[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Jeroen Spijker and John MacInnes argue that current measures of population ageing are misleading and that the numbers of dependent older people in the UK and other countries have actually been falling in recent years.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is a growing need for investments in hospital facilities to improve the efficiency and quality of health services. In recent years, publicly financed hospital organisations in many countries have utilised private finance arrangements, variously called private finance initiatives (PFIs), public-private partnerships (PPPs) or P3s, to address their capital requirements. However, such projects have become more difficult to implement since the onset of the global financial crisis, which has led to a reduction in the supply of debt capital and an increase in its price. In December 2012, the government of the United Kingdom outlined a comprehensive set of reforms to the private finance model in order to revive this important source of capital for hospital investments. This article provides a critical assessment of the 'Private Finance 2' reforms, focusing on their likely impact on the supply and cost of capital. It concludes that constraints in supply are likely to continue, in part due to regulatory constraints facing both commercial banks and institutional investors, while the cost of capital is likely to increase, at least in the short term.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Public health practitioners and researchers often seek to influence public policies in order to improve population health and/or reduce health inequalities. However, these efforts frequently appear to be uninformed by the many empirically-based theories about policymaking that have been developed within political science. This glossary provides a brief overview of some of the most popular of these theories, describing how each: frames the policymaking process; portrays the relationships and influence of specific policy actors; and depicts the potential for policy change (or inertia). Examples of their application to public health are provided to help improve understanding of the material presented. Throughout the article, the implications of the different theories for public health researchers and advocates seeking to inform policy decisions are emphasised. The glossary aims to provide an accessible overview to key theories about policy and decision-making, with a view to supporting public health efforts to achieve healthier public policies.
Journal of epidemiology and community health 10/2012;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes and critically appraises clinical trials assessing misoprostol effectiveness in preventing primary postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) in home and community settings in low- and middle-income countries. Of 172 identified studies of misoprostol use in labour only six fulfilled the inclusion criteria. All trials used 600 μg misoprostol in the intervention arm; three assessed misoprostol alongside components of active management of the third-stage labour (AMTSL), two used expectant management of labour and one allowed birth attendants to choose management practice. The three AMTSL studies showed no significant differences in PPH incidence or referral to higher centres and only one study showed significant decrease in severe PPH using misoprostol. One expectant management study and the choice of management by birth attendants study found significant decreases in PPH incidence with misoprostol. All studies showed significantly increased risk of shivering with misoprostol. Studies were biased by use of alternative uterotonics in the control arm, confounding management practices, and subjective assessment and, with one exception, exclusion of high-risk women. PPH incidence fell in both the control and intervention groups in both the landmark papers that informed the World Health Organization (WHO) decision to admit misoprostol to the Essential Medicines List. This suggests factors other than misoprostol use are crucial. Current evidence does not support misoprostol use in home and community settings in low- and middle-income countries for PPH prevention. WHO should rethink its recent decision to include misoprostol on the Essential Medicines List.
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 08/2012; 105(8):336-47.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Indian government suspended research in April 2010 on the feasibility and safety of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in two Indian states (Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat) amid public concerns about its safety. This paper describes cervical cancer and cancer surveillance in India and reviews the epidemiological claims made by the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) in support of the vaccine in these two states. National cancer data published by the Indian National Cancer Registry Programme of state registry returns and the International Agency for Research on Cancer cover around seven percent of the population with underrepresentation of rural, northern, eastern and north-eastern areas. There is no cancer registry in the state of Andhra Pradesh and PATH does not cite data from the Gujarat cancer registries. Age-adjusted cervical cancer mortality and incidence rates vary widely across and within states. National trends in age standardized cervical cancer incidence fell from 42.3 to 22.3 per 100,000 between 1982/1983 and 2004/2005 respectively. Incidence studies report low incidence and mortality rates in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Although HPV prevalence is higher in cancer patients (93.3%) than healthy patients (7.0%) and HPV types 16 and 18 are most prevalent in cancer patients, population prevelance data are poor and studies highly variable in their findings. Current data on HPV type and cervical cancer incidence do not support PATH's claim that India has a large burden of cervical cancer or its decision to roll out the vaccine programme. In the absence of comprehensive cancer surveillance, World Health Organization criteria with respect to monitoring effectiveness of the vaccine and knowledge of disease trends cannot be fulfilled.
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 06/2012; 105(6):250-62.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The civil service, as an ‘apolitical’ actor, may supply a significant facilitating role in intergovernmental relations. This is especially the case in the UK, where even the most senior civil servants are not politically appointed and remain in office when their political masters change party colours. Furthermore, civil servants who work for the Scottish or Welsh governments are part of a unified (British) Home Civil Service. As such they have been socialised in and respect similar operating procedures, which also encompass Northern Ireland despite its independent civil service. These factors have contributed to oil (lubricate) and glue (hold together) intergovernmental relations. Experience since 1999 is of a civil service accommodating well to various kinds of party incongruity and of working successfully with nationalists in government. The unified service seems well-entrenched, including in a 2010 UK statute, and relationships at official level on financial matters have become particularly important in times of austerity. In the longer term the ‘interdepartmental’ mode of working may be harder to sustain as operating procedures set up in a path-dependent way from before 1999 erode as more civil servants are externally recruited and contact with Whitehall departments is reduced. It is even possible to envisage a reversal of attitude in which the devolved administrations value the civil service link to Whitehall more than does the UK government.
British Journal of Politics & International Relations 04/2012; 14(2):285 - 302.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Health is perhaps the most significant policy area to be devolved to decision-makers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Consequently, there has been a great deal of interest in assessing the extent to which health policies (which already differed somewhat prior to devolution) have diverged since 1999. To date, analyses have tended to focus either on health care policies or on specific public health issues (e.g. health inequalities or tobacco control). The story that emerges from this body of work suggests health care policies have diverged significantly, whilst public health policies have remained remarkably similar. This article is one of the first to consider health care and public health policy alongside each other. It reassesses and updates previous analyses, incorporating developments relating to the 2010 general election and the 2007 and 2011 devolved administration elections. Drawing on a variety of textual sources (policy documents, research evidence and corporate literature), our findings differ from existing analyses in suggesting that, despite some noticeable differences in policy rhetoric, approaches to both health care provision and tackling public health problems remain similar. Looking to the future, the article concludes that the common economic challenges, combined with a tight fiscal policy (that remains excepted from devolution), means the similarities in health care provision across the UK are likely to remain more pronounced than the differences. However, current debate about the constitutional settlement, and in particular the prospect of greater fiscal freedoms for the devolved administrations, may provide opportunities for more meaningful divergence in health policy than has been possible hitherto.
Social Policy & Administration 02/2012; 46(2):178 - 198.
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