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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

Failing GPs: A Pandora's Box?

14 August 2014

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.

Poor performance - as one influential doctor put it to me - has been "tolerated" for far too long. Until now.

What the Care Quality Commission is trying to do with its failure regime for GP practices marks uncharted territory for the health service.

Yes, GPs have always in theory faced the prospect of being closed down if they are not up to scratch, but the reality is that that process has taken place behind the scenes.

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Cancer drugs row: A sign of things to come?

8 August 2014
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
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

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?

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?


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

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".

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Should the NHS be more like the phone industry?

Mobile phones

The pace of change in the telecommunications industry has been phenomenal.

From telephone exchanges to landlines in every home and - in the past 20 years or so - the advent of mobile phones and now smartphones, the way we communicate with each other has come a long way.

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Why the NHS must heed the lessons of Savile

Jimmy Savile on Jim'll Fix It
Savile used his celebrity to gain access to NHS hospitals

Since the allegations about Jimmy Savile came to light, the police have looked into how many victims there may have been. An inquiry into why he was never prosecuted has also been carried out.

But the reviews into his conduct in NHS hospitals which have now been published are the most comprehensive account of how he was able to offend - and get away with it for so long.

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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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