i Editor's Letter: Health Queries? You Ask the Questions


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The Independent Online


What’s it like to be standing next to the fan when the proverbial hits? We sent i’s correspondent to the NHS watchdog call centre in Newcastle to find out, hours after the public learnt of a cover-up over baby deaths at Furness General Hospital. Callers were distressed, angry, abusive. The operators were sometimes incapable of helping, or forced to act as impromptu counsellors (page 7). “We don’t have the manpower to call everyone back,” explained one.

My mum is a nurse, so I tend to approach the NHS as a critical friend. Cripplingly bureaucratic and wasteful in places, sure, but the majority of its workers are motivated by neither money nor glory. Like other public sector Goliaths it must adapt to the world changing around it – not least the demand for transparency.

With such turbulence ahead, I’m pleased that our Health Editor Jeremy Laurance will kick off a new Monday series for i readers,  You Ask the Questions, where our correspondents will take it in turn to answer your queries. It will work like this: you have until 9am this coming Thursday (27 June) to email any questions for Jeremy to i@independent.co.uk. The best will be answered in i the Monday afterwards (1 July). Brevity helps  – and no pictures of ailments please.

Jeremy has led his field for 20 years and is known for his ability to demolish clinical and political jargon. Please ask what you like. Is sitting the new smoking? Are we too cautious about the sun? What poses the greatest threat to our future health? Is the Health Secretary any good? What’s the most interesting story he’s covered?

We at i thrive on dialogue with our readers, and You Ask the Questions will run every Monday morning. Thanks again for the warm welcome, keep writing, and see you next week.

Twitter.com: @olyduff