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.

But with the government in England in the process of piloting a new set of targets, the time has come to put it on hold. For now at least.

So what have we learned since it started?

If you can't see the NHS Tracker, click or tap here.


Things are getting worse

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'?

Six things to look out for in health in 2019

  • 31 December 2018
  • From the section Health

The NHS celebrated its 70th anniversary with tea parties, special church services and a "bumper" funding rise.

But while those celebrations may be remembered fondly by those working in the health service as 2018 comes to an end, the storm clouds are gathering as the new year approaches.

Read full article Six things to look out for in health in 2019

Six key questions Brexit poses for the NHS

  • 29 November 2018
  • From the section Health

Whether it is a no-deal Brexit or the agreement brokered by the prime minister, leaving the European Union promises to have a profound impact on patients and the wider NHS.

From the staff who work on the wards and in the GP surgeries to the supply of vital medicines, there are implications.

Read full article Six key questions Brexit poses for the NHS

Can the government deliver on radical care reform?

  • 8 November 2018
  • From the section Health
Man on his own Image copyright Emma Lazenby

Another week, another sign that the care system in England is in dire trouble.

News that Allied Healthcare - one of the biggest providers of home care in the country - is at risk of going under, sent shockwaves around the sector.

Read full article Can the government deliver on radical care reform?