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“We need evidence to prove social prescribing works”, says former children’s tsar

Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green was the first Children’s Commissioner for England and is a former president of the British Medical Association. An influential figure on children’s health and development for more than 40 years, here, Aynsley-Green debates the role social…

Joanna Tweedy
Taxing cigarettes has worked: is it now time to do the same with bad food?

Simon Tuckey has spent much of his career in the food industry in the UK and overseas. Here, he debates the idea that obesity has become so costly to the NHS it’s time to use financial mechanisms to reduce food…

Simon Tuckey
How to make GPs stay? Work to reduce lifestyle-related illnesses putting such strain on the NHS

Heather Richards, Director of Nutrition at the Sano School of Culinary Medicine, writes on how GPs need to be better equipped on nutrition if the burden on the healthcare system is to be reduced… Nutrition knowledge for healthcare professionals and involvement…

Heather Richards
‘People come to a yoga class feeling anxious – when they leave they’re able to cope better with life’s pressures’

Davy Jones has been teaching yoga for 12 years and practising for 20. He is chair of the Brighton Yoga Foundation and, here, explains how the organisation is helping to reach out to diverse areas of the community: Yoga is…

Davy Jones
Healthcare professionals should be lobbying against climate change: the population’s health depends on it

Dr James Szymankiewicz is a GP working in North Devon.  He is currently Vice Chair of the GP Collaborative Board representing the 22 North Devon practices. He’s also the current Chair of Devon Local Nature Partnership which focuses on enhancing Devon’s natural environment. Here,…

Dr James Szymankiewicz
Case study: How an impromptu acupuncture session helped prevent a hospital referral

Jens Foell is a peripatetic GP who uses acupuncture within his practice when appropriate. Here, he explains how he turned to his needle kit to treat an elderley patient presenting with acute myofascial pain… Bian Que is a prominent figure in…

Joanna Tweedy
Student doctors need social prescribing in their toolkit: the nation’s future health depends on it

Bogdan Chiva Giurca, Chair of the National Social Prescribing Student Champion Scheme, offers insight how the current generation of trainee doctors are being taught social prescribing… Developing a national consensus for teaching social prescribing within UK medical schools, the Social…

Bogdan Chiva Giurca
How to best support a patient? Start actually listening to them!

Damien Ridge, Professor of Health Studies and Head of Psychology at the University of Westminster, writes on how healthcare professionals need to look more closely at patient evidence… “In thinking about the College of Medicine’s mission to empower patients, I…

Damien Ridge
When the side-effects of medicine outweigh the benefits: How over-prescribing is making us sick

South London GP James Le Fanu published his book, Too Many Pills: How Too Much Medicine is Endangering Our Health and What We Can Do About It, earlier this year. A regular writer on medicine and science for the Sunday…

James Le Fanu
How to fix public health? A new breed of GP is needed…

College of Medicine founder, senior GP and NHS England social prescribing champion, Dr Michael Dixon, told gponline.com this week that public health needs to be ‘built around general practice’, with an increased role for volunteers. Here, Dr Luke Allen, GP Academic Clinical…

Dr Luke Allen
The NHS has a duty of care to prevent doctor burn-out – for the well-being of staff AND patients

Professor David Peters, Clinical Director in the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Westminster, warns the NHS urgently needs a Charter of Compassionate Practice to prevent staff demoralised by excessive workloads from leaving the healthcare system…     The NHS…

Professor David Peters
How everyday foods could help fight depression and dementia

Health Guide, herbal practitioner and Pukka strategist Simon Mills on how everyday plants including cocoa and turmeric could help health problems associated with inflammation… Ground-breaking new research suggests that inflammation could be a key contributor to depression, dementia and other pressing…

Simon Mills
How a theatre director changed the way I interact with my patients

London-based GP, acupuncturist and Lu Jong yoga teacher Deniah Pachai explains how a book on communication by British voice coach and director Patsy Rodenburg OBE has changed the way she communicates… I could never have imagined that an author who writes…

Dr Deniah Pachai
Should doctors recommend acupuncture for pain?

