Now that’s what you call a Christmas present: Met detective donates kidney to sister




Tristan Hunter and sister Amy Hennessey after the kidney swap operation

A Metropolitan police officer today told how he gave the gift of life to his sister just in time for Christmas.

Tristan Hunter, 32, donated a kidney to sibling Amy Hennessey, 38 – with the organ swap taking place four months before he is due to become a father for the first time.

He agreed to become a “live donor” after seeing how his primary teacher sister was growing increasingly unwell, with her kidneys down to 6-8 per cent effectiveness. Her kidneys were damaged in childhood and she was on the verge of requiring dialysis.

Mr Hunter, a CID officer, told the Standard: “I had a bit of time to think about it, but once I made my mind up I was sure. It was after I tested positive [as a matching donor] and no-one else was coming forward for Amy. It wasn’t like a really easy decision to make but I’m really glad I have done it now.”

Their story is being told today by the Royal Free hospital, Hampstead, when it posts details on Twitter of the nine-hour double operation in “real time”.


The operation took place last month and both brother and sister are recovering well. They agreed to tell their story to raise awareness of the shortage of organ donors as part of the #YesIDonate campaign.

Mr Hunter, from Swanley, Kent, and his wife Jenny are expecting their first child in March. The operation was brought forward to fit in with his availability. He is due to return to work in the New Year, six weeks after the operation.

“I didn’t want to be really ill when she was seven months’ pregnant,” he said. “The timing was really important to me. She is due in March. If I’m better by Christmas, that is fine by me.

“It’s all gone as well as could be expected so the whole family is really pleased. We can all enjoy a great Christmas together.”


Tristan and Amy as children

Mrs Hennessey, from Enfield, said she expected a Christmas reunion at their parents’ home in Coventry to be “quite emotional”.

She said: “I was just completely overwhelmed. I can’t believe he would do it. It was just an amazing thing. He has given me a new lease of life. I am going to have to get him something really special for Christmas in return.”

Blood and DNA tests found Mr Hunter to be a 100 per cent match for his sister. An aunt also offered to donate a kidney but she was only a 50 per cent match.

Mrs Hennessey suffered reflux as a baby, which badly damaged her kidneys. Her twin boys Freddie and Alfie, now 10, had to be born at 29 weeks when she suffered renal failure.

Consultant transplant surgeon Colin Forman used a keyhole procedure to remove Mr Hunter’s kidney. The organ was taken out via an incision under the tummy button 90 minutes later.

It was then cleaned and prepared on ice by fellow consultant transplant surgeon Bimbi Fernando. He began operating on Mrs Hennessey an hour later. The kidney was “reanimated” with her blood after two hours and the procedure was completed in under four hours.

The Royal Free performs about 120 kidney transplants a year. Mr Fernando said: “We are desperately short of organ donors. Three people per day are dying on the UK transplant list, of all kinds of organ failure. It’s essential we open our donor pool, for both deceased donors as well as live donors.

“If you know someone who needs an organ… I would urge you to think about being an organ donor. It will have an impact not only on the recipient’s life but, if you are close to them, it will also impact on your life as well positively.”

Emergency crews sent to 6,000 drunk Londoners at Christmas – delaying care for injured children and pensioners



Children with broken limbs and elderly people who had injured themselves falling had to wait up to 30 minutes for an ambulance because crews were busy dealing with thousands of Christmas drunks.

London Ambulance Service today revealed the impact of the 6,244 alcohol-related incidents it attended last December as it urged revellers not go to extremes over the party season.

A social media campaign showed how the 1,502 calls to unconscious drunks “trumped” 999 calls from injured children, elderly fallers and some car-crash victims and meant they got a faster response.

Crews arrived in seven minutes to people who had lost consciousness due to drinking but took on average 23 minutes to reach a child with a fracture or suspected fracture and 31 minutes to get to a pensioner who had fallen.

With the festive season expected to get underway tonight ahead of the busiest night of the year for emergency services next Friday, LAS chiefs sent out the message that “getting drunk is not a game”.


The LAS receives about 5,000 calls a day, an unprecedented level of demand that forces emergency dispatchers to prioritise those believed to be most at risk.

Alcohol-related calls accounted for seven per cent of all LAS responses last December, were the most common reason for help being summoned for people aged 21 to 30 and cost the LAS at least £1.25 million to deal with.

Priority is given to patients unconscious and not breathing – even if they have simply passed out through excessive drinking. Crews have to reach “category A” patients within eight minutes.

