Category: Opinion

A letter to the Prime Minister

Claire Robertson is a GP in Inverness. LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER Dear Mr. Cameron, I have been meaning to write to you for some time, but, as I am sure you can imagine, life and work take over and the days fly by. The time has come over this last week having watched with interest the election results unfold and the Conservative majority see you remain our Prime Minister. Now that this second term is underway I plead with you listen to your dedicated public servants: I am from a working class background. My grandfathers were a miner and a...

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A letter to the Health Secretary

Adam Staten is a GP trainee in Surrey and is on Twitter @adamstaten. LETTER TO THE HEALTH SECRETARY Dear Mr Hunt, Many congratulations on being re-appointed as Secretary of State for Health in the Conservative cabinet. May I suggest we treat your re-appointment as a fresh start? As a gynaecology SHO performing intimate examinations I was once told to ‘go in like a butterfly and come out like a lion.’ The idea was to cause minimum discomfort by combining a gentle approach with a swift withdrawal. This was not a strategy you adopted when you began your intimate examination...

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Exercise and sudden death in older athletes

John Brooks is a GP from Congleton. The early works of Morris and Rose suggested that those who were more physically active had less coronary heart disease than those who had a more sedentary way of life. The rise in popularity of running in the 1970s and 1980s led to some exaggerated claims that marathon running could somehow give immunity to coronary heart disease. Cases of sudden death in marathon races get a lot of publicity but the risk is probably no higher than people going about their daily activities. Sudden death from cardiovascular disease in young athletes is low and thought to be mainly due to inherited or congenital abnormalities. The most common of these is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with a smaller group made up of such conditions as Wolf-Parkinson White syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome and mitral valve prolapse1. The cause of the sudden death is a fatal cardiac arrhythmia that occurs in a seemingly fit athlete. Gentle jogging three times a week seems to be relatively safe and good for your health2 but how safe is long term endurance and intensive exercise particularly as we get older ? This question is important for those athletes who want to perform well at club level and elite athletes. Studies of cardiac adaptation to acute and chronic participation in endurance sports have shown both enzyme changes and evidence of cardiac remodelling.3 We...

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Supersize supermodels: which way do they tip the scales?

Adam Staten is a GP trainee in Surrey and is on Twitter @adamstaten. For years there has been deep concern about the dangers to health of girls and young women aspiring to the figures of ‘size zero’ models. How odd then that the signing of a morbidly obese model to a top modelling agency was heralded by many in the press as a triumph despite the vast array of health issues associated with obesity. Tess Holliday, the size 24 model in question, is a champion of the ‘body positive’ campaign which aims to destigmatise obesity and challenge conventional perceptions...

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The elephant in the room: how are we going to fund the NHS?

Professor Roger Jones is editor of the British Journal of General Practice. Last weekend The Times published a leading article which described the financial straitjacket in which the NHS finds itself, and suggested that the additional funding required to keep the service going should be found from sources outside general taxation. I wrote a letter supporting this view, pointing out that other healthcare systems, with perfectly respectable health outcomes, some better than ours, work on a combination or some variation of co-payment and insurance mechanisms. none of which, importantly, equate to privatisation. I described this discussion as an elephant...

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