Mike Cummings, College of Medicine Lead for Acupuncture within Medicine and Medical Director of the British Medical Acupuncture Society, expresses his views on whether doctors should prescribe acupuncture… The evolution of this debate[1], should doctors recommend acupuncture for pain?, has…

Mike Cummings
The mouth reflects whole body health – but what does integrated care mean for dentists?

Professor Sonia Williams holds the Emeritus Chair in Oral Health Services Research at the University of Leeds and was awarded the MBE for her work in child and ethnic minorities dental health. Here, Professor Williams explores how integrated oral health…

Professor Sonia Williams
How health inequality in Crawley has been transformed and the town now boasts the UK’s lowest emergency admission rates

GP Dr Amit Bhargava explains why the north-west Sussex town of Crawley has one of the lowest rates of emergency admissions in the country – and has been recognised as the most dementia-friendly community in the UK. The town, close…

Dr Amit Bhargava
How increased education on Integrative Medicine is changing the way GPs help patients

Dr Elizabeth Thompson, Academic Director for the Diploma for Integrative Medicine, which launched in Bristol in 2017, explains how the course is helping students develop a critical and enquiring approach to a variety of therapeutic interventions: The Diploma Development Team…

Dr Elizabeth Thompson
Social exclusion kills: Society’s healthcare systems can and must help

Medical Director for the charity Pathway, Dr Nigel Hewett OBE has been instrumental in recognising the need for healthcare systems to practise ‘Inclusion Health’. Here, Dr Hewett explains why medical professionals must work together to bring down the high mortality rates experienced by…

Dr Nigel Hewett
Israel’s life expectancy rates match East London’s but the UK spends double the amount on healthcare

GP Sir Sam Everington OBE, Chairman of Tower Hamlets CCG, examines whether the UK’s life expectancy rates could be dramatically improved by focusing on social determinants and a better use of technology: In the East End of London the difference in life…

Sir Sam Everington
Dr Michael Dixon on Radio 4’s Today programme: “We need to find the right fit for patients, not just reach for a pill”

Dr Michael Dixon appeared on the Today programme on Radio 4 on 5th January 2018…below is a transcript of the comments Dr Dixon made in discussion with presenter John Humphrys: ON MOVING AWAY FROM PRESCRIBING TABLETS “Too often we reach…

Dr Michael Dixon
Student doctors need to push for better education on social prescribing

Bogdan Chiva Giurca, Social Prescribing Student Lead and a medical student at Exeter Medical School, believes the new generation of medics must engage now with social prescribing to help build a more sustainable future for the NHS…   The importance of…

Bogdan Chiva Giurca
How a social prescribing pilot in North Staffordshire is transforming GP services

Dr Ruth Chambers, OBE, highlights how a pilot scheme is helping patients with social, emotional and practical needs across North Staffordshire… The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Hub social prescribing project was launched as a six-month pilot in February 2015…

Dr Ruth Chambers
Nurses are vital to progressive, integrated healthcare – because they have the trust of patients
Nurse and patient

Nurses earn the confidence of their patients and are often best placed to advise them on alternative care, writes Professor Dame Donna Kinnair: Nurses and midwives are in a unique position to ensure that every patient is able to access holistic…

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair
Everyone has a responsibility to nurture today’s children: a sustainable future depends upon it

There needs to be a fundamental change in the way society cares for children if we are to fully unleash their potential, writes Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, currently visiting Professor in Advocacy for Children and Childhood Nottingham Trent University…  Children…

Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green
News
A clarion-call to support the practise and research of complementary medicine.

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75 College of Medicine bursaries: Apply now!

The College of Medicine is delighted to offer medical students, junior doctors, GPs and GPs in training the opportunity to apply for a bursary to upcoming College events including one of our 2019 two-day Foundation Courses on Integrated Medicine in…

Know a social prescribing champion? Enter our awards!