Dr Fenella Wrigley, medical director at LAS, said: “Every ambulance crew responding to someone who has simply had too much to drink, is an ambulance crew not responding to an ill or injured person who needs them.

“Patients reported to be collapsed and unconscious trigger the fastest ambulance response. It’s not possible to tell over the phone whether they have a serious illness or injury, or have simply had too much to drink, so we have to prioritise them immediately.

“Meanwhile, other patients such as a child with a broken arm, an uninjured elderly faller or someone involved in a road traffic collision will wait longer for an ambulance.

“We want Londoners to have a great time during this party season but, we also need them to look after themselves and their friends. By eating a meal before they go out, drinking responsibly and taking care of themselves, they can make sure our ambulance crews are free to respond to other incidents.”

Uphill battle for London Ambulance Service to escape ‘special measures’ as chief executive quits



London Ambulance Service’s attempts to get out of special measures were today dealt a blow when its chief executive announced she was quitting.

Dr Fionna Moore, 66, a widely-respected medic who is credited with helping to improve staff morale, is to retire at the end of the year.


The LAS has faced unprecedented demand – about 5,000 999 calls a day – at a time of staff shortages, meaning it has consistently failed to hit response times. It was placed in special measures a year ago after a critical report by the NHS watchdog, the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC regards “leadership” as a priority when assessing whether an organisation is able to put in place the changes required to improve. Inspectors are due to return in February. LAS chiefs have been warned to “pick up the pace” of improvement if they wish to emerge from the lowest category.

Dr Moore became interim chief executive in January 2015, following the departure of Ann Radmore. She treated patients at the Southall and Paddington train crashes and was London’s first trauma director.

She plans to work part-time, performing clinical shifts with LAS and London’s Air Ambulance and working in emergency medicine three days a week.

Dr Moore said: “I took on the chief executive role intending to do it for two years, to stabilise the service at what was a challenging time. I always wanted time at the end of my career to step-back from management responsibilities and focus on my first passion, the clinical care of patients.”

Dr Moore was appointed to the chief executive’s post after an unprecedented campaign in her favour from staff.

LAS chairman Heather Lawrence said: “Her leadership has helped steer the service through a challenging period and in the last two years she has overseen one of the biggest recruitment drives in NHS history, the development of the advanced paramedic practitioners programme, an improved fleet and focused on the personal development and recognition for everyone who works for the service.”

Ealing and Charing Cross to become ‘local hospitals’ as St Mary’s fears for future of major trauma centre


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Health chiefs today published plans for a £500m shake-up of care that will eventually see two hospitals, including one of the most famous in London, downgraded to “local” status.

NHS officials in North-West London want to remove critical care, blue-light ambulances and potentially all surgery from Ealing hospital. A second phase of changes would see Charing Cross, in Fulham, also become a “local hospital” to help save £1.1 billion over the next decade.


The proposals, which involve expanding Northwick Park, West Middlesex and Hillingdon hospitals, have had to be split in two because of uncertainty around the redevelopment of St Mary’s hospital (above) due to Irvine Sellar’s adjacent “Paddington Cube” development.

This means that the plan is to downgrade Ealing – which has already lost its maternity and paediatric departments – by 2022, with no changes starting at Charing Cross until at least 2021.

Westminster council’s planning committee is due to consider the cube application tonight. Labour councillors have called for them to be rejected after Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust, which runs St Mary’s and Charing Cross, and the London Ambulance Service warned proposed road closures could make ambulance access to St Mary’s “unsafe” and would threaten the viability of its major trauma centre (see excerpt from planning documents below).


UPDATE DECEMBER 7: Westminster council last night granted planning permission for the Paddington Cube after an 11th hour deal to guarantee ambulance access to St Mary’s. See here for the Evening Standard story:

Today’s proposals, for which NHS approval and Government funding is being sought, are part of the sustainability and transformation plan for the eight nowth-west London boroughs from Westminster to Hillingdon. It is thought to be one of the first STPs in the country to reach the funding stage. They build on the controversial Shaping a Healthier Future centralisation in north-west London.

A draft business case proposes investing £300m in refurbished hospital sites, £140 million on “out of hospital hubs” – which will include GPs and community and mental health services – and £69m in GP surgeries. Urgent Care Centres would be retained at all hospitals that currently have an A&E.


The report said: “In keeping with the Secretary of State’s explicit request, Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals will continue to offer an A&E service although it may be in a different shape or size from that currently offered.”


