The trials and tribulations of peer review by BMJ talk medicine

The trials and tribulations of peer review

Bias and peer review are of universal importance to all those that produce scholarly work. Fiona Godlee and Rob Tarr, editors in chief of The BMJ and JNIS respectively, share their insights and experience on these highly topical issues with Joshua Hirsch.

Read the related paper:…g-2015-011781.full

UK lags behind other countries on cancer survival but outperforms on low antibiotic prescribing, report finds | The BMJ

The BMJ 2015;351:h3618

The United Kingdom lags behind most other high income countries in several measures of healthcare, including preventable admissions to hospital, cancer survival, and mortality from heart attacks and strokes, says a new report by the think tanks the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation.1

However, the UK’s performance has improved on almost every measure since 2000, and it does better than other countries in achieving high rates of flu vaccination and lower rates of prescribing of antibiotics.

The report was based on an analysis of 27 healthcare quality indicators between 2000 and 2013 across four sectors: primary care, acute care, care of patients with cancer, and mental healthcare. The report compared 15 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United States, and the UK.

via UK lags behind other countries on cancer survival but outperforms on low antibiotic prescribing, report finds | The BMJ.

Research: International comparisons | Quality Watch

Focus on: International comparisons of healthcare quality


Focus on: International comparisons of healthcare quality explores how quality of care in the UK has changed over time, making comparisons with 14 similar countries. It considers performance against 27 of the OECD’s Health Care Quality Indicators, discussing both what international comparisons can tell us about healthcare in the UK, and the value of such comparisons as a means of assessing performance.

Link to report

via Research: International comparisons | Quality Watch.

NHS England » NHS England launches accessible information standard

NHS England launches accessible information standard

NHS England has launched the Accessible Information Standard which aims to provide people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss with information that they can easily read or understand. The standard will be implemented on 31 July 2016. All organisations that provide NHS or adult social care are required to follow the new standard, including NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and GP practices.

via NHS England » NHS England launches accessible information standard.

The Budget: health and social care funding | The King’s Fund

The King’s Fund’s written briefing on health and social care funding in advance of the Budget, on 8 July 2015.

The briefing warns that unless additional funding is found, a growing black hole in NHS finances could have significant consequences for patient care. Although there are opportunities for the NHS to improve productivity, the briefing argues that initiatives to reduce spending on agency staff and increase financial control will not be enough to offset growing deficits among NHS providers. It also warns that the £8 billion a year increase in the NHS budget pledged by the government by 2020 is the bare minimum needed to maintain standards of care.

via The Budget: health and social care funding | The King’s Fund.

Depression relapse: importance of a long-term perspective – The Lancet

The Lancet: Volume 386, No. 9988, p10–12, 4 July 2015

Emil Kraepelin’s demarcation between dementia praecox and manic depressive illness defined affective disorder as a remitting and recurring disease. He considered that only long-term outcome was useful in assessing accuracy of diagnosis and treatment response in patients.1 The more recent interest in the outcome of single mood episodes probably indicates motives to register and market drugs rather than assisting clinical practice. This interest has resulted in many 4–8 week randomised trials but few well designed long-term studies in patients with depression.

There is now increasing evidence that Kraepelin was right. Mood disorders are generally recurring, and the relevant measure of clinical success is long-term functioning rather than the outcome of a single mood episode.2 In secondary and tertiary care, less than a third of patients recover and remain well in the 18 months after an episode of depression,3 whereas in general practice and community studies, the proportion of patients with recurrence is between 35% and 65%.4 Treatment needs to focus on maintenance and prevention of relapse as well as on the acute mood episode.

via Depression relapse: importance of a long-term perspective – The Lancet.

Healthy New Towns

NHS England and Public Health England have launched the Healthy New Towns programme to put health at the heart of new neighbourhoods and towns across the country. Local authorities, housing associations and the construction sector are invited to identify development projects where they would like NHS support in creating health-promoting new towns and neighbourhoods in England.  Up to five long-term partnerships will initially be selected from across the country, covering housing developments of different sizes..  Each site will benefit from a programme of support including global expertise in spatial and urban design, national sponsorship and increased local flexibilities.

Sustainability in psychiatry

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published Sustainability in psychiatry: occasional paper 97. The report suggests that developing a sustainable approach to clinical practice is a crucial step in ensuring that mental health services will continue to provide high-quality care in the 21st century. It aims to introduce the concept of sustainable mental healthcare; inspire psychiatrists to consider sustainability in their clinical practice; enable psychiatrists to improve the sustainability of their clinical practice, their team and their organisation; and to improve education and training in sustainability across the healthcare workforce.

Health and wellbeing boards

The Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS Commissioners has published Making it better together:  a call to action on the future of health and wellbeing boards. This document sets out proposals to local system leaders and the Government to strengthen the impact and leadership of health and wellbeing boards across the country. The document also outlines the LGA and NHS Clinical Commissioners shared commitment to support boards to reach their full potential as system leaders driving forward changes that will improve the health of their communities.

Additional link: NHS Clinical Commissioners press release