Psychiatric illnesses are known risk factors for self-harm but associations between self-harm and physical illnesses are less well established. We aimed to stratify selected chronic physical and psychiatric illnesses according to their relative risk of self-harm.
Retrospective cohort studies using a linked dataset of Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) for 1999–2011.
Individuals with selected psychiatric or physical conditions were compared with a reference cohort constructed from patients admitted for a variety of other conditions and procedures.
All admissions and day cases in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in England.
Main outcome measures
Hospital episodes of self-harm. Rate ratios (RRs) were derived by comparing admission for self-harm between cohorts.
The psychiatric illnesses studied (depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and substance abuse) all had very high RRs (> 5) for self-harm. Of the physical illnesses studied, an increased risk of self-harm was associated with epilepsy (RR = 2.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.8–2.9), asthma (1.8, 1.8–1.9), migraine (1.8, 1.7–1.8), psoriasis (1.6, 1.5–1.7), diabetes mellitus (1.6, 1.5–1.6), eczema (1.4, 1.3–1.5) and inflammatory polyarthropathies (1.4, 1.3–1.4). RRs were significantly low for cancers (0.95, 0.93–0.97), congenital heart disease (0.9, 0.8–0.9), ulcerative colitis (0.8, 0.7–0.8), sickle cell anaemia (0.7, 0.6–0.8) and Down's syndrome (0.1, 0.1–0.2).
Psychiatric illnesses carry a greatly increased risk of self-harm as well as of suicide. Many chronic physical illnesses are also associated with an increased risk of both self-harm and suicide. Identifying those at risk will allow provision of appropriate monitoring and support.
self-harm; suicide; physical illness; psychiatric illness; chronic illness; cohort study; risk; suicidality
Recruitment of adequate numbers of doctors to psychiatry is
To report on career choice for psychiatry, comparing intending
psychiatrists with doctors who chose other clinical careers.
Questionnaire studies of all newly qualified doctors from all UK medical
schools in 12 qualification years between 1974 and 2009 (33 974 respondent
One, three and five years after graduation, 4–5% of doctors
specified psychiatry as their first choice of future career. This was largely
unchanged across the 35 years. Comparing intending psychiatrists with doctors
who chose other careers, factors with a greater influence on
psychiatrists’ choice included their experience of the subject at
medical school, self-appraisal of their own skills, and inclinations before
medical school. In a substudy of doctors who initially considered but then did
not pursue specialty choices, 72% of those who did not pursue psychiatry gave
‘job content’ as their reason compared with 33% of doctors who
considered but did not pursue other specialties. Historically, more women than
men have chosen psychiatry, but the gap has closed over the past decade.
Junior doctors’ views about psychiatry as a possible career
range from high levels of enthusiasm to antipathy, and are more polarised than
views about other specialties. Shortening of working hours and improvements to
working practices in other hospital-based specialties in the UK may have reduced
the relative attractiveness of psychiatry to women doctors. The extent to which
views of newly qualified doctors about psychiatry can be modified by medical
school education, and by greater exposure to psychiatry during student and early
postgraduate years, needs investigation.
Medical schools need to ensure that graduates feel well prepared for their first medical job. Our objective was to report on differences in junior doctors’ self-reported preparedness for work according to gender, ethnicity and graduate status.
Postal and electronic questionnaires.
Medical graduates of 2008 and 2009, from all UK medical schools, one year after graduation.
Main outcome measures
The main outcome measure was the doctors’ level of agreement with the statement that ‘My experience at medical school prepared me well for the jobs I have undertaken so far’, to which respondents were asked to reply on a scale from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’.
Women were slightly less likely than men to agree that they felt well prepared for work (50% of women agreed or strongly agreed vs. 54% of men), independently of medical school, ethnicity, graduate entry status and intercalated degree status, although they were no more likely than men to regard lack of preparedness as having been a problem for them. Adjusting for the other subgroup differences, non-white respondents were less likely to report feeling well prepared than white (44% vs. 54%), and were more likely to indicate that lack of preparedness was a problem (30% non-white vs. 24% white). There were also some gender and ethnic differences in preparedness for specific areas of work.
