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Cheap as Chips – is a healthy diet affordable?

Read this very interesting report by the Institute of Economic Affairs on how expensive it really is to eat well.


How health care is funded

Check out this explanation from the King’s Fund about how we currently fund the NHS and how other countries pay for their health care.

Source: How health care is funded

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Values-driven Self-Leadership

Thanks to all those who came to our event about Values with the World Values Initiative. For those who missed it here are a few updates about what we learned:

According to World Values Day website:

Values are the things that are important to us, the foundation of our lives. They are deeply held principles that guide our choices and behaviours and influence our emotions. Values are the core of who we are. They are our motivators, our drivers, the passion in our hearts and the reason why we do the things we do.

We can learn about our values in a wide range of ways. In the workshop we were encouraged to think about personal stories about our values: examples of when we saw that value being acted out or stories about how we realised that was important to us. You can take part in a values finding exercise at

Most importantly, we learned about how to live out our values to become happier and more engaged in what we do. Think about the habits and behaviours you already exhibit that align with your values. Are there more ways you could live a more authentic and values driven life? Have a look at My 31 Practices to see if there are ways you could integrate your values into every day life.

If you have any more questions about what the World Values initiative does you can find their contact details on their website.

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Women in Leadership

Recently I went to a talk by the chair of the Royal College of GPs – Helen Stokes-Lampard who claimed that if there was a glass ceiling for women in medicine she hadn’t noticed it. She gave examples of loads of women who were chairs of colleges and leaders in their field.


However, with comments form the likes of John Allan (chairman of Tesco) saying that white men are an endangered species in the boardroom, I think it is about time that women asserted their right to be in leadership. In the NHS where 77 percent of the workforce are women, only 37 percent of board-level positions are held by women. Susie Perks-Baker, director of the Athena programme at the King’s Fund says ‘Over-working has become the norm for many in the health and care sector, and this makes progress to senior leadership positions more of a struggle for many women, who are often combining work with caring responsibilities.’

You may not consider there to be a ‘glass ceiling’ because anyone who works hard and is passionate about what they do has a fair chance of getting into leadership. My worry is that many women don’t even consider themselves for leadership roles because of assumptions about what women can do and not being able to balance work and family life. We need to change these assumptions so that out boards can be representative of the people we work with – not just confident high flyers but the pragmatists, optimists, activists, and pacifists. Humans are diverse and the sooner our leaders can reflect that the better it will be for us all. For some more inspiration on what we can do to increase diversity and promote equality check out the King’s Fund’s page celebrating International Women’s Day here.

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Health in Prisons?

I was in liver clinic today and a lot of patients didn’t turn up. But I was surprised to see that a patient from the local prison also missed his appointment. The consultant, however, was used to this saying that the prison staff are far too stretched to bring them to their appointments, and that they often get moved to different prisons without their medical notes and have to start all over again. That can be disastrous for someone on a course of treatment for hepatitis or being screened for hepatocellular carcinoma. Is there anything being done about this? What does the literature say?

Patients, prisoners, or people? Women prisoners‘ experiences of primary care in prison: a qualitative study.

‘Equivalence of care‘ in prison medicine: is equivalence of process the right measure of equity?

Healthcare: Prison Sentence or Death Sentence?

Prison health is definitely not a sexy subject, but there is plenty of room for quality improvement work there. For example a simple audit on ways to improve uptake of screening for Hepatitis B and C. Or maybe an audit of how many prisoners miss their appointments to be presented to the local prisons. It’s something we all hear about but we are actually in a position to do something about it. It’s also a great ethical and public health issue to think about in preparation for finals.

Update: Read this recent article about why psychiatrists are abandoning prison healthcare


What do you Want to do with your Life?

As we get closer to graduating from medical school people seem to constantly be asking us what we want to specialise in. Some people seem to have known what they wanted to do from day 1, and others have no idea.

It’s never to early to think about what you want to do with your life and what you hope to achieve during your career. What is really important to you? Where do you want to be in 10 years time?

Come to an exciting event about values-based self-leadership – a workshop designed to help you identify your values and use them to direct your future.

If you can’t make it to the event maybe you would enjoy this blog post by Life in the Fast Lane about things to consider when choosing a medical specialty.


Nomadic GP travels the world tackling all kinds of assumptions

I only just discovered this great blog called The nomadic GP. It has everything you could want – travel, culture, medicine, and some interesting insights into what life is like in the medical world. The first blog I read was one in the Huffington Post about people assuming because she was young and female she wasn’t really a doctor. Read it here. It’s interesting to think about how you would respond to being thought less of because you are younger in the hierarchical world of medicine. Hopefully we are moving towards a more equal approach nowadays.

I also love reading about all the different places she has travelled. Being a rural locum GP has a lot of challenges, for example not having crucial lab facilities on a remote island! But despite these challenges and the amazing work we know all kinds of GPs do every day there is still an expectation that GPs were not good at any specialty and that’s how they ended up where they are. Read this article about how she is not ‘just a GP’ but a highly skilled and expert GP.

I hope you enjoy the work of the nomadic GP and are inspired to consider the thrill of general practice and travelling the world!

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Management eBooks available via OpenAthens

The following eBooks can be accessed online using your OpenAthens Account. If you do not have one contact your medical school librarian. OpenAthens gives you access to dawsonera eBooks at


John Adair’s 100 greatest ideas for being a brilliant manager – Adair J. (2012)

John Adair’s 100 greatest ideas for brilliant communication – Adair J. (2011)

Performance management: key strategies and practical guidelines – Armstrong M. (2006)

The emotionally intelligent workplace – Cherniss C. (2001)

The five dysfunctions of a team – Lencioni P. (2002)

Overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team – Lencioni P. (2005)

Leadership plain and simple – Radcliffe S. (2012)


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How to do an audit

Do you have to do an audit as part of your medical degree? Or do you want to get ahead and do some work you might be able to publish? Check out these two articles to learn the basics.


How are you going to be ready for leadership?

Fewer than a third of NHS Chief Executives are from a clinical background. But there is talk of turning that around in the future. As clinicians we will need to take on leadership roles but will we be ready to be managers? How will our training teach us about project management, resource allocation, or how to manage other staff. Read more on this blog post by the King’s Fund.