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HSJ Health Check

HSJ Health Check

HSJ Health Check: Weekly analysis of the biggest issues in health policy and leadership, from HSJ's expert journalists. The go to place for an independent, informed and immediate take on health and care news.
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Big decisions under cover of covid
This week has seen a flood of coronavirus related news so the podcast this week discusses two other important happenings, that might have been given more attention in normal times. First up, we analyse what the Chancellor’s spending review means for the NHS and the day-to-day running of hospitals, the thorny issue of staff pay and an unfulfilled promise on social care. We also discuss the latest development in the undoing of the 2012 Lansley Reforms and the timeframe for new NHS legislation. Featuring Annabelle Collins, Tom Norton and Dave West.
November 26, 2020
Long-covid care cannot be delayed any longer
With delays to promised long-covid support clinics, warnings from the former health secretary and unions about protecting staff pay, and trusts accused of penalising staff during their recovery - we dig into why its crucial the NHS provides adequate support sooner rather than later for this debilitating condition. We also discuss the enhanced role for the Care Quality Commission over hospital food inspection, following a review of nutrition in the NHS prompted by seven inpatients dying after eating sandwiches. We pick out other recommendations from the report including must-do’s for the board, the creation of “super-kitchens”, and CEOs and patients to eat the same food. Featuring Sharon Brennan, Nick Carding and Annabelle Collins.
November 19, 2020
The job the NHS must not screw up
On the podcast this week the team dig into how the NHS is already mobilising to deliver a covid vaccine and some of the hurdles it could face in this enormous task. The stakes are high for the health service and the nation: Eminent vaccine guru Sir John Bell this week said vaccines could get life back to normal by spring – provided the delivery is not “screwed up”. We also ask if the Test and Trace can really find a firm footing during the lockdown “window”, check in on staff testing, and look at how covid hit the emergency care system in October.
November 12, 2020
Is primary care ready for the second wave?
Recorded in the middle of another dramatic week for the NHS, the latest HSJ Health Check takes stock of whether primary care really has seen long-lasting innovation during the pandemic, and debates if a mood-measuring watch for GPs is the answer to burn-out. We also discuss progress towards the “40 new hospitals” (or thereabouts), and the long-running saga of Chorley emergency department which a local campaign group now wants closed after ten years of campaigning for the opposite. Featuring Nick Carding, Annabelle Collins, Lawrence Dunhill and Jasmine Rapson.
November 5, 2020
Hospitals are still neglecting mental health
“Acute trust boards did not always see mental health care as an integral part of patient care”, said the CQC in a new report on mental health that could have easily gone under the radar. We hear from senior correspondent Rebecca Thomas on why this report matters, if true integration between mental health and acute care are some way off, how the pandemic has further damaged this and whether leaving mental health out of the ’40 new hospitals’ capital announcement was significant. We also share the very latest insights into the impact covid is having on the NHS according to new NHS England data. Also featuring Dave West and Annabelle Collins.
October 29, 2020
The North reaches boiling point
On the podcast this week we try to get to the bottom of the political furore and ensuing confusion engulfing the North West, including a lesson on just how long it takes to heat up Manchester’s Nightingale Hospital. We also discuss what impact the continued rise in covid-19 admissions could have on non-covid NHS work, and look at new data which shows an unusually high number of excess deaths at home in the South East. Does this mean the NHS needs to fundamentally change the way it delivers palliative care? Featuring Sharon Brennan, Annabelle Collins, Lawrence Dunhill and Alison Moore.
October 23, 2020
Why the NHS was not prepared for covid wave two
As covid wave two crashes onto the NHS in the north of England, HSJ Health Check discusses the last minute scrambles to try to protect elective care, and mass-test staff. While covid-19’s second wave appears a little less destructive than the first, it is bringing steeply rising admissions in the areas most affected --- and sparking a somewhat chaotic reaction as health systems try to prepare for it while keeping planned care on track. With the focus in the summer on restoring elective care while the sun shone; government did not fund the NHS’s request for extra covid step-down are; and there’s now also a scramble to start routine testing of asymptomatic staff. Featuring HSJ’s North West and North East correspondents – Lawrence Dunhill and Matt Discombe – with deputy editor Dave West.
October 15, 2020
Has covid changed the NHS forever?
