It’s our NHS: Don’t let it sink.

I was lucky enough to hear Aislinn Macklin-Doherty speak about the NHS recently, and one of her metaphors for the crisis really hit home. She said that the NHS was like a large public ship, where everyone gets their own space, their own cabin, and their own life jacket. It is not fancy, but everyone has enough to get by. Now imagine the private health sector is a flashy yacht. It is resourceful and it is responsive but only the rich and powerful are allowed on it. Now imagine that both these ships are alone at sea, and that this small flashy yacht can only survive if it siphons off the resources from the public ship. At first it tries to woo some of the richer guests onto the boat- with promises of exclusivity- but after a while it gets too crowded. This new demand means it needs more resources. And so instead of trying to woo more people on- it actively tries to sink the big public ship. It fires missiles underwater at its hull, grabbing all the fuel and resources spilling out of the gut of the ship it can get its hand on. The normal people on the ship cannot see this happening and assume the co-existence of these two ships in the sea is peaceful. But it is not. The private health sector can only survive if it drains resources from the NHS. It can only survive if it takes its best doctors, nurses, and facilities. This is the challenge we are facing today, and this is the enemy we are up against. Continue reading

VIDEO: To Which Space Do I Belong?

How can we as young people define the spaces we belong to, when it is already defined by those in positions of power?

Most young people didn’t vote for a ‘hard Brexit’, yet it’s happening.
Most young people didn’t vote for the incoming US president, but they still bear the consequences.

Embracing the diversity within our demographic, we need to go forward in this upcoming year as the ‘torchbearers of hope’.

– Change is impending

With thanks to Ilhan, Ella, Leslie, Nick, Hashim, Aoife, Kofo, Abby, and Mili for featuring.

** Song credit: Shape of You – Ed Sheeran


Modern Contraception – When Will We Leave the Idea of a ‘Normal’ Woman Behind?

By Rose Stevens

In school, whether it is in sex education or in biology, we are taught about the normal woman’s reproductive system. We are taught that the normal woman’s menstrual cycle is around 28 days. We are taught she has regular predictable periods. We are taught that in a normal woman these periods are 5 days in length and start at age 12 or 13. Our doctors and our politicians grow up ascribing to this idea of the normal woman. However what we are never taught is that she does not exist. Calling the reproductive biology of any woman ‘normal’ is misleading when the existent natural variation both is huge and critically under acknowledged in education and medical practice. Ignoring this variation could well be leading to unnecessarily high levels of side effects from hormonal contraception and certainly leading to young girls thinking their bodies’ reactions may be abnormal or dysfunctional. We need to appreciate and account for this diversity when planning sexual health policy and education.

Continue reading

A Systemic Look at Cutting Costs in Healthcare

By Rebecca Juster

In the West, there is a post-Enlightenment tradition of isolating systemic problems and suppressing them as far as our scientific capacity will allow us. We are a bunch of control freaks. This ‘isolate and conquer’ tactic applies to all areas of our life, so much so that we are left with this persistent feeling that we are always battling some problem – if only we could just overcome it. We sincerely believe that no area of our life should be out of our control therefore we are failing when we have not managed to firmly close the lid on that brimming suitcase full of life’s challenges. We conquer one challenge, only to have another problem pop up in its place; we are treating the symptoms in our lives, not the underlying causes.


Continue reading

Meningitis ACW- whY?

By Lauren Martin

I first encountered the Meningitis ACWY vaccine through an NHS public health advertisement around two weeks prior to my return to university. I noticed that this began to repeatedly appear on my Facebook timeline with a simple message proclaiming ‘Freshers are at high risk from Meningitis and Septicaemia. Help protect your friends’. Curiosity sparked, I took to Google and researched the ACWY vaccination scheme further. In part, I was driven by surprise that I had not previously heard of it, particularly as Meningitis is such a concern for young people. And, from talking to friends, it seems I’m not alone. Regardless, whether Facebook had somehow picked up on my slightly hypochondriacal tendencies, or whether all students are now being targeted on social media, the post had the desired effect and I have booked in to receive the Meningitis ACWY vaccine in a few days’ time.

