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Editor's choice
  1. Bill Noble
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bill Noble, Sheffield Hallam University, Academic Unit of Supportive Care, 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP, UK; bill.noble{at}

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My choice for this issue is “Guideline for the Prevention of Oral and Oro-pharyngeal Mucositis in Children Receiving Treatment for Cancer or Undergoing Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation” by Dr Lillian Sung and an extensive international list of authors. Although paediatric oncology and haematology may be a minority interest among our readers, this paper stands out as an example of that most useful of studies, an account of the best evidence available on an important clinical issue.

The sunset on the cover, is not an homage to 1970s UK hospice publications; it signals that after 6 years, this is my last issue of BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care as Editor-in-Chief. I would like to start by thanking the editorial team who were so helpful in the launch and early years of the journal's life. Irene Higginson and Eduardo Bruera gave considerable support as Associate Editors at a time when attracting authors to a new journal was difficult. Matthew Hotopf and Pal Klepstad were instrumental in setting early standards in supportive care research. Mandy Barnett handled our rapidly growing submissions on educational matters and Julia Brown lent us her statistical expertise to ensure the quality of our reviews.

Geoff Mitchell has for 6 years handled most papers with a community or primary care focus while also acting as Deputy Editor. The popular Short-cuts section is the result of the prodigious reading habit and work rate of Jason Boland. I am also grateful to Andrew Wilcock and Sarah Charlesworth for the News section. If I was to hand out an award for quick turn-rounds and reliability, I would find it hard to choose between Christine Ingleton and Merryn Gott who have lent their considerable expertise on qualitative and mixed method studies until very recently.

Myra Bluebond-Langnor has had the difficult task of sifting paediatric palliative care submissions since we started. Dan Munday continues to survey the international horizons from his home in the Himalayas. Mark Taubert and Jake Strand, on either side of the Atlantic, brought their knowledge of social media as well as clinical studies to the journal. Most recently we have welcomed Miriam Johnson to our team and have not regretted it.

However, the people for whom I hold most gratitude are our authors, whether their manuscripts were accepted or rejected, as well as our reviewers, named in the latter pages of this issue. They have put more work into this journal than anyone and no journal would exist without them. That is just so long as there are also readers.

The Editorial Board has been most supportive and helpful with suggestions for improvement, as has been the staff at BMJ. In retrospect, their decision to appoint an inexperienced, slightly dyslexic editor for their new journal was rather brave. I've very much enjoyed the editing, choosing the covers and meeting BMJ colleagues from around the world in so many specialties. It was a privilege to have a platform to write occasionally about some thing important to me.

And so to introduce, perhaps my most important contribution to the Journal, my successor: Declan Walsh obtained his medical degree from University College Dublin, a Master's from the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne and completed a Medical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. He was the founding director of the pioneering Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic which has served as a model for other cancer centers around the world. For this he was given a National Leadership award by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and named as a Visionary by the American Academy. Widely published, and a noted educator and researcher, Dr Walsh was given the John Mendelsohn award from MD Anderson Cancer Center and been a Visiting Fellowship at Oxford University and was honoured by a lifetime achievement award by the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer.

At the Cleveland Clinic he served as Chief Executive Officer of Home Care Services, Post-Acute Division Chair, Chair of Corporate Compliance and an elected member of the Clinic's Board of Governors. Dr Walsh is an elected Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in Edinburgh and London. He is the senior editor of a major textbook entitled Palliative Medicine published by Elsevier. Declan has held a joint Chair as the Fottrell Professor of Palliative Medicine at Trinity and University Colleges Dublin since 2012 and was elected a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He is a Trustee of Marie Curie, a major UK charity. Recently he was appointed as Professor of Medicine and Chair of a new Department of Supportive Oncology in the Levine Cancer Institute, Carolinas Health System, Charlotte, USA.

Finally, it was always my custom to mention the poem at the back. After 6 years of contributions, once again I am grateful to John Birtwhistle for his thoughtful explanation and comments on four jewels of Japanese literature. In what other learned medical journal would you find good 12th century Japanese death poetry?


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.