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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

How hospitals have reached gridlock

  • 12 January 2015
  • From the section Health
Screen

Hospitals are all about flow. As new patients arrive, others must move on through the system and, eventually, leave.

But what has happened in the past month is that the system has stalled. Or - as one doctor put it to me - there has been "gridlock". At least in some places.

Let's take it step-by-step. Each year more than 14m patients arrive at A&E - effectively the front-door of the hospital.

Most of those are dealt with by the doctors and nurses in A&E. But one in four need more complicated care than can be given so are admitted into the hospital. These tend to be the frailest and most vulnerable patients.

Once the decision has been made to admit, those patients need to be found a bed. When that has happened, they can receive their treatment and, once they are ready, leave the hospital.

Read full article How hospitals have reached gridlock

A&E: Does missing the target matter?

  • 6 January 2015
  • From the section Health
NHS staff

The news that the NHS in England has missed its waiting time target with performance dropping to its worst level for a decade is dominating the headlines. But does it really matter?

After all, it was just 2.4% short of the 95% threshold during the October to December quarter. That means over nine in 10 patients were seen in four hours.

Read full article A&E: Does missing the target matter?

NHS set for a bumpy start to 2015

  • 5 January 2015
  • From the section Health
Bumpy road

The new year has barely started and the focus is once again shifting to how the NHS is performing.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Labour is set to make the health service a key election battleground should come as no surprise - nor should the timing.

Read full article NHS set for a bumpy start to 2015

Is the obsession with NHS targets justified?

  • 30 December 2014
  • From the section Health
Target

Targets have become synonymous with the NHS. From hospital operations to cancer care and fighting superbugs, successive governments have used them to keep a grip on performance.

And now - just five months away from an election - all eyes are on how the health service performs against its most high-profile measures.

Read full article Is the obsession with NHS targets justified?

Why are hospitals under so much pressure?

  • 6 January 2015
  • From the section Health
Screen

You need look no further than Salford Royal Hospital to realise the point the NHS has got to.

The trust is generally regarded as one of the best - if not the best - in the UK. It outperforms its counterparts on a whole host of measures from patient satisfaction to waiting times.

Read full article Why are hospitals under so much pressure?

Why the care sector is green with envy

  • 8 December 2014
  • From the section Health
Money on scales

It has been enough to make those involved with social care green with envy. For the past year or so the NHS in England has been making the case that it is short of money.

So what happens? Chancellor George Osborne throws another £2bn its way to top up its £100bn-plus budget. Social care has been putting the case for even longer, but it was left empty handed by the Autumn Statement.

Read full article Why the care sector is green with envy

NHS strike: A walkout with a difference

  • 24 November 2014
  • From the section Health
Picket line outside the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke

The words strike and NHS are enough to send a shudder down the spine of any patient.

But many of the people using the health service in England or Northern Ireland on Monday morning may not have noticed a huge difference.

Read full article NHS strike: A walkout with a difference

Why the NHS is facing a tricky winter

  • 14 November 2014
  • From the section Health
Winter scene

This is the time of year that NHS bosses - and their political masters for that matter - start to look at the weather forecasts.

A bad winter can make a huge difference to the health service. A cold snap increases the number of falls and amount of respiratory illness, while the vomiting bug norovirus can take hold on hospital wards.

Read full article Why the NHS is facing a tricky winter

Is there really a crisis among GPs?

  • 4 November 2014
  • From the section Health
Stethoscope

GPs should have it all, shouldn't they?

A decade ago they got a new contract that allowed them to give up night and weekend cover, while seeing their pay shoot through the £100,000 a year barrier.

Read full article Is there really a crisis among GPs?

Joined-up care: The elephant in the room

  • 30 October 2014
  • From the section Health
Elephant in room

Encouraging greater integration between the NHS and social care systems - as the government has set out on Thursday - is like motherhood and apple pie. No-one would argue against it.

The line where NHS-funded healthcare ends and council-funded social care begins has always been blurred and failings on one side undoubtedly have an impact on the other.

Read full article Joined-up care: The elephant in the room

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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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