Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

* Welcome to Strength in Numbers *

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never 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.

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.


My Mother’s story

I self published a book called ‘The Last Six Months’ documenting every day of the six months when my mother Kay originally went into hospital for a routine hip operation. Whilst still in hospital sadly six months later she died after a series of tragic events.

Writing is very cathartic, and it helped me to release the sadness I had. The book also contains 50 more heartbreaking stories sent to me by my followers.

Buy on  or Amazon Kindle

Book cover

Twitter icon-twitter  @joannaslater

Facebook  sm_facebook_16x16


Filed under: Uncategorized

Update on MyNotes Medical August 2015

We are continuing to develop MyNotes Medical and are confident that the program once launched will help patients and carers manage their healthcare. I will keep you all informed in the coming months of its progress.

Thank you to all that have supported MyNotes Medical



Filed under: Uncategorized

Babies born in NHS hospitals at weekends ‘have lower survival rate’

Babies born at weekends in NHS hospitals are more likely to die in the first week of life than those delivered on weekdays, new research suggests.

Experts estimated 770 more babies die annually and 470 more infections occur among new mothers than would happen if performance was consistent across the week. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), were based on a study of 1.3 million births in England between April 2010 and March 2012. The death rate among babies was 7.3 per 1,000 delivered at weekends – 0.9 higher than for weekdays. However, there was no consistent link between death rates and staffing level.

Nevertheless, the study is likely to feed the debate over the state of weekend NHS services. A separate study published in the BMJ in September showed that around 11,000 more people die every year within 30 days of admission to hospital on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday compared with other days of the week. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt used those figures as part of his drive to create a seven-day NHS.

The latest results showed that “babies born at the weekend had an increased risk of being stillborn or dying in hospital within the first seven days”, researchers from Imperial College London said.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, , ,

Poor hospital care blamed for thousands of deaths from sepsis every year: Nearly half of patients die or end up disabled because cases are diagnosed late

  • Condition affects estimated 200,000 people a year in UK and kills 37,000
  • Sepsis occurs when bacterial infection sparks violent immune response
  •  Early signs of condition include fever, inflammation and blood clotting
  •  But warnings are often missed by doctors and can lead to heart failure

Basic failings in hospital care are contributing to thousands of deaths from sepsis every year, according to a damning report. Known as the ‘silent killer’, the condition affects an estimated 200,000 people a year in Britain and kills 37,000 – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Early signs of sepsis – which usually occurs when a bacterial infection sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs – include fever, inflammation and blood clotting. But these warnings are often missed by doctors and, if not recognised quickly, can lead to failure of the heart, liver, kidneys or lungs. It is the leading cause of avoidable death in the UK.

An audit, conducted by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death, found that there were delays in diagnosing sepsis in 36 per cent of cases, rising to 52 per cent in severe cases.  Even when the condition was suspected, treatment to bring it under control was not always given quickly. The report found that a third of hospitals had no formal protocol for tackling the problem and that 45 per cent of patients admitted with sepsis either died or suffered a major disability.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, , ,

Nine in 10 GPs fear missing symptoms due to workload – survey

One in 10 say they feel so overworked and disillusioned that they will quit in the next year, and 97% say morale has worsened

Nine out of 10 GP’s fear they will miss a vital clue about a patient’s illness during a consultation because they are so busy, a poll of family doctors reveals. And one in 10 say they feel so overworked and disillusioned with the rising demand for care, endless paperwork and the push for seven-day GP services that they will quit in the next year.

The findings, contained in a poll of 504 GPs from across the UK undertaken last month by ComRes on behalf of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), underline the growing doubts about the government’s pledge to increase the number of family doctors in England by 5,000 by 2020. The survey found that 88% of respondents worried about missing something serious during an appointment with a patient because of their workload.

“It is OK now and again to have a really busy day, but at the moment in general practice it’s relentless, and that is a threat to our own health and our patients’ safety,” said Dr Maureen Baker, the chair of the RCGP. “Tired GPs are more likely to make mistakes, be it missing a potential symptom or making a paperwork error, and the results of our survey today show that this is a very real concern for a huge number of family doctors. “Demand on general practice is increasing and the resources and workforce available to us are so lacking that individual GPs are currently seeing too many patients a day to be safe. And then at the end of a long day in clinic, we will still have a mountain of paperwork to get through.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: GP's, , ,

2,300 assaults on West Midlands NHS staff in a year

There have been more than 2,300 physical assaults on NHS staff in the West Midlands in the last year.

Nationally, there were 67,864 attacks throughout in 2014/15. The figures have been released by NHS Protect and show that many of the attacks were the result of ‘medical factors’ – by people who did not know what they were doing due to illness, treatment or severe learning disability. The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs New Cross, reported a total of 102 violent incidents.

Of those assaults, 77 were the result of medical factors and 25 were without. There were 340 assaults at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, 306 with medical factors and 34 without.

Toby Lewis, chief executive said: “We actively encourage staff to report all incidents of physical assault so that we can put measures in place to address safety and security.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Mental Health, NHS, ,

Raid on health department funds to pay for frontline NHS services by Sarah Neville, Public Policy Editor –


As negotiations continued this week over the settlement for health, government insiders argued that the “ring fence”, which ensures spending on the health service rises at least at the rate of inflation, applied to the NHS but not to other areas of health department spending. The move raises the prospect of cuts to areas of expenditure such as public health, nurses’ and doctors’ education and capital for maintaining and expanding NHS infrastructure. However, it would allow George Osborne to argue that he was putting money into frontline services as he implements a promise to give the service an additional £8bn a year by 2020.

Total department of health spending in England in 2014-15 stood at £113bn, compared with the NHS England budget of £98bn. That leaves £15bn outside the ring fence: £11bn of revenue funding, with public health and clinical training consuming the lion’s share; and £4bn of capital. This unprotected expenditure could be put into frontline services run by NHS England.

Click on the link to read

Raid on health department funds to pay for frontline NHS services



Funds for areas such as public health and nurses’ training look set to be raided for money to pour into frontline NHS services in next week’s spending review.

Filed under: NHS, ,

NHS whistleblower fears patients will die as he leaks image of suffering patients

Ambulance worker Martin Jackson turned whistleblower to hand over a shocking picture of seriously ill people queuing on stretchers to be checked in at A&E

A NHS whistleblower fears ­patients will DIE in corridors due to the crisis in hospital. The warning from ambulance ­worker Martin Jackson came as he ­handed over this shocking picture of seriously ill patients on stretchers queuing to be checked in at A&E.

He said they waited for two hours. The hospital denied it was that long. The photo was taken at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington which opened in June and has been described as a “vision for the NHS”. But Mr Jackson, 51, said: “It’s only a ­matter of time before a patient dies on a stretcher waiting to be seen, the Sunday People reports.

He said centralising A&E care for serious illness and injury in such ­“super” hospitals at the expense of other NHS units was not good for patient care. He believed it meant longer travel time for patients and waits for ­ambulance crews.

Click on the link to read more


Worries: Martin Jackson fears a patient will die on a stretcher

Filed under: A&E, Whistleblowing, , , ,

Michael Parkinson warns that visiting some care homes dealing with dementia patients is ‘like going back to Victorian times’

  • Veteran broadcaster’s mother died with dementia at the age of 96
  • He has now warned others about conditions in some care homes
  • Sir Michael says people caring for relatives not to be afraid to complain

Sir Michael Parkinson has urged those looking after people with dementia to check care homes very carefully. He has likened the ‘appalling standards’ he saw after his own mother’s battle with dementia as ‘like going back to the Victorian times and bedlam.’ The veteran broadcaster and former chat show host has urged people caring for relatives with dementia not to be afraid to ask difficult questions or complain if they are worried about the standard of care their loved ones are receiving.

He said: ‘You should be very careful – if you can be and you have a choice – about where you send them. And keep your eye out and don’t be frightened of complaining. Ask what’s happening, what’s going on, because sometimes the care is not sufficient, I have to say.’  Sir Michael’s mother Freda Rose died with dementia at the age of 96 after battling the condition for several years. He has spoken movingly about the pain of watching his ‘sharp and articulate’ mother become ‘a total stranger.’ He said that Freda, who was cared for in several homes of varying standards while she was ill, hated being patronised or shouted at despite not being deaf.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Care Homes, Dementia, Elderly, , ,

NHS mandate consultation expires in two days but critics argue Department of Health kept it ‘quiet’

There is only two days left to share your views on the NHS mandate consultation, which will set the objectives and budget of the health service in England for the next five years. Critics have accused the Department of Health of keeping the consultation “quiet” and only giving members of the public a month to reply to a “pretty important” document, published on the Government’s website on 29 October.

The deadline for the consultation is 23 November and a new mandate will be published after the completion of the spending review due to take effect from April 2016. The consultation is made of five questions and asks members of the public if they agree with the mandate, its priorities and objectives, and if they think NHS England should consider anything else.

On Friday, the Department of Health said it enlarged the size of its inbox after it overloaded with answers to the consultation following a Guardian article

Click on the link to read more



Filed under: NHS

Up to 600 stillborn babies a year ‘are dying needlessly because of blunders by doctors and midwives’

  • Doctors and midwives accused of failing to intervene when babies become distressed in the womb
  • Inquiry was commissioned by the Department of Health and conducted by Oxford University
  • Comes as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt launches drive to halve the number of stillbirths and deaths among new babies and mothers
  • UK had one of the highest rates of stillbirth in Europe in 2013

A confidential inquiry commissioned by the Department of Health is set to reveal that the lives of half of all stillborn babies could be saved every year in the UK. The report accuses doctors and midwives of failing to intervene in enough cases when the fetus is distressed in the womb, resulting in 600 avoidable deaths every year.

Approximately 1,200 babies are stillborn every year, but the inquiry conducted by Oxford University is expected to reveal that in many cases the deaths could have been prevented by closer monitoring and intervention to deliver the baby before the complications became serious. It is not the first time research has shown that the deaths of some full-term babies could be avoided, something campaigners have been keen to highlight for years.

Janet Scott, research and prevention head at Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, said: ‘If you knew that there were hundreds of avoidable deaths from some particular cause among infants or children or even adults, people would take that very seriously and that would be addressed. ‘It is mystifying that this doesn’t apply to this group of babies. ‘Very often, the things that go wrong are due to failure to identify risk during pregnancy and failure to act on a risk that has been identified.’

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS Blunders, ,

Hunt condemns junior doctors’ ‘extreme’ three-day strike proposal

Ballot expected to approve industrial action with warnings from NHS bosses of serious disruption at busy time

Jeremy Hunt has condemned what he described as “extreme action” after the British Medical Association (BMA) said junior doctors would take strike action on three days in December. The health secretary is gearing up for a fierce battle with the profession, despite NHS bosses and leaders of the medical profession warning him that a protracted dispute will seriously disrupt services just when they are under the most pressure.

The BMA said junior doctors would walk out on 1, 8 and 16 December over a new contract Hunt is threatening to impose on them if, as expected, their ongoing ballot approves industrial action. “Threatening extreme action is totally unwarranted and will harm vulnerable patients. Refusing to talk to a government that wants to improve weekend care for patients and reduce doctors’ hours can only damage the NHS,” said Hunt on Thursday.

Junior doctors, 20,000 of whom staged a protest march in London last month, are furious that the proposed new contract will hugely extend the hours in any week for which they are paid basic rates of pay from the current finish-time of 7pm on weekdays to 10pm and, crucially, will also include Saturday up until teatime for the first time. They are also worried that safeguards that stop hospitals forcing them to work dangerously long hours, and the current banding system which dictates how much they are paid, especially in overtime, will both disappear.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

Oxfordshire health watchdog reports ‘shocking cases’ dignity care report

“Shocking” cases of patients not being treated with dignity in care have been uncovered by a health watchdog.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire also highlights staff fears that “workforce pressures” are making it harder for them to deliver acceptable levels of care. Its report, written with Age UK, was based on 161 patients and 57 staff completing questionnaires, as well as six focus groups and 10 case studies. The majority of patients were still treated with dignity, the report added. Patients with communication difficulties and dementia were particularly unhappy with their care.

One patient, who had suffered a stroke, said she was left for hours in her own excrement. She said: “I was sedated and my health needs were neglected.” Another described finding her mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, “soaked, dirty” and ignored by nurses.

Their report said that, in a small number of cases, their experiences were “shocking”.

‘Much can be improved’

A woman who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, a condition which causes severe facial pain, said that while she was normally treated with respect, on one occasion she was called “unclean” by a staff member when she was in too much pain to wash. Healthwatch also found people were often reluctant to complain and did not always feel properly involved in decisions about their care. But 93% of patients who responded said they had been treated with dignity or respect “some of the time”, “most of the time” or “always”.

While patients were receiving “a high level of dignity in their care”, Healthwatch chief executive Rachel Coney said there was “still much that can be improved about how people are treated”. The report, written in partnership with charity Age UK, said the county’s care organisations have made commitments to improve. These include drawing up formal dignity standards, reviewing staff training, and involving patients more in decision making.

BBC News


Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, ,

Stafford Hospital deaths: NHS Trust admits four charges

The NHS trust that ran Stafford Hospital has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in relation to four deaths.

Charges were brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) against the now defunct Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. There were four allegations of health and safety breaches relating to patients who died between October 2005 and May last year. The trust remains in place as a legal entity but was dissolved last November. A new trust began to run the hospital, now called County Hospital, on 1 November 2014.

The HSE said the charges related to the deaths of:

  • Patrick Daly, aged 89, on 13 May 2014
  • Edith Bourne, aged 83, on 22 July 2013
  • Ivy Bunn, aged 90, on 6 November 2008
  • Lillian Tucker, aged, 77 on 21 October 2005

The court heard three of the deaths occurred after falls, while another happened after a patient was given penicillin despite hospital staff being told she was allergic to the antibiotic.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, , ,

Jack Adcock trial: Nurse guilty of six-year old’s manslaughter

A nurse has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a six-year-old boy whose resuscitation was mistakenly called off.

Jack Adcock, who had Down’s syndrome, died of a cardiac arrest at Leicester Royal Infirmary in February 2011. Portuguese-born agency nurse Isabel Amaro, 47, was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. The jury is deliberating on the same charge for two other medics – Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba and nurse Theresa Taylor.

Jack, who had a heart condition, was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and died from a cardiac arrest after sepsis was triggered by a bacterial infection about 11 hours later. The trial has heard the boy’s death was caused by “serious neglect on the part of the doctor and the two nurses”. They failed to recognise his body was “shutting down” due to sepsis and close to death, the prosecution claimed.

Click on the link to read more


Jack Adcock

Filed under: Hospital, Named & Shamed, ,

How trust made secret 111 plan to hit all-important NHS targets

The deaths of up to 25 patients have come under investigation, after whistleblower reveals extent of policy that delayed help for seriously ill patients

In December last year, South East Coast Ambulance trust was facing major problems. Key NHS targets – to send an ambulance out within eight minutes for all cases designated as “life-threatening” were slipping far out of reach, with too few crews to send out to meet growing pressures as winter drew in. The creation of the controversial 111 phone line was supposed to ease demand for ambulances, making sure those with more minor needs could get help without an ambulance being dispatched.

Instead, the phoneline was adding to pressures on services, with fears that “risk averse” call handling were too often sending out ambulances. And so a plan was hatched. Behind closed doors, senior managers at the ambulance trust devised their own protocols. Any “life-threatening” calls which were sent their way would no longer get an automatic ambulance response.

Those which had been categorised as “Red 2”– life-threatening, but not the most immediately time-sensitive – would be allowed an extra ten minute delay, while the 999 service “re-triaged” them to decide on the best response. Such cases would still be counted as hitting the all-important NHS targets, implying that a response had still been received within eight minutes.

Click on the link to read more

EYF3DT South East Coast Ambulance Service Mercedes Ambulance in Eastbourne East Sussex UK with Stroke Act Fast sign attached blue light


Filed under: Whistleblowing, , ,

What a new government could do to improve our failing NHS – By Will Powell

With the General Election less than a month away, Will Powell asks what steps a new government could take to address the current faults within the NHS.

1.  Ensure that there is openness and transparency both in the providing of healthcare and how the NHS is being financially run.

2.  Ensure that all Managers and Chief Executives have the skill and expertise to provide the services they are being paid to provide. If not, either retrain them or terminate their employment. Everyone employed by the NHS should be a fit and proper person with integrity.

3.  Ensure that all doctors and nurses have the skill and expertise to provide the services they are being paid to provide. If not, either retrain them or terminate their employment.

4.  Ensure that any doctor, nurse or healthcare professional that is dishonest about mistakes are forthwith suspended, without pay, and referred to their regulatory body.

5.    Encourage the culling of exorbitant payment to lawyers defending indefensible medical errors.  Admit liability immediately as and when appropriate.

6.  Ensure that all failures in the providing of healthcare are identified and learned from to prevent repetition.

7.  Ensure that all complaints are robustly and independently investigated by first taking a statement of truth from the complainant. If appropriate apologise to the complainant and reassure them that all will be done to remedy any damage caused. Outlaw discrimination against the complainant and welcome complaints to improve NHS services.

8.  Introduce a mechanism that secures original/photocopies of the relevant medical records immediately following an adverse event.

9.  Appoint a Whistleblowers/Complainants Representative in every hospital, care home and GP practice.

10.  Appoint a Whistleblowers/Complainants Minister at the Department of Health to address any allegations of NHS cover ups.

11.  Ensure that all whistleblowers are protected by law and not discriminated against, or bullied by management, or anyone else for that matter. Any proven discrimination or bullying should result in instant dismissal or disciplinary action.

12.  Secure a statement of truth  from all Whistleblowers and provide the statement to the appointed Whistleblowers’ Minister and Whistleblowers’ Representative. Fully investigate the Whistleblower’s allegations without fear, favour or prejudice.

13.  Ensure that everyone employed by the NHS is held accountable for their actions and/or inactions and in particular when it is detrimental to patient safety issues and/or the financial running of the NHS.

14.  Appreciate and promote the very people within the NHS who best serve the public and their needs and not the wrongdoers as has been the case for far too long.

Will Powell

NHS Adviser for


Will Powell

Filed under: NHS,

Good care homes will be preserve of rich unless more funding given – ITV Report

High quality care will only be available to those who can afford it unless proper funding is offered to pay staff the new national living wage, a charity has warned.

Around half of the country’s care home staff – some 300,000 people – will be eligible for a pay rise when the new minimum rate of £7.20 an hour comes in next April. But a study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that this will cost the industry – already struggling beneath the weight of government cost-cutting and an ageing population – an extra £387 million a year. Care homes in areas with a large number of council-funded positions will be put at particular risk, the report warned. Joseph Rowntree Foundation chief executive Julia Unwin said the impact could be “devastating”.

