5 live Investigates
BBC | Podcast, ±47 min episodes every 1 week, 4 days
Adrian Goldberg presents an entertaining mix of dirt-digging, debunking, and intriguing interviews revealing unreported issues. Investigative news report from Adrian Goldberg’s BBC Radio 5 live programme, broadcast Sundays at 11am.
The response by emergency services to Wednesday's terror attack in Westminster was widely hailed a success. But how would a town or city outside of the capital cope with a similar attack? Just five months ago Lord Toby Harris published a wide ranging review on London's ability to deal with an attack just like the one that unfolded this week. He talks to 5 live Investigates about how the rest of the country might cope. Also Telegraph political editor Christopher Hope, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth and children's author Steve Voake tell how they found themselves at the heart of Wednesday's atrocities.
Adrian Goldberg presents cutting edge investigative journalism. This week, we look at the dozens of cases of skin cream users who have died since 2010 by accidentally setting themselves on fire. The creams contain paraffin and are used to treat conditions like eczema and psoriasis. But unless clothing and bedding are washed regularly, residue from the creams can build up, making fabrics highly flammable. Hear from one woman whose husband died after setting himself on fire in hospital when he went for a cigarette. The medicines regulator the MHRA has asked manufacturers to include warnings on packaging.Download the podcast at http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live.
There are calls for a national database of taxi drivers after 5 live Investigates discover some drivers are still operating - despite having their licences refused or revoked. Local authorities who are responsible for issuing licences currently don't share information. This means that if a council has refused or revoked a driver's licence, it won't necssarily be picked up by another local authority when that driver applies there. This means that predatory and sometimes dangerous drivers are still able to carry passengers. The Local Government Association and Dame Vera Baird - chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners - are now calling for a national database which they say would protect passengers.
Cases of babies born infected with a bacteria which can kill or leave them with life changing conditions are on the increase - even though they are preventable. In the UK two babies die every month and dozens more are left mentally and physically disabled by Group B Streptococcus - sometimes known as GBS or 'Strep B' - a bacteria which affect something like 500 newborns every year. 5 live Investigates has learned that the number of babies born with the infection increased by 12 per cent between 2011 and 2015. Campaigners who delivered a petition with a quarter of a million signatures earlier this year to the Department of Health, say that a simple test to detect GBS would cost the Health Service just £11 for every pregnant mum. The UK National Screening Committee which advises ministers and the NHS say the current test for 'Strep B' can't tell between between women whose babies will be affected and those who won't. They say that as a result, thousands of women would receive antibiotics during labour with unknown consequences.
Transgender children say they're being denied treatment by the NHS because they've sought help from private doctors. Many have resorted to seeking help outside of the health service because they say waiting lists are too long and there are delays in treatment because of lengthy assessments. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the gender identity service for under 18's - says the wellbeing of young people is their prime concern - but they're not able to provide ongoing clinical supervision for the management of hormone treatments prescribed or accessed outside the service. Referrals to the Tavistock have reached a record high - more than 1,500 in this financial year already. There are currently 1,200 families on the waiting list and it's taking them between six and seven months to get a first appointment. NHS England says funding has been increased to meet demand. They say they continue to work with clinicians at the Tavistock and Portman to increase capacity and reduce waiting times 'as a matter of urgency.'.
Firefighters are being delayed in getting to emergencies because of a computerised dispatching system which regularly crashes and often fails to send the closest fire engine. The system, which is called VISION DS and supplied by the technology company Capita, is used by the UK's busiest fire brigade - London Fire Service, as well as brigades in the South West - Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, Devon and Somerset and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Responding to a Freedom of Information request, London Fire Service has told 5 live Investigates that the system crashed 7 times in 2016 and they logged 195 separate problems. In the South West the system crashed 10 times in 2016 and - in some cases - it was down for several hours. One control room operator has told the programme that when the system has gone down, staff have resorted to using AtoZ maps to identify the nearest fire station to an incident.The system failures are putting lives at risk according to the Fire Brigades Union. No deaths are known to be attributable to the system. Capita says there have been 'very occasional problems.' London Fire Brigade says all the issues raised are being dealt with by the Brigade and Capita.
Prescriptions for antidepressants in England have gone up 7 per cent in the year to September 2016 according to figures seen by 5 live Investigates. 63 and a half million prescriptions were issued for the drugs - up four million on the year before and double the number a decade ago. The evidence shows that users are taking them for longer too. One in four people is now using them for 15 months. 20 years ago that was just eight months. There are also concerns that people are having to wait longer to access 'talking therapies' which can be used as well as or instead of antidepressants. The Department of Health says there's no evidence to suggest the rise in use of antidepressant medicines is linked to waiting times in talking therapies.They say they're exceeding the waiting times standard for this kind of treatment with almost 90% of people seen within 6 weeks.
The NSPCC is calling for an investigation into doorstep charity bag collections after evidence emerged that rogue operators are routinely flouting the law. Millions of pounds are raised each year for charity by private companies who post plastic bags through householders' doors and take away donated items. But 5 Live Investigates has discovered that some firms are illegally collecting without a licence. Others hand over only a fraction of the money they generate - sometimes less than 10 per cent. The Fundraising Regulator says it is looking at tightening up regulations in the sector.
Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) from the sport and recreation sector have increased nearly four-fold in the last four years. In 2012-2013, the number of referrals was 88. In 2015-2016, they had risen to 339 - up 285 per cent. The DBS was unable to say how many of the referrals led to people working in sport and recreation being barred from working with children. A spokesman for the DBS said the protection of children and vulnerable groups was of paramount importance. The figures were released following a BBC Radio 5 live Investigates Freedom of Information request to the DBS after hundreds of victims came forward last year to allege historical abuse in football.
Figures obtained by 5 live Investigates show that the number of ambulance call-outs to prisons in England has increased by nearly 40 per cent in the last three years - with an ambulance being called on average every 45 minutes. 2016 saw the worst disorder in British prisons for two decades. Critics blame overcrowding and staff cuts for an increase in violence between inmates, drug overdoses and suicide attempts. That's leading to more 999 calls - and increased demand for ambulances to ferry sick and injured offenders - and prison officers - to hospital. Justice Secretary Liz Truss has promised to spend £1.4 billion on new prisons and says she'll provide an extra 2,000 prison officers.
Simon Rickards says he will die if he doesn't get treatment for anorexia. He's been on an urgent referral list for an in-patient bed for nearly ten weeks. He says specialist hospital care could save his life. He contacted 5 live Investigates when the programme told the story of 19-year-old Fiona Hollings who is having to be treated for an eating disorder in Glasgow - 400 miles from her family home. She's one of many who've been left isolated from friends and family because of an acute shortage of beds. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder - and after exposing the huge problems women face getting the help they need to combat eating disorders, the programme reveals that men have an even tougher battle.