The identified gender and ethnic differences need to be further explored to determine whether they are due to differences in self-confidence or in actual preparedness.
medical education; junior doctors; preparedness for work; gender; ethnicity
The UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009 were among the first to experience a fully implemented, new, UK training programme, called the Foundation Training Programme, for junior doctors. We report doctors’ views of the first Foundation year, based on comments made as part of a questionnaire survey covering career choices, plans, and experiences.
Postal and email based questionnaires about career intentions, destinations and views were sent in 2009 and 2010 to all UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009. This paper is a qualitative study of ‘free-text’ comments made by first-year doctors when invited to comment, if they wished, on any aspect of their work, education, training, and future.
The response rate to the surveys was 48% (6220/12952); and 1616 doctors volunteered comments. Of these, 61% wrote about their first year of training, 35% about the working conditions they had experienced, 33% about how well their medical school had prepared them for work, 29% about their future career, 25% about support from peers and colleagues, 22% about working in medicine, and 15% about lifestyle issues. When concerns were expressed, they were commonly about the balance between service provision, administrative work, and training and education, with the latter often suffering when it conflicted with the needs of medical service provision. They also wrote that the quality of a training post often depended on the commitment of an individual senior doctor. Service support from seniors was variable and some respondents complained of a lack of team work and team ethic. Excessive hours and the lack of time for reflection and career planning before choices about the future had to be made were also mentioned. Some doctors wrote that their views were not sought by their hospital and that NHS management structures did not lend themselves to efficiency. UK graduates from non-UK homes felt insecure about their future career prospects in the UK. There were positive comments about opportunities to train flexibly.
Although reported problems should be considered in the wider context, in which the majority held favourable overall views, many who commented had been disappointed by aspects of their first year of work. We hope that the concerns raised by our respondents will prompt trainers, locally, to determine, by interaction with junior staff, whether or not these are concerns in their own training programme.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-014-0270-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Medical careers; Junior doctors; Medical education; Foundation training
We surveyed the UK medical qualifiers of 1993. We asked closed questions about their careers; and invited them to give us comments, if they wished, about any aspect of their work. Our aim in this paper is to report on the topics that this senior cohort of UK-trained doctors who work in UK medicine raised with us.
3479 contactable UK-trained medical graduates of 1993.
Main outcome measures
Comments made by doctors about their work, and their views about medical careers and training in the UK.
Postal and email questionnaires.
Response rate was 72% (2507); 2252 were working in UK medicine, 816 (36%) of whom provided comments. Positive comments outweighed negative in the areas of their own job satisfaction and satisfaction with their training. However, 23% of doctors who commented expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of junior doctors’ training, the impact of working time regulations, and with the requirement for doctors to make earlier career decisions than in the past about their choice of specialty. Some doctors were concerned about government health service policy; others were dissatisfied with the availability of family-friendly/part-time work, and we are concerned about attitudes to gender and work-life balance.
Though satisfied with their own training and their current position, many senior doctors felt that changes to working hours and postgraduate training had reduced the level of experience gained by newer graduates. They were also concerned about government policy interventions.
physicians; career choice; medical staff; attitude of health personnel
To report the career progression of a cohort of UK medical graduates in mid-career, comparing men and women.
Postal and questionnaire survey conducted in 2010/2011, with comparisons with earlier surveys.
In total, 2507 responding UK medical graduates of 1993.
Main outcome measures
Doctors’ career specialties, grade, work location and working pattern in 2010/2011 and equivalent data in earlier years.
The respondents represented 72% of the contactable cohort; 90% were working in UK medicine and 7% in medicine outside the UK; 87% were in the UK NHS (87% of men and 86% of women). Of doctors in the NHS, 70.6% of men and 52.0% of women were in the hospital specialties and the great majority of the others were in general practice. Within hospital specialties, a higher percentage of men than women were in surgery, and a higher percentage of women than men were in paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, clinical oncology, pathology and psychiatry. In the NHS, 63% of women and 8% of men were working less-than-full-time (in general practice, 19% of men and 83% of women; and in hospital specialties, 3% of men and 46% of women). Among doctors who had always worked full-time, 94% of men and 87% of women GPs were GP principals; in hospital practice, 96% of men and 93% of women had reached consultant level.
