NHS plan: What we still need to know

  • 18 June 2018
  • From the section Health
Female surgeon Image copyright Science Photo Library

It was a significant funding announcement - few at senior levels in the NHS in England disagree with that.

But as the dust settles after the weekend, several unanswered questions are still hanging in the air.

What about the areas of health which are not covered? What about investment in hospital buildings and equipment? How will it be paid for?

Five year settlement

NHS funding: PM calls for 10-year plan to spend cash

Chris Ham of the King's Fund told the BBC's Today programme that the 3.4% annual budget increases above inflation for NHS England amounted to a welcome funding boost which would go "some way to dealing with operational pressures".

Read full article NHS plan: What we still need to know

Relaxing visa rules for doctors and nurses

  • 6 June 2018
  • From the section Health
A doctor with stethoscope Image copyright SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

A letter to the prime minister from leading health think tanks is the latest plea for a rethink on visa rules that have affected NHS recruitment from outside the European Union. They argue that the NHS workforce is "facing a crisis" with shortages of key staff.

The chief executives of the King's Fund, the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation have come together to make a joint submission to Downing Street ahead of the much-anticipated long-term plan for the NHS promised by Theresa May.

Read full article Relaxing visa rules for doctors and nurses

Hospital loans from government 'unmanageable'

  • 1 June 2018
  • From the section Health
Woman climbing a hill carrying a large stone Image copyright Getty Images

The financial struggles of the NHS in England are a major talking point. The government has promised a new long-term funding plan. But could it be making life harder for hospitals by charging interest on nearly £5bn of loans made over the last few years? Some trusts are even being hit with interest rates of 6%.

That's one of the claims in a new report by former health secretary Alan Milburn and colleagues at the consultancy firm PwC, in partnership with the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Read full article Hospital loans from government 'unmanageable'

A&E statistics 'worse than reported'

  • 17 May 2018
  • From the section Health
Accident and Emergency Department Image copyright PA

The official monthly accident and emergency figures in England for the final months of last year claim more than 85% of patients were treated or assessed within the four-hour target - but those figures are almost certainly wrong.

Estimates by NHS England - taking account of factors that have since come to light - suggests December's figure was 84.9%.

Read full article A&E statistics 'worse than reported'

Tide turns on obesity strategy

  • 15 May 2018
  • From the section Health
People jogging Image copyright Getty Images

It wasn't long ago when ministers were worried that any intervention to curb what is marketed to British shoppers might upset retailers and provoke accusations of a "nanny state".

But the tide seems to be turning.

Read full article Tide turns on obesity strategy

The NHS needs more money - but how much?

  • 26 April 2018
  • From the section Health
Surgeons Image copyright Getty Images

There is now a consensus that the NHS needs more money.

The prime minister has acknowledged that and called for a new long-term funding plan. But how much? That is the really tricky question facing the government as it tries to meet expectations.

Read full article The NHS needs more money - but how much?

NHS reform: How many patients will benefit?

  • 18 April 2018
  • From the section Health
A&E department
Image caption The aim is to reduce admissions to hospital

Billed as the biggest national move to integrate care of any Western country, radical changes are afoot in parts of the NHS in England.

From this month, groups of local NHS and social care leaders are working together formally to devise appropriate care for individual patients, which will increasingly be provided away from hospitals.

Read full article NHS reform: How many patients will benefit?

Sugar tax: There's more to come in the war on obesity

  • 6 April 2018
  • From the section Health
Carbonated drinks with sugar cubes Image copyright PA

It's not the end, there's more to come. That was the message from ministers with the launch of the soft drinks sugar tax.

There was a clear hint that further anti-obesity policies are not far off. The government seems emboldened to press on with strategies aimed at persuading companies to cut calorie content and to wean consumers off their fast-food habit.

Read full article Sugar tax: There's more to come in the war on obesity

Does the NHS face another year's misery?

  • 29 March 2018
  • From the section Health
Female surgeon Image copyright SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

A long-term funding plan, a multi-year settlement and getting away from annual budget top-ups - that was the eye-catching commitment for the NHS in England made by the prime minister.

The ambition is bold, though there is no detail as yet on the likely sums of money involved.

Read full article Does the NHS face another year's misery?

Sugar tax is already producing results

  • 12 March 2018
  • From the section Health
Soft drinks and sugar cubes Image copyright PA

It will be a major change in health and tax policy. On 6 April the UK will join the small number of countries which have introduced a tax on sugary drinks as part of an anti-obesity policy.

Shoppers will pay 18p or 24p per litre extra depending on how much extra sugar has been added to the drink.

Read full article Sugar tax is already producing results