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  • Author or Editor: David J. Hunter x
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities x
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It is impossible to understand the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus across the UK involving significant loss of life, and the government’s much criticised response to it, without applying the lens of a sociopolitical perspective.

A substantial body of evidence exists to show that the virus has had a disproportionate impact on poor communities, and on care homes, reflecting widening health inequalities and the effects of deep public spending cuts since 2010.

This chapter explores many of the core cleavages in health policy, reflecting political and ethical tensions over the balance to be struck, and negotiated, across personal and collective responsibility, across public and private interests, and between the rights of the community and personal freedoms.

Adopting a sociopolitical perspective allows us to identify and explore a range of factors which, taken together, help explain where the government’s handling of COVID-19 has been found wanting.

Three particular policy failures, and the political choices leading up to them, are explored. These comprise the persistence of a command and control approach to handling the crisis, the policy of austerity introduced by the Coalition government in 2010, and the heavy reliance on outsourcing activities to the private sector and management consultants. An agenda for reform going forward is presented to conclude this chapter.

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