A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

Latest entries
Blanket ban on legal highs marks a new low for liberty

Blanket ban on legal highs marks a new low for liberty

  Most of us would choose to experience pleasure – however we may define it – as often as possible. The public health and criminal justice systems are set up by the government partly to shape how, when and where... More…
Policy-speak for beginners

Policy-speak for beginners

We have just returned from a three-day work-shop with a global health policy agency in a glamorous location. Having been commissioned to write a report for the agency, the workshop took place in the final stages of the writing process.... More…
Economising the social; a comment on the utility of social value

Economising the social; a comment on the utility of social value

There is a prevailing policy imperative to produce evidence about the social impact of public spending interventions. Whilst on the face of it this may appear to be a sensible development, the ubiquity of notions like social value, social enterprise,... More…
Stealing a good name: the national living wage

Stealing a good name: the national living wage

Why is a ‘national living wage’ not a Living Wage? George Osborne’s recent 2015 Budget proposal for an increased statutory Minimum Wage rate gave it a new name, cleverly stealing the Living Wage ‘brand’ with its high recognition and positive... More…
Hunger Hurts: The Politicization of an Austerity Food Blog

Hunger Hurts: The Politicization of an Austerity Food Blog

Frugality has become popularized in Britain since the 2008 financial crash. Budget cooking shows proliferate on television, supermarkets hand out free recipes on cheap meals, austerity food blogs such as A Girl Called Jack detail how to survive on £10... More…
'Humans', Healthcare Cyborgs and the Quantified Self

‘Humans’, Healthcare Cyborgs and the Quantified Self

Many people have been intrigued by a TV advert for Persona Synthetics inviting them to experience ‘the new generation synthetic human’. This was actually a clever marketing ploy for Channel 4/AMC series Humans. The programme deals with themes that are familiar... More…
Free from the confines of coalition, Osborne goes on benefits rampage

Free from the confines of coalition, Osborne goes on benefits rampage

George Osborne has unveiled significant cuts to welfare in his first budget for the majority Conservative government. Detailing plans to cut £12bn from the pot, the chancellor revealed that the benefits cap will be lowered to households earning £20,000 or... More…
Measuring Ideology

Measuring Ideology

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA), introduced in 2007 by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) under the last Labour government, is likely to form a key component in the current Conservative government’s commitment to reducing the UK welfare bill... More…
Catching Cancer?

Catching Cancer?

Everyone is haunted by stories of cancers that are diagnosed too late. This week guidance from NICE aimed to help with what it called ‘a symptom based approach’ for general practice in England. Promising to bring together lists of symptoms... More…
Care v Cash: co-payment in NHS dentistry

Care v Cash: co-payment in NHS dentistry

This week in the media dentists are being accused of greed, false advertising, hiding prices and misleading patients about their services.  Headlines included: ‘How greedy dentists are fleecing families’ and ‘Dentists falsely advertise NHS slots then refuse to offer appointments’. ... More…
High profit, high price: The hidden costs of America’s marijuana revolution

High profit, high price: The hidden costs of America’s marijuana revolution

Marijuana in the USA is undergoing a period of almost nationwide decriminalisation. There are numerous reasons for this recent transformation in American states’ drugs policies, including some powerful grassroots movements, but money appears to be the most important motivating factor.... More…
UNSILENCING CANCER

UNSILENCING CANCER

One view of ‘patient engagement’ is that it is about people taking greater responsibility for their health. This take on patient engagement coincides with the rise in a blame narrative in which people are increasingly told that their health is... More…
Secrets and Disclosures

Secrets and Disclosures

When it comes to the ethics of identity and confession, theatrical performers and social researchers live in very different places. Over the last few months I have seen a lot of performance art. The kind of thing that often involves a... More…
What is the point of hospitals?

What is the point of hospitals?

In the London Review of Books, Paul Farmer argues the case for building hospitals as a necessity, not a luxury, for poor countries and rich countries alike. Farmer points to the hypocrisy of a ‘basic minimum package’ for ‘resource poor... More…
Weight stigma, neoliberalism and questions of blame

Weight stigma, neoliberalism and questions of blame

Blame and assertions of bad lifestyle choice are key components of weight stigma that people experience. More…
A sense of an ending?

A sense of an ending?

By the time this blog is published on the morning of Friday 8th May, we may be a step closer to knowing what the next UK government is going to look like. Having said that, we may be further away... More…
HIV : How will things change with the arrival of do-it-yourself home-testing kits?

HIV : How will things change with the arrival of do-it-yourself home-testing kits?

According to official estimates, there are more than 25,000 people in the UK who are currently unaware that they are HIV positive. From a Public Health point of view, this is not a good position for the country to be... More…
Shame & the illegitimacy of dependency

Shame & the illegitimacy of dependency

Connecting toxic discourses to the health inequalities debate One of the many toxic features of neoliberalism is the way in which it divides the population into those considered deserving or undeserving. This was recently seen through the ‘strivers’ and ‘shirkers’... More…
Whose quality of life?

Whose quality of life?

I was 10 years old when I made a return visit to the neonatal intensive care unit where I was treated after my premature birth. I stared at the tiny occupants in the incubators, seemingly unaware of their sterile, plastic,... More…
Sharing not caring? On Social Media and Health Campaigns

Sharing not caring? On Social Media and Health Campaigns

Social media is a powerful tool in health related campaigning and the latest high profile campaign to gain momentum on the twittersphere involves celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow.  She is taking part in the New York food challenge organised by chef Mario... More…