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The isolation, loneliness and helplessness of being homeless
  1. Deborah Kirklin
  1. Correspondence to Dr Deborah Kirklin, UCL Division of Medical Education, Whittington Campus, Highgate Hill, London N19 5LW, UK; d.kirklin{at}

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One of the hotly debated questions, at the journal's recent editorial board meeting, was how to communicate, to our readers, the clinical relevance of the papers we publish. It is an interesting question, and one moreover that begs several others, not least amongst them being whether it is appropriate to expect a medical humanities scholarship to be directly, or indirectly relevant to patient care and clinical practice.

Laying that old bugbear to one side, I would like to argue that one of the strengths of medical humanities is its ability to shine a light into some of the darker, and more neglected corners of medicine and social care, and thereby revealing what can be uncomfortable truths.

Take, for example, the cover image for this issue, featuring Homeless 1, by medical student Rory Hutchinson, one of the winners of the inaugural MDU Mark Brennan Prize (Visual Arts category). Rory's work was ‘inspired by the treatment of homeless patients within the medical system’, and aims to ‘raise awareness …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.