To mark one year of the Health Check podcast we’re joined by special guest Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, who shares his expert insight on the biggest operational, cultural and strategic changes the NHS has gone through during the pandemic. We discuss whether mutual aid and breaking down professional barriers are here to stay and how the growing cancer waiting lists could take the shine off the NHS for the public. Featuring Ben Clover, Annabelle Collins and James Illman.
October 8, 2020
Simon Says
This week the team delves into an exclusive HSJ’s summit interview with NHS chief executive Simon Stevens and weighs up the trade-offs the health service might need to make as covid cases rise, why legislation is still expected next year and why no comment on NHS finances could be significant. We also discuss the latest scandal exposing the abuse of patients at another private hospital for people with learning difficulties and autism. Featuring Rebecca Thomas, Dave West and Annabelle Collins.
October 1, 2020
What a second wave means for workforce
The pressure is rising again on the health service but keeping it running smoothly this winter will rely on its workforce. This week the HSJ Health Check focuses on some of the biggest issues facing NHS staff right now, covering ‘trade-offs’ after the spending review, staff testing chaos, and whether risk assessments are actually having an impact for vulnerable staff. Featuring Annabelle Collins, Nick Kituno, Alison Moore and Rebecca Thomas.
September 23, 2020
A good old-fashioned NHS finance row
Payment by results is being swept away in favour of system funding and block payments, much to the irritation of some NHS hospital chief executives. And is government giving the NHS what it needs to get through covid? The HSJ Health Check team discuss.
September 18, 2020
Is the government sacrificing cancer recovery in favour of Operation Moonshot?
This week on the podcast the HSJ team discuss government plans to invest a reported £100bn to expand covid testing, amid thousands of people being denied potentially life-saving cancer screening during the pandemic's peak - according to new statistics. We ask: Could the £100bn be better spent working through the cancer backlog? We also discuss confidential documents - accidentally published - which reveal one CCG's modelling for a second peak and the results of the latest ‘HSJ100’ power-list.
September 10, 2020
The vast 'known unknowns' facing the NHS this autumn
Autumn will bring pivotal funding decisions in the comprehensive spending review, while the NHS battles to "lock in" covid reforms, seek "near normal" capacity, and anticipate a surge in mental health demand. It must also brace itself for whatever coronavirus will bring next. Five HSJ correspondents explain what the next four months hold across finance, mental health, performance, technology, and the containment or resurgence of coronavirus.
September 3, 2020
Has covid changed hospital inspections forever?
This week our expert team discuss if coronavirus has been the catalyst for permanent reform of the Care Quality Commission, following comments made about the new ‘streamlined’ inspections by its chief executive in an exclusive interview with HSJ. We also discuss other aspects of the health service that may never revert to ‘normal’ and ask whether, in the face of major service reconfiguration, covid has threatened the social contract between patients and the NHS. Featuring James Illman, Annabelle Collins and Matt Discombe.
August 28, 2020
The fate of Public Health England
This week the team discuss the most tumultuous week in Public Health England’s history. Editor Alastair McLellan and correspondents Sharon Brennan and Jack Serle discuss what happened  to the embattled agency and where public health might land.
August 20, 2020
Why the mistake in the People Plan matters
The new NHS People Plan accidentally implied that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer was a disability or long-term condition, sparking outcry. It has been corrected, and some have argued that criticism went too far, amounting to personal criticism of NHS England chief people office Prerana Issar, who has been working to change NHS culture and tackle discrimination. Meanwhile, NHS England has required new action on diversity and health inequalities from local NHS organisations, and a national lead says the NHS should hold its suppliers to account on leadership diversity, too. With HSJ’s Alastair McLellan, Nick Kituno and Dave West.
August 13, 2020
Prepare for a winter of discontent
Is the NHS and local government set on a collision course, due to  changes around care assessments set out in new central guidance this  week? This week the podcast tackles this question and digs into what the  'phase 3' letter really means for the running of the health service.  Featuring Annabelle Collins, Sharon Brennan, James Illman and Ben  Clover. (This episode was re-uploaded on August 10)
August 10, 2020
Hancock’s full hour
Matt Hancock set out his post covid vision for health and care in a long, meandering speech this week – HSJ Health Check dissects key themes including staffing, emergency care, digital, system working and social care. With HSJ’s Dave West, Annabelle Collins, James Illman and Tom Norton.
