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Editor’s Notes #003: March briefing

Headshot of Euan LawsonEuan Lawson is editor of the BJGP.

It is somewhat ironic that no sooner was the March issue published where I mention post-truth and we run into a dispute around evidence on BJGP Life. I wrote in the Briefing: “Publishing research is a business that deals with verifiable facts; the BJGP’s commitment is to strive to be accurate and, if we get it wrong, to correct the record with full transparency.”

It has to be emphasised that we don’t publish research here on Life — this is our platform for debate, discussion, viewpoint and opinion. That certainly means that we will publish online content that will sometimes arouse impassioned comment. We do want the content to be accurate and I stand by that commitment to full transparency.

On Thursday 3rd March 2022 we published an article titled: Reflections on NICE, CFS/ME, and the Lightning Process. (It is possible you have been re-directed to this page after clicking on a link for that article elsewhere on the internet.)

We felt there were important areas the article covered: the experience of being a GP parent to a child with ME/CFS; and the experience of working clinically outside of guidance (and this does happen to many GPs in many circumstances) are certainly worthy of coverage.

While we stand by the need to discuss and debate all these areas, we recognise the legitimate concern that this article offered a platform to an intervention and a commercial interest which hasn’t got a clear evidence base. On reflection, after discussion in the editorial team, and in consultation with some members from the Editorial Board, we have taken the decision to unpublish the article. I’m sorry for any distress this has caused. We will remain a space for lively debate for practising clinicians.

Many thanks for your feedback.

March 2022 Editor’s Briefing links

Here are the relevant links/references that were mentioned in the March 2022 Briefing.

“the editor CP Scott would be startled to discover that facts are, as he asserted in a 1921 essay…” 
Available here: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainability/cp-scott-centenary-essay

“As Mughal and colleagues point out in their editorial this month, academic GPs are a tiny proportion of the GP workforce.”
The editorial is here: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp22X718577

“There are now a little over 36 000 full-time equivalent GPs and 254 full-time equivalent academics. GP academics make up 0.7% of the GP workforce and just 8% of the UK clinical academic workforce.” 
These figures were taken from the NHS Digital GP Workforce figures: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/general-and-personal-medical-services/30-september-2021

One book was mentioned in the March Briefing: EO Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth. If you want a fine book on post-truth, and relatively short, I recommend Matthew D’Ancona’s Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back. It was written in 2017 but feels as relevant as ever.

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