Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Please Vote For Me – 2015 Blog Awards

Dear Friends, I need your help please. I have entered my blog into the UK 2015 Blog Awards. The blogs that receive the most public votes go through to the next stage. The links are below. I have entered in two categories, please vote in BOTH and share. Voting ends 3rd Dec 2014

Click on the link Vote: HEALTH


Click on the link Vote: PR, Marketing, Media, & Comms

2015 Blog Awards

Strength in Numbers was born because I started to write notes of all the things that happened to my mother in the first few weeks when she arrived in hospital for a hip operation. Six months later I was still writing. My mother passed away still in hospital after 6 months. I published my mother’s notes onto my blog, and then extracts of my mother’s story was published in the Mail on Sunday in June 2011.

The next day I had over one thousand hits on my blog and emails of hundreds of people telling me of their own tragic stories, I knew then that writing my notes was for a reason.

My blog has now grown into a full information base with links to health organisations, charities, campaigns, regular news items and a section where others can post their own heartbreaking stories. Please help me and vote for Strength in Numbers to get to the next stage.

Thank you

Joanna x

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 ones have had while in hospital.

This is where you can interact with others on the subject of care within the NHS.

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. Please note, that I may not be able to publish names etc for legal reasons.

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

Please also follow me on Twitter and Facebook
icon-twitter @joannaslater


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

Buy from

Paperback Edition


Kindle Edition


Filed under: Hospital, NHS

Dylan’s Legacy : A tragic account of what happened to baby Dylan

A hospital has accepted liability for the death of a two-year-old boy who waited more than nine months for a key medical assessment. Dylan O’Brien was waiting for an appointment with a genetics team and for an important operation when he died in June 2012. The operation to remove his tonsils and adenoids was cancelled for the second time by the hospital just the day before he died.

Click on the link to watch this tragic account of what happened


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How doctors are protecting themselves from deadly Ebola: Two pairs of gloves, thick boots and a domed helmet help health workers fight the virus in 30°C heat

A domed helmet, thick boots and overalls coated in a special plastic. This is the suit designed to keep British medics free from Ebola, as they head for parts of west Africa ravaged by the disease. The first wave of NHS volunteers were deployed by the Government this weekend. They were sent to Sierra Leone to join the global effort to control the epidemic. The group of 30 volunteers is made up of GPs, nurses, psychiatrists and emergency medicine consultants.  After arriving in Sierra Leone’s captital, Freetown, they will complete a week of training before moving to British-built Ebola treatment centres across the virus-ravaged nation. There, they will help diagnose and treat those who have fallen victim to Ebola, which has killed more than 5,000 people – the majority in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. In their fight against the deadly disease, the health workers have been kitted out with special protective suits, made by four British companies. The suits leave no part of a healthcare workers body exposed, providing a crucial barrier designed to keep them safe.  The outfits include white overalls coated with a special plastic, which stops bodily fluids including blood, vomit and diarrhoea – which all carry the virus – from passing through the protective layer.

Click on the link to read more


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Tell us about your care – Care Quality Commission announces new partnership with The Silver Line

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is today marking the launch of a new partnership with The Silver Line helpline to help reach out to even more elderly people who are cared for in their homes and in residential care.  The partnership comes on the same day as The Silver Line celebrates its one-year anniversary as the national free, confidential 24/7 helpline offering information, friendship and advice for older people who may live alone. Since it began last November, The Silver Line has received 275,000 calls, with more than half the callers telling the helpline they had nobody else to talk to. Through CQC’s ‘tell us about your care’ partnership, anyone can share their concerns – and anonymously if preferred – if they feel they are not being listened to, or might not feel able to speak directly to those responsible for delivering safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led services that CQC expects.

Click on the link to read the News release


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Launch of Learning Disability Alliance England

LDA England is an alliance of all those committed to the rights of people with learning disabilities. It brings together the four main umbrella organisations for people with learning disabilities:

  • National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities – representing self-advocacy groups
  • National Valuing Families Forum – representing family groups across England
  • Association for Real Change – representing 200 service providers
  • Housing & Support Alliance – representing 150 service and housing providers

In just a few weeks over 100 further organisations and over 1,200 individuals have also joined the campaign. LDA England is the first alliance to bring together people with learning disabilities, families and their allies on the basis of equality and respect.

Click here to go to website


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Patients leave end-of-life care choice to medics, survey finds

Major decisions about how people are cared for at the end of their lives are being left to doctors – despite fewer than one in 10 patients wanting this to happen. Only 7 per cent of adults in Britain want a doctor to have the final say on their end-of-life care, according to research to be published this week. Despite this, only 4 per cent have either made a record of their preferences in an Advance Decision or appointed a Lasting Power of Attorney. The research, by YouGov for Compassion in Dying, suggests the remaining 91 per cent have by default left these serious decisions to doctors, who may prolong their life against a person’s wishes.

