Hazard in context: the psychology of medical continuity

Continuity of care in hospital is a hot topic. It is well recognised that reductions in the hours worked by junior doctors have resulted in a fracturing of the traditional team structure and more frequent handovers between staff as they come off shorter shifts. The Royal College of Physicians published a survey on the subject... Continue Reading →

The day assisted dying became legal: choices

As a supporter of assisted dying (AD) I ask myself  - ‘What will I actually do if it becomes legal?’ I haven’t travelled to Oregon or Washington state to see how it works, nor have I talked to doctors or nurses who are involved, but I think it is important to anticipate one’s response. After... Continue Reading →

“It was as though I wasn’t there”: the problem of the invisible patient

The CQC has published the results of its 2012 national in-patient survey. Some aspects of it were picked up by the Independent newspaper on 16th April 2013. One of the observations in the ‘Doctors and Nurses’ section is that:There have been improvements in the results for questions asking about doctors and nurses, with the majority of respondents... Continue Reading →

Memory failure after medical error: the building blocks of experience

  There is a contradiction in medicine that has always interested me - the need to form a complete psycho-social picture of each individual patient (aiding empathy) versus the need to depersonalise, categorise and store their medical story (thus adding to experience). When things go wrong, this tension results in a paradoxical lack of humanity.... Continue Reading →

NHS2 in the year 2053 – a sideways look at the future

The Hub headquarters, glass clad and monolithic, glistened from its dominant position at the north end of the campus. I stared up at it, but was soon drawn back to the shabby, warehouse-like building to my right which appeared to have received little attention since the winter of ’45, the year I had worked in... Continue Reading →

A ‘Never Event’ and the chain of the blame

This is an example of worst case scenario thinking. It is an entirely fictional case. I have used the same approach that I use in my medical fiction, working out how, within the boundaries of plausibility afforded by standard clinical processes and environments, a particular error might occur. Perhaps this accident happened somewhere, sometime…I don't... Continue Reading →

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