Why aren't we living longer?

  • 4 October 2019
  • From the section Health
Image of a woman both young and old Image copyright Yuri_Arcurs/Getty

For the best part of two centuries people's life expectancy has been improving at a pretty rapid and consistent rate.

In the 1840s people did not live much past 40 on average. But then improvements in nutrition, hygiene, housing and sanitation during the Victorian period meant by the early 1900s life expectancy was approaching 60.

As the 20th Century progressed, with the exception of the war years, further gains were made with the introduction of universal health care and childhood immunisations.

From the 1970s onwards, medical advances in the care of stroke and heart attack patients in particular, saw big strides continue to be made

So much so that by the start of the 21st Century, life expectancy at birth had reached 80 for women and 75 for men.

Read full article Why aren't we living longer?

Social care: Is free personal care the answer?

  • 23 September 2019
  • From the section Health
Woman helping elderly person Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Social-care workers offer a vital service

Political parties have been talking about reforming social care for the past 20 years, amid claims the system is in crisis, with services stretched and thousands of people having to sell their homes to fund care.

Tony Blair came to power in 1997 promising to look at it - and since then, countless ideas have been put forward by all the parties.

Read full article Social care: Is free personal care the answer?

Spending plan: What it means for health and care

  • 4 September 2019
  • From the section Health
Stock photo of a consultant and two nurses in a hospital Image copyright EPA

In terms of health and care, there were two eye-catching numbers in the chancellor's spending announcement - £6.2bn extra for the NHS and £1.5bn for social care in England - but neither is quite what it seems.

The £6.2bn refers to the extra cash the front line of the NHS will receive next year as part of the five-year settlement announced a year ago by then Prime Minister Theresa May. And it takes the total available to NHS England, to pay for services from hospital care to GP practices and ambulance crews, to nearly £130bn.

Read full article Spending plan: What it means for health and care

Is NHS buildings boost all it seems?

  • 5 August 2019
  • From the section Health
NHS construction site Image copyright Alamy

It was clear as soon as Boris Johnson became prime minister that he wanted to do something to boost spending on NHS buildings.

In his very first speech he made reference to 20 new hospital upgrades in England.

Read full article Is NHS buildings boost all it seems?

'Pigswill. Slop. Not fit for dogs.' Is hospital food that bad?

  • 20 June 2019
  • From the section Health
Hospital food Image copyright Getty Images

Pigswill, slop and not fit for dogs. These are just some of the comments the Campaign for Better Hospital Food has received over the years from patients to describe the meals served up in hospitals.

It goes to show how bad a reputation hospital food has - and news that pre-packaged sandwiches and salads may have given patients listeria has just reinforced those impressions.

Read full article 'Pigswill. Slop. Not fit for dogs.' Is hospital food that bad?

The best and the rest - what we've learned from the NHS Tracker

  • 15 June 2019
  • From the section Health
Hospital operation Image copyright stockvisual

The BBC launched its NHS Tracker nearly two years ago. It was the biggest data project of its kind that we had ever done.

Since then, it has been providing the public with up-to-date information about waiting times for accident and emergency units, cancer and routine operations wherever they live in the UK - as well as providing us with insight for news coverage of the health service. Last year, it was expanded to include mental health therapy.

Read full article The best and the rest - what we've learned from the NHS Tracker

Is it time to treat sugar like smoking?

  • 4 June 2019
  • From the section Health
white chocolate

Over the past decade, smoking has become marginalised and stigmatised.

From the smoking ban in 2007 to the introduction of plain packaging a decade later, everything has been done to discourage people from taking up the habit.

Read full article Is it time to treat sugar like smoking?

Time to raise smoking age to 21?

  • 28 March 2019
  • From the section Health
Cigarette Image copyright Getty Images

There is a growing clamour to raise the age at which tobacco products can be bought, from 18 to 21.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health put forward the idea earlier this month, and now a leading doctor, Imperial College London respiratory specialist Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, has written in the British Medical Journal arguing the case for the change.

Read full article Time to raise smoking age to 21?

How to reduce rural ambulance waits

  • 7 March 2019
  • From the section Health
Ambulance on road Image copyright Getty Images

The NHS is promising to reduce the gap between how long it takes to get a 999 response to critically injured patients in rural and urban areas.

A BBC News investigation into the highest-category callouts has found rural areas waited over 50% longer.

Read full article How to reduce rural ambulance waits

Are Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms being binned?

  • 11 January 2019
  • From the section Health
Andrew Lansley

Consider this, it is just over three years since the last piece of the jigsaw in Andrew Lansley's controversial NHS reforms was put into place.

In 2015, health visitors moved into local government to complete the transfer of public health from the NHS to councils.

Read full article Are Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms being binned?