The British Health care Journal has ditched its controversial decision to charge for publishing obituaries soon after popular outrage from medical professionals and intervention from the British Health care Affiliation.
On Monday the Guardian unveiled the highly regarded magazine had horrified its readers by introducing a £299 charge for publishing 600-word tributes to medics who died. The timing of the decision in the midst of a pandemic that has killed many frontline medical professionals prompted disgust from the profession and an on the web petition to get it reversed.
It also led to problems from the independent magazine’s house owners, the British Health care Affiliation, which claimed on Monday night time it was “very concerned” by the shift and was in dialogue with the publication’s supervisors.
In a contrite blog site post on Tuesday, the magazine’s editor-in-main, Dr Fiona Godlee, declared that the approach to charge for obituaries had been abandoned in the deal with of “overwhelmingly negative” opinions.
She claimed: “We have listened to readers and we will not now be introducing the charge. No contributors have been charged. We recognise and apologise for the upset this episode has brought on.”
Godlee ruefully noted that she was warned versus tampering with what is the most study area in the magazine. She wrote: “One of only two bits of guidance from my predecessor-but-a single, Steven Lock, who edited The BMJ concerning 1975 and 1991, was: ‘Don’t mess with the obituaries.’ Yesterday’s social media storm reveals that, as perfectly as this currently being a notably tricky time for medical professionals and their people, the obituaries however keep a specific position in the romance concerning the journal and its readers.”
She also discussed to readers how the magazine had manufactured the original decision to charge. She claimed: “Like all publications we have to have to uncover methods to be economically sustainable, and we have to have to do this when continuing to publish the finest attainable educational and magazine content and to innovate editorially and technologically. Having said that, we recognise that these are in particular demanding moments for medical professionals and their people, and I hope this goes some way to conveying what obviously appeared to many of you an inexplicable decision.”
Godlee manufactured the questionable assertion that charging for obituaries is some thing “most newspapers do as a subject of course”. When the Periods prices £1,000 for 600-word tributes in its readers lives area, the Guardian prices almost nothing for contributions to its other lives area.
Dr Toni Hazell, a GP in Tottenham, north London, who complained to the Guardian that the charging decision was “unbelievably crass”, welcomed the U-convert.
She claimed: “This is good information – credit to the BMJ for recognising that an sick-judged decision had been manufactured and taking quick ways to reverse it.”
Dr Liz Thomas, an intensive care advisor from Manchester, who also spoke out about the approach, claimed: “I am definitely happy in the reversal of their decision. Obituaries are a way to unfold respect to colleagues who have died and as a profession it seems courteous to make it possible for this without the need of any charge to the liked types of the deceased.”
A BMA instructed its intervention had been instrumental in the reversal. A spokesman claimed: “We welcome the swift motion taken by the BMJ to reverse its decision to charge for obituaries. Despite its editorial and operational independence we elevated our deep worries about this as quickly as we were manufactured knowledgeable of it yesterday.”