Medical professionals say shortages of commonly prescribed drugs are currently worse than ever before - impacting on patient care and potentially costing lives.
The government has banned the export of some medications from the UK in an attempt to protect dwindling supplies but desperate patients are still travelling abroad to get the medication they need or, rationing their supply or going without treatments entirely.
File on 4 examines the complex supply network behind the medication we’re prescribed and finds out how a single broken link in the fragile chain can impact patients, doctors and pharmacists alike. Speaking to worried insiders, exasperated clinicians and patients left too frightened to leave the house, the programme uncovers a long-running crisis at the very centre of our health care system.
Reporter: Adrian Goldberg
Producer: Steven Hobson
Editor: Carl Johnston
Image credit: Hiraman\Getty
Anatomy of a fraud
Dodgy diamonds, missing millions - and the victims failed by justice.
It starts with a phone call. Cynthia Tuck, a retired nurse and widow in her 80's, is charmed by a man offering her the chance to help put her grandchildren through university. All it would take is a small initial investment. Fast forward three years and Mrs Tuck has lost her entire life savings - hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Three years on, in 2019, her fight for justice has hit a dead end. No charges. No trial. Everyone involved still at large. What went wrong? And why is the system failing millions of fraud victims like Cynthia Tuck?
Reporter: Dan Whitworth
Producer: Simon Maybin
Editor: Hugh Levinson
Crash Landing - The demise of Thomas Cook
To its thousands of employees left unemployed or 150,000 holiday makers stranded overseas, the collapse of Britain’s oldest travel firm came as a bitter, unexpected shock.
File on 4 takes a forensic look at the demise of the 178-year-old company, revealing how it came about, the warning signs that were ignored and why a last, desperate attempt at a bail-out came too late. Speaking to Thomas Cook insiders, the programme uncovers how senior executives made millions while loading the company with debt, and were unable or unwilling to change course. It also follows the progress of some of those pilots, cabin crew and shop staff who lost their jobs as they pick up the pieces and try to find their way back into the workplace.
Reporter: Howard Mustoe
Producers: Dan Box, Alys Harte and Luke Denne
Editor: Carl Johnston
Photo credit; Hassenstein, Alexander\Getty Images
Lost on the line: The county lines gangs recruiting girls
New figures have revealed at least four thousand young people are currently caught up in county lines – meeting orders for heroin and cocaine placed on mobile phone ‘deal lines’. They’re transporting drugs from cities to rural and coastal towns, and carrying weapons too – knives, hammers and acid.
Many find themselves selling drugs in a strange town. Trapped, too scared to leave. Increasingly, when police raid the ‘traphouses’ where the drugs are held, they’re finding girls. But how many young women are caught in the county lines? Some are being recruited online for their ‘clean skins’ - a lack of a criminal or gang connection – so they’re less likely to be known to police and stopped. Others are used to launder money or facilitate travel and accommodation.
The focus on boys working for the lines means girls have often been overlooked. Police chiefs guess 10 to 15% of children involved are girls. But they admit they have no real idea of the number of girls trapped in this violent world.
File on 4 hears the female view from the county line, told by girls and women who’ve lived the life and witnessed serious violence. They reveal the particular reasons gangs want girls involved, as county lines become more sophisticated. Girls are less likely to be stopped, or undergo intimate searches by police. They are trapped through sexual violence and threats to kill. But with few projects offering specialist support to female members of county lines, are girls more at risk of being dragged back into the gangs?
Reporter, Jane Deith
Producer, Emma Forde
Editor, Carl Johnston
Image credit; cindygoff\Getty
Can sex offenders and violent criminals be rehabilitated in prison?
The decision to scrap the Sex Offender Treatment Programme raised major concerns about the rehabilitation of prisoners and the impact on victims. The scheme was replaced five years after initial research suggested it wasn’t working - and might even increase the risk of re-offending. There are now calls to ensure that other courses, including those which cater for violent offenders, are properly evaluated.
Campaigners claim the system for assessing the effectiveness of such programmes is too secretive and needs to be made more open. Some experts believe there’s been an over-reliance on treatment schemes as a way of calculating the risks posed by prisoners. Victims say some prisoners are playing the system – accessing programmes to convince the authorities they’re safe to be released. Former inmates say education and training are more likely to stop offenders returning to a life of crime, while there’s emerging evidence that providing newly-released prisoners with support in the community is the key.
Reporter Danny Shaw
Producer Nicola Dowling
Editor Carl Johnston
Photo credit; Motortion\Getty