Tag Archives: NHS

Recently: Wellcome Collection and new columns

I’ve had my head down working on long term projects recently, but I was pleased to see my six-part series on the history of the National Health Service to mark its 70th anniversary go live over on the Wellcome Collection’s website; for it, I spoke to patients, NHS workers and historians about the service’s germination and evolution. The NHS is not perfect, but surveys repeatedly find that our health service is our biggest source of national pride, ahead of the BBC and the royal family.

(It’s a subject close to my heart. I’ve already written about my own experiences of disability, and of my extensive leg-lengthening treatments under the NHS for The Sunday Times Magazine – find that essay here.)

I was also pleased to begin writing two monthly columns; one for Prospect magazine, on ‘backcountry philosophy’ – that is, life lessons from the wilderness; and a regular wildlife slot for Scottish Field.

My first Prospect column will be out shortly, while my second Scottish Field outing is already on newsstands. So far I’ve covered the basking sharks of the Inner Hebrides and the seabird colonies of the Isle of May.

Every species takes up a place in the strata of life, a multi-storey settlement that rises vertically from the waves….the razorbills with their snubnosed beaks – gnomish and oddly proportioned, squat like penguins but with the delicate wings of terns…Then the sleek guillemots in their evening wear: silken black-brown heads set apart from starched-white breasts by their sweetheart necklines…

Columns on raven culls and mountain hares are coming soon.

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Doctors hurry to join NHS gold rush

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The NHS will undergo one of the most radical shake-ups in its history this week, devised to give GPs new powers on the front line and liberate the NHS from political control.

Under the controversial 2012 Health and Social Care Bill, clinical commissioning groups will control a £65bn annual budget — more than two-thirds of the total NHS budget.

The new bodies will be responsible for designing and commissioning local health services, including mental health services, emergency care and hospital care.

The reforms are intended to open up the NHS market to greater competition by making it possible for companies, charities and other health providers to bid for work.

Every GP practice in England is affiliated to one of the 211 commissioning groups, whose boards are made up of GPs, at least one nurse, a hospital doctor and two or more lay members.

I worked on this investigation at the Sunday Times which revealed a number of board members on the new commissioning boards to already be benefitting from the changes – in one case, a clinical commissioning group has awarded a £150,000 deal to a company created by its chairman.

It was the front page ‘splash’ on Sunday – the day before the clinical commissioning groups went live.

Full text can be found here on the website, or after the fold.

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