Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Welcome To Strength in Numbers

Thank you so much to everyone that voted for me in the UK Blog Awards. I have now been shortlisted and blown away by your support. Its now up to the judges panel, and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on 17th April. Thank you all once again, Joanna xxx



Can you please fill out my short Health Care Survey                                                      

swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliationWe must always take sidesNeutrality helps the oppressornever the victimSilence encourages the tormentornever the tormented.

Quote from Elie Wiesel


A blog for you…..

This is where you can have your stories published about the care you or your loved one have had while in hospital. This is where you can interact with others. This is where you can view helpful links, and news stories.

This is a blog for you.

You can email me directly on if you would like me to publish your story, your campaign, your website.

You can also email me any helpful links which I can publish on the blog.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Thank you for all your support.


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The Last Six Months Including Fifty True Life Stories Kindly Contributed By My Readers

The Last Six Months is about my mother who went into an NHS hospital for a routine hip operation. Her condition deteriorated soon after her operation, so I started writing notes every day. Six months later I was still writing. My notes have become an up-to-date diary during this terrible and tragic course of events.

My readers have also kindly contributed their own stories in this 2nd edition. I want these stories to be brought to the public as this is still happening in our hospitals today, and should never be yesterday’s news. We should always remember to write everything down. I am one of many fighting for the right for people to be treated with respect, dignity and ultimate care within our NHS system.

Together we can make a difference. Strength In Numbers

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Filed under: Hospital, NHS

Check Yourself, Don’t Wreck Yourself! Cancer Awareness Campaign Video

Heather Walters is a superstar! Whilst battling breast cancer she wanted to make as many people as possible aware of the importance of checking yourself for lumps and bumps. Rather than wait until chemo had finished she wading right on in there and started putting together the elements needed to create an awareness video! That’s where I came in handy! Heather’s friend Sam Harding had re-written the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and she asked me to sing it, which I did with joy.
Then, with the help of The Unlimited Dance Company we created a dance flash mob style in Barnstaple High Street!
We’re hoping Miss Swift doesn’t mind us nicking her song…we did ask her ‘people’ but got no reply… but it’s for such an amazing cause that we hope she doesn’t mind too much!

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6 Things to Never Say to a Bereaved Parent – BY ANGELA MILLER

We never really know what the right words to say to a bereaved parent. I hope this will give you some guidance. Shared from Yolanda Turner who lost her son Sean aged 4 years old

If you’re a bereaved parent, you can probably count on at least five hands the number of phrases you wish people would never, ever say to you.  If only there was a way for the world to learn how to speak compassionately to the brokenhearted.  What many people believe is a comforting statement, most often is not.  It usually feels more like a slap in the face or a swift punch in the gut.  Or like an uncontrollable need to vomit.  Or all three at once.  There seems to be a large gap between intention and what’s actually being communicated to those of us who are hurting.

Click on the link to read


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Over 25,000 views on Strength in Numbers – Please email me with your story, your campaign, your website – Joanna

Wow, thank you to all that have viewed Strength in Numbers. Over 25,000 and rising.

If you have a story to tell, a campaign, a website, please email me at and I will publish, you never know who is reading and how it can help them. Thank you once again, Strength in Numbers, Joanna x


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Woman pulls out surgical staples HERSELF after growing fed up with waiting times

A DESPERATE transplant patient pulled out her own surgical staples while watching a video tutorial on her iPad – after growing fed up at NHS waiting times

The patient performed her own DIY surgery after her exasperation left her “no other choice”. The woman, who has asked not be named, was told by surgeons she needed her surgical staples removed by last Sunday after a successful pancreas transplant the preceding week.  However, staff at Caversham Practice in Kentish Town, north London, said they were unable to perform the five-minute procedure until next month, the woman claimed. She also said her surgeon had been in contact to specifically ask for her to be granted an appointment. The procedure, which should only be performed by a trained medical professional, was scheduled at her local doctors’ practice for February 4.

Click on link to read more


The Caversham Practice in Kentish Town, north London which promised a wait of SIX days

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Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death – I want to have control of my life – by Virginia Ironside

My mother had always made me promise I would make sure that, if she was terminally ill, she would be snuffed out “like a candle”. She didn’t want to remain guttering till the end. But even in the good old days, when doctors were far more free with the morphine jabs, it was still difficult to get her wishes fulfilled. After another setback in her treatment – my mother had cancer and was talking gibberish most of the time, except when she had a blood transfusion when she’d beg me to get the doctors to end it all – the doctor in charge called me into his consulting room. “Nothing to worry about!” he said breezily. “We’ll have her up and going to the opera and playing tennis in no time at all!”

As any idea of exercise was anathema to my mother, who had twice tried to commit suicide during the previous few years, and since going to the opera was her idea of hell, I broke down. “She doesn’t want to live!” I said. It was to no avail. It was an agonising week later, that a nurse took me aside. “Your mother has no hope,” she said bluntly. “I’m a Roman Catholic, but I beg you to ask the doctors to do something. She is in terrific pain, physical and mental.”