The 1993 graduates show a continuing high level of commitment to the NHS. Gender differences in seniority lessened considerably when comparing doctors who had always worked full-time.
medical careers; career choices; career progression; gender differences
AIM: To investigate associations between perinatal risk factors and subsequent inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children and young adults.
METHODS: Record linked abstracts of birth registrations, maternity, day case and inpatient admissions in a defined population of southern England. Investigation of 20 perinatal factors relating to the maternity or the birth: maternal age, Crohn’s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) in the mother, maternal social class, marital status, smoking in pregnancy, ABO blood group and rhesus status, pre-eclampsia, parity, the infant’s presentation at birth, caesarean delivery, forceps delivery, sex, number of babies delivered, gestational age, birthweight, head circumference, breastfeeding and Apgar scores at one and five minutes.
RESULTS: Maternity records were present for 180 children who subsequently developed IBD. Univariate analysis showed increased risks of CD among children of mothers with CD (P = 0.011, based on two cases of CD in both mother and child) and children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy. Multivariate analysis confirmed increased risks of CD among children of mothers who smoked (odds ratio = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.06-3.92) and for older mothers aged 35+ years (4.81, 2.32-9.98). Multivariate analysis showed that there were no significant associations between CD and 17 other perinatal risk factors investigated. It also showed that, for UC, there were no significant associations with the perinatal factors studied.
CONCLUSION: This study shows an association between CD in mother and child; and elevated risks of CD in children of older mothers and of mothers who smoked.
Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; Perinatal risk factors; Record linkage
To study whether the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is increased in people with prior autoimmune disease.
An all-England hospital record-linkage dataset spanning 1999–2011 was used. Cohorts were constructed of people with each of a range of autoimmune diseases; the incidence of ALS in each disease cohort was compared with the incidence of ALS in a cohort of individuals without prior admission for the autoimmune disease.
There were significantly more cases than expected of ALS associated with a prior diagnosis of asthma, celiac disease, younger-onset diabetes (younger than 30 years), multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, myxedema, polymyositis, Sjögren syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ulcerative colitis.
Autoimmune disease associations with ALS raise the possibility of shared genetic or environmental risk factors.
Our aim was to report on trends in hospitalisation rates for pertussis in England from the 1960s to 2011; and to provide context for the recent unexpected activity of Bordetella pertussis in the UK.
A retrospective analysis of English national Hospital Episode Statistics (HES, 1968–2011) and the Oxford Record Linkage Study (ORLS, 1963–2011) for people admitted to hospital with whooping cough.
England and the Oxford Record Linkage Study area.
Main outcome measures
Age- and gender-specific hospital admission rates, and summary age- and sex-standardised rates, for people aged under 25 years per 100,000 population in each age group.
Admission rates declined from the 1960s to the early 1970s. For example, the standardised rates were 12.8 (95% confidence interval 11.2–14.5) per 100,000 in England in 1968 and 4.0 (3.0–4.9) per 100,000 in 1973. They then increased to reach 45.0 (41.4–48.6) per 100,000 in 1978 and 47.4 (43.7–51.1) in 1982. From the late 1980s, admission rates continued to decline, falling to between 1 and 4 per 100,000 in each of the years between 2003 and 2011. While the trend in hospital admissions closely followed that in notifications, the annual ratio between these two measures was not consistent ranging from 1.07 (95% confidence interval 1.00–1.14) to 4.03 (3.79–4.27) notifications per admission over the last 10 years.
Epidemics of whooping cough in the late 1970s and early 1980s were associated with a significant rise in hospital admission rates. Current admission rates are low, by historical comparison. Vaccine programmes must continue to be fully implemented in order to improve control of pertussis activity.
whooping cough; Bordetella pertussis; hospital admissions; England
To report on what doctors at very different levels of seniority wrote, in their own words, about their concerns about the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and its implementation in the National Health Service (NHS).
All medical school graduates from 1993, 2005 and 2009 were surveyed by post and email in 2010.
Using qualitative methods, we analysed free-text responses made in 2010, towards the end of the first year of full EWTD implementation, of three cohorts of the UK medical graduates (graduates of 1993, 2005 and 2009), surveyed as part of the UK Medical Careers Research Group's schedule of multipurpose longitudinal surveys of doctors.
