Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Newsletter 116, Summer 2021

Notice is hereby given that the 2021 Annual General Meeting of HealthWatch will be held on:

Wednesday 06 October 2021 at 19:00

Note: we are using a new venue this year.

Venue: The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE, in the Max Rayne Auditorium

The nearest Underground stations are Bond Street and Oxford Circus — see here for further travel details — and here for accessibility information.

Attendance at the HealthWatch AGM and presentations is free and open to all. If you would like to stay for the dinner, however, this must be pre-booked and paid for in advance — see below.

While all are welcome to attend the AGM, only members may vote.

2021 HealthWatch Award

This will be presented to Prof Christina Pagel, Professor of Operational Research, UCL:

Professor Pagel had a distinguished career as a mathematician in space physics before taking up an interest in operational research. She is Professor of Operational Research at UCL and director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit there.

In her own words, Prof Pagel’s "main interest is in using information to help people within the health service make better decisions" and she regularly appears on television and radio and in the press, giving clear explanations of complex ideas about medical matters, especially those related to the Covid-19 pandemic.


18:30 Registration in the Auchi Foyer.

19:00 Annual General meeting of HealthWatch (only members of HealthWatch may vote).

19:30 Presentation of awards to the winners of the 2021 Student Prize competition for critical analysis of clinical research protocols.

19:40 Presentation of the 2021 HealthWatch Award to Prof Christina Pagel (see above). This will be followed by a talk by Prof Pagel.

20:30 Buffet dinner (£45.00 per person) in the Max Rayne Foyer. To order your buffet dinner, please click here:

Book buffet dinner

Nominations for Committee

Our constitution requires that nominations for officers and members of the committee should be submitted not less than 28 days before the AGM.

Any member of HealthWatch can nominate an officer or ordinary member for the committee. Nominations should be seconded by another member, accompanied by an email from the person nominated to state s/he accepts, and sent to the Secretary, Roger Fisken before Wednesday 08 September.

Motions to be proposed for discussion

Motions for discussion at the AGM should be sent to the Secretary, Roger Fisken before Wednesday 08 September.

Our latest issue features original articles as well as news about our charity's mission to promote evidence and integrity in health care.

The HealthWatch Newsletter remains free to view, download and share. HealthWatch members will shortly receive their personal printed copy of the newsletter if they have opted to do so. Links to the full newsletter and individual articles are below, or access a printable pdf format here.

Inside Newsletter 116

Published August 2021

  • NEWS Celebrating HealthWatch’s 30th birthday with Prof David Spiegelhalter; student prize; an appearance in Private Eye; and more
  • ETHICS Why alternative medicine is not the way to meet women’s healthcare needs, by Arianne Shahvisi
  • CONSUMER PROTECTIONThe MHRA responds to HealthWatch’s questions on bioresonance devices
  • RESEARCH INTEGRITYStephen Bradley reviews progress in two years since publication of the Declaration to Improve Health Research
  • BOOK REVIEW Transparency, Power and Influence in the Pharmaceutical Industry, reviewed by Till Bruckner

We thank the contributors of this latest issue. Find past issues here. If you'd like to write an article for an upcoming issue of the HealthWatch Newsletter, find out more here.

Join us by becoming a member of HealthWatch and a supporter of science and integrity in healthcare.

The pandemic challenged students in many ways in the last 12 months, but it didn’t stop them sending some absolutely stunning entries to our annual HealthWatch Student Prize competition for the critical appraisal of clinical trial protocols.

We were hugely impressed this year by a mature student who found the time to research and write a superb first prize-winning entry alongside full-time studies, helping on a farm, parenting three children, and competing in eventing. Jenny Jones, now beginning her third year studying Midwifery at Bangor University, said: “The different proposals were interesting to read, and I learned a lot about how a research proposal should be formed.” Inspired to midwifery by the excellent care she had received herself, she says: “I hope to make a positive impact on the lives of other women going through pregnancy and childbirth; both through direct clinical practice, and later on in research. I would one day like to conduct research on how the environment and mental state affects perception of pain during childbirth.” Jenny, who is originally from Halifax in Yorkshire but now lives in Aberavon in North Wales, receives a cheque for £500 as first prize in the Nursing, Midwifery and Professions Allied to Medicine category. She is full of praise for her supportive Year 2 lecturer, Judith Fields, who introduced her to the competition, and we hope that other academic tutors will take her lead and give their students the opportunity to take part.