Click on the link to read more–i-want-to-have-control-of-my-life-10012124.html


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Francis NHS whistleblower report: a new beginning? – by David Drew – NHS whistleblower

New Review is a frank admission that all is not well in the NHS and that substandard care is still common place

Last June, six senior NHS professionals, including myself, met Jeremy Hunt to relate our personal histories and petition him for a public inquiry into whistleblower victimisation. We had all suffered extreme retaliation after raising serious concerns about patient care. Five of us had been dismissed. A week later Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, commissioned Sir Robert Francis to conduct a review  into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS. For Francis this is unfinished business from his earlier inquiries at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, as he told us with some passion at our first meeting. At Mid Staffs he found it necessary to have clandestine meetings with staff after guaranteeing their anonymity. “People were just scared,” he told us.

The scope of the review was unsatisfactory. Historic cases would not be reopened or adjudicated. The review team was small and the timescale too short, we thought, to cope with the submissions we anticipated. We may have been naïve but decided to trust Francis that this could at least be a step to a full public inquiry. He reassured us that this had definitely not been ruled out.

Click on the link to read more

Dr David Drew

David Drew: Author of Little Stories of Life and Death @NHSwhistleblowr


Robert Francis: ‘We now have unanimity among those who are leaders that supressing whistleblowers is absolutely wrong.’

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt urged to launch inquiry as tribunal rejects Croydon Health Services NHS Trust’s appeal over unfair sacking of whisteblower Kevin Beatt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has been urged to launch an independent inquiry into Croydon University Hospital over its treatment of a whisteblower doctor. The call came as it emerged board members at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, were under investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over the 2012 sacking of consultant cardiologist Kevin Beatt. Croydon Employment Tribunal ruled in November that the trust had sacked Dr Beatt amid a calculated attempt to destroy his reputation after he raised concerns about patient safety, workplace bullying and inadequate equipment.

Click on the link to read

CR73853-10-kevin-beatt-01 (2).jpg-pwrt2

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Woman, 42, found hanged in hospital A&E department

A woman has been found hanged in a hospital A&E department. The body of the 42-year-old was discovered in a side room at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in Lancashire shortly before 1am yesterday. The shocking discovery is being investigated by police. A file has been prepared for the coroner’s office. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), which runs the hospital, declined to say whether the woman- from Burnley – was considered a suicide risk when she arrived at the department, or whether she had any known psychiatric problems. Dr Ian Stanley, acting medical director at ELHT, said: “Our sympathies are with the patient’s family at this difficult time. “This tragic incident is presently the subject of an initial police investigation and the trust will make no further comment at this time.”

Click on the link to read more


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Planned strike action by health workers suspended after talks breakthrough

Planned strikes by health workers in a dispute over pay have been suspended after a breakthrough in talks. Members of Unison, the GMB and Unite were due to walk out in England and Northern Ireland on Thursday, and again next month, in protest at the government’s refusal to accept a recommended 1% wage rise for all NHS staff. Extensive talks between union leaders and officials at the Department of Health led to fresh proposals, which will now be put to workers. The offer is believed to include a consolidated 1% payment for staff up to senior level and an additional £200 consolidated payment for lower-paid staff. The first point on the pay scale will be abolished and the second raised to £15,100.

Click on the link to read more

Health workers strike

NHS health workers on an official picket line at the Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital last year. More action was planned for this week. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

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Patient’s shocking death alone in a public toilet made me question end-of-life care – by Andrew Buckley – A doctor working in a NHS hospital

“Cardiac arrest, public toilets” proclaimed the tinny speaker in the intensive care pager. Clutching the grab bag and defibrillator I headed toward the scene, considering what we were likely to find. There’s an unwritten rule of cardiac arrest: if it’s in a public place, it’s always a syncopal episode, a faint.

A number of responders had arrived before me at the cramped and panicked toilet area and started the well-trodden resuscitation path, delivering CPR to an elderly man we’ll call John. John had not fainted. Evidence of rigor mortis, the stiffening that sets in when the muscles stop receiving oxygen, was already manifest, and his face showed the calm, waxen permanence of death we hospital doctors become so familiar with.

The defibrillator, a machine that allows for rapid assessment of the heart, confirmed the complete absence of electrical activity. A search through his personal effects while chest compressions were ongoing revealed an elegantly handwritten note, written without fear or prejudice, with admirable perspicacity and with a strong undertone of defiance.