Coverage of the story in the Evening Standard

A further £314 million would be required to make changes at Charing Cross, which are being fiercely resisted by Hammersmith and Fulham council. Update: Ealing councillors say they are opposed to the changes proposed for Ealing hospital. One health source said: “We are definitely intending to deliver the model of care at Charing Cross as well.”

The aim of the changes is for more people to be cared for at home, and to increase the number able to die at home rather than in hospital. GPs will be told to prescribe more statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes.

Health chiefs say that earlier changes, which saw the closure of the A&Es at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith hospitals, helped to improve community care – resulting in fewer patients having to be admitted to a hospital bed.

Roll of honour: the Croydon hospital staff who helped treat the tram crash victims



Last week I visited Croydon hospital to meet about 60 of the staff who were involved in the emergency response to the Croydon tram crash last month that resulted in the death of seven passengers.

My story was published in the Evening Standard yesterday and was shared more than 3,000 times in the first 24 hours. Click here to read the story:

Many more staff who were involved on the day were unable to attend the photocall. Here is a list of those known to have helped:

Dr Kathryn Channing, lead consultant, emergency department
Rev Andy Dovey, ecumenical chaplain
Trevane Wallbank, chaplaincy
Martha Noah, senior social worker
Asta Uleviciene, administrative supervisor
Robyn Jenkins, acute oncology service
Dr Nicola Beech, head of nursing for cancer
Sue Pringle, superintendent manager
Julie Pullen, clinic co-ordinator
Jessica Davis, radiographer
Cynthia Walters, radiographer, superintendent in A&E X-ray
Emma McBride, radiographer
Linda Orth, A&E liaison
Aisling Vaugh, operational manager
Christine Murphy, admin manager
Trish Howell, administrator
Valerie Moy, ward clerk
Shelley Biles, emergency service clerk
Nigel Day, surgeon
Susan Moonasar, emergency services clerk
Sarah McLaggan, paediatric emergency department matron
Dr Reza Motazed, acute medical consultant
Dr Ashok Iyer, acute medical consultant
Alison Smith, deputy chief operating officer
Pam Stephens, head of nursing 24/7 team
Becky Eldridge, emergency department senior paediatric sister
Chanrika Ramnaggessur, porter
Novlett Brown, theatre healthcare assistant
Victoria Slayford, paediatric sister
Karen Lewis, theatre nurse
Jescelyn Villamor, anaesthetic nurse
Joicy Joseph, theatre practitioner
Jijeesh Marotikunnath vija, staff nurse
Declan O’Gorman, operating department orderly
Dominique Maskey, matron
Dr Simon Wood, consultant intensivist/anaesthetist
Olivia Mulora, theatre nurse
Talitha McDonald, theatre sister
Hayley Amat, switchboard
Carolyn Wright, switchboard
Malcolm Stamp, switchboard
Fanita Owusu, theatres practitioner
Dr Katty Amir-Ansari, consultant anaesthetist
Dr Amy Veena Sangam, anaesthetic registrar
Stella Vig, clinical director
Jeanette Albert, communications officer
Tomasz Duchnowski, porter
Foster Owusu, porter
Vijay Ramsurn, porter
Azeez Bawa, porter
Daniel Martin, porter
Dr Sarah Horne, emergency medicine consultant
Dr Georgina Blanco, A&E registrar
Jolita Zarnani, head of nursing, A&E and UCC
Laura Donnelly, paediatric emergency department nurse
Dr Suhbra Banerjee, emergency department consultant
Clive Thompson, security supervisor
Prince Eshilokun, patient services manager
Anne Kiragu, catering retail manager
Sylvie Moore, control room
Christopher Jones, kitchen manager
Alfonso Sarcone, chef
Daniel Parker, control room administrator
Amanda Moss, head of nursing, critical care surgery
Jacqueline Green, nurse consultant
Mike Hayward, deputy director of nursing

Vehicles to be banned from Bank junction in bid to improve safety after death of cyclist in horror HGV crash


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Lorries, cars and taxis are set to be banned during the day from one of London’s most notorious junctions to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

The City of London Corporation today recommended plans to press ahead with an 18-month trial at Bank from next April following the death of Oxbridge graduate Ying Tao, 26, (below), who was hit by a turning HGV as she cycled to work.


The coroner inquiring into Ms Tao’s death in June 2015 declined to impose a prevention of future deaths order on transport chiefs at the conclusion of her inquest in July because he was aware of the City Corporation’s plans.

