Max Pemberton

Max Pemberton is an NHS psychiatrist and co-founder of

Could Ozempic bankrupt the NHS?

The NHS spends around £6.5 billion every year treating obesity. People who are overweight cost the health service twice as much as those who maintain a healthy weight. Half of all cancer cases are linked to obesity and being severely overweight significantly increases the risk of other conditions, such as diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

Beware the ‘K Hole’

Go to any nightclub and, if you know what to look for, you will see people on ketamine. You can spot them because, unlike those who have taken ecstasy or cocaine, they stand nearly motionless, struggling to move. They appear lost in a self-inflicted paralysis. This is called a ‘K-hole’– a state induced when ketamine

The unstoppable rise of the locum doctor

The career trajectory for doctors used to be relatively simple. After graduating, you would step on the conveyer belt of post-graduating training, keep your head down and sooner or later come out the other end either a fully-fledged GP or consultant. More and more I hear junior doctors talking about throwing the towel in and

TikTok is giving our children Tourette’s

Shortly after the first Covid lockdown ended, doctors began to notice something so strange that at first they struggled to explain it. There appeared to be a sudden rise in the number of children being referred with Tourette’s syndrome. Tourette’s is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by repetitive, involuntary movements or sounds called ‘tics’. While

The Premier League’s sleeping pill problem

The footballer Dele Alli was applauded recently after he spoke of his sleeping pill abuse. ‘It’s a problem not only I have. It’s going around more than people realise in football,’ he said during a filmed interview with Manchester United’s former captain Gary Neville. It’s not the first time we’ve heard this. Footballers are ‘taking

The petty cruelty of the GMC

Doctors make mistakes. We mess up, have lapses in judgment, do stupid or downright wrong things. Some break the law, some violate trust. Patients place their wellbeing, and sometimes their lives, in our hands. So it’s only right that we are held to account. All good doctors want scrutiny. Our regulator, the General Medical Council

Tina: the drug devastating the gay community

Something is ravaging through the gay community, leaving death and misery in its wake, yet few are willing to talk about it. If I’d written that sentence a generation ago, I’d have been referring to the Aids crisis. But this time the enemy isn’t a virus, but a substance called ‘tina’ or ‘ice’. It is

Why legalising cannabis is safer than decriminalising it

I hate weed. Week after week, I see the tragic effects of this substance and how it destroys the minds of the young. I work on a mental health ward which, like many around the country, is home to some of the victims of our current lackadaisical attitude towards cannabis. This drug is particularly dangerous

Why are doctors still hiding behind Zoom screens?

Where have all the GPs gone? Doctors were among the first to be double-jabbed, ahead of teachers in the queue precisely so they could resume seeing patients in the flesh. But while schools have long been back, GPs have retreated behind their laptops never to be seen again (at least not in the flesh). The

The NHS is letting down thousands of patients

I’m embarrassed every Thursday. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. The outpouring of love for NHS workers at 8 p.m. each week has been touching. Who wouldn’t want to be clapped and cheered? But quietly among ourselves, many of us in the health service have increasingly felt it’s misplaced. I’ve come to dread it. It

On the NHS front line, we’re braced for what’s coming

From the moment when Boris Johnson announced that the country was moving from containment to ‘delay’ in handling coronavirus, the world’s biggest healthcare organisation has been on a war footing. What doctors like me have witnessed over the past days and weeks has been nothing short of extraordinary. Trusts in the NHS declared a ‘major

Common medical conditions explained: high blood pressure

The condition High blood pressure is also called ‘hypertension’. Blood pressure is recorded in two numbers – the high number is called systolic and this is the pressure when the heart has just pumped. The low number is called diastolic and this is the pressure when the heart is at rest. The pressure is measured

Bill of health

It would be daft for someone to offer you £1.8 billion and you turn it down. That sort of money isn’t to be sniffed at. This is how much Boris Johnson announced he would give to the NHS as an extra funding boost. And I don’t want to seem churlish or ungrateful — after all,

Health warning

Everyone agrees something dramatic has to be done to help the NHS. It is crumbling and the canary in the mine is general practice. I work as a psychiatrist but my GP colleagues are almost all frazzled, overworked and frustrated at not being able to give the care they want to their patients. They’re quitting

Wasting away

The NHS is in dire straits. I never thought I’d say this but as a doctor, and having seen the extent of the current crisis, I’d be scared if a family member had to go into hospital. Despite the best efforts of staff, the pressures are such that it’s all too easy for mistakes to

This is an emergency

The NHS as we know it is dying. It’s no longer a matter of if it will collapse, but when. Those of us who work on the front line have known this for some time, and it’s heartbreaking. Last week’s ransomware cyber-attack served to highlight how frail and vulnerable the health service is. While many

The wrong cuts

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Dr Clare Gerada and Fraser Nelson discuss the row over junior doctors” startat=34] Listen [/audioplayer]It has long been rumoured that when Jeremy Hunt took over as Health Secretary, Cameron told him to do one thing with the NHS: keep it out of the headlines. Given that the NHS is an enormous institution, the

We could end HIV

You have probably never heard of Truvada, but it is a pharmacological breakthrough that has the potential to consign Aids to the history books. The drug effectively makes its users immune to the HIV virus. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for use over three years ago. Truvada is even covered