‘The new national living wage is a welcome step towards a higher pay economy with lower need for welfare, and is good news for those working in traditional low-pay sectors, such as care. However, care homes are already under financial pressure and if proper funding is not provided to help with these additional costs, the Government risks creating a two-tier care home system where good care is only available to those who can pay for it. This would be devastating for those who are unable to meet these costs themselves, and would have an impact on the wider economy.

While many local authorities will struggle to meet higher wage costs without further investment, many care providers with self-funded residents will find that their current business plans allow them to absorb the cost.’




Filed under: Care Homes, ,

How an NHS hospital missed my broken back

Britain has become locked into a taxpayer-funded model which is no longer fit for purpose. If we don’t act soon it will be beyond repair

A study last year by the US based think tank, The Commonwealth Fund, found Britain’s NHS to be the best healthcare system in the world, outperforming by some margin other advanced economies that spend far more on health. Other international studies have not been nearly so flattering, but whether a credible assessment or not, my own recent experience of UK health provision does not chime with this starry eyed view of our “precious” value-for-money NHS.

Early last summer, I was stretchered into a London Accident and Emergency unit after being catapulted off my bike and landing at speed on the unforgiving concrete. A few hours later, following a cursory physical examination and a number of X-rays, I was discharged.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, ,

Around 500 GPs are needed to help save a struggling NHS in East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, according to a new report.

There is a warning that a GP crisis – which means ever-increasing waiting times in East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire – is deepening.

New figures have revealed 500 GPs are needed, with the NHS seemingly struggling to fill the void. Now it is having to turn overseas to help fill it. Fiona Dwyer reports:

Click on the link to watch the video report


Filed under: GP's, , ,

NHS neonatal intensive care units ‘stretched to breaking point’

Sick and premature baby charity Bliss says shortage of staff affects two thirds of units, and most work beyond safe capacity

Two thirds of NHS neonatal intensive care units do not have enough nurses and doctors, and a similar number are consistently working at higher than safe capacity, a charity has warned. A growing shortage of specialist nurses and doctors has left neonatal services “stretched to breaking point”, putting the safety of vulnerable babies at risk according to the report from the sick and premature baby charity Bliss.

It argues that without urgent action from the government and NHS England, the gap between the standards expected and the care provided will widen. “The government set out a comprehensive vision for neonatal care in 2009, with the publication of the toolkit for high quality neonatal services,” said Caroline Davey, chief executive of Bliss.  “Six years on and we are falling further behind on critical measures of quality and safety, and the shortfall in funding means units are simply unable to meet these standards.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Gosport panel appeals for concerned relatives to come forward

Gosport Independent Panel would like to hear from anyone who is concerned about the treatment of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital from the 1980s through to the early 2000s.

More than 80 families – concerned at the way in which their loved ones died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital – have contacted an inquiry examining the way patients were treated there.

An independent investigation into the deaths of 92 elderly people between 1988 and the year 2000 is being chaired by Bishop James Jones – who led the Hillsborough Inquiry. He says more relatives must come forward.

Andrew Pate has spoken exclusively to two sisters, whose mother AND father both died at the hospital within just three years of each other.

Click on the link to read more


The concerns at the hospital date back to the 1980s

Filed under: Hospital, ,

Statins add a mere three days to life

STATINS, the controversial heart drugs, add only three days to a patient’s life, research reveals.

The study contradicts the widely held view that they save lives and last night health experts demanded a radical overhaul in the use of the drugs – which have been linked with severe and debilitating side-effects such as diabetes, muscle pain and cataracts – claiming the research reveals patients have been “misled” over “exaggerated” benefits.

The British Medical Journal, which published the findings, called for a review of prescribing guidelines for statins which are routinely given to up to 12 million patients. Professor Jesper Hallas led the research, which assessed 11 major studies on statins, including patients at lower and high risk of heart disease. It followed patients for up to six years. The research compared patients who took the drugs with those who unknowingly took a placebo. It concluded: “Statin treatment results in a surprisingly small average gain in overall survival within the trials’ running time.”

Statins increased life expectancy by just three days for those people who did not already have a diagnosis of existing heart disease or associated symptoms. Patients who had already suffered a heart attack, stroke or associated symptoms increased their longevity by four days by taking statins.

Click on the link to read more



Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

‘I truly hope our loss is not in vain’ – mother of asthma death teenager Tamara Mills

The mum of a teenage girl who died from an asthma attack says she hopes that lessons will be learned from her family’s tragedy

South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney ruled that Tamara Mills’ death was contributed to by a lack of co-ordination between health professionals. The 13-year-old, who lived on the Woodbine Estate, South Shields, died on April 11, last year at South Tyneside District Hospital. She suffered a cardiac arrest after an asthma attack and could not be saved. Mr Carney said at the end of the four-day hearing: “The premature death of this young woman was contributed to by a lack of appreciation, and or reaction to the deteriorating nature of her chronic condition, and to the absence of any planning to direct, monitor, manage and co-ordinate her care.”

After the hearing, Tamara’s mum Dawn Wilson issued a statement through Browell Smith & Co Solicitors.

“I hope that the recommendations made in relation to the treatment of asthma patients in response to Tamara’s death will be implemented to prevent future deaths and other families suffering as we have. I truly hope that our loss has not been in vain”

Click on the link to read more


Tamara Mills

Filed under: NHS Blunders,

Leader of NHS junior doctors urges Jeremy Hunt to reopen negotiations

At London protest Dr Johann Malawana tells health secretary to stop lambasting junior medics, in bid to stop BMA strike

The leader of NHS junior doctors in England has urged Jeremy Hunt to stop treating them like “the enemy” and instead reopen negotiations in a bid to stop their threatened strike. Dr Johann Malawana told the health secretary he must stop lambasting junior doctors if he wants to settle a long-running dispute over his threat to introduce new NHS contracts.

“Stop attacking us. We are not the enemy. We are just health professionals who want to have a meaningful discussion. Talk to us, talk to us reasonably. Stop going to the press claiming that we are scaremongering”, said Malawana as he addressed a protest rally in central London attended by many thousands of junior doctors, their families and other health service personnel.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

Whistleblower outed by hospital bosses in cancer drugs cover-up: Health chiefs try to discredit and reveal name of professor

  • Professor revealed patients were needlessly put through chemotherapy
  • Had wished to remain anonymous after disclosing ‘macabre experiment’ 
  • Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust named whistleblower in a statement
  • Tried to discredit him by stating restrictions had been put on his ability to practice

An NHS whistleblower who revealed patients were needlessly put through the agony of chemotherapy has been outed by his bosses. The professor wished to remain anonymous after disclosing the ‘macabre experiment’ carried out by colleagues. But health chiefs tried to discredit him yesterday in a statement described as ‘obscene victimisation’.

The whistleblower had previously been gagged from warning the public about his concerns by bosses at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.  He was also subjected to racist abuse, which became the focus of a criminal investigation. Last night, MPs and campaigners demanded intervention from the Health Secretary. Former colleagues of the whistleblower also contacted the Mail to speak out about his ‘horrendous treatment’.

One said: ‘The whistleblower was one of the most valued members of staff. There has been a witchhunt to silence him. Instead of tarnishing his name they should apologise to the patients.’ The Daily Mail yesterday revealed how 55 patients aged between 49 and 83 were wrongly exposed to chemotherapy by two doctors between 2005 and 2009. The chemotherapy, which was administered against guidelines, was of no medical use to the patients because their type of cancer required different treatment. But it exposed them to horrific and unnecessary side effects including higher risk of fatal infections and lost fertility.

Click on the link to read more


The chemotherapy was administered in defiance of strict guidelines by oncologists Dr Margaret King, and Dr Mark Churn,  to patients with colorectal cancer

Filed under: Whistleblowing, , ,

State of Care 2014/15 – Report from the CQC

England’s health and social care system is under pressure. Changing care needs and tough financial demands have contributed to an environment where higher quality is hard won. But our inspections show that improvement is possible, and we must look to the best to understand what works and why.

Click on the link to read the report


Filed under: NHS, ,

Three-quarters of NHS hospitals inspected need to do more on safety, says CQC

Three-quarters of NHS hospitals in England are not safe enough, inspectors have found.

Some 13% of hospitals are “inadequate” for safety while 61% “require improvement”, according to a study from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The report offers the fullest picture yet of the state of care across England under a new “tougher” inspection regime headed by chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards.

It includes inspections of half of hospitals in the country but the study also found problems with safety at GP practices and nursing homes. A quarter of GP practices or GP out-of-hours services required improvement relating to safety, alongside a third of adult social care services. One in 10 social care facilities visited were ranked the lowest possible rating of “inadequate” for safety.

In hospitals, inspectors found examples of “disregard for patient safety”, including inadequate record-keeping, staff not being trained properly, incomplete safety checks and medicines not being kept properly. There was also “poor management of patients at risk of health complications” and examples of “disregard” for infection control.

The report said: “A major reason for failings in safety is insufficient numbers of staff and use of temporary staff. “This is particularly prevalent in medical care departments, where key safety risks are not always recognised, patient assessments can be poorly carried out and deteriorating patients are not always recognised.” Inspectors also reported “intense concern” about all places of care that were regarded as inadequate.

Click on the link to read more

Some 13% of hospitals are 'inadequate' for safety, according to a study from the Care Quality Commission

Some 13% of hospitals are ‘inadequate’ for safety, according to a study from the Care Quality Commission

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

NHS ‘backtracking’ on ward nurse numbers introduced after Mid Staffs

Critics fear safety will be sacrificed to cut costs after NHS bosses tell hospitals that 1:8 nurse-to-patient ratio is a guide, not a requirement

The NHS has been accused of backtracking on improvements in patient safety made after the Mid Staffs scandal by reducing the number of nurses on wards because of its growing financial crisis. NHS bosses have told hospitals they no longer have to ensure that one nurse is caring for no more than eight patients at a time, in order to help tackle a £2bn black hole that has left 80% of hospitals facing deficits of up to £100m each.

The letter states: “We would stress that a 1:8 ratio is a guide not a requirement. It should not be unthinkingly adhered to. Achieving the right number and balance of clinical and support staff to deliver quality care based on patient needs in an efficient way that makes the best possible use of available resources is the key issue for provider [hospital] boards.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

NHS agency staff cap ‘to save £1bn’

Ministers have set out details of how they aim to save the NHS £1bn on agency staff costs over the next three years.

In June, the government in England said agency spending was to be capped and it has now unveiled details of how that will work. From April, NHS trusts will not be able to pay more than 55% more to agencies than it costs to pay a member of staff for a shift. It comes amid mounting pressure on NHS finances.

Figures released last week showed trusts had overspent by £930m in the last three months – with agency spending highlighted as one of the biggest factors. Ministers believe the move will save £1bn by April 2018 – the equivalent of shaving 10% from the £3.3bn annual agency bill.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

How private healthcare patients are denied operations that are free on the NHS

  • Michelle Booth, 47, from Basingstoke slipped on oil and needed help
  • Should have been a straightforward claim on her private medical insurance
  • She has been waiting for 19 month after a series of absurd events 
  • Former healthcare assistant could have had treatment for free on the NHS

The instant she slipped on a patch of oil at the petrol station last year, Michelle Booth knew she’d need medical help. She’d already had surgery on the same knee a year earlier to repair damage caused by arthritis. But after her fall, the pain came roaring back.

Using health insurance through her husband Mark’s work, the 47-year-old mother and former healthcare assistant went to see a private knee specialist, who told her the fall had caused further damage and she needed surgery.

However, what should have been a straightforward claim on her private medical insurance turned into an absurd series of events which have left her, 19 months on, still waiting for treatment she could have had free on the NHS.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

Mental health time bomb warning as NHS ‘turns children away’

Mental health services are turning away one in five children who are referred to them for treatment, including youngsters who have been abused and neglected, a charity has found.

Mental health services are turning away one in five children who are referred to them for treatment, including youngsters who have been abused and neglected, a charity has found. The NSPCC warned of a “time bomb” of serious mental health conditions after it emerged that more than a fifth of children referred to NHS services for treatment for mental health issues were rejected.

Figures from 35 mental health trusts in England revealed that of 186,453 cases referred to them by family doctors and other professionals, 39,652 did not receive help. In six trusts where children who had problems associated with abuse or neglect were referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), 305 of the 1,843 cases were rejected – one in six.

The NSPCC said the lack of support for such children could lead to serious long-term mental health problems as young people are not getting the help they need early on.

Peter Wanless, the charity’s chief executive, said: “If children don’t receive the right kind of help and support following a disclosure, the damage can last a lifetime and include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or suicidal thoughts in adulthood.” Abused and neglected children were often denied treatment because their cases did not meet the “high clinical threshold” required at a CAMHS, the NSPCC said.

Click on the link to read more


Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive

Filed under: Mental Health, , , ,

Incredible animation shows EXACTLY how a woman’s body adjusts to give birth – as experts reveal just how much it hurts

  • Everyone knows that childbirth hurts, but how bad will the pain get? 
  • What happens in the delivery room – and what pain relief is available?
  • Here leading experts reveal the truth – and it may not be as bad as you fear 

It is the most natural thing in the world – a mother giving birth to her child. Millions of women across the world deliver their babies into the world each year, soon forgetting the agonising pain as soon as their tiny bundle of joy is placed in their arms. Babies can enter the world one of two ways, via a vaginal birth or Caesarean section.  In the case of a vaginal birth, a woman’s body adapts stretching and expanding where necessary to allow the baby to arrive safely into the world.

Now, a video animation reveals exactly how a woman’s body adjusts during childbirth.  Regular contractions signal the start of the process, occurring as the cervix dilates to accommodate birth.

Click on the link to read and watch the video


Filed under: Uncategorized,

Doctors ‘failed to spot’ Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey had fallen ill again

Toni Cafferkey says it was “absolutely diabolical” the way her sister was treated

The family of nurse Pauline Cafferkey have claimed doctors “missed a big opportunity” to spot she had fallen ill with Ebola again when she was told she had a virus when she attended a clinic. Toni Cafferkey said it was “absolutely diabolical” the way her sister, who originally contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone last year, had been treated.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday after feeling unwell. She has since been flown to the Royal Free Hospital in London where she is being treated in an isolation unit. Toni Cafferkey told the Sunday Mail that her sister had gone to a GP out-of-hours clinic at the Victoria Hospital in Glasgow on Monday night but the doctor who assessed her diagnosed a virus and sent her home.

She said: “At that point me and my family believe they missed a big opportunity to give the right diagnosis and we feel she was let down. “Instead of being taken into hospital, she spent the whole of Tuesday very ill.

Click here to read more


Pauline Cafferkey, 39

Filed under: NHS Blunders, ,

The Dementia Assistance Card

Who is behind this service? 

Caron Sprake. An award winning blogger, her blog offers advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly.
Caron is a Purple Angel Ambassador working in the UK to raise awareness about Dementia.

The dementia assistance card provides a clear and concise way for someone with dementia to ask for help in shops, restaurants etc and shows the contact number of a relative or friend in the case of an emergency.  The Dementia Assistance Card

Click on the link below to create and print the assistance card



Filed under: Dementia, , ,

UK end-of-life care ‘best in world’ Get in touch with the BBC to air your views

Now’s your chance to air your views….From the BBC… Has a family member or a friend of yours experienced end-of-life care in the UK? Let us know about their experiences. Email
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:
WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971
Send pictures/video to
Upload your pictures / video here
Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100

The study of 80 countries said thanks to the NHS and hospice movement the care provided was “second to none”. Rich nations tended to perform the best – with Australia and New Zealand ranked second and third respectively. But the report by the Economist Intelligence Unit praised progress made in some of the poorest countries. For example. Mongolia – ranked 28th – has invested in hospice facilities, while Uganda – 35th – has managed to improve access to pain control through a public-private partnership.

The rankings were worked out following assessments for the quality of the hospitals and hospice environments, staffing numbers and skills, affordability of care and quality of care. Just 34 out of 80 countries provided what could be classed as good end-of-life care – and these accounted for just 15% of the adult population.

The report said the quality of end-of-life care was becoming increasingly important with the ageing population, meaning people were increasingly facing “drawn-out” deaths. The UK received top marks for affordability – as would be expected for a service that is provided free at the point of need – but also got a perfect score for quality of care.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS,

Junior doctors – ‘no one understands the level of responsibility we have’

From listening to suicidal patients to looking after the sickest children in the UK, junior doctors are the backbone of the NHS

I am a 45-year-old mother of four – my youngest has cystic fibrosis. I graduated from medical school in 2010 – since then I’ve had two children in my 40s – and am currently an anaesthetics trainee with at least six years of training left. I live in Bristol and commute daily to Abergavenny in Wales, which is 75 minutes each way. Every day sees me getting up at 5.45am to get the children ready. I start work at 7.45am by seeing patients due to have an operation that day. I work supervised by a consultant, putting patients under anaesthetic and managing their airway and vitals while they are asleep. I also provide on-call services, seeing the sickest patients in the hospital. I admit them to the intensive care unit, provide pain relief, attend cardiac arrests and much more.

No one understands the level of responsibility junior doctors have; we are the backbone of doctors, providing care 24/7. Once I was managing five critically unwell patients in resus overnight as an acute medicine doctor. I needed to make quick life or death decisions, stay calm and focused in the middle of the night.

We sacrifice family time and our own welfare to care for others. In addition, we must work in our own time on mandatory exams, courses, publications, audits and much more. Though I work in Wales, which has rejected the junior doctors’ contract, my 43-year-old junior doctor husband works in England. The proposed pay cut means that one or both of us may be forced to find different work to pay the bills. Our family debt exceeds £80,000. The future looks very bleak indeed and I’m worried.

Every time I leave my children and go six days without seeing my husband or older daughters, or when I miss school events and find providing care for my child with cystic fibrosis a challenge, I consider leaving the medical profession. I care for patients sometimes at the expense of my family and that saddens me. This is why we cannot be pushed any further, it is not worth the cost. To say we lack vocation, altruism and professionalism is a deep and painful insult.

Sethina Watson, CT2 ACCS anaesthetics trainee, Wales

Click on the link to read more stories of these young dedicated health professionals


Filed under: NHS, , , ,

Wrong foot in the grave – EXCLUSIVE: Family kiss ‘dead mum’ goodbye… but she’s alive in ward next door

A DAUGHTER kissed her mum goodbye after being told she had died — then found seven hours later it was the wrong body.

Grieving Liz Page, 61, and husband Gerry, 72, were too upset to notice the hospital blunder when they were ushered into a cubicle. Liz said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was angry and delighted at the same time.” She added: “They said, ‘We’re very sorry, your mother’s not dead, she’s on another part of the ward.’ “They said the woman who died had a similar name and they pulled out the wrong file.”

