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, 249 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Women’s Health Strategy for England (WHS), published in July 2022 by the Department of Health and Social Care, acknowledged that women’s health has been long neglected.The evidence highlighted gender health inequalities across the country, the need to improve women’s access to medical services for female-specific illnesses and to address the intersectional disparities that affect women: age, ethnicity, disability and socioeconomic background. The importance of women’s voices being heard and responded to in determining future policies was also strongly emphasised throughout the WHS. This paper is focussed on maternity care, highlighted by the WHS as falling short in terms of provision and responses to individual women’s needs. The authors also highlight the crucial role of women themselves in drawing attention to the poor quality of care and provision in maternity services and the strategies they used to amplify their voices.
The transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) was criminalised in the Soviet Union. Sex education materials classified STIs as antisocial illnesses that were contracted by people engaged in deviant or immoral behaviour. The Soviet experience suggests that the stigmatisation of patients and criminalisation of disease transmission can disincentivise seeking treatment, impose barriers to accessing healthcare services, and contribute to rising rates of infection.
The nation's health turned a corner in the 1870s thanks to public health measures campaigned for by Nightingale, and implemented by well-financed Local Authorities. Hugh Small argues that it is this, rather than her hospital practice, that should inform our response to the pandemic.
Guido Alfani traces the long-term effects of previous pandemics, and finds that a region's starting conditions are key to economic outcomes – and some consequences are still with us 600 years after the Black Death.
Technology is never neutral, says Coreen McGuire. Technologies and measurement systems with in-built bias have been used to define medical conditions, and limit access to compensation, throughout twentieth-century medical history.
State-backed rationing is already with us in response to Coronavirus-related shortages, says Mark Roodhouse – and the First World War holds a warning about this model.
A roundtable of experts in the UK's emergency civil defence response during the Second World War explores lessons for the current crisis.
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.
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.
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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H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.
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.