Are nurses the new doctors?

  • 23 June 2015
  • From the section Health
Health staff

Medicine has changed dramatically over the years with new drugs and treatments revolutionising the way patients are cared for.

With that has come an overhaul in the way staff work. In particular, the demarcation between doctors and nurses.

What was once the preserve of doctors - prescribing drugs, ordering x-rays, referring patients and diagnosing - is now also done by many senior nurses who have had extra training.

They go by a variety of titles from nurse consultants and clinical nurse specialists to nurse practitioners.

Some specialise in a particular condition - diabetes or heart disease for example - while others coordinate care in A&Es and or community settings.

Read full article Are nurses the new doctors?

Why bother with seven-day GP opening?

  • 19 June 2015
  • From the section Health
Open sign

There is a simple way to make a job more attractive. Attach more money to it.

But, of course, that is not really an option for GPs. Average pay - for those that run practices as partners at least - is already in the six figures so there would be an outcry if pay started going up dramatically when the rest of the public sector is being squeezed.

Read full article Why bother with seven-day GP opening?

Why are GPs so angry?

  • 17 June 2015
  • From the section Health
Stethoscope

Next week hundreds of doctors will descend on Liverpool for their annual conference.

The gathering of the British Medical Association is not really a time for celebration. It tends to be more about airing grievances.

Read full article Why are GPs so angry?

Why the NHS could soon prescribe home improvements and knitting

  • 6 June 2015
  • From the section Health
House with scaffolding
Some areas have offered home improvement support as a way to improve health

With mounting deficits, an ageing population and £22bn of "efficiency savings" to find in the next five years, the NHS is facing a monumental task.

This is reflected by the fact that the opening weeks of this government have been dominated by initiatives to get the health service back on an even keel by driving down costs by targeting areas such as spending on agency staff.

Read full article Why the NHS could soon prescribe home improvements and knitting

The NHS: What we weren't told during the election

  • 12 May 2015
  • From the section Health
People whispering

The NHS was one of the major topics of the election campaign. Politicians were falling over themselves to talk about it and promise more.

More money, more nurses and more doctors. And if that wasn't enough, the Conservatives were pledging more opening: they plan to ensure the NHS becomes a seven-day service.

Read full article The NHS: What we weren't told during the election

How many staff does the NHS need?

  • 1 May 2015
  • From the section Health
Health staff

When the NHS was created in 1948 there were 144,000 members of staff. In less than seven decades that figure has risen tenfold to 1.4 million across the UK.

But with all the political parties promising more health workers in the coming years, just how many doctors, nurses, porters, therapists and managers does the NHS need?

Read full article How many staff does the NHS need?

Spot the difference

  • 23 April 2015
  • From the section Health
Magnifying glass and figures

We will give "mental health parity with physical health". Can you guess which party says this? The Liberal Democrats, who have flown the flag for mental health services?

Yes. But these exact words were actually taken from UKIP's manifesto. Labour's manifesto said the two should have the "same priority", while the Tories opted for the phrase "equal priority".

Read full article Spot the difference

The changing face of death

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section Health
Heart
Chronic conditions such as heart disease have replaced infectious diseases as the biggest killer

There are few things guaranteed in life. Death - along with taxes, as the saying goes - is one of them. But what we die of has and is continuing to change.

A hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the scourge of the nation. As the 1800s drew to a close, more than a third of all deaths were caused by the likes of small pox, measles, cholera, tuberculosis and diphtheria.

Read full article The changing face of death

Is cancer care at a crossroads?

  • 25 March 2015
  • From the section Health
Radiotherapy

Cancer is already the leading cause of death in the UK. And, thanks to the ageing population, it is estimated that soon half of us will get it at some point in our lives.

But with the number of cases on the rise, there are signs that all is not well with how the NHS is responding.

Read full article Is cancer care at a crossroads?

How bad has winter been for the NHS?

  • 13 March 2015
  • From the section Health
Stretcher

This has been the most difficult winter for the NHS for a long time. Wherever you live in the UK, local services have been under strain.

The four-hour target to be seen in A&E has been missed in each nation - and that has had a knock-on effect on other parts of the hospital system.

Read full article How bad has winter been for the NHS?