The Social Prescribing Awards are a new initiative from the Social Prescribing Network, the College of Medicine and the University of Westminster, and are organised by Chamberlain Dunn. The winners will be celebrated during the International Social Prescribing Network Conference…

UK’s top supermarkets ‘misleading shoppers’ on healthy food, investigation finds

The UK’s leading supermarkets – including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – are marketing some products as ‘healthy choices’ to shoppers when they’re laden with bad fats, sugar and salt, a new investigation has claimed. BBC Radio 5 Live sent researchers…

‘It’s social prescription at its best’: College of Medicine joins Duchess of Cornwall at Lambeth Food Co-op

WATCH VIDEO: The College of Medicine’s Chair Dr Michael Dixon has praised a community-led food co-operative in Lambeth, calling the project ‘social prescription at its very beginning and very best’. Dr Dixon joined HRH Duchess of Cornwall in the London…

College of Medicine welcomes NHS link workers plan

An army of advisers will be recruited to help patients live fitter, healthier lives and combat anxiety, loneliness and depression under plans to ramp up social prescribing set to be launched by NHS England this week. Around half of GP…

Could exercise reverse dementia? Study finds activity hormone may protect brain

Cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s could be helped by a hormone that is naturally released during exercise, according to a study in Brazil and the US. Scientists researched the effects of irisin, a protein emitted by the body during…

Superfood spirulina could help reduce blood pressure, says new research

Blood pressure could be lowered by a form of algae, according to a new study. Superfood spirulina (arthrospira platensis), technically a bacteria, was found to contain a protein that helps arteries to ‘relax’ by researchers at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute…

Type 2 diabetes leads to mental decline in middle-age, new research says

Patients with diabetes Type 2 are more likely to have increased mental decline during later life, new research says. The new study, carried out by the University of Tasmania, found that memory and verbal fluency declined significantly in elderly people with…

University of Tasmania
Life expectancy disparity: Poor people living in England are likely to die around ten years before rich

People growing up in poverty in England have a life expectancy of ten years less than their richer peers. A new study says the gap between rich and poor is getting wider when it comes to life span. And children…

Imperial College London's School of Public Health
The arts are an ‘indispensable tool’ in helping the NHS, Matt Hancock tells The King’s Fund

The Health and Social Care Secretary said the NHS should look to ‘social cures’ including music, dance and reading to reduce pressure on the health service. Speaking at The King’s Fund in London, Conservative minister Matt Hancock told the audience…

Health Secretary unveils bespoke health advice to extend life by five years by 2035

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has unveiled a new government healthcare strategy that hopes to extend life expectancy in the UK by five years. The Conservative plans, which will use personal data and will be officially unveiled in…

Doctors should take cookery lessons to offer patients better advice on nutrition

GPs should consider taking cookery courses so they’re better placed to advise patients on healthy eating, which in turn could reduce the country’s Type 2 diabetes rate. Britain’s obesity problem is currently the worst in Europe, with around two thirds…

College of Medicine welcomes Theresa May’s new policy on social prescribing to combat loneliness

The College of Medicine has welcomed the news that social prescribing will be offered within primary care by 2023. The Prime Minister announced on October 15th that GPs in England will be able to prescribe activities including dance, cookery and…

Scientists link common painkiller to increased risk of heart problems

A popular painkiller has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, according to a new study published in the BMJ. Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark found that the commonly-used painkiller diclofenac was associated with an…

Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark
Social prescribing should become ‘normal practice’ for GPs, says Health Secretary

The new Health Secretary has backed plans to dramatically increase social prescription on the NHS, saying GPs and healthcare professionals should advise patients that playing sport and being sociable are key to their health. Matt Hancock said growing evidence suggested…

Hard-to-spot ‘micro-organs’ hold key to how the body ‘remembers’ returning infections

Scientists believe they’ve come a step closer to understanding how the body ‘remembers’ to fight illnesses. Researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, say they’ve discovered ‘micro-organs’, tiny banks of cells that act as a central…

Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia
Two thirds of GPs think engaging with the arts can help to prevent ill health

A survey of GPs has revealed that nearly two thirds of them think that the arts can make a significant contribution towards preventing ill health among the public. More than 1,000 general practitioners were questioned in the research for AESOP…

Middle-age misery: report finds ‘sandwich generation’ is the least happy

The pressures of looking after growing children…and caring for ageing parents is making middle-aged people miserable, according to new research. A survey into the happiness of the nation found that the ‘sandwich generation’, aged between 45 and 59, who still…