July 31, 2020
The unfolding scandal at East Kent
This week the team dig into what’s going on in East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust – an organisation which has seen well over its fair share of covid-related deaths since the start of June. We discuss the leadership challenges faced by the trust over many years, its ongoing maternity scandal, and how its persisting battle with coronavirus doesn’t fit with the new national narrative of recovery. Featuring Alison Moore, Annabelle Collins and Alastair Mclellan.
July 24, 2020
A tale of three regions
This week HSJ Health Check conducts a deep dive on the experience of three regions all affected by the virus in different ways and recovering at different rates. Our expert journalists explore the prospects in the West Midlands, the North West and London over the next six months and what the sticking points might be. Featuring Annabelle Collins, Rebecca Thomas, Ben Clover and Lawrence Dunhill.
July 15, 2020
Why the Cumberlege review is being buried
A government-commissioned review this week reported on intense suffering by hundreds of women which was “entirely avoidable, caused and compounded by failings in the health system itself”. This week’s HSJ Health Check looks at how and why these findings by Baroness Julia Cumberlege are being buried by the government and the NHS. With HSJ editor Alastair McLellan, quality and safety correspondent Matt Discombe, and deputy editor Dave West. Send feedback to
July 9, 2020
How covid turned NHS finances on their head
Finance became a dirty word in the NHS as it went into covid crisis mode. Reality is slowly returning – but the world of NHS finances has been turned on its head. This week’s HSJ Health Check contemplates what’s changed, and the landscape for the coming months. With HSJ’s Annabelle Collins, Katherine Hignett, and Dave West.
July 2, 2020
Running the health service in a time of covid
With pubs reopening, why are many NHS services still closed or restricted? Why aren’t all staff being tested to prevent outbreaks? This week’s HSJ Health Check explores the latest dilemmas for those running and working in the NHS as they try to operate health services while controlling covid infections, amid the ongoing pandemic. With HSJ’s Dave West, Annabelle Collins, Nick Carding, and Matt Discombe.
June 25, 2020
HSJ Health Check special: Out of Adversity... Rapid change, NHS & Industry working together
This HSJ Podcast explores the changing relationship between the life sciences industry and the NHS. Forged by the covid crisis, protocols have been set aside and companies have worked with regulatory bodies to accelerate clinical trials and deliver equipment to the NHS front line. The panel reflects on events of the past few months and looks towards the future and with hope of a new style of working together. HSJ editor Alastair McLellan talks to Hugo Breda, UK & Ireland Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson, Dr Rav Seeruthun, Medical Director, Roche UK, and Chris Hopson, Chief Executive at NHS Providers, about the accelerated pace of change across industry and the NHS. They’ll share insights on: · how previously transactional relationships are evolving into value-based partnerships, based on greater levels of openness and transparency · the potential to continue the speed and adoption of innovation · working together to support the reduction in the backlog of elective waiting lists · where they see the real opportunities for the future
June 25, 2020
ICS' role in the recovery
The week’s podcast explores whether system integration will become central to how the NHS recovers and resets after covid. It explores plans to create system waiting lists, new legislative proposals and asks where staffing and social care fits into these agendas. It is brought to you by senior correspondents, Sharon Brennan and Annabelle Collins and bureau chief Lawrence Dunhill.
June 18, 2020
What will the next six months bring for the NHS?
The NHS has gone through an enormous reconfiguration in response to the covid-19 pandemic, but as the health service moves into ‘phase three’, what happens next? HSJ’s editor Alastair Mclellan and senior correspondents Annabelle Collins and Nick Carding discuss.
June 11, 2020
The vanishing BAME review
What became of major chunks of the national review into why people with a BAME background have seen a greater death rate from covid-19 – which were written, then disappeared? Plus, June’s new look target for coronavirus testing, and what NHS capacity will be left with arduous infection control in place? This week with HSJ’s Dave West, Ben Clover, Nick Carding and Alison Moore. Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comwith feedback.
June 4, 2020
Under the radar: What are we missing while coronavirus dominates?
With the focus fixed firmly on coronavirus, there are important and urgent issues in healthcare going under the radar. This week four of HSJ’s expert journalists share the vital developments they think are going unnoticed – from the financial situation in mental health trusts, to problems still being caused by tax changes on medical consultants’ pensions. With Dave West, Annabelle Collins, Rebecca Thomas and Matt Discombe.