Click on the link to read more


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Winter crisis in A&E Hospitals declare ‘black alerts’ as admissions shatter records, but full stats still unpublished

Jeremy Hunt is under pressure to order the publication of a set of reports showing the full extent of pressures on hospitals in England, amid accusations that the Government is attempting to downplay the scale of a potential winter A&E crisis. Labour said the failure of the NHS to publish its weekly “winter pressures situation reports” raised fears that the Health Secretary “doesn’t want people to know what’s happening on the NHS frontline”. And experts believe that vulnerable people are having more accidents in the home because of cuts in social care. The NHS insists there has been no political interference. Nonetheless, the reason for the delay remains unclear. If previous practice is followed, whereby figures are published weekly, the delay means that most of the November weeks’ figures would not be made public.

Click on the link to read more


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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. Sarah’s story start from 2007 following spinal surgery.  She was under 7 hospitals and 11 specialists in the UK and been told over and over again that it was migraines. Eventually in the USA it was confirmed she had 6 CSF spinal leaks. Please read her story and about the care she had in hospital.

Thank you Sarah for sharing your story with us and I hope that you recover soon



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Great Ormond Street deaths caused by stem cell lab failures, inquest told

Four children have died after failings in how stem cells used in life-saving operations were frozen at Great Ormond Street hospital, it emerged this week. The four, who were between one and 12 years old, were among eight children with cancer whose bone marrow transplants did not work as a result of problems with the freezing process. Britain’s best-known children’s hospital has admitted that one of them, four-year-old Katie Joyce, might have survived if it had acted more quickly when problems arose.

Click on the link to read more

Great Ormond Street

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All Your Stories – Strength in Numbers

Dear Friends,

I have just published a new story on the All Your Stories – Strength in Numbers page. Its a tragic account of what happened to Angie Weaver’s beautiful daughter Georgina.

Georgina was suffering with severe headaches & vomiting and was admitted to hospital in October 2012. Please read Angie’s story what happened next, and how she now feels totally let down by the NHS. Georgina sadly passed away the end of August 2013.

Thank you Angie for sharing Georgina’s tragic story with us, as I know how hard it must have been for you to write this.




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Families given official green light to use CCTV in care homes to check if staff are abusing their elderly relatives

Families worried that their elderly relatives are being abuse by care home staff are to be given official advice on how to secretly install CCTV cameras. Care home watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, will issue guidance in the New Year explaining how to best monitor staff. A spokeswoman told MailOnline the CQC ‘understood that there are circumstances where some people will feel that is the right thing for them’.  The decision to publish official guidance helping concerned families install cameras was signed off by the CQC’s board today.  It is hoped that the vigilance of family members will help to maintain high standards of care for elderly and vulnerable people.  The advice will also be aimed at managers who suspect malpractice among their staff.

Click on the link to read more


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Search for a consultant – How many operations – Mortality Rate – Average Patient Risk – Launched 19th Nov 2014


The data presented here shows results for operations and treatments for a range of specialty areas performed by individual consultants. The outcome results will vary depending on the specialty area and the chosen methodology and indicators, but you’ll be able to see how many times a consultant has performed a particular procedure and the mortality rates for those procedures. You can see whether or not the data for each consultant is within the expected range, based on the national average. Consultants who fall outside the expected range are sometimes referred to as ‘outliers’.


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Watchdog ranks GP surgeries by risk – Check to see how your GP practice is performing

CLICK ON THE LINK AND ENTER YOUR POSTCODE To find out how your GP practice is performing.

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has ranked almost every GP surgery in England in terms of risk of providing poor care.  The majority are of low concern, but 11% have been rated in the highest risk band by CQC. Many of the elevated-risk practices had possible issues with appointments, mental health plans, and cervical cancer screening. The CQC register will help target inspections. The watchdog said the register did not necessarily indicate poor GP surgery performance. “It is important to remember that the data is not a judgement, as it is only when we inspect we can determine if a practice provides safe, high-quality and compassionate care,” said CQC chief inspector of general practice Prof Steve Field. “The data is a further tool that will help us to decide where to inspect and when,” he said.  The health watchdog ranked 7,276 practices out of the total 7,661 in England, and placed 864 practices in the “highest concern” category. In about 3% of high-concern practices, patients stated they had difficulties in getting an appointment to see a GP or nurse.

