Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 193 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Whistle-blowing in the National Health Service since the 1960s

Claire Hilton traces the similarities between problems in the NHS in the 1960s and those today, and suggests how effective whistle-blowing systems can drive change.

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Men, mental illness and suicide: the current scene in historical context

Despite the fact that the male suicide rate is now more than three times higher than the female rate, precious little has been done to tackle the stigma amongst men of discussing mental health issues. Dr. Ali Hagget asks why. 

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Diagnosing a flight from care: medical migration and ‘dirty work’ in the NHS

Policy makers should recognise the vital contribution of migrant medics to Britain's healthcare system and support them, argues Dr Julian Simpson, of Manchester University. Since 1948 the NHS has been dependent on overseas-trained doctors who fill jobs vacated by emigrating British medics. 

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Mentally ill older people aren’t ‘past it’

Ageism and the repeat failure of governments to match rhetoric with resources for mental health services for older people means provision today is patchy and under-funded, argues psychiatrist and historian, Dr Claire Hilton. And this despite recognition dating back to the 1940s of the needs and benefits of treatment. 

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Health reforms, opinion polls and surveys: myths and realities

Attitudes to NHS reform today are shaped by a largely imagined past of poor healthcare prior to the NHS, according to Dr Nick Hayes in a new H&P policy paper. An Ipsos Mori poll in conjunction with King's College London confirmed Dr Hayes' research - finding a fear of reform, particularly the involvement of private providers in the NHS.

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Addressing food poverty in Ireland: historical perspectives

Debates about nutritional health in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland, a period of severe economic decline and poverty, offers food for thought for today's policy makers, argues Dr Ian Miller, of the University of Ulster.

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Choice, policy and practice in maternity care since 1948

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Putting pandemics in perspective

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Wine, supermarkets and alcohol policy

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Doctors in Whitehall: medical advisers at the 60th anniversary of the NHS

Sally Sheard's History & Policy paper on Doctors in Whitehall was discussed in Society Guardian.

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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