A brain scan revealed some bleeding and Phyllis was put on oxygen. Liz and hubby Gerry spent the evening at her bedside before returning to their home nearby. Liz recalled: “I didn’t sleep very well and at about 4.50am I had a phone call from the hospital. “They said they were sorry to say my mum had passed away and asked if I wanted to see her. It was news I was expecting to hear.

“A nurse showed us into the cubicle. We were there about three or four minutes I suppose. “I just said, ‘Goodbye’ and kissed her forehead and came out.

Click on the ink to read more


Shock … Liz Page with mum Phyllis Lilley

Filed under: NHS Blunders,

Mother who released this desperately poignant picture of daughter who hospital insisted was stillborn launches drive for coroners to probe every full-term baby’s death in… Clara’s law

  • A study showed Britain has the highest stillbirth rate among 35 rich nations
  • Some 3,300 babies are stillborn each year, 1,000 of which are full term
  • Parents believe hospitals can falsify records to avoid damaging inquests 
  • Caroline Tully, whose daughter Clara was still born wants inquests for all 

Babies are dying needlessly in labour because stillbirths are not being properly investigated, campaigners claim. And hospitals are failing to learn vital lessons from the ‘catastrophic’ deaths, say experts.

Britain has the third highest rate of stillbirth among 35 rich nations, according to a study in The Lancet, with around 3,300 a year. Some 1,000 are at full term. Currently hospitals investigate stillbirths themselves – even if the baby dies just minutes before delivery. But parents say they can falsely record babies as stillborn to avoid potentially damaging inquests. Bereaved parents, legal experts and MPs last night said stillbirths occurring at delivery had to be reported to a coroner if future deaths were to be avoided.

Caroline Tully, who fought for an inquest after being told her daughter Clara was stillborn, said: ‘It doesn’t seem right that a full-term baby can be alive one minute, then die in labour, and there’s no external investigation.’ She wants a ‘Clara’s Law’ to make it a legal requirement for all deaths of full-term babies in labour to be reported to the coroner.

Click on the link to read more


Clara Tully-Hardman - daughter of Caroline Tully who was still born after a blunder at Warwickshire hospital. ***INTERNET IMAGE TAKEN FROM***

Caroline Tully fought for an inquest for her daughter, Clara, pictured, who was stillborn


Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Ministers ‘are hiding details of £2bn NHS cash crisis’

Tories accused of burying bad news with delayed figures on health service finances expected to show huge deficit

Government ministers have buried NHS statistics that show the service hurtling towards an unprecedented £2bn deficit to avoid overshadowing the Tory party conference, say top NHS officials. One senior figure at the health service regulator Monitor said his organisation had been “leaned on” by Whitehall to delay its report, which shows that NHS finances are worsening.

Neither Monitor’s quarterly report on how the NHS is faring, nor equivalent data from the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), have been published, as they usually are around the time of the organisations’ board meetings last month. Hospital trusts passed their information to the two regulators two months ago.

NHS insiders said it was “very, very odd” and significant that, in a departure from its usual practice, Monitor discussed the financial and treatment waiting time performance of the 152 foundation trusts it regulates in the private – rather than the public – session of its board meeting last Wednesday.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, , ,

Can You Help?

I found this page while looking on internet for help.
My dad is dying he has been in hospital for several weeks 1st they said kidney failure then too much potassium he had to have his blood filtered and cleaned(very poorly ICU 4days) on the mend then breathing became bad so they said its his lungs..then we were told he has heart failure. My dad then got so much better 3 days was great and thought he was coming home. Over night he went so bad again. Consultants told my mum there is nothing they can do but make him comfortable. They said not to give dialysis as he may have heart attack. I am seeing the consultant Monday for the 1st time and would really appreciate if anyone can help me with what questions I should ask. I am going to demand dialysis I cannot allow my dad to just rot and die without trying treatment. I would rather him die trying than to die with no hope. If he has a heart attack while having dialysis then at least its quicker than what he is going through now. People with some knowledge of my situation may be able to give advise to bombard consultant and back him in a corner so he cant wriggle out of agreeing to dialysis for my dad. Im not ready to lose my dad yet not without a fight.

Kindest regards

Karen Read

Please comment


Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Why GPs are quitting in droves: They get six-figure salaries and don’t have to work weekends or nights. Yet so many GPs are giving up it’s never been harder to see one. This major series examines the (very) disturbing reasons why

  • Figures reveal 10.2 per cent of full-time GP positions across UK are vacant
  • Only 61 per cent of vacancies can even be temporarily filled by locum staff
  • Ever-growing numbers of GPs are also choosing to take early retirement
  • In total 5,114 GPs have retired in England alone in the past three years 

There is a picture-postcard quality to Frinton-on-Sea, with its golden sands, Victorian-style beach huts and famous esplanade, where crowds of day-trippers spend the summer months laying out picnic blankets and licking ice creams. The genteel Essex town (population 5,500) has a station, six schools, seven churches, 27 restaurants and cafes and, to the delight of many residents of its comfortable retirement chalets, the UK’s 11th best golf club. Yet something has recently been missing — something very important. Because for most of the past year, Frinton has not had a single full-time GP.

There are more than 8,000 men, women and children registered at the Caradoc Surgery, the only NHS facility in town. Yet when the Daily Mail visited last month, there were no qualified doctors on its staff. That is because the last permanent family doctor still practising in Frinton took early retirement last year. Patients were left in the hands of a rolling cast of locums — or temporary GPs — shipped in to work on a shift basis. They therefore found it almost impossible to see the same doctor more than once.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: GP's, , ,

A national framework for local action on end-of-life care By Prof Bee Wee

Great strides have been made to recognise palliative and end-of-life care as an important area of healthcare, but more needs to be done. Here, Prof Bee Wee sheds some light on a new framework to make a big difference to people’s final days.

The primary purpose of the NHS – and the primary motivation of all health and care professionals for joining the NHS family – is to save, prolong and improve lives. But however hard we work and however skilfully we perform our duties, and however advanced the prevention, identification, treatment and care options available to us become, every life comes to an end. It’s therefore crucial that meeting the distinct needs of people who are reaching the end of their lives is a priority across the health and social care system, and for the professionals who work within it.

We’ve made great strides in the past in recognising palliative and end-of-life care as an important area of healthcare in its own right. Improving the experience of patients and their loved ones has also, quite rightly, been a consistent focus of campaigners, clinical leaders and politicians, leading to important pieces of work such as the 2008 national strategy for end-of-life care, and the 2011 NICE quality standard for end-of-life care.

But nobody would argue that we’re there yet. While a recent Office for National Statistics report found that 75 per cent of bereaved people rate the overall quality of end-of-life care for their relative as good or better, we know that there is much more we need to do, and particularly as there remains significant variation and inequity in the way care is provided and experienced.

Click on the link to read more

Click on the link to download the document ‘Ambitions for palliative and end-of-life-care’


Filed under: NHS

The tragic cost of NHS out-of-hours hotline’s descent into meltdown: Two babies died after parents were given wrong advice – as investigation finds ONE nurse on duty for 2 million people

  • Investigation reveals NHS out-of-hours hotline is in meltdown in part of UK
  • Staff shortages mean those with just three weeks training are overwhelmed
  • Hotline has missed answering targets for seven months, affecting 500,000
  • Two babies died after staff failed to recommend treatment to save them
  •  Up to 75 per cent of calls can go unanswered at busy times, research finds

The NHS out-of-hours hotline is in meltdown in parts of Britain, a Daily Mail investigation reveals today. Chronic staff shortages mean call centre staff with just three weeks of training are being overwhelmed. Lacking medical qualifications, they must follow on-screen computer prompts that often lead to a referral to a nurse. But so few nurses are on standby that at times there is only one to serve as many as 2.3million people.

The hotline, which replaced NHS Direct and deals with urgent cases, has missed its call-answering targets for the past seven months. Half a million patients were unable to speak to anyone at all during this time.

Evidence obtained by the Mail, including shocking testimony from an NHS whistleblower, reveals that:

  • A tick-box computer culture means call centre workers can miss vital symptoms;
  • Two babies died after staff failed to recommend treatment that could have saved them;
  • Up to 75 per cent of calls can go unanswered at busy times, with one case of an 11-hour wait for a call back;
  • Nurses have been told to prioritise routine calls over advising on serious cases so they can hit targets;
  • 111 staff believe the service is ‘completely unsafe’.

Click on the link to read more and watch the video


Former NHS 111 worker and whistleblower Irsah Tahir, 21 has waived her anonymity to raise her grave concerns

Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, , ,

Injured RAF sergeant moved from A&E waiting room over fears uniform might cause upset

An RAF airman was moved out of a hospital waiting room because staff feared his uniform may “upset” other patients, it has been reported.

According to the Sun, aircraft engineer Mark Prendeville, was taken to A&E at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, after chemicals from a fire extinguisher got in to his eyes during a training exercise.

The 38-year-old, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was taken to an empty corner of the waiting room before being moved behind a corner by hospital staff, the newspaper said.

His family was allegedly told by hospital workers that “they didn’t want to upset people” as they “have lots of different cultures coming in”.

Click on the link to read more


Mark Prendeville served in Iraq and Afghanistan

Filed under: A&E, NHS, , ,

Hospitals Have ‘No Plan’ For Seven-Day Services – Sky News investigation

Four out of five hospital trusts tell Sky they are still unsure over the costs and extra staffing needed to boost weekend care.

Most hospitals still have no idea how they are going to introduce comprehensive weekend care for patients despite months of political pressure, according to a Sky News investigation.

Freedom of Information requests show four out of five hospital trusts in England have not calculated the number of consultants they need, nor the likely cost of extending weekday services. The few trusts that have done the maths expect costs to run to several million pounds, piling more money worries on those already in deep deficit.

NHS England set out a plan two years ago to “drive seven day services across the NHS” and the Prime Minister said last May that it was a key priority for the Government. But our findings suggest that sense of urgency has yet to reach hospitals.

Dr Paul Flynn, chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants’ committee, told Sky News that hospitals are still confused over what services they have to provide and daunted by the likely costs.

Click on the link to read more and watch the video’s


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

Joanna Gosling interviews Sharmila Chowdhury (NHS Whistleblower) on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show, 24 Sept 2015

Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, ,

‘My son shouldn’t have died!’ Mother hits out at mental health trust over suicide risks



A mental health trust where two men were found hanged this year had failed to act adequately on recommendations going back a decade on how to minimise suicide risks to patients.

Seven in-patients have now died by hanging at the North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust since 2004, including the two in the first half of this year. The Bureau, which is investigating quality of provision in the care sector, has discovered that internal recommendations made after the first of these deaths were not adopted.

In the years since then, six more people have died and at least three other separate warnings and recommendations were issued, both from the healthcare regulator and internally. But when the Care Quality Commission regulator, carried out an unannounced inspection following a death in February this year, it found the risks had still not been fully addressed.

The recommendations focused on the issue of ligature points, such as on doors, windows and wardrobes. Most in-patient suicides on psychiatric wards occur as a result of hanging from these points.

Click on the link to read more


Melanie Leahy and son Matthew in 2010, two years before his death

Filed under: Mental Health, NHS, ,

Probe launched into first C difficile increase in eight years – By Will Hazell for Nursing Times.Net

The public health watchdog has launched an investigation after the number of Clostridium difficile incidents in the English NHS rose last year for the first time since 2007.

Public Health England said it was concerned by the increase in cases of the bacterial infection, which can lead to life threatening complications in some infected patients.  According to data in this month’s NHS England board papers, 2014-15 saw a 6% increase in cases of C difficile compared to the previous year.

Between April 2014 and  March this year, 14,165 cases were reported across the NHS, compared to 13,361 in 2013-14. This is the first annual rise since enhanced mandatory surveillance of the infection was introduced in 2007 as part of a major campaign by the Labour government against hospital bugs”.

Alan Johnson, head of PHE’s department of healthcare associated infection and antibiotic resistance, said the increase in cases of C difficile was “a concern”. However, he said it was too early to tell whether it was “just a short term fluctuation” in the downward trend which has been observed since 2007, or a “more sustained” increase. “PHE will continue to monitor the numbers of cases and is working with the NHS and wider health service to better understand the underlying epidemiology,” he said. Dr Johnson added: “Tackling C difficile infection continues to be a priority for PHE and across the NHS.”

While the number of C difficile incidents increased last year, it remains about 75% below the number of infections in 2007-08. The number of MRSA cases has continued to fall, decreasing by 7% in 2014-15 compared with the previous year. By Will Hazell 


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

UK NHS cancer patients denied drugs due to inflated prices – say experts

Research reveals how drug firms are charging health service such high prices, some treatments can no longer be offered

Cancer patients are being denied drugs on the NHS that could lengthen their lives because of unnecessarily exorbitant prices, say experts. The drugs are cheap to make, and are available to patients in some other countries at much lower prices, according to new research.

Patients in the UK have been told the NHS will not pay for two such drugs because they are not cost-effective and they have been dropped from the list reimbursed by the government’s special cancer drugs fund.

The price of lapatinib (brand name Tyverb), for breast cancer, was set at $36,000 (£24,000) per patient per year in the UK but costs $17,724 in Thailand. Dasatinib (Sprycel), for leukaemia, was priced at $33,739 in the UK but at $15,423 in Brazil.

The researchers also ask why the UK is not succeeding in obtaining better discounts from drugs the NHS does use. Even some other high-income countries manage to barter the manufacturers down to lower prices than in the UK.

Imatinib (Gleevec) – for leukaemia and some other cancers – costs $31,867 in the UK but $28,675 in France and just $8,370 in Russia. Sorafenib (Nexavar), for liver cancer, costs $57,232 in the UK but $49,715 in Spain and $44,543 in France.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

Ashya King’s Parents Put Him ‘At Risk’ – Report

I say “Bless Ashya’s parents” they saved his life and the quality of his life. I would have done the same, Joanna

Ashya King’s parents are criticised for taking him abroad for therapy in a report, which says he was “at risk of serious harm”.

The five-year-old was removed from Southampton General Hospital by Brett and Naghmeh King without doctors’ consent and taken to Prague for proton beam therapy in August 2014.

A report by Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Board into how agencies dealt with the case said he was placed “at risk of serious harm if anything untoward had happened with regard to the nasogastric tube”. It also added that the journey for Ashya to the Czech Republic “must have been difficult and if anything had gone wrong the consequences would have been significant”.

Mr King told Sky News tonight that the family has seen the report and has agreed with Portsmouth City Council that neither side will comment on its findings.  Last week, Ashya’s parents told Sky News they were pleased they’d decided on proton therapy as they returned to the Czech capital for a check on his progress.

Mr King said his son’s improvement had exceeded all expectations and Ashya was becoming “strong, more social and happier as a person”. “We are thankful that we did the research and we chose a treatment that was less aggressive than the one they were going to give to us because I’d hate to think with that treatment where would we be today,” he said.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, Self Help, ,

New report sheds light on top hospital complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

A report published 22 September 2015 has revealed that, similar to last year, the top three reasons for hospital complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the last financial year (2014-15) were poor communication, errors in diagnosis and poor treatment.

Non-medical aspects of patient care are cited as a factor in almost half of all complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Poor communication, including quality and accuracy of information, was a factor in one third of all complaints. Other reasons for complaints in this period included staff attitude and behaviour, which were factors in two out of 10 complaints.

The report outlines how many unresolved complaints the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigated for every acute trust in England and the final decision made.

Click on the link to read more

Click on the link to read the report

Complaints about acute trusts 2014-15



Filed under: NHS, , ,

Baby death at Shropshire maternity unit should be re-examined, says NHS review

The death of a baby girl hours after she was born at a Shropshire maternity unit should be re-examined, an independent review by NHS England has concluded.

Six years after the avoidable death of baby Kate Stanton-Davies, born at Ludlow’s midwife-led unit in March 2009, a review of the case has said a previous investigation into the case was “not fit for purpose” and called for it to be done again.

The report comes after years of parents Richard Stanton and Rhiannon Davies calling for an inquiry. A jury inquest in 2012 and an investigation by the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman in 2013 both concluded Kate’s death was avoidable and the result of serious failings in care. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SaTH) apologised to the couple in January but has now agreed to fully re-investigate the case and its handling of complaints.

Kate Stanton-Davies was born with anaemia at Ludlow Hospital before being transferred to Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital but died six hours after she was born. The 2012 inquest found that Kate would have survived if she had been born elsewhere and that the original classification of the pregnancy as low-risk was a contributory factor in her death.

Click on the link to read more


Rhiannon Davies, of Ludlow, with daughter Kate

Filed under: Hospital, NHS Blunders, ,

Man suffers stroke after stopping pills on doctor’s advice

A MAN suffered a stroke after being given incorrect advice about stopping his blood thinning medication.

According to the Scottish Ombudsman, the patient, named only as “Mr C”, was taking rivaroxaban, a drug that thins the blood to minimise the risk of strokes, when he was scheduled for non-emergency surgery. He was told to stop taking his medication seven days before his operation because of the risk of excessive bleeding during 
surgery. But four days after coming off it, he suffered a stroke.

 The ombudsman said the health board concerned – NHS Fife – and Mr C’s consultant had “appeared unclear” about whether Mr C was on rivaroxaban or warfarin. The board said it had followed guidelines for warfarin, as rivaroxaban was a very new type of medication. It also said Mr C was classed as a low risk of having a stroke and the advice he was given was accurate, but that in light of his complaint, it would develop further protocols for staff.

Mr C said he should not have been classified as low risk and should not have been advised to stop his medication.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS Blunders, , ,

‘Attacks’ lead father to quit maternity review

A grieving father resigns from the NHS review into maternity care over the failure to take into account the views of parents whose babies have been harmed or died

A grieving father who exposed a baby deaths scandal at an NHS hospital has resigned from a national review of maternity care after claiming he came under attack from midwives. James Titcombe has left the NHS review because he felt that the views of parents whose babies had been harmed or died on maternity wards were being ignored.

The review, which is looking at standards of maternity care across the country, was set up after a damning inquiry into a series of deaths at Furness General Hospital, part of the Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, between 2004 and 2013.

Mr Titcombe’s son, Joshua, died in 2008, at nine days old, from a serious infection which midwives repeatedly failed to spot and treat. His observation chart went missing and was never found. A coroner later accused midwives of “colluding” in a cover-up.

Click on the link to read more


James and Hoa Titcombe attend the inquest into the death of their baby son Joshua Titcombe who bled to death nine days after his birth in October 2008.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

Shocking footage shows care home abuse

Shocking footage has emerged of the mistreatment of an elderly woman at a care home in Birmingham after her daughters became suspicious of staff and installed a hidden camera.

The video led to a police investigation and resulted in two staff members being sacked.

Dr John Beer from Action against Elder Abuse – a charity that looks after the rights of older people – joined us.

