This blog post was written by Dr Saffron Karlsen, (Associate Professor in Sociology, University of Bristol).
The evidence of ethnic inequalities in the number of COVID-related infections and deaths in the UK is compelling – yet discussions about how to address them remain somewhat simplistic. Dr Saffron Karlsen discusses five key issues that must be acknowledged if we are to establish a more complete picture of these inequalities and their drivers.
This blog post was written by Andrew Sturdy, Chair in Organisation and Management, University of Bristol and Ian Kirkpatrick, Chair in Management, University of York. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license, read the original article here.
The use of management consultants has grown enormously in recent years. In the UK, consultancy brings in around £10 billion a year in fees across the public and private sectors. And while not totally recession-proof, the numbers grew in the run-up to Brexit and then COVID-19. (Remember test and trace? Consultants played a major role.)
Consulting firms can provide advice and extra resources at short notice and can be very effective for the right task and client. But their use often brings controversy, especially when public money is at stake, over the value of outsourcing, for instance. This raises a number of questions. Does consultancy bring improvements such as increased efficiency? If not, how can we explain its huge growth?
In the NHS, there is a remarkable lack of clarity and transparency over how much consultancy is used and with what effects. This falls within broader concerns noted in a recent National Audit Office report on procurement across public services.
In our ongoing research on management consultancy in the NHS, we have started to address these issues.
Written by Anna Blackwell, Senior Research Associate
Follow Bristol Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (TARG) on twitter
The manufacturing or importing of packs of cigarettes with fewer than 20 cigarettes per pack was prohibited in the UK when the EU Tobacco Products Directive and standardised packaging legislation were fully implemented in May 2017. This change was aimed at reducing the affordability of cigarettes and thereby discouraging young people from smoking. This directive also required the removal of branding and established a standard shape and dark green colour for packaging, including pictorial health warnings, which prevented the use of packaging for promotion and reduced its appeal.
This blog post was written by Dr Saffron Karlsen, (Senior Lecturer in Social Research, University of Bristol)
On the last weekend of May 2020, much of the world watched with horror scenes of US urban disturbances in response to the death of George Floyd – another Black person killed in police custody. On the other side of the pond, many in the UK also awaited the release of an official report into the higher rates of infection and death of Black and other ethnic minority people from COVID-19.
Photo by Thomas de LUZE on Unsplash
Delays and disappointment
This Public Health England (PHE) report was heralded as an opportunity to finally provide answers to questions we’d had since evidence of these inequalities first emerged. The inquiry’s lead, Professor Kevin Fenton, described the pressing need for open discussion, to listen to the views of people from Black communities and those who worked with them to find out what was producing these inequalities.
Unfortunately, the report which was finally released is very far from fulfilling these ambitions. It does not provide a detailed investigation of the drivers of these ethnic inequalities and includes very little new information from which to make sense of these patterns.
Dr Denny Pencheva
Senior Teaching Associate, Migration Studies and Politics, University of Bristol
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, major agricultural companies and charities have chartered flights to urgently bring in tens of thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian agricultural workers. Flights have headed to places like Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf in Germany, along with Essex and the Midlands in the UK.
This comes after farmers in both countries warned there is a real risk that thousands of tons of produce might be left to rot – further affecting food supply chains – if vacancies for agricultural workers go unfilled.
The excessive demand for food during lockdown has meant that farm labourers are classed as key workers, which is why they are being flown to the UK and other Western European countries.
Josh Torrance (PhD student and Assistant Teacher, School for Policy Studies)
Much of this research is based on personal emails and conversations with the police and other agencies. As such, not all of the facts presented are referenceable.
Covid-19 will present a major challenge to both drug users and drug treatment agencies over the coming months. There are 320,000 problematic drug users in the UK, many of whom have weaker immune systems than the general public – and therefore a diminished chance of recovery from the virus. People who inject drugs and street homeless communities are at particular risk; viral infections spread quickly through these populations. On the face of it, the pandemic might seem like a fantastic opportunity for problematic users to become drug-free, but the reality is much more complex.
A used needle left on grass.
Dr Lindsey Hines, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in The Centre for Academic Mental Health & the Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol
Dr Adam Trickey, Senior Research Associate in Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol
Injecting drug use is a global issue: around the world an estimated 15.6 million people inject psychoactive drugs. People who inject drugs tend to begin doing so in adolescence, and countries that have larger numbers of adolescents who inject drugs may be at risk of emerging epidemic s of blood borne viruses unless they take urgent action. We mapped the global differences in the proportion of adolescents who inject drugs, but found that we may be missing the vital data we need to protect the lives of vulnerable young people. If we want to prevent HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose from sweeping through a new generation of adolescents we urgently need many countries to scale up harm reduction interventions, and to collect accurate which can inform public health and policy. Continue reading
Debbie Watson, Professor in Child and Family Welfare, University of Bristol
Helen Ball, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, Durham University
Jim Reid, Senior Lecturer, Department of Education and Community Studies, University of Huddersfield
Pete Blair, Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics, University of Bristol
The baby box in Finland is embedded as part of the maternity system. Kela
Having a baby can be expensive. So it’s maybe not surprising that many retailers around the world have cottoned on to the success of Finland’s baby boxes – a package aimed to set up new parents and their bundle of joy. The Finnish boxes include baby clothing, sleep items, hygiene products and a parenting guide –- as well as a “sleep space” for the baby.
Many retailers around the world are now offering similar boxes for expectant parents. Indeed, research conducted at the University of Tampere in Finland suggests there are variants in over 60 countries. This includes Scotland’s baby box scheme – with all newborn babies getting a free baby box from the Scottish government.
But as a group of child welfare experts, we believe imitations of the Finnish boxes could be placing babies at risk. This is because it has become common to believe that if babies sleep in these boxes, it will help protect them from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Unfortunately, the research does not back this up. Continue reading
This blog post reviews a recent seminar hosted by the MRC IEU, PolicyBristol and the Bristol Population Health Science Institute.
Public health is one of the most contested policy areas. It brings together ethical and political issues and evidence on what works, and affects us all as citizens.
Researchers produce evidence and decision-makers receive advice – but how does evidence become advice and who are the players who take research findings and present advice to politicians and budget-holders?
We were pleased to welcome a diverse audience of around 75 multidisciplinary academics, policymakers and practitioners to hear our seminar speakers give a range of insider perspectives on linking academic research with national and local decisions on what to choose, fund and implement.
In this blog post we summarise the seminar, including links to the slides and event recording. Continue reading
By Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikime
Authors: Paul Cairney, John Boswell, Richard Gleave, Kathryn Oliver
The Green Paper on preventing ill health was published in July 2019, and many have criticised that proposals do not go far enough. Our guest blog explores some of the challenges that Public Health England face in providing evidence-informed advice. Read on to discover the reflections from a recent workshop on using evidence to influence local and national strategy and their implications for academic engagement with policymakers. Continue reading