Office for National Statistics
Doctors and ‘bedside robots’ will work side-by-side in NHS Artificial Intelligence revolution

The rise of technology within healthcare could save the NHS £12.5bn a year, according to a new report which predicts an Artificial Intelligence revolution. Embracing ‘full automation’ could see tasks normally performed by GPs, surgeons, nurses and administration staff assigned…

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Lord Darzi
GPs trained in complementary medicine less likely to prescribe antibiotics

GPs who are trained in complementary medicine including homeopathy prescribe less antibiotics than GPs without integrative medicine (IM) training, according to new research. UK, German and Dutch researchers, led by the University of Bristol, used prescribing data from 7,274 GP…

Not exposing infants to germs could increase risk of developing leukaemia, says leading professor

Young children who have not been exposed to microbes during their earliest years could be at an increased risk of leukaemia, according to a leading British scientist. Professor Mel Greaves, of the Institute of Cancer Research, revealed that acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,…

Study finds dementia risk linked to use of anticholinergics

An extensive new study has found links between dementia and people who use anticholinergics over a long period of time. Researchers at the University of East Anglia made the associations after studying the medical records of more than 40,000 patients…

University of East Anglia, UK
Dame Sally Davies: ‘Daily cocktail of pollutants’ is harming health

The NHS Chief Medical Officer is advising people to switch off electronic screens including phones and tablets to reduce the effects of light pollution. Dame Sally Davies said the bright light from screens is just one of a ‘daily cocktail…

Features
A stroke knocks life sideways but the creative arts can help re-build confidence

Life after a stroke is a journey home, home to one’s post stroke self and the familiarity of family and actual home. However, as Odysseus found on his return from Troy, the journey does not always go as planned. Recovery…

How the College of Medicine marked first International Social Prescribing Day

Thursday March 14th marked the very first International Social Prescribing Day, designed to highlight the importance and significance of social prescribing within healthcare and its potential benefits for well-being for people across the world. Social prescribing is a healthcare model…

Explainer: How does social prescribing actually work?

It’s the healthcare buzzword that has moved from the periphery to the mainstream thanks to the government’s 2018 pledge to inject £4.5million into NHS social prescribing. Ahead of National Social Prescribing Day on March 14th 2019…here’s what you need to…

Winter blues? Expert tips for feeling well all year

When a team of psychologists sat down over a decade ago to examine days when Britons might feel more susceptible to negative feelings, they came up with a formula to pin-point the most depressing day of the year. Suggesting how…

‘More than five ingredients? Put it back!’ Sano School of Culinary Medicine founder Heather Richards on clean eating, healthy food myths and keeping motivated…

London-based Heather Richards founded the Sano School of Culinary Medicine in 2017 with her husband Doug in a bid to provide education on real, nutritionally-balanced food. Here, she speaks to the College of Medicine about convincing children to enjoy wholesome food over…

‘Three years ago I couldn’t even walk into a shop’: Five women reveal deeply personal stories on how yoga transformed their lives

The ancient art of yoga remains powerfully in tune with modern life, with everyone from stressed-out office workers to time-poor parents and life-long yogis finding sanctity on the mat. However, for some, yoga hasn’t just been an occasional soul-soother but…

Doctors should take cookery lessons to offer patients better advice on nutrition

GPs should consider taking cookery courses so they’re better placed to advise patients on healthy eating, which in turn could reduce the country’s Type 2 diabetes rate. Britain’s obesity problem is currently the worst in Europe, with around two thirds…

Losing weight soon after a diabetes Type 2 diagnosis could prevent long-term damage, says new research

Patients with Type 2 diabetes should try and lose weight as soon as they’re diagnosed – to have the best chance of countering the disease, says new research. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body stops producing insulin and currently…

University of Newcastle
“There is still much shame surrounding ‘invisible pain’ conditions”: The Countess of Devon on how integrative medicine helps her to live better with fibromyalgia

The Countess of Devon, AJ Langer-Courtenay, first shot to fame on US television shows including My So-Called Life. After marrying her husband, Charles Courtenay, the 19th Earl of Devon, the Californian, 44, now resides in Powderham Castle, near Exeter. The…

