media release archive 2013

Information for journalists

The RSM welcomes journalists who wish to attend the many academic meetings and events taking place during the year. Accredited journalists can register to receive press releases and the monthly bulletin highlighting forthcoming events.

Contact the Media Office for:

  • Press passes for meetings and events
  • Press releases and papers from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • Filming on the premises

28 November 2013

Junk food and poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease

The association between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease should make the reduction of sugars such as those contained in junk food, particularly fizzy drinks, an important health policy target, say experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Poor oral hygiene and excess sugar consumption can lead to periodontal disease where the supporting bone around the teeth is destroyed. It is thought that chronic infection from gum disease can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to heart disease through a process called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

28 November 2013

Medical Research Council should celebrate its role in development of clinical trials

More should be done to celebrate the role of one of Britain’s leading institutions, the Medical Research Council (MRC), in the development of the gold standard for clinical trial design. Sir Iain Chalmers, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, questions the apparent reluctance of the MRC to take credit for its ground-breaking work in the design and management of randomised multicentre controlled clinical trials in the 1950s. Describing the MRC as ‘curiously silent’ about the enduring value of its role in developing the science of clinical trials, Sir Iain calls for research to gather relevant data and understand the MRC’s lukewarm response to its own success.

25 October 2013

Call for World Bank to redefine poverty indicator to include the life of the unborn child

The World Bank must define life expectancy, its key poverty indicator, as starting at the time of conception and not at the time of birth if millions of lives are to be saved from injury or death.

10 October 2013

Continuity of care could cut delays in cancer diagnosis

Continuity of care so that all patients see the same GP with whom they build up a relationship over time could help reduce delays in the diagnosis of cancer in primary care.

20 September 2013

New call for GPs to relinquish independent contractor status

General practitioners should give up their independent contractor status and become NHS employees.

16 September 2013

Royal Society of Medicine Goes Electronic with ClinicalKey

The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) will provide its 21,000 members with electronic access to thousands of peer-reviewed medical and surgical journals and reference books.

12 September 2013

Public health experts urge government to consider health effects of austerity

The impact of austerity measures on health should be taken into account by the coalition government before it pursues further cuts. Public health experts, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, say that the intellectual foundations of austerity as an economic response to crises have been debunked and that evidence of austerity’s risks to health should be enough to give politicians pause.

31 July 2013

Junior doctor changeover likely to drive August reduction in quality and safety of patient care

New research suggests that failure by junior doctors in their annual changeover period to identify deteriorating patients and poor prioritisation skills are likely to drive a reduction in the quality and safety of patient care. Next Wednesday 7 August thousands of newly qualified doctors will take up their first hospital jobs and junior doctors will become a grade more senior. This period is associated with worse clinical outcomes than the rest of the year. Researchers writing in JRSM Short Reports, the open-access offshoot to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that there was a significant increase in the number of urgent medical tasks after changeover, but that new junior doctors completed routine tasks quicker than their more experienced predecessors. The researchers analysed data from the wireless system for the management of out-of-hours workflow at City Hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.

12 June 2013

New generation of pregnancy tests may improve miscarriage and abortion care and provide reassurance to women

A new generation of pregnancy tests that enable women to find out in the comfort and privacy of their own home whether their pregnancy is continuing or ending may soon be available in the UK. Experts gathering at a conference organised by the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) today will hear how the semi-quantitative pregnancy test (SQPT) could provide reassurance to women in early pregnancy and improve the management of abortion and miscarriage.

11 June 2013

Screening fails to affect breast cancer mortality statistics

New research analysing breast cancer mortality data spanning almost 40 years concludes that breast cancer screening does not yet show an effect on mortality statistics.

29 May 2013

New research finds hernia surgery offers value for money

New research suggesting that elective hernia surgery offers value-for-money and improved quality of life for patients has been published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The new analysis is based on patients' own assessments of their health-related quality of life together with costs reported by hospitals. The research also indicates that keyhole surgery may offer more health benefit and value for money than open surgery for hernia operations. Recently it has been suggested that the NHS could save money by reducing access to hernia repair surgery.

09 May 2013

Experts dispute conclusion of PIP breast implant scandal investigation

Experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine disagree with the conclusion that PIP breast implants do not show any evidence of significant risk to human health. This was the decision reported in June 2012 by the panel appointed to investigate the PIP breast implant scandal chaired by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh. Disputing this the authors point to evidence showing that the PIP implants were found to contain a higher proportion of a group of small-sized molecules than the norm, including one referred to as D4 which has been identified as an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC). In low doses, EDCs are known to cause damage to a developing foetus.

08 May 2013

Junior doctors lack understanding of NHS reforms

Junior doctors are uninformed about current NHS reforms, despite being interested and concerned, according to new research published today by JRSM Short Reports. The researchers found that basic understanding of health politics and NHS reforms was poor, even on issues affecting future training. A total of 17.7% could not name the health secretary, 66.7% did not know the budget of the NHS and 71.6% did not know who would be responsible for health-care commissioning after the reforms. 90.2% felt they would value formal education on the current changes.

08 April 2013

Older patients have higher expectations and are more satisfied with healthcare

New research on patients' experiences of health services and how these relate to their expectations and satisfaction, published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, reveals that older people have higher expectations of their care and that they believe that their expectations are being met. The research questions prevailing stereotypes that characterise older patients as being satisfied with their care because their expectations are lower.

08 April 2013

NHS leaders must be held to account for Mid Staffs

A former Deputy Chief Medical Officer has called for NHS leaders to be held responsible for the failures at Mid Staffordshire Hospital. Professor Aidan Halligan, writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, describes a deafening silence from the medical profession since the release of the Francis report. "What you permit, you promote", he says, declaring true leadership as having the conviction to be accountable.

13 March 2013

Younger doctors more likely to train and work closer to home

Younger doctors are more likely than older generations to train and work in the same region as their home before entering medical school. New research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine investigating the geographical mobility of UK-trained doctors, reveals that 36% attended a medical school in their home region. 34% of hospital consultants and GP partners settled in the same region as their home before entering medical school. The geographical distribution of doctors is an important factor in the equitable distribution of health services.

08 February 2013

Support needed for children losing parent at early age

A study exploring the impact of early parental death has revealed the long-term damage and suffering that can be experienced by individuals in adult life if appropriate levels of support are not provided at the time of bereavement. The new research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, describes the low self-esteem, loneliness, isolation and inability to express feelings of some individuals who lost a parent in childhood, with the effects felt for as long as 71 years after the bereavement.

05 February 2013

Tourists face health risks from contact with captive sea turtles

Tourists coming into contact with sea turtles at holiday attractions face a risk of health problems, according to research published today by JRSM Short Reports. Encountering free-living sea turtles in nature is quite safe, but contact with wild-caught and captive-housed sea turtles, typically through handling turtles in confined pools or through consuming turtle products, carries the risk of exposure to toxic contaminants and to zoonotic (animal to human) pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Symptoms, which may take some time to emerge, can resemble gastrointestinal disorders or flu but people more severely affected can suffer septicaemia, pneumonia, meningitis and acute renal failure.