Please click on the link to read more



The letter we found in his pocket while trying to save his life began: “Dear the doctors and nurses of [our hospital]” and went on to neatly summarise a predicament affecting so many in society. Photograph: Alamy

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Elderly man ‘held prisoner’ in care home

An elderly man suffering from dementia was treated like a “prisoner” after social workers dispatched him to a nursing home against his and his family’s wishes without going through proper legal processes, a formal investigation has found. Staff at Cambridgeshire County Council decided behind closed doors to declare the man, named only as N, unfit to decide his own care after his wife contacted them simply inquiring about the possibility of him going to a day centre for an extra day a week. The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) found that social workers failed to carry out proper assessments of his mental capacity or best interests or meet basic legal requirements for depriving him of his liberty.

A report details how he was sent to a home an hour’s bus journey away from his wife, who repeatedly objected to the placement backed up by other family members. He was locked in to stop him wandering off and his wife, daughter and brother were all separately warned that police would be called if they tried to take him home.

Click on the link to read more


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Support group established to help NHS staff who are being “bullied and abused” – By Jo Stephenson – Nursing Times

The Betrayed By Her Trust group was formed by the friends and family former of former mental health nurse Ingra Kirkland who claim her life was “ruined” by unfounded allegations and “bullying” that led to her leaving her job at Worcestershire Health and Social Care Trust. Led by Ms Kirkland’s husband Nigel Gilbert, the group has been fighting to clear her name for more than two years.

Mr Gilbert told Nursing Times the campaigners had now decided to form a new organisation after hearing about other cases “of nurses ruined by the abuse and bullying of managers or other senior staff”.  The wider group – called Betrayed By Their Trust – is set to launch formally next month [February] but is already looking into five cases involving nursing staff who were employed in the Worcestershire area.

“We want to create an organisation to give mutual support to NHS staff and their families who are victims of abuse and bullying,” said Mr Gilbert. “We also want to help them to achieve some kind of justice or recognition of what has been done to them.”

Click on the link to read more

Support group established to help NHS staff who are being bullied


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Ambulance boss says ‘plan ahead’ if you need medical help during strike on Thursday

Ambulance chiefs today warned Londoners that a NHS pay strike on Thursday will be “much more disruptive” than before – with thousands of people not getting emergency help. Car crash victims, people with broken bones, pregnant women in labour and pensioners who have fallen and cannot get up will not get a response if their condition is not life-threatening. This goes well beyond restrictions introduced during previous walkouts as the latest dispute is scheduled to last for 24 hours – six times longer than before. The action, due to start at midnight on Wednesday, will place the London Ambulance Service (LAS) under unprecedented pressure, with soldiers and police driving ambulances and nurses and doctors volunteering as stand-in paramedics. Its effects are expected to continue well into Friday.

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Thirty mums and babies died at failing hospital: Damning report to show scale of neglect at Morecambe Bay was much worse than first feared

Up to 30 babies and mothers died at a scandal-hit hospital because of failings by midwives and doctors, a damning report is expected to reveal. The independent inquiry into baby deaths within University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust will show that the scale of the scandal was much worse than previously feared. It had been thought that 16 babies and two mothers had died as a result of shambolic care over nearly ten years at a maternity ward within Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.  But after highlighting concerns in around 50 cases, investigators are expected to conclude that neglect contributed to even more deaths. Health officials have tried to cover up their failure to properly investigate poor patient care on the unit. Despite multiple warnings about failings between 2001 and 2012, the Care Quality Commission gave the hospital a clean bill of health in 2010.

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Tragic: Concerns were first raised in September 2008 when Joshua Titcombe, who was nine days old, died from an infection that should have been treated with antibiotics

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Third of acute trusts do not display named clinicians above patient beds – By Sophie Barnes – Nursing Times

Over a third of trusts are not displaying a named clinician above patient beds despite health secretary Jeremy Hunt introducing the policy 18 months ago.

Freedom of information requests were sent to every NHS acute trust by consultancy and technology firm Hotboard, which shared the responses with Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ. Out of 108 respondents 39 (36%) were not displaying the name of the clinician and nurse responsible for each patient’s care above their bed. The request asked each trust: “How many of your hospitals and clinics display the name of the clinician and nurse responsible for each patient’s care above their bed?”

Click on the link below

Third of acute trusts do not display named clinicians above patient beds


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NHS ‘most important issue’ suggests BBC/Populus poll

The NHS came ahead of the economy, immigration, welfare and jobs. Of 4,209 adults asked, 74% ranked it “very important” while 93% found it either “very” or “fairly important”. The findings of the poll, which was carried out between between 14 and 18 January 2015, comes 101 days before the general election on 7 May. It asked people to rank, by order of importance, the issues that they felt should be covered by the news. When the “very important” and “fairly important” rankings are combined the order of the issues changes, most notably with immigration dropping four places to seventh most important issue.

Click on the link to read more and see the poll


NHS in England bosses have called for an extra £8bn a year above inflation by 2020

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We DID neglect dying mother, hospital admits: Woman, 45, whose picture on floor in agony shocked Britain was ignored by medics as she begged for pain relief

This distressing last photograph of a dying mother of four crawling on a hospital floor in agony shocked the nation. Margaret Lamberty’s family complained she was ignored by medics and left to die in a side ward. Despite their pleas for an apology, the Royal Stoke University Hospital refused to admit any wrongdoing in the run-up to the 45-year-old’s death. Almost a year on, however, a damning report has confirmed that the family’s complaints were justified – and the hospital has been forced to say sorry.

