A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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The Gradual Rehabilitation of Salt

The Gradual Rehabilitation of Salt

The Public Health campaign against salt seems to be losing ground – for some sociologically interesting reasons. It’s become one of those facts that everyone knows – too much salt is bad for you, right? But a complete lack of... More…
The “snowflake generation”

The “snowflake generation”

Dangerous myths in precarious times You might have seen headlines about the “snowflake generation” or “generation snowflake”: a derogatory term to describe young adults in the 2010’s. It was made one of the “words of the year” in 2016 by... 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…
Why the NHS needs an immigration policy with strict hypocrisy controls

Why the NHS needs an immigration policy with strict hypocrisy controls

How did the UK come to find itself facing a major political crisis with the prospect of expending the forseeable future redefining its relationship with the European Union? One of the key contributing factors is that political leaders allowed the issue... 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…
Scotland’s drug death crisis needs a radical harm reduction response – now

Scotland’s Drug Death Crisis

The newly published figures of annual drug-related deaths (DRD) in Scotland are appalling. The National Records of Scotland figure of 867 represents the highest annual total recorded – a 23% increase on the previous year, and a 100% increase since 421 Scottish... 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…
UK policy turns people with learning disabilities into commodities, study reveals

UK policy turns people with learning disabilities into commodities, study reveals

There are well over a million people with learning disabilities in England. Like anyone, people with learning disabilities or autistic people can experience times of crisis and heightened distress, particularly when they and their families have not had the support they need.... More…
Climate change set to increase air pollution deaths by hundreds of thousands by 2100

Climate change set to increase air pollution deaths by hundreds of thousands by 2100

Climate change is set to increase the amount of ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution we breathe, which leads to lung disease, heart conditions, and stroke. Less rain and more heat means this pollution will stay in the air for... 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…
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…
Falling out of love with the car?

Falling out of love with the car?

Have we reached ‘peak car’?  Many pointers in the UK and internationally suggest we have.  There’s been a slow down, even a reverse, in our love affair with the private car.  On average, those of us in high income countries... 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…
On Brexit, Nurses and Migrant Workers in the NHS

On Brexit, Nurses and Migrant Workers in the NHS

Figures released this week by the Nursing and Midwifery Council show a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses applying for jobs in the UK after the Brexit vote in June 2016.  In July 2016, 1304 nurses joined the... More…
Tory landslide Was Averted

Tory landslide Was Averted

So, there is a general election tomorrow.  Maybe one of the most critical elections in the post-war period.  If you are reading this blog, the chances are that you deeply care about the NHS, schools, universities and believe in having... 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…
Learning to Drink in Nigeria: Tales from Hollywood and Nollywood

Learning to Drink in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there is no concept of ‘counting your units’ nor are there nationally co-ordinated public health campaigns to challenge the normalisation of drinking alcohol ‘to excess’. With little or no regulation of the alcohol industry, transnational drinks companies are... More…
Extending Patient Access to GPs: who will benefit?

Extending Patient Access to GPs: who will benefit?

Investing in extended patient access to GPs is a key government objective, but which patients will benefit, and will it have its intended consequences? Despite little evidence that it is demanded by patients, extended access to GPs, providing care outside... More…