About Anna Sayburn

Freelance Forum-7565-2I am a freelance journalist, specialising in medicine and healthcare. Clients include The BMJ [British Medical Journal], NHS.uk website, MedscapeMedical News Today and Chemist and Druggist.

Skills include evidence appraisal and writing clearly about complex medical topics for a lay audience. I  have experience in writing, editing, commissioning and organising expert round table events. I write for both general and specialist media.

I deliver training in science media skills and communication, most recently to the media team at Asthma UK.

I was a finalist in the Medical Journalist Association’s Freelance of the Year award 2017 – here’s what the judges said:

“We were impressed by Anna’s ability to handle complex topics clearly and expertly for the lay reader.”

Top features

Can healthcare be green? The surprising impact of clinical care on climate change. Published in Medscape.

E-cigarettes: Smoking Cessation Aid or Dangerous Addiction? An investigation into the risks and benefits of vaping. Published in Medscape

Homeopathy in Europe: is the tide starting to turn? An investigation into homeopathy and health service funding in the UK and overseas. Published in Medscape

UK couples having less frequent sex. Survey shows changes in sexual behaviour – but can you trust the results? Published in NHS.uk

Changing travel health demands are changing travel clinics. Insect borne-diseases push the demand for better bite protection. Published in Chemist and Druggist.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Surgery. Is blood transfusion refusal a barrier to surgical care? Published in Royal College of Surgeons’ Bulletin.

Lifestyle medicine: a new medical specialty? Can lifestyle medicine ‘save the NHS’ or is it a way to shift blame to the patient? Published in The BMJ.

Medicine too? Sexual harassment and surgery. Is sexual harassment in the surgical profession a thing of the past? It depends who you ask. Published in Royal College of Surgeons’ Bulletin.

How should healthcare professionals act in an emergency? From the London bombings to Grenfell Tower, what are the obligations and risks of being a “good Samaritan”? Published in Chemist and Druggist.

From Ebola to Zika. What’s the best way to stay up to date about disease outbreaks overseas? Published in Chemist and Druggist.

Doctors, death and dying. I investigated how a life in medicine – and the type of specialty you pick – can change the way you think about the end of life. Published in Student BMJ.

Will the machines take over surgery? Experts in machine learning and AI talk about whether surgeons will be handed their P45s any time soon. Published in Royal College of Surgeons’ Bulletin.

What if we cured cancer? Crystal-ball gazing with oncologists, medical statisticians and cancer charities, to assess the impact of an end to the world’s top killer. Published in Royal College of Surgeons’ Bulletin.


Rob Cook, Clinical Director at Bazian, an Economist Intelligence Unit business

Anna is an exceptional freelance healthcare writer and editor who produces high quality work for us to tight timelines. She has a deep understanding of issues across a breadth of health topic areas, adding critical interpretation and important context to bring research to life. It is always a pleasure to work with her.

Matthew Billingsley, editor, Student BMJ, a BMJ publication

Anna is an excellent journalist who I have commissioned to write several features for Student BMJ. Each time I have given her different topics to write on she has come up with well thought-out articles that get to the heart of what our audience needs to know. Overall, I have found her really easy to work with, hardworking, resourceful, and delivers engaging and clear copy.

Rob Finch, former managing editor, NHS Choices (now NHS.uk)

Impressive. That’s the word for Anna’s work. She’s handled complex science and politically sensitive news stories with aplomb turning in great copy to extremely pressing deadlines with copy that is clear, concise and powerful.


Head of Consumer Health at BMJ until 2014. I led a team of writers producing news stories, patient decision aids and in-depth health information, as part of the BMJ’s patient information service.

I’m a member of the Medical Journalists Association, the National Union of Journalists and Women In Journalism.

For my full CV and professional background, see LinkedIn.

Contact annasayburn[at]gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s