Of 2459 respondents who gave free-text comments, 279 (11%) made unprompted reference to the EWTD; 270 of the 279 comments were broadly critical. Key themes to emerge included frequent dissociation between rotas and actual hours worked, adverse effects on training opportunities and quality, concerns about patient safety, lowering of morale and job satisfaction, and attempts reportedly made in some hospitals to persuade junior doctors to collude in the inaccurate reporting of compliance.
Further work is needed to determine whether problems perceived with the EWTD, when they occur, are attributable to the EWTD itself, and shortened working hours, or to the way that it has been implemented in some hospitals.
To report on doctors’ views, from all specialty backgrounds, about the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and its impact on the National Health Service (NHS), senior doctors and junior doctors.
All medical school graduates from 1999 to 2000 were surveyed by post and email in 2012.
Among other questions, in a multipurpose survey on medical careers and career intentions, doctors were asked to respond to three statements about the EWTD on a five-point scale (from strongly agree to strongly disagree): ‘The implementation of the EWTD has benefited the NHS’, ‘The implementation of the EWTD has benefited senior doctors’ and ‘The implementation of the EWTD has benefited junior doctors’.
The response rate was 54.4% overall (4486/8252), 55.8% (2256/4042) of the 1999 cohort and 53% (2230/4210) of the 2000 cohort. 54.1% (2427) of all respondents were women. Only 12% (498/4136 doctors) agreed that the EWTD has benefited the NHS, 9% (377) that it has benefited senior doctors and 31% (1289) that it has benefited junior doctors. Doctors’ views on EWTD differed significantly by specialty groups: ‘craft’ specialties such as surgery, requiring extensive experience in performing operations, were particularly critical.
These cohorts have experience of working in the NHS before and after the implementation of EWTD. Their lack of support for the EWTD 4 years after its implementation should be a concern. However, it is unclear whether problems rest with the current ceiling on hours worked or with the ways in which EWTD has been implemented.
Health Services Administration & Management; Medical Education & Training
Background: There are limited national population-based epidemiological data on acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in England, making the current burden of disease, and clinical prognosis, difficult to quantify. The aim of this study was to provide national estimates of incidence and 30-day case fatality rate (CFR) for first and recurrent AMI in England. Methods: Population-based study using person-linked routine hospital and mortality data on 79 896 individuals of any age, who were admitted to hospital for AMI or who died suddenly from AMI in 2010. Results: Of 82 252 AMI events in 2010, 83% were first. Age-standardized incidence of first AMI per 100 000 population was 130 (95% CI 129–131) in men and 55.9 (95% CI 55.3–56.6) in women. Age-standardized 30-day overall CFRs including sudden AMI deaths for men and women, respectively, were 32.4% (95% CI 32.0–32.9) and 30.3% (95% CI 29.8–30.9) for first AMI and 29.7% (95% CI 28.7–30.7) and 26.7% (95% CI 25.5–27.9) for recurrent AMI. Age-standardized hospitalized 30-day CFR was 12.0% (95% CI 11.6–12.3) for men and 12.3% (95% CI 11.9–12.7) for women. Conclusions: While the majority of AMIs are not fatal, of those that are, two-thirds occur as sudden AMI deaths. About one in six of all AMIs are recurrent events. These findings reinforce the importance of primary and secondary prevention in reducing AMI morbidity and mortality.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and epilepsy are both fairly common and it follows that they may sometimes occur together in the same people by chance. We sought to determine whether hospitalisation for MS and hospitalisation for epilepsy occur together more often than expected by chance alone.
We analysed two datasets of linked statistical hospital admission records covering the Oxford Record Linkage Study area (ORLS, 1963–1998) and all England (1999–2011). In each, we calculated the rate of occurrence of hospital admission for epilepsy in people after admission for MS, compared with equivalent rates in a control cohort, and expressed the results as a relative risk (RR).
The RR for hospital admission for epilepsy following an admission for MS was significantly high at 4.1 (95% confidence interval 3.1–5.3) in the ORLS and 3.3 (95% CI 3.1–3.4) in the all-England cohort. The RR for a first recorded admission for epilepsy 10 years and more after first recorded admission for MS was 4.7 (2.8–7.3) in ORLS and 3.9 (3.1–4.9) in the national cohort. The RR for the converse–MS following hospitalisation for epilepsy–was 2.5 (95% CI 1.7–3.5) in the ORLS and 1.9 (95% CI 1.8–2.1) in the English dataset.
