The Medical Writers Club was founded by David Reach, founder of RCH100; Jo Welch MCIPR, CEO of RCH100; and Dr Dawn Harper MBBS MRCP DCH DFFP, broadcaster, author and NHS GP.
This unique collection of the UK’s most high-profile medics has been set-up to work together as one voice to relieve pressure on and protect the NHS, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and is currently under an immense and unmanageable workload, with waiting lists at a record high.
The Medical Writers Club’s main focus will be to educate people about prevention before cure through lifestyle. It will do this by rolling out major public health campaigns, starting in 2024. Over 75% of chronic diseases are attributed to lifestyle factors, with the leading causes of death including cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes, stroke and mental health issues.
Dr Dawn says: “95% of what I see in general practice has a lifestyle element. As GP’s we are now delivering one million appointments per day, which is half a million appointments more per week than pre-pandemic. In addition, the number of people in the UK over 75 years old is up by a third since 2010, and this age group has five times more GP appointments than younger people. The number of people living longer is only set to increase. This pressure on the primary care system is simply unsustainable.”
The first Medical Writers Club campaign will focus on obesity and Type II Diabetes. Every week alone the NHS sees 184 amputations, over 770 strokes, 590 heart attacks and 2,300 diagnosed with heart failure, all because of the effects of diabetes. Diabetes alone could bankrupt the NHS, with obesity being the leading cause of developing Type II Diabetes.
Diabetes UK tells us obesity is believed to account for 80-85% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with recent research suggesting that obese people are up to 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with a BMI of less than 22.
The campaign will primarily target childhood obesity in an effort to affect change amongst our future generations. In 2020/21, 25.5% of children aged 10 to 11 were obese, with a further 15.4% of children overweight. This is over 40% of children in that age group alone.
The RCH100 Medical Writers Club’s overarching objective is to use the combined voice of its members to affect a radical shift in the nation’s awareness of, and attitude towards, personal health management; and promote efficient use of the NHS and UK healthcare system, including pharmacists, dentists and opticians. With ever increasing fatigue towards government messaging, the combined members of the Medical Writers Club presents one trusted voice, with a huge and diverse reach, which can engage with the UK population in a positive and different, yet supportive, way to public sector messaging. The Medical Writers Club will strive to work closely with the NHS and Government to support their healthcare objectives and help boost messaging.
Dr Dawn reflects: “The 75th anniversary of the NHS should be a time for celebration and reflection. I think of the NHS as being like ‘Mum’. For most of us living in the UK today, we don’t know life before ‘Mum’ was around. The NHS has always been there for us and as such it is easy to take her for granted and maybe even find fault with her, but the bottom line is, she has our best interests at heart and if we lose her, we are going to really miss her.
“I think the time has come for us all to wake up and smell the coffee. We need to look after ‘Mum’ before we lose her. We have heard a lot about our rights to the health service in recent years. We have a right to be seen by a healthcare professional, a right to be seen in an emergency department, and a right to choose our specialist. But, with rights come responsibilities and we all owe it to our NHS to do our bit to keep ourselves as fit and healthy as possible, by making responsible lifestyle choices. We need to help return the NHS to a where it is needed most…to provide vital care and treatment for the next 75 years and beyond, for our children and our children’s children.”
The Medical Writers Club comprises famous medical professionals from across the general practice, nutrition, psychotherapy, sports medicine, longevity and public health sectors.