Reality Check: 'Health tourism' under spotlight

  • 24 April 2015
  • From the section England
Hospital corridor
"Health tourism" could cost the NHS £200m a year, according to government figures

One of my friends is moving to a new job in another European country.

He has a repeat prescription for medication and he went to see his doctor to ask for some extra pills to tide him over while he sorted things out in his new job.

the doctor said "no" and cut his supply off at the moment he left these shores.

So that's one "health tourist" who won't be getting more than he's entitled to from the NHS. Although as someone in a good job, who's paid plenty of tax in his time, he was pretty grumpy about all this.

But overall what sort of problem is "health tourism" - people getting pills, potions and treatments they're not entitled to - in the NHS?

Defrauding the NHS

Read full article Reality Check: 'Health tourism' under spotlight

Getting behind the political soundbites

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section England
Dr David Gregory Kumar
I've been looking into politicians' claims ahead of the election

It's the end of my first week working for BBC Reality Check.

I've popped up all over the BBC discussing numbers and statistics and how politicians use them and I've learned a lot too.

Read full article Getting behind the political soundbites

Baby boom brings barn owls back from the brink

  • 6 February 2015
  • From the section England
Molly, a rescue barn owl
Barn owl numbers have been in decline but what can be done to help?

I love barn owls.

The little owl may be more adorable and the eagle owl more impressive but watching a pale barn owl floating silently across the fields is one of the UK's nature wonders.

Read full article Baby boom brings barn owls back from the brink

West Midlands medic trials sugar remedy

  • 9 January 2015
  • From the section England
Moses Murandu
Moses Murandu is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton

Can ordinary sugar be used to heal wounds that haven't responded to years of traditional treatment?

It's an extraordinary idea, but one I've been tracking for five years now. And it all started with a man called Moses Murandu.

Read full article West Midlands medic trials sugar remedy

University of Birmingham water fleas in space

  • 19 December 2014
  • From the section England

Water fleas taken from a pond at the University of Birmingham have been selected for a space mission.

The idea is to see how they react to life in space on the International Space Station (ISS).

Read full article University of Birmingham water fleas in space

Mysterious starling murmuration secrets unlocked?

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section England
Starlings
Murmurations can involve up to 50,000 birds or more

A starling murmuration is an extraordinary sight.

Seen at dusk the sky darkens as thousands of birds flock to form complex shapes overhead - the only sound the beating of thousands of pairs of wings and the soft splot of droppings meaning a visit to the car wash and an umbrella if you get up close.

Read full article Mysterious starling murmuration secrets unlocked?

Farm subsidies: does the CAP still fit for farmers?

  • 24 October 2014
  • From the section England
Farmer at work
It's hard to get on with your job without a clear idea of how the new Common Agricultural Policy will work

I do love a big pile of data and frankly they don't get bigger than farmsubsidy.org.

It's a website run by the European Fund for Investigative Journalism that allows you to search for cash paid out from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Read full article Farm subsidies: does the CAP still fit for farmers?

Are urban badgers a problem or a boon to city life?

  • 30 September 2014
  • From the section England
Peter Wall's garden
The badgers have found larvae and insects underneath the turf

So, badgers have invaded a garden in a Birmingham suburb and done a fair bit of damage to what should be a nice piece of lawn.

Owner Peter Wall got in touch with BBC Midlands Today, and he is certainly unhappy.

Read full article Are urban badgers a problem or a boon to city life?

My night testing out a brand new sleep laboratory

  • 23 September 2014
  • From the section England
Dr David Gregory-Kumar asleep in the lab
I am one of the university's early test subjects

I'm trying to go to sleep.

I am lying in a very comfortable bed. There is the calming white-noise of air conditioning somewhere. I could be in any modern hotel.

Read full article My night testing out a brand new sleep laboratory

Supercharging the humble 999 call with streaming video

  • 27 July 2014
  • From the section England
Smethwick fire
The fire in Smethwick involved 100,000 tonnes of plastic recycling material, produced a 6,000ft smoke plume and is thought to have caused £6m damage to the Jayplas depot

I recently went along to the West Midlands Fire Service HQ in Birmingham to hear them discuss some new ideas they've been looking at to "supercharge" the traditional 999 emergency call.

A year ago, the service was still dealing with one of the largest fires we've ever seen in the West Midlands.

Read full article Supercharging the humble 999 call with streaming video