The independent report revealed that Mrs Lamberty was indeed repeatedly overlooked by medics who were ‘too busy’ to treat her. It found she died as a result of a treatable blood clot in her bowel that was missed due to ‘substandard management’, including a lack of record-taking. The results are vindication for Mrs Lamberty’s family who, following her death on April 30 last year, said: ‘Mum was failed by the doctors and the nurses. We are determined to get justice.’

Click on the link to read more


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New £10m plan to lure GPs out of retirement

GPs will be encouraged to delay or come back from retirement, under a new £10m scheme attempting to boost the numbers of family doctors. NHS officials said doctors will be offered more flexible ways of working to encourage them back into general practice. In the last three years, the number of unfilled GP posts has quadrupled, to almost 8 per cent. Doctors have raised fears that more than 500 practices could be forced to close soon because almost all of their doctors are over the age of 60, when the average GP retires at 59. The looming crisis could leave more than 1 million patients in the lurch, medics have claimed. NHS England will today announce new schemes, to encourage those considering retirement, and those who have already left general practice, to think again, and look at options to work on a part-time basis.

Click on the link to read more


GPs will be encouraged to delay retirement Photo: Alamy 

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Me and my granddaughter. This is why I want change in the NHS by Joanna Slater

I never post anything about my private life, but I had to share these selfie’s pictured with me and my granddaughter Sophie 17 months old.

I want an NHS back to when I was Sophie’s age at 17 months old. An NHS that our mothers and fathers were proud and confident to be part of. An NHS that we had faith in the hands that were healing us. An NHS having compassion and empathy with young and old. An NHS with no cover ups, no politics, and an NHS that we know our loved ones will be cared and supported for in their later years.

We have so many wonderful doctors and nurses that are under so much pressure due to staff shortages etc. This is not a reflection on them.

All the stories posted from the news media and personal experiences here on Strength in Numbers are because these stories should never be yesterday’s news as it’s so easy to forget. Strength in Numbers fighting for the NHS we once believed in. Joanna

sophie 1  Sophie 2

Me and my granddaughter Sophie. Joanna Slater


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NHS turns to Poland and Australia for paramedics in desperate staff shortage

More than half of NHS ambulance services have begun trying to recruit paramedics from abroad amid a desperate national shortage of trained staff.  NHS turns to Poland and Australia for paramedics in desperate staff shortage – Telegraph New figures show NHS trusts are turning to Poland, Australia and Ireland in a bid to plug vacancy rates which are now as high as one in four in many parts of the country. In total, six of England’s 10 ambulance trusts say they are now making plans to recruit from abroad, or have recently hired foreign paramedics. The growing crisis comes as the Health Secretary and unions prepare to enter last ditch talks in a bid to avert a 12 hour strike by paramedics and hospital staff planned for Thursday, in a dispute over pay. If the strike goes ahead, GPs and hospital staff will be drafted in an attempt to fill the gaps. NHS trusts have long gone abroad in search of nurses to fill staffing shortages, with the number soaring in recent years.

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Brilliant Quote


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Furious patient walks onto BBC radio show still wearing HOSPITAL GOWN to vent anger over cancelled operation

A furious hospital patient has walked onto a BBC radio show still wearing her Hospital Gown to vent anger over cancelled operation. Taxi driver Iona Hevican was dressed and ready to have a hysterectomy at Royal Cornwall Hospital when the surgeon told her that there was no bed available for her. As a result the surgery was cancelled.

Iona, from Newquay, Cornwall, was so angry she stormed into her local BBC radio station in Truro and voiced her fury. She claimed that her surgeon told her to complain over what had happened. Ms Hevican, who is in her 50s, said she had changed into a blue gown and had put on surgical stockings and name tags and was prepared for the major surgery – and she was first on the list. But she said her surgeon then came in and told her the surgery was being cancelled because of a shortage of beds. She said: “The surgeon told me to complain.

Click on the link to read more


Cancelled: Iona walked straight from the hospital to the radio station

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‘Death test’ could predict chance of dying within 30 days

Health experts say a new test will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which prolong suffering

 A test to determine if elderly patients will die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital has been developed by doctors to give them the chance to go home or say goodbye to loved ones. Health experts say the checklist will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which merely prolong suffering. The screening test looks at 29 indicators of health, including age, frailty, illness, mental impairment, previous emergency admissions and heart rate and produces a percentage chance of death within one month and 12 weeks. Researchers say the aim of Critera for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate aLternative care, or CriSTAL for short, is to kick-start frank discussions about end of life care, and minimise the risk of invasive ineffective treatment.

