Patient safety - will there be a big step forward?

  • 8 July 2020
  • From the section World
Reporter holding up a surgical mesh
Image caption Mesh implants - the latest patient safety scandal

The list is a dismal and shameful one - Mid-Staffordshire, Morecambe Bay, the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford.

All are patient safety scandals involving tragic stories of life-changing mistreatment of patients and, in some cases, the loss of loved ones.

Pledges have been made that patient safety will be put front and centre of health policy. New regulators have been put in place. But now yet another review has found the health system in England to be "disjointed, siloised and defensive" and that the culture needs a shake-up.

It has called for a new patient safety champion with legal powers to be put in place.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, a former health minister, pulls no punches.

Read full article Patient safety - will there be a big step forward?

NHS struggles to get back to a new 'normal'

  • 21 May 2020
  • From the section Health
Cleaning at Ipswich Hospital

There will be a new normal for the NHS - but it will be very different from the one with which patients were familiar before the coronavirus crisis.

That's what health leaders are predicting as hospitals start reintroducing services cancelled during the weeks of peak Covid-19 pressure.

Read full article NHS struggles to get back to a new 'normal'

Coronavirus: What are UK health officials saying?

  • 25 February 2020
  • From the section Health
Iranian women in Tehran wear protective masks to prevent contracting coronavirus Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Health experts are worried about Iran

It is still possible the coronavirus can be contained - but the situation is "extremely concerning" in Iran and the number of cases and deaths in Italy are set to rise sharply, the UK's chief medical adviser has said.

Working closely with his counterparts in the devolved administrations, Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, plays a central role in planning the UK's response to Covid-19.

Read full article Coronavirus: What are UK health officials saying?

Paterson scandal: Is the NHS learning from mistakes?

  • 4 February 2020
  • From the section Health
Ian Paterson during a breast cancer charity ball in 2009
Image caption Ian Paterson is serving a 20-year jail term for 17 counts of wounding with intent

Shipman, Mid Staffordshire, Morecambe Bay, and now Ian Paterson, the breast surgeon that performed botched and unnecessary operations on hundreds of women.

The list of NHS-related scandals has got longer. It's tempting to say the health service has not learned lessons even after a string of revelations and reviews. But is that fair?

Read full article Paterson scandal: Is the NHS learning from mistakes?

Is Downing Street turning up the heat on the NHS?

  • 14 January 2020
  • From the section Health
Hospital waiting area Image copyright Getty Images

With the election and the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill out of the way, Boris Johnson's attention has turned to the NHS.

Sources talk of a "laser-like focus" on health as the government starts charting a path to delivering the promised new nurses, doctors and hospitals and making voters feel the service has got better.

Read full article Is Downing Street turning up the heat on the NHS?

Political heat eases but NHS chill sets in

  • 20 December 2019
  • From the section Health
A doctor using a stethoscope on a patient in an Accident and Emergency department of a NHS national health service hospital Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Emergency admissions to hospitals have been increasing

The politicians will be looking forward to their Christmas break, their ferocious debates on the NHS and other domestic issues temporarily put on hold.

But just because the political rhetoric has eased does not mean the state of the NHS is less of a concern. Far from it.

Read full article Political heat eases but NHS chill sets in

Child obesity: Will we see radical action?

  • 10 October 2019
  • From the section Health
Boys eating a chocolate muffin Image copyright Getty Images

Strategies for tackling obesity in England have been much talked about - but consistency has been hard to find.

Three different prime ministers in four years have all had their own approaches. Policies have been floated but implementation has been patchy.

Read full article Child obesity: Will we see radical action?

Should vaccinations be compulsory?

  • 30 September 2019
  • From the section Health
Vaccination. Pic: Thinkstock Image copyright Thinkstock

Falling vaccination rates for children in England have refuelled the debate over whether jabs should be compulsory for youngsters before they are allowed into schools.

The Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says he is "looking very seriously" at going down that route.

Read full article Should vaccinations be compulsory?

Labour on collision course with big pharma over drugs

  • 25 September 2019
  • From the section Health
Scientist with pipette Image copyright Getty Images

Labour's newly announced policy on research funding for new medicines raises big questions about the balance between private profit and public good.

The party wants to make big drug companies hand over their exclusive research details so medicines can be made and sold more cheaply by others.

Read full article Labour on collision course with big pharma over drugs

No-deal Brexit: Drug supply plans not yet clear

  • 20 September 2019
  • From the section Health
Pharmacists checking medicines Image copyright Getty Images

Medical and pharmaceutical industry leaders are warning some of the contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit is not as well advanced as it was earlier this year.

They say details of government plans to secure ferry capacity to bring medicines into the UK have still not been finalised - with less than six weeks to go till Britain's planned exit from the EU on 31 October.

Read full article No-deal Brexit: Drug supply plans not yet clear