A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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Health tomorrow?

Health tomorrow?

Health apps are all the rage, but have they really been taken to heart by the end consumer? More…
For integration, read fragmentation

For integration, read fragmentation

Integrated care as a panacea for all that ails the NHS masks wider processes of privatisation in the English healthcare system. Debate about the shape and tenor of integrated care is needed to reverse the ongoing marketisation of statutory English... More…
Taking responsibility for our health

Taking responsibility for our health

Last week the chairman of NICE, David Haslam called for patients to stop being deferential to doctors and be more proactive in ensuring that they receive the best healthcare available.  He argues that, patients should be more aware of the... More…
Holiday parasites and furry friends

Holiday parasites and furry friends

What did you bring back from your last holiday? Some happy memories, a sun-tan or perhaps something more exotic?  A parasite? A stray dog? Both? Seventy-five per-cent of new human diseases are zoonotic. Concern for human public health means monitoring... More…
‘BREAKING BAD’: markets, healthcare and drug money

‘BREAKING BAD’: markets, healthcare and drug money

This article contains spoilers The TV series Breaking Bad reached its conclusion at the end of September last year.  This acclaimed drama has been described as: the most revered show of the modern golden age of television; as Dostoevsky in... More…
Letter from America

Letter from America

A visit to the ‘land of freedom’ with its catastrophic health care costs is a warning not to be complacent about the NHS … Where it’s brushed against poison ivy, Kelly’s skin is badly blistered, a rash slowly spreading down... More…
A&E crisis is a symptom, not a cause

A&E crisis is a symptom, not a cause

Contrary to popular belief, attendances have stayed static since 2003 in what the Department of Health calls type 1 units – the big hospital-based A&E departments. Indeed, not a week passes without a news story about A&E departments: seven threatened... More…
Manufacturing perfect debtors: a comment on the UK debt industries

Manufacturing perfect debtors: a comment on the UK debt industries

The growing issue of personal debt (the so-called debt crisis) is more and more being represented as an issue of individual financial capability and responsibility. Problems of personal debt are constructed as something that can be remedied through improved access to financial management... More…
‘Hard Times’ in The Archers at Christmas

‘Hard Times’ in The Archers at Christmas

It is often said that if Charles Dickens were writing now it would be for a popular soap opera perhaps as a script-writer for BBC radio 4 serial The Archers.  John Yorke described soaps as ‘modern morality plays’; the latest... More…
Age of Sexual Consent – is it a Public Health issue anyway?

Age of Sexual Consent – is it a Public Health issue anyway?

Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, has suggested that the Government consider lowering the age of sexual consent from 16 to 15. He has certainly put the cat amongst the political pigeons (which is fun to... More…
From "doctor knows best" to "market knows best"

From “doctor knows best” to “market knows best”

We are consistently told by this government that the public sector is wasteful and inefficient and that the private sector offers much better value for money for the ‘Great British Taxpayer’. The evidence for this is scant to say the... More…
Obamacare, Individualism v Solidarity, and the NHS

Obamacare, Individualism v Solidarity, and the NHS

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) came into force in the USA in June 2012 to regulate health insurance and curtail some of the worst practices engaged in by the for profit health care industry.  The aim was to make affordable... More…
Surgery for breakfast

Surgery for breakfast

A friend, recently returned from a city-break in Budapest, reported it wonderful in every respect. The only shock was the hotel breakfast menu: instead of the anticipated eggs benedict, croissants and coffee, she was confronted with dental implants, tear-drop breasts... More…
Selling Stigma: Mental Illness and the Media

Selling Stigma: Mental Illness and the Media

In the same week that we celebrate World Mental Health Day, the Sun newspaper ran a front page headline which read “1,200 killed by mental patients”. The statistics were written in lurid ‘blood red’ with much smaller writing below which stated... More…
Set up to fail? A&E funding incentives, targets and flu vaccinations

Set up to fail? A&E funding incentives, targets and flu vaccinations

It was recently announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that English hospitals will share £500 million in extra winter funding for A&E departments over the next two years. This seemed like great news in the context of on-going issues at... More…
The English school food plan needs a few more ingredients

The English school food plan needs a few more ingredients

Schools are a key battleground for public health professionals and policy-makers trying to improve young people’s diet in the UK and internationally. The Department for Education recently released a new English School Food Plan (SFP) which was produced by the founders... More…
On being involved

On being involved

Our son was born last November with a cleft lip and palate. Since then we have learned a lot. We know how to squeeze milk rhythmically into his mouth; massage scar tissue and deliver pain medications with the minimum of... More…
Bloody markets

Bloody markets

Recent media discussions about the privatisation of UK blood supply draw from concerns about marketisation much more explicitly than debates about any other facet of healthcare. Why is this, and what does it say about the role of markets in... More…
Preserving the Fertility of Cancer Patients: Necessary Treatment or Additional Luxury?

Preserving the Fertility of Cancer Patients: Necessary Treatment or Additional Luxury?

A diagnosis of cancer is often devastating. Prognosis varies greatly and treatments can be debilitating; even as they cure, treatments may cause significant and lasting damage. One possible consequence is the loss of fertility, (a significant risk in many radio-... More…
Fat Chances? The Obesity Problem in Tamworth

Fat Chances? The Obesity Problem in Tamworth

A childhood friend recently told me Tamworth, a Staffordshire town which I’ve called home for the majority of my 25 years, had received the tragic honour of being the UK’s ‘fat capital’. This particular term was used by Joanna Moorhead... More…