May 28, 2020
Is ‘move fast and break things’ working for NHS X?
This week our tech reporting team Jasmine Rapson and Nick Carding, along with Dave West and Annabelle Collins, discuss leaked NHSX emails that revealed concerns the Department of Health and Social Care’s tech division is damaging its reputation with “non-compliant” tech. We consider how the covid-19 pandemic has seen some hasty technology procurements, and whether the way patients access healthcare is changing for good. We also discuss how the pandemic has affected international recruitment & whether critical care capacity is still under strain.
May 21, 2020
How the NHS performed during the peak
This week HSJ Health Check digs into the latest NHS performance data, revealing how coronavirus affected normal services – taking the weight off emergency departments, but adding millions to the waiting list. We also discuss the need for scrutiny of how covid-19 is affecting people with mental health, learning disabilities and autism, the covid testing “black hole”, and why pressure is staying higher in the north of England. Featuring Dave West, Ben Clover, Annabelle Collins and Rebecca Thomas
May 14, 2020
Testing, tracing and mortality
On this week’s HSJ Health Check podcast we discuss where England’s covid-19 response on three key fronts. With the government poised to announce some relaxation of lockdown measures bureau chief Ben Clover and three HSJ colleagues look at the testing drive, the new contact tracing app and trends in mortality. After the government achieved its testing target by fiddling the rules, Nicholas Carding takes us through where the service stands on testing now and what to expect this month. As the Isle of Wight becomes the laboratory for testing the new contact tracing programme on mobile phones, which the government will soon be encouraging everyone to use, technology reporter Jasmine Rapson brings us up to date with the controversies and use of the app. Jack Serle has been tracking trends in mortality since the government started producing data on covid-19 deaths. On this podcast he discusses the trends and highlights the settings and regions that may not yet have peaked.
May 7, 2020
A covid-linked syndrome may be emerging in children
On this week’s HSJ Health Check podcast we discuss  warnings over a possible covid-linked condition in children, and Sir  Simon Steven’s new guidance on the next phase of the response for the  NHS. Children’s intensive care doctors have observed a small but  growing number of cases, and issued warnings to try to ensure cases are  not dismissed. Matt Hancock has ordered further investigation of the  issue and said he is “very worried”. We also discuss the latest  guidance from the NHS England chief executive on how the health service  will try to return more normal services in the next six weeks – yet  having to continue dealing with the outbreak; and how the protective  equipment shortage will limit what can be done. Featuring Annabelle Collins, Katherine Hignett, James Illman and Dave West.
April 30, 2020
After the peak - recovery, restoration, reform
For much of the country, coronavirus has peaked. It came quicker than expected, but the virus is not going away anytime soon – and NHS leaders will have to rebuild their services around it in a new reality. This week’s HSJ Health Check podcast considers the dilemmas of the next few weeks and months, such as how to resume elective care, use of the new Nightingale hospitals, and addressing the damage for those who have missed out on emergency care and support. Featuring Sharon Brennan, Nicholas Carding, Rebecca Thomas, and Dave West. Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comwith feedback.
April 23, 2020
HSJ Health Check special: The NHS’s legal risk over covid-19
This HSJ Health Check podcast special explores the legal rules and risks for the NHS as it tackles coronavirus. HSJ senior correspondent Sharon Brennan speaks to lawyers Francesca Burfield and Max Duddles — who work for legal training and information specialists Bond Solon —– about the major implications of the covid-19 response in the health and care system; and the government’s sweeping legal changes. They predict there will be widespread legal challenges to NHS providers and commissioners over their actions during the crisis, and recommend recording details of decisions which are taken.
April 20, 2020
Empty beds, death numbers, and non-covid care
Our newest episode covers the latest in the NHS’ response to the coronavirus pandemic, including spare beds, controversial death statistics, and what’s happening to ‘normal’ care.
April 16, 2020
Braced for coronavirus peak pressure
Coronavirus continues to dominate the lives of healthcare leaders and policymakers, and this week’s HSJ Health Check examines the outlook for pressure on the NHS, the tech response, and the health toll of covid-19’s collateral damage. Deputy editor Dave West is joined by bureau chief James Illman and correspondents Jasmine Rapson and Jack Serle. Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comwith feedback or queries.