Click on the link to read more

GP-Intelligent-Mon_3109168c[1]  _79095301_gp_survey_20141118_464_v2

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Junior doctors still lack the confidence to whistle-blow

Many trainee doctors are still too afraid to blow the whistle on patient safety concerns, according to a new report by the General Medical Council, which also that found nearly one in 10 experience bullying in the workplace. The medical regulator’s annual survey of 50,000 doctors in training saw a dramatic decline in the number of patient safety concerns raised, after doctors were told their anonymity could not be guaranteed. Only 0.8 per cent of trainees raised a concern, compared to 5.2 per cent last year. Part of the decline may be due to changes to the GMC’s survey methods, but the regulator said that “foregoing complete anonymity” had also been “off-putting for some”.

Click on the link to read more


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NHS ombudsman ‘failing families’

Click on the link to read The 38 page Report – The Patients Association Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman
The ‘Peoples’ Ombudsman – How it Failed us

PHSO – The ‘Peoples’ Ombudsman – How it Failed us Final

The NHS ombudsman – the independent service that investigates patients’ complaints – is “wholly ineffective and failing families”, warns a charity.The Patients Association says it receives weekly calls from people who feel let down by the service. And they all said the experience compounded the grief and hurt they were already feeling through loss of loved ones or due to poor NHS care. The ombudsman said it was improving its service. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is meant to be the final arbitrator for complaints about the NHS in England.  The Patients Association says it has lost faith in the service and no longer advises callers who ring its national helpline to go to the PHSO. “As one of our recent callers said, ‘You may as well ask a poacher to investigate the missing pheasants,'” says the charity in its report on the topic.

Click on the link to read more

Patients Association Press Release 18th November 2014

Press Release-Patients Association calls for a transparent Health Ombudsman



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Battling father forces review into CPS decision not to charge doctors over death of his son 24 years ago because case was deemed too old

A father has won his fight for a review into a decision by prosecutors not to charge doctors who allegedly failed to spot his son was dying 25 years ago.  Robbie Powell, ten, of Ystradgynlais, Powys, was seen by five different doctors from December 1989 before he died from the rare Addison’s disease in April 1990. His father William, 56, has fought for justice after police found the doctors could face up to 35 charges including manslaughter and forging medical documents. The Crown Prosecution Service refused to prosecute the doctors because the case was so old, but Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders has now ordered a review into the decision. Mr Powell said: ‘If the doctors had admitted their mistakes at the time we would have been able to move on. ‘This has taken over my life and it has taken a toll on my other children and on my marriage to my wife. I won’t feel this is over until we have some justice for Robbie.’

Click on the link to read

1415192000612_Image_galleryImage_A_battling_dad_yesterday_  1415191946400_wps_54_A_battling_dad_yesterday_


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Lack of support after hospital doubles readmissions for older people – Read the report from the Royal Voluntary Service

The findings reveal in the last five years almost 200,000 people aged over 75 returned home from hospital without the support they needed to look after themselves (2), and thousands of readmissions could be prevented if they received more help at discharge. The report, assisted by The King’s Fund, marks the launch of a campaign Let’s End Going Home Alone, which sees the charity work in partnership with communities, local authorities and NHS Trusts to provide more volunteers in hospitals and support vulnerable older people in their homes following discharge from hospital. Increased longevity is putting pressure on health and social care – over the last ten years hospital admissions for those over 75 have been rising four times faster than ageing trends in the population (38% versus 10%) (3). The growth in hospital readmissions has been higher still, up by 86 per cent.

Within the report, Royal Voluntary Service has developed the Six Essentials it believes every older person should be entitled to experience when they leave hospital:

  1. Every older person should be told the plan for their return from the hospital
  2. Every person should be accompanied home before 10pm from hospital unless their preference is different
  3. Every older person needs to be able to collect their prescriptions and get to follow up appointments for a speedy recovery after a stay in hospital
  4. Every older person should come home from a hospital to a warm, well-lit house with someone asking how they are
  5. Every older person should know they’ll have help to get some shopping in and won’t have to sit hungry after a stay in a hospital
  6. Every older person should have a friendly face to turn to for help after a stay in hospital

Click on the link to read more

Click on the PDF to download the Going Home Alone report



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Bird Flu Outbreak At Duck Farm In Yorkshire – Diagnosing Bird Flu

A case of avian flu has been confirmed on a duck breeding farm in East Yorkshire, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said. Defra said there is at least one case of the virus at the farm, which Sky sources understand is in the Nafferton area, but insist the risk to public health is “very low”. Nigel Gibbens, the Chief Veterinary Officer, has told Sky News it’s possible it may not be an isolated incident. “We have to recognise that the first case we find is not necessarily the first case that has occurred, which is why we put restrictions on the zone around the affected farm and look hard around there,” he said. The entire flock at the farm – about 6,000 ducks – will be culled as a result, and a 3km protection zone has been put in place around the infected premises. It means no animal movements will be allowed, except when they are taken away to be slaughtered, to stop the virus spreading. In addition, a 10km surveillance zone is also in place, closely monitoring any spread of the outbreak. In both zones, disinfection of people, vehicles and machinery moving around farms will be increased while the movement of animals, feed and bedding is forbidden except under licence