MS and epilepsy occur together more commonly than by chance. One possible explanation is that an MS lesion acts as a focus of an epileptic seizure; but other possibilities are discussed. Clinicians should be aware of the risk of epilepsy in people with MS. The findings may also suggest clues for researchers in developing hypotheses about underlying mechanisms for the two conditions.
Epilepsy; Multiple sclerosis; Risk; Coexistence; Record-linkage; Epidemiology
Less than one-third of newly qualified doctors in the UK want a career in general practice. The English Department of Health expects that half of all newly qualified doctors will become GPs.
To report on the reasons why doctors choose or reject careers in general practice, comparing intending GPs with doctors who chose hospital careers.
Design and setting
Questionnaire surveys in all UK medical graduates in selected qualification years.
Questions about specialty career intentions and motivations, put to the qualifiers of 1993, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2009, 1 year after qualification, and at longer time intervals thereafter.
‘Enthusiasm for and commitment to the specialty’ was a very important determinant of choice for intending doctors, regardless of chosen specialty. ‘Hours and working conditions’ were a strong influence for intending GPs (cited as having had ‘a great deal’ of influence by 75% of intending GPs in the first year after qualification), much more so than for doctors who wanted a hospital career (cited by 30%). Relatively few doctors had actually considered general practice seriously but then rejected it; 78% of the doctors who rejected general practice gave ‘job content’ as their reason, compared with 32% of doctors who rejected other specialties.
The shortfall of doctors wanting a career in general practice is not accounted for by doctors considering and rejecting it. Many do not consider it at all. There are very distinctive factors that influence choice for, and rejection of, general practice.
career choice; general practice; medical education; workforce, medical
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a devastating cause of stroke, occurring in relatively young people. It has been suggested that some immune-mediated diseases may be associated with an increased risk of SAH.
We analysed a database of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death certificates for the whole of England (1999–2011). Rate ratios for SAH were determined, comparing immune-mediated disease cohorts with comparison cohorts.
There were significantly elevated risks of SAH after hospital admission for the following individual immune-mediated diseases: Addison’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, Crohn’s disease, diabetes mellitus, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, myxoedema, pernicious anaemia, primary biliary cirrhosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, SLE and thyrotoxicosis. Elevated risks that were greater than 2-fold were found for Addison’s disease (rate ratio (RR) = 2.01, 95% confidence interval 1.3-2.97), idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (RR = 2.42, 1.86-3.11), primary biliary cirrhosis (RR = 2.21, 1.43-3.16) and SLE (RR = 3.76, 3.08-4.55).
Our findings strongly support the suggestion that patients with some immune-mediated diseases have an increased risk of SAH. Further studies of the mechanisms behind this association are warranted.
To investigate if there is a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes in children breastfed or exclusively breastfed by performing a pooled analysis with adjustment for recognized confounders.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Relevant studies were identified from literature searches using MEDLINE, Web of Science, and EMBASE. Authors of relevant studies were asked to provide individual participant data or conduct prespecified analyses. Meta-analysis techniques were used to combine odds ratios (ORs) and investigate heterogeneity between studies.
Data were available from 43 studies including 9,874 patients with type 1 diabetes. Overall, there was a reduction in the risk of diabetes after exclusive breast-feeding for >2 weeks (20 studies; OR = 0.75, 95% CI 0.64–0.88), the association after exclusive breast-feeding for >3 months was weaker (30 studies; OR = 0.87, 95% CI 0.75–1.00), and no association was observed after (nonexclusive) breast-feeding for >2 weeks (28 studies; OR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.81–1.07) or >3 months (29 studies; OR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.78–1.00). These associations were all subject to marked heterogeneity (I2 = 58, 76, 54, and 68%, respectively). In studies with lower risk of bias, the reduced risk after exclusive breast-feeding for >2 weeks remained (12 studies; OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.75–0.99), and heterogeneity was reduced (I2 = 0%). Adjustments for potential confounders altered these estimates very little.
The pooled analysis suggests weak protective associations between exclusive breast-feeding and type 1 diabetes risk. However, these findings are difficult to interpret because of the marked variation in effect and possible biases (particularly recall bias) inherent in the included studies.
