With critical media attention on weak hospital performance and missed waiting list targets, as well as the debate about privatization of the NHS driven by Labour in particular, health is a major focus of this election campaign.
The ‘productivity puzzle’ is one of the biggest economic problems we face. The OECD says that increased productivity is the route the UK needs to take to ensure long-term prosperity, Robert Peston describes it as being ‘nearly everything’ and Simon Wren-Lewis sees it as more important than the deficit.
The Smith Institute’s latest report investigates the relationship between healthcare and the local economy and how the former can better work for the latter; this is the process of ‘joining the dots’ that the report is named after.
The trend toward localism and grassroots influence on public services has been percolating through the Labour party for quite some time now. Today is has been solidified some more, with a pamphlet released through Progress, by shadow cabinet ministers, Liz Kendall and Steve Reed.
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
For a culture that supposedly does not like talking about death, the subject is very much on the agenda right now.
As we get closer to the election, the dividing lines between the parties, the arenas where the election will be fought, are becoming clearer. For the left, it’s welfare and specifically for the Labour party it is the NHS.
Yesterday, on the last day of his party’s conference, Nick Clegg gave his leader’s speech. The centrepiece of his speech was mental health, a theme well foregrounded by media briefings over the weekend.
Well-being is rising in the UK – and analysts argue that this is due to falling unemployment. This is an easy link to make, given that unemployment is so damaging to well-being (as well as to other indicators of health).
That unemployment is falling is good news – for well-being and for the economy.
Two days ago I wrote somewhat angrily about the state of mental health care in the UK today. I said that after the heightened attention on mental health after Robin Williams’ suicide, the inadequacy of the government’s position on mental health was thrown into sharp relief.
When the news broke last week that Robin Williams had died, it was remarkable how it affected everyone. His career and his personality meant that his passing garnered huge coverage in the media; some of it good, some of it truly terrible.
It must be remembered by those who are convinced that the working man can live well and easily on 3d a day, because middle-class people have tried the experiment and found it possible, that the well-to-do man…can always stop living on 3d a day if it does not suit him, or if his family get anxious.
There is a great deal of contemporary interest in feminism, particularly amongst younger women.
Our current approach to supporting vulnerable people just does not work.
The World Health Organisation issued a report today warning that, unless we tackle alcohol and tobacco consumption, and address the ticking time bomb of diet-related obesity, new cases of cancer could soar by 70% over the next twenty years. This is the latest in a series of warnings that global health is being destroyed by the limits to our own growth/girth.
A new campaign, Action on Sugar, launched this week to draw attention to the amount of sugar added to processed food and drink, and to put pressure on the food industry to reduce its use.
In the long run we are all dead
J M Keynes
2nd November is ‘All Souls Day’, also known as the Feast of all Souls. The origins of this festival are probably pre-Christian, and there are all sorts of folkloric traditions associated with it, such as eating special cakes, and offering various ritual remembrances for the dead.
Today, the ONS has released figures from the National Wellbeing Survey, the first to compare the differences between the different nations in the UK.
According to the report, people in Northern Ireland are the happiest in the UK; the Scottish are the least anxious and the English have the lowest life satisfaction.
Today is World Mental Health Day; a campaign set up to raise awareness of mental health, and specifically this year, that of ‘older adults’. Mental health has been back on the agenda and in the media in recent weeks, but not in the positive sense that today espouses.
On Tuesday the UK Council for Psychotherapy released research indicating that physical health is receiving ten times the attention that mental health does. This is despite legislation passed last year to address exactly that, to achieve a ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health.
The ongoing scandal about horsemeat found in a range of processed and pre-packaged foods has exposed some of the major fault lines in the UK’s food system. These come up periodically in food scares or panics (E-coli, BSE, Salmonella etc).
Today’s speech from Andy Burnham set out One Nation Labour’s alternative to the coalition’s vision of the NHS. Burnham turned the tables on the staple-Tory argument of cost effectiveness, lambasting the coalition’s top-down reforms as being costly and detrimental to both the NHS and patients.
Recently, care minister Norman Lamb gave an interview criticising family and neighbours for failing their elders, forcing them to live dismal and lonely lives. He called for a “partnership between state and society” to build a “more decent, a less neglectful society”.
At Sundog Pictures, we’re passionately committed to tackling big and controversial topics in an accessible way. We want to see change.
There is some feature of an economy that means it regulates the way in which goods and services of value move around a market: are exchanged and traded. This immediately presents us with a challenge. There are services of value that are performed every day – sometimes throughout our lives, for which individuals receive nothing.
When I first started writing for Shifting Grounds earlier this year, my first blogpost was on the danger that Andrew Lansley and the Health and Social Care Bill posed to the future of the NHS. Six months on, our most cherished institution is in grave peril.
Jamie Oliver. I probably don’t need to write anything else. Just mentioning his name should be enough to start a lengthy conversation. Or rant. Everyone’s heard of him. Some like to stick an expletive in the middle of his name. Many of us seem to have strong views about him, one way or another.
In 1999, Tony Blair made what was a quite remarkable commitment: to end child poverty in the UK.
It was one of the boldest and most ambitious pledges made during the whole New Labour era. It came after nearly 20 years of rising child poverty rates that saw almost 1 in 3 children living in poverty.
Last week, the government finally managed to push the controversial Health and Social Care Bill through parliament. The bill has provoked the ire of the Labour Party, a large swathe of the Liberal Democrats, a myriad of professional healthcare associations, and most importantly, the general public.
The Coalition are going to set a minimum price on alcohol. A small step in and of itself but emblematic of much more. Particularly for Labour. It had 13 years in office and there was never the inclination to put in place such legislation. Why?
It was drunk on what the free market could deliver. Intoxicated by big business.