This week I have been working with our medical correspondent Stephen Adams on an investigation into A&E, maternity, paediatric and other ward closures in the NHS.
We analysed every English trust (Scotland and Wales have separate NHS systems) and checked out services for acute care across the board.
The findings are quite shocking. More than twenty A&E wards are threatened with closure or have already closed, and only a slightly smaller number of maternity wards have either closed or may do so when proposals by trusts are completed.
In addition, paediatric heart surgery has been scaled back from ten centres to seven. Centres of excellence like the Royal Brompton in London will no longer be saving children’s lives as the NHS is streamlined and savings are made.
These are called ‘public consultations’, but did we, the British public, really know this was happening to our health service on such a scale?
There is a genuine debate over whether reorganisation of services into larger units with more doctors can benefit patient care – but travel times are a real factor.
A&E and maternity units are services that people can’t hang around for, in the cases of heart attack and stroke victims or mothers giving birth, for example. And with tens more miles to travel, the guarantee of better care at the end of the journey may not be of comfort while patients are in transit.
London is particularly affected by the shakeup, though Manchester has seen many of these changes already to a largely positive response.
Better care, further away, or closer but patchier provision? It would be ideal if the British public didn’t have to choose between the two.
My last four months at the Telegraph have been varied, to say the least.
I interviewed Eric The Eel, quite possibly the slowest (and nicest) Olympic swimmer of all time, over the phone from Equatorial Guinea.
I spent an afternoon with the men taking on “The biggest Beatles job on the planet”, the John, Paul, George and Ringo obsessives behind the Let It Be musical.
Jemima West, the Sorbonne grad who made her name playing a prostitute in Maison Close, and a star in the making to my reckoning, will be in the forthcoming film of the mega-selling teen book series by Cassandra Clare – Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
We talked about Paris, how to tell your parents you’ve just shot an horrific rape scene, and the insanity of some of Maison Close – orgy covered in cake, anyone?
Finally a lot of you were very complimentary about my short survival guide for this year’s Freshers. I wish them luck – it can be a jungle out there.
You can keep up with all of my writing here.
Olympic firsts from 1908-2012
The Telegraph launches the Olympics data and graphics blog today, and I will be doing the bulk of the posts with help from our graphics team and some guest writers and designers.
It’s a great place for those of you who may not be stats obsessives or Olympics fanatics, but who are interested in the social and political aspects of the games as well as split times and wind speeds.
This week we have posts with work from Ciaran Hughes and Paul Bradshaw, and we are working with Visualoop in Brazil as an external partner.
I’ve also got a Pinterest account going so all our graphics can be found in one place.
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Tagged 2012, Daily Telegraph, data, graphics, HMI, infographics, London, Olympics, Olympics 2012, Telegraph, Visualoop