Lawyers for Ms Tao’s widower, Jin Chuan Zhou, asked City of London police to reconsider its decision not to prosecute driver Lee Williams. The inquest was told that an audible warning system and one of two side sensors on the 32-tonne truck were broken.

Proposals being put before Corporation members this month would allow only buses and cyclists to use the six-arm junction between 7am-7pm on weekdays. Drivers who ignore the ban would have their numberplate read by roadside camera and be sent a £130 penalty ticket.

City experts predict that the move could cut casualties by 50-60 per cent. A total of 34 cyclists and 31 pedestrians were injured at the junction between 7am-7pm between 2011 to 2015.

Traffic speeds in the area bounded by London Wall, Bishopsgate, Cannon Street and New Change/St Martin le Grande is predicted to be “neutral” or “slightly positive”.

This is because Bank junction is regarded as “extremely inefficient”, with each arm of traffic getting only 96 seconds of “green light” time, leading to lengthy tailbacks.

The City Corporation first proposed the ban a year ago and has been consulting Transport for London and taxi drivers, who wanted to be able to continue to use the junction.

Modelling showed that if taxis were exempted, improvements to 23 the 25 bus routes in the area would be lost and there would be “unaceptable” additional delays to all traffic on Bishopsgate.

The London Cab Ranks Committee wants the City Corporation to conduct a poll of taxi passengers before implementing the trial.

A final decision is expected from the City’s policy and resources committee on December 15.

A City Corporation spokesman said: “Our number one priority is to improve safety and reduce casualties at Bank junction which is why we are proposing this experimental safety scheme.

“Proposing to restrict motor traffic, including taxis, during weekdays at Bank is one we have therefore taken after careful consideration.

“If approved, the experiment could start in April next year. This will be monitored closely with formal public consultation taking place next year. A final decision on whether the scheme is to remain is likely to be taken between 12 and 18 months after the experiment starts.”

The spokesman added: “We will however look to increase the number of taxi ranks in the vicinity of Bank junction so that passengers can still easily hire a taxi.”

2,600 Londoners a week get no emergency response as LAS focuses on patients in greatest medical need


LAS ambulance 2015

Paramedics are not being sent to thousands of 999 calls as London Ambulance Service struggles to cope with a record number of emergencies.

The service today revealed that crews were not being dispatched to about 2,400 patients a week to enable it to target resources on the most seriously ill.

In addition, crews are no longer being routinely sent to police incidents. Instead, officers on the scene are asked if medical back-up is required – saving an ambulance in about half of cases.

The LAS attended 11,322 “category A” incidents such as cardiac arrests and stabbings between November 14-20, the most in its history and 15 per cent more than the same time last year.

Only 66.4 per cent of crews arrived within eight minutes – the NHS target is 70 per cent. This was fractionally better than last year but lower than bosses expected.

Overtime costs are 50 per cent over budget and a recruitment freeze has been imposed for non-operational staff. Private and voluntary ambulance services are being used for 1,000 hours of shifts a week.

Bosses fear demand will soar further into winter. Last month it used “surge purple enhanced” rationing measures on three occasions to handle the crisis, ensuring help was sent to the sickest patients first.

This meant that others, such as elderly people feared injured in a fall, typically wait more than an hour for help. Patients judged not seriously ill enough for an emergency response are told to dial the NHS 111 helpline or given advice over the phone by a paramedic.

LAS director of operations Paul Woodrow said: “So far this year we have attended nearly 1,500 category A incidents every day and an average number of 3,200 incidents overall.

“To help us cope with this unprecedented demand we’ve recruited hundreds more frontline staff and have dozens more ambulance crews treating patients across London – every day.”

The BBC today revealed that crews across the country wasted more than half a milion hours in 2015/16 stuck outside A&Es unable to offload patients. In London, the LAS said it was working with hospitals to minimise delays before crews were able to respond to the next call.

Mr Woodrow said: “We will continue to prioritise our ambulance crews so we get to the most seriously ill or injured patients first.

“Londoners with less serious injuries and illnesses can further help us this winter by calling NHS 111, visiting their GP or pharmacist, or alternatively making their own way to hospital.”

Theft of Christmas toys from children’s hospital ward sparks incredible response from generous Londoners




A children’s hospital charity was today “overwhelmed” by the incredible generosity of Londoners who rushed to help after thieves stole £3,000 of presents for critically ill young patients.