Holidays could be more effective than eating well and exercise for health, study says

How much holiday people take a year could have a direct impact on health, scientists in Sweden have found. A 40-year study carried out by the University of Helsinki concluded that men who took less than three weeks’ annual leave…

The University of Helsinki
Cutting carbohydrates could damage health, Havard study finds

People trying to lose weight by excluding carbohydrates from their food intake could damage their long-term health, according to a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health. The research, carried out on 15,400 adults aged 45 to 64 over…

Harvard School of Public Health
Dining at least two hours before bedtime could cut risk of some cancers

The southern Mediterranean lifestyle, where dinner is often served very late in the evening, could be putting people at risk from certain cancers. Sitting down to eat a big meal within two hours of going to bed could increase the…

Barcelona Institute for Global Health
Minor changes to diet could ‘supercharge’ the metabolism (and let you eat cheese and biscuits)

An indulgent final course of cheese and biscuits could actually promote weight loss, according to a leading Kings College professor whose new book suggests making small tweaks to how we eat could boost the metabolism and keep weight stable. Professor Tim…

Fish oil could alleviate side effects during some cancer treatments

Taking a fish oil supplement could help reduce painful side effects in patients being treated for breast and bowel cancer, suggests new research. Two studies show that omega-3 fatty acids could help alleviate pain that some treatments cause including joint…

American Society of Oncology, Chicago
A Mediterranean diet boosts good bacteria levels in the microbiome, says new research

The benefits of a Mediterranean diet on health are well documented but new research shows that eating a diet rich in fish, vegetables, legumes, fruit and olive oil could offer a significant boost to levels of good bacteria in the…

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina, US
Drinking three cups of coffee a day may decrease coronary calcification, finds research

A new study by a Brazilian university suggests drinking three cups of coffee daily could help to decrease coronary calcification – but drinking too much could have a negative impact. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found that people…

University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Eating lentils could help to reduce decline in blood vessel health, says research

They are the simplest of legumes…but new research from a Canadian university suggests that lentils could help fight high blood pressure. A research team at the University of Manitoba found that blood vessel health could be improved by eating the…

University of Manitoba, Canada
Dance can help Britain’s health crisis, says Darcey Bussell ahead of conference

Dance and dance fitness can play a significant role in keeping the nation healthy says former Royal Ballet star Darcey Bussell. The Strictly Come Dancing judge will tell delegates at a conference in April that dancing can have an impact…

BBC Radio 4 show explores the influence of iodine on health

A recent Radio 4 programme explored how iodine makes an essential contribution to modern health including sources of iodine, global approaches to the nutrient and whether pregnant women should take supplements to boost the body’s levels: The phrase ‘essential ‘element’…

Compound found in turmeric could boost memory by 30 per cent

A powerful compound found in the spice turmeric could boost memory and even ease depression, according to new research. The US study showed that the compound curcumin can help to prevent protein build-up in parts of the brain that are…

University of California, Los Angeles
Could eating meals at the same time every day help to stave off dementia?

Sitting down to eat meals at the same time every day could help to prevent dementia, according to new research. A study carried out by the University of California looked at how regular meal-times had a positive influence on gene…

University of California, Los Angeles
‘Healthy’ vegetable oil could increase plaque build-ups in brain

A vegetable oil that is marketed as being less expensive and healthier than some other cooking oils could lead to a build-up of plaques in the brain associated with dementia. In a new study, canola oil was also found to…

Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM), Philadelphia
Good bacteria in the gut could help cancer patients, research finds
bacteria in science lab

How well a patient responds to cancer treatment could be down to the bacteria in their digestive system, says new research. The microbiome – micro-organisms that live in the human body and help regulate the immune system and keep the…

Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus, Paris; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
New study says e-cigarettes could be as harmful as smoking tobacco

They’ve been hailed as healthy cigarettes but taking up ‘vaping’ may be just as harmful to health as tobacco, new research says. The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill found that e-cigarettes, which mimic smoking by heating a liquid through…

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
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