Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2016

Why the new junior doctor contract is bad for academic medicine and the UK's economy

As a clinician and academic, I was deeply saddened to see the Secretary of State for Health impose a new contract on junior doctors. The 55,000 junior doctors in England’s NHS are perhaps the most intelligent and highly educated and trained professional group in the country. They are perfectly capable of looking at the contractual changes being put forward by the NHS and drawing their own conclusions about the implications of the new contract for them. To say that they have been ‘brainwashed’ by extremist members of the British Medical Association, as some journalists and Conservative MPs have been implying, is ludicrous.

We also continue to hear from the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, that he believes that these contractual changes are needed to tackle higher weekend mortality in hospitals. This is an area in which I have and members of my department have published extensively. I am therefore fully aware of the research on this topic and the serious problems with some o…

What role should general practitioners play in a modern health system?

#Irishmed tweetchat 10pm GMT Wednesday 10 February 2016

Health systems across the world are faced with many challenges – such as rising patient expectations, increased workload, ageing populations, and an increased number of people with long-term conditions. At the same time, health systems also face significant financial problems. Consequently, governments, other funders of healthcare and patients expect more from their doctors without necessarily offering them additional resources.

As the first point of contact with patients, what role should general practitioners (in some countries, referred to as primary care physicians or family practitioners) play in meeting these challenges? General practitioners (GPs) have to deal daily with large numbers of patients, cope with a very wide range of clinical problems, meet performance targets, provide continuity of care while at the same time also providing easy access to health services, show they are addressing issues such as the rise of anti…