Letters Bad reporting on health research

We are all accountable for our professional actions

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h135 (Published 14 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h135
  1. Kit Byatt, consultant general physician & geriatrician1
  1. 1Hereford County Hospital, Hereford HR1 2ER, UK
  1. cbyatt{at}bigfoot.com

Goldacre provides an excellent critique on preventing bad reporting on health research.1

Each year I have to provide evidence to my employer that my actions as a clinician have been satisfactory, and that my professional probity is assured. It is not easy to prove a negative—one’s “innocence.” If there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing, surely revalidation should be suspended until absence of wrongdoing is proved beyond reasonable doubt?

Academics are judged by their publications (and press releases). How can any academic be revalidated who has been shown to provide, or be involved in (however indirectly), an overoptimistic (misleading) press release? This is surely part of their core business.

Clinicians are increasingly being held to account for their (and their teams’) outcomes,2 why not academics, too?


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h135


  • Competing interests: Like all UK doctors, I have to submit a declaration of professional probity each year as part of my appraisal, which informs my five yearly revalidation requirement.


View Abstract

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription