When surgery is just a stitch-up

20/08/2017 Dara Mohammadi 0

With evidence mounting that many minor operations owe their success to the placebo effect, is it time to call a halt to some routine procedures?

What’s the difference between a homeopath and a surgeon? It’s a question that sounds like a joke, and it won’t have many surgeons laughing. Homeopathy is the scientifically implausible idea that diluted substances can somehow treat disease: it has never been shown to work and any effect is, at very best, a placebo effect. It’s a world away from the glinting scalpels and cut-and-dried logic of surgery. See a problem, cut it out, sew it back up. Right?

Well, it is until you start looking for evidence of effectiveness for some operations, and then you’re left thinking that the line between the two is not as clear as you first thought.

You can no longer say, as a doctor, that homeopathy is rubbish because you’re doing the same thing

Risk to patients aside, it just means that we are wasting a hell of a lot of money

Continue reading…

UK scientists create world’s smallest surgical robot to start a hospital revolution

20/08/2017 Rachel Ellis 0

British-built Versius device will slash costs, improve patient recovery times and help speed up keyhole surgery

British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform everyday operations for tens of thousands of patients.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery.

Related: The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it | Stephen Hawking

Related: Meet Eva, the workplace robot that won’t necessarily steal your job

Continue reading…

Gender dysphoria patients deserve better treatment than I can give them | Zara Aziz

15/08/2017 Zara Aziz 0

GPs don’t have the time or the expertise to provide the holistic treatment that transgender patients require. Proper services are required urgently

Gender identity clinics have seen a huge demand for services in recent years. Waits can vary from 12 to 18 months in most cases, but can extend to three years in some parts of the country. It is estimated that about 1% of the population is transgender, although some believe this figure to be higher. Many have a higher incidence of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

Those waiting months for their first appointment can resort to buying unverified hormonal treatments on the black market, seeing private specialists (often online) or looking for support and prescriptions from their GP. Private specialists can reassure them that their GP will prescribe and monitor their treatments. This leads to some difficult conversations with patients.

Patients are faced with conflicting messages. The profession, too, remains uneasy and unsupported

Related: The Tories are on the right side of the transgender debate | Matthew d’Ancona

Continue reading…

From burgers to breaded mackerel: how Croydon is fighting the fat

15/08/2017 Nicola Slawson 0

On one of London’s unhealthiest high streets one in four children is obese, but now the council has stepped in

The high street in New Addington, south Croydon is one of the unhealthiest in London. Dotted between a launderette and a betting agent on a small curved parade are 10 fast food takeaways. There will soon be 11.

In the borough of Croydon there are 424 fast food shops, which predominantly sell calorific and unhealthy food such as fried chicken and burgers, according to data released by Public Health England last year. It has the second highest amount in London, after Westminster.

Related: The game improving a community’s health without them noticing

Continue reading…

Don’t punish cancer patients twice – please respect their workplace rights | Ranjana Srivastava

14/08/2017 Ranjana Srivastava 0

Reintegration into society is the best therapy for people recovering from cancer. A kind environment is one of the most helpful things an employer can provide

  • Ranjana Srivastava is a Guardian Australia columnist

“If you stop my cancer treatment, I can get my job back.”

I’m surprised. My patient had told me previously that she just found a new job.

Related: After surviving cancer I thought work would go back to normal – I was wrong

Related: Falling ill can often mean financial ruin for patients – but it shouldn’t | Ranjana Srivastava

Continue reading…

Don’t punish cancer patients twice – please respect their workplace rights | Ranjana Srivastava

14/08/2017 Ranjana Srivastava 0

Reintegration into society is the best therapy for people recovering from cancer. A kind environment is one of the most helpful things an employer can provide

  • Ranjana Srivastava is a Guardian Australia columnist

“If you stop my cancer treatment, I can get my job back.”

I’m surprised. My patient had told me previously that she just found a new job.

Related: After surviving cancer I thought work would go back to normal – I was wrong

Related: Falling ill can often mean financial ruin for patients – but it shouldn’t | Ranjana Srivastava

Continue reading…

Will the healthcare data revolution spell the end for doctors’ autonomy?

11/08/2017 Richard Vize 0

Research by NHS Improvement has revealed doctors, medical directors and even entire hospitals that seem undisturbed by poor outcomes for patients

NHS Improvement’s drive to raise clinical standards is prising open the sensitive issue of doctors’ autonomy, and shows how the legal and professional boundaries of medicine are constantly shifting.

The Get It Right First Time programme is uncovering massive and unacceptable differences in performance, such as a 25-fold variation in orthopaedic surgical site infection rates.

Related: I have a brain tumour. I’m scared it will affect my job as a surgeon

Continue reading…

Shortage of doctors and midwives putting lives at risk – report

Lack of trained obstetricians is worrying, experts say, because of high risk of serious complications during and after birth

Childbirth experts have warned that mothers’ and babies’ lives in Britain are being put at risk after an NHS inquiry into its maternity services uncovered serious shortages of doctors and midwives in maternity units.

Almost nine out of 10 (88%) units are struggling to recruit enough middle-grade doctors to ensure proper staffing levels, according to an unprecedented in-depth NHS audit of childbirth services across Britain.

Related: More nurses and midwives leaving UK profession than joining, figures reveal

Continue reading…

‘Diana’s doctor poisoned my husband,’ says widow

Society doctor Peter Wheeler is sued for negligence after series of apparent oversights led to death of Greek banker

A widow has told for the first time how her husband died after being slowly “poisoned” when the high-profile private GP overseeing his care failed to ensure that a powerful drug his patient was taking was not harming him.

Barbara Vavalidis is suing Dr Peter Wheeler, a society doctor in London who was Princess Diana’s personal physician, over the death of her husband, Stefanos, from liver failure in 2016.

Continue reading…

NHS has paid £17m to victims of disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson

09/08/2017 Press Association 0

Compensation likely to increase as private patients launch legal challenge against NHS trust, private health provider and Paterson

The NHS has paid more than £17m in compensation for victims of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson.

NHS Resolution said as of 31 July it had received 277 claims involving Paterson’s NHS practice and paid a total of £17,411,639 on those cases.

Related: Ian Paterson: the ‘likeable’ breast surgeon who wounded his patients

Continue reading…