Warning: Some viewers may find the vision distressing. Good Morning Britain

Click on the link to see the television report


Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Named & Shamed, ,

CQC report into Addenbrooke’s reflects ‘perfect storm’ facing NHS trusts, says Unison

Union officials have said they are “shocked” that Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals have been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission and said increasing demand and shrinking government budgets meant trusts were “set up to fail”.

Unison Cambridge Acute Hospitals Branch said in a statement the financial pressures facing the trust and the “insistence of the Government to implement efficiency savings within the NHS severely impedes the trust’s ability to cope with the increased demand. “The Government is expecting the trust to cope with budgets that are decreasing proportional to demand. Meanwhile, the CQC is expecting the trust to cope with this significantly increased demand on services.

“This has created a perfect storm and sets the trust up to fail. CUH is not the only trust to find themselves in this position. Monitor has already written to 40 trusts earlier this year to instruct them to amend their financial plans.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

‘No apology’ tops patient complaints.

Not getting a good enough apology when things go wrong is the most common complaint escalated by NHS patients in England, figures show.

It was the reason behind 34% of cases investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in 2014-15. Errors in diagnosing conditions, poor treatment and a lack of communication were also among the top reasons acute hospital trusts were referred. The organisation upheld 726 complaints out of the 1,652 it investigated.

The PHSO is the final port of call for patients in England who are unhappy with a hospital’s original handling of their complaint. The ombudsman has itself been criticised in recent years for not doing its job well enough by investigating too few cases and dragging its heels over decisions. Its latest report shows it has investigated more complaints than last year – 1,652 in 2014-15, compared with 852 in 2013-14.

The investigations resulted in 36% of cases about the NHS being upheld, alongside 44% about acute hospital trusts.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders, ,

‘We’ve had to investigate the death of our son ourselves’

Jamie Appleby died in 2005 after being admitted to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, but his mother says she has had to wait a decade for an inquest 

A mother whose epileptic and Down’s Syndrome son died in hospital 10 years ago has spoken of the heartache she has suffered waiting to find out what happened to her beloved boy. Jamie Appleby, 22, who also had a heart condition, died at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in November 2005, almost a month after being admitted with sickness and pains in his head.

His mother Angie Hobson, from Denbigh, has spoken to the Daily Post about the strain of waiting for the coroner’s office to hold an inquest and rule on a cause of death – a process which has not allowed her to fully get over the pain of her loss. In an emotional interview, she revealed her resolve had been stretched to breaking point as she pursued her quest for answers surrounding her son’s death. She said: “It’s like having cloud over you isn’t it – for a very long time. “You go through peaks and troughs with it. “Because each time there’s a preliminary hearing you have to relearn the case.

Click on the link to read more


Jamie Appleby, who died at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in 2005

Filed under: Disabilities, NHS Blunders, ,

‘One in three’ Brits born this year will develop #dementia as experts warn of national health crisis

Experts warned of a “looming national health crisis” as it was revealed today that one in three Brits born this year will develop dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK said as people live longer, the numbers with dementia will rise.

The latest figures obtained by the charity show that 37% of girls born in 2015 will develop the condition in their lifetime, alongside 27% of boys. The group called for investment in research to find new treatments and preventions in order to beat “our greatest medical challenge”.

Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, resulting in the loss of brain cells. The most common type is Alzheimer’s disease.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Dementia, ,

Care of vulnerable people ‘put in danger’

The dignity, heath and wellbeing of older people and those with disabilities in England are in danger, health and care groups warn.

In a joint submission to the Treasury ahead of November’s Spending Review, 20 organisations said the care sector was facing a “deepening crisis”. They have called for funding to councils to be protected, as is happening with the NHS. Ministers said investment in health would also benefit the care sector.

The government pointed out that plans were being put in place to ensure greater joint working between the two sectors that would relieve some of the pressures. However, the signatories of the submission, who include leaders of councils, the NHS, care providers and charities, said that they still feared for the future.

The document said that the market was “fragile” with councils forced to freeze fees and providers exiting the sector. The submission said this was driving up prices for those who fund themselves and leading to fewer people getting state-funded support. While the government has pledged an extra £8bn a year for the NHS by 2020, social care has received no such assurances.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Care Homes, Disabilities, Elderly, Hospital, , , ,

Campaigning father invited to sit on NHS England safety body after Welsh ‘snub’

It has been my privilege to have known Will Powell for many years now and his perseverance in bringing justice for his son Robbie going on for 25 years. Will has helped so many people within that time who have also gone through trauma in losing a loved one. A worthy advocate for the Independent Patient Safety Investigation Service (Ipsis)  Joanna

Will Powell fought a lengthy battle to have criminal prosecutions brought against a number of medical staff involved in the negligent treatment of his 10-year-old son

A bereaved father who has spent 25 years campaigning for justice for his son has been invited to sit on a expert patient safety group by NHS England.

But Will Powell, of Ystradgynlais Powys, who has fought a lengthy battle to have criminal prosecutions brought against a number of medical staff involved in the negligent treatment of 10-year-old Robbie, said he was saddened that he was not taken as seriously by NHS Wales.

Robbie died of Addison’s disease, a rare illness that stops the adrenal glands pumping vital hormones. Doctors did not act on a suspicion that he had the condition and he did not receive the treatment that would have saved his life. Six years later the NHS accepted that negligence had occurred at Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

Click on the link to read more

1415192000612_Image_galleryImage_A_battling_dad_yesterday_   1415191946400_wps_54_A_battling_dad_yesterday_

Will Powell and his son Robbie

Filed under: NHS Blunders, , , , ,

Revealed: Shocking NHS postcode lottery for elderly care

An NHS ‘atlas’ reveals the full extent of the postcode lottery in healthcare, with wide variations in the chance of being diagnosed with cancer early, or receiving emergency care which could have been avoided

Elderly people in some parts of the country are nine times more likely than in others to be admitted to hospital as emergency cases – for lack of the right care in their local communities. Charities said the new official figures are a “troubling” insight into a growing crisis in care of the elderly, with hundreds of thousands of pensioners being admitted to hospitals via casualty in cases which could have been avoided with the right help earlier.

The statistics also reveal a three-fold difference in the chance of cancer sufferers being diagnosed early enough to have a good chance of successful treatment, depending where they live. The figures, published by Public Health England, are among more than 100 measures assessed today in an “NHS atlas” exposing enormous variations in NHS care. They also show major disparities in dementia care, the chance of receiving stroke treatment quickly, or receiving treatment at all for a host of common health complaints such as cataracts.

Over 75s living in Canterbury were the most likely to be admitted to hospital as an emergency for a stay of less than 24 hours, with 11,000 cases per 100,000 population.

Click on the link to read more and view the NHS Atlas


Filed under: Dementia, Elderly, NHS, ,

Could robot nurses ease the pain at NHS? By Rachel McKenzie

Crazy and no substitute for the human touch, where does compassion come in, Joanna

The increasing care needs of an ageing population will be difficult to meet without help, says Rachel McKenzie. An automated service might be the answer

ROBOT nurses may soon provide companionship as well as practical care to pensioners according to the UK government strategy for Robotics and Autonomous System. Who else, indeed, will do this for the now 11 million people aged 65 or over in the UK? By 2050 the elderly will comprise 16 per cent of the global population and three-quarters of them will have a care need. Few human care professionals will be equipped or willing to take this responsibility.
The present surge towards the silver economy targets robotics entrepreneurs to get ready to fill the gap. Our mission, says government innovation specialist, Jackie Marshall-Balloch, is “to demonstrate that through innovations in technology … dependent lifestyles can become an engine for economic growth, leading to a reduction in the financial burden on state”.

 The 80 plus age group in the UK represents an expanding market at £ 21.4 billion a year.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital,

Tragic infant died following delayed Caesarean delivery caused by hospital IT blunder

Inquest hears how devastated Natasha and Sean Butler lost baby Spencer following catalogue of ‘missed opportunities’ at Royal Oldham hospital

An infant was delivered tragically late after an IT blunder at a major maternity unit, an inquest heard. Natasha and Sean Butler lost their baby Spencer after a catalogue of errors and “missed opportunities” at the Royal Oldham Hospital in May 2014. And the devastated Oldham couple suffered further distress when they accidentally received a letter congratulating them on the birth just days after he had died.

Spencer was one of seven baby deaths at the centre of an investigation into two maternity units ran by Penine Acute Trust. Medical staff from the Royal Oldham Hospital wept as they gave evidence at an inquest into Spencer’s death on Wednesday. The court heard how Mr and Mrs Butler’s concerns about their unborn child were ignored over four days by busy medical staff on Royal Oldham’s maternity unit.

The mum-to-be was already 42 weeks pregnant when admitted on May 16 – yet she repeatedly went hours without being examined by a doctor.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS Blunders, , , ,

Nurses claim NICE diabetes guidance will put patients at risk By Jo Stephenson for Nursing Times

Nurses claim new official guidance on drug treatments for type 2 diabetes has set the field “back 20 years” and could put patients at risk.

The guidance on the pharmacological management of blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes is due to be published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence later this year. But it has been criticised for actively recommending a limited range of treatments that may not be the best options for some patients. The draft guideline  has been consulted on twice but some nurses, charities and drugs companies have expressed concern.

“The 2009 version was very much about individualising care and making the patient the centre of the consultation,” said Debbie Hicks, co-chair of Training Research and Education for Nurses in Diabetes. “It incorporated all the classes of drugs… and felt like NICE was giving us the ability to choose what was best for the individual. But the new draft took away all of that.”

One issue, highlighted by Diabetes UK, is that some recently approved drugs are only mentioned in passing, such as sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, which the charity says now risk being overlooked.

Click on the link below to read more

Nurses claim NICE diabetes guidance will put patients at risk



Filed under: NHS, , ,

Life Expectancy in the UK: England’s richest people ‘live eight years longer than the country’s poorest’

The south-east would top a life expectancy table of industrialised nations, with men living to 83.1 years – the north-West would come in the bottom five

England remains a profoundly unequal country with more than eight years separating the male life expectancy of the richest people in the south and east from the poorest in the north, a new study has found.

While great progress has been made in improving male and female life expectancy since 1990, the comprehensive Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors (GBD) study found that the health gap between rich and poor has barely altered in 25 years. The figures, published in The Lancet, show that if the healthiest region of England, the south-east, were a country it would top a league of 22 industrialised nations for its health outcomes. But if the north-west were a country, it would be in the bottom five.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

You must not call residents sweetie or darling, care home staff told because they are ‘patronising and demeaning’

  • Workers have been reprimanded for calling residents affectionate names
  • Staff hit back at the ticking off, saying the residents like the informal terms
  • But officials from Care Quality Commission have insisted terms aren’t used

Care home workers have been reprimanded for calling residents affectionate names such as sweetie, love, darling and handsome. Critical inspectors told them the terms were ‘patronising and demeaning’ to the dozen adults with learning difficulties. Staff also use family nicknames for some, such as Parsnip. They hit back at the ticking off, saying that the residents like the informal terms, especially those who have no relatives to visit them.

However, officials from the Care Quality Commission have insisted: ‘The language was meant to be friendly but it could be regarded as demeaning and patronising.’ They highlighted other failings at Brackenley Residential Care Home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, marking it as ‘requiring improvement’. The privately run home has pledged to make changes but declared that it would continue to call residents by the familiar and affectionate names.

Stephanie Kirkman Meikle, chief executive of Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre, which runs the home, said: ‘It did surprise us when they picked up this thing about terms of endearment.  If you have a learning difficulty and you are given a term of endearment, then it is nice to know you are loved, particularly if you have no other family. ‘Some residents have their own terms of endearment that they asked to be called. One likes to be known as Parsnip because that’s what she is known as in her family, so that’s what we call her. ‘We always discuss these things with residents and it is in their care plans, we would never call someone something they don’t want.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, ,

Firefighters to carry out health checks to ease strain on NHS

NHS will “piggyback” on fire safety visits, asking firefighters who check smoke alarms to also carry out basic health checks

Firefighters will be trained to carry out basic health checks and remind elderly people to get flu jabs during home visits to check smoke alarms, under plans to ease the strain on the NHS. The fire service already carries out 670,000 fire safety checks in homes each year and Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said it now planned to “piggyback” on these visits in order to relieve pressure on the health service.

Fire crews would be expected to identify trip hazards, check that homes are heated properly and remind people about immunisations, under plans agreed with the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA). They could also be trained to look out for other health issues such as eyesight problems in order to encourage people to seek medical help, under the new partnership.

The deal comes after accident and emergency departments faced sustained pressure last winter, with waiting time targets missed for 33 consecutive weeks from last September to May.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Care Homes, Hospital, NHS, , ,

Cancer Plan: From Doctor To Diagnosis In 28 Days – The Independent Cancer Taskforce says the initiative, which is being trialled in five hospitals, could save 11,000 lives a year.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt wants patients to be given a definitive diagnosis or the “all clear” within 28 days of a GP referral. The target, which will be introduced from 2020, could help save up to 11,000 lives a year, according to the Independent Cancer Taskforce.

Five hospitals across the UK will pilot the programme before it is rolled out nationally. If the target is met Britain would become one of the first countries in the world to adhere to such a timetable.

Some £300m will be invested to help pay for the training of an additional 200 staff to carry out endoscopies. This will be alongside an extra 250 gastroenterologists the NHS had already committed to train.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, , ,

MPs vote no on assisted dying – So what are the arguments for and against? Two experts in medical ethics sum up some of the arguments

After a heartfelt and passionate debate in the House of Commons, MPs have voted 330 to 118 to reject the Assisted Dying Bill. As many as 85 MPs spoke, sharing personal stories and compelling arguments both for and against the bill, which proposed that a terminally ill person should be able to request assistance to end their own life.

The bill specified that for a person’s request to be granted, they must be terminally ill and “reasonably expected” to die within six months. Their decision would have had to be “voluntary, clear, settled and informed”, put forward in a written declaration signed by two doctors, and approved by a High Court judge. Only after a cooling off period of 14 days would a lethal drug have been prescribed.

Here, two experts in medical ethics sum up some of the arguments for and against the bill.

Click on the link to read more

Protesters outside the Houses of Parliament in London as MPs debate and vote on the Assisted Dying Bill.

Protesters outside the Houses of Parliament in London as MPs debate and vote on the Assisted Dying Bill.

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Jeremy Hunt’s ‘24/7’ plan for the NHS proves it – he should be sacked By Jullien Gaer

Overworked, stressed health professionals are cured with a secretary of state who knows nothing of service they work in and its ideals

The current impasse between Jeremy Hunt and the medical profession over what the secretary of state likes to call 24/7 working in NHS hospitals is expected to come to a head this weekend. This says far more about political imperatives in Whitehall than it does about realities on hospital wards.

Allow me to illustrate my argument referring to a patient recently admitted to our care. After lengthy discussions with the patient’s family, when all hope of recovery was extinguished, the medical team at the hospital where I am a cardiac surgeon switched off the artificial heart that had been supporting their mother, sister and daughter.

As is so often the case, the family was embarrassingly grateful for the care that we had given them, despite the unhappy outcome. Our patients don’t expect guaranteed results, nor do they expect infallibility. They expect honesty and sincerity; and, unlike too many politicians, they are quick to acknowledge professionals doing their utmost in the face of formidable odds.

This particular patient (let us call her Mrs W) presented with a condition that is both common and, if untreated, uniformly fatal. An attempt to deal with the problem without recourse to open surgery (and the significant attendant risk of paraplegia) resulted in a complication that necessitated emergency surgery.

Click on the link to read more


‘The notion that I or my colleagues have succumbed to a nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday culture would be laughable, were it not frankly slanderous.’ Jullien Gaer

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

MPs have rejected plans for a right to die in England and Wales in their first vote on the issue in almost 20 years.

In a free vote in the Commons, 118 MPs were in favour and 330 against plans to allow terminally ill adults to end their lives with medical supervision.

In a passionate debate, some argued the plans allowed a “dignified and peaceful death” while others said they were “totally unacceptable”.

Pro-assisted dying campaigners said the result showed MPs were out of touch.

Under the proposals, people with fewer than six months to live could have been prescribed a lethal dose of drugs, which they had to be able to take themselves. Two doctors and a High Court judge would have needed to approve each case. Dr Peter Saunders, campaign director of Care Not Killing, welcomed the rejection of the legislation, saying the current law existed to protect those who were sick, elderly, depressed or disabled. He said: “It protects those who have no voice against exploitation and coercion, it acts as a powerful deterrent to would-be abusers and does not need changing.”

But Sarah Wootton, the chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said it was an “outrage” that MPs had gone against the views of the majority of the public who supported the bill. She added that “dying people deserve better”.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

Woman, 47, struck down with early onset dementia keeps asking to see her dead mum

“It’s three weeks since our mum, Barbara, died,” says Gillian, “but even though Sue went to the funeral she keeps forgetting that she is dead”

It breaks Gillian Holland’s heart every time her  47 year old sister Sue asks “Can I see mum now?”. “It’s three weeks since our mum, Barbara, died,” says Gillian, “but even though Sue went to the funeral she keeps forgetting that she is dead.” “I tell her that if I could take her, I would … but then 15 minutes later she asks again.” “It’s like a knife in my heart each time.”

Sue Cole is suffering from a rare early onset dementia which was diagnosed earlier this year, reports Liverpool Echo.

It has devastated her family. But it has inspired Gillian, too, to take part in the Alzheimer’s Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Memory Walk, in Liverpool, to raise funds and awareness of this debilitating disease.

“It was a massive shock to us when a brain scan showed Sue had frontotemporal dementia,” explains Gillian, 52, from Bootle. “We had no idea it could effect someone so young.

Click on the link to read more


Fundraiser: Sue Cole, left, with sister Gillian Holland

Filed under: Dementia,

MPs set to vote on ‘right to die’ for first time in 20 years

Controversial ‘right to die’ laws are to be debated in parliament today for the first time in almost 20 years. Labour MP Rob Marris will introduce the Assisted Dying Bill after coming top of the Private Members’ Bill ballot following the general election.

The legislation, which passed an initial vote in the House of Lords last year but failed to become law, is a first key question of conscience for the new House of Commons. Mr Marris said his Bill was about offering people “choice and dignity”.

In a blog post ahead of the debate, the Wolverhampton South West MP said: “With appropriate, strong safeguards, terminally ill adults of sound mind should be legally allowed to choose to have assistance to end their own lives.”

