Thursday, 20 November 2008

Ten of the best: 4 Behind the headlines


Ten of the best: 4 Behind the headlines


Last week I had an unplanned trip to the GP due to the experiment my nine year old had decided to do with a 20 pence piece (yes it does fit down the oesophagus). Given that he wasn't blue or anything, I figured he was probably ok and so took the opportunity to do a bit of people watching.

Sitting across from me were two middle aged women and a similarly aged chap, who was, for some inexplicable reason, and much to the envy of the nine year old, drinking one of those intriguingly coloured slush drinks (purple). He didn't contribute much to the conversation beyond 'aye, you can't be too careful.' The women, on the other hand, were intently studying a copy of the Daily Mail and discussing, in hushed tones (not all that hushed), the adverse effects of HRT. It transpired that one of the women was planning to question her treatment with the GP, in response to what they were reading in the paper.

I suspect that, for GPs up and down the country, this is a familiar situation and one that I'm sure you, as student doctors, will face sooner or later. Are you equipped with the skills to respond?

One resource that you may find useful is the 'Behind the headlines' service. The brainchild of Sir Muir Gray, Chief Knowledge Officer of the NHS, Behind the headlines provides an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news.

This is how is works:

  • Each day the NHS Choices team selects health stories that are making headlines.

  • These, along with the scientific articles behind the stories, are sent to Bazian, a leading provider of evidence-based healthcare information.

  • Bazian's clinicians and scientists analyse the research and produce impartial evidence-based assessments, which are edited and published by NHS Choices.

Behind the headlines can be found on the National Library for Health:

or connect directly at:

If you want to use the service to keep up with health stories in the news you can set up an RSS feed or use the auto-alert function.

and remember ... just because it's in the Daily Mail, doesn't automatically mean it's wrong ;-)



  1. Wow that's really useful. Where has this been hiding?! Thanks,

  2. This is interesting and really accessible. It'd be a useful read for students applying to med school before their interviews too

  3. Yes it is a great resource. I'll try and get some marketing material for the open days next year. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Thanks so much for posting this blog! To be completely honest I really only came to this website for entirely selfish reasons, an i-pod :/
    Was pretty nonchalant about it all but when I came across this blog I literally gawped at it with my eyes out on stalks! As a med student on GP placement at the moment, I felt that I'd just been thrown thrown a life-line. I can whole-heartedly say that consultations beginning with the dreaded "I've just read in the Daily Mail..." not only make my heart sink but can be by far the trickiest.
    This resource really is invaluable for med students.
    Thanks again and I await with enthusiasm for future blogs!
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Brilliant site, great for telling you what's in the news and for pointing you in the right direction for the research. Thanks all round