Previous studies have suggested that there may be an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of developing immune-mediated diseases.
We analyzed a database of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death registrations for the whole of England (from 1999 to 2011). Rate ratios for immune-mediated disease were determined, comparing vitamin D deficient cohorts (individuals admitted for vitamin D deficiency or markers of vitamin D deficiency) with comparison cohorts.
After hospital admission for either vitamin D deficiency, osteomalacia or rickets, there were significantly elevated rates of Addison’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, chronic active hepatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes mellitus, pemphigoid, pernicious anemia, primary biliary cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, thyrotoxicosis, and significantly reduced risks for asthma and myxoedema.
This study shows that patients with vitamin D deficiency may have an increased risk of developing some immune-mediated diseases, although we cannot rule out reverse causality or confounding. Further study of these associations is warranted and these data may aid further public health studies.
Vitamin D; Immune disease; Hospital episode statistics
AIM: To establish the hospitalized prevalence of severe Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) in Wales from 1999 to 2007; and to investigate long-term mortality after hospitalization and associations with social deprivation and other socio-demographic factors.
METHODS: Record linkage of administrative inpatient and mortality data for 1467 and 1482 people hospitalised as emergencies for ≥ 3 d for CD and UC, respectively. The main outcome measures were hospitalized prevalence, mortality rates and standardized mortality ratios for up to 5 years follow-up after hospitalization.
RESULTS: Hospitalized prevalence was 50.1 per 100 000 population for CD and 50.6 for UC. The hospitalized prevalence of CD was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in females (57.4) than in males (42.2), and was highest in people aged 16-29 years, but the prevalence of UC was similar in males (51.0) and females (50.1), and increased continuously with age. The hospitalized prevalence of CD was slightly higher in the most deprived areas, but there was no association between social deprivation and hospitalized prevalence of UC. Mortality was 6.8% and 14.6% after 1 and 5 years follow-up for CD, and 9.2% and 20.8% after 1 and 5 years for UC. For both CD and UC, there was little discernible association between mortality and social deprivation, distance from hospital, urban/rural residence and geography.
CONCLUSION: CD and UC have distinct demographic profiles. The higher prevalence of hospitalized CD in more deprived areas may reflect higher prevalence and higher hospital dependency.
Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; Prevalence; Mortality; Record linkage
To investigate whether mortality statistics show an effect of mammographic screening on population-based breast cancer mortality in England.
Joinpoint regression analyses, and other analyses, of population-based mortality data.
Analysis of mortality rates in the Oxford region, UK (1979–2009) because, unlike the rest of England, all causes of death mentioned on each death certificate for its residents (not just the underlying cause) are available prior to commencement of the English National Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP). In addition, analysis of English national breast cancer mortality rates (1971–2009).
Women who died from breast cancer in the Oxford region (1979--2009) and England (1971--2009)
Main outcome measures
Age-specific mortality rates, and age-standardized mortality rates. Joinpoint regression analysis was used to estimate years (‘joinpoints’) in which trends changed, and annual percentage change between joinpoints, with confidence intervals.
In the Oxford region, trends for breast cancer mortality based on underlying cause and on mentions were very similar. For all ages combined, mortality rates peaked for both underlying cause and mentions in 1985 and then started to decline, prior to the introduction of the NHSBSP in 1988. Between 1979 and 2009, for mortality measured as underlying cause, rates declined by −2.1% (95% CI −2.7 to −1.4) per year for women aged 40–49 years (unscreened), and by the same percentage per year (−2.1% [−2.4 to −1.7]) for women aged 50–64 years (screened). In England, the first estimated changes in trend occurred prior to the introduction of screening, or before screening was likely to have had an effect (between 1982 and 1989). Thereafter, the downward trend was greatest in women aged under 40 years: −2.0% per year (−2.8 to −1.2) in 1988–2001 and −5.0% per year (−6.7 to −3.3) in 2001–2009. There was no evidence that declines in mortality rates were consistently greater in women in age groups and cohorts that had been screened at all, or screened several times, than in other (unscreened) women, in the same time periods.
Mortality statistics do not show an effect of mammographic screening on population-based breast cancer mortality in England.