“I value life, and I do understand that some people believe very deeply that ending one’s own life is always wrong. Nevertheless, the depth and sincerity of their belief should not mean that they deny choice to those of us who do not share their beliefs”. ROB MARRIS MP

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Dementia, Disabilities, Elderly, Hospital, ,

Hospital patients far more likely to die if sent home at weekend – Alarming’ findings

‘Alarming’ findings from the first major study to examine differences in hospital discharge times shows patients are far more likely to die after being sent home at weekends

Hospital patients are up to a third more likely to die if they are sent home from hospital at weekends, the first major research into discharge times has revealed. The 13 year study of one million hospital patients shows far higher mortality rates among those who are discharged on Saturdays and Sundays – especially for the elderly.

Experts said patients are being put at risk from a lack of senior doctors involved in discharge decisions, gaps in key hospital services, and the failure of GP, community and social care services to look after patients sent home at weekends. Charities said the findings were “alarming” and showed an urgent need to increase levels of care at weekends. The research comes as doctors unions agreed on Thursday night to reopen negotiations on the contract for consultants, in order to increase levels of weekend cover, or see them imposed.

The British Medical Association (BMA) had been given a deadline of the end of Friday to agree changes to future consultants’ contracts, to lose the right to opt out of non-emergency work or see a new deal forced upon them by the Government.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Elderly, GP's, Hospital, NHS, , ,

My Mothers Story – Written as it happened from her admission to hospital until her death 6 months later still in hospital, plus 50 more stories emailed to me

The Last Six Months is a moving story about my mother Kay 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, and sadly she died while still in the hospital. My notes have become an up-to-date diary during this terrible and tragic course of events, it has also allowed me to remember the many wonderful conversations, the laughter, the tears, the anxieties, and the closeness we had. I hope from reading my mother’s story, and from my readers who have kindly contributed their own stories of loved ones they should never be yesterday’s news, it’s so important that these stories are shown and not forgotten.

Read more


Filed under: Uncategorized

Sepsis – signs and symptoms of the killer disease you probably haven’t heard of

Not heard of sepsis? You’re not alone.

According to a poll by the UK Sepsis Trust, 40% of the public said they’d heard the word – but of those, only 40% knew it was a medical condition. It’s one we should all be aware of, however. According to the NHS, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis every year, and around 37,000 people will die as a result of the condition.

On Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain, W1A actor Jason Watkins – who is supporting the UK Sepsis Trust’s new pocket guide for parents about the infection – opened up about the loss of his two-year-old daughter Maude to the condition on New Year’s Day 2011.

“Every 3.5 seconds someone around the world dies of this condition,” he said. Explaining why more people aren’t aware of sepsis, he added: “It’s complicated by other symptoms. In our case, it was simply flu.”

What is sepsis?

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Self Help, ,

Can involving pharmacists in A&E shorten waiting times and help doctors?

Accident and emergency departments are nearing crisis point, but evidence suggests that some of the pressure comes from patients who want to avoid having to wait for a GP appointment. Could pharmacists reduce the burden by helping to treat A&E patients suffering relatively minor conditions?

This is the question that Health Education England (HEE) hopes to answer through a national project. The aim, says Matt Aiello, special projects manager, transformation, at Health Education West Midlands, is to find out whether pharmacists can be a “relevant and viable part” of the A&E team and, if so, what kind of training they would need. A pilot in the West Midlands, looking at 782 patients attending A&E in three acute trusts between April 2013 and August 2014, was encouraging.

It found that 39.8% of patients could have been dealt with by a pharmacist with advanced clinical practice training skills, while an independent prescribing pharmacist could have dealt with another 5.1%.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, GP's, , ,

‘Doctor told me I was dying – he was wrong’ Cancer patient claims she was mistakenly told she had just six months to live and to go and plan her funeral by a doctor

Margaret Lowbridge, 74, of Oldbury, says she was told by Professor David Ferry, her consultant at Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital, to go home and arrange palliative care. She says she only learned of the error when she was sent a letter asking her to attend a follow-up appointment 18 months later.

Mrs Lowbridge has now developed lung cancer, which she believes may be because she was advised not to undergo any more treatment, causing her existing cancer to spread. She was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2009 and underwent surgery. She was left with a colostomy bag and had chemotherapy. The treatment seemed to have been a success until June 2013, when a regular check-up showed a lump.

Mrs Lowbridge said she was referred back to Professor Ferry who offered her chemotherapy but the treatment caused a deep tissue infection and was withdrawn. She says she was then told no further treatment could be offered and she should contact a Macmillan nurse in relation to palliative care. She said she was also told she would not be alive in six months and should arrange her funeral.

Click on the link to read more


Margaret Lowbridge

Filed under: Cancer, NHS, ,

Exclusive: Hunt orders investigation of ‘regulatory gap’ baby death case – By Crispin Dowler, Shaun Lintern for HSJ

The health secretary has promised an independent investigation of the death of a baby whose ‘incredibly distressing’ case highlighted a regulatory ‘gap’ in the NHS’s ability to probe historic complaints.

Jeremy Hunt told HSJ he had intervened in the “frankly heart breaking” case of Elizabeth Dixon after her family’s concerns had been “passed around the system” for “far too long”.

He said NHS England patient safety director Mike Durkin would commission an independent investigation of the case in his new role in charge of patient safety at NHS Improvement – the regulator to be formed by merging Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Elizabeth was born prematurely at Frimley Park Hospital in 2000. She was left with permanent brain damage after hospital staff failed to monitor or treat her high blood pressure, and in 2001 she died of suffocation when a newly qualified nurse failed to keep her breathing tube clear. The cause of her brain damage was only confirmed in 2013.

Click on the link below to read the artical in full

Exclusive Hunt orders investigation of regulatory gap baby


Elizabeth Dixon

Filed under: Hospital, NHS Blunders, ,

‘How Do Thank Somebody For A Kidney?’

Figures show the number of organ donors has fallen for the first time in 11 years – despite more than 5,000 people being on the NHS waiting list for a transplant.

In the last year there were 4,655 transplants in the UK – a 5% decrease on the year before. That means 224 fewer people received a transplant. With the drop in the number of organ donors, health experts are calling for a change in attitude and are urging families to discuss the issue so they know their relatives’ wishes.

It is rare for an organ donor and the recipient to meet, but when Terry Clarke, 69, received a kidney from Bob Wiggins two years ago he had to say thank you in person. Terry, who is now able to spend more time with his family, believes it can be so different for others.

“I think it’s unique. You don’t expect someone to give you a kidney, even someone from your own family. I wouldn’t ask them to give a kidney. You just wait and hope, accept life as it is and suddenly someone comes along and gives you a kidney,e told Sky News. “Suddenly someone comes along and gives you a kidney. I’ve met him, he’s not a bad fella is he? He’s change my life enormously. How do thank somebody who gives you a kidney?”

Click on the link to read more and see the video



Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Families of dying excluded from ‘critical conversations’ about what happens at the end of life

The families of people who are dying are too often excluded from “critical conversations” about what happens at the end of life, experts have warned.

More needs to be done to involve the dying and their loved ones to ensure people have the death they want, they said. Dr Jonathan Koffman, senior lecturer in palliative care at King’s College London, said a round 500,000 people die in England every year, with around a fifth dying from cancer.

“How will we identify these individuals and provide them with impeccable assessment?,” he said, adding “you can’t undo these moments”. He said NHS care was variable for those who were dying and there were examples of poor care. “There’s inconsistency and poor quality care meted out to people at critical moments in their life,” he said. “Then there’s poor management of really distressing symptoms.

“This is not a vocal constituency – they can’t talk. And, of course, the family members who are subsequently bereaved are too wounded by those experiences to then talk and help us work out what to do better.”

Around 50% of people die in hospital despite the fact most want to die at home, Dr Koffman said. “The reality is that they don’t get what they want.”

Click on the link to read more


Nurses and doctors need better training on end of life care, experts said

Filed under: Hospital, NHS,

Life-extending cancer drugs to be axed by NHS

NHS England de-lists costly Kadcyla drug, among 16 others, in wake of ‘overspent’ Cancer Drugs Fund

New and costly cancer drugs developed to extend the lives of patients are expected to be axed on Friday from an NHS list. Among the drugs NHS England is expected to “de-list” from the Cancer Drugs Fund is Kadcyla, which holds the record as the most expensive cancer drug brought to market, costing £90,000 annually per patient.

Kadcyla, made by Roche, was rejected from general NHS use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the body that assesses new medicines for their cost-effectiveness.

Nice agreed the drug was effective for women whose advanced breast cancer no longer responded to Herceptin, but its chief executive, Sir Andrew Dillon, was outspoken about the “unacceptable” price tag. “We had hoped that Roche would have recognised the challenge the NHS faces in managing the adoption of expensive new treatments by reducing the cost of Kadcyla to the NHS,” Dillon said in April 2014.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, NHS

Visit “Your Voice Matters” Whistleblower Section to find out the story behind this amazing song

My name is Adeline Dalley, I was once a Senior Carer who specialised in Palliative Care, I loved my job more than anything.  After one day turning whistle blower to protect the war Hero, Sir Douglas Baders Wife all would swiftly change. So what did I do next?

 Write my book – Behind Those Care Home Doors

 Co-write the song on here called Behind Closed Doors

 Why – Because the neglect/ abuse and corrupt behaviours at the expense of our vulnerable elders continues every day.  After seeing new management walk into a new job and no action taken (She refused to let me call an ambulance for Lady Bader who I had notice suffered a stroke, saying it could wait until Monday and see a GP).

Click on ‘Your Voice Matters’ link to read more!story-of-a-whistleblower/e8qu6


Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Whistleblowing, , ,

Care home nurses struck off after ‘neglect led to patient deaths’ By Helen Mooney – Nursing Times

Three nurses have been struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council register for poor care which in some cases led to patient deaths at a nursing home in south Wales.

After an 81-day hearing, an NMC panel found that failings by a total of five nurses at the Brithdir Nursing Home in Caerphilly amounted to misconduct. Nurses Tembakazi Moyana, Daphne Richards and Rachel Tanta were struck off on Friday. Susan Greening received a caution order and Beverley Mock was suspended for one year. The NMC panel cleared one nurse, Rachel Pritchard, of all charges relating to misconduct.

In May, a disciplinary panel found 86 failings proven out of an alleged 150 against the six nurses in relation to nine residents between 2004 and 2006.  Amongst other charges they related to poor management of patients’ pressure sores and record keeping.

Click on the link below to read more

Care home nurses struck off after ‘neglect led to patient deaths



Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Named & Shamed, ,

Hospital suicide man’s dad hits out over trust ‘failures’

The father of a man who took his own life after he absconded from a psychiatric hospital ward has claimed that a health trust failed “to provide a safe and secure place” to treat his son.

Maurice Campbell was speaking after the inquest into the death of 26-year-old Patrick, who died at the Ulster Hospital after he fell from its multi-storey car park shortly after scaling an outside fence nearly two years ago.  Coroner Suzanne Anderson said in her findings that the Queen’s University student from Donaghadee, Co Down, had died on September 16, 2013 “by his own act when the balance of his mind was disturbed”.

She accepted a consultant psychiatrist’s evidence that open wards, where Mr Campbell was being assessed, had to “strike a balance to provide an environment that is safe but not necessarily restrictive”. She agreed with his view that a single-purpose psychiatric care unit should be provided by the South Eastern Health and Social Services Trust to replace the current three units, none of which were purpose-built, and will send her findings to Health Minister Simon Hamilton.

A spokeswoman for the trust said the lessons had been learnt and recommendations implemented from the serious adverse incident review conducted after Patrick’s death. “The trust concurs with the views of the coroner that a purpose-built inpatient mental health unit would benefit the treatment of our patients in an open ward environment,” she said. “The death of a patient by suicide is a tragedy, and one that our mental health professionals, doctors, nurses and social workers continually strive to prevent.”

Click on the link to read more


Vulnerable: Patrick Campbell

Filed under: Mental Health, NHS,

HIV patient tells of fears of disclosure after details leak

A man says he fears having to tell friends and family he is HIV positive after he was among 780 patients whose details were leaked by a health clinic.

The 56 Dean Street clinic, in London, accidentally sent out names and email addresses in an online newsletter. James, from London, told BBC News: “I am not ready to disclose my HIV status to my wider friends or family. I fear now that I have no choice.” He added he felt scared his details would end up being spread online.

Patients were supposed to be blind-copied into the newsletter, but instead details were sent as a group email to other people who have attended HIV clinics at Dean Street in Soho. People who had opted in for the clinic’s OptionE service were able to see the names and email addresses of other patients.

Click on the link to read more


The clinic is part of Europe’s biggest sexual health service


Filed under: Uncategorized

I urge everyone to distribute this form. I urge militancy on behalf of nursing home residents – Lenin Nightingale

Lenin Nightingale has adapted an assessment form used in America, from the National Caregivers Library, by which friends and relatives can give scores on a 1-5 rating scale for a series of nursing home performances that impact on their loved one’s daily routine.

The assessment document, which is named NURSING HOME ASSESSMENT BY RESIDENTS’ FRIENDS AND FAMILY, assesses the home’s performance in the areas of Quality of Life, Quality of Care, Nutrition, and Safety.

Please download the pdf to print out to use and please pass on



Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly

They Made Me Feel Like a Paranoid Parent – But My Son Had Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

In September 2013 my two-year-old son Luke complained that it hurt when he peed. I took him to our GP and they said it was probably thrush or an infection and he was given antibiotics. After he peed out a lump I went back, but there wasn’t enough to test, and the GP didn’t think it was serious enough to refer him on at that point.

The pain went away, but it came back a month later, and our GP referred him to a consultant. But the appointment was four whole weeks away, which seemed like an eternity, and things got worse. It got to the point to where he couldn’t empty his bladder, and was straining until he was red in the face, veins popping out of his neck and screaming in agony on and off all day and all night. Me and my partner Tim were at our wits end and ended up going to A&E a number of times to try and get help for Luke sooner.

 But at A&E the doctors we saw seemed really dismissive and acted like we were wasting their time. They thought it was constipation and they questioned his diet. Then they said it was a urine infection, and gave us more antibiotics. I didn’t feel listened to.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, Cancer, GP's, NHS

Every hospital patient will be given a barcode as part of plan to create a ‘paper free’ NHS

Every patient in hospital will be given an individual barcode to ensure they are given the correct drugs and treatment, as part of plans to make the NHS “paper free” by the end of the decade.

Under proposals to be outlined on Tuesday, patients will also be able to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access their GP records using NHS smartphone apps.

The Government is also going to examine the feasibility of installing free wi-fi in every hospital and GP surgery in England. By 2020, NHS England says, it will have digitalised every patient and care record in the country – meaning that whenever patients come into contact with the health service, medics will have all of their clinical notes and test results available immediately. The changes will not apply in Scotland and Wales, but similar plans are being developed in the devolved regions.

In addition, patients, pieces of medical equipment and drugs will be identified using barcodes for the first time. This, it is claimed, will help to ensure that the right patient will be given the right drug, at the right dose and at the right time.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, GP's, Hospital, NHS

World Alzheimer’s Month Sept 2015 – Remember Me



September is World Alzheimer’s month

September 2015 will mark the fourth global World Alzheimer’s Month™, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma.

The theme for World Alzheimer’s Month 2015 is Remember Me. We’re encouraging people all around the world to learn to spot the signs of dementia, but also not to forget about loved ones who are living with dementia, or those who may have passed away. The impact of September’s campaign is growing, but the stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem.

At the end of August, ADI will launch the annual World Alzheimer Report.

Take a look at our official report of 2014’s campaign here.



Know the facts click here


Act Now

Filed under: Dementia

Elderly patient left disfigured by minor operation

CONCERNS have been raised after NHS doctors failed to inform an elderly patient that removing a cancerous lump would leave him with “extensive facial disfigurement”.

James Whitecross, 76, was referred to the ear, nose and throat clinic at Forth Valley Hospital in January 2014 after discovering a small swelling behind his left ear. Doctors discovered it was cancerous and told Whitecross he would need surgery at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow as most of the specialists were based there.

His daughter Lorna Tannock said the family were told it would be a minor procedure, but the result was a “mutilating surgery” which left her ­father unable to walk, eat properly or see in the initial weeks. Tannock, 40, said: “It looked like half of his face had been removed. I thought I was ­going to faint.”

The retired farmer had lost most of his left ear, and a 20cm flap of his cheek and neck had been completely cut away after the operation in March last year. He also had stitches in one eye and across his lips and a 38cm scar on his leg where a skin graft had been taken for his cheek.

Click on the link to read more


James Whitecross, pictured with his wife Christina, had surgery for a cancerous lump

Filed under: NHS Blunders,

Walsall NHS Trust in bottom 20% in UK for staff stress, bullying and violence

The NHS trust that runs Walsall Manor Hospital has been ranked in the bottom 20 per cent in the country for staff suffering work-related stress, bullying and physical violence.

The results have emerged following a national NHS staff survey, organised by NHS England, which was carried out between October and December last year. Scores for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust deteriorated from 2013, with the trust ranking within the worst 20 per cent nationally in 12 out of 29 categories. In 2013, it ranked in the bottom fifth in six categories.

The percentage of staff saying that they had suffered work-related stress in the previous 12 months rose from 36 to 42 per cent in a year and the percentage reporting bullying, harassment and abuse from patients rose from 30 to 33 per cent.  The willingness to recommend the Trust as a place to work fell from 58 to 47 per cent, whilst willingness to recommend the trust as a place for treatment fell from 56 to 48 per cent.

Chief executive Richard Kirby said it reflected the level of pressure on the trust over the last 12 months but added that measures were being taken to offer support and make improvements.

Click on the ink to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , , ,

Department of Health misses own waiting time targets

New figures show that the Department of Health has missed its own waiting list targets.

At the end of June, almost 86,000 patients had been waiting for more than 18 weeks for a first outpatient appointment. The target is for nobody to wait longer than that. The number of people waiting for a first appointment has risen by more than 45%.

The quarterly figures from the health department for April to June of this year revealed an 11% rise in patients waiting for a first outpatient appointment.  That means more than 212,000 people have been referred to a specialist or consultant by their GP but have yet to be seen. Of those, the number of patients waiting longer – more than 18 weeks – increased by over 45% to nearly 86,000. The number of people waiting for diagnostic services, which can include a test for a potentially fatal illness, increased by nearly 12% from March to June.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, Hospital, , , ,

National health review into care for newborns after death of baby in 2001

Fourteen years on from the tragic death of her newborn daughter Elizabeth, grieving Anne Dixon is still seeking answers

A national healthcare regulator is undertaking a review into the care of newborn babies who need extra support after a Fleet woman tragically lost her baby.

Anne Dixon’s daughter Elizabeth was born at Frimley Park Hospital in 2000 and was brain damaged after her high blood pressure was not treated for 15 days. She was left disabled and needed a tracheostomy, or tube, to breathe, but suffocated and died at home in Church Crookham days before her first birthday, when her tube was not maintained during a home visit by an agency nurse who transpired to be newly-qualified.

