A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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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…
Health Tourism: What are the real costs?

Health Tourism: What are the real costs?

On 2 July, I found out that I could potentially lose my access to free NHS health care, due to proposals by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to restrict access to the NHS for non-EU migrants.  This... More…
The Inter-generational blame game

The Inter-generational blame game

Older people are costing us money.  They are using disproportionately more of the NHS, social care and welfare budgets, and expenditure on prescription drugs is significantly higher for the over 65s than their younger peers.  Older people are costing the... More…
Poverty in Primetime - Reality TV in the Age of Austerity

Poverty in Primetime – Reality TV in the Age of Austerity

For most developed countries the concept of “food poverty” is controversial. A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlighted that living costs have risen 25% in the past five years and placed an “unprecedented” financial burden on the poor”.... More…
Why do firefighters take such risky jobs?

Why do firefighters take such risky jobs?

Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect other people’s property and lives.  Why do they choose to take such dangerous work?  Sociologist Matthew Desmond asks this question in his book, On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters, and the... More…
Questions of trust...?

Questions of trust…?

Another week, another scandal involving the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This time the sorry catalogue of events relates to a maternity unit in Morecambe Bay. As details of the report were leaked prior to publication this week, the tone and... More…
We’re all doomed! – What happens when normality is so dangerous that it might kill you?

We’re all doomed! – What happens when normality is so dangerous that it might kill you?

When driving through the town of Omagh the other day I found myself (somewhat unsuccessfully!) trying to quote the great Ulrich Beck from memory. We had just driven past a health promotion poster showing the midriff of a man wearing... More…
Be happy, be healthy and get well soon

Be happy, be healthy and get well soon

Rows continued to rumble this week about the proper content of general practice in the new NHS. Are GPs ducking their responsibility for out of hours care? Are they being pulled away from medical practice by the new responsibilities of... More…
From victims to heroes to scroungers: changes in the public perception of disabled people.

From victims to heroes to scroungers: changes in the public perception of disabled people.

Disability and disabled people have regularly featured in the media over the past few months.  Radio 4 is currently running a series exploring disability across history, we have had extensive coverage of the Oscar Pistorius court case in South Africa... More…
Nudge Nudge Push Shove

Nudge Nudge Push Shove

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recently put benefit claimants through a series of psychometric tests, designed to ‘nudge’ claimants into a more positive frame of mind regarding job seeking. This process was exposed as meaningless by the American... More…
All in the (Celebrity) Genes: The Angelina Jolie Effect

All in the (Celebrity) Genes: The Angelina Jolie Effect

Actor, humanitarian and global icon Angelina Jolie announced this week that she had undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy. This news both shocked and intrigued audiences across the world. Jolie told her story in the New York Times. She had tested... More…
Older and cared for

Older and cared for

Recently I was gently but clearly reprimanded in my local pharmacy. I had gone with my chicken-poxy child to buy some anti-itch ointment. Sweden, like the UK, does not routinely vaccinate children against the varicella zoster virus. ‘It’s very contagious,... More…
Measles, MMR vaccination and the Media

Measles, MMR vaccination and the Media

The measles outbreak in South Wales is the largest in a decade and over 800 children are affected. Public health officials are warning that this childhood disease can be life-threatening with complications including pneumonia and long term damage to the... More…
Black masculinities and 'the Beast' that is prostate cancer

Black masculinities and ‘the Beast’ that is prostate cancer

A new report Hear me Now by the organisation BME Cancer Communities has highlighted an ‘uncomfortable reality’:  black African Caribbean men in the UK are 30 per cent more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men. They have... More…
BLACK APRIL – There IS an alternative

BLACK APRIL – There IS an alternative

Right wing politicians throughout Europe and beyond are working desperately hard to establish a new, shared and ‘objective’ fact – that the collective benefits of social care, community welfare, freely-accessible education and equitable healthcare are no longer affordable in the... More…
“Processed meat” – it is advisable to engage brain before opening mouth

“Processed meat” – it is advisable to engage brain before opening mouth

When the number crunchers at the EPIC project noticed a significant statistical association between processed meat consumption and premature death, someone involved thought it was a good idea to go public. And what better way to draw their findings to... More…