April 9, 2020
Coronavirus crisis grips the NHS
As dealing with coronavirus grips the NHS, we discuss three of the central challenges: kit – including PPE and ventilation equipment; staffing – including PPE and conflicting advice; and the impact on patients who do not have covid-19. With HSJ’s Annabelle Collins, Sharon Brennan, Dave West and Ben Clover. Warning: Please forgive some sound drop-outs due to technical problems with remote recording.
April 2, 2020
Covid-19 hits London
The HSJ news team breaks down this week’s essential coronavirus coverage, including warnings from leaders that ICU beds will run out in four days, the transformation of the excel centre into a new hospital and how ICU staffing ratios are being diluted to deal with the surge in patient numbers. We also delve deeper into our chief executive survey. Featuring James Illman, Lawrencce Dunhill, Annabelle Collins and Rebecca Thomas.
March 25, 2020
The great coronavirus reconfiguration
With a coronavirus pandemic declared by WHO and Boris Johnson describing this as the biggest public health challenge in a generation, the HSJ Health Check podcast gets under the skin of the issue. We ask, what does the reconfiguration suggested by the chief medical issue involve and what does this mean for the NHS and patients? Annabelle Collins, Dave West, James Illman and Tom Norton also discuss the outcome of Wednesday’s budget.
March 13, 2020
What next for the A&E four-hour target?
With the national targets review drawing to a close, what is going to happen to the totemic four-hour A&E waiting target? This week’s HSJ Health Check considers the latest developments and next steps in the high-stakes process of reform. On coronavirus covid-19, we consider the latest evidence about the impact on the NHS – including the knock-on effect for major policy decisions, and the fallout for NHS finances. On the finances, we also discuss our recent exclusive interview with the new head of the National Audit Office, in which he painted a damning picture of recent years’ financial management; and look at the current picture of NHS financial health. With bureau chiefs James Illman and Lawrence Dunhill, and senior correspondent Sharon Brennan. Got feedback? Contact @davewwest on Twitter or
March 5, 2020
Are the government’s priorities in order?
This week HSJ Health Check examines the latest developments on the government’s “40 new hospitals” election promise, particularly the brand new £20bn construction framework through which this ambitious target would be taken forward. We also turn our attention to another of this government’s declared health priorities – prevention – including Sir Michael Marmot’s latest findings; and deputy editor Dave West’s dossier on how evidence that life expectancy and mortality rates are faltering go back eight years. Also featuring Annabelle Collins, Nick Carding and Jack Serle.
February 28, 2020
The ups and downs from the new NHS staff survey
The annual staff survey has been published and this week our expert team of journalists Sharon Brennan, Rebecca Thomas, Annabelle Collins and Nick Carding dig into some of the troubling findings on rising violence and discrimination in the NHS. We also discuss the health secretary’s new proposals to bar care to abusive patients also how the ‘Rooney rule’ could play a part in health policy. Also: Nick Carding takes us through his latest exclusive tech story, this time about how the NHS could soon breach patient data sharing rules.
February 20, 2020
Has NHS England got too much power?
The government is looking to curb NHS England’s powers but on this week deputy editor Dave West has warned against giving more power to ministers. Here we discuss possible solutions to this very complex reorganisation.  Also – we dissect the hard-fought new GP contract and why primary care cuts in Birmingham could adversely affect minority ethnic patients. Featuring senior correspondent Annabelle Collins, deputy editor Dave West and correspondents Jack Serle and Katie Hignett.
February 14, 2020
Six home truths from an outgoing national director
The links between hospitals and social care have got worse not better, poor health services are still being protected and preserved, and quality improvement has been cut. These are among the hard-hitting messages from the outgoing national clinical director for stroke services, Tony Rudd. In this HSJ Health Check special, Professor Rudd – who previously oversaw the move to hyper-acute stroke services in London, where he was a long-serving consultant – shares six hard-hitting reflections and suggestions from his time at the centre of service reform. His observations include: There’s no evidence of improvement in the link between hospitals and care services; The NHS has failed to shift spending – and research – away from acute care; Community hospitals should be closed to invest elsewhere; Businesses would fail if they copied the NHS's cuts to quality improvement and clinical data; and The NHS has too much local decision making.