“Delaying unavoidable death contributes to unsustainable and escalating healthcare costs, despite aggressive and expensive interventions,” said lead author Dr Magnolia Cardona-Morrel, a researcher at the University of New South Wales.

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A death test which predicts if elderly people will die within 30 days could allow them to go home and say goodbye to family members Photo: Alamy


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Coroner hits out over care of Russells Hall patient who suffered ‘unnecessary pain’

My comment… How many more times will we read ” Following the inquest, Beverley Parkes, Mrs Jones’ sister, said “We just hope that lessons have been learned ” But Lessons are never learned!!! this keeps on happening. Joanna

Black Country coroner Zafar Siddique said staff at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley could have done more to ease the suffering of Medina Jones, who had been diagnosed with the rare condition calciphylaxis, which affects patients with kidney disease and results in chronic non-healing wounds. An inquest at Smethwick Council House heard a series of concerns raised by Anna Diamond, the lawyer representing Mrs Jones’ family, that her wounds had not been dressed properly, while a tissue viability nurse had not been involved early enough in her care. Tissue viability is a specialism in wound prevention and management. Other issues included the fact she was moved between wards and there appeared to be a lack of communication between departments.

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Senior Black Country coroner Zafar Siddique

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Not all prostate cancer is the same…promising research – From Daniel Sencier’s blog

There’s slow-growth prostate cancer, then there’s a deadlier form that spreads to other parts of the body and requires aggressive treatment.
Edmonton researchers are developing a test that for the first time can differentiate between the two types.
“It allows us to customize and treat the patients far more effectively,” Rocco Rossi, CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada, said Tuesday.

Click on the link to read more


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Location, location, location vital in choosing consultant position – By Mike Broad

Location is the leading consideration for specialist registrars when considering a consultant post, according to the latest census of physicians in the UK. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) research suggests STs value where they work over all other factors when considering a consultant post, most wanting to stay close to where they have been training. Location trumps the opportunity for part time working, on call responsibilities and the amount of generalist or specialist work undertaken. The annual census, which measures the number of consultants in all medical specialties, shows strong geographical variations when it comes to recruiting to posts. For example, the North West and Yorkshire & Humber regions saw the greatest difficulty in recruiting to posts – whereas London and the Thames Valley regions saw the greatest number of appointments made, due to having a higher number of training posts.

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A mother’s plea to the NHS

With the NHS having suspended its procedure for approving vital treatments, sufferers of rare diseases have been left in limbo. Katy Brown tells her family’s story.

Let me introduce you to Sam. He is our six year old son and for the past two months we have been fighting to keep him smiling. More precisely, we have been fighting for the drug that he had been trialling for almost three years to be funded by the NHS. You see Sam has something called an ultra rare disease. That means that there are less than 500 sufferers in the country. Actually there are just 78 sufferers of Morquio Syndrome in England. Just 78.

How a disease with 20,000 sufferers is funded, researched, prioritised and understood is very, very different to one where there are just 78 people affected. Let me paint you a picture of Morquio. An adult the same size as a three year old. Organs squashed into a very small space. Severe physical disability. Hearing problems, sight problems, heart problems, lung problems. Life expectancy on average of 25. No treatment.

Please click on the link to read more


19 November 2014……. Sam Brown, 6, with parents Katy and Simon from Otley. Sam has Morquio syndrome. He is being treated with drugs thanks to a trial in Manchester which have significantly improved his condition but cash for this will run out next month and the NHS is unlikely to pick up the tab.TJ100584h Picture by Tony Johnson

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All Your Stories – Strength in Numbers

I have published a new story on the All Your Stories – Strength in Numbers page

Tina’s father died as a result of the hospital failing him his insulin for 16 days. He was admitted into hospital with a swollen arm, high blood pressure and slurred speech. The hospital ignored everything and concentrated on his swollen arm. Please click on the link to read Tina’s story


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Complaints and Raising Concerns – House of Commons Health Committee – Fourth Report of Session 2014–15

The Health Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Department of Health and its associated bodies.

Click on the link to read


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CQC could become enforcer of ‘zero harm’ rules – BY SHAUN LINTERN – HSJ

Please support this bill by using the ‪#‎ZeroHarm‬ on twitter

A proposed new law on patient safety would open the door to tougher regulation of health and care providers by the Care Quality Commission, legal experts have told HSJ.
The Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Bill is a private members bill put forward by Stafford Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy in response to the poor care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. It has moved closer to becoming law after being passed in the Commons last month.

The bill, sometimes referred to as the “zero harm bill”, imposes a duty on the health secretary to introduce regulations “to secure that services provided in the carrying on of regulated activities cause no avoidable harm”. This harm could be caused directly or indirectly, but excludes harm that cannot be “reasonably avoided”.

Providers would need to take steps to ensure they did not cause avoidable harm to patients.

