15. Content Article
    In this article, Natalie Tikhonovsky, Analyst at Lane, Clarke and Peacock, looks at results from the 2022 NHS Staff Survey in order to identify the reasons staff are increasingly dissatisfied. The article contains graphics that visualise this data to demonstrate a mixed picture of staff satisfaction across England.
  16. News Article
    Patients have been harmed as a result of doctors striking this year, and others needing time-critical treatment will be at risk during next month’s walkout in England, hospital bosses have said. Cancer patients and women having induced or caesarean section births will be in danger of damage to their health unless junior doctors in those areas of care abandon their plans to strike for six days in January, they said. People awaiting urgent eye surgery risk permanent sight loss unless the British Medical Association (BMA) lets junior doctors keep working in that area, according to NHS Employers, which represents health service trusts in England. Its intervention comes amid mounting concern in the NHS that it may prove impossible to maintain patient safety in high-risk, time-sensitive areas of treatment when tens of thousands of junior doctors stage what will be the longest strike in NHS history from 3 January, when hospitals are facing what is often the service’s busiest week of the year. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 December 2023
  17. Content Article
    Efforts to increase physician engagement in quality and safety are most often approached from an organisational or administrative perspective. Given hospital-based physicians’ strong professional identification, physician-led strategies may offer a novel strategic approach to enhancing physician engagement. It remains unclear what role medical leadership can play in leading programmes to enhance physician engagement. In this study, Rotteau et al. explore physicians’ experience of participating in a Medical Safety Huddle initiative and how participation influences engagement with organisational quality and safety efforts. They found that The Medical Safety Huddle initiative supports physician engagement in quality and safety through intrinsic motivation. However, the huddles’ implementation must align with the organisation’s multipronged patient safety agenda to support multidisciplinary collaborative quality and safety efforts and leaders must ensure mechanisms to consistently address reported safety concerns for sustained physician engagement.
  18. News Article
    Thousands more elderly people will be stuck in hospital over Christmas because of junior doctors’ strikes, Age UK has warned. The charity is among several who have said the timing of the strikes, which begin at 7am on Wednesday means it will be “extremely difficult to ensure safe and effective care” during them. Age UK is one of five organisations raising fears over patient safety and making a plea to the British Medical Association (BMA) and Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, for a resolution to the dispute. Junior doctors’ walkouts are due to last until Saturday, with their longest strike to come early in the new year, while flu, norovirus and Covid hospitalisations are rising. In a joint letter with the NHS Confederation, Patients Association, National Voices and Healthwatch , Age UK said strike action in the days ahead could leave thousands of patients stranded in hospital for want of staff to get them discharged. The latest figures show 13,000 such cases in hospitals despite being medically fit for discharge. The charities said the withdrawal of almost half the medical workforce in England would mean the most vulnerable are left “bearing the brunt” of the pay dispute. “Our concern is that, despite the best efforts of hard-working NHS staff, it will be extremely difficult to ensure safe and effective care during this period for all patients that need it.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 20 December 2023
  19. Content Article
    In a study published in Rheumatology, researchers used the example of neuropsychiatric lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease that is particularly challenging to diagnose, to examine the different value given by clinicians to 13 different types of evidence used in diagnoses. This included evidence such as brain scans, patient views, and the observations of family and friends.
  20. News Article
    Doctors at a Black Country mental health trust have backed a vote of no confidence in their management team. Sources say that the Black Country Healthcare NHS Trust is not acting in the best interests of patients and they believe it wants to cut beds. They also have no confidence in the way that the trust has removed its chief medical officer, Mark Weaver. The NHS Trust said it was aware of concerns and had agreed to work on them going forward. The doctors wrote to the trust board following a meeting of the Medical Advisory Committee claiming that over the past two years the relationship with the board had become fractured. In the letter they claimed the voice of doctors was not being taken seriously by the board and that clinical priorities were secondary to financial performance. They also said they were seriously disturbed with the way in which Mr Weaver had been asked to step down and that the deputy chief medical officer Dr Sharada Abilash had not been asked to take over while due process occurred. Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 December 2023
  21. News Article
    Patients needing emergency treatment are becoming sicker in A&E as hospitals struggle to free up enough beds, top doctors have warned. Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), told The Independent that elderly patients are waiting so long for treatment in A&E that they’re developing bed sores and delirium. Another senior NHS doctor, Dr Vicky Price, who is president-elect of the Society for Acute Medicine, warned that corridor care is now “routine practice” with the situation only set to worsen as A&E departments come under increasing pressure. Their comments highlight the ongoing chaos in emergency medicine, as strikes take place during the most difficult time of the year. The chief executive of the NHS, Amanda Pritchard, said on Thursday that last winter was the worst she’d ever seen for the health service, warning that strikes by junior doctors will only make the situation harder for hospitals this year The warnings come as the latest NHS data shows that the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, could fail in his promise to deliver 5,000 more acute hospital beds to the NHS this month. Current data shows that the NHS is falling short of the target by just under 1,200 beds, with 97,818 against a target of 99,000. Read full story Source: The Independent, 10 November 2023
  22. News Article
    A consultant gynaecologist who admitted sterilising a woman without her permission has been suspended from practising for 12 months. The woman - known as Patient A - was sterilised by Dr David Sim following an emergency caesarean section. Dr Sim previously admitted that the sterilisation was not necessary to save the woman's life or prevent harm to her health. The procedure took place at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry in September 2021. On 1 December, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found his fitness to practice was impaired. The tribunal previously heard Dr Sim and the patient had discussed sterilisation twice over a period of years, but the patient had never consented or expressed any wish to undergo sterilisation. When she required the emergency caesarean section, Dr Sim delivered the baby and blocked the patient's fallopian tubes to permanently impair their normal function. Dr Sim previously admitted to the tribunal that this was in violation of the woman's reproductive rights. Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 December 2023
  23. Content Article
    How would you feel if your doctor offered you a treatment your health condition with good results and very little risk? You might snap it up. But what if you subsequently found out your doctor took thousands of pounds from the treatment makers to write a scientific paper promoting it, attend an all-expenses paid conference to talk about it, or spent time working as their expert consultant? In America, industry must log payments which are published on the open database system. Reporting to this is backed up by law following the American Sunshine Payment Act (2013). Sling the Mesh is calling for similar legislation in the UK to provide up-to-date evidence on industry money exchanging hands we Kath Sansom discusses in a blog on the Patient Safety Commissioner website.
  24. Content Article
    Doctors should be taught physical examination skills that are inclusive of all patients, says Joy Hodkinson in this BMJ opinion piece.
  25. News Article
    Doctors must be on high alert for measles as vaccine rates among young children have dipped to a 10-year low, leaving some unprotected and risking outbreaks of the highly infectious and dangerous virus, experts say. It is the first time in decades the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has issued national guidance such as this. At least 95% of children should be double vaccinated by the age of five. But the UK is well below that target. Latest figures show only 84.5% had received a second shot of the protective measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab - the lowest level since 2010-11. Measles can make children very sick. The main symptoms are a fever and a rash but it can cause serious complications including meningitis. For some, it is fatal. The RCPCH is worried the UK is now seeing a "devastating resurgence" of virtually eliminated life-threatening diseases such as measles, because of low vaccine uptake. Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 November 2023
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