A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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All you need is love…

All you need is love…

This Valentine’s Day, as with every year, the shops are full of hearts and flowers, and the internet is bombarding us with adverts for romantic getaways, meal deals, and ideas for ever more expensive ways to demonstrate our love for... More…
Data & the gaming of A&E waiting times

Data & the gaming of A&E waiting times

A few days ago I found myself investigating the bed occupancy statistics for an NHS hospital trust. This was in response to a friend telling me that the hospital had found the need to invent a new colour level of... More…
Shortage of nurses in UK is affecting patient care and threatening lives

Shortage of nurses in UK is affecting patient care and threatening lives

Nursing is often seen as the beating heart of the NHS. But, if recent media reports are anything to judge by, the beating heart is badly in need of a cardiologist. Outsiders looking in would rightly be puzzled by the... More…
A shuffling shambles: calamity or conspiracy?

A shuffling shambles: calamity or conspiracy?

The news earlier this week that Jeremy Hunt was not only going to be staying as Secretary of State for Health, but was also extending his ministerial remit to cover social care as well, came as something of a shock.... More…
Deportation and despair in context

Deportation and despair in context

Assessments of the health needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe tend to focus on trauma suffered prior to exile and during the flight to the host country. Less attention has been paid to the ill effects of the... More…
Public troubles and private lives – how could ‘iHomecare’ be the answer to the social care crisis?

Public troubles and private lives – how could ‘iHomecare’ be the answer to the social care crisis?

There is a permanent contradiction in the sphere of health and social care in that one person’s home is another person’s workplace, such that people’s private lives are intertwined with public responses to those lives (i.e. the state provision of... More…
When should we worry?

When should we worry?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is in the news as public health specialists around the world ask us to pay attention to Antibiotic Awareness Week. Posters have gone up across the UK warning that ‘taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts... More…
Making a virtue of variation? The fragmentation of the English NHS

Making a virtue of variation? The fragmentation of the English NHS

Geographic reform of the NHS is not new: region, district, area, and locality are all familiar terms in NHS history, and notions of “place” as an organising principle retain an intrinsic appeal for policy-makers.  Recently, the English NHS has now... More…
What to do about our toxic universities?

What to do about our toxic universities?

“My senior management seems to live in a governance free zone. One in particular who joined with the new VC has developed a reputation for turning disagreements into sacking”. UK University Employee Anyone who takes more than a passing interest... More…
The panel will see you now: GP Referral Management Schemes

The panel will see you now: GP Referral Management Schemes

Currently over 4 million people are on NHS waiting lists, hospital trusts’ deficits are at record levels, and the patient promise of treatment within 18 weeks of referral has been abandoned. For NHS England, the incentive to “do something” about... More…
On Vincent & Nina: Images of genius & madness

On Vincent & Nina: Images of genius & madness

Over the summer I visited the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Given my grasp of Dutch is somewhat limited, I hired the audio-tour so I could better appraise myself of the exhibits. As I wandered around I was struck... More…
Guidelines for Depression: More Gourmet Nights from NICE

Guidelines for Depression: More Gourmet Nights from NICE

Could it really still be Gourmet Night for Psychological Therapies? I have written previously comparing IAPT to Fawlty Towers’ Gourmet Night, in which a series of events led to the hotel restaurant offering three options on the menu: duck with... More…
Placebo, participation and surgery

Placebo, participation and surgery

A therapeutic effect that cannot be attributed to an active ingredient of medication is termed ‘placebo’. The ‘placebo effect’ is far from a neutral description of the effect of ‘inert drugs’, being associated with the quackery and deception of sugar... More…
Why we keep playing the Generation Blame Game … and why we need to stop

Why we keep playing the Generation Blame Game … and why we need to stop

Successive generations’ healthy disregard of the previous generation’s tastes, habits and customs is a necessary ingredient of human progress. But there is something about the current carving up of the population into ever smaller generational slices of entitlement and opprobrium... More…
The ADHD chronicles: Squeezing through the bars of the iron cage

The ADHD chronicles: Squeezing through the bars of the iron cage

My first two attempts to get evaluated for ADHD only resulted in promises that the psychologist would call me back. This never happened, and the only official indication that I was ever in contact with him/her was the invoices I... More…
Digital Healthcare: On the ethics and politics of data

Digital Healthcare: On the ethics and politics of data

A two-day symposium on ‘Digital Healthcare’ was held last month at the University of Nottingham, focusing on the social logics, ethics and politics of data and technology provision. Speakers and delegates from a range of disciplines came together to discuss and... More…
Not in the club? It’s par for the course

Not in the club? It’s par for the course

Golf is a game where individual players hit a small plastic and rubber ball (a descendant of the ‘hairy ball’ it is believed), with a largely metal club. It is widely understood to have originated in Fife, on the east... More…
Governing in the heat

Governing in the heat

As I write it’s baking hot, and seems to have been for days. The usual risks apply to writing about it though. By the time this is published the thunder storms we have been promised may have brought cooler wetter... More…
Old wine in new bottles? On the new NICE Guidelines for Depression

Old wine in new bottles? On the new NICE Guidelines for Depression

Before NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) finalised and published its first depression guidance in 2004, it made a draft publicly available for comment. NICE will make a draft of a new version of this guidance available... More…
Muddying the NHS waters- a 5 year forward view

Muddying the NHS waters- a 5 year forward view

I knew it was coming. I didn’t know what shape it would take but I knew that, eventually, my habit of drinking voracious daily amounts of Diet Pepsi would eventually catch me up. I’d been told once by a drunken... More…