February 12, 2020
Care quality at a crossroads
The inquiry on rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, West Suffolk Hospital dropping two ratings; and staff trouble at the Care Quality Commission. We discuss care quality dilemmas past and present on this week's HSJ Health Check podcast. Plus - the commissioning landscape from April, now final merger plans are in. This week HSJ deputy editor Dave West is joined by editor Alastair McLellan, and senior correspondents Sharon Brennan and Annabelle Collins.
February 7, 2020
What’s in the new NHS planning guidance?
The NHS’s marching orders for 2020-21 have been published, including some big changes to funding rules, and confirming the top priorities from Skipton House. In this HSJ Health Check our expert journalists give a laserlike analysis of the new operational planning guidance, covering: Finance rules, targets and performance, learning disabilities, workforce, integration and system working. Featuring deputy editor Dave West, bureau chief Lawrence Dunhill, senior correspondent for workforce Annabelle Collins, and senior correspondent for mental health Rebecca Thomas. Comments and suggestions to
January 31, 2020
Digital twins: Babylon does integration and an ICS leadership exclusive
Integrated care systems, digital health and growing the workforce – all are covered in this week’s HSJ Health Check. There’s been a big shift in integrated care system leadership – HSJ integration correspondent Sharon Brennan reveals the top line findings exclusively for the podcast. Jasmine Rapson, our digital services correspondent, discusses Babylon Health’s new deal with an NHS trust to build “digital-first integrated care”, including the chance to meet your “digital twin”. And workforce correspondent Annabelle Collins on the next steps for international recruitment and the outlook for funding the NHS People Plan. Hosted by HSJ deputy editor Dave West. Got feedback or something you would like us to discuss on HSJ Health Check? Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comor @davewwest
January 23, 2020
Off target: The four-hour standard and how long waits do harm
This week we talk waiting. The health secretary and NHS England run into problems with their moves to scrap the four-hour emergency department target – what are the concerns, and what’s the point of ditching it? On the planned care waiting list – NHSE confirmed it has spent millions sending some patients to private providers this winter; and major long-term harm has been revealed from delays to ophthalmology follow-up checks. How will the new government approach these major performance problems in hospital services? Got feedback or something you would like us to discuss on HSJ Health Check? Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comor @davewwest.
January 17, 2020
A&E, sexual assault on mental health wards and the future of primary care.
HSJ bureau chief Ben Clover talks to correspondents, Rebecca Thomas, Jack Serle and James Illman. The team cover exclusive figures on the prevalence of sexual assault in mental health settings, the A&E crisis and what is happening with PCNs – part of the big plan for overhauling primary care.
January 10, 2020
Why the 2020s are (a bit) better than the 2010s
In a podcast exclusive, HSJ editor Alastair McLellan reveals the 10 things which were most important to NHS policy and leadership in the 2010s. And why can health service leaders look forward to the next few years with a bit more hope? We explore this – and the big issues facing the NHS in 2020 – in this new year’s HSJ Health Check. Including the NHS People Plan, new NHS legislation, capital funding, and Simon Stevens staying a little longer. Got feedback or something you would like us to discuss? Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comor @davewwest.
January 3, 2020
What 2020 has in store: Tech, mental health and workforce
HSJ Health Check this week gazes into the crystal ball for predictions for 2020, focusing on three of the biggest issues in 2019: Tech, mental health, and staffing.  Featuring Dave West, Rebecca Thomas, Annabelle Collins and Nick Carding.
December 19, 2019
What a Conservative majority means for the NHS
The general election results are in, and on this week’s HSJ Health Check the team gives our early analysis of what the Conservative majority government could mean for health and care policy and funding. Plus – the immediate issues on the NHS’s plate now the voting is out the way – including winter, Brexit, the NHS People Plan, and preparing for 2020-21. Featuring HSJ deputy editor Dave West, senior correspondent James Illman, and correspondent Annabelle Collins.
December 13, 2019
When noro and flu visit early
Listen to the HSJ Health Check podcast — this week we cover the national workforce modelling as revealed by HSJ, norovirus and the flu turn up early, and a Midlands trust lands an “outstanding” rating. The latest episode features HSJ deputy editor Dave West, bureau chief for performance and efficiency Ben Clover, senior correspondent for performance and Brexit James Illman, and workforce correspondent Annabelle Collins. We discuss: What do we learn from      the leaked national nursing workforce modelling revealed this week by      Annabelle? How’s winter shaping up      for the NHS, and vice versa? What’s unusual about      South Warwickshire Foundation Trust’s new “outstanding” rating? Got feedback or something you would like us to discuss? Contact dave.west@wilmingtonhealthcare.comor @davewwest.
