A Blog About Health In Times Of Austerity

Features
Is skewing the data any different to juking the stats?

Is skewing the data any different to juking the stats?

Media representations about NHS scandals focus on 'bad apple' professionals, and ignore the crises caused by current government policy, and the commercialisation of UK statutory healthcare. More…
Twitter analytics, sociology and #SaveOurNHS

Twitter analytics, sociology and #SaveOurNHS

The global interconnected network of computers known as the Web offers opportunities  for new forms of social analysis – not least the possibilities offered by ‘big data’  – digital data sets so large they require novel computer  processing and software.... More…
Action and Foresight Sociologies - Urgent!

Action and Foresight Sociologies – Urgent!

At the BSA’s Medical Sociology Group conference in York this year the ‘Cost of Living’ group (@Cost_ofLiving) organized a symposium to address the coalition government’s attack on the National Health Service (NHS) in England. It was a privilege, if a... More…
Ethics at the coalface

Ethics at the coalface

Two different research papers caught my eye this week, and for once both were open for anyone to read. Drawing on studies in very different places – a neuro-degenerative research centre in the UK (Brosnan et al.), and a research... More…
“Maybe we just need to be a little bit more… sexy?”: What is ‘public health advocacy’ and should health inequalities researchers be doing it?

“Maybe we just need to be a little bit more… sexy?”: What is ‘public health advocacy’ and should health inequalities researchers be doing it?

Health inequalities in the UK are a major challenge, and they are growing. The apparent failure of policy efforts to reduce these inequalities often prompts calls for more public health ‘advocacy’ from researchers in the field. It is argued, first,... More…
What’s in a smile? Oral health, consumption and technology

What’s in a smile? Oral health, consumption and technology

We all know that toothache can often involve unbearable pain for the sufferer.  From Shakespeare to Shaw writers have remarked on how the agony of dental pain can lead to total distraction from all else.  Robert Burns even wrote an... More…
Jacobs, Attenborough and the Queen – our thinking about longevity and work needs some serious attention

Jacobs, Attenborough and the Queen – our thinking about longevity and work needs some serious attention

A few weeks ago on this blog, Sasha Scambler and Blánaid Daly did a fantastic job of unpicking the “intergenerational blame game”. They briefly, but very convincingly, exposed the various flaws in the right wing argument that social welfare and... More…
8 billion by the quarter century (2025)

8 billion by the quarter century (2025)

As inequalities in income and wealth within the USA and the UK increase, it is hardly surprising that those currently at the top would like to avoid having to realize that they are creating an even more unequal world in... More…
Market Town : Simon - Living with Epilepsy - Brave New World

Market Town : Simon – Living with Epilepsy – Brave New World

Introduction by Lynne Pettinger:  It’s not always easy to look at Jim Mortram’s photography, but it’s always worth doing so. In this series, part of his ‘small town inertia’ project, he photographs Simon. Simon’s got epilepsy, and has been put... More…
Rethinking class for the 21st century?

Rethinking class for the 21st century?

As an undergraduate I was introduced to theories and concepts of social class that took off from Marx and Weber. But while I absorbed this ‘classical tradition’ I also became familiar with the Registrar General’s (RG’s) ‘Classification of Occupations’, which... More…
The Secret Nuclear War

The Secret Nuclear War

The period from 1947 to 1991 is often referred to as the “Cold War” – so named because the main protagonists possessed massive nuclear arsenals but never engaged in direct military conflict.  Despite the threat of mutually assured destruction the... More…
Doctors in Popular Fiction: The Everyday Drama of Medicine #1

Doctors in Popular Fiction: The Everyday Drama of Medicine #1

‘Medicine is drama, doctors are human, and patients are trouble or troubled’ The medical drama occupies an extraordinary position in contemporary television and film and we can all probably list our favourite shows and characters. These stories deliver intense drama... More…
Fashion, Male Beauty and the ‘Men’s Dress Reform Party’

Fashion, Male Beauty and the ‘Men’s Dress Reform Party’

Changing ideas about medicine and public health were never more in flux than the two decades before the Second World War.  One group that sought to steer a new direction in public health was the social hygiene movement – a... More…
“Public Health a la carte” – Why social scientists should be interested

“Public Health a la carte” – Why social scientists should be interested

The UK Faculty of Public Health defines public health as “the science and art of promoting and protecting health and well-being, preventing ill-health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society.” The Faculty’s approach is based on the assertion... More…
Evidence versus autonomy in TB treatment: a tale of two professions

Evidence versus autonomy in TB treatment: a tale of two professions

Today we are used to the idea that medical therapies and interventions are based on some form of evidence about patient outcomes.  Indeed the new commissioning processes enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act require NHS commissioners to place... More…
Madness and Morality

Madness and Morality

‘He’s a narcissistic pervert’ she said. ‘And I should know; my mother was one too!’  Emilia was sober, while the rest of the guests were not. She had just announced to the assembled dinner party that her son had been... More…
A case for 'action sociology'

A case for ‘action sociology’

Five of us studied sociology at university while the sixth only demurred because her early artistic talent shone brightly. We think and act as one across a range of social and political domains. Moreover we share the view that ‘doing... More…
‘Strategic ignorance’: in praise of blind decisions?

‘Strategic ignorance’: in praise of blind decisions?

We’re marking the last assessments of the academic year – just in time to start teaching the next set of students. We’re ready to put new names to new faces and to work on creating relationships that help everyone to... More…
Bring Me Sunshine

Bring Me Sunshine

‘The harvest has passed, the summer is over, and still we are not saved’ (Jeremiah 8:20) No matter how bad our summer may be, it seems that there is always room for at least one more scare story along the... More…
Moving Targets

Moving Targets

Under the terms of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, the ‘new’ NHS is to be based on four ‘new’ measures of ‘quality’, ‘safety’ and ‘value for money’. These measures are i. current best international standards of evidence, ii.... More…