More than £24,000 was raised – include a donation of £3,000 – in less than 24 hours after the Evening Standard yesterday revealed the theft of the gifts and decorations, including a Santa suit, from the paediatric intensive care unit at St Mary’s hospital, Paddington.


LAS paramedic Nigel Flanagan will deliver 100 gifts to St Mary’s next week

Further good news came when London Ambulance Service paramedic Nigel Flanagan said he would be delivering 100 presents to the unit next week to replace those taken.

Many people donating to a crowdfunded appeal set up by the Cosmic charity – Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care – said they had been compelled to act after being distraught to read of the crime. More than 150 boxed gifts, including baby-walkers and cot decorations, were taken from an unused ward between October 3 and November 17. They were to have been used at a carol concert on Monday and a party on December 11.

Cosmic spokeswoman Vicky Rees told the Standard: “We’ve had an amazing response. It’s been brilliant. It just keeps going up. We’ve been completely shocked with the response we have had.

“We always expected there were some kind people out there but it’s been overwhelming. We’ve had people calling in and the [hospital] staff have been rallying behind us. It means we can do even more at Christmas for the children.”

Mr Flanagan, 40, a LAS paramedic for 13 years, organises an annual Christmas collection from colleagues and their family and friends. Last year he distributed 700 Christmas gifts from 16 ambulance stations.

He said he felt “so sad” when he read about the theft and felt compelled to help. “I couldn’t believe it,” he told the Standard. “I have not done that hospital before but it needs to be done, especially with all the presents taken from it. It would be nice to make that wrong right and try to help them out, so children can open presents on that day.”

Mr Flanagan, from Catford, recently moved from Oval to South Croydon ambulance station. “I have been doing this work for five years,” he said.

“I have asked staff and their friends and family to donate presents at this time of year. These presents we then deliver to local hospitals, special needs schools, hospices and social services. They all get a box of Christmas presents. After reading your news yesterday, I have got ambulance stations all dotted around London that have collection boxes and a member of staff working as an ‘elf’.

“I don’t have one near St Mary’s but we are going to get a box and make it up for them and deliver it next week. Hopefully that will go some way to putting smiles back on some children’s faces. I couldn’t believe that someone would take presents from children in a hospital.”


Lorry driver in cyclist death case charged with failing to stop (but not causing death by careless driving)




Cyclist Magda Tadic: a “lovely happy person”

A lorry driver has been charged with failing to stop after a crash that caused the death of a young woman cyclist.

Darren Anderton, 48, will appear in court next month accused of fleeing the scene of a collision that killed 25-year-old cafe worker Magda Tadic in Croydon on May 23.

Ms Tadic, who was Polish and a former student at South Thames College, died at the scene, near The Windmill pub on St James’s Road, from multiple injuries.

She was living in Streatham and working at Caffe Nero. The firm said she was a “very popular and well respected colleague”. Friends described her as a “lovely happy person”.

See here for an Evening Standard report from the time of the collision.

Anderton was initially arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and failing to stop. Prosecutors decided only to charge him on Tuesday with the latter allegation.
He will appear at Croydon magistrates’ court on December 20.

Ms Tadic was the second of eight Londoners killed cycling this year, seven of them in road collisions. Her death is one of three involving HGVs.

How to get NHS good news stories into the papers

Today I was invited to speak at a conference for NHS PR people. The brief was to talk about what it is like to deal with the NHS from a journalist’s perspective. Here’s a summary of what I said:

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak. In the spirit of NHS cost-saving, I did offer to appear in return for a packet of Tunnock’s teacakes, but I’m told that NHS England (London)’s budget didn’t even extend to that.

FIRST SLIDE: here’s one I made earlier (not today, you’ll be relieved to hear.) it’s a story that could now be written on any day of the year.

In next 10 minutes, I’ll give you:

* a recent example of what happens when I asked several trusts for help.

* An indication of who and what gets written about in the Evening Standard.

* And I’ll try to convince you that our unusal deadlines are an opportunity rather than a problem.

Before I start, and to make sure I make it out of the door alive, I’d like to take you to the approach of a former Evening Standard deputy editor. After he called you into his office for what was known by reporters as a “fireside chat” – namely, a telling off  – he’d preface his remarks by saying: “Now, we’re all working very hard.”

So, in recognition that “we’re all working very hard” and that I’m sure that keeping the Evening Standard happy is not often your top priority, I’ll tell you about an unusual thing that happened last week.

I got a usable press release from the Department of Health.

