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.
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.
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.
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.
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 →
Seventeen NHS hospitals have dangerously low numbers of nurses – Telegraph – The hospitals, many of them busy district generals, were issued with warnings by the Care Quality Commission after its latest inspections, the body has disclosed.
Each was told it did not have enough staff “to keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs” — the standard every part of the health service must meet.
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”
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 →