NHS Tracker: Five things we've learned

  • 19 October 2017
  • From the section Health
Doctor in scrubs Image copyright Getty Images

This week saw the BBC launch its NHS Tracker project. The online search allows users to find out how their local services perform against the three key targets covering accident and emergency departments, cancer care and planned operations and treatment.

The project will run for a year. But already some remarkable issues have been brought to light.

1. Luton is head and shoulders above the rest

There was only one local hospital service in the whole of the UK that achieved all three key targets throughout the year. Take a bow Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust.

The medium-sized hospital undoubtedly benefits from the fact that it is not a large regional centre, which means it will avoid some of the most complex cases.

But the performance is impressive nonetheless. The next best-placed service had missed a fifth of its targets over the past year.

Read full article NHS Tracker: Five things we've learned

Does it matter if NHS targets are missed?

  • 18 October 2017
  • From the section Health
Arrows missing the target Image copyright Getty Images

Hospital targets are a blunt measure of performance. By their very nature, there is an absolute cut off.

Fall above the line and you succeed. Fall below - even by one patient - and you fail.

Read full article Does it matter if NHS targets are missed?

Charlie Gard: A case that changed everything?

  • 29 July 2017
  • From the section Health
The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, pose for photographers as supporters hold a banner, before delivering a petition to Great Ormond Street Hospital, in central London, Britain July 9, 2017 Image copyright Reuters

Few British legal cases in recent years have proved as controversial or emotionally charged as that over the fate of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old baby who died on Friday after a lengthy battle over his medical treatment.

During the many hours of legal debate in court, Katie Gollop QC, who led Great Ormond Street's legal team, described the case as "sad", but not "exceptional".

Read full article Charlie Gard: A case that changed everything?

Pub smoking ban: 10 charts that show the impact

  • 1 July 2017
  • From the section Health
Hand holding a half-smoked cigarette at a pub table, beer glasses in the background Image copyright Alamy

It's 10 years since smoking was banned in enclosed workplaces in England, following similar moves in the rest of the UK. But how has the "pub smoking ban" changed the country?

Do you remember the time when pubs were full of smoke? When you could light up after a meal at a restaurant? Or when smokers didn't have to congregate on the street outside offices?

Read full article Pub smoking ban: 10 charts that show the impact

Conservative manifesto: Why many will pay more for care

  • 18 May 2017
  • From the section Health
Woman paying for care Image copyright ForMed Films

What the Conservatives have proposed for elderly care in England is complex.

They are changing certain thresholds as well as what can be defined as assets and how long you wait before you have to pay your bill.

Read full article Conservative manifesto: Why many will pay more for care

Are Britons falling out of love with booze?

  • 3 May 2017
  • From the section Health
Illustration of drinkers

Britain has always been known as a nation that loves a tipple. But the latest Office for National Statistics lifestyle survey suggests this may be coming to an end.

The 2016 poll of nearly 8,000 Britons found just under 60% had had a drink in the past week - the lowest rate since the survey began in 2005.

Read full article Are Britons falling out of love with booze?

NHS confusing public by using 'gobbledygook'

  • 29 March 2017
  • From the section Health
Speech bubbles

Imagine the scene. Up and down the country, local NHS leaders are crowded into meeting rooms discussing information transfers and ambulatory care, when someone jumps up and shouts "I've had enough of sticky toffee puddings".

Confused? You're not the only one. The language being used by the health service is simply gobbledygook, says the Plain English Campaign (PEC).

Read full article NHS confusing public by using 'gobbledygook'

Will the Budget help ailing grandparents?

  • 8 March 2017
  • From the section Health
Man on his own Image copyright ForMed Films

The chancellor has announced a £2bn rescue package for the social care sector in England.

Philip Hammond says the extra money - to be phased in over three years - will help support a system that is "clearly under pressure".

Read full article Will the Budget help ailing grandparents?

10 charts that show what’s gone wrong with social care

  • 24 February 2017
  • From the section Health
Elderly people, in a care home, play a board game Image copyright iStock

Ministers in England have said they are looking for a solution to the problems in social care. That has raised hope that next month's Budget could include measures to tackle what many describe as the crisis facing the sector.

But what exactly has gone wrong? And who's affected?

Read full article 10 charts that show what’s gone wrong with social care

10 charts that show why the NHS is in trouble

  • 8 February 2017
  • From the section Health
Hospital Image copyright PA

The NHS faces unrelenting pressure despite funding rising. Why?

The sheer scale of the NHS can take the breath away. Every 24 hours it sees one million patients, and with 1.7 million staff it's the fifth biggest employer in the world.

Read full article 10 charts that show why the NHS is in trouble