I didn't know this but, apparently, the word 't-shirt' does not just refer to the summer garment. It can also be used to describe a very brief 'blog posting.' There, I bet you feel better for knowing that? Anyway, here's my washed, cleaned and ironed t-shirt for today. Later this afternoon I am speaking to … Continue reading Today’s public involvement in health research t-shirt
It is said that when Robert Sherman sat down to write 'A Spoonful of Sugar' he was inspired by his children's tale of being given their polio vaccine on a sugar cube. The iconic song from Mary Poppins, lyrically captures a moment in time when the relationship between society, medicine and research was a more … Continue reading Mary Poppins no longer has the answers in medicine – for either doctor or patient
A curious story caught my eye in the Sunday Telegraph. It told how High Street retailers are sending adverts and money-off coupons to the mobile phones of passers-by. Soon, they hope to be able to track people through their shops; when they pass the sock counter or the delicatessen they'll get more messages about the … Continue reading The best thing since sliced bread? Mobile phone technology and public health.
I live in Tunbridge Wells. I would be happiest in Chester. I should avoid Wealden. But if I couldn't make the journey then Sevenoaks is my best bet. That's what I learnt from the interactive test entitled 'Where in Britain would you be happiest?' that's now available on the BBC website. Do it. It's fascinating. The foundation … Continue reading Should we be stopping people in the street about their health? But not in our slippers.
The summer break has clearly done the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, a world of good. From beating a lone path as the libertarian Claudius in the face of a centralised health service, he has resurfaced this week as the man for all seasons to launch a competition for the best ideas for … Continue reading From I Claudius to iLansley…phone apps in the new NHS
Dear Member of Parliament, This afternoon the Health and Social Care Bill will recieve its Second Reading in the House of Commons. The legislation sets out a far-reaching programme for reforming the NHS and the provision of patient care. The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and its 127 member charities believe that high quality … Continue reading Second Reading of the Health and Social Care Bill: An open letter to MPs
After days of incessant pounding by critics and opponents the Government brushed itself down today and published its Health and Social Care Bill. The text of the legislation can be found on the parliament website. It is a titanic Bill - 353 pages, 137 clauses, 22 schedules long - and the vagaries of our parliamentary … Continue reading Health and Social Care Bill Published
Some of you may know that today was being dubbed 'Super Wednesday' by some because today is the day that the Department of Health has set out its response to the consultation on the NHS White Paper 'Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS.' The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has very helpfully published an … Continue reading NHS white paper next steps
'Healthy Lives, Healthy People,' the White Paper on public health has been published and is available on the Department of Health website. The news release sets out the Secretary of State's 'ladder of intervention' - from the rather refreshingly titled 'do nothing' up to 'eliminate choice altogether' - which sound like the different states of readiness one … Continue reading The Public health white paper – a new school of thought
If you refuse to walk under, or indeed climb, ladders then this blog is not for you. The public health white paper is to be launched tomorrow (Tuesday). There has been much trailing of various proposals that will likely appear in the document - from providing vouchers to school children who walk to school, to a … Continue reading Up a ladder with the public health white paper
This committee may be going quietly about its business but sometimes a 'nudge nudge, wink wink' can speak volumes.
I read in the Birmingham local press that about 14,000 people are expected at the Conservative Party Conference. It certainly seems busier than the preceding two, even on a Sunday evening. Each conference has its own feel but common to them all is the herd of grey-suited buffalo (including myself I suppose) that migrates from one … Continue reading Science at the Conservative Party Conference – avoiding the herd mentality
Rumour has it that there is an outbreak of tonsilitis in the north-west at the moment...here's hoping Ed Milliband is being kept in isolation until his leader's speech this afternoon. One thing I forgot to mention from last night's meeting was David Lammy's comment that the coalition government has yet to put together a convincing narrative for … Continue reading Science at the Labour Party Conference – a Miller's tale
First, a general observation. Less than one day here and I have met four 'Eds' already - more than in the previous ten years travelling the breadth of the UK. Strange that. But perhaps when you are faced by David Willetts you need as many 'Eds' as you can get. I came expecting a muted, … Continue reading Science at Labour Party Conference – Vital Signs
'Hold your nerve' was the message to his party from Nick Clegg yesterday. Well, this evening patients and their carers held their nerve by standing in front of conference delegates to tell their personal stories of fighting disease and the way research has helped, or could help, them. In fact if you happen to be … Continue reading Science at the Lib Dem conference – patients hold their nerve for research
Policy-making is not immune to trends. The latest seems to be the 'roundtable' meeting. I blame King Arthur myself (well, they say that trends do come round). But I bet he didn't meet his knights at 9 or 8am. This morning AMRC, the BioIndustry Association, Association of British Healthcare Industries and Association of the British … Continue reading Science at the Lib Dem Conference – Life Sciences Breakfast
You may be interested in this call to arms by Evan Harris on The Guardian blog today. His essential point is that scientists and their supporters need to focus their attention on HM Treasury from this point onwards. Geoff Brumfiel makes a similar call in his article today also in The Guardian. That is certainly … Continue reading Evan Harris and cuts to science funding
It has been a busy 24 hours in medical research. Beginning with the sunnier side of things, I am sure few of you will have esacaped the wall-to-wall coverage of the study published yesterday showing Vitamin D exerts an influence over certain genes associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis and arthritis. The research is notable for its … Continue reading Sunshine, stem cells and policy hypochondria over the NHS
Last night I was contemplating how to make the remaining half of my net-worth last for the rest of the month, when thoughts inevitably turned to the announcement by 30 US billionaires last week that they intend to give at least half their wealth to charitable causes. The charge of the billionaires is being led … Continue reading The 'new' philanthropy and medical research
On the train home tonight when an email came through announcing a second call for evidence by the Academy of Medical Sciences as part of its independent review of medical research regulation. This call for evidence focuses on the Department of Health review of arms-length bodies and particularly the pros and cons of a new research … Continue reading A new research regulator – Academy calls for evidence