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CQC could become enforcer of ‘zero harm’ rules


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Treatment of NHS whistleblowers is ‘a stain on its reputation’

The treatment of whistleblowers by the NHS is “a stain on its reputation” which has destroyed livelihoods and caused “inexcusable pain” to health professionals, MPs have warned. The Commons Health Select Committee said repeated failures to listen to staff who warned of risks to patients is jeopardising safety and deterring others from blowing the whistle. Its inquiry into complaints and raising concern said every NHS whistleblower who is vindicated should be given an apology, and “practical redress” – such as a new job, or financial compensation for the damage to their career. The damning conclusions come as a separate review of whistleblowing considers more than 17,000 submissions about the treatment meted out to those who have tried to raise the alarm on poor care.

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Dr Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes, said that she believed that Downing Street had shelved the idea of open primaries over fears that they may favour “outspoken” candidates. Photo: Jay Williams 

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Woman who took an overdose ’was ignored by NHS’

Joanna Lynch had begged for help from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s out-of-hours mental health helpline, Hospital at Home, in the weeks leading up to her death from an overdose, an inquest heard. But her desperate pleas to be admitted to hospital and threats to take her own life were not acted upon by staff. On July 4, 2014, after becoming concerned because they had not heard from her since the previous day, her parents called police who managed to get into her flat and found Miss Lynch dead. The 30-year-old had taken an overdose of prescription medication.

At the inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall Dr Ian McCafferty, a locum consultant psychiatrist from the trust, read out details of two calls made to Hospital at Home in the hours before her death in which Miss Lynch told a care worker ‘she couldn’t take it any more’ and she ‘might’ take an overdose. He said the notes read that the call was ended by the care worker who told her she should prepare for bed.

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Such a shock to hear of Anne Kirkbride’s passing. Forever in the nations hearts. RIP

Anne Kirkbride, Coronation Street’s Deirdre Barlow, dies aged 60

Co-star William Roache, who played her husband Ken Barlow for many years, said she would be “greatly missed”.  Roache said: “I feel Anne’s loss so personally having worked closely with her for over 40 years. She was such a loving and vibrant person. You always knew she was there because her laugh was never far away. “She was an impeccable performer with superb comedy timing and an immense gift for really heightened drama. We had some rows over the years as Ken and Deirdre and it was wonderful to play those scenes opposite her.

Click on the link to read and watch some of her best performances




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NHS In Crisis – The Live Debate – Tonight 19th Jan – Channel 5 – 10pm. Don’t Miss it

As the NHS struggles to deal with its worst winter crisis in years, A&E departments are turning away the sick, doctors and nurses are stretched to breaking point, and no one seems to have a remedy.
In a live debate exploring whether the health system is fit for purpose, we’ll hear from patients with horror stories, the doctors, nurses and paramedics struggling to cope, and the politicians.

Dr Phil Hammond – Doctor, Private Eye’s MD, presenter & comic. Touring with Games to play with your doctor,  New book, What Doctors really think

Dr Ellie Cannon – Author of Keep Calm, The New Mum’s Manual, GP for The Mail on Sunday and Woman magazine. Doctor on Sky News Sunrise

Dr Ranj Singh – NHS & media doctor – ITV This Morning, BBC Watchdog, CBeebies Get Well Soon, Channel 5 News


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Nick Clegg calls for zero suicides across the NHS – Press Release

The Deputy Prime Minister hosts a major Mental Health Conference today to discuss the future of mental health services in England.

On Monday 19 January the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will host a major Mental Health Conference, bringing together leading clinicians, policy makers and campaign groups to discuss the future of mental health services in England.

Click on the link to read press release


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NHS is failing patients, cancer charities warn after life-saving drugs are dropped

An alliance of cancer charities has condemned the system for allocating life-saving drugs in the NHS as a failure after the decision to pull the plug on funding for 25 separate treatments. In a letter to The Telegraph, the heads of 15 cancer charities described the announcement last week as a “knee-jerk” reaction to save money, which would leave thousands of sufferers facing uncertainty – and do nothing to solve the problem of funding new treatments. But they disclose that talks are getting under way between the Government, the pharmaceutical industry and charities to design a new system to help the NHS cope with demand.

An estimated 8,000 cancer patients a year could have their lives cut short following the decision to scale back funding from April. It came after the Cancer Drugs Fund, set up by the Coalition in 2011 following a Conservative election manifesto pledge that treatments should no longer be denied on grounds of cost, announced it is on course to overspend its £280 million budget.

Click on the link to read more


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‘Nurse failed to call doctors as our girl died’

A nurse watched as a little girl lay dying instead of calling nearby doctors to attend to her urgently despite “clear indications” her condition was deteriorating , it has been claimed. In an apparently misguided attempt to comfort her the nurse lay 16-month-old Isabella Janew on her side and, according to her parents, stroked her hair rather than immediately alerting doctors who were doing their rounds on the same ward at the time. The disturbing account comes amid a catalogue of alleged failings by staff during the toddler’s final days at the troubled Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, revealed today ahead of an inquest into her death which open tomorrow [MON].
Isabella’s death raises fresh concerns over the standards of care at the hospital in Bristol, which is currently under investigation by the NHS Isabella was born in May 2013 with serious heart problems requiring a valve replacement and underwent an operation at the hospital. But shortly afterwards she suffered two cardiac arrests and catastrophic haemorrhaging.