Click here to read more

Diagnosing Bird Flu

A 10km surveillance zone is in place


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Cover-up fury over surgeon whose ‘errors’ left women’s lives in ruins: NHS gynaecologist’s alleged mistakes left women incontinent and unable to have sex

Hospital managers have been accused of covering up the surgical record of an NHS gynaecologist whose alleged mistakes devastated the lives of some of her patients. Jayne Cockburn is thought to have operated on hundreds of patients at Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley, Surrey, before an investigation led to her being suspended. She was stopped from carrying out operations in 2011 but it took hospital bosses three years to reveal this to the patients she had dealt with.

Click on the link to read more


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Surgeons who refuse to publish their death rates will be punished and some will quit says NHS boss

Surgeons who refuse to publish patient death rates will face penalties, a boss at NHS England has said.  Patients will be able to compare the success rate of around 5,000 consultants when data relating to procedures is published on website My NHS this week. But roughly 2,500 surgeons do not publish this information – which provides details including mortality rates and complications in surgery. Some surgeons have warned the move could lead to consultants refusing to take on difficult cases and argue the statistics do not take full account of the circumstances of each operation.

Click on the link to read more


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Cancer Cures – 100 Years of Suppressed Medicine – SHOCKING Watch This!

I posted on Friday “Over 100 of the UK’s leading Cancer specialists oppose the ‘Saatchi Bill’”

Please watch the video below and tell me why the Saatchi Bill should not go through to the House of Lords?

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Over 100 of the UK’s leading Cancer specialists oppose the ‘Saatchi Bill’

A group of over one hundred of the UK’s leading cancer doctors and researchers have written a letter to the Times newspaper opposing the Medical Innovation Bill, the so-called Saatchi Bill, currently going through the House of Lords. In the letter published 13th November 2014 the oncologists speak of their dismay that the bill, proposed as a private member’s bill by Lord Saatchi, “is being promoted as offering hope to patients and their families when it will not make any meaningful difference to progress in treating cancer.” The letter also makes clear that the law around medical negligence does not hinder or prevent innovation. The Medical Innovation Bill (MIB) aims to change the current law of negligence, which the retired PR guru Lord Saatchi claims inhibits innovative practice, despite there being no evidence that this is in fact the case.

Click on the link to read more and to read the letter to The Times Newspaper


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NHS data is snooped on six times every day: Staff caught looking at records of friends, family and even love rivals

The privacy of patients’ medical records is being breached by snooping NHS staff an average of six times a day. Personal details have been posted on social media or even dumped by the side of the road. In one instance, a manager at a GP surgery went through the files of nearly 2,000 women for his own ‘interests’.  Other staff have been caught looking at the medical records of their friends, family and, in one case, a love rival.

Click on the link to read more

The report from the campaign group Big Brother Watch shows that between 2011 to 2014, there have been at least 7,255 breaches. This is the equivalent to 6 breaches every day. Examples of the data breaches include:                                             

  • At least 50 instances of data being posted on social media
  • At least 143 instances of data being accessed for “personal reasons”
  • At least 124 instances of cases relating to IT systems
  • At least 103 instances of data loss or theft
  • At least 236 instances of data being shared inappropriately via Email, letter or Fax
  • At least 251 instances of data being inappropriately shared with a third party
  • At least 115 instances of staff accessing their own records.
  • There have been at least 32 resignations during the course of disciplinary proceeding


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Fears over soaring cancer cases

The number of people diagnosed with cancer has risen by almost 40 per cent in two decades, experts have said, amid warnings that the NHS is struggling to cope with soaring numbers of cases. New analysis from Macmillan Cancer Support suggests that in 2016, more than 360,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with the disease – the equivalent to the entire population of Cardiff being diagnosed. The figure – a 37 per cent rise from 1996 – means more than 1,000 diagnoses are being made each day. The increases are largely due to people living longer, and being more likely to develop cancer, as well as improvements detecting the disease.

Click on the link to read


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NHS plans ‘kitemark’ for health apps

The NHS has previously said it wants to be “paperless” by 2018 and give patients access to health records via laptops or mobile phones. These new detailed plans also include an e-version of the red book that records baby’s immunisations. But there are concerns about the timescale of plans – and data security. With the rapid growth of health-related apps for mobile phones and other personal devices, an NHS “kitemark” is to be introduced to validate those deemed to be safe for patients to use. This authentication process would give doctors peace of mind to recommend apps to help patients manage health conditions.

