Impatient for NHS news and comment? Follow @impatientnhs

There is no good single source of NHS news. National news organisations generally cover the national politics and issues. Local newspapers are often the best source of information on the NHS trusts or boards in their areas, and the same is true of specialist titles on specific subjects. There are also some great NHS bloggers. But you have to work hard to watch them all.

So to help distribute NHS news and commentary, I have set up @ImpatientNHS, which tweets new articles and posts from two dozen specific sources, and hundreds more through Google News. The account is automated using Twitterfeed and Yahoo Pipes, with filtering built up over the last few months so that it rarely tweets anything that does not mention the NHS (the British healthcare service, not the Niagara Health System or Norman High School).

For major NHS news sources and a number of healthcare bloggers, tweets include the publication or blog, the headline, a relevant Twitter account and whether a subscription is required to see the full story. The ‘major’ sources are currently the BBC, ITV, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Times*, Mail, Mirror, Sun, Health Service Journal, E-Health Insider, Government Computing and Economist. Material from other titles appears headed ‘News’, and is from sites tracked by Google News, generally local newspaper and business publication websites.

@ImpatientNHS also tweets posts from the following blogs, listed in no particular order: Behind the Headlines (NHS Choices), Richard Blogger’s NHS Vault, the Patient from Hell (on Guardian Healthcare Network, whose NHS coverage appears along with other Guardian material as @SocietyGuardian), the King’s Fund blog, the Jobbing Doctor, Patient Opinion’s blog, NHS posts on Tony Collins’ Campaign4Change, Medicine Balls (Dr Phil Hammond’s column for Private Eye), Rob Findlay’s NHSgooroo, Annie Cooper’s blog and this one.** Choices do not represent endorsements, although all have something interesting to say about the NHS.

In the case of most of the news publishers and a few of the blogs, @ImpatientNHS aims to tweet only articles or posts that concern the NHS or healthcare. If there’s an RSS feed for articles on the NHS or healthcare, it generally uses that; if there isn’t, articles are usually filtered by mention of ‘NHS’ and a few other related keywords. As a result of the latter, some have only a glancing relevance…


…although apparently the Man City player had seen the NHS Stoptober campaign.

If you have any suggestions for publishers or bloggers that could be added, please email mail [AT] or tweet @samathieson. Otherwise, hope you find @ImpatientNHS useful and interesting.

* Update, 15 December: tweets of new Times articles now include links – thanks @BenWhitelaw for letting me know about the technical fix. Titles which require a subscription for most articles (specifically Health Service Journal and The Times) are marked ‘sub req’d’.

** I have also added Health Policy Insight’s columns from Andy Cowper and Alan Maynard – thanks @PCTCassander.

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