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.

The increase amounts to a 3.4% above-inflation rise - and while that may seem generous when compared with other areas of public spending, it is still less of a rise than the NHS has traditionally be given throughout its history.

What is new, however, is how much extra the rest of health is being given. This is money that goes on a range of other things, such as buildings maintenance and training for staff. And the money available for those areas is rising by £400m to £9bn.

The extra money is welcome but still leaves the NHS playing catch up, with waiting lists growing and a huge backlog in buildings maintenance, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research.

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?

NHS plan: What it means for you

  • 7 January 2019
  • From the section Health

The NHS in England has published a 10-year plan setting out what it will be prioritising in the future.

It comes after ministers announced the budget will be increased by £20bn a year by 2023.

Read full article NHS plan: What it means for you

Are we going to get a 'pudding tax'?

  • 2 January 2019
  • From the section Health
Sticky toffee pudding Image copyright Getty Images

After a Christmas of over-indulgence for many, the idea of a "pudding tax" may seem like a good idea.

Public health experts have suggested it may be needed to tackle the high rates of sugar consumption.

Read full article Are we going to get a 'pudding tax'?