On December 21st 2018, 94-year-old, World War 2 veteran, Reginald Herbert Thompson was taken to hospital after a fall at his home near Leicester. So began a journey which would see him transferred thirteen times, between five different hospitals, in the last ten weeks of his life.
Those who run the NHS claim that recent reforms will revolutionise the way frail patients are cared for. Older people like Reg will be looked after at home - an army of nurses, GP’s and other healthcare professionals working in tandem to provide ever more care in the community. It’s hoped these changes will ease the pressure on scarce hospital beds. But with the health service already straining to fill vacancies, will there really be enough nurses to meet that lofty ambition?
As the NHS struggles to cope with an ageing population, annual winter crises and staff shortages, Tom Wright investigates what Reg Thompson's story tells us about the future of the NHS.
Presenter: Tom Wright
Editor: Andrew Smith
The Spy in Your Pocket
Anti-obesity campaigners in Mexico, human rights advocates in London, and friends of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi all claim they’ve been targeted by surveillance software normally used by law enforcement to track drug-dealers and terrorists.
File on 4 reveals compelling evidence that software is being used to track the work of journalists, activists and lawyers around the world. Paul Kenyon investigates the multi-billion pound ‘lawful surveillance’ industry. Sophisticated software can allow hackers to remotely install spyware on their targets’ phones. This gives them access to everything on the devices – including encrypted messages – and even allows them to control the microphone and camera.
So what are the options for those who are targeted and is there any way to control the development and use of commercially available software?
Presenter: Paul Kenyon
Producer: Joe Kent.
Photo credit; Valery Brozhinsky\Getty
On Whose Authority?
The law says decisions about care for people who can not decide for themselves should be done collaboratively with the person’s best interests always at heart. So why do family members, feeling ignored and even intimidated, often find themselves in open conflict with councils and care providers?
Campaigners say poor training, lack of understanding of the law and shrinking budgets mean too often the legitimate concerns about care for people with learning disabilities, autism or mental health problems are being ignored. Claire Bolderson investigates.
Producer: Rob Cave
Editor: Gail Champion
Photo credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz
A Load of Rubbish
Households in Britain are recycling more than ever, with millions of us dutifully sorting through our rubbish every week in an effort to help save the planet. But when the blue, green and brown bins are taken away, what really happens to our waste?
File on 4 goes digging through Britain’s multi-million pound recycling industry - and discovers it’s a dirty business.
The UK sends more than half its recyclable packaging overseas, selling our sorted plastics and paper to countries which need the raw material and will recycle it. But when File on 4 tracks where shipments are being sent - we discover they can have a devastating effect on the developing communities where they end up.
Reporter: Jane Deith
Producer: Mick Tucker
Development Producer: Oliver Newlan
Researcher: Deniz Kose
Editor: Gail Champion
At Risk? Children in Residential Care
Children's homes offer sanctuary to young people whose childhoods have been disrupted by abuse, neglect or family breakdown.
More than 2,200 homes are spread across the country providing young people the opportunity to get their lives back on track.
For many, a residential home provides much needed stability and care when there had previously been none, and a vital opportunity to experience a settled childhood.
But with pressure on the children's social care sector mounting, File on 4 investigates whether some homes are failing to give young people the second chance they need. New research suggests concerning levels of police involvement in the lives of care home residents, and growing concerns about children absconding. Where do they go, and who's looking out for them?
As young people in residential care are particularly susceptible to grooming for sexual abuse and county lines activity, how can care home staff prevent predators from gaining access to them – and when a child is intent on absconding, what options do staff have to keep them safe?
Reporter: Paul Connolly
Producer: Ben Robinson
Editor: Gail Champion
Photo credit: Sam Thomas\Getty