Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2010: Surgery

The IKEA pencil: a surprising find in the NHS

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 09 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6595
  1. Karen A Eley, research fellow1,
  2. Stephen R Watt-Smith, consultant2
  1. 1Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford
  2. 2Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
  1. Correspondence to: karen.a.eley{at}

IKEA, not Argos, is the preferred choice in surgery

It seems that the IKEA pencil has developed quite a following. A customary Google search identified a Facebook page entitled “IKEA pencil stealing appreciation” with 55 563 members as of the time of writing.1 It appears that pocketing a few pencils during your shopping trip is considered normal. YouTube2 has over 60 videos dedicated in some way to the little brown pencil, and 500 …

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