BMJ Newsletter – Medical Updates

This is the latest newsletter from the BMJ (British Medical journal). As ever, it draws on a good range of voices and opinions and provides a good overview of the issues of the day (medical and medical-related).

The covid-19 pandemic took power from the people

Who decides when covid-19 restrictions are lifted? A government might lay out plans for reopening society. It might even emphasise the importance of data, not dates. But, as with any exercise in project management, the milestones tend to loom more powerfully… Kamran Abbasi

England urged to introduce minimum alcohol pricing

Further evidence of the success of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in reducing consumption has led to renewed calls for the policy to be introduced in England. Bryan Christie

CQC’s plans to rethink inspection ratings don’t go far enough, says BMA

Doctors’ leaders have urged the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to rethink “crude” inspection ratings after it published a new strategy for regulating health and care in England. Matthew Limb

Seven days in medicine: 26 May to 2 June 2021


Sixty seconds on . . . free parking

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the government has decided to withdraw its guidance on emergency parking passes for NHS staff, health and social care workers, and NHS volunteer responders in England. Abi Rimmer

Covid-19: “Complete nonsense” to say government shielded care homes, says PM’s former aide

The UK government’s assertion that it placed a protective shield around care homes in the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic is “complete nonsense,” the prime minister’s former chief adviser has claimed. Gareth Iacobucci

Covid-19: Thousands died needlessly from UK pandemic response, says PM’s former aide

The government and senior officials fell “disastrously short” in their response to the covid-19 pandemic, the prime minister’s former chief aide has said. Gareth Iacobucci

Covid-19: PM’s former chief aide accuses health secretary of lying over PPE and access to treatment

The prime minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has launched an incendiary attack on England’s health secretary’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic, accusing Matt Hancock of “lying to everybody on multiple occasions.” Gareth Iacobucci

Covid-19: Is it safe to lift all restrictions in England from 21 June?

England is set to remove all legal limits on social contact from 21 June and allow nightclubs to reopen, although masks may still be required in some public spaces and the test and trace system will continue. Elisabeth Mahase

Protesters call for UK to back covid vaccine waiver

Campaigners demanding an intellectual property waiver on covid-19 vaccines and treatments stage a protest at the Department for International Trade, in London, at the start of the two day virtual meeting of G7 trade ministers last week. Alison Shepherd

Preparing for the next pandemic

The recommendations of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response do not go far enough Clare Wenham, Matthew Kavanagh et al

Rethinking sex-assigned-at-birth questions

Unhelpful, potentially harmful, and should be abandoned Ash B Alpert, Roman Ruddick et al

On the road to Recovery—the world’s biggest covid-19 treatment trial

When it comes to covid-19 therapeutics, the UK is the world leader, spearheaded by the largest, most successful trial in the world. Chris Stokel-Walker looks at Recovery, and why it has proved hard to replicate elsewhere Chris Stokel-Walker

Covid 19: How harm reduction advocates and the tobacco industry capitalised on the pandemic to promote nicotine

Scientific papers suggesting that smokers are less likely to fall ill with covid-19 are being discredited as links to the tobacco industry are revealed, report Stéphane Horel and Ties Keyzer Stéphane Horel, Ties Keyzer