Now, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is undertaking a national review into care for infants who need more support and how they are cared for both in hospital and by community services. It is the first time the body has used its powers to investigate a particular aspect of care across the NHS.Announcing the review, the CQC said it would examine 20 services across England, exploring how well fetal medicine, obstetrics, neonatal and community services work together to care for newborn babies with declining health problems, particularly those with high blood pressure and tracheostomies. The regulator said it did not expect the review, which will begin in September, to give a national picture of the quality of care, but hopes it will lead to development of clinical guidelines where needed.

But Mrs Dixon said she felt it did not stretch far enough and that an inquest into Elizabeth’s death, held in 2008/9, failed to get to the truth. She also said her concerns were ignored constantly and she felt she had been dubbed an “over-anxious mother”.

Click on the link to read more


Lizzie Dixon

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders, , ,

Complaints about cancelled NHS appointments soar in one year

New figures show the number of patients complaining about cancelled appointments has risen by one fifth in a year

Complaints about cancelled and delayed NHS appointments have shot up by one fifth in a year, new figures show. Official data shows the number of patients raising concerns about appointments has risen from 9,040 in 2013/14 to 10,800 in 2014/15. There was a similar rise in complaints about ambulance services, the new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show.

Experts said the figure could reflect the fact a number of ambulance services took over the running of the 111 “non-emergency” line. In total, 8,039 patients raised concerns with ambulance trusts, compared with 6,873 the previous year, an increase of 17 per cent in one year, the statistics show.

Overall, there were 205,000 written complaints about NHS services in England in 2014/15 – 562 per day. The figures include 121,000 complaints about hospital services, up 5.7 per cent on the 114,000 in 2013/14.

Click on the link to read more


About 500,000 die in hospital in England each year

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

Nearly 500 complaints were made about councils in the West Midlands in a year, new figures reveal

The number in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Wyre Forest has fallen from 551 in 2013/14 to 471 in 2014/15, mirroring the trend across the country, where it dropped from 18,211 to 18,436.

But the Ombudsman saw a 10 per cent increase in complaints about adult care services. Meanwhile, complaints about benefits and tax dropped 11 per cent, and complaints about planning and development were down six per cent.

Of the 10 councils in the Black Country and Staffordshire areas, the ombudsman received the most complaints and enquiries regarding Sandwell Council. Of the 118 received, 19 were upheld, with 59 referred back for local resolution. The majority related to benefits and tax (33 complaints), with 24 regarding education and children’s services, 21 about housing, and 15 about adult care services. There had been 138 complaints the previous year.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, Named & Shamed, NHS, NHS Blunders,

‘Postcode lottery’ in care causing ‘devastating’ health problems for 200,000 diabetic patients a year – ITV Report

Around 200,000 people a year suffer devastating health complications because of diabetes, a charity has warned – including amputations, heart attacks and strokes.

Diabetes UK said its study exposed a “postcode lottery” in care for people with the condition – and said there was an urgent need for the NHS to make improving services a priority.

Diabetes care costs the health service in the region of £8 billion a year – around 10 per cent of the entire NHS budget.

The charity’s chief executive Barbara Young said the figures were an “absolute tragedy”.

These complications have a devastating impact on people’s lives and are fuelling the high death rate in people with the condition, as well as meaning huge and often unnecessary costs to the NHS.

With the numbers of people with diabetes rising at an alarming rate, it is vital that the government and the NHS act urgently to end the postcode lottery of diabetes care and ensure that all people living with diabetes get the support and care they need to live long healthy lives.

In particular, the NHS must get better at giving people with diabetes the education they need to take control of their condition, and ensuring that everyone with the condition is getting their essential health checks, as they can help to identify problems before they develop into serious complications.


According to the National Diabetes Audit, carried out by the charity, 3.9 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with the condition – and this may rise to as many as five million in the next 10 years.

Most of those have type 2, which is often brought on by being overweight. The data also revealed that little more than a third – 36 per cent – of people with diabetes are controlling it well by keeping with the recommended levels of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.



Filed under: NHS, , ,

Doctor attacks Tories’ ‘dishonest’ reply to her open letter that was shared 180,000 times

Janis Burns sparked a mass trend when she penned a searing missive over the Tories’ 7-day NHS plans. Now the government’s written back

An NHS doctor has attacked the Tories’ ‘dishonest’ reply to an open letter she wrote that was shared 180,000 times. Janis Burns sparked a mass trend when she penned a searing missive to David Cameron over the Tories’ 7-day NHS plans. Fresh from a weekend of graveyard shifts, she complained her colleagues already work all week long and she earns less than a Pret a Manger coffee shop manager. And she sarcastically congratulated the PM on his ‘inflation-busting pay rise’ as NHS staff flooded Twitter with selfies under the hashtag #ImInWorkJeremy.

Now the £34,000-a-year junior anaesthetist has received a signed two-page response from health minister Ben Gummer. But she’s not happy – claiming his reply doesn’t answer her questions and misses out key facts.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

X-ray blunders: Mistakes and faulty equipment put patients at risk

A RECORD number of hospital patients are being exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation due to mistakes and faulty equipment.

There were 1,116 recorded incidents in 2014 in which a patient was exposed to too much radiation, which can cause burns, poisoning and lead to cancer. In three cases, a mistake by the operators caused patients undergoing tests to be exposed to more than 100 times the recommended level of radiation. In most cases, staff either set machines incorrectly, scanned the wrong part of a patient’s body, or, in some cases, the wrong patient. In just 13 cases, the overexposure was down to faulty equipment.

Radiation is employed in X-ray machines and scanners for diagnoses while targeted radiation is used to treat some cancers. Experts say that although the number of radiation errors is logged at more than 20 a week, the chance of such a blunder happening is about one in 81,000. Some of the errors in which a worker was to blame included 23 mammograms to seek breast cancer.

In total, 435 patients were overexposed, with 151 patients given the right exposure but on the wrong part of the body and in 517 cases the wrong patient was exposed. In 2013, there were 983 cases of overexposure.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, , ,

Thousands of new doctors opt for a better life abroad

Disillusioned medics are quitting the NHS and heading for countries such as Australia

Doctors who are newly qualified form a growing proportion of the thousands of British medics seeking jobs abroad each year, triggering concerns that the NHS is heading for a staffing crisis.

Specialist recruitment agencies and GPs’ leaders say doctors, many of whom have just finished their training, are becoming disillusioned with the state of their profession and seeking fresh starts in countries such as Australia, where they can earn double what they are paid in Britain. Figures given to the Observer by the General Medical Council show that an average of 2,852 certificates enabling British doctors to work abroad were issued annually between 2008 and 2014 – a total of 19,522.

So far this year the council has issued a further 2,008 certificates of good standing, the document that enables doctors to register with an overseas regulatory body or employer, taking the total who have applied to work overseas in the last eight years to almost 22,000. “Medicine is a global profession and the UK has long relied on doctors coming to work in the UK from other countries and some UK-trained doctors have taken the opportunity to experience working overseas,” said Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC.

Click on the link to read more


A GP listening to a patient’s chest in 1948. Today GP vacancies remain unfilled and older doctors are retiring early.

Filed under: GP's, NHS, , , ,

Caroline Tully shares the story of her daughter Clara, who died shortly after birth and please sign the petition

Please sign the petition

Coroners Inquests into Stillbirths where signs of life are present during labour

Read Caroline’s story

In March 2014, at 37+1, I went into labour with our first daughter Clara. My waters didn’t break but we waited until my contractions were 2 minutes apart before setting off to the hospital. On arrival basic checks were carried out and we were advised to go home as labour with your first baby can take up to 24 hours. My daughter’s heartbeat was listened to once.

We were concerned and recorded the increasing frequency and length of each contraction ourselves. We did not feel we were listened to. We said that we didn’t want to be sent home but the midwife was determined she knew best and it took us 25 minutes to struggle back to the car. Within an hour we were back at the hospital and our daughter was born within minutes. There was no sound from Clara after she was born and emergency procedures were then followed. We were told after 30 minutes that resuscitation was unsuccessful and that Clara had been stillborn.

Click on the link to read more

clara-tully-hardman Clara Tully-Hardman

Filed under: Hospital, ,

Thousands of breast cancer patients have debilitating surgery ‘needlessly’ for early form of tumours which won’t harm them

  • Thousands of women are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • Around 80 per cent elect for surgery which can involve removal of breasts
  • But new research reveals doctors were ‘over-enthusiastic’ with operations
  • The risk of someone dying from DCIS is broadly same as a healthy woman

Thousands of women are having needless surgery for breast tumours which won’t harm them, researchers have warned.

Debilitating and distressing operations do not improve survival chances for patients with a common form of early breast cancer, a study found. Furthermore, patients with this type of the illness – considered a precursor to a more serious form – are no more likely to die than the general population. The Canadian research involving 108,100 women has prompted experts to warn doctors can be ‘over-enthusiastic’ with surgery.

In the UK, around 4,600 women a year are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), whereby cells inside some of the milk ducts turn cancerous. About 80 per cent elect to have surgery, which involves either removal of the lump and surrounding tissue or one or both breasts in their entirety. But in the wake of the new research, Dr Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said it was clear treatment had been excessive.

Click on the link to read more



Filed under: Cancer, , ,

NHS England must act as patients miss out on cancer drug tests

It’s a wonder of modern science that, for at least some types of cancer, doctors are now able to exploit the unique genetic faults in a person’s tumour to treat their disease with precision drugs. These ‘targeted medicines’ are part of a new generation of cancer treatments that are revolutionising the way some patients are treated. Several of these types of drugs are already available on the NHS; more are on the way.

But not every patient’s tumour contains these faults. So to find out who could benefit from targeted drugs, patients need to be offered tests, known as ‘molecular’ diagnostic tests. But there’s a problem. These tests aren’t being offered to all patients equally across the NHS in England.

We’ve blogged before about this problem, and how we want the Government and NHS England to act.

But today, further highlighting the sad state of affairs, we’ve published a new report showing the extent of the problem in the NHS in England. The findings are stark: thousands of patients are missing out on tests entirely, some of whom may have gone on to receive a targeted medicine that could have helped them.

This is a long standing issue that needs to be rectified urgently. The recent cancer strategy recognises this, and recommends that NHS England “transform access” to these tests.

So what is the situation and what needs to be done?

Click on the link to read more

Download the report here  Molecular Diagnostic Provision in England


Filed under: Cancer, , ,

Woman who suffered a miscarriage is left ‘hysterical’ after hospital staff ‘left foetus in a plastic bag at the end of her bed following surgery’

  • Sarah Howard, 33, lost her baby eight weeks after becoming pregnant
  • She had foetus surgically removed at Birmingham Women’s Hospital
  • But after barmaid got up to get a blanket she saw head of foetus in bag
  • Nurse ‘snatched’ it and took it away – and hospital has since apologised 

A mother-to-be who suffered a miscarriage was left ‘hysterical’ after hospital staff allegedly left the foetus in a plastic bag at the end of her bed following surgery.

Sarah Howard was told she had lost her baby eight weeks after becoming pregnant – and opted for the foetus to be surgically removed at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. But after the operation the 33-year-old barmaid claimed she got up to get a blanket and saw the head of the foetus in the bag – before a nurse ‘snatched’ it off her and quickly took it away.

Miss Howard, of Woodgate Valley, Birmingham, told the Birmingham Mail: ‘I wanted it to be something else, but I knew what it was. I was hysterical. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. ‘I was crying and took it to a nurse. It’s an image I’ll never forget. I can’t forgive the hospital for leaving the remains there like that.’

Click on the link to read more


Sarah Howard

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

Locum doctor paid £11,000 for a weekend shift: ‘Outrageous’ sum spent on NHS consultant to be on call… who wasn’t even required to work

  • Hired on rate equivalent to £452 an hour to do a bank holiday weekend 
  • County Durham trust paid £10,852 for services of locum consultant
  • Doctor was on call to respond to emergencies but none took place
  • It will raise more concerns about NHS waste and temporary workers

A locum doctor was paid £11,000 by an NHS trust for a single weekend shift – the highest sum on record. Despite being hired on a rate equivalent to £452 an hour to do a bank holiday weekend, the doctor was not even required to work.

County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust paid £10,852 for the services of the locum consultant from the agency Locum Vision, according to Freedom of Information disclosures. The doctor, who covered three 9am to 5pm shifts last Easter, was on call to respond to emergencies but none took place. The huge pay packet will raise more concerns about NHS waste and reliance on temporary workers. Trusts have spent £3.3billion in the past financial year on agency staff, contributing to a huge deficit.

Click on the link to read more


Hospital: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (above) flew in a doctor more than 4,000 miles from India to cover a weekend, while an agency nurse in Dumfries and Galloway was also paid £1,400 to work a single shift

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

The care home you WOULDN’T want to send your relatives to: BUPA facility slammed in damning report

One dementia patient at the home-  aged 90-  was left covered in sores and rashes in a cold room while others had bed sores and were not given medication

A crisis-hit care home faces closure following over a raft of damning failings – unless it makes rapid improvements. Stonedale Lodge Nursing and Residential Home, in Liverpool, has been labelled inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the lowest possible ranking – after it emerged that elderly residents suffered bedsores and were not given their medication.

The critical report – which exposed the 180-bed BUPA facility as being staffed below safe limits – is not the first time the care home has met with negative headline,the Liverpool Echo reports. The ECHO today looks back at the shameful incidents which put Stonedale, which was recently banned from taking on any new residents after seven employees were suspended amid allegations of poor care practices, in the public spotlight.

Click on the link to read more


Claims: Elizabeth Parry’s mum suffered a broken arm

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, , ,

Lord Carey: Euthanasia for terminally ill is ‘profoundly Christian’

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has attacked the idea that bearing excruciating pain while terminally ill is a “noble thing”, in a message of support for the Assisted Dying Bill.

In a video for campaign group Dignity in Dying Lord Carey insisted it was “profoundly Christian” to allow people to end their lives if they wished to do so, The Daily Telegraph reported. The House of Commons is to debate the Assisted Dying Bill next month. Under the proposals, lethal drugs could be given to patients with less than six months to live if this was their “clear and settled intention” and two doctors agreed.

Click on the link to read more


Former Archbishop of Canterbury issues message of support for the Assisted Dying Bill

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Detainee’s mental health in Yarl’s Wood was not treated seriously: The whistleblower’s story by Noel Finn

‘I compiled a report detailing the poor clinical practices but after I handed this in, my working relationship with the management at Yarl’s Wood deteriorated massively. I felt I was being marginalised and bullied by senior staff. It would have been easier to keep quiet about what I was experiencing but I knew I couldn’t do that and so I also raised a grievance about the bullying’ Noel Finn

This week’s report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) into Yarl’s Wood detention centre raised many issues about healthcare, systems failures, and a disbelief of detainees’ stories which are only too familiar to me.

I worked at Yarl’s Wood between 2012 to 2013 as a mental health nurse. Almost immediately after arriving I had concerns about the mental health of the residents and when I first raised these with management they appeared to acknowledge my worries. But things didn’t improve. I was the only dedicated mental health professional for over 400 potential patients. The other nurses (including other mental health nurses) were focused on physical care and had more of an administration role – checking residents were fit for deportation.

Many of the issues I noticed at Yarl’s Wood were similar to those I had seen at other locked institutions, however I had never seen the same level of sexual undercurrent in the way officers interacted with residents as I did there.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Mental Health, ,

Careworker jailed for string of sickening sex attacks on dementia sufferers as old as 101

Sick, sick sick… And when you think you have heard it all before. What is our world coming to with such sick and evil people in the world, Joanna


A PERVERTED careworker who filmed herself sexually assaulting vulnerable elderly patients at a care home has been jailed for ten years.

Christina Sethi, 25, preyed upon dementia sufferers – the oldest of which was 101 – in an attempt to get away with her depraved attacks. The carer admitted five counts of sexual assault.

She had filmed the incidents and sent them to her boyfriend, with the abuse coming to light after a man who bought her computer found deleted videos of the attacks. Plymouth Crown Court heard Sethi filmed herself using a vibrator on a female dementia victim, aged in her 80s, and fondled the naked breast and genitalia of a female 101 year old.  The video of the abuse lasted seven and a half minutes and the victim could be heard complaining to the carer, saying: “What are you doing to me?” The attacks she filmed were on two of the care home’s most vulnerable residents.

Police said that although the victim in her 80s was unable to complain due to her dementia, she knew something was happening to her. Sethi – who had no previous convictions – also sexually assaulted a blind dementia sufferer, married and in his eighties, when she stroked his penis after washing him.  One of the elderly victims, resident at a South Devon care home which cannot be named for legal reasons, has since died.

Click on the link to read more


Christina Sethi was jailed for ten years

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Named & Shamed, , ,

Elderly left freezing and crying in agony for up to seven hours in the middle of the night after watchdog shuts failing care home over safety concerns

  • The Old Village School Nursing Home in Bedfordshire was closed by CQC 
  • 57 residents had to be moved to nearby care homes in ambulances
  • Some left in wheelchairs while others became dehydrated during move
  • Magistrates approved closure at 5pm and said they must be out by 12am 

Distressed elderly residents were forced out of their failing care home in the middle of the night when it was shut over safety fears.

Some were dehydrated and crying in agony as they waited outside up to seven hours for belongings to be stuffed in bin bags and ambulances to arrive. The Old Village School Nursing Home in Bedfordshire was closed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on Friday night after inspectors uncovered appalling neglect that put residents in immediate danger. But the watchdog only obtained a closure order from magistrates at 5pm that evening and the home had to be evacuated by midnight. The 57 residents – including younger adults with brain injuries – were moved to nearby care homes in ambulances.

Anne Jeffreys, 87, was still in hospital last night after suffering heart problems during the move.  Her nephew Greg Jeffreys, 59, of Bedford, said: ‘When I visited the home what I witnessed were scenes of absolute carnage. They got the court order to evacuate by midnight and the situation rapidly descended. It was like something out of a Third World country.’

Mr Jeffreys, chief executive of an audio equipment supply firm, said: ‘The street outside was full of very ill, highly distressed residents who were left to sit in their wheelchairs for hours with no bed pans. There were residents and their relatives crying in the street.  ‘In my aunt’s case, her catheter bag needed changing and she was screaming in agony while one carer tried to rush her out during the evacuation. By that point her heartbeat became irregular and we feared she might die. She has been severely traumatised and damaged by the whole experience. ‘I cannot understand how, for the sake of maybe one or two hours, they had to stage a full-scale Third World evacuation.’

Click on the link to read more


Distressed elderly residents were forced out of The Old Village School Nursing Home in Bedfordshire when it was shut over safety fears.

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, Uncategorized, ,

Residents moved out of care home

CARE home residents were moved out after a damning inspection report raised fears for their safety.

