Policy and Politics

By Lonsdale, Jacob | The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, July 2005 | Go to article overview

Policy and Politics


Lonsdale, Jacob, The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health


The world in general - the health world in particular - is struggling to come to terms with the post-cold war realisation that inequality is not just about consumer technologies and designer sunglasses. Here in the UK, many assert that our lower socio-economic groups have now, by some means, acquired all the Ray-Bans and widescreen televisions they need. Yet somehow they're still spoiling the party by dying early.

Globally this problem is, as Sir Bob Geldof has noted, even more acute. This has prompted the World Medical Association (WMA), British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing to call for something to be done about the infamous and seemingly unstoppable 'brain drain'.

Meanwhile, it is those who are leaving the developed world who are worrying the King's Fund. They estimate that a quarter of London nurses are from overseas and say that 40 per cent of them are considering leaving the country. And even the WMA are unlikely to be appeased, since the nurses in question are more likely to be lured to the USA or Europe, where they can expect greater rewards for their work, than back to the developing nations that provided their medical educations.

With the possibility of vaccines for smoking and stem cell treatments for diabetes, things are looking good for reelected New Labour's favoured public health solution: consume our way out of trouble.

Glaswegian schoolchildren are suffering two blights. The first is the welldocumented obesity epidemic. The second is a distinct lack of consumer technology. In one fell swoop both have been solved by the city council: the 'Fuel Zone Points' rewards scheme offers 30,000 pupils the opportunity of swapping healthy eating loyalty card points for cinema tickets and iPods at the end of each term. …

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