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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…
Our NHS: a place for ethical consumption?

Our NHS: a place for ethical consumption?

Two weeks ago the news covered a tragic death: a seven week old baby, Axel, succumbed to a chest infection despite repeated contact with the health services. The story gained traction not so much as a narrative of professional mistakes,... More…
Welfare reform and the vilification of the ‘undeserving poor’

Welfare reform and the vilification of the ‘undeserving poor’

The universal credit (UC) proposals involve amalgamating six pre-existing means-tested benefit payments and tax credits into one monthly payment. This new payment is purported to simplify an overly complex, bureaucratic system of social welfare. Simplification of the complex UK system... More…
Counting the cost of heroic surgical intervention

Counting the cost of heroic surgical intervention

The practice of medicine involves interesting contradictions. In the name of treatment, clinicians regularly inflict pain on people who are already suffering. Medicine promises to alleviate pain in the long-term through an intervention that  exacerbates it.  Such is the strength... More…