Alan Cribb

Alan Cribb is Co-Director of the Centre for Public Policy Research, King’s College London.


Talking about the pandemic


One of the concerns that has animated healthcare reform is an interest in closing the gap between ‘experts’ and the public. The Covid-19 pandemic may have provided some clues to thinking about this. The pandemic has made debates about medicine and healthcare mainstream. For months it has been difficult to turn on the radio without hearing discussion about vectors, ventilators or vaccines. A mini-industry of silver lining hunting has sprung up: clearer birdsong, cleaner air, the spur to digital health. Perhaps we should add greater public engagement with, and literacy about, healthcare to this list? 

Rebecca Rosen

Rebecca Rosen is a member of the Rethinking Medicine working group.

For a myriad of reasons, Covid has caused a build-up of people living with pain: delayed investigation of new symptoms; treatments deferred; injuries and accidents self-managed for fear of exposure to Covid in A&E. Add to this people with conditions like Crohn’s Disease that periodically flare up and the prevalence of people living with significant pain increases further.

Hugh Bethell

Hugh Bethell founded the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre, Alton

It is never easy to get people to change behaviour, but it is possible. Take the example of cigarette smoking which has fallen from about 20% to about 14% in the UK in the past six years alone. Doctors have played a big part in this – by their example as non-smokers and by their exhortations to their customers. Can they do the same for exercise? I believe so – though it would be made easier if the government could be persuaded to make inactivity taxable!


Rob Lawson

When we founded the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine nearly five years ago the choice of the word “society” was deliberate. We had a real sense of people coming together with a shared passion for improving people’s health and wellbeing. We felt we could be greater than the sum of our parts. There really was “such a thing as society”.

Kurren Sandhu

Kurren Sandu is a junior doctor in Leicester. 

For the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the Covid-19 pandemic unfold on the frontline in the NHS. Working in A&E as the number of cases rose, I was often the designated Covid doctor and would assess patients with respiratory symptoms coming through the front door.

Continue reading “Helping those on the frontline to cope during Covid-19”

Hugh van’t Hoff

Hugh van’t Hoff is a GP based in Gloucestershire. He is also Director of Facts4Life

The air is so clear now there are so few journeys, fewer flights. You can cut the air with a knife, it’s sharp and clean and the birds have found their full-throated voices. Covid-19 has put us in touch with our own mortality, our effect on the environment. The news is crammed full of data, opinions, trust and distrust. We are all thinking like armchair doctors. The tests are so frustrating, the answers so unclear. It strikes me there’s a lot that needs explaining, a lot that’s misunderstood.

Justin Hayes

Justin Hayes is a GP working in South London. He was involved in the development of the ‘Advance care planning by phone or video’ resource discussed in this blog.

Since Covid-19 took hold, end-of-life decision-making has become an unavoidable subject. Issues of end-of-life care are being covered in the media like never before, with varying degrees of accuracy and sensationalism. This new attention has sparked understandable fears amongst the public that doctors may be making sweeping decisions about whether certain groups of people receive life-saving treatment or not. Many people are concerned that they have no say in life and death decisions that are currently being made on a seemingly arbitrary basis.

Jane Dacre

Jane Dacre, member of the Rethinking Medicine working group.

The NHS is a victim of its own success, with millions of people benefitting and living longer as a result of its work. As our population ages, we accrue a selection of different long term conditions, and are learning how to live well with several comorbidities. 

Carrie MacEwen

Carrie MacEwen, member of the Rethinking Medicine working group. Written in collaboration with Maggie Rae, President Faculty of Public Health.

​The NHS was founded on the principle of equality – healthcare being available to everyone based on need and not on the ability to pay. Inclusion of all healthcare providers across the four home nations and in every location – urban or rural, north or south, rich or poor – meant that there were no exclusions. That concept has changed little over the years, but as medical services, developments and expectations have grown beyond recognition, the notion of how to fund and deliver all health needs equitably has become increasingly complex.

Angela Coulter

Angela Coulter, member of the Rethinking Medicine working group.

Publication of the draft service contract for Primary Care Networks (PCNs) has led to a flurry of negative headlines: “GPs in revolt”, “Flawed”, “Unreasonable and completely unachievable”, and so on. It looks as if the draft will be rejected out of hand, and NHS England and Improvement will have to go back to the drawing board.