Click on the link to read more of this shocking story


 Isabella Janew died of a cardiac arrest

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Britain’s A&E units sent into meltdown as NHS 111 helpline sends 6,000 extra callers a week

The NHS 111 phone helpline has plunged accident and emergency units into chaos by sending 6,000 extra callers a WEEK for walk-in hospital treatment. The number of people who were ­advised to go to A&E in the 2013-14 ­financial year was 526,500, the Government revealed. But in eight months to November last year – before this winter’s crisis – the figure had ballooned to 515,500, an ­average extra 6,000 a week. The 111 ­helpline replaced the popular NHS Direct in 2010 and in its first eight months only 7,400 people were told to go to A&E, writes Nigel Nelson in the Sunday People. Doctors blame unqualified 111 call handlers for tipping A&Es into ­meltdown. NHS Direct call lines had been manned by medically qualified staff. Earlier this month every NHS trust in England failed to meet its emergency care targets. In the lead-up to Christmas, more than 400,000 ­patients had to wait longer than the target four hours to be seen.

Click on the link to read more


Chaotic: Doctors say call handlers are not qualified to decide whether people require A&E treatment

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27% lack confidence in local NHS services this winter – Ipsos MORI Political Monitor January 2015

Under-funding given the most blame for NHS problems

A quarter of Britons (27%) lack confidence that they would receive high quality NHS care in their local area this winter, Ipsos MORI’s January Political Monitor reveals. One in five (20%) say they are not very confident in their local NHS services this winter, with seven percent not confident at all. Just over seven in ten (72%) say they are confident in receiving good quality care from their local NHS this winter (19% very confident, 53% fairly confident).

Click on the link to read


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NHS patients left shivering in bed for almost a WEEK after hospital heating system breaks down

Patients in a hospital surgical were left shivering in their beds for nearly a week after the heating system broke down. The lack of hot water also meant the showers were unusable – so staff had to boil kettles when anyone needed a wash. And temporary heaters brought in to warm up the ward caused a power cut and had to be removed, reports the Daily Record. Staff on Ward three at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow had to resort to piling extra blankets on patients.

A woman who was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday said: “I asked the nurse about the heating and she said it was broken and they were waiting on a new part. “That was on my first day there and it wasn’t fixed by the time I left.  “The other patients and I had to stay in bed all day with two or three blankets over us just to keep warm. “I even saw one woman with gloves, a scarf and her housecoat on in bed during the night.

Click on the link to read more


Chills: Outside Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, Phil Dye/ Daily Record

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A shocking story eloquently given by Christina Taylor at made at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Perth 2014 about the care and cover up her mother had.

And Christina is still fighting for the truth

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Whistleblowing paramedic who criticised two hospitals for being ‘unsafe’ after patients were routinely treated in corridor is banned from work

A whisleblowing paramedic who spoke out about the chaos his local A&E departments has been banned from both hospitals. Stuart Gardner, of West Midlands Ambulance Service, was reprimanded after saying under-pressure emergency units were ‘not safe’.  He has since been told he is not welcome at hospitals in Worcester and Redditch. The comments were made by the paramedic of 26 years during an interview with the BBC. During it, he described how even before the winter pressures, patients were routinely treated in corridors at the Worcester Royal Hospital.

In fact, the practice was so commonplace that ‘there were labels along the corridor of the emergency department so staff could find the patients’. ‘Last Friday, there were 18 trolleys with sick patients,’ he said.  ‘There were ECGs being done, stitches, cannulas (a medical tube inserted into the body with a needle) – staff were doing everything in the corridor.  ‘I’ve never seen anything like it – and I do not believe it’s safe. it’s not good for the patients and their care is being jeapordised.’ Since then, however, Mr Gardner claims he was told he was ‘not welcome’ at either the Worcester hospital or the Redditch Alexandra Hospital.

Click on the link to read more


Banned: Stuart Gardner, of West Midlands Ambulance Service, was reprimanded after saying under-pressure emergency units were ‘not safe’

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NICE outlines draft guidance for safe nurse staffing in A&E – Press Release

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued a draft guideline to advise NHS A&E departments on how to ensure there are safe levels of nursing staff.

The number of people attending A&E departments has increased steadily since 2002/03². The guidance will help hospitals to plan safe staffing for nursing and best meet demand for their A&E services.

