Caught Smoking

We get the message: smoking is bad for you. Now leave fag packets alone

3 April 2014 23:31

What form do you reckon the government’s consultation on cigarette packaging is going to take? Given that health minister Jane Ellison has said that the government’s intention is clear and… Continue reading

Image: Getty

Why not fine those who waste the NHS’s resources?

1 April 2014 16:07

What do I want from the budget, I was asked. So I had a think. One plea was for no more pasty taxes, which I argued distracted from the more… Continue reading

Tonight's edition of Dispatches on Channel 4 will reveal that at least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts in the last two years. (Image: Getty/PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Burning foetuses to heat hospitals: a perfect metaphor for modern Britain

24 March 2014 18:16

By way of a metaphor for the way the NHS and, come to that, the law regards foetuses, you can’t really better the reality, viz, that foetal remains from abortions… Continue reading

The Francis Report into the failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust is published today. Picture: Getty

In praise of those who have improved healthcare in Staffordshire

14 March 2014 16:00

Last week, the House of Commons considered the vital matter of the Francis Report – one year on. It is quite difficult at this stage in the tragedy of Stafford… Continue reading

General Election - National Health Service

Spending on health harms your wealth

14 March 2014 14:56

Much of the Budget debate next week will be devoted to the future growth rate of GDP and of total public spending; but there probably won’t be much attention paid… Continue reading

Australian Junior Athletics Championships

The Early Access to Innovative Medicines scheme will make us healthier for longer

14 March 2014 10:48

Imagine this: you take a routine trip to the doctors. Except it doesn’t turn out to be routine at all. Instead, the doctor tells you that you only have months… Continue reading

mentalhealthcop Police inspector's Twitter suspended

Why the police silenced one of the best officers in Britain

18 February 2014 17:45

West Midlands Police’s announcement that it had ordered the closure of the blog and Twitter account of Inspector Michael Brown – ‘the mental health cop’ – has caused astonishment and anger… Continue reading


The dream pill may not always be worth it

13 February 2014 11:58

A couple of years ago, I was put on the third-generation contraceptive pill Yasmin. ‘It’s good for your skin and stabilises your weight,’ the doctor said. And it’s true. I’ve found… Continue reading

The Spectator has been campaigning for the rights of mental health patients since 1828. Here is a selection of what we've written.

The Spectator – campaigning for the rights of the insane since 1828

7 February 2014 12:08

Talking to Barbara Taylor about her new madness memoir this week, it’s clear that Britain does not have a glorious history when it comes to dealing with mad people. But… Continue reading

1 Comment
A car is a private space. The state should not be telling people what they can and can't do in private space. (Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages)

I’m no friend of fags. But this proposed ban on smoking in cars is perilous

29 January 2014 12:57

As a child, I was not a good traveller. The mere scent of a car interior – possibly the plastic seats, maybe the closed atmosphere, probably the whiff of petrol –… Continue reading

Fresh rows are breaking out over one's enjoyment of the finer things in life.(PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Fat wars escalate as rival groups row over obesity

13 January 2014 17:01

Last week the sugar police were on the beet beat. This week the ‘thinnist’ lobby is claiming that a 2007 report into obesity, which predicted that half the country would… Continue reading

It's time to live by Michael Pollan's food rules: 'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Labels and gimmicks will not stop a stroke

13 January 2014 15:03

Do you think that a McDonald’s Fruitizz drink contributes to your five-a-day? I only ask, because a recent newspaper investigation has shown that food companies are using the famous government-backed health campaign… Continue reading

The quadrangle at St Bartholomew's Hospital in Smithfield, London. 1752. (Image: Getty)

Save the heritage of Barts Hospital

19 December 2013 14:16

Everybody wants to support cancer charities, don’t they? Take Maggie’s Trust, which ‘empowers people to live with, through and beyond cancer’. The Maggie’s approach is defined by their cleverly designed… Continue reading

David Cameron And Jeremy Hunt Visit A Hospital To Mark The 65th Anniversary Of The NHS

Jeremy Hunt calls for a ‘profound transformation in the culture’ of the NHS

19 November 2013 14:01

Jeremy Hunt has delivered his response to the Francis Report. It was as expected: monthly staffing figures on a ward-by-ward basis, minimum standards of safety for staff levels, a national… Continue reading


After Mid-Staffs, the NHS needs whistleblowers – and whistleblowers need protection from the public

19 November 2013 9:36

It is impossible, I would have thought, to have heard Debbie Hazledine’s account on the Today programme of her late mother’s mistreatment at Mid Staffs Hospital and not to have… Continue reading

Physician talking to patient

The return of the family doctor?

15 November 2013 9:13

Ministers have described the deal on GP contracts, negotiated by the government and the British Medical Association (BMA), as a return to the days when GPs were family doctors. Certainly,… Continue reading

Is all this tinkering enough to save the NHS? Illustration: Morten Morland

Sir Bruce Keogh denies that he is proposing two tier A&E

13 November 2013 9:12

Sir Bruce Keogh’s anticipated review into accident and emergency has been published today to a chorus of praise and boos. The Mail describes it as a ‘sticking plaster’. The Independent… Continue reading

Prime Minister David Cameron Speaks About The NHS

David Cameron prepares for winter of discontent in A&E

11 November 2013 8:31

There are two important NHS stories in the papers today. First, the Times reports (£) that A&E departments are facing severe pressures because of historic staff shortages. The paper notes: ‘Half… Continue reading


Simon Stevens could turn out to be Jeremy Hunt’s Mark Carney

26 October 2013 15:04

Remember the name Simon Stevens. He’s is the new chief executive of the NHS in England and is going to be absolutely crucial to whether the government can make its… Continue reading

British Union Jack flags flutter in the

The answer to the West Lothian Question is to stop asking it

23 August 2013 11:45

Here we go again. It’s time for an English parliament! Actually, it’s time for a new Act of Union! Says who? Says Michael Fabricant in today’s Telegraph. Mark Wallace at ConservativeHome agrees.  English votes for… Continue reading

David Cameron And Jeremy Hunt Visit A Hospital To Mark The 65th Anniversary Of The NHS

Jeremy Hunt’s tough talk on the NHS doesn’t address the toughest question of all: what is the purpose of modern medicine?

11 August 2013 12:57

Jeremy Hunt’s quiet demeanour is deceptive. The Health Secretary has a bit of what my late grandfather called ‘iron in the soul’ – a measure of self-confidence, calculation and the… Continue reading

NHS Direct has withdrawn from the non-emergency helpline. The episode reveals something of the difficulties of private companies investing in the health service.

The NHS must improve its approach to costing if the market is to work

29 July 2013 18:00

News that one of the health service’s largest operators of the non-emergency 111 helpline is to pull out of the market will have raised very few eyebrows in the health… Continue reading

Ken Clarke addressing the TRG in 1998, back when the group was famous. (Photo by Rosie Hallam/PA)

Soggy Tories decamp to the National Liberal Club

17 July 2013 10:19

This may be a question to which the answer is no, but have you heard of the Tory Reform Group? The TRG is a marginal Conservative club these days because… Continue reading


Valium’s 50th birthday: little to celebrate

5 May 2013 11:00

A recent report published by the charity MIND – which paints a troubling, and important portrait of Britons driven to alcohol, cigarettes and prescription medication to differing extents by the… Continue reading

Andy Burnham

The question Labour won’t even consider on the NHS

22 April 2013 18:07

Labour’s new independent commission on health and social care aims to draw up plans on bringing together health services and social care so that the NHS can be financially sustainable.… Continue reading