Click on the link to read more


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Nurses admit elderly patient neglect at scandal hit hospital

Two nurses have admitted neglecting elderly patients at a scandal-hit hospital run by the Welsh NHS. Natalie Jones, 40, and Lauro Bertulano, 45, pleaded guilty to falsifying medical records and wilfully neglecting patients at the Princess of Wales Hospital. Another nurse Rebecca Jones, 30, has already pleading guilty after a police investigation into the falsification of patient notes at the 1,500-bed hospital at Bridgend, South Wales. A total of 15 nurses from the same health board working in the Princess of Wales hospital and Morriston Hospital in Swansea have been suspended as part of an ongoing internal inquiry into neglect. It follows by families whose elderly relatives have died after alleged “neglect, poor care and mistreatment” at the Welsh NHS hospitals.

Click on the link to read more


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Dentist at centre of infection alert is revealed: More than 22,000 patients treated over 32 YEARS urged to get tested for viruses including HIV and hepatitis

More than 22,000 dental patients are being urged to come forward for tests amid fears they could have been infected by blood-borne viruses. The recall – believed to be the biggest in UK medical history – affects all patients who were treated by Desmond D’Mello, who worked at Daybrook Dental Surgery in Nottingham over a 32-year period. The allegations surrounding Mr D’Mello came after a whistleblower secretly filmed him treating 166 patients over a period of three days in June. The footage showed the dentist allegedly breaching infection-control standards. Those deemed at risk will be tested for blood-borne viruses, which include HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

 Click on the link to read

NHS England has posted a video online explaining its appeal for Mr D’Mello’s patients to come forward.

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NHS England: Where’s the money going?

NHS England won’t publish data on where it spends its money, including to private companies. What happened to the promised transparency?

The new NHS is big on transparency.  Tim Kelsey, the senior official overseeing and all things digital in the NHS yesterday announced that transparency is “the most important innovation in health”, adding rather dramatically: “The closed world is the enemy of good care.” Jeremy Hunt has said greater openness makes the NHS ‘safer for patients’. NHS England chief, Simon Stevens, has gone as far as claiming that NHS England “has set new standards for openness and transparency in all of its operations, compared with what went before.” The rhetoric is clear. But how transparent is the new NHS? Not very, it turns out. NHS England is one of the only (if not the only) government body that does not regularly publish how it spends our money. Given that they are stewards of the NHS’s £95 billion budget, this matters.

Click on the link to read and sign the petition’s-money-going


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A 17 year old granddaughters view of her grandfather with dementia

Thank you Jill Edwards Thomas for allowing me to share this beautiful but sad video filmed by your daughter

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Older people in care homes – Watch the ITV Wales program

Wales This Week speaks to those at the heart of the care sector in Wales, including those who have felt let down by the standard of care which is offered by homes in their area. Jill Edwards Thomas is one of the people interviewed on the shocking care her father had in a care home. Please watch

Please click on the link to watch


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My daughter diagnosed her own brain tumour after being turned away by numerous doctors – Daniel Sencier

A hard hitting but great comment to my blog on Monday 10th November, from my lovely daughter Lucienne, who eventually ‘self diagnosed’ her own brain tumour, after doctors and specialists that she went to for help, repeatedly turned her away… Daniel Sencier

My Comment: Spoken from the heart from one who thank goodness had the good sense to say “This is my life” And not put all her trust in the hands that are supposed to help her… Joanna


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Please Vote For Me – 2015 Blog Awards

Dear Friends, I need your help please. I have entered my blog into the UK 2015 Blog Awards. The blogs that receive the most public votes go through to the next stage. Here are the links. I have entered in two categories, please vote in both and share. Voting ends 3rd Dec 2014  #UKBA15

PR, Marketing, Media, & Comms


2015 Blog Awards

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Whistleblowing – Personal issue or does this need of further investigation? You decide – by Fiona Bell

Read the attachment then tell me is this a personal employment issue or does this require further investigation as I have requested. This is the response you get from those in power , when you blow the whistle in order to save life, 600 submissions to the Francis review so far, I really thought having met those in power many times now, they would realise, we really do expect change , not more bullshit. Fiona Bell

Dear Mr Hunt,

 Below is the response from your office from my email highlighting the concerns of a whistle blower , The concerns raised were advising of a nurse whom allegedly went around turning off the drips off elderly end of life patients in order to speed up their deaths .