Southend Council decided to remove residents from Chadwick Lodge Residential Home in Chadwick Road, Westcliff,  after it was placed placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission. Inspectors from the Government watchdog released a report saying the home was inadequate in safety, effectiveness, care and leadership after an unannounced inspection.

The commission was called in after Southend Council raised concerns and found poor training, neglectful care, unexplained injuries and even the hiring convicted criminals without proper checks – one of which had been suspended while the council investigated allegations against them.

Click on the link to read more

BA109501_01 E32 ANL CAREHOME.jpg-pwrt3

Chadwick Lodge – residents were moved out

Filed under: Care Homes, Elderly, ,

Care home abuse allegations increasing under ‘strained’ system. By Nicola Merrifield, Nursing Times

Allegations of abuse in care homes are being made at almost double the rate they were four years ago, with an average of 150 now being reported every day, according to figures from the Care Quality Commission.

In 2011, around 30,000 allegations were reported to the regulator by providers of adult social care. More than 27,000 of those came from care homes. In the first six months of this year, just over 30,000 abuse allegations were already reported to the CQC. Nearly 24,000 occurred in care homes.

The data was released following a Freedom of Information request by The Observer newspaper, which also interviewed the CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe. Ms Sutcliffe told the paper that the figures showing more allegations being reported were indicative of care providers and those using the services being increasingly aware of the need to notify authorities aboutpotential abuse.  But she did say she was concerned by the “kind of increase there has been, the numbers of people directly affected”, and that 125 more CQC inspectors were now being recruited to help tackle the issue. Cuts in funding and a lack of political leadership had helped to create a sector that was now under “stress and strain”, said Ms Sutcliffe.

Click on the link below to read more

Care home abuse allegations increasing under strained system


Filed under: Care Homes, , ,

Hospitals still not doing enough to safeguard dementia patients: Warning noisy and cluttered wards are causing sufferers to become distressed or suffer harm

  • Figures published today show the worst hospitals scoring just 42 in 100
  • They show a huge variation between the worst and best, which scored 98 
  • Some hospitals had even failed to install hand rails to prevent harmful falls
  •  Nurses have warned many A & E units have become ‘places of terror’ 

Hospitals are failing dementia patients by not doing enough to prevent them becoming distressed or suffering harm, official figures show. Wards are often too noisy, unfamiliar and frightening, or cluttered with bedside tables and chairs which can cause serious falls. Figures published yesterday show that the worst hospital scored only 42 out of 100 in terms of how well it was set up to care for patients with dementia.

Many had failed to install handrails to prevent falls or put up clear signs so patients did not get lost, and some were deemed to be too clinical and unwelcoming. Up to a quarter of patients in hospital have dementia. Many become extremely distressed when in such unfamiliar surroundings. Nurses recently warned that A&E units have become ‘places of terror’ for sufferers.

Hospital managers were urged to make wards more ‘dementia-friendly’ under a strategy launched by David Cameron in 2012. Health bosses were told to take measures to prevent patients falling over or becoming distressed. The Daily Mail has long campaigned for an improvement in the care for patients with dementia as part of our Dignity for the Elderly campaign.

Click on the link to read more



Filed under: A&E, Dementia, Hospital, NHS, , , ,

Change in regulation for midwives brings the practice into the 21st century

The government’s pledge to change the way midwives have been regulated for more than 100 years is momentous and will improve the safety of mothers and babies.

This landmark decision came as a result of families making complaints to the parliamentary and health service ombudsman after going through agonising ordeals with their loved ones during pregnancy and childbirth. We all owe them a debt of gratitude as their actions will help improve maternity services for mothers and babies in the future.

Our casework found that the lives of mothers and babies could be put at risk because supervisors of midwives currently have two inherently conflicting roles. When things go wrong, senior midwives are responsible for investigating incidents involving midwives on behalf of the regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, while being responsible for the development and support of midwives, some of whom may be their peers.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, ,

The scandal of dirty wards in Nottingham’s hospitals

Patients caught superbugs in city hospital wards after the private firm paid £200 million to clean them failed to do its job properly.

The number of hospital beds out of action due to outbreaks of viruses almost doubled under the care of Carillion, which has a contract to maintain the City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre. A decontamination unit has now been set up by NHS bosses and dirty wards are being deep-cleaned. Nurses are also being trained to do more cleaning. But patients say the news, published in a report by Nottingham Hospitals University Trust, is “beyond belief”.

David Jones, chairman of Nottingham Pensioners’ Action Group, said two of the group’s members had recently contracted infections while in hospital. He said: “This is a major concern. It’s quite worrying that we’ve had two members who have had problems recently where they have been in hospital and caught infections; it takes a long time to recover. “Members have been worried about the fact that it has gone out to private contract because companies need to keep that profitability. This is the effect that we are seeing now. “We expect the contract to be met, considering all the money they are being given.”

Click on the link to read more

GV of QMC (Queen's Medical Centre), Nottingham.  PICTURE BY DAN MATTHAMS.

GV of QMC (Queen’s Medical Centre), Nottingham.

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , , ,

NHS trials for cancer sniffer dogs

The NHS has given the go-ahead for trials involving specially trained dogs capable of sniffing out prostate cancer.

The charity Medical Detection Dogs has gained approval from Milton Keynes University Hospital for further trials, after an initial study showed specially trained dogs can detect prostate tumours in urine in 93% of cases.

It is hoped canine testing could help show up inaccuracies in the traditional Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, used to determine if men need a biopsy. The test has a high “false positive” rate, and many men are unnecessarily referred for the invasive procedure. Iqbal Anjum, a consultant urologist at the hospital, said the study was “an extremely exciting prospect”.

Click on the link to read more

dog's nose_shutterstock_94867690

Filed under: Cancer, NHS, , ,

Statement from NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre in response to the Daily Telegraph article, ‘Tesco can see your medical records’

We would like to make clear that the article published by the Daily Telegraph, ‘Tesco can see your medical records’ contains a number of inaccuracies.

The Summary Care Record (SCR) is used by healthcare professionals, on explicit consent of the patient, to support direct patient care. While a regulated healthcare professional may have secure, controlled access to the SCR in a pharmacy within a supermarket as with any other pharmacy setting, this information is not accessible by other means and will never be available to supermarkets for other purposes, such as marketing. The information can only be accessed through a secure, encrypted private network by authorised, regulated pharmacy professionals who have been carefully granted a pin-protected access card.

If a pharmacy professional shared confidential patient information for any purpose other than direct care, they can be held liable in law and held to account by the General Pharmaceutical Council, which has the legal authority to apply sanctions, up to and including withdrawal of their license to practice. There are specific processes in place which means accesses to SCR are monitored to make sure they are appropriate and are only made for patients when there is a clinical need.

NHS England commissioned the Health and Social Care Information Centre to complete a pilot project which enabled 140 pharmacies to access SCR. A report of the findings from this project, which the article states has been ‘seen by the Daily Telegraph’ demonstrates significant benefits to patients, pharmacy and general practice. The report was made public on our website on 23 June 2015:

Click on the link to read more

The Telegraph news article 

Boots, Tesco and Superdrug to get access to NHS medical records



Filed under: NHS, , ,

Over 350 complaints made about care at Black County hospital

The complaints to Walsall Manor chief executive Richard Kirby were made during the 2014/15 financial year.

The main causes were clinical care, assessment and treatment, waiting time and discharge arrangement. The annual report from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has shown there were 380 written complaints direct to the chief executive. Health chiefs say they aim to respond within 30 days and have already made some changes. These include more staff working in the outpatient booking office, extra clinics and working in partnership with social services.

The annual report said: “In 2014/15 we responded to 60.4 per cent of complainants within 30 working days. Since November 2014, the average number of complaints responded to within 30 working days has improved significantly to 86.2 per cent. “We will be working to improve the response rate still further over the next 12 months. “We have fully embraced the parliamentary and health service ombudsman’s vision for ‘good; complaint handling which was published in November 2014 following widespread consultation with patients and social care users. “Our complaints handling process is quality assured to ensure the complainant has the opportunity to be engaged in the complaint process from the beginning, and is fully informed of any lessons learned and changes made as a result of an investigation.”

Article by The Express and Star




Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

Foreigners charge NHS for care in their OWN country: Health tourism loophole lets thousands of Eastern Europeans get free treatment with cards designed for Brits

  • NHS handing out five million European Health Insurance Cards per year
  • They allow Britons to charge emergency treatment abroad back to NHS
  • But cards are being given to any EU citizens who says they are living in UK
  • Eastern Europeans using them in home country to make NHS cover costs
  • Undercover Hungarian journalist Ani Horvath obtained card after visiting UK for one day

Foreigners are billing the NHS for expensive healthcare they receive in their own countries, a Daily Mail investigation can reveal. Under an extraordinary legal loophole, migrants are able to charge the full cost of medical treatment in their home countries to the UK, even if they have never paid a penny of tax in Britain.

They do this by obtaining European Health Insurance Cards from the NHS. The cards were intended for British people to use in cases of emergency while on holiday and entitle them to charge the NHS for the cost of any medical treatment they might urgently need while overseas within Europe. But the NHS is handing out more than five million of these EHIC cards for free every year – and keeping no record of how many are being given to foreigners.

The cards are given out freely to any EU citizens who says they are living in the UK, even if they haven’t actually worked or paid any tax here. As a result, Eastern Europeans can obtain the cards, then return to their home countries and use them to have medical treatment they would usually have to pay for funded by the NHS. And because the cards last for five years, they are worth a fortune to migrants with ongoing conditions, or who have multiple pregnancies and births.

Click on the link to read more

Daily Mail investigation into foreigners being able to use the European Health Insurance Card easily in their own countries.  Hungarian woman, Annamaria Horvath attempts to use her British issued, EHIC card in various clinics around Budapest.

Daily Mail investigation into foreigners being able to use the European Health Insurance Card easily in their own countries.
Hungarian woman, Annamaria Horvath attempts to use her British issued, EHIC card in various clinics around Budapest.

Filed under: NHS, , ,

New era in war on cancer is delayed…. by NHS red tape: Groundbreaking treatment that could extend lives of thousands won’t be available for a year

A new era in the war on cancer is being delayed by NHS red tape, experts have warned.

Nivolumab – a groundbreaking lung cancer drug that could extend the lives of thousands – is being launched in the UK for the first time today. But NHS patients will be denied access to the drug for at least a year – and potentially far longer – as bureaucrats decide how to pay for it. Experts last night called for a complete overhaul to the way cancer drugs are funded on the NHS, claiming poor access to cutting-edge treatments is one reason why the UK’s cancer survival rates lag behind other nations.

Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research,said: ‘The system is at breaking point. This will only get worse as fantastic cancer research science offers increasing opportunities for highly innovative and effective new drugs.  ‘Having these individual battles on each drug is wasting a huge amount of everyone’s time.’

There are 44,000 new cases of lung cancer in Britain each year, making it the country’s second-most common cancer – but survival rates in England are way behind those of Norway, Australia, Sweden and Canada. Nivolumab is licensed for an advanced form of the disease called non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, which affects a third of all lung cancer patients.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, NHS, , , ,

NHS delays leave injured soldiers waiting MONTHS for new limbs: One veteran was left wheelchair-bound for eight months while waiting for prosthetics to be refitted

  • Wounded veterans are having to wait months for prosthetic legs that fit
  • NHS delays have left Clive Smith, 29, wheelchair-bound for eight months
  • He was provided with useless prosthetics after losing both legs in 2010
  •  Mr Smith, who competed in the Invictus Games, said he feels ‘abandoned’

NHS delays are leaving badly wounded Afghanistan veterans wheelchair-bound because many are having to wait months for prosthetic legs that actually fit properly, it has emerged. The girlfriend of one injured soldier accused doctors of ‘sheer incompetence’ after providing her partner with prosthetic limbs that are effectively useless. Clive Smith, who competed in the Invictus Games for injured veterans, has been confined to a wheelchair for eight months while he waits for his new limbs to be refitted.

The 29-year-old, who lost both his legs in 2010 while on a mine-clearing patrol in Helmand province, with 33 Engineer Regiment, says he feels ‘abandoned by the NHS’.  ‘It’s been tough. I’ve been a full-time prosthetics user for four years and now I’m wheelchair bound,’ he said. ‘We were told we would get the same level of care for my prosthetics on the NHS, but it just hasn’t been.’

Click on link to read more


‘Abandoned: Clive Smith, has been confined to a wheelchair for eight months while he waits for prosthetic legs that actually fit properly

Filed under: Disabilities, NHS, , , , ,

You Will Survive: Guide for newly qualified doctors from the BMJ

Tips for students and junior doctors

The BMJ’s social networking site, doc2doc, has just published an e-book that resulted from an online discussion on how to survive as a junior doctor. Here is a selection of tips. Download the whole e-book for free at at

You can download “You Will Survive” PDF guide here….  you will survive


Filed under: GP's, Hospital, NHS, , ,

NHS patients may face widescale charges, warns financial thinktank

Health budget must rise, or patient fees increase and services diminish, public finance institute warns ministers in bleak assessment of ‘short-term’ pledges

Ministers will have to consider charging patients for seeing a GP, attending A&E, and using the food, power and water of hospitals, unless better long-term solutions for funding the NHS can be found, public finance experts have warned. Contributions towards the cost of treatments and patients taking out health insurance are among other options that must be on the table if the comprehensive spending review in November fails to address the issue, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (Cipfa) says in a briefing.

The document says that the hope of NHS leaders to save £22bn over five years to 2020-21 is optimistic and does not take account of David Cameron’s pledge to increase seven-day services nor of the introduction of the new national living wage.  Other general aspirations, such as making the UK a “world leader” in tackling cancer and dementia and raising spending on mental health, have not been explicitly costed either, Cipfa says.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, GP's, Hospital, NHS, ,

Why Jeremy Hunt’s promise to protect whistleblowers is nothing but hot air By David Drew and Minh Alexander

“On high death rates, failing hospitals and whistleblowing, we are calling time on the cover-up culture, and ushering in a new era of transparency”[1]

So promised Jeremy Hunt in February this year. However, Hunt’s latest moves have shown that his rhetoric is not to be matched by real protection for whistleblowers.

Instead, he’s plumped for local ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardians’, and a ‘National Guardian’. [2] [3] [4] This is very bad news for whistleblowers and for transparency. There is no evidence base for the Guardian model [5], and in our opinion it has been designed to fail.

The plan now adopted by Hunt was first presented in February’s Freedom to Speak Up Review into NHS whistleblowing. It was published by Sir Robert Francis QC the man previously hired to report into the failings of care at Mid Staffordshire and to devise a plan to ensure they never happened again. One of the key findings of the landmark 2013 Francis report into Mid Staffs was that staff were too scared to report poor care. Francis pressed for criminal sanctions against whistleblower suppression. [6] But disappointingly in his new whistleblowing review, Francis rejected criminal sanctions.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, , , ,

Royal Bournemouth Hospital’s medical director retires, claims £1.9m pension – then is rehired for his old job at higher salary

A HOSPITAL’S decision to re-hire its medical director on a bumper salary just one month after he started claiming his £1.9million pension “beggars belief”, according to a health watchdog.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals trust director, BasilFozard, retired on May 31. He was believed to be earning around £130,000 in addition to £85,000 for surgical work. His pension pot is thought to be worth £1.9million. However on July 1 Mr Fozard, who first joined the trust in 1992, was re-hired as medical director on a salary circa £20,000 higher than before – £152,000 – while continuing to claim his pension.

The day after the 59-year-old retired, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced measures to close the loophole. His department has now said it will regulate the practice of re-hiring retired personnel and has contacted the trust asking for an explanation. Manager of Healthwatch Dorset, Martyn Webster, said the community deserves better, adding: “At a time when the average pay of hard working nurses on the front line of the NHS has actually fallen in the past year, and a time when we’re being told that health services in Dorset need to change because otherwise there’ll be a funding gap of anything up to £200 million a year, if this story is true, then it beggars belief.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Named & Shamed, NHS,

NHS told to fill only essential vacancies due to ‘almost unprecedented’ finances

NHS trusts have been told by Monitor, the health service regulator, to fill vacancies “only where essential” as it warned that current financial plans are “quite simply unaffordable”.

In a letter to NHS trusts, Monitor’s chief executive David Bennett warned of an “almost unprecedented financial challenge” as he said no stone should be left unturned to find savings. Bennett wrote in the letter, which was seen by the Health Service Journal, that financial forecasts for 2015-16 are unsustainable as he called for greater savings. The HSJ has reported recently that the provider sector has forecast a deficit of £2bn in 2015-16.

In his letter, Bennett wrote: “As you know, the NHS is facing an almost unprecedented financial challenge this year. Current plans are quite simply unaffordable. As I have said before, if we are to do the best we can for patients we must leave no stone unturned in our collective efforts to make the money we havego as far as possible.

“We are already reviewing and challenging the plans of the 46 foundation trusts with the biggest deficits. However, it is clear that this process will not close the funding gap and so we need all providers – even those planning for a surplus this year – to look again at their plans to see what more can be done.” Bennett added: “Ministers have been sighted on these options and are ready to support all providers to reduce their deficits in a managed way although, of course, all actions should be consistent with your responsibilities for safety and the delivery of constitutional standards.”

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said: “This is a sign of a serious deterioration in NHS finances. It suggests that the financial crisis in the NHS is threatening to spiral out of control and hit standards of patient care.

“The suggestion that hospitals can ignore safe staffing guidance will alarm patients and the government must decide if it will overrule this advice. It will raise further questions about how the government can possibly fulfil commitments on a seven-day NHS without the money to back it up.”

Chief political correspondent for The Guardian



Filed under: NHS, , ,

British hospitals near bottom of league tables for botched ops

Research shows that hospitals in the UK have one of the worst records in the industrialised world for leaving surgical instruments in patients after surgery

British hospitals are among the worst in the Western world for leaving surgical instruments in the body after surgery, international research has found. A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that the UK has the sixth worst record for foreign bodies after surgery, with 5.5 cases per 100,000 people discharged from hospital. The rate is three times that of Poland, with 1.9 cases per 100,000 patients, and twice that of Slovenia, at 2.9 cases per 100,000. Such incidents are classed by the NHS as “never events”  because they are should be avoided by systems of checks.

Leaving foreign bodies in patients increases the risk of deadly infections and other complications, and can result in fatal blood poisoning and organ failure. In the year 2014/15, there were 102 such cases in England, latest data shows

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , , , ,

Medicines watchdog calls for whistleblowers

The authority which enforces the pharmaceutical industry’s code of practice urges insiders to bring them evidence of wrongdoing following Telegraph investigation

The medicines watchdog has urged whistleblowers to come forward with concerns about payments to health officials in the wake of a Daily Telegraph investigation.

