The British Medical Journal, the respected trade publication for doctors, is facing outrage from its readers over a choice to charge nearly ₤ 300 for publishing obituaries throughout a pandemic.
A note on the BMJ’s site says that from this month the BMJ will be charging ₤ 299 for each medical obituary that it releases. There is a discount rate of just ₤ 50 for members of British Medical Association, which owns the publication and whose members receive copies as a perk.
The choice has actually been branded specifically insensitive at a time when numerous physicians are dying of coronavirus. The BMA stated it was “very concerned” about the relocation and prepared to raise the issue with the magazine’s management.
An online petition was introduced on Monday explaining the introduction of a charge for the 600-word obituaries as “disgraceful” and advising the magazine to reevaluate.
Dr Toni Hazell, a GP in Tottenham, north London, and one of the BMJ’s 80,000 readers, told the Guardian: “To begin this at the minute when medical professionals are passing away of Covid just appears incredibly crass.”
She stumbled upon the charge as she was thinking about submitting an obituary for her stepfather, Dr David Anton, who died this month from prostate cancer.
Hazell stated: “My stepfather was a medical professional in the RAF and he was an occupational health physician for the RNLI for much of his life. He did great deals of advantages and it would simply be rather great to mark his life with an obituary, however that’s a great deal of cash. I looked up the BMJ publishing group’s revenue, and they are not except a bob or more.”
She included: “I know that local documents in some cases charge for obituaries, but if you are a BMA member, by the time you die, you have paid them a terrible lot of cash throughout your life.”
Dr Liz Thomas, an intensive care specialist from Manchester, tweeted: “I comprehend they’re an organization, however this just seems so incorrect to me.”
Trevor Pickersgill, a neurologist and BMA chief officer, tweeted in reaction that the news had come as a surprise to him and fellow officers, adding: “Today we are getting in touch with the management of as this was NOT a decision made by however by alone.”
Dr John Hughes, from Manchester, predicted protest movements at the BMA’s next yearly agents fulfilling if BMJ did not rescind the choice. Composing on Twitter, he added: “Especially insensitive timing, when colleagues continue to lose their lives to Covid.”
A BMA spokesman said: “We are really worried by the idea that the BMJ would charge for obituaries. They are completely editorially independent, however we are raising our concerns about this with them directly.”
The BMJ’s note on its site stated: “Please note, from 1 February 2021 we will be charging for releasing obituaries. The Rate is ₤ 299, consisting of BARREL, and for BMA members ₤ 249 pounds, consisting of BARREL … By continuing with publication, you will be agreeing to pay.
” We regret we can not provide individuals progress updates, however after publication you will get a billing for the charge you have consented to pay.”
The BMJ has actually been approached for remark.