 Therefore I would like some one to explain to me and the public , how this is a personal employment matter? I’m pretty sure if you asked any member of the public, ” is this a personal employment issue or a matter that requires further investigation and full support for the whistle blower,”? Common sense would prevail and the public would expect a full investigation of all allegations.

 The bog standard response from your office is part of all that is wrong and only aids those trying to cover up wrong doing. Quite frankly a disgrace that the DoH continue their “business as usual approach towards the whistle blower” it does not inspire confidence for the future or any future recommendations that may be made by the review .

 For the record I am not asking for a discussion, I am requesting that these allegations are investigated fully by an independent body.

 There are far too many whistle blowers left without employment and astoundingly still, in some very recent cases gagged , Those that cover up or do wrong are promoted or let go quietly.


 Fiona Bell                                                 10169444_10152798072303449_1913700109705851265_n

The Reply 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: <>
Date: 6 November 2014 16:53
Subject: Response to your Query : – Ref:DE00000892418 – your recent correspondence to Jeremy Hunt and Ed Jones

Dear Ms Bell,

Thank you for your correspondence of 14 October to Jeremy Hunt and Ed Jones about Mr xxxxxx. I have been asked to reply.

The Department of Health has noted the concerns in your correspondence. However, as mentioned in previous replies to you, ministers and Department of Health officials are not in a position to discuss personal employment issues.

Thank you for raising your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Vooght
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health

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Assisted dying will be made legal in UK ‘within two years’

A change in the law that will allow terminally ill people to be helped to end their lives is inevitable and will happen within as little as a couple of years, according to the deputy chair of the British Medical Association (BMA). Speaking in a personal capacity, Dr Kailash Chand has thrown his weight behind Lord Falconer’s private members bill, which would offer assisted dying to terminally ill patients who are deemed mentally capable and are likely to have less than six months to live. On Friday, the House of Lords voted unanimously to accept an amendment to the assisted dying bill, tabled by Lord Pannick and supported by Falconer,  that would see all applications for assisted death subject to judicial oversight. The move was welcomed by campaigners as a major step in changing the law. Chand said it was clear that momentum was now swinging behind those pushing for reform.

Click on the link to read more

Lord Falconer reveals diet

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NHS crisis warning over killer winter bug

BRITAIN is in the grip of an early winter sickness bug crisis that could wreak havoc on the NHS. Cases of deadly norovirus have been gathering pace in the past month and experts are warning of the impact on hospitals. More than 1,000 people are officially confirmed to have been struck by the virus since the start of July. But thousands more cases are thought to have gone unreported. In October, there were 18 outbreaks in hospitals hitting 130 patients and 57 staff and all but one caused ward closures, according to health officials. Since July, 767 patients and 264 staff were confirmed as having norovirus, which causes fever, headache, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. Public Health England last night pleaded for anyone who suspects they have norovirus to stay away from doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.

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Dying patient’s last wish comes true as she is reunited with beloved horse for final time

Dying Sheila Marsh was given this one last chance to see her favourite horse after it was brought to her hospital bedside by caring staff. The 77-year-old grandmother-of-four was clearly delighted as horse Bronwen gently nuzzled her just a few short hours before she died of cancer. The scene – photographed at Wigan Royal Infirmary in Greater Manchester after staff moved the patient’s bed outside – reduced everyone to tears. Daughter Tina, 33, said: “I was crying my eyes out and all the nurses were crying too  “She took comfort out of it and it was a beautiful moment.

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How wonderful. It shows that there are still people out there who have compassion for our fellow man xxx

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Stranded in his pyjamas and covered in a flimsy blanket, this is how a 95-year-old great-grandfather was left ‘in agony’ for TEN HOURS waiting to leave hospital after pneumonia

Huddled in a wheelchair, wearing just his pyjamas and a thin dressing gown, a filmsy blanket draped over him. Stranded, ‘in agony’, freezing and longing for a bite to eat. That was how 95-year-old Arthur Wilson was found, 10 hours after he was told he was to be discharged from Warrington Hospital after suffering from pneumonia.  The great-grandfather, who was waiting to be taken back to his care home, was found in the ‘freezing’ discharge lounge, where he had been left all day. His daughters said they are ‘outraged’ after seeing their elderly father, who had been admitted two weeks earlier, sitting in his pyjamas covered with a single blanket. Mr Wilson, who suffers Paget’s disease – a painful bone disorder – had not been fed all day and was left ‘in agony’ from sitting in his wheelchair.

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Would the staff in that hospital left their own father in that condition? It’s just shocking how they have become distant to the human race with care and compassion

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How to cope with Grief and Loss

I came across this brilliant website on how to cope with Grief and Loss. Please share with others who you may feel it will help.

