File on 4Author: BBC Radio 4
27 Sep 2020

File on 4

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Award-winning current affairs documentary series investigating major issues at home and abroad

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    Expecting alone: The isolation of pregnancy during Covid

    Six months since Britain was instructed to ‘stay at home’, File on 4 examines the decisions that affect new mothers and their babies and asks if the potential for long term damage outweighs the risk of spreading the virus. For pregnant women, many of the hospital restrictions implemented at the height of the pandemic remain. Many women must attend antenatal scans or go through early labour on their own, while their birth partners wait outside. Others have had to receive the worst possible news about their pregnancy alone. Once the baby arrives, the landscape remains uncertain. Health visitors are seen by many as a frontline defence against child health problems; a lifeline for new mums and their babies who are trained to spot early signs of illness, harm or neglect. Yet, the decision to redeploy many health visitors to the frontline during lockdown left countless families without the support they needed – a decision seen by some as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘dangerous’, one that could lead to a ‘second pandemic’ of child protection issues. Now, professionals are reporting ‘an explosion’ in mental health problems amongst new mothers and their partners, while those suffering are struggling to get help. Reporter: Alys Harte Producer: Mick Tucker Editor: Gail Champion

  • Posted on 22 Sep 2020

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    Mental health killings – a crisis in care?

    Last month Alex Sartain took a homemade gun and shot his neighbour James Nash dead in his front garden. The 34 year old then fled on his motorbike before he lost control and fatally crashed on a winding tree-lined road. His family had made repeated requests to mental health services for help as they saw his condition deteriorate. But they say no help was forthcoming and days later he killed 42-year-old James, a popular artist and children’s author. Alex Sartain's family say the mechanic suffered paranoid schizophrenia and had become acutely unwell in the run-up to the killing. File on 4 investigates whether mental health support is always available when people need it most. And reporter Paul Connolly hears concerns that mental health professionals are not always quick enough to act on evidence a person suffering severe mental illness may be intending to harm others - with tragic consequences. Reporter Paul Connolly Producer Ben Robinson Editor Carl Johnston

  • Posted on 15 Sep 2020

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    Covid 19: The Long Road to Recovery

    After Coronavirus, the survivors left with life-changing and long term conditions. The physical and psychological aftermath of Covid 19 and the pressure on rehabilitation services. Nearly 3 million people in the UK have had symptomatic coronavirus. More than one hundred thousand so severely, they needed hospital treatment. This is a new disease, so doctors are guessing when it comes to the symptoms people will have long term. But it’s clear this virus has a sting in its tail. The sickest patients have damage to their lungs and kidney which could be permanent. Some research shows the risk of heart attack or stroke is high. File on 4 talks to people living with the after effects of Covid 19 who say surviving was just the beginning. There are a multiotide of physical after effects - and many more have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. People describe flashbacks to the ITU, seeing people die, overhearing their last goodbyes with loved ones on phone or the internet. Patients who were hospitalised get follow-ups, and referrals for rehabilitation and possibly, counselling. But what of the hundreds of thousands of other people who fell ill and who, if it weren’t a pandemic, might have gone to hospital, but were told to stay at home? Researchers say there are at least 300,000 people who have had symptoms of Coronavirus for more than a month – so called Long Haul Covid. Many are young and previously fit. They say they had a mild case of the virus. But they have been floored by the symptoms that followed – breathlessness, racing heart, weakness. And they're struggling to get care and support. Reporter: Jane Deith Producer: Helen Clifton Editor: Carl Johnston

  • Posted on 08 Sep 2020

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    Groomed, abused and put in prison: Rochdale’s untold story

    How does an abused teenager get a criminal record while her abusers walk free? This is untold story of the Rochdale grooming scandal - how one young woman has been denied justice and how her attackers are still at large. For the very first time, 'Daisy' tells her harrowing story to File on 4. How, from the age of 12, she was groomed, raped and abused by a gang of men. The abuse led her to be involved in some criminal behaviour - but when the police investigated and she told them what was happening, she says she was ignored. She was sent to prison, where, for the first time since the abuse started, she says she felt safe. But when she was released, it started again. The police have admitted some failures but, a decade after they launched their investigation into systematic and organised abuse, Daisy and two other young women, who were also abused, are now taking civil action against Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Producer: Sally Chesworth Reporter: Alys Harte Editor: Carl Johnston

  • Posted on 14 Jul 2020

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    Mental Health: The Next Pandemic?

    Lockdown is easing now as worries about physical ill-health recede. But could the stress and anxiety of the last few months lead to a second wave of the epidemic - one centred on the nation's mental health? File on 4 investigates the impact coronavirus has had on those already diagnosed with serious mental illness, and others for whom depression and anxiety are entirely new experiences. The programme looks at provision of mental health services during the crisis, hearing stories of early release from mental health wards and of sudden shifts in how help is provided. Reporter Claire Bolderson examines this quiet revolution in mental health provision prompted by Covid-19 and asks whether the changes are here to stay - and whether services, which many say are already stretched to breaking point, will be able to cope. Reporter: Claire Bolderson Producer: Imogen Walford Editor: Carl Johnston

  • Posted on 07 Jul 2020

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