About Paul Bradshaw

Founder of Help Me Investigate. I'm a visiting professor at City University London's School of Journalism, and run an MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University. I publish the Online Journalism Blog, and am the co-author of the Online Journalism Handbook and Magazine Editing (3rd edition). I have a particular interest in Freedom of Information and data journalism.

Hello and goodbye – HMI Health gets new editors

My name is Alex Plough and for the past few months I’ve been working as the special projects editor of Help Me Investigate Health.

Regular readers will not recognise my name as I’ve been published little on the blog. But behind the scenes I have been picking apart the NHS reforms using Freedom of Information requests and collecting data for a comprehensive register of Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Unfortunately, due to a new job with a news agency I must now step down from this role.

I will be passing on my research to the fantastic group of up and coming investigative journalists behind CCGlatestnews. Continue reading

Hospital food hygiene ratings: how to find them in your area

A version of this post covering schools appears on Help Me Investigate Education.

With food hygiene in the news following the horsemeat scandal, I thought I’d put together a quick guide on getting information about your own local hospitals’ hygiene ratings.

You can download FSA ratings of food hygiene for each local authority. This includes hospitals and other healthcare providers.

However, the downloads are in XML format, so you’ll need to first convert it to a spreadsheet. There are online tools to help you do this and you can also use the free data cleaning tool Google Refine.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to drill down to the hospitals. Continue reading

BBC College of Journalism teams up with Help Me Investigate for health reporting event

We’ve teamed up with the BBC College of Journalism for an event on reporting the new health system that comes into force this year.

Journalists and the new health system‘ is bringing together the people who will be scrutinising the new clinical commissioning system – journalists, bloggers and councillors – with the new players making key decisions.

It will discuss what are likely to be the important issues, as well as providing an opportunity for building new contacts with bodies such as CSUs and CCGs, hyperlocal bloggers and health experts.

The event is taking place at Birmingham’s Margaret Street on March 26. Sign up and get more details at http://reportingccgs.eventbrite.com/

Document: who’s responsible for what in health?

Monitoring health bodies - and interventions

If you want to get an overview of the different parties involved in the new health system and their roles – including some new players as well as old players with new responsibilities – a recent report from the National Quality Board‘s (NQB) is worth a look.

Quality in the Health System (PDF) was published to provide context to the establishment of Quality Surveillance Groups, but alongside the guidance there’s lots of very useful context for those getting to grips with the new system. Continue reading

Get the data: How long can you expect to wait at A&E in the West Midlands?

A longer version of this post can be read in today’s Birmingham Mail. You can find out how to do the same report in your own area here.

If you’re going to have to go to an A&E department in the West Midlands, don’t turn up at 1am – you can expect a long wait.

That’s according to NHS figures which identify that time as being the worst for long waits across the region: the average patient arriving between one and two o’clock in the morning waits for almost three hours. Continue reading

Recipe: what’s the worst time to go to A&E?

Today we publish the first results of a collaboration with the Birmingham Mail: when’s the worst time to go to A&E in the West Midlands? (It’s 1am, by the way).  Or, to give it its print headline: “A&E delays worst in the early hours”.

The story could be repeated in any region. Here’s how you can do it yourself: Continue reading

Links for January 22nd


Uncovered McKinsey report challenged ‘free at point of delivery’ pledge

A report prepared by consultants McKinsey suggests politicians may need to “challenge the principle that the NHS is free at the point of delivery” in order to fund healthcare.

The report explores a number of options based on abandoning that principle including:

  • Patients paying to attend A&E 
  • Patients paying for access to primary care
  • Patients paying for inpatient stays
  • Enforcing tougher eligibility criteria for treatments, “e.g., hip replacements only for the over 80s, social care packages only for the acutely-ill, asking people who need it to buy their own equipment”
  • Means-testing patients
  • Denying “high-cost end of life treatments such as chemotherapy” and other treatments that are “high cost per Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY)” Continue reading