Newsletter

Parental benefits

The New Year seems an appropriate time to think about new babies, so here we consider some money matters you might need to think about. Statutory maternity pay v maternity allowance Eligibility for statutory maternity pay (SMP): Earning at least £118 a week Give appropriate notice to employer with proof of pregnancy Have worked for…
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Breaking the rumination trap

Have you ever been stuck in a swirl of negative thoughts, rehashing things that you should or shouldn’t have said or done? Most of us will recognise this circular self-battering, a process known as rumination. Rumination, or 'chewing the cud', refers to the way that certain mammals - ruminants - eat, storing their partially-digested food…
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Podcast | Quiet please

The Royal Opera House orchestra was rehearsing Die Walküre. For more than three hours violist Chris Goldscheider sat in front of twenty brass players belting out Wagner at 90dB. His hearing was permanently damaged. The Opera House argued that artistic standards took precedence over the risk of acoustic shock, but the courts thought otherwise and…
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Making stress your friend

With ever mounting workload, increasing patient complexity and rising patient expectations and complaints, work is becoming increasingly stressful in the NHS. Life outside work is more stressful too. Notwithstanding stresses that we may have in our home life, we are now living in a 24/7 on-demand, fast-paced culture that lacks stop cues as we consume…
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Podcast | Now wash your hands

In post-war Italy TB was still rife and notices in buses commanded “No Spitting”. In Britain in 1946 the message “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” promoted the use of handkerchiefs to catch the germ-laden droplets. Presumably a reasonably successful public health campaign, although if you are trapped like a sardine in a rush-hour tube train,…
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Staying safe: easy steps to avert a personal crisis

Many of us will have experienced a time of emotional crisis. It could follow a break-up of a relationship, a bereavement, a traumatic event, financial worries or an adjustment to a big change. We might feel inadequate, a failure, ashamed, angry, agitated, shocked or numb. These feelings may resolve with time, but they might instead…
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Elementary my dear doctor

My main pastimes —reading and on-demand television — have no doubt influenced my practice through the so-called “halo effect”. Paul Kalanithi’s book “When Breath becomes Air” forced me to re-evaluate my work-life balance, while the Netflix series “House of Cards” led me to imagine that I was the victim of an intricate work-based conspiracy involving…
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