Help! I never follow the news or NHS developments!

Tamsin Dyer

Tamsin Dyer

Senior Writer at Medic Mind

It is great to stay up with current affairs, especially within the medical field, but don’t worry if you haven’t. 

Staying up to date with relevant NHS developments is mainly relevant when it comes to interviews, so here are a few of the things you should have a look out for, with a few suggested topics for you to research so you are up to date for your interview. 

  • NHS staff shortages – if you have tried to make a GP or nurses appointment, you may have noticed the wait times are just getting longer for appointments. This isn’t just limited to GPs and nurses, it is an NHS-wide issue.
  • NHS winter bed crisis – you may know about how detrimental the winter can be to vulnerable people when it comes to their health. A simple cold to an immunocompromised patient, or a patient with lung issues such as emphysema or asthma can be detrimental and leave them hospitalised for several days if not weeks. This paired with the reduced staffing around the holidays and families not wanting to look after their elderly relatives means there’s always a bed crisis in winter, and is very topical as interviews take place during this time.
  • NHS junior doctor contracts – the long hours and little pay of a junior doctor has become common knowledge within the past few years, with marches and strikes that have taken place. If you aren’t aware of these issues then be sure to check them out. After all, if you are successful in applying to medicine, this will affect you once you have graduated. 
  • Organ donation (opt-in and opt-out systems) – you may be aware that in the UK, we currently offer an opt-in system for organ donation, which means you have to actively apply to be an organ donor. But this is all set to change. Come 2020, which isn’t very far away now, the UK is set to operate on an opt-out system, in which we are all automatically enrolled unless we specifically state otherwise. This is already operating in Wales, with great success. There are many discussion topics – what are the advantages of each scheme, will this fix the long waiting list for organ donations?
  • Harold Shipman – Harold Shipman is one of the most infamous serial killers in the UK, a general practitioner who killed over 215 of his patients. As morbid as that sounds, Shipman is the reason that there are certain GMC guidelines that we must adhere too. This particular case opens up the topic of euthanasia. This is a prominent topic you must be aware of, and you should know about the associated laws. 
  • Hadiza Bawa-Gaba – The Bawa-Gaba case came to prominence in 2015 and is still spoken about in the media today. If you aren’t familiar with the case, it is definitely one to read up on as it covers topics such as the NHS staff shortages, lack of communication between team members and returning to work post-maternity leave. With cases such as this and the Shipman case, it is important to know key facts so that you can speak and debate about your views related to the outcome of each case. 

These are just a few of the current affairs within the NHS and hot topics that you should be aware of. There are endless additional topics, but these are a few important ones that we feel you really should know about. 

These articles are relevant at the time of writing, October 2019. We advise conducting your own research to find other, more-recent articles. A good tip is to use BBC Health –

NHS Staff Shortages to read, as it discussed NHS staff from abroad, which is relevant with Brexit looming. 
NHS Winter article is for the winter of 2018. At the time of writing this (summer 2019), this is for the most recent winter in the UK. 
Junior Doctors Contract
The first link from 2016 will explain the topic, and what the argument is over.
The second link is from September 2019, and describes a recent agreement which has been reached. 
Organ Donation 2019 article on an opt-out scheme for organ donation in the UK.
Harold Shipman Shipman is a timeless case. This article explains the case.
Hadiza Bawa-Gaba are 100s of summary articles on this case, so browse around. Although the BBC article is very good. 

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