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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…
Playing the blame game: political capital and Mid Staffs

Playing the blame game: political capital and Mid Staffs

The much-anticipated Francis Report on the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry was published last week. At the centre of the inquiry was the elevated level of Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMRs). Essentially this means that death-rates in this... More…
Loneliness, conflation and ideology

Loneliness, conflation and ideology

We are told that levels of loneliness are increasing, figures from the Campaign to End Loneliness suggest that 1 in 5 people are sometimes lonely and that 1 in 10 over 65s are ‘chronically lonely’.  Further research tells us that... More…
Inequality as a test of strength...?

Inequality as a test of strength…?

Notions of recovery and resilience are ubiquitous at the moment. Resilience particularly seems to have made the jump from a concept in positive psychology material into a mainstream policy objective ranging across inequality, poverty, and community wellbeing (to name but... More…
'Akuten'

‘Akuten’

King’s College Hospital currently has an appeal for funds which urges us to text a five pound donation to ‘improve the life-saving care we provide for our patients’. Hospitals used to be state funded. As insidious as the implication that... More…