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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

Routine operations: Is a crisis brewing?

17 April 2014
Woman in a hospital gown

The Department of Health and NHS England has been a happy place this month.

Confirmation that the A&E system in England met its four-hour target for the January to March quarter brought a quiet sense of satisfaction. After all, it was only a few months ago that a winter crisis was being predicted.

But has all that effort come at a price? The latest update on performance from the King's Fund suggests it might.

It notes pressure on non-emergency operations, such as hip and knee replacements, has begun to creep up. Treatment is meant to start within 18 weeks in 90% of cases.

This is being met, but only just as 90.4% of patients were seen within the timeframe in January. That is the lowest level for over two years.

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So which nation has the best NHS?

11 April 2014
Generic medical scene

The review of the four UK health systems by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation has been a painstaking piece of work.

Researchers have been working on it for the best part of four years, grappling with different data sets on topics as diverse as spending, waiting times and death rates.

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Why cigarette packs are the 'silent salesmen'

3 April 2014
Smoking kills warning

Make no mistake, the move to introduce plain packaging is just the latest front in the war against smoking.

Over the past decade, there has been a ban on smoking in public places and moves to restrict displays in shops.

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Government to move ahead with standardised cigarette packets

3 April 2014

Make no mistake, the move to introduce plain packaging is just the latest front in the war against smoking.

Over the past decade, there has been a ban on smoking in public places and moves to restrict displays in shops.

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What's in the new NHS boss's in-tray?

1 April 2014

Simon Stevens is starting his first day as chief executive of NHS England.

It marks his return to the NHS fold after a decade with the US firm United Healthcare where he has been overseeing its global arm.

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Did the NHS get lucky this winter?

29 March 2014
Ambulance outside hospital
Overall this winter the NHS has hit its waiting time target

In the months leading up to winter, there was real concern within government about the damaging headlines it might bring.

Last year the health service in England saw A&E waiting times hit their highest levels for nine years, leading to the four-hour A&E target being missed from January to March.

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Is water fluoridation the next big thing?

26 March 2014
Teeth
Adding fluoride to water helps protect teeth, say public health experts

It is easy to understand why public health chiefs are keen on adding fluoride to water supplies.

It is cheap, costing about 40p per resident per year in areas where it is done, and, according to Public Health England, effective at preventing tooth decay. And yet there has been no new scheme for 25 years. Why?

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NHS fraud and error 'costing the UK £7bn a year'

24 March 2014

By its very nature, it is difficult to say just how much the NHS loses to fraud. Last year NHS Protect with its local investigators oversaw nearly 150 successful criminal cases. There were also 435 civil or internal disciplinary actions. But this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

Just like the Crown Prosecution Service, NHS Protect only proceeds with the cases it has a reasonable chance of winning - and cuts to its budget has made it even more difficult to gather evidence than it used to be.

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Family doctor services 'under threat of extinction'

23 March 2014

Spending less on something is not necessarily bad if it is a sign a service is becoming more efficient.

The figures quoted by the Royal College of GPs include funding for areas such as pay, IT and drugs. Arguments could be made that squeezing all three is justifiable.

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Hospitals feeling the pinch

21 March 2014
Money

The attention of many households has been on budgets this week. In the NHS, it has been a similar story.

On Thursday the NHS Trust Development Authority - part of the Department of Health - released its latest financial forecast for hospitals in England. It made grim reading.

Of the 99 hospital trusts it keeps an eye on - it has no jurisdiction over those trusts given foundation trust status - 26 are predicting they will record a deficit this financial year based on the situation to the end of January.

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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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