Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Newsletter 114, Winter 2020-21

Read the latest issue of the HealthWatch Newsletter online now!

New for 2021: we have given the HealthWatch Newsletter an updated format, with individual articles fully readable and searchable online. This latest issue features seven original articles - including brave exclusives from new contributors - 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 114

Published January 2021

  • NEWS  Transparency campaign success; challenging the Charities Commission; breast cancer surgery advance; "Pseudoscience kills"; a new sponsor for the HealthWatch Student Prize; and much more
  • INVESTIGATION  The case for a register of doctors' interests: Simon Peck shares his shocking findings in the private healthcare sector
  • HEALTHWATCH AWARDWINNER 2020 Bringing stats to the masses: Jennifer Rogers explains how to make sense of data during a global pandemic
  • REPORT FROM HEALTHWATCH'S CHAIR  HealthWatch Chair Susan Bewley sums up 2020
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENTS  Caroline Struthers' devastating commentary takes the case of ME treatments to explain why it is not only drugs and devices that can harm
  • STUDENTS How Matthew Choy scooped the top prize in last year's HealthWatch Student Prize competition, with some brilliant runner-up entries
  • NUTRITION  The trouble with nutrition research, by David Bender
  • LAST WORD  Caroline Richmond on how Lily the Pink and Dr Crippen made their secret remedies, and a century-old war on quackery

We thank the contributors of this latest issue. Find past issues here. If you'd like to write for upcoming issues 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 2021 HealthWatch student prize competition for critical appraisal of clinical research protocols is open! Since 2002, HealthWatch has presented more than £20,000 in prizes, and this year it could be your turn to win up to £500. Starting now… you have four months to write, refine and perfect your entry, but don't leave it until the last minute!

Cash prizes

There are two first prizes of £500 each, one for medical and dental students and one for students of nursing, midwifery and professions allied to medicine. Up to five runner-up prizes of £100 will be awarded in each category. Winners will be invited to attend the HealthWatch Annual General Meeting in October to receive their prizes. If for any reason large gatherings or travel are restricted, the AGM may be held virtually, in which case prize-winners will be invited to attend remotely.

Winners can also add to their CV the honour of having received a national award — which could give the edge in a competitive post-Covid jobs market.

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

How to enter

The competition consists of four hypothetical research protocols: your task is to rank the protocols in order from that most likely to provide a reliable answer to the stated aims of the trial to that least likely to do so. You then have to explain your ranking in no more than 600 words.

Please share with your fellow students, organisations, colleges, universities.

Your entry must be received by 23:59 BST on Friday 30 April 2021. Entries received after that time will not be considered. Find out more and enter here. The full terms and conditions, with the competition protocols for you to read, can be found here

Free student membership

Whether you enter the competition or not, if you are a full-time student, please consider taking advantage of our offer of free Student Membership of HealthWatch.

At our AGM on 20 October, the HealthWatch Award 2020 was presented to Professor Jennifer Rogers by our President, Nick Ross.

Prof Rogers is Head of Statistical Research and Consultancy, PHASTAR and Vice President (External Affairs) at the Royal Statistical Society.

After accepting, Prof Rogers gave a fascinating talk on the statistics of Covid-19, titled Can’t see the wood for the trees? Making sense of data during a global pandemic.

Watch the presentation and her talk:

Notice is hereby given that the 2020 Annual General Meeting of HealthWatch will be held by Zoom on:

Tuesday 20 October 2020 at 19:00

The Zoom meeting will open at 18:45; log-in / joining details will be circulated nearer the time.

The 2020 HealthWatch Award will be presented to Dr Jennifer Rogers:

Prof. Jennifer Rogers is Head of Statistical Research at PHASTAR, moving in August 2019 from the University of Oxford where she was Director of Statistical Consultancy Services and an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics. She had previously worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Statistics funded by the National Institute of Health Research. She has a special interest in the development and application of novel statistical methodologies, particularly in medicine. Her main area of expertise is the analysis of recurrent events and her research has recently focussed on developing and implementing appropriate methodology for the analysis of repeat hospitalisations in patients with heart failure but her research has many other applications in medicine such as epilepsy and cancer, but also in retail and engineering. She works alongside other statisticians, clinicians, computer scientists, industry experts and regulators.

In her role at PHASTAR, Jennifer directs the statistical research strategy, helping the company stay at the cutting edge of new methodological advances. She is also the technical lead for the company's statistical consultancy offerings, providing guidance and direction to the group. PHASTAR work with small and large pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies to provide statistical consulting, analysis and reporting, data management and data science services.

Jennifer is a highly active member of the Royal Statistical Society, currently sitting on RSS Council and being the Society's Vice President for External Affairs. She was also previously appointed as the RSS Guy Lecturer for 2014 and was Honorary Officer for Meetings and Conferences, organising the 2015 and 2016 RSS International Conferences. In addition to her involvement with the Royal Statistical Society, Jennifer was the President of the British Science Association Mathematical Sciences Section for 2018.

Jennifer can also regularly be found giving conference presentations and talking all things statistics in schools, theatres and pubs. She is a popular statistics presenter and can often be heard on the Radio or seen on TV screens. She has made a number of appearances on BBC Radio 4's More or Less and appeared on series 42 of BBC Watchdog where she presented their "Best or Worst" segment.


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

19:30 Presentation of awards to the winners of the 2020 Student Prize competition for critical analysis of clinical research protocols.

19:40 Presentation of the 2020 HealthWatch Award to Dr Jennifer Rogers (see above).

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 a letter / email from the person nominated to state s/he accepts, and sent to the Secretary, Prof David Bender or by post to 8 Eagle Close, AMERSHAM HP6 6TD before 20 September.

Motions to be proposed for discussion

Motions for discussion at the AGM should be sent to the Secretary, Prof David Bender or by post to 8 Eagle Close, AMERSHAM HP6 6TD before 20 September.


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