A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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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…
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…
Highlights of 2015

Highlights of 2015

Dear Readers, Thanks for reading our posts and for following us on twitter. Also thanks to the many guest authors who have blogged for us over the last year. We hope you all have a merry break over Christmas and... More…
You and Your Genetics

You and Your Genetics

You are distinctly Neanderthal, you have an elevated risk of getting colon cancer, and quite possibly your Dad is not your Dad….“Happy Christmas!” One of the stranger xmas present suggestions that I have run into this season is a through-the-post,... More…
Watching the Detectives: Epigenetics and Ethics

Watching the Detectives: Epigenetics and Ethics

Detective fiction routinely uses DNA technology as a plot device. So much so that that the “CSI effect” has been blamed for distorting the criminal justice system. Victims of crime and jurors have unrealistic expectations about the role of evidence... More…
Why cutting spending on public health is a false economy

Why cutting spending on public health is a false economy

Public health spending is under threat. This despite the fact that increasing investment in prevention is the foundation of a sustainable NHS. Cutting these budgets is alarmingly short-termist and indicates a fundamental failure of the government to understand the changing nature... More…
Why do older British ex-pats trust Spanish health care?

Why do older British ex-pats trust Spanish health care?

When we went to talk to British ex-pats who’d retired to Spain, it was not surprising to find them enjoying the ‘good life’. Sun, sea and the ready community of other British retirees all made Mallorca or the Costa Blanca... More…
On euphemism & sheer cloudy vagueness: the case of tax credits

On euphemism & sheer cloudy vagueness: the case of tax credits

In his celebrated essay Politics and the English Language, Orwell talks about politicians calculated use of purposively vague language. Last week’s vote on tax credit reform, if you listen to Tory commentators, has precipitated a constitutional crisis in the UK.... More…
Saving Helen? Social Responsibility and Domestic Violence in The Archers

Saving Helen? Social Responsibility and Domestic Violence in The Archers

Media strategies can help challenge domestic violence and a fictional story can often give audiences a unique perspective on the lived reality of abusive relationships. This is because it is considered to operate outside of the legal and ethical constraints... More…
Social policy and austerity outcomes

Social policy and austerity outcomes

It has been argued that sociologists should ‘catch up’ with behavioural scientists and get more involved in trials of social policy, engaging in a culture of ‘experimental government’. I would be the first to agree that we could develop a... More…
“A Kinder Politics and a More Caring Society”

“A Kinder Politics and a More Caring Society”

Jeremy Corbyn stood for election as the leader of the UK Labour party on the pledge of a new “kinder politics and a more caring society”. Taken at face value it seems difficult to see how anyone can argue, or... More…