Our Mission

To create universal awareness and understanding of grief and provide a virtual community, without geographical boundaries, where individuals can connect, heal and memorialize their loved ones.

Our Vision

To create an environment where individuals can affirm that the emotions associated with grief are normal, and where they can feel safe to express their grief. To offer our users access to information about local community support services that can help them through bereavement and healing.

Please click on the link



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Doubling of NHS trusts which can’t balance books

The future of the NHS is at risk, MPs have warned, as they highlight “deeply alarming” figures showing the number of hospitals being bailed out by Government has doubled in a year. A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) shows that in the last financial year, 31 hospitals have received handouts to the tune of half a billion pounds. The previous year, 16 trusts received financial help, amounting to £263 million. Meanwhile, the gross deficit of NHS trusts has almost tripled in just 12 months, reaching £743m in 2013/14, the figures show, a trend described as “extraordinary”. Last year, 63 trusts ended the year in the red, compared with 25 the previous year

Click on the link to read more

Click on the link to read the  full report from the National Audit Office




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Patients fear being victimised when they complain to NHS and those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff

Patients who dare to complain about poor NHS care are made to feel frightened and left exhausted and disheartened, a report warns. Many of those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff who denied doing anything wrong. Others said they feared that pursuing the complaint would cause staff to treat them even worse out of spite.  The Patients Association report found that half of complaints were not handled well and warned that the culture of secrecy in the NHS had barely changed since the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, in which hundreds died due to neglect. An inquiry 18 months ago led by Sir Robert Francis QC called for sweeping reforms to the Health Service to make it more transparent. But the charity says that, based on patients’ experiences, there is little evidence of a culture shift.  Figures show that more than 3,300 complaints are made against NHS hospitals and GP surgeries by patients and their families every week – up by 5 per cent in a year, partly because the public are becoming more inclined to speak up. The Patients Association surveyed 1,200 people who had all complained about poor care experienced by themselves or a loved-one. Nearly half said the issue was poorly handled and a quarter said staff were unhelpful or defensive. Half were concerned that following up the complaint would make staff deliberately treat them or their loved-ones badly

Click on the link to read more

Copy and paste the link to download The Patients Association New Complaints Charter

One year on from the Clwyd-Hart report, NHS complaints system still not fit for purpose, despite numerous calls for reform.

Complaints distressing, difficult and frequently produce little result, say patients…



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Ashya King shows signs of progress in new video

The family of Ashya King have released a video of the youngster playing with others. The five-year-old, who has a brain tumour, is seen taking and placing toys, spelling his name out and acting out how to play the piano. He appears alert and lively in the video. Ashya also smiles happily when he is praised for answering quesitons correctly. Ashya was taken from Southampton General Hospital, to Prague by parents Brett and Naghmeh, of Southsea, for proton beam therapy. The video was posted by his brother Naveed King on Facebook. Mr King, whose life was turned upside down when he and his wife were arrested in Spain after fleeing a Southampton hospital with Ashya, has said they are still worried their son would be taken from them if they returned to England. The family is now back in Spain after Ashya’s treatment at the Prague clinic ended.

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Robbie Powell: CPS to review schoolboy’s death 24 years ago

The death of a schoolboy 24 years ago from a treatable condition is to be re investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service. Robbie Powell, 10, from Ystradgynlais, Powys, died at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital, of Addison’s disease in 1990. An inquest into his death in 2004 found he died of natural causes aggravated by neglect, but the CPS said no criminal charges should be brought. A letter to his family confirms the case will be looked at again. Since Robbie’s death his father William Powell has mounted a long campaign to get a public inquiry into the case.

My comment: Will has been fighting for 24 years to get to the truth with all the cover ups etc. NEVER GIVE UP…. Joanna Slater

Click on the links to read more



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Arthritis ‘wonder drug’ left me seriously ill and fighting for justice

Barbara Petty still wanting answers – a decade after Vioxx has been removed from the market over link to increased risk of heart attack and stroke She was fit and healthy with everything to live for but a so-called arthritis wonder drug has left life is a daily struggle for one woman. Almost a decade after Vioxx was removed from the market Barbara Petty, 62, is still fighting for justice. She she believes her health problems today all stem from taking the controversial medication. Barbara, who lives with husband Alex, in Dunmurry, Co Antrim, was first prescribed Vioxx by her GP in 1999.

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Own up to mistakes, hospital staff told: New guidelines will order doctors and nurses to apologise to patients and families

Doctors and nurses are being ordered to own up to their mistakes and to say sorry to patients and families. The joint guidelines from the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council instruct staff to report an error immediately to prevent a repeat. Figures show as many as a fifth of all hospital trusts are under-recording mistakes and near-misses – some of which have fatal consequences.  They include ‘never’ events such as the wrong organs being removed, swabs left inside patients or overdoses of drugs.