But what actually is the ACWY vaccine – and why is it so important for young people?


Continue reading

A Condom on a Banana is Simply Not Enough

By Emma Gilpin

This year’s Freshers’ Week saw a great deal of controversy surrounding the Sexual Consent Workshops that were being held in Oxford and at several other universities. After the Daily Mail published an article entitled “Oxbridge freshers are to get classes in sexual consent that teach them how not to rape their fellow undergrads”, many people were outraged and at universities such as York, students boycotted these talks, claiming that they did not wish to be “patronised”. It is of course easy to argue, as one York undergraduate did, that “if students really need lessons in how to say yes or no then they should not be at university.” Aside from the other issues raised by these claims, such as the fact that these consent talks are geared towards students of university age and are actually likely to provoke interesting, nuanced debates, there is the question of why these talks are needed. NUS figures have shown that 1 in 5 students experiences some form of sexual assault during their first week at university. So whilst these talks may seem patronising to some, this is not because they are unnecessary; it is because many students arrive at university with inadequate knowledge of safe and healthy sexual behavior and relationships.


Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Black Mental Health

By Jordan Rose

Mental well-being is an important matter. The possible vulnerabilities of the mind are often overlooked; mental ill health is not as immediately visible as a physical illness, but is equally serious. We find that this underestimated seriousness is also attributed to discourse around, and analysis of, mental health, particularly within the black community.


Continue reading

Why Medical Students’ Mental Health Matters Too

By Sumaiyah Al-Aidarous

A survey by the Student BMJ found that 80% of medical students with mental health problems feel under-supported . Medical schools are failing their students when it comes to mental health. The welfare and mental health of medical students is as important as ever, especially due to the increasing demand put upon newly qualified doctors in the NHS today, and after the new junior doctor contracts are set to go through.


Continue reading

Grammar Schools – A Brighter Future For All?

By Haroun Mahmud

The debate over grammar schools, and more generally experiences in the education system, are inextricably linked to personal experience and conducive debate and policy making can only be embarked upon with a more dispassionate approach.

Recent plans unveiled by the Prime Minister Theresa May that existing schools will soon be able to become grammar schools has ignited another episode in a long-standing debate. Like discussions about social status in class-ridden Britain, conversations about education – or at least certain aspects of it – prove to be an equally touchy business. Commentators, wherever they stand on the issue or for that matter the political spectrum, use anecdotes from their own lives, their children, their neighbours or anyone to seek justification for their viewpoint.


Continue reading

‘Love not Fear’: Over 30,000 attend ‘March for Europe’ rally in London

Pills and Policies join tens of thousands in central London today at ‘March for Europe’ rally against the Brexit results. Amongst the crowd of hopeful and unified demonstrators, the feeling of great uncertainty for the future  is echoed not only by those present at the march, but by people across the UK.


Over 30,000 people demonstrated in central London today at the #MarchforEurope. They marched against the results from the EU referendum last week which saw 52% of the UK voting for Brexit, despite the capital overwhelmingly voting to remain.

Spreading messages of hope and solidarity, the day marked a feeling of unity and empowerment for many of the attendees, particularly for the young people in the crowd. With 75% of young people voting to remain, the Brexit results showed a generational divide and left many feeling uncertain of the future.

One young voter felt that his ‘future was unfairly robbed’ and is worried about what impact this result will have on his future employment opportunities within the EU. Another student studying linguistics echoed this sentiment, and felt that her ‘dreams of working at Brussels as an interpreter was crushed overnight’. For many, the benefits of an EU membership afforded to generations before them will be missed, whilst thousands of 16-17 year old were excluded from having a say in the referendum.

Since the Brexit results, racist hate crimes have increased by five folds, leaving minority groups feeling vulnerable to racists and xenophobic attacks. This issue was addressed in the march, as thousands echoed their condemnation and zero tolerance to all forms of discrimination. ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ read several banners, signifying the sentiment of togetherness and solidarity across the capital.

Needless to say, this EU referendum result marks a great time of uncertainty and young people need to be more empowered and vocal about their vision for the future now more than ever before.