Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

What are your burning issues for 2018?

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 04 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k9
  1. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief
  1. The BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}

The new year is a chance to take stock, personally and professionally, privately and publicly, and to consider with fresh eyes the challenges and opportunities ahead. We’ve been doing this at The BMJ over recent weeks, taking to heart the words of Hugh Clegg, our editor in chief from 1947 to 1965, that “a subject that needs reform should be kept before the public until it demands reform.” There’s no shortage of such subjects. Our question for you is which ones should we focus on.

Now, as in Clegg’s day, the list is long. Regular readers can’t have missed the journal’s active campaigns ( for patient partnership, for a more robust, transparent, and independent evidence base, and against conflicts of interest and medical excess. Our focus on these issues will continue into 2018, but there are others too. In the year that the NHS turns 70, our contributors will look to its future in these tough times and ask how all countries can best achieve universal access to high quality healthcare. As concern grows about work pressure and low morale among doctors, we will actively promote efforts to protect and nurture wellbeing. And we will continue to press for action on climate change, to focus on the social determinants of health, including through a better understanding of the role of nutrition, and to debate assisted dying and the legalisation of drugs.

Some of these issues are reflected in the first print issue of The BMJ for 2018. Tom Moberly investigates payments to England’s clinical commissioning groups from drug companies for educational events and other projects, many of which weren’t declared (doi:10.1136/bmj.j5915). It’s worth noting that some of these CCGs refuse funding from drug companies and seem to be managing fine. Gary Taubes examines the evidence for the hypothesis that sugar causes harm over and above its calorific effects, by triggering accumulation of liver fat, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes (doi:10.1136/bmj.j5808). He advocates the precautionary principle: “While we acknowledge the uncertainties we can still recommend against consumption.” John New and colleagues report on progress towards sharing patients’ electronic health records for clinical research (doi:10.1136/bmj.j5554). Daniel Sokol asks whether being a doctor is really “just another job” (doi:10.1136/bmj.j5257), and Tara Lamont explains how Schwartz rounds can improve staff wellbeing (

If not these, what are the burning issues for you as you look forward to 2018? Please tell us by email ( or by sending a rapid response to this article.


  • Follow Fiona on Twitter, @fgodlee

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