Is the NHS's long-term plan workable?

  • 18 January 2019
  • From the section Health
Pouring a bucket of cold water over his head Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Has a bucket of cold water been poured over the long-term plan for the NHS?

There was a fanfare of a launch for the NHS's long-term plan for England earlier this month.

The prime minister and the head of NHS England shared a platform at a hospital in Liverpool and toured children's wards.

Promises to accelerate detection of cancers and invest more in GP, community care and mental health were made.

But now the official financial watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), has thrown - if not a bucket then - at least a flask of cold water over the project.

In its annual report on the financial sustainability of the NHS in England, the NAO argues there are many underlying problems which need to be addressed, never mind improving services in line with the ambitions of the plan.

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Will NHS long-term plan deliver the goods?

  • 7 January 2019
  • From the section Health
A doctor talking to her patient Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More consultations will take place at GP surgeries

We have been waiting a long time for the 10-year plan for the NHS in England. Will it have a real impact? The answer has to be yes if the NHS is to have a sustainable future.

Much of the thinking is driven by the need to treat more patients in their local communities or at home.

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The challenges facing the NHS in 2019

  • 2 January 2019
  • From the section Health
Staff prepare equipment in the Critical Care Unit of the new Queen Elizabeth super hospital Image copyright Getty Images

When the NHS is preoccupied with immediate pressures, like the surge in numbers of sick patients that winter brings, it's hard to imagine how there can be time for senior managers to think beyond the next month, never mind five years or more. But they are having to.

The long-term plan for the NHS in England - due out by the end of 2018 but delayed because of the government's preoccupation with Brexit - should now be published in January.

Read full article The challenges facing the NHS in 2019

Brexit: Is NHS already finding it hard to get medicines?

  • 18 December 2018
  • From the section Health
Heap of medical pills in white, blue and other colours. Image copyright Getty Images

Supply shortages and rising prices for some medicines are being reported by pharmacists and GPs. The possibility of a no-deal Brexit is being blamed.

So what is going on in the pharmaceutical world and what might it mean for patients?

Read full article Brexit: Is NHS already finding it hard to get medicines?

How do you tackle stress in the workplace?

  • 5 December 2018
  • From the section Health
More people are reporting problems with stress at work Image copyright Getty Images

Is the workplace more stressful than it was? Do employees feel more under pressure than before? Are staff feeling burdened by work emails around the clock? Recent data and surveys suggest there is an increasing problem.

Now one business owner wants other employers to follow his lead and allow employees to do a four-day week and to switch off completely on the fifth day.

Read full article How do you tackle stress in the workplace?

How do we incentivise people to be healthier?

  • 28 November 2018
  • From the section Health
woman in the gym doing planks Image copyright Getty Images

The obesity challenge to the NHS looms large. The costs of treating related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, are rising relentlessly. Policymakers are anxious to find answers. Prevention is the goal, but what sort of nudge is most effective to get people to look after themselves better?

A new study suggests that the fear of losing something is a better incentive than the prospect of gaining a benefit.

Read full article How do we incentivise people to be healthier?

Deal gives patients faster drug access

  • 23 November 2018
  • From the section Health
Pharmacy shelves piled with prescription drugs.

It's been billed as a win-win for patients, with new drugs and medical devices being made available more rapidly and money flowing back into the NHS.

It sounds too good to be true - and it may turn out to be that.

Read full article Deal gives patients faster drug access

Budget 2018: 'NHS will face cuts as well as gains'

  • 30 October 2018
  • From the section Health
Hammond leaving No 11

Spending on public health, and doctors' and nurses' training in England is set to fall next year according to the fine print of the Budget documents.

The chancellor announced annual real-terms funding increases for NHS England which provides front-line services. But other areas of health spending run by the Department of Health will fall in 2019-20, according to a think tank.

Read full article Budget 2018: 'NHS will face cuts as well as gains'

NHS: Will this winter be even worse?

  • 22 October 2018
  • From the section Health
NHS graphic composite

Will there be a bleak winter for the NHS?

A cycle of perpetual winter crises and the NHS running on empty - these are the latest warnings coming from groups in England representing hospitals and doctors.

Read full article NHS: Will this winter be even worse?

Contaminated blood scandal: What have we learned so far?

  • 27 September 2018
  • From the section Health
Sir Brian Langstaff hugs Della Hirsch
Image caption Sir Brian hugs Della Hirsch

It has been said before that the contaminated blood scandal was the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

This week, we have heard that the public inquiry, which has just begun, will be the largest ever held in the UK.

Read full article Contaminated blood scandal: What have we learned so far?