Care homes and the NHS: The silent scandal?

  • 1 February 2016
  • From the section Health
Person in wheelchair Image copyright Highwaystarz-Photography

The plight of care home residents has pretty much slipped below the radar in recent years. While there is close scrutiny of everything from A&E waiting times to access to the latest cancer drugs, the support - or rather lack of it - care home residents receive from the NHS has gone almost unnoticed.

But, on Monday morning, the issue bubbled to the surface following a front-page article by the Daily Mail headlined "GPs vote to axe care home visits".

The fact is that care home residents and their families may well ask what's new - GPs have long since stopped visiting care homes.

A quick review of the sector in 2012, by the Care Quality Commission, found most of the 81 care homes looked at were not receiving regular visits from GPs.

And it is pretty safe to assume the situation hasn't improved.

Read full article Care homes and the NHS: The silent scandal?

The wider lessons of William's death

  • 26 January 2016
  • From the section Health
William Mead Image copyright William Mead's family

Much of the attention over the tragic death of 12-month-old William Mead has focussed on the role of NHS 111.

That is understandable. The report into his care highlights a series of missed opportunities by the call handler who William's mother spoke to on the day before he died. It makes it clear the handler should have probed more for information about his condition and immediately referred it on to a nurse or doctor.

Read full article The wider lessons of William's death

Why the government is going sweet on a sugar tax

  • 25 January 2016
  • From the section Health
Spoons of sugar Image copyright VICTOR DE SCHWANBERG/SPL

Next month, the government in England is expected to publish its long-awaited child obesity strategy. The plan has been in the pipeline for some time - it was originally going to be published last autumn.

But even at this late stage there's still fierce debate within Whitehall about what should be in it.

Read full article Why the government is going sweet on a sugar tax

Junior doctors' dispute: What next?

  • 13 January 2016
  • From the section Health
Junior doctor on strike Image copyright PA

With the junior doctors' strike over, attention will naturally turn to what happens next.

There are two obvious answers to that question. One, the two sides will get back round the table in a bid to break the deadlock. In fact, the first talks are to take place at the conciliation service Acas on Thursday.

Read full article Junior doctors' dispute: What next?

Will alcohol advice help us beat the demon drink?

  • 8 January 2016
  • From the section Health
women drinking shots Image copyright Thinkstock

The uncomfortable truth is that many of us drink too much. One in three - when asked - admit to breaching the old alcohol guidelines.

The new ones published on Friday are even tougher. We are, in short, a nation who loves its booze.

Read full article Will alcohol advice help us beat the demon drink?

Why the NHS needs better-behaved patients

  • 24 December 2015
  • From the section Health
Patients graphic Image copyright IvanNikulin

What does the NHS want for Christmas? More money? Yes. More staff? Yes again. But, whisper it quietly, better behaved patients wouldn't go amiss either.

In fact, in their more candid moments, it's not unusual to find doctors and nurses having a little moan about the people they care for.

Read full article Why the NHS needs better-behaved patients

Is the care home market heading for a crash?

  • 18 December 2015
  • From the section Health
Woman Image copyright Thinkstock

There are over 500,000 care and nursing homes places in the UK - that is more than the entire population of Liverpool.

The people living in them are among the oldest, most vulnerable people in society. One in six of all people over the age of 85 are housed in them.

Read full article Is the care home market heading for a crash?

Winter in the NHS: The lost beds problem

  • 10 December 2015
  • From the section Health
Hospital bed Image copyright Thinkstock

Walk into any hospital and you will see wards full to bursting. An empty bed is a rarity - certainly for any length of time.

And with winter here, it's only going to get worse. But arguably the biggest problem the NHS is facing this winter is not the sheer numbers - it's the fact that many of those people don't actually need to be there.

Read full article Winter in the NHS: The lost beds problem

Is another fight with health staff brewing?

  • 2 December 2015
  • From the section Health
Student nurses Image copyright PA
Image caption Student nurses at a protest in central London

Health workers have been back on the streets protesting - but this time it isn't the junior doctors.

On Wednesday afternoon - as MPs debated air strikes in Syria - hundreds of student nurses (not to mention midwives, podiatrists, occupational therapists and radiographers) marched around Westminster.

Read full article Is another fight with health staff brewing?

Health and care spending: The sting in the tail

  • 26 November 2015
  • From the section Health
Stethoscope

The government was happy to shout about the good news this week. With much fanfare, Chancellor George Osborne claimed he was making the "biggest ever" financial commitment to the NHS in England with the £8.4bn real terms rise by 2020-21.

But buried in the documents released with the spending review on Wednesday was the sting in the tail: cuts to some of the services that the health service depends on.

Read full article Health and care spending: The sting in the tail