The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, which enforces the pharmaceutical industry’s code of practice, called on industry figures to pass on complaints to help it “deal with these issues and problems”. The body’s director, Heather Simmonds, suggested the problem involved more officials than those exposed by this newspaper. She said it had already dealt with several cases where individuals present at “advisory board” meetings between drugs companies and NHS officials had raised concerns with the regulator about the events.

Her appeal came after this newspaper last week exposed how senior health staff who help decide which drugs are used by GPs and hospitals are being paid to work as consultants for pharmaceutical companies who want the National Health Service to “switch” to medicines they produce.

Click on the link to read more


Many of the meetings take place in five-star hotels around the world, with some attendees telling this newspaper that they were taken to “flashy” restaurants and paid large sums while considering whether to “switch” drugs.



Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, , , ,

New death guidelines ‘worse than Liverpool Care Pathway’

One of the first medics to raise concerns about the now discredited Liverpool Care Pathway says new protocols to replace it are more dangerous, and could hasten patients’ deaths

New NHS guidelines on “end of life” care are worse than the Liverpool Care Pathway and could push more patients to an early grave, a leading doctor has warned. Prof Patrick Pullicino, one of the first medics to raise concerns over the pathway, said the national proposals would encourage hospital staff to guess who was dying, in the absence of any clear evidence, and to take steps which could hasten patients’ death.

The Liverpool Care Pathway – which meant fluids and treatment could be withdrawn, and sedation given to the dying – was officially phased out last year, on the orders of ministers. It followed concern that under the protocols, thirsty patients had been denied water and left desperately sucking at sponges.

Last week the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) published new 32-page guidance for hospital staff on end-of-life care.

Click on the link to read


Filed under: Elderly, NHS, , , ,

My mum died after being left in her own urine for eight days

Its beggars belief that we keep on seeing these shocking photo’s and stories of complete and utter neglect. How any human being can be left and treated in such an inhumane way.  Joanna


Daughter claims her tragic 69-year-old mum was left in a disgusting condition as carers “neglected her and took away her dignity”

A devastated woman has ­accused care workers of negligence following the death of her mum – who was left lying in a urine-soaked bed for eight days. Margot Green, 69, was being visited by carers at her home twice daily but one day pressed her emergency alarm and was rushed to hospital. Doctors at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton found the pensioner was in agony with ammonia burns. Although medics confirmed she had an infection, she was too frail to have more tests and died four days later.

Daughter Corrin Garland, 43, says she returned to her mum’s house and was horrified to find it in a “disgusting” condition. Margot’s bed was covered in urine and faeces and Corrin claims she had not been showered for three weeks. Corrin has now made an official ­complaint to Way Ahead Care, who ­provided Margot with two half-hour care visits each day for £35 a week.

Click on the link to read more


Soiled: Margot Green’s living conditions while she was in care

Filed under: Care Homes, Named & Shamed, , ,

Why NICE must publish its safe staffing guidance By Shaun Lintern for HSJ

NICE’s decision to keep its safe staffing guidance under lock and key raises several questions, and so far the reasons for the delay have been nebulous and without detail. HSJ calls on NICE, NHS England and the DH to publish it without delay

In the past few months the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence has coordinated work on what is likely to be the best assessment so far of how nurse numbers affect care quality in accident and emergency units. In the past few days, however, it has decided the resulting guidance will not be published, and will instead be kept under lock and key until an unspecified later date.

‘NICE’s U-turn could tarnish its international reputation for independence’

This is a bad decision for a number of reasons.

Questions about whether NICE was pressured into its U-turn from outside risk tarnishing the organisation’s international reputation for independence. The work is taxpayer funded and could potentially be used to plan services ahead of winter.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: NHS

Recommendations on NHS safe staffing not published

Health officials have pulled out of publishing recommendations on safe staffing after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt gave the responsibility to the newly-formed NHS Improvement body.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) was going to go ahead with publishing them anyway, but announced tonight it would not do so. Chief executive Andrew Dillon said: “The work on safe staffing will now be taken forward by the newly-formed NHS Improvement, in conjunction with NHS England.

“The conclusions reached by our advisory committee on safe nurse staffing in accident and emergency departments will now become part of a wider review.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, Hospital, NHS, ,

The system rules ok.


This is so important to read

Originally posted on phsothetruestory:

system errorBureaucratic systems are like the worst kind of artificial intelligence.

They are programmed to protect themselves and have no empathy or humanity as a counter balance.  Why would they – they are simply self-serving machines.

You could take almost any organisation, but for argument let us take the health service.  The system is dysfunctional.  Good in many respects and sometimes excellent, it is incapable of critical analysis, so any error or mismanagement is just perpetuated by the system.

There could be a number of triggers for change, but the system has them all covered.

Internal:  When members of staff speak out about unsafe practices they become whistle blowers and the system knows just how to contain this attack.  First discredit the individual in order to discredit the message.  Conduct a witch hunt to unearth false evidence and drive the person to resignation through stress related illness.  Enemy of the system…

View original 787 more words

Filed under: Uncategorized

Mother releases harrowing pictures of her daughter, 23, wasting away in hospital before she died after doctors failed to notice she was malnourished

  • Kayleigh Compton died after being treated at Peterborough City Hospital 
  • The 23-year-old had lost six stone in eight months before being admitted
  • Doctors failed to note weight loss and did not offer feeding tube on arrival
  • She died a month later after being placed in a medically induced coma

A mother has released harrowing photographs of her daughter wasting away in hospital after doctors failed to notice her severe malnutrition. Kayleigh Compton died in hospital after plummeting to less than five stone in just one year. The 23-year-old had developed a condition which made her sick every time she ate.  Doctors at Peterborough City Hospital carried out a malnutrition test when she was first admitted but it failed to give an accurate assessment of her condition.

When the correct reading was obtained doctors assumed her malnutrition was the result of an eating disorder despite the aspiring photographer’s protestations.  She refused a feeding tube for weeks, failing to understand that another condition may have caused her to become so malnourished. Miss Compton eventually died after being placed in a medically induced coma having collapsed.

Click on the link to read more


Kayleigh Compton above, 23-year-old aspiring photographer

Kayleigh Compton below two days before her death

Filed under: Hospital, Named & Shamed, NHS, NHS Blunders, , ,

Quote for the day from Will Powell

There are two types of courage. First, put yourself in danger to save others & second, stand up against the establishment when there’s an abuse of power that is detrimental to the public!

Chose the former and you will be a HERO, chose the latter and you will be vilified, victimised and have your career ended. Democracy, I think not! :”(

A massive thank you to all whistle-blowers and especially NHS whistle-blowers who have been vilified and punished in an attempt to save the lives of our loved ones. Will Powell


Filed under: Whistleblowing, , ,

Mers outbreak: Manchester Royal Infirmary A&E closes over suspected cases

The A&E department of the Manchester Royal Infirmary has been closed after two suspected cases of the respiratory virus 

Two patients have been isolated and are being examined for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, which can cause fever, coughing, shortness of breath, diarrhea and vomiting, amongst other symptoms.

Around 1,000 cases of the disease have been reported worldwide since May this year, and around 40 per cent of those infected die from it.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, Hospital, NHS, , , ,

A scalpel in the back: How hospital buried evidence that could clear surgeon jailed over patient’s death after 40-year ‘exemplary’ career

  •       BMI Healthcare heaped blame over death of James Hughes on David Sellu
  •       Surgeon was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and jailed
  •       Senior consultant claims that surgeon was made a ‘scapegoat’ by BMI 
  •       Accused of wanting to cover up broader failings at the Clementine Churchill Hospital

Britain’s biggest private healthcare firm concealed an internal report that identified ‘systemic failings’ at one of its hospitals where a patient died after a routine knee operation, a Mail on Sunday investigation can reveal. The hospital’s owner, BMI Healthcare, heaped blame for the death of a retired builder on one of its surgeons, David Sellu. He was convicted at the Old Bailey of gross negligence manslaughter and jailed for two and a half years, ending a 40-year career described by colleagues as ‘exemplary’.

James Hughes had complained of stomach pains after the operation and died just over a week later of cardiac arrest following a ruptured bowel while he was under the care of Mr Sellu. The Root Cause Analysis (RCA) report ordered by BMI into what went wrong was hidden from Mr Sellu’s trial in 2013. Documents obtained by this newspaper reveal that BMI executives not only read the report, but were taking advice from the firm’s lawyers on its ‘status’.

Last night, Peter McDonald, a senior colorectal consultant at London’s world famous St Mark’s Hospital, told this newspaper in an exclusive interview that he considers BMI made Mr Sellu a ‘scapegoat’ for the broader failings at the Clementine Churchill Hospital in North-West London.

Click on the link to read more

2AD6BA7600000578-0-image-a-77_1437865892892    2AD6BA6E00000578-0-image-m-76_1437865880911

Scapegoat’: Surgeon David Sellu, left,  was jailed for two-and-a-half years for gross negligence manslaughter over the death of James Hughes, right


Filed under: Hospital, Named & Shamed, Whistleblowing, ,

Radiography students in hospitals tell stories that make me want to weep

In the NHS, students are at the bottom of the pile with little voice. It’s time the health service acknowledged that they can help improve services

I am a diagnostic radiographer; one of the allied health professions often forgotten by the public and media in a world where the NHS seems to consist of only doctors and nurses. Diagnostic radiographers often see tens, if not hundreds, of new patients each day. We get very little time with our patients; it can take as little as two minutes to complete a chest x-ray. During this time, we are expected to build a relationship of trust with our patient to enable us to get the best possible image while ensuring that the patient is cared for. It is a difficult balance to achieve but one that is vitally important. That two minute x-ray could be a life changing event; something that is easy to forget when you are x-raying the chests of over 100 people each day.

It isn’t as easy to forget for student radiographers though. I am currently a senior lecturer in diagnostic radiography and my students spend 50% of their three-year degree on placement in imaging departments. First year students generally aren’t used to the healthcare environment and tend to view it as a member of the public would. This means that they notice things that radiographers, through familiarity, no longer see. Students should, therefore, be used as an early warning system – someone on the inside looking with an outsiders eyes.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

‘Stopping my lifesaving drug will be my end,’ says woman with rare illness

Sarah Long, oldest survivor of Morquio syndrome, pleads for NHS to provide expensive drug to treat condition

Every day Sarah Long becomes weaker. She cannot sleep for more than an hour at a time, loses concentration and struggles to speak. “I don’t have much longer,” she says with a remarkable lack of self-pity. At 44, she is by far the oldest person to have Morquio syndrome, an extremely rare degenerative impairment, caused by missing enzymes, that has stopped her from growing since the age of six.

Most people with the syndrome die in their teens from a heart attack or because their lungs fail. Only 88 people in England – and 160 worldwide – are known to have the syndrome and barely a handful have made it into their 30s. Long has earned her surname. But, then, since she lost her mother when she was a teenager, she has been nothing if not strong-willed. She puts her longevity down to “bloodymindedness, a strong heart, determination – that was something my mum taught me”.

Not only did she go on to defy every medical prediction and reach her 40s, she took a degree in sociology, then a master’s, and is now in the middle of studying for a PhD. It was the same determination that in 2012 made her choose to test a free trial of a drug called Vimizim. She had spent eight months laid low with pneumonia, a period in which she says she “didn’t function”, and felt going on the trial was worth the gamble.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Disabilities, NHS, , ,

NHS England announces new plan to meet emergency care targets

A drive to make more one-stop shops for urgent and emergency care will be announced on Friday as the NHS in England seeks to remedy its failure to meet its target for dealing with 95% of A&E patients within four hours last winter.

NHS England announced eight “vanguard” areas to transform services. Among the measures are the acceleration of the development of GP services in hospitals, mobile treatment centres using ambulance staff, and same-day crisis response teams including GP’s and other acute home-visiting professionals. More mental health street triage services will also be rolled out, along with initiatives involving a broader role for community pharmacists.

The moves, designed to break down barriers between primary care and hospitals, are among £200m worth of experiments. The NHS hopes these will be as successful as the setting up of regional major trauma units three years ago, which are said to have brought about a 50% increase in the odds of survival for patients and saved hundreds of lives.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: A&E, GP's, Hospital, NHS, , , , ,

Patient’s brain abscess missed twice by doctors

HEALTH chiefs have been forced to apologise to a patient who was sent home with painkillers twice by doctors who failed to notice she was suffering from a brain abscess.

The patient, known only as Miss C, was referred to the outpatient clinic at St John’s Hospital in Livingston in September 2013 after complaining to her GP of severe headaches, problems with her vision and vomiting. But medics failed to spot the agonising build-up of pus on her brain and she was sent home twice with only ibuprofen and co-codamol. A scan later revealed the problem and the patient had to undergo emergency surgery at the Western General Hospital, before a further operation to drain the abscess.

Ombudsman Jim Martin has now ordered NHS Lothian to apologise for its delay in diagnosis, which “may have led to a more serious outcome and unnecessary prolonged pain and distress”.

Click on the link to read more




Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders, ,

Thousands of breast cancer deaths could be prevented by drug that prevent bone thinning

  • 50,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed by doctors each year
  • Scientists find bone thinning drugs could prevent 1,300 deaths a year
  • The 5p pill slashes risk of cancer spreading to bone by 28 per cent
  •  Also, reduces the likelihood of the disease returning by 14 per cent 

Pills costing just 5p a day could save the lives of thousands of breast cancer sufferers, according to research. Drugs used to prevent bone thinning slash the risk of dying from tumours by 20 per cent, researchers found.  They say that if the pills – called bisphosphonates – were routinely given to women with breast cancer they would prevent 1,300 deaths a year and ‘several thousands’ within a decade. But campaigners say there is a danger the drugs will remain ‘sitting on the shelf’ in chemists because NHS red tape prevents doctors from routinely prescribing them for breast cancer.

Bisphosphonates are currently only ‘licensed’ – passed as safe – to be used for osteoporosis and for some women whose cancer has weakened the bone. Campaigners are urging the Government and the NHS to change the guidelines to enable doctors to routinely offer them to all women diagnosed with breast cancer after the menopause.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, , , ,

Have an Appy Patient Experience

Click on to  to support MyNotes Medical

MNM - Copy

Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

Making change possible: a Transformation Fund for the NHS

The Health Foundation and The King’s Fund both support the concept of a Transformation Fund for the NHS in England. The two organisations came together to undertake a programme of work detailing the key aspects of such a fund.

Making change possible: a Transformation Fund for the NHS draws on analysis conducted by the two organisations, in particular six case studies of funding transformation, in the health sector and beyond, along with examples of local NHS initiatives. We also captured the experience of NHS leaders and some of those organisations across the NHS that have been at the forefront of efforts to implement changes in the delivery of care.

Appendices to the report give more details of the work underpinning it.

  • Appendix 1 provides full information about the case studies.
  • Appendix 2 explains the methodology used to calculate the size of the Fund and gives details of the local NHS examples of change that we examined.
  • Appendix 3 looks at the potential for realising value from surplus NHS estate.

Click on the link to read more and download research reports

imgres   imgres


Filed under: NHS, , , , ,

Exposure: NHS Out of Hours Undercover

An undercover probe into  Care UK , Britain’s biggest provider of out-of-hours services, has revealed patients are put at “huge risk”.

Click on the link below to watch. Only on ITVplayer for 30 days. Don’t miss it


Healthcare providers face fines for missing the national four-hour target for all emergency departments to conclude 95% of cases. But covert footage has suggested doctors are discharging patients when they near the limit. They continue to receive treatment later on, but off the books. Suzanne Mason, professor of Emergency medicine at the University of Sheffield, said: “By discharging somebody off your system before they’ve left the department, there’s a huge risk something could happen to that patient.”

The month-long probe by ITV’s Exposure, presented by Mark Austin was broadcast on Wednesday night 22nd July which exposed major concerns at Care UK’s 24-hour Ealing Urgent Care Centre, West London.

One doctor told an undercover reporter he discharged a patient to meet the target. He said: “It’s all… playing the game. I’ve discharged her, but I’m still dealing with her. So as far as statistics are concerned she was discharged within four hours.” Two days later, the same doctor said he had discharged another patient before treatment finished. He added: “It happens a lot.”

Care UK said both the firm and doctor “refuted any suggestion patients have been discharged before treatment is complete”. The probe into Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s NHS also revealed patients were given thermometers to take their temperature, to determine which were seen first. Care UK, which had a turnover of more than £700million last year, said “this does not appear to be good practice”, and it “will undertake any retraining necessary.” Other alleged failings included empty medicine cabinets, and work experience students being told to check up on patients when staff were busy. Care UK said: “Stocks of medications are monitored closely.” It added students should not have been asked to check up on patients.


Filed under: GP's, Hospital, Named & Shamed, NHS, NHS Blunders, Whistleblowing, , , ,

New app to record patients’ medical information


Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association says the app could help offset problems caused by the loss of medical notes, and adds: “Notes going missing is a big problem – they frequently go missing and are not with patients when they have appointments, so to have an app that records your information will be really useful.”

Click on the link to read more

Click on the link to support MyNotes Medical



Filed under: GP's, Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders, , ,

Costs and benefits of NHS modernisation: Written Statement made by The Secretary of State for Health Mr Jeremy Hunt on 21 Jul 2015.

The health and care reforms came into operation on 1st April 2013. They reshaped the NHS to give patients a stronger voice and give doctors, nurses and elected councillors more power to decide how best to use local resources to significantly improve services and patients’ health. The National Audit Office subsequently reported that the transition to the reformed health system was successfully implemented and the savings in administration costs would far outweigh the implementation costs. The Department of Health originally forecast the total cost of transition to be £1.5 billion. On publication of the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2014-15, I can today announce that the actual costs to 31 March 2015 are £1.38 billion, and total costs are forecast to be under £1.43 billion.

Click on the link to read The costs to 31 March 2015 comprises:


Filed under: NHS, ,

Dementia drug data set to be revealed

Eagerly awaited data on the most promising drug in treating Alzheimer’s disease is set to be unveiled later today

Patients and scientists hope it could become the first medication to slow the pace of brain decline. The decline in Alzheimer’s is unstoppable – drugs can help with symptoms, but nothing prevents the inexorable death of brain cells.

Hints at the drug’s effectiveness will be outlined, but Solanezumab* has been the great hope of dementia research. It targets deformed proteins called amyloid that build up in the brain during Alzheimer’s. It is thought the formation of sticky plaques of amyloid between nerve cells leads to damage and eventually brain cell death.

Click on the link to read more



Read about the drug Solanezumab*

Filed under: Dementia, , ,

Blog views to date

  • 47,746 hits

Kay, My Beautiful Elegant Mother

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Last Six Months and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,133 other followers

Helpful Pages, Templates etc

Recent Posts



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,133 other followers