In the Medical and Dental category the £500 first-prize cheque goes to Will Duggleby, who has just graduated from the University of Cambridge clinical medicine course. Will, of Stroud in Gloucestershire, came across our competition online. He says: “I think that Doctors should be capable scientists as well as clinicians and the competition seemed to be something which would put my own abilities to the test!” He hopes to join the IMT (Internal Medicine Training) programme after Foundation, before deciding where to specialise. We wish him well.

Runners up

For Matthew Kingham, this was the second time he'd entered the competition. He achieved a Highly Commended certificate last year, but this time he collected a runners-up cheque for £100. Now in his third year of Medicine at King’s College London, he said, ‘It has been a strange academic year with all the challenges of the pandemic, however re-applying for this competition was an enjoyable and educational experience. I am still very keen on pursuing a career in surgery, however, I am also considering ENT as another option aside from neurosurgery. My interest in the clinical neurosciences has not wavered, however!’

Another Londoner in his third year at Kings is medical student Jack Coumbe. Jack is interested in a career in academic medicine so he valued the opportunity to focus on evidence-based medicine for his prize. He looks forward to applying for academic foundation programmes when he graduates, “the experience given by this competition has motivated me to continue my interest in clinical trials and academia.”

From further afield comes runner-up Shun Qi Yong, originally from Selangor, Malaysia, and now a fourth year medic at Glasgow University. Shun Qi says she found the process of writing more challenging than initially expected but the effort gave her an appreciation for the many considerations in devising a good protocol. She stays grounded by “reading about the world outside of medicine during my spare time!”

A further runner-up cheque is on its way to Catrin Sohrabi, Queen Mary University of London, for her excellent entry in the Nursing, Midwifery and PAM category. Highly Commended certificates have been awarded to medics Conor Hennessy, Oxford University, and Hanna Spielmann, Medical School Hannover.

Testing skills

The HealthWatch Student Prize competition aims to test students’ research skills by inviting them to evaluate four hypothetical research protocols and rank them in order of quality. It opens every year in the Autumn term, with deadline end of April. Entries are invited from two categories: medical and dental students; and students of nursing, midwifery and professions allied to medicine.

In each group there is a first prize of £500 and up to five runner-up prizes of £100. A full list of past winners can be found on our Student Prize page.

Prize winners will be invited to receive their awards in person again this year at the HealthWatch Annual General Meeting in London in October.

We are extremely grateful to the Royal College of Surgeons of England for their generous sponsorship of this year's competition.

All full-time and recently-qualified students in these categories, whether entering the competition or not, can apply for free Student Membership of HealthWatch.

This story has been amended to correct an error in original version. Matthew Kingham was not, as originally written, last year's first prize winner, that was Matthew Choy! Our apologies to both Matthews.

The full recording is now online of one of the world's leading statisticians speaking at HealthWatch's 30th birthday event last week. Professor David Spiegelhalter's talk: "Trustworthy communication of risk and evidence: the battle against naughty numbers in the news” delighted a full house at the Medical Society of London on Tuesday 27th July.

David Spiegelhalter holds the Winton Professorship of the Public Understanding of Risk, at the University of Cambridge, England. He is the joint winner of the 2021 HealthWatch Award, shared with Professor Christina Pagel of University College London, who will receive hers at the HealthWatch AGM in October (date to be confirmed).

The one-hour recording is now on the HealthWatch youtube channel, where you can also find recordings of some of our previous events. A link to his lightly edited transcript is on our Award winners page.

Below see Professor Spieglehalter, with Professor Susan Bewley, chair of HealthWatch, as they cut the 30th birthday cake.

DSpiegelhalter SBewley

27 July

We have a full house at the Medical Society of London for HealthWatch's 30th birthday event tomorrow evening (Tuesday 27th July) but for those who won't be there in person, you can watch the live stream on our youtube channel.

Our special guest speaker – our 2021 joint award winner – is David Spiegelhalter who holds the Winton Professorship of the Public Understanding of Risk, at the University of Cambridge, England. His controversial theme: “Trustworthy communication of risk and evidence: the battle against naughty numbers in the news.”

Please join us for a very special night in our history to hear how one of the world’s leading statisticians sees the figures that will help, for good or ill, to shape our destiny.

Start time: 19:00 BST on Tuesday 27th July 2021.

Light refreshments will be provided for those who attend, but if you are watching the live stream, you'll need to provide your own!

Click on the live stream link now to set a reminder:

We look forward to 'seeing' you there!


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