Editors’ Blog

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Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

The premier primary care research meeting in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Society of Academic Primary Care (SAPC) meeting, was hosted by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Margaret Cupples, a long time friend and colleague, gave the opening keynote address, guiding us through the evolving patterns of morbidity and mortality in cardiovascular disease ...continue reading

DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

I'm heading to Oxford, England, this week, to teach a session at the EQUATOR [Network's] Publication School. I'll be talking about what scientific editors do - and particularly about what they want - as well as what to do to ensure that you get your paper published. From writing a good submission letter, to responding well to peer reviewers' comments in a revision, it's important to pay attention to detail. Here's a brief video summary ...continue reading

CSE_photoshot_KPKirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ. She is currently attending the Canadian Paediatric Society annual meeting in Charlottetown, PEI

 

For the past two-and-a-bit days I’ve been privileged to be able to attend the Canadian Paediatric Society annual meeting. I love this community of physicians. They come across as the most optimistic, caring and forward-thinking group. Participants always come with families and even small babies in tow. They seem to be, without exception, interested in improving the wellbeing of every child not just some kids. I always leave the conference feeling uplifted by what I have heard and learned, and hopeful about the strategies being developed by the CPS.

This morning I woke up to discover that #Brexit was no longer something abstract that I was pretty sure couldn’t possibly happen, but something real that a 52% majority of people in a country of which I am a citizen decided was something they’d like to try. My social media feeds were full of peoples’ shock and disbelief; clearly my friends and acquaintances voted as I did ...continue reading

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Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ. She is currently attending the Canadian Paediatric Society annual meeting in Charlottetown, PEI

 

Much as I love the Harry Potter books and love reading them to my kids, they’re a little too fictional for my taste, and I’m not talking about the magic. Thing is… kids who grow up with the chronic stress of abuse and near-starvation in their formative years seldom – actually pretty much never - go on to be high-functioning, top-of-their-class children with great self-restraint and a well-functioning moral compass. If you heap adversity on a child you’re more likely to get a Neville Longbottom / Tom Riddle mix, not our beloved Harry. So there’s something about me that feels awkward about feeding the Harry Potter fiction to my kids.

This was reinforced for me yesterday when I attended the first Canadian screening of the Sundance Festival film “Resilience” at the Canadian Paediatric Society Conference ( ...continue reading

Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK. He recently attended the 2016 Primary Health Care Research Conference (PHCRIS) in Canberra, Australia
 

Grant Russell, newly elected for a second term as President of the Australasia Association of Academic Primary Care (AAAPC) was upbeat in his introduction to the second day of the meeting. He reminded us how the Canadian academic, Martin Bass, had warned against learned helplessness and he pointed out that primary care has much more influence than we give ourselves credit for.

Claire Jackson, one of Australia’s leading primary care researchers was introduced at her plenary lecture as “an eternal optimist”. True to form, she told us that there has never been a more exciting time to be in primary care research. She listed the national primary health care strategy, the primary care framework, and the 31 primary health networks. While there have been numerous health care reforms, each one has primary care at its centre and there is growing government awareness of the need to address complex chronic illness in community. ...continue reading

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Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK. He is currently attending the 2016 Primary Health Care Research Conference in Canberra, Australia

 

“This is the time to be in general practice...This is the time to be in general practice research,”
said Steve Hambleton,  former chair of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, a body created to look at options to reform care for people with complex and chronic illness. Steve gave the opening conference address. He spoke about the advisory group's work, their wide ranging membership including family doctors, other providers and consumers, and he outlined three areas that would be major challenges in the future: chronic care, obesity, and preventable disease. Steve also reminded us that those patients with the greatest number of diseases see the greatest number of doctors. The final report, delivered on ...continue reading

DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

Couch potatoes say that you never see a happy jogger, and they might be right. Too many runners train too hard, think “no-pain-no-gain” and don’t take time to step back.  Intelligent middle aged high achievers (like us doctors) often make the same mistakes.  Forget the Sports Guru nonsense. Your body is not a highly tuned Grand Prix racing machine.  Most of us just chug along like a four-door family saloon. So, here are a few suggestions to help you avoid injury, burn out, and boredom. Basic, simple and obvious, they won’t sell many running magazines but they might be of some use to middle of the road athletes expecting miracles, underachievers who mismatch training loads and life circumstance, and obsessives who feel rest and relaxation should be avoided at all costs. ...continue reading

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DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

My programmed response is always to jump to the defence of primary care, but a report entitled “Chronic Failure in Primary Care” that was recently published by the Grattan Institute, a public policy think tank in Melbourne, Australia, raises interesting challenges.

It was written by Jo Wright, Hal Swerissen, a health policy expert from LaTrobe University in Australia, and Stephen Duckett, an economist who will be known to many Canadians from his time in Alberta. It is critical and challenging but behind the headlines there are some constructive ideas. ...continue reading

Patrick_Kirsten_headshotCrop4Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

This morning I swam at my local YMCA with Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change. Minister McKenna and I belong to the same Masters Swim Club. I don’t see her as much as I used to….well, I see a great many photos of her on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, but I don’t see her much in the pool. She's a busy lady and last week she attended the ceremony for the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement on behalf of Canada at UN Headquarters in New York. It was Earth Day – 22 April – and 175 Parties (174 countries and the European Union) signed up to the agreement that day. This number of signatories far exceeded the historical record for first-day signatures to an international agreement. It was joyous occasion in which Canada could and did participate with pride. Like a wedding on a perfect spring day.

But just as a wedding is an ideal thing and marriage a real thing, and confusing the ideal with the real never goes unpunished ...continue reading

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DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

They found the body. A short paragraph buried in the newspaper. Dr Rose Polge left her hospital shift two months previously and had not been seen since. Her car was found parked by the sea.

A young doctor took her own life. I wanted to write about it at the time but it was difficult to find the words. It seemed to me a tragedy, a great loss of a young life full of potential. But, these words cannot capture quite what I felt. Where have we gone wrong?

It brought me back. I remembered my first year after qualification. It was brutal; a shock. Suddenly I felt I carried all the responsibility. I saw seriously ill patients in the middle of the night and had to make critical decisions. It was a small hospital. I was the cardiac arrest team. The tiredness was unrelenting, the gnawing anxiety continuous. ...continue reading