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Sugar tax: how will it affect behaviour?

One of the most striking announcements in this week’s UK budget was the introduction of a new ‘soft drinks levy’ (quickly dubbed the sugar tax), which will come into force in 2018. New taxes aren’t usually associated with the Behavioural Insights Team – partly because BIT’s preference is to find simpler, non-regulatory solutions before reaching […]

March 18, 2016


People: peers, pain and power

One of the most fascinating and important areas in life is surely the fine line between wanting to help, and being wary of, those around us. It’s a tension woven deeply into policy and into our humanity. Recently I had one of those afternoons where an accident of meetings seemed to tell this story especially […]

February 26, 2016


How can text messages encourage people to see a doctor?

If you haven’t seen a doctor in a long time, the thought of picking up the phone to schedule an appointment can be terrifying. Sometimes it’s easier to adopt an “out of sight out of mind” mentality. However, the people who haven’t seen a doctor in years are the ones most likely to benefit from […]

February 22, 2016


Reducing antibiotic prescribing: a new BIT study published in The Lancet

The growth of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the major health challenges of our time. The UK’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance has forecast that AMR will result in 10 million deaths and $100 trillion in unachieved GDP a year by 2050. One of the main causes of resistance is the use of antibiotics when […]

February 19, 2016


Reducing missed appointments

One in ten hospital outpatient appointments is missed – people don’t turn up, and don’t cancel or rearrange in advance. That’s 5.5 million appointments every year in England alone. Missed appointments lead to people not getting the care they need, when they need it. They also lead to costs to the NHS, some of which […]

October 22, 2015


Reducing errors in medical decision-making

“Sarah, can you hear me?” The patient lies on the trolley, silent and grey. The doctor bends over her with growing concern. Now he feels no pulse, no breathing – and a once innocuous situation has slipped into crisis. Professional instinct takes over: with a pull of a lever, the bed slams flat for CPR; […]

August 4, 2015


Is Christmas ever good for your health?

Most people are not expecting to get healthier over the festive period, with Christmas parties, Christmas lunch and New Years’ parties serving to prepare us for an inevitable January of diets and new gym memberships. New research, however, suggests that Christmas may be better for your physical health than you think. Previous research by Elizabeth […]

December 23, 2014


Redesigning hospital prescription charts to reduce prescribing errors

Research supported by the Behavioural Insights Team has demonstrated how prescribing behaviour can be significantly improved by making simple changes to prescription charts used in NHS hospitals. Below is a guest blog, written by Dom King, a good friend of BIT, co-author of MINDSPACE and the lead researcher on this project. The full paper is […]

December 10, 2014


Victoria, Australia, steps up to the Obesity challenge

(Update from David Halpern) A quick report from Victoria Australia, where we are working with VicHealth, before heading back to London tomorrow. The Australians have often led the world on public health measures, so it’s pretty cool to be working with them for the next 2 years, with a special focus on obesity – seen […]

September 12, 2014


Applying Behavioural Insights to Organ Donation

Increasing sign up rates to the Organ Donor Register is a key to reducing the number of people dying each year due to a lack of available organs for transplant. The Behavioural Insights Team has been working with NHS Blood and Transplant, Government Digital Services, the Department of Health and DVLA to increase the number […]

December 30, 2013