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Help us defeat dementia in Down’s syndrome – Published by University of Cambridge

A team at University of Cambridge are looking at Dementia in people with Down’s syndrome. They are looking at a chemical called Amyloid in the brains of people with Down’s syndrome. They think that this chemical might cause memory problems, and they would like to know more about how it does this in people with Down’s syndrome.

Their long term objective is to understand why people with Down’s syndrome are at risk for memory problems so that safe treatments can be developed that might prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down’s syndrome, and in the general population.

If you have Down’s syndrome or know someone with Down’s syndrome over the age of 40, who might be interested to hear more about this study,  please contact the team using the link below.

A short movie about the study is available to watch below:

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Dementia factsheets – What is dementia and Supporting a person with dementia

In partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, Bild have created two Easy Read factsheets on dementia for people with learning disabilities.

Bild believe it is important that people with a learning disability have access to up to date and accessible information about dementia given that most people know someone with the condition – a family member, a friend, a neighbour.

Click on the link to download factsheets


factsheet 1 what is dementia     factsheet 2 supporting a person with dementia

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Amazing gamma knife machine removes brain tumours without general anaesthetic

THE final minutes before entering an operating room for surgery lasting 13 hours to remove a large tumour from her brain still haunt Ellen Beardmore: “Waiting to be wheeled down for open brain surgery is absolutely terrifying,” she says. “All you think is: ‘I am going to die,  I am going to die’.” Seven months later Ellen had gamma knife surgery, a revolutionary new treatment, to stop the remaining parts of the tumour from spreading inside her brain, and the experience was incomparable. “When I went into the gamma knife machine I was a bit unsure of what was going to happen but I was awake the whole time and could not feel anything. “If I had the choice I would not go through open surgery again.” She spent eight days in hospital and five weeks off work after the open brain surgery but needed just a day off after the gamma knife procedure. The 27-year-old, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, who has made a full recovery, was fortunate to live near one of only seven gamma knife machines in England, yet only four of these are being used by the NHS, due to lack of funds. Two treat only private and foreign patients, while one at the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield has been mothballed. It is no wonder Ellen is one of many who are calling for NHS England to make this advanced radiotherapy available to every cancer patient who could benefit.

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Cancer survival rates slip back as too many sufferers diagnosed in A&E not by GPs

Cancer survival rates for some forms of the disease are going “backwards”, figures have revealed. People diagnosed with 19 out of the 24 most common cancers are living longer. But survival rates over five years for bladder, thyroid, Hodgkin lymphoma, testicular and mesothelioma fell, the Office for National Statistics. But in addition to the historical data, the ONS has for the first time produced predictions of survival rates for those diagnosed with cancer in 2013 over a one-year and five-year period. Experts voiced their disappointment at the statistics.

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cancer-tablesMen cancer-tablesWomen

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Care home staff would back use of CCTV, suggests survey from HC-One

As the media spotlight has intensified, and public trust in care operators and regulators has fallen, the debate on how to prevent abuse and malpractice in care homes has become increasingly focused on whether visible cameras are part of the solution. In the summer of 2014, HC-One launched an innovative consultation to ask Residents, relatives and staff members whether they would support the introduction of an opt-in, visible camera scheme. In the following report, we publish the results of the consultation, collated from Residents, relatives and colleagues, which we hope help to inform the public, and start an industry-wide debate on the use of cameras as a tool to stamp out malpractice in care homes.

Click on the link to read the full report


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Whistleblower calls for support to stop nurses quitting profession – By Nicola Merrifield – Nursing Times

Leading nurse whistleblower Helene Donnelly has urged the profession to support fellow workers to ensure “much-needed” nurses and carers do not leave their posts.

Addressing the Nursing Times Awards last night, Ms Donnelly said nurses should help each other to deal with the “ever-increasing pressure” staff members are experiencing. She said there was a feeling among the profession that nurses were not valued and their goodwill was being exploited.  “Well this must change,” said Ms Donnelly, who whistleblew about the care failings she witnessed at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and gave evidence to the Francis Inquiry. “I’m immensely proud of the nursing profession and the NHS,” she said. “We’ve collectively taken a huge battering in recent times…. If we support, empower and enable each other to deliver the best possible care we can at all levels throughout the profession and wider, we will achieve this change.”  She added: “I know that many of us feel so undervalued and so exhausted by ever-increasing pressure they feel they have no option but to leave the profession.

Click on the link to read more

Whistleblower calls for support to stop nurses quitting profession




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Kay, My Beautiful Elegant Mother

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