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The Briefing Room

Podcast The Briefing Room
Podcast The Briefing Room

The Briefing Room


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  • Scotland's drugs problem
    Scotland has the worst figures for drug-related deaths anywhere in Europe. According to National Records for Scotland, 1,330 drug users died in 2021 - a slight improvement, but a death rate per capita which is still 4.8 times higher than England's. Why do so many Scots die from drugs? And what more can be done to prevent it? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: James Cook, BBC Scotland Editor Kirsten Horsburgh, Director of Operations at the Scottish Drugs Forum Andrew McAuley, Glasgow Caledonian University Professor Catriona Matheson, University of Stirling Professor Alex Stevens, University of Kent PHOTO: Campaigning group Faces and Voices of Recovery protesting outside the Scottish Parliament in July 2022. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
  • Adapting to a hotter Britain
    Last week, temperatures in the UK reached a record-breaking 40.3 degrees centigrade. As Britons sweltered in their homes and offices, railway lines buckled, fires broke out in Greater London and the tarmac on Luton Airport runway began to lift. Climate Change scientists now describe this kind of heat as 'the new normal'. How well is Britain set up to cope with extreme weather events? Do we need to start heat-proofing our houses and infrastructure? And does government need to focus more on adapting to climate change? Joining David Aaronovitch are: Mark Maslin, professor of Climatology at University College London Glenn McGregor, professor of Climatology at Durham University Richard Dawson, professor of Engineering at Newcastle University and member of the UK's Climate Change Committee Kathryn Brown, former head of the Adaption at the UK's Climate Change Committee Producers: Tim Mansel, Kirsteen Knight and Simon Watts. Editor: Penny Murphy. Studio manager: Graham Puddifoot. Production co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross.
  • Ukraine: Who is winning?
    The war in Ukraine is about to enter its sixth month. The cost of Russia’s invasion has been enormous: millions of refugees; thousands of dead soldiers; thousands more dead civilians; and billions of dollars’ worth of physical damage. It’s the most consequential military conflict for a generation. This week the Briefing Room investigates what’s happening now on the ground and whether either side is close to victory or collapse. Joining David Aaronovitch are: Nina Kuryata, Ukrainian journalist with Tortoise Media Shashank Joshi, Defence Editor at The Economist Samantha de Bendern, Associate Fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London Producers: Tim Mansel, Kirsteen Knight and Simon Watts. Editor: Richard Vadon. Studio Manager: Neil Churchill. Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Helena Warwick-Cross PHOTO CREDIT: Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images
  • Covid - how worried should we be this time?
    More than two years after the emergence of Covid, infection levels are high once again. The Office for National Statistics estimates that 2.7 million people, or 1 in 25 of us, have got Coronavirus. There’s concern too about new Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 – mutations which help the virus re-infect our bodies. But how worried should we actually be this time? Are the mutations normal or an alarming new development? And how much of a threat does Coronavirus still face to the NHS? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: James Gallagher, BBC Health and Science Correspondent Gideon Skinner, Head of Politics Research in Public Affairs at Ipsos Miriam Deakin, Director of Policy and Stategy of NHS Providers Meaghan Kall, Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency Neil Ferguson, Head of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London. Producers: Tim Mansel, Kirsteen Knight and Simon Watts. Editor: Richard Vadon. Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Helena Warwick-Cross
  • What's wrong with the NHS, and how do we fix it?
    Last year spending on health and social care in the UK hit nearly £200bn. That’s roughly a fifth of total government spending. Yet the perception has been that things have got worse. Have they? If so, how much worse? How do we compare with other similar countries? And what might we do differently? Joining David Aaronovitch in the briefing room are: Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at the King’s Fund Professor Carol Propper, health economist at Imperial College Mark Pearson, Deputy Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at The Health Foundation Producers: Octavia Woodward, Kirsteen Knight and Ben Carter Editor: Richard Vadon Studio manager: Neil Churchill Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Sophie Hill Image: Paramedics unloading a stretcher Credit: Tejas Sandhy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

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