The long-awaited sunshine enjoyed in parts of the UK this past week will no doubt have got many of us in the mood for a holiday, with some tempting last-minute deals on 'winter sun' getaways to be found. But would you be willing to jet-off to an exotic destination without the recommended vaccinations or malaria protection?
Recently I had the pleasure of observing a team based learning (TBL) session at the newly established Lee Kong Chian (LKC) School of Medicine, a joint initiative between Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University. As a doctor having trained via problem based learning (PBL) I was able to appreciate the stark difference between the two forms of instruction.
Developments in telemedicine are benefitting patients with a broad range of needs as well as improving hospital services and improving resource allocation across the NHS. Significant progress has been made towards three million people being able to benefit from telehealth by 2017 in the UK, so these programmes could be coming to hospital near you soon.
Debates about globalisation examine impacts on all concerned - whether importers of labour, food and goods or those countries losing key workers, giving up their food or being turned into polluted assembly lines. Debates about the EU and migration which lack that level of empathy - and concentrate purely on what Britain is supposedly losing - simply miss the point.
The turgid rebuttal is that the poorer paying NHS might lose the best doctors and harm our own health. Hogwash. You don't become a doctor to become a billionaire. And there's a whole world of bright medical practitioners out there. If people will not work for the NHS, there's plenty who would want to work in one the safest and richest countries in the world.
My arrival into medical school back in 2001 launched me, not only into a world of systemic disease, but rather a world of information overload. Verbose medical texts were seen scattered across my room with my typical schedule spent inhaling the multitude of odours as expressed by a cohort of 200 plus students during lecture hall gatherings.
I grew up believing that doctors were on a higher level than the rest of us. Their knowledge was vast and mysterious, their advice kept us healthy... What really struck me recently is that medical staff are twice as likely to get addicted to drugs or alcohol than the general public. How can this be possible?
When it's their word against yours, medical evidence is what proves you're not the one lying. Medical evidence is what says that you are in pain, or you are blind, or you are mentally ill. It's what confirms that you aren't making things up or exaggerating. It's what tells the decision maker to believe your evidence over what the Atos assessor said, or simply to believe your evidence at all.
The consultant turned to him and straight faced said, 'I would like to thank you for all your hard work these past months, if you need a reference for McDonald's I'd be happy to help,' before turning his back and leaving the ward. The consultant at the time happened to be one of the programme directors for junior trainees at that hospital.