Click on the link to read



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A Legal Duty of Candour and how it has been resisted for almost two decades by Will Powell

Responding to critics of the Duty of Candour and alleged detriment to the NHS

It is interesting to look back at a Guardian article published on the 8th April 2014 with the headline “Why the new duty of candour could be detrimental to the NHS”. Will Powell

Click on the link to read Will’s article


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Sister says working A&E night shift is ‘more stressful than war zone – By Jo Stephenson – Nursing Times

The sister at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, who previously nursed soldiers on the frontline during the 2003 Iraq invasion, said she had to make decisions “that put patients at risk and put staff under extreme pressure”. She described how a pregnant woman miscarried on the floor of a triage area in view of strangers and how she was forced to leave an unconscious patient in the care of junior staff and “hope to God he didn’t aspirate, have a massive bleed or fit”. “I spent weeks in and out of the trenches being shelled, nursing soldiers under trolleys as the warning sirens went off,” she wrote in an account of her experiences. “I know what stress is.

Click on the link to read more …  Working in A&E


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Average life expectancy heading for 100

Living beyond 100 will become the norm for children born within the next generation, official projections show. According to estimates published by the Office for National Statistics the average life expectancy for newborn girls in the UK is on course to reach just under 97 years and four months within just over two decades. Baby boys born in 2037 will expect to live until 94 years and four months on average – with many living much longer.

The projections, contained in a new report analysing the make-up of the British population, means that typical life expectancies would have increased by around a decade since the 1980s. It is also now predicted that average life female expectancy will reach the once unimaginable milestone of 100 in 2057.

Click on the link to read more


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Click on the link to track how your hospital is doing near you

The additional pressures of cold weather, norovirus and flu have an impact on all A&E departments across the UK. This tracker allows you to find out how the NHS is doing where you live.

Click on the link to track how your hospital is doing near you

Fresh from the release of the quarterly statistics on Tuesday, there is more bad news about the performance of the NHS in England. The first week of the New Year saw the numbers being seen in four hours drop to 86.7% – a new record low for a single week.It means the last four weeks have been the four worst on record. Attendances are rising, but that does not tell the full story. When you look at other indicators, such as the number of ambulances being delayed, operations being cancelled and delays in discharging patients, the rises being seen are much, much worse. It lends weight to the argument that the NHS has reached a tipping point. What exactly is happening elsewhere in the UK is much harder to tell. There is not the wealth of statistics available, as there is for England, and what is published lags a few months behind. But it is fair to say the pressures are being felt everywhere.  By Nick Triggle, Health correspondent, BBC News


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50 die under secret 999 policy

 More than 50 patients have died after an NHS trust introduced a secret policy to downgrade 999 calls and not to send ambulances to terminally ill patients. Managers at East of England ambulance trust were accused of “the most cruel form of rationing imaginable” after admitting that 8,000 patients had been affected by the changes.

An internal NHS report discloses that 57 patients died after their calls were downgraded following a decision not to send ambulances to the terminally ill and to those who had given instructions not to resuscitate. It meant that, instead of receiving a response from paramedics in eight minutes, people reporting life-threatening illnesses were given a call back up to 20 minutes later, or had to wait up to an hour for an ambulance.

Click on link to read more


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NHS crisis: Patient wakes up in hospital CUPBOARD as desperate medics struggle for space

A horrified hospital patient woke up to find he had been moved from his ward to a packed stock cupboard, as desperate medics struggled for space. Dad-of-two Michael Steel, 63, told how he was left in there for three days, surrounded by supplies, while being treated for an inflamed liver. He said he could not sleep as he kept being disturbed and was wheeled in and out while staff tried to reach drugs from a fridge in the 12ft by 10ft room.

Michael said: “One of the doctors came in and said ‘what on earth are you doing in here?’.” He blamed Government cuts for putting staff under pressure and said he hoped leaders would be “shamed” into tackling the NHS crisis engulfing the health service. He added: “It shows how much the NHS is struggling. One nurse told me it was absolute chaos.”

Click on link to read more


Ward you believe it? Michael Steel’s stay in a hospital cupboard

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Older women ‘dying earlier due to cuts': Leaked email reveals officials’ fear after life expectancy started ‘going backwards’

Health officials are investigating a sudden fall in life expectancy amongst the elderly which is particularly stark in women. There is concern it has been triggered by declining hospital care, a lack of GP appointments and cuts to home-help. The alarm was raised by public health bosses in the North West who noted that that life expectancy aged 85 was ‘going backwards’.  And the trend was particularly pronounced for elderly women where, in one local authority, it had dropped from living a further 6.8 years aged 85 in 2011 to just 6.5 years. Public Health England – the Government agency responsible for preventing early death – confirmed the fall in women’s life expectancy had occurred across the country and it was carrying out further analysis to establish the reasons.But senior doctors and MPs are worried it is the beginning of a long-term trend brought about by cuts to the NHS and social care.

The email which triggered the investigation – leaked to Health Service Journal – was sent by Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health in Blackburn with Darwen council, to Public Health England at the end of last month.

Click on link to read more


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Kay, My Beautiful Elegant Mother

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