Now, before Georgie chases me all the way back to Walthamstow, I should just say that many of its releases are newsworthy – but unfortunately unusable because they’re timed to suit the nationals rather than our deadlines. I’ll talk more about our deadlines and the problem – or opportunity – they present later.

The press release was about the latest round of funding for clinical research. Eight London trusts were to share £40 million. It was embargoed until 9am on Friday.

What it didn’t contain was any detail of the exciting new projects the money would fund, so just before 11am last Thursday morning I decided to get in touch with the four trusts receiving the larger grants. I called and then emailed through a summary of the release.

This is what happened.

by 1136, Moorfields said: “I’m in touch with our director of research – happy to see if we can arrange a phone call for you. Let me know if you need anything else.” The phone interview happened at 1.45pm and gave me several great examples.

By 1pm, Guy’s and St Thomas’s called back to mention the boost the cash would give to its work preventing the rejection of transplanted organs. A press release including a patient case study arrived at 2.15pm.

At 220pm I filed the story.

At 330pm I got on my bike and cycled home. I should say that I start at 730am, in case you think I was sloping off early.

At 4pm, Imperial emailed to mention its research on vaccines for ebola, malaria and HIV, a study that tested the use of magic mushrooms on people suffering from depression, and various IVF studies. The press officer added a link:

At 6.12pm UCLH responded: “I’m sorry this took so long but we’ve been hard pressed with the ministerial visit this morning and all the people who could actually answer the question were on the visit.”

At 632pm, unprompted, GOSH sent me a release: “Great Ormond Street Hospital wins £3 million extra funding for its Somers Clinical Research Facility centre.”

This is what the story looked like on Friday morning:

It’s for you to judge which teams got it right and which, if any, got it wrong last Thursday. From my perspective, I guess it’s fair to say I was a bit disappointed with Imperial and UCLH. Being sent a web link of previous work is a bit insulting. I know how to use Google. As for UCLH, I’ve been well-disposed to it for some time, particularly so as my daughter was born there. My frustration increased further on Friday evening when I watched the BBC London coverage of the story, which had been filmed at UCLH!

UPDATE November 29: UCLH has since told me that it was asked/required by the Department of Health to organise the ministerial visit and had no involvement in who was invited (the Standard wasn’t invited by the Department of Health, or even alerted to the visit taking place). It said that because of this, it felt unable to discuss the fact the visit was taking place.

I guess you can’t win them all, but it did go to show how certain trusts appear more willing to help themselves to secure coverage than others. I felt like I’d given each of the trusts an open goal in terms of positive publicity, but only two bothered to shoot in time.

Now, what does the Standard cover in terms of health?

To give an example of who or what I’ve written about over the last 12 months, I checked our electronic database and found the following mentions:

In terms of NHS trusts:

St George’s 34

Barts 30

Imperial 30

London Ambulance Service 29

King’s 28

Guy’s and St Thomas’s 24



Moorfields 2

In terms of diseases/areas of healthcare:

A&E 58

Cancer 55

Maternity 24

Trauma 19

Air ambulance 19


In terms of other people or organisations:

Junior doctors 44

Jeremy Hunt 42

Public Health England 21


Yvonne Doyle 7

Anne Rainsberry 2

Over the 12-month period, I wrote:

169 stories that mentioned NHS

29 that mentioned NHS England

24 that mentioned Department of Health.

There are no “no-go areas” in terms of our health coverage, but certain subjects are normally likely to get more space. We have a younger readership than the Mail, Telegraph and Express. As such, and it’s not an absolute rule, but there tends to be less interest in stories about dementia, Alzheimer’s and statins, for example.

A quick word about the Evening Standard and its difficult – or advantageous deadlines.

We have two editions a day – 11am and 1230pm. The first edition’s on the streets around 2pm, the second from about 4pm.

We print 930,000 copies a day, and about 600,000 people a day visit our website, giving us more than two million readers a day.

More people read the paper version of the Standard each day than the number who read the Telegraph and Times combined. Only the Sun, Mail and Metro have bigger paper circulations, and those are nationwide.

Our online audience has grown by almost 50 per cent year on year. However, not everything that appears in the paper ends up online, or vice versa.

To finish, here are a few examples of recent positive stories about the NHS.

There will always be bad news, whether it’s from inquests or NHS statistics or from me simply reading board papers. You can’t stop stories like this appearing:

Bad stories will still get in the paper but there’s a massive opportunity to get good ones in too.

How to contact me:

Twitter: @RossLydall