Previous studies have suggested that there may be an association between some immune-mediated diseases and risk of tuberculosis (TB).
We analyzed a database of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death certificates for the whole of England (1999 to 2011), and a similar database (the Oxford Record Linkage Study (ORLS)) for a region of southern England in an earlier period. Rate ratios for TB were determined, comparing immune-mediated disease cohorts with comparison cohorts.
In the all-England dataset, there were significantly elevated risks of TB after hospital admission for the following individual immune-mediated diseases: Addison's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, chronic active hepatitis, coeliac disease, Crohn's disease, dermatomyositis, Goodpasture's syndrome, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), myasthenia gravis, myxedema, pemphigoid, pernicious anemia, polyarteritis nodosa, polymyositis, primary biliary cirrhosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjögren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), thyrotoxicosis and ulcerative colitis. Particularly high levels of risk were found for Addison’s disease (rate ratio (RR) = 11.9 (95% CI 9.5 to 14.7)), Goodpasture’s syndrome (RR = 10.8 (95% CI 4.0 to 23.5)), SLE (RR = 9.4 (95% CI 7.9 to 11.1)), polymyositis (RR = 8.0 (95% CI 4.9 to 12.2)), polyarteritis nodosa (RR = 6.7 (95% CI 3.2 to 12.4)), dermatomyositis (RR = 6.6 (95% CI 3.0 to 12.5)), scleroderma (RR = 6.1 (95% CI 4.4 to 8.2)) and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (RR = 5.1 (95% CI 3.4 to 7.4)).
These two databases show that patients with some immune-mediated diseases have an increased risk of TB, although we cannot explicitly state the direction of risk or exclude confounding. Further study of these associations is warranted, and these findings may aid TB screening, control and treatment policies.
Hospital episode statistics; Immune disease; Tuberculosis
Cardiology is one of the most popular of the hospital medical specialties in the UK. It is also a highly competitive specialty in respect of the availability of higher specialty training posts. Our aims are to describe doctors’ early intentions about seeking careers in cardiology, to report on when decisions about seeking a career in cardiology are made, to compare differences between men and women doctors in the choice of cardiology, and to compare early career choices with later specialty destinations.
Questionnaire surveys were sent to all UK medical graduates in selected qualification years from 1974–2009, at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years after graduation.
One year after graduation, the percentage of doctors specifying cardiology as their first choice of long-term career rose from the mid-1990s from 2.4% (1993 cohort) to 4.2% (2005 cohort) but then fell back to 2.7% (2009 cohort). Men were more likely to give cardiology as their first choice than women (eg 4.1% of men and 1.9% of women in the 2009 cohort). The percentage of doctors who gave cardiology as their first choice of career declined between years one and five after qualification: the fall was more marked for women. 34% of respondents who specified cardiology as their sole first choice of career one year post-graduation were later working in cardiology. 24% of doctors practising as cardiologists several years after qualification had given cardiology as their sole first choice in year one. The doctors’ ‘domestic circumstances’ were a relatively unimportant influence on specialty choice for aspiring cardiologists, while ‘enthusiasm/commitment’, ‘financial prospects’, ‘experiences of the job so far’ and ‘a particular teacher/department’ were important.
Cardiology grew as a first preference one year after graduation to 2005 but is now falling. It consistently attracts a higher percentage of men than women doctors. The correspondence between early choice and later destination was not particularly strong for cardiology, and was less strong than that for several other specialties.
Cardiology; Career choice; Workforce; Medical education; Hospital medical staff
Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have been reported to be at higher risk of fracture than other people. We sought to test this hypothesis in a large database of hospital admissions in England.
We analysed a database of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death certificates for the whole of England (1999–2010). Rate ratios for fractures were determined, comparing fracture rates in a cohort of all people in England admitted with MS and rates in a comparison cohort.
Significantly elevated risk for all fractures was found in patients with MS (rate ratio (RR) = 1.99, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.93-2.05)). Risks were particularly high for femoral fractures (femoral neck fracture RR = 2.79 (2.65-2.93); femoral shaft fracture RR 6.69 (6.12-7.29)), and fractures of the tibia or ankle RR = 2.81 (2.66-2.96).
Patients with MS have an increased risk of fractures. Caregivers should aim to optimize bone health in MS patients.
