Why the NHS has the winter blues in summer

  • 23 August 2016
  • From the section Health
Winter image Image copyright Coldimages

Summer may still be in full swing, but already the NHS has its sights firmly set on winter.

The past two winters have been the worst for more than a decade with hospitals creaking under the strain. The four-hour waiting time target in A&E has been missed and record delays have been experienced in discharging patients.

In many ways, the health service has got lucky as flu levels have remained low. If they hadn't, the problems would have been much, much worse.

But the prospect of a full-blown winter crisis this time round is making everyone jittery - and so more effort than ever is being made to ensure plans are in place to help the health service cope.

Speedy discharge

This can be seen from evidence submitted by bosses at NHS England and the Department of Health to the House of Commons Health Committee as part of its inquiry into winter pressures.

Read full article Why the NHS has the winter blues in summer

HIV drug row: A very modern dilemma for the NHS

  • 2 August 2016
  • From the section Health
Truvada Image copyright Justin Sullivan

It would be easy to dismiss the row over HIV preventative drug Prep as a one-off, rather odd bout of infighting over who is responsible for what seems to be a very effective treatment.

But in many ways it goes to the heart of the dilemma facing the NHS in the 21st Century: how to meet the rising demands being placed on the health service.

Read full article HIV drug row: A very modern dilemma for the NHS

NHS consultants: Overworked or overpaid?

  • 27 July 2016
  • From the section Health
Consultant running Image copyright Thinkstock

The sums are eye-watering. Consultants in a quarter of trusts are making six-figure sums each year from overtime alone.

In one case, the total is in excess of £200,000 and in another it is £375,000. That is over and above their basic salary, which is just shy of £90,000 for the average consultant. These are amounts many people could only ever dream about.

Read full article NHS consultants: Overworked or overpaid?

Hunt's Houdini act: What next?

  • 15 July 2016
  • From the section Health
Jeremy Hunt Image copyright PA

Barring the appointment of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, the decision to keep Jeremy Hunt in the health brief in England was perhaps the biggest surprise of Theresa May's new cabinet.

Tipped for the chop ahead of the announcement, he ended up keeping his job - but only after it was widely reported he had lost it.

Read full article Hunt's Houdini act: What next?

Why the No vote means nothing and everything

  • 6 July 2016
  • From the section Health
Rejected sign Image copyright Aquir

There is a precedent for the No vote by junior doctors and medical students over their new contract.

Back in 2002, consultants in England rejected the terms on offer and British Medical Association negotiators went back into talks with the government. A year later, a deal was agreed second time round and the contract was brought in.

Read full article Why the No vote means nothing and everything

Has Brexit ended junior doctors dispute?

  • 4 July 2016
  • From the section Health
Demonstrators at a rally and protest march for junior doctors in London Image copyright PA

Stop the press. In two days' time we will get another referendum result.

But it's not about the EU this time. It's the result of the junior doctors' vote on whether to accept their new contract in England.

Read full article Has Brexit ended junior doctors dispute?

How red bags are bringing NHS and care homes closer

  • 27 June 2016
  • From the section Health
Care home residents are sent to hospital with a red bag containing belongings and vital information Image copyright Other

Like many good ideas, the way the NHS and care sectors in the London borough of Sutton are working together more closely is a relatively simple concept.

When a care home resident needs to go into a hospital, a red bag is packed for them.

Read full article How red bags are bringing NHS and care homes closer

Has NHS failure become the new norm?

  • 21 June 2016
  • From the section Health
Nurse Image copyright wavebreakmedia

With both the doctors' and nurses' annual conferences taking place in Belfast and Glasgow respectively, this would normally be a week when the state of the NHS takes top billing.

But not this year. The coverage is pretty muted. Of course, the EU referendum has something to do with that.

Read full article Has NHS failure become the new norm?

Gardening and volunteering: The new wonder drugs?

  • 13 June 2016
  • From the section Health
Volunteers Image copyright Thinkstock

Last week was national volunteers' week, a chance to celebrate the role volunteers play in society.

Their impact is immense. Some studies have put the value at over £50bn, making the voluntary sector as big as the energy industry.

Read full article Gardening and volunteering: The new wonder drugs?

Is the ambulance service in crisis?

  • 23 May 2016
  • From the section Health
Back of ambulance Image copyright Thinkstock

It is perhaps one of the untold stories of the health service. While there has been acres of coverage of the junior doctors dispute, the rising waiting times in A&E and the money problems bedevilling the NHS, the plight of the ambulance service has slipped, by-and-large, under the radar.

But of all the parts of the NHS, it is arguably the one under the most strain and where delays have the greatest impact.

Read full article Is the ambulance service in crisis?