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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…