A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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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…
Scary clones and space-ready humans - the genome debate hots up

Scary clones and space-ready humans – the genome debate hots up

Hopes and fears around new developments in genome editing have sparked a fresh round of arguments about the ethics of eugenics. Until recently, a great deal of ethical thinking about genomics focused on what would happen if scientists ever worked... More…
Alan Kurdi

Alan Kurdi

The pitiful picture of a child who drowned during a failed sea crossing from Turkey to Greece seems to have done what reams of analysis and commentary could not: shifted the narrative. The image of Alan (also reported as Aylan)... More…
Neoliberal epidemics: the spread of austerity, obesity, stress and inequality

Neoliberal epidemics: the spread of austerity, obesity, stress and inequality

Within the small local authority of Stockton-on-Tees, where one of us lives and works, the difference in male life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas is 17 years. This is comparable to the difference in average male life expectancy between the... More…
Conceptualizing the ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe

Conceptualizing the ‘migrant crisis’ in Europe

Images of young men trying to enter lorries queuing around the Port of Calais have illustrated the ‘migrant crisis’ this June. Industrial action by port employees disrupted lorry as well as ferry travel, and was partly in response to the... More…
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…
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…
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…