A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

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Stealing a good name: the national living wage

Stealing a good name: the national living wage

Why is a ‘national living wage’ not a Living Wage? George Osborne’s recent 2015 Budget proposal for an increased statutory Minimum Wage rate gave it a new name, cleverly stealing the Living Wage ‘brand’ with its high recognition and positive... More…
Hunger Hurts: The Politicization of an Austerity Food Blog

Hunger Hurts: The Politicization of an Austerity Food Blog

Frugality has become popularized in Britain since the 2008 financial crash. Budget cooking shows proliferate on television, supermarkets hand out free recipes on cheap meals, austerity food blogs such as A Girl Called Jack detail how to survive on £10... More…
Free from the confines of coalition, Osborne goes on benefits rampage

Free from the confines of coalition, Osborne goes on benefits rampage

George Osborne has unveiled significant cuts to welfare in his first budget for the majority Conservative government. Detailing plans to cut £12bn from the pot, the chancellor revealed that the benefits cap will be lowered to households earning £20,000 or... More…
Measuring Ideology

Measuring Ideology

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA), introduced in 2007 by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) under the last Labour government, is likely to form a key component in the current Conservative government’s commitment to reducing the UK welfare bill... More…
Catching Cancer?

Catching Cancer?

Everyone is haunted by stories of cancers that are diagnosed too late. This week guidance from NICE aimed to help with what it called ‘a symptom based approach’ for general practice in England. Promising to bring together lists of symptoms... More…
Care v Cash: co-payment in NHS dentistry

Care v Cash: co-payment in NHS dentistry

This week in the media dentists are being accused of greed, false advertising, hiding prices and misleading patients about their services.  Headlines included: ‘How greedy dentists are fleecing families’ and ‘Dentists falsely advertise NHS slots then refuse to offer appointments’. ... More…
High profit, high price: The hidden costs of America’s marijuana revolution

High profit, high price: The hidden costs of America’s marijuana revolution

Marijuana in the USA is undergoing a period of almost nationwide decriminalisation. There are numerous reasons for this recent transformation in American states’ drugs policies, including some powerful grassroots movements, but money appears to be the most important motivating factor.... More…
UNSILENCING CANCER

UNSILENCING CANCER

One view of ‘patient engagement’ is that it is about people taking greater responsibility for their health. This take on patient engagement coincides with the rise in a blame narrative in which people are increasingly told that their health is... More…
Secrets and Disclosures

Secrets and Disclosures

When it comes to the ethics of identity and confession, theatrical performers and social researchers live in very different places. Over the last few months I have seen a lot of performance art. The kind of thing that often involves a... More…
What is the point of hospitals?

What is the point of hospitals?

In the London Review of Books, Paul Farmer argues the case for building hospitals as a necessity, not a luxury, for poor countries and rich countries alike. Farmer points to the hypocrisy of a ‘basic minimum package’ for ‘resource poor... More…
Weight stigma, neoliberalism and questions of blame

Weight stigma, neoliberalism and questions of blame

Blame and assertions of bad lifestyle choice are key components of weight stigma that people experience. More…
A sense of an ending?

A sense of an ending?

By the time this blog is published on the morning of Friday 8th May, we may be a step closer to knowing what the next UK government is going to look like. Having said that, we may be further away... More…
HIV : How will things change with the arrival of do-it-yourself home-testing kits?

HIV : How will things change with the arrival of do-it-yourself home-testing kits?

According to official estimates, there are more than 25,000 people in the UK who are currently unaware that they are HIV positive. From a Public Health point of view, this is not a good position for the country to be... More…
Sharing not caring? On Social Media and Health Campaigns

Sharing not caring? On Social Media and Health Campaigns

Social media is a powerful tool in health related campaigning and the latest high profile campaign to gain momentum on the twittersphere involves celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow.  She is taking part in the New York food challenge organised by chef Mario... More…
The Paradox of Stigma in Mental Health: Germanwings Flight 9525

The Paradox of Stigma in Mental Health: Germanwings Flight 9525

On the 24th March 2015 Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed into the French Alps killing all 150 passengers and flight staff. Amidst the shock of this tragedy French Police and Air Crash Investigators began to piece together the details of the... More…
Taking a break: a note on the sociology of snacking

Taking a break: a note on the sociology of snacking

I was at the dentist a couple of weeks ago and he managed to surprise me. For more than a decade now these encounters have been pretty predictable. Moralising about sugar, followed by mild disapproval about the state of my... More…
Money, Death, Pain and Politics

Money, Death, Pain and Politics

Who’s who and what’s what in the war over cancer drugs Over the last few days a very nice man from Ipswich called Tim Mason has been appearing in the local media where I live. Tim has an illness called... More…
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Crisis

CAMHS in Crisis

There’s been more bad news recently about the state of young people’s mental health. One in five 11-15 year-olds in England now report self-harming. The number of people who die by suicide is also increasing, as is the number of... More…
A Crisis in GP care: greed, funding or ideology?

A Crisis in GP care: greed, funding or ideology?

Most recent surveys report a GP crisis in the UK. The question is whether this caused by greed, underfunding or the stress of working under an oppositional government ideology More…
(Imaginary) healthcare heroes – Ms Conscientious (#2 in an occasional series)

(Imaginary) healthcare heroes – Ms Conscientious (#2 in an occasional series)

Imagine a paramedic who is a dedicated clinician. Imagine her to be conscientious, caring and skilful. And now imagine that she is so disturbed by the conditions of today’s NHS that she is seriously considering leaving her secure employment as... More…