A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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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…
Progressive alliances & the parlous state of British democracy

Progressive alliances & the parlous state of British democracy

There was news this week that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt faces an ‘unauthorised’ progressive alliance in his Surrey constituency that will attempt (against Labour Party policy) to unseat him in the forthcoming general election.  The proposal is that local Labour... More…
It was Big Tobacco, not Trump, that wrote the post-truth rule book

It was Big Tobacco, not Trump, that wrote the post-truth rule book

After two chaotic months as president, Donald Trump is widely credited with rewriting the political rule book. We are witnessing Trump’s new era of post-fact politics, where distraction and obfuscation are central, and critical stories are dismissed as “fake news”.... More…
Gig-Economy: Gig-Health?

Gig-Economy: Gig-Health?

Health and wellbeing in the workplace has been an important area of study in medical sociology and social epidemiology.  Those knowledges centre on the complexity of workplace health, that health and wellbeing are the outcome of a myriad of social... More…
Zygmunt Bauman: On the Quest for Health

Zygmunt Bauman: On the Quest for Health

Zygmunt Bauman, who sadly passed away at the age of 91 in January, was one of the most influential sociologists of his generation. Bauman was Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds from 1972 until his retirement in 1990.... More…
On ignorance, knowledge and health

On ignorance, knowledge and health

In the age of alternative facts, WikiLeaks and the routine denigration of expertise, knowledge and ignorance have become highly politicised.  Of course, knowledge has always been political: and nowhere is this more evident than in health and health care. Historically,... More…
A Question of Sport?

A Question of Sport?

Exercise is good for you. Exercise regularly and eat well and you reduce the risks of a catalogue of long term health conditions including obesity, diabetes and mental health problems such as depression. The message has been absorbed; millions of... More…
You can’t wear a bag on your head

You can’t wear a bag on your head

Air pollution is often in the news as pollution episodes are reported in major cities in China and India. In London too, it is in the sights of the new(ish) mayor, who is calling for extra charges on polluting vehicles... More…
The Rise of the Nasty Women – reclaiming the feminist collective

The Rise of the Nasty Women

Each year I teach a lecture on gender and health to my third-year students.   Alongside ideas of gender roles and norms, gendered power relations and the move from a binary to a spectrum understanding of gender, I introduce the idea... More…
The Pain in Spain

The Pain in Spain

Access to healthcare is a major post-referendum concern for millions of Europeans – but when you contemplate the details, you can see why most Brexiteers would rather not talk about it….. An amicable or “soft” divorce between Britain and Europe... More…
The real crisis in the NHS is democratic

The real crisis in the NHS is democratic

The decision by the British Red Cross to suggest that the NHS was experiencing a ‘humanitarian crisis’ predictably instigated a public debate as to exactly what the terms of reference were for an event to be considered a humanitarian crisis... More…
Mind the Gap: On John Berger, mystification and the NHS

Mind the Gap: On John Berger, mystification and the NHS

A couple of events this past week have put me in mind of some of the insights from John Berger’s classic text ‘Ways of Seeing’. In an age of ‘post-truth politics’, the observations and comments in this 45-year-old book seem... More…
Welfare with conditions can promote social divisions

Welfare with conditions can promote social divisions

The UK benefits system is going through its biggest reform in 60 years. The revised system relies more heavily on welfare with conditions – that is to say, benefits allocated on the basis of assessments of individual financial or physical... More…