December 6, 2019
Have the politicians forgotten mental health?
This week’s HSJ Health Check is brought to you from the HSJ Mental Health Summit with special guests Sean Duggan, of the NHS Confederation, and Matthew Trainer – Oxleas Foundation Trust chief – joining HSJ correspondents Annabelle Collins and Rebecca Thomas. We discuss whether the politicians still care about mental health, given its low profile in the election campaign so far, and other top issues in the sector at the moment including whether more beds are really the answer.
November 29, 2019
Election manifesto special
The political parties’ election manifestos are out, with lots to say about what they would do for health and social care. In this HSJ Health Check manifesto special, the HSJ team examines proposals from the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – looking across the big themes of funding, workforce and reform. Taking part are HSJ editor Alastair McLellan, integration correspondent Sharon Brennan, and bureau chief for efficiency and performance Ben Clover.
November 25, 2019
Pensions crisis latest
Whatever has happened to the trailed solution to the NHS pensions crisis? And what are the long-term consequences of doctors now discovering a work-life balance?  In other news, we discuss the Shrewsbury and Telford maternity care scandal, and the curious departure of an ex-private sector finance director from a long-strained London hospital trust. Featuring HSJ deputy editor Dave West, workforce correspondent Annabelle Collins, bureau chief for finance and policy Lawrence Dunhill, and mental health correspondent Rebecca Thomas.   
November 21, 2019
‘Sane’ Labour’s plans for the NHS
This week’s HSJ Health Check discusses Labour’s big NHS announcements – and what they say about how it would manage the service. Plus the decision of Greater Manchester’s “devo” health and care chief to quit. With HSJ editor Alastair McLellan, deputy editor Dave West, correspondent Annabelle Collins, and bureau chief Lawrence Dunhill.
November 14, 2019
The Pauline Philip letter – trusts told to do whatever it takes
This week’s HSJ Health Check takes in the letter sent to the provider sector telling trusts to take urgent steps to counteract the pensions crisis and its disastrous impact on services. Plus, where we are on dropping the A&E target and an analysis of the politics of workfore shortages
November 8, 2019
What the election means for the NHS
The latest episode features HSJ bureau chief Ben Clover, editor Alastair McLellan, senior correspondent James Illman, and correspondent Sharon Brennan. We discuss what we know and don’t know about how the forthcoming general election - called this week by Parliament - will affect the NHS.  This podcast is available every Friday morning here and across the major platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and others. Got feedback or something you would like us to discuss? Contact or @davewwest.
November 1, 2019
Brexit and the NHS's new billions
What would the prime minister's proposed Brexit deal mean for the NHS? And are the service and its patients beginning to feel the benefit of the start of the government's £20.5bn extra funding? We explain in the HSJ Health Check podcast, episode 2. This  week we feature HSJ deputy editor Dave West, bureau chief for  performance and efficiency Ben Clover, senior correspondent for  performance and Brexit James Illman, and workforce correspondent  Annabelle Collins. Each week HSJ Health Check will gather a cast from  our team of expert journalists, to explain and debate the most  important news issues right now in NHS policy and leadership. The  podcast will be available on Friday mornings on the website,  and across the major platforms including Spotify, iTunes, and Android  applications.
October 25, 2019
HSJ Health Check: Episode One
Listen to the first HSJ Health Check podcast – in which we debate care quality in mental health and learning disability hospitals, what defines success for NHS chief executives, and NHS legislation proposals. This pilot episode features HSJ deputy editor Dave West, bureau chief for performance and efficiency Ben Clover, and mental health correspondent Rebecca Thomas. Each week HSJ Health Check will gather a cast from our team of expert journalists, to explain and debate the most important news issues right now in NHS policy and leadership. The podcast will be available on Friday mornings on the website, and across the major platforms including Spotify, iTunes, and Android applications. We are expecting this first episode will take a few extra days to reach those podcast apps. Feedback to @davewwest or
October 18, 2019