Category: Opinion

The NHS – ‘S’ is for Service not Slave

Peter Aird is a GP in Bridgwater, Somerset. It’s a confusing time for the NHS. One minute there’s talk of if being ‘weaponised’ like some all consuming superhero, the next it’s being sent to bed with no supper for causing all those ‘avoidable deaths’. It seems the NHS is not so much a service that is offered but rather a slave that is used – and abused – by those who would seek to master it for their own, often political ends. But it’s not just the politicians who behave like this. Nor is it only the pharmaceutical industry...

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Folie à deux: The case of Ed and Dave

Adam Staten is a GP trainee in Surrey and is on Twitter @adamstaten. La folie à deux is a shared psychosis in which two people share the same delusion. As it is rare I felt compelled to share an interesting case that I have recently encountered. This unusual case concerns two men in their forties, let’s call them Ed and Dave. These two men share little in common but both have interesting past psychiatric histories. Ed has had a previous prolonged episode of shared mania, a folie à plusiers if you will. For nearly thirteen years between 1997 and 2010 this...

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Review: A Fortunate Man

Professor Roger Jones is editor of the British Journal of General Practice. A Fortunate Man: the story of a country doctor. John Berger and Jean Mohr. Canongate, London, 2015 First published in 1967, this is one of those must-read general practice books, essential for every trainer, trainee and practice library, and one, I suspect, which has been more frequently recommended than read. It has been re-issued this year in a new edition with an introduction by Dr Gavin Francis. Anyone coming fresh to A Fortunate Man, expecting a paean to idyllic country general practice, will be disappointed, because the romanticised hero of...

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Cannabis effects and future health policy

Roy Robertson is Professor of Addiction Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The paper Cannabis, tobacco smoking, and lung function: a cross-sectional observational study in a general practice population was published in the BJGP this week. Access the full paper here. Cannabis and its effects on health are complicated and wide ranging. Like other drugs with an impact on multiple systems there is a considerable literature about negative features and, as with alcohol when much of the measurable effect is the reason for its ingestion, there are mixed views about its value. Added to the balance of benefits versus damaging side effects is its illegality, at least in most administrations. This is clearly changing in several countries and will allow a naturalistic experiment to be evaluated over the next few years. An upcoming United Nations debate in 2016, sponsored by Mexico and Uruguay, will further expose the legal control system to change and may revolutionise the availability in many western countries including the UK. At the present time it looks like cannabis use may well increase over the next decade and, if commercial interests enter the frame then there may well be a much broader range of people participating in its use. The possibility of major manufacturing and marketing companies taking control raises many spectres for medical services used to managing the ravages of alcohol. For medical people the...

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Jeremy Hunt and A&E: does he think people are unteachable buffoons?

Adam Staten is a GP trainee in Surrey and is a Twitter newbie @adamstaten. When Jeremy Hunt decided to take his children to A&E rather than wait for a GP appointment, or indeed rather than making use of the out of hours GP service, he defended his decision with a speech that included an incredibly bleak assessment of the British people. His declaration that people could no longer tell what is urgent and what is not is tantamount to describing the population as a mass of unteachable buffoons. Perhaps Hunt is projecting when he sees the public as mindlessly...

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The British Journal of General Practice and BJGP Open are bringing research to clinical practice. This is where we add the debate and opinion to help ensure everyone benefits from that research.

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