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Nick Triggle

Nick Triggle Health correspondent

This is my take on the issues affecting the NHS and social care, from the way we live our lives to the impact of government policies

Is it time for a mental health waiting target?

  • 17 September 2014
  • From the section Health
A young boy with his hands on his head (his face cannot be seen)

Waiting time targets have become synonymous with the NHS in England. They apply to everything from A&E units and ambulance calls outs to routine surgery and cancer treatment.

But it's not just an English phenomenon. Other countries in the UK have introduced their own.

The exception is mental health. It should come as no surprise - mental health care is often said to be the poor cousin of the NHS family. Figures show that the condition gets 11% of the budget, but accounts for 28% of the disease burden.

The result is that many people go without help. An estimated three quarters of people with a mental illness receive no treatment. For physical disorders, the rate is nearer a quarter.

Research released this week by We Need to Talk, a coalition of mental health charities and royal colleges, shows this can have devastating consequences.

Read full article

What is the NHS there for?

  • 10 September 2014
  • From the section Health
Question mark

The argument that dementia patients are getting a poor deal goes to the heart of the debate about what the NHS is there for.

When the NHS was created in 1948, the focus was on protecting people from infectious diseases. Now - with people living longer - it is increasingly about helping patients manage illness.

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E-cigarettes: Debate - and confusion - is natural

  • 5 September 2014
  • From the section Health
Man smoking electronic cigarette

It can be hard to know quite what to make of e-cigarettes.

Last week the World Health Organization called for a ban on their use in public places and workplaces. The group said it was concerned about the risk which use of the products presented and about their marketing via fruit and candy-style flavours.

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Failing GPs: A Pandora's Box?

  • 14 August 2014
  • From the section Health

There are nearly 8,000 GP practices in England, employing more than 35,000 doctors.

But despite the NHS being perhaps the most information-rich health system in the world, we have little clue which are good and which are bad.

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Cancer drugs row: A sign of things to come?

  • 8 August 2014
  • From the section Health
Breast cancer cell
Breast cancer cells dividing

There is a real sense of sadness - and anger for that matter - that the new breast cancer drug Kadcyla looks unlikely to be made routinely available on the NHS, something that is obvious from the bitter language being used by both sides.

The decision by England's official NHS advisory body, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), to reject Kadcyla prompted manufacturers Roche to claim the system was "broken".

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NHS waits: Getting the excuses in early?

  • 4 August 2014
  • From the section Health
Inside an operating theatre

The devil - as always - is in the detail.

The pledge by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to end year-long waits for routine treatment seems to make perfect sense.

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The secret to transforming a failing hospital

  • 28 July 2014
  • From the section Health
Basildon Hospital maternity unit
Babies who have been born in the hospital's maternity unit

Each morning the staff of Basildon University Hospital gather in the canteen to discuss the pressing issues of the day.

It is open to anyone and on the morning I was there there were about 40 people attending - a combination of doctors, nurses, admin staff and managers. The key discussion was around a lack of available beds.

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Failing hospitals: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

  • 16 July 2014
  • From the section Health
Jug of water

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's glass was certainly half-full when he gave an update on Wednesday on how the special measures regime for failing hospitals has worked out.

A year to the day since the first 11 were placed in the failure regime, he said he was encouraged hospitals were on the "road to recovery".

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How many nurses short is the NHS?

  • 15 July 2014
  • From the section Health

Publication of the new guidelines for safe nurse staffing levels on wards marks a key moment for the way hospitals are run.

While the recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence do not set an absolute minimum, wards in England are being encouraged not to go above a ratio of one nurse to eight patients.

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The NHS budget: Five things we've learned

  • 10 July 2014
  • From the section Health

The NHS budget is under the microscope like never before. The coalition may have protected it, but that has not stopped problems mounting.

Earlier this week a host of medical organisations wrote a letter to The Times warning the NHS was "creaking at the seams".

Read full article

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About Nick

Nick started working for the BBC in 2003. His first two years were spent in general news, after which he started covering the health beat.

As health correspondent, he has reported extensively on the NHS and social care as well as how the UK is dealing with challenges such as obesity, the ageing population and health inequalities. Nick has also worked on the Gerry Robinson TV documentaries on the NHS.

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