A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

Latest entries
Lights out for health?

Lights out for health?

Across the UK, the lights are going out.  As local authorities seek to cut costs, street lights are being turned off or dimmed at night – with much local media concern about what this means for safety.  But is less... More…
You deserve a better life - Louis Theroux’s 'Drinking to Oblivion'

You deserve a better life – Louis Theroux’s ‘Drinking to Oblivion’

This week I watched Louis Theroux’s BBC documentary on severe alcoholism. The programme followed patients of King’s College Hospital as they were admitted to A&E or to detox programmes, and spoke to specialists trying to deal with the many health... More…
Parkrun

Parkrun

Every Saturday in countries across the world groups of amateur and less amateur runners get together to run 2 or 5 km around a park.  In 2004, Paul Sinron developed Parkrun, and the first event involved 13 people running in... More…
Domestic Violence in the Archers: Gender, Mental Health and Victim Blame

Domestic Violence in the Archers: Gender, Mental Health and Victim Blame

When Helen Titchener finally took a knife to abusive husband, Rob, there was a national outpouring of relief from Archers fans, who had become increasingly frustrated with the long running, apparently endless subjugation of Helen. Others had long switched off,... More…
Sugar, poverty and taxation

Sugar, poverty and taxation

As social scientists, we can bring a unique perspective to a debate dominated by politicians, ‘food campaigners’, public health and industry. I don’t know if self-appointed sugar experts Jamie Oliver (TV chef) and George Osbourne (political chancellor) have a lot... More…
WRAGs to ‘riches’: Closing the disability employment gap

WRAGs to ‘riches’: Closing the disability employment gap

Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) recently resigned from his position as the Work and Pensions Secretary having seemingly suffered a delayed bout of morality. In his resignation letter he explained that he felt the cuts proposed in #Budget2016 were ‘a compromise... More…
School Holiday Hunger

School Holiday Hunger

The cost of the school holidays makes them a crunch point for families paying the price of austerity politics. Children who benefit from free school lunches are often going hungry once their school shuts for the holidays. The cost of... More…
The Volkswagon scandal: making air pollution visible

The Volkswagon scandal: making air pollution visible

It is difficult to have missed the recent ‘Volkswagon scandal’. The US Environmental Protection Agency claimed that Volkswagen rigged emissions tests by fitting a device that reduced emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) during testing. By law, all vehicles have to... More…
The Unequal Cost of Cancer

The Unequal Cost of Cancer

Information released on World Cancer Day earlier this month revealed that although more people are being diagnosed with cancer, more people now are surviving the disease. Cancer Research UK tells us that 1 in 2 people born after 1960 in... More…
Jeremy Hunt’s solution for cash-strapped NHS trusts - cut 375 nurses each?

Jeremy Hunt’s solution for cash-strapped NHS trusts – cut 375 nurses each?

Jeremy Hunt talks of patient safety – but his NHS cash ‘solutions’ risk repeating the mistakes of Mid-Staffordshire The systematic and deliberate cash starvation of the NHS by Tory-led governments since 2010 has opened up an increasingly visible crisis, now... More…
Howling together alone: Scandi-noir

Howling together alone: Scandi-noir

The Flogsta Roar is a Scandi-noir miniature: a snapshot of existential anxiety in a snow-scattered landscape; loneliness and solidarity in an ordered society, treated with subtlety and wit and all in 18 minutes. Every night, at 10pm, the windows of... More…
2+2 equals 5

2+2 equals 5

The unilateral imposition of a new contract is the latest instalment in the ongoing junior doctors’ dispute. This is the most recent development in a long line of NHS reforms which stretch to the limits the standards of credibility, objectivity... More…
Is the NHS really suffering a crisis of compassion?

Is the NHS really suffering a crisis of compassion?

When Robert Francis published his report on the ‘systemic failings’ identified in Mid-Staffordshire in 2013 the report was a damning indictment of management practices and unsafe staffing policies. But is also raised concerns about a lack of compassion on the... More…
Going Private

Going Private

Should we worry about the rise of fee-for-service general practice? Paying for GP services is back in the news. New models of private health care are being launched, and commentators are calling for NHS patients to make co-payments to visit... More…
Room for improvement?

Room for improvement?

A couple of weeks ago Sasha Scambler wrote on this blog about public health interest in digital devices and the launch of a free ‘sugar app’ in the UK in time for the season of new resolutions. The app uses... More…
Same difference? - From Northwick Park in 2006 to Rennes in 2016

Same difference? – From Northwick Park in 2006 to Rennes in 2016

As someone who has researched healthy volunteer involvement in clinical trials I was disturbed by the events in Rennes, France last week, where after taking part in a clinical trial, a healthy volunteer died and 4 others were left in... More…
“APPY” NEW YEAR: self-surveillance, big brother and the worried well

“APPY” NEW YEAR: self-surveillance, big brother and the worried well

I got a new watch for Christmas. It tells me how far I walk each day, how many calories I burn off through movement and it reminds me to stand up and move around every hour. It rewards me when... More…
Public Protest and Debate: Katie Hopkins and the Welfare State

Public Protest and Debate: Katie Hopkins and the Welfare State

On November 23rd 2015 my mind was concentrated on the politics of health and the welfare state in a way that I had not anticipated, raising issues that I now realize I had never adequately thought through before. Brunel University... More…
Tales of Everyday Drinking: Risk, Alcohol and Government Advice

Tales of Everyday Drinking: Risk, Alcohol and Government Advice

“My name is …and I’m an alcoholic” – Wednesday, 13 January – 10pm on Channel 5 We have a complicated relationship with alcohol. Many of us are as likely to drink to drown our sorrows as we are to celebrate our successes.... More…