Multiple sclerosis; Fractures; Epidemiology
To report on doctors’ family formation.
Cohort studies using structured questionnaires.
Doctors who qualified in 1988, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2002 were followed up.
Main Outcome Measures
Living with spouse or partner; and doctors’ age when first child was born.
The response to surveys including questions about domestic circumstances was 89.8% (20,717/23,077 doctors). The main outcomes – living with spouse or partner, and parenthood – varied according to age at qualification. Using the modal ages of 23–24 years at qualification, by the age of 24–25 (i.e. in their first year of medical work) a much smaller percentage of doctors than the general population was living with spouse or partner. By the age of 33, 75% of both women and men doctors were living with spouse or partner, compared with 68% of women and 61% of men aged 33 in the general population.
By the age of 24–25, 2% of women doctors and 41% of women in the general population had a child; but women doctors caught up with the general population, in this respect, in their 30s. The specialty with the highest percentage of women doctors who, aged 35, had children was general practice (74%); the lowest was surgery (41%).
Doctors are more likely than other people to live with a spouse or partner, and to have children, albeit typically at later ages. Differences between specialties in rates of motherhood may indicate sacrifice by some women of family in favour of career.
To report doctors' rejection of specialties as long-term careers and reasons for rejection.
Graduates of 2002, 2005 and 2008 from all UK medical schools, surveyed one year after qualification.
Main outcome measures
Current specialty choice; any choice that had been seriously considered but not pursued (termed ‘rejected’ choices) with reasons for rejection.
2573 of 9155 respondents (28%) had seriously considered but then not pursued a specialty choice. By comparison with positive choices, general practice was under-represented among rejected choices: it was the actual choice of 27% of respondents and the rejected choice of only 6% of those who had rejected a specialty. Consideration of ‘job content’ was important in not pursuing general practice (cited by 78% of those who considered but rejected a career in general practice), psychiatry (72%), radiology (69%) and pathology (68%). The surgical specialties were the current choice of 20% of respondents and had been considered but rejected by 32% of doctors who rejected a specialty. Issues of work-life balance were the single most common factor, particularly for women, in not pursuing the surgical specialties, emergency medicine, the medical hospital specialties, paediatrics, and obstetrics and gynaecology. Competition for posts, difficult examinations, stressful working conditions, and poor training were mentioned but were mainly minority concerns.
There is considerable diversity between doctors in their reasons for finding specialties attractive or unattractive. This underlines the importance of recruitment strategies to medical school that recognize diversity of students' interests and aptitudes.
To investigate factors which influenced UK-trained doctors to emigrate to New Zealand and factors which might encourage them to return.
Cross-sectional postal and Internet questionnaire survey.
Participants in New Zealand; investigators in UK.
UK-trained doctors from 10 graduation-year cohorts who were registered with the New Zealand Medical Council in 2009.
Main outcome measures
Reasons for emigration; job satisfaction; satisfaction with leisure time; intentions to stay in New Zealand; changes to the UK NHS which might increase the likelihood of return.
Of 38,821 UK-trained doctors in the cohorts, 535 (1.4%) were registered to practise in New Zealand. We traced 419, of whom 282 (67%) replied to our questionnaire. Only 30% had originally intended to emigrate permanently, but 89% now intended to stay. Sixty-nine percent had moved to take up a medical job. Seventy percent gave additional reasons for relocating to New Zealand including better lifestyle, to be with family, travel/working holiday, or disillusionment with the NHS. Respondents' mean job satisfaction score was 8.1 (95% CI 7.9–8.2) on a scale from 1 (lowest satisfaction) to 10 (highest), compared with 7.1 (7.1–7.2) for contemporaries in the UK NHS. Scored similarly, mean satisfaction with the time available for leisure was 7.8 (7.6–8.0) for the doctors in New Zealand, compared with 5.7 (5.6–5.7) for the NHS doctors. Although few respondents wanted to return to the UK, some stated that the likelihood of doctors' returning would be increased by changes to NHS working conditions and by administrative changes to ease the process.
Emigrant doctors in New Zealand had higher job satisfaction than their UK-based contemporaries, and few wanted to return. The predominant reason for staying in New Zealand was a preference for the lifestyle there.