David Haslam

Sir David Haslam, member of the Rethinking Medicine working group.

It is as dangerous as smoking, as risky as high blood pressure, as hazardous as obesity. It increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%, particularly through heart disease and stroke. It has clear correlations with cognitive decline, the development of dementia, depression, and suicide. People with it are more likely to visit their GP, have higher use of medication, higher incidence of falls and increased risk factors for long term care. The pharmaceutical industry is working on a medication to treat it.

It is loneliness.

Andrew Rix

Andrew Rix is a behavioural scientist with research interests in health and social care. He was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2010.

Andrew Rix took part in our first webinar of 2020, which explored a clinical case of a person known as ‘Paula’. 
The recent Rethinking Medicine webinar used the Balint method to explore alternatives to the bio-clinical approach. The technique involves a discussion among clinicians to explain connections between psychological factors and physical symptoms. 

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Lynne Craven

This blog was written by Lynne Craven, who took part in our first webinar of 2020, which explored a clinical case of a person known as ‘Paula’. 

I joined the Rethinking Medicine webinar on Monday, not because I am a clinician, rather because I am an interested patient. I heard the story about Paula and I can’t stop thinking about her and thinking that I could have been like Paula.

Continue reading “I could have been Paula”


Image of Dr Shaba Nabi
Dr Shaba Nabi

Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol.

The winter vomiting bug has done its rounds in our household and my daughter was the last to succumb. As I prompted her to drink more, she asked me which was healthier – water or milk? I thought about it for a few minutes and then told her it depends what you want to achieve. If you want to be hydrated, then water is healthier, but if you want calories and protein, then milk is healthier. She immediately declared she was dehydrated and went off to fetch herself a cup of water.

Continue reading “Let’s start the new decade by telling patients the truth”

Angela Coulter

Angela Coulter is a health policy analyst and researcher, with special interests in patient and public involvement. 

I was shocked to learn at a recent meeting that some clinical geneticists think it’s OK to screen patients for underlying cancer risk without discussing the options with them and without seeking their informed consent.


Image of Ollie Hart
Ollie Hart

I want to talk about the concept of ‘failure demand’ – something discussed in  Beyond Command and Control by John Seddon et al and which I find really compelling.

This idea is that much of healthcare work (and many other areas) is driven by demand created by failing to address the issues that matter most to people. Our systems create blocks and obstacles that make it very difficult to resolve people’s most pressing concerns quickly and fully. It creates further ‘shock waves’ of demand, as people seek alternative ways to navigate the obstructive system.

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Ebele Aniereobi

Ebele Aniereobi and Sophie Haughton, two of the University of Birmingham’s social prescribing champions, discuss the importance of educating medical students about social prescribing.  

Social prescribing was, initially, a novel idea to us. Three of us were enticed into becoming champions by a post in the medical school’s bulletin extolling the benefits and importance of social prescribing, but for one of us, the inspiration came from a Future of Medicine conference.



Image Sophie Haughton
Sophie Haughton

Sir Sam Everington spoke about The Bromley by Bow Centre, a pioneering charity that combines an extensive neighbourhood hub with a medical practice and community research project. The fact that this model of integrating services based on individual needs has existed and thrived for 35 years tells us that social prescribing isn’t just wishful thinking, but a feasible way of transforming community health


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Kate Eisenstein

Kate Eisenstein is an experienced leader in public policy, strategy and engagement, with a background in health, social care and local public services. She writes this blog in a personal capacity, but is currently Assistant Director of Insight and Public Affairs at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

As someone who has spent most of their career in health and other public services, I am a passionate advocate for the power of public services, including the NHS, to transform lives for the better. As someone living with multiple long-term health problems, I am no stranger to NHS care myself.

Since becoming unwell with another new condition last year, attending medical appointments has effectively become an additional part-time job. If I’ve learnt anything from this experience, it’s that rethinking medicine has the power to utterly transform the experience and outcomes of care for both clinicians and patients.

Image of Healthcare in Transition book coverAlan Cribb is Professor of Bioethics and Education at King’s College London and co-director of the Centre for Public Policy Research.

​The consensus that ‘something needs to change’ among the Rethinking Medicine Working Group (and indeed among the constituencies with which it has engaged) has been remarkable – see ‘Why we are rethinking medicine‘.

Nonetheless, the emerging Rethinking Medicine ‘movement’ has a lot still to do to clarify and communicate the change message and to tackle the ‘how’ of change. This includes understanding sceptical reactions, avoiding getting drawn into simple ‘x=good, y=bad’ dichotomies, and acknowledging the complexities of change while clearly signposting a direction.

Continue reading “Rethinking and rebalancing – what does it entail?”

Image of Dr Shaba Nabi
Shaba Nabi

Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol. 

I’m writing this blog after screaming at the telly as the Public Health England’s chief executive told us we need to ‘know our numbers’.He meant our cholesterol and blood pressure readings, but other numbers are far more important.

The numbers that people really need to know are their odds of having a heart attack or a stroke – and this is an area where GPs genuinely are best placed. So if the government wants to reduce health spend and improve outcomes, it needs to value the GP consultation more.


Continue reading “Gambling with patients’ health odds”