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 email@example.com 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. Joanna Slater, Author of The Last Six Months http://www.joannaslater.com
Sarah Foot says a consultant talked down at her and her sick husband
Her ‘hostile body language’ was ‘telling me to shut up and know my place’
Says that like all relatives, what she needed was kindness and support
Here’s the scene: My husband Tony is desperately ill and I’m sitting by his hospital bed. He’s been sick for weeks and at one stage I was told he was expected to die. He’s now out of a coma and no longer, thank God, one of the ten sickest people in the vast teaching hospital. But still no one knows what’s wrong with him. He’s been moved from the intensive care unit into a small room when suddenly a consultant descends.
She crashes through the door, followed by half a dozen of her juniors, who crowd round the bed and wait for her to speak. No one’s in any doubt who’s in charge. She talks not at us, but down to us, like some reincarnation of the monstrous Sir Lancelot Spratt (played by James Robertson Justice) from the Doctor In The House films. Except this isn’t funny. Tony has been in hospital for more than a month, but how or why he got ill so suddenly no one really knows.
The woman, who has only been named as Gina, was mentioned in a report by MPs into the work of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Gina lost her leg through a catastrophic error at Doncaster Royal Infrimary in 2013. Hospital bosses said that the shocking incident is now being used as an example of good practice to show how lessons had been learned. Her case has been used by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of a YouTube clip called ‘The Human Factor: Learning from Gina’s Story’ which has been shown to NHS staff and organisations to show how lessons can be learned from local investigations.
Sewa Singh, Medical Director at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals, said: ‘We are pleased that the enquiry recognised that Gina’s story is an example of good practice for the NHS. ‘Patient safety is at the forefront of everything we do at DBH and if there are any mistakes we make sure that we carry out a thorough investigation, share the findings with patients and their families and ensure Trust wide learning. ‘We worked closely with Gina and her husband to make an educational video called Gina’s Story that drives home the importance of patient safety and our safety culture and we can’t thank them enough for helping us with this.
‘The inspiring educational video was shared widely both within the organisation, and to other hospitals as we wanted to ensure that no-one else goes through the same experience.’ Please watch this tragic video where one moment loss of concentration cost Gina the loss of her leg.
The Department of Health believes that more than 12,000 hospital deaths could be avoided every year.
More than 10,000 serious incident are reported to NHS England each year.
Patients with dementia are being condemned to needlessly long stays in hospital because of a shortage of care to help them at home, a charity has warned.
New research shows that in the last financial year, people with the condition spent more than 3 million days in hospital – with average stay in some hospitals three times as long as in others. The Alzheimer’s Society said dementia sufferers were being forced to endure long stays in frightening and unfamiliar hospital surroundings, for want of support at home.
Official data shows that the NHS spent nearly £900m on the care of dementia patients who spent 3.42 million days in hospital during 2013/14. If the hospitals with the slowest discharge rates matched the national average, the health service would have saved £70 million – equal to the total amount spent on dementia research each year – the charity said. The figures show that while some hospitals had an average stay of six days for a patient with the condition, in others, the typical stay was more than three weeks.
Having finished reading a blog entry by a care assistant in a private nursing home, who informs of her and one nurse having to attend to the needs of 25 elderly residents on a night shift, and of her thinking the food given to residents during the day was on par with what would go in the bin of very cheap boarding house (this as the homes’ administrator received a bonus for cutting costs), it occurred to me that all private nursing homes should be open to scrutiny by residents’ friends and relatives.
For this purpose, I have 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 I have 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.
All UK babies will soon have access to a vaccine against meningitis B, after a deal with drug manufacturers, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.
The agreement with GlaxoSmithKline will mean the vaccine can be introduced on the NHS “this year”, Mr Hunt said. Government advisers said in 2014 that every child over two months old should be given the vaccine, but negotiations over costs have delayed this process. Mr Hunt said it was important to get value for money. Campaigners had warned the delays put children’s lives at risk.
The drug will now be added to the national childhood immunisation scheme, meaning babies will receive the first vaccine at two months old, followed by two further doses. Scotland’s health secretary, Shona Robison, said the vaccine would be provided to all infants in Scotland “as quickly as possible” following the deal – which was also made on behalf of the devolved government.
Surgeons often describe the tricky operation to remove a brain tumour as ‘trying to pluck a spider out of jelly’. Take out too little and the cancerous ‘legs’ remain and regrow – but take out too much and there is a risk of cutting away healthy tissue and leaving the patient disabled.
Now a British hospital is trialling a laser that bleeps like a parking sensor on a car when the scalpel gets to the edge of the cancerous areas, letting surgeons know their margins for error. In a world first, neurosurgeons at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have started using the pen-like probe, called the Core, which shines a near-infrared light on to a tumour and scans for subtle differences between healthy and cancerous tissue. The device can read the differences in less than a second, and gives a warning sound if the surgeon is close to healthy tissue. About 16,000 Britons are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year, and more children and adults under 40 die from the condition than from any other cancer. There are more than 120 types.
I was very interested to read an article recently published by the British Medical Association [“BMA”] with the heading: “Statutory duty of candour could backfire”. It never ceases to amaze me that any individual doctor let alone an organisation associated with the medical profession could claim publicly that being open and honest about medical mistakes could in any way be detrimental to patient safety. This is the very culture, in my view, that made the need for the introduction of a ‘legal’ duty of candour absolutely necessary – honesty should be the foundation for all doctor patient relationships!
Although rarely accepted and denied by the government the absence of a duty of candour was first exposed in the High Court in Cardiff in 1996. It was highlighted by the case of our son Robbie Powell who died in April 1990. Doctors responsible for Robbie’s death had been untruthful about the circumstances of Robbie’s negligent death, falsified the child’s medical records and post death caused psychological damage to my wife and me by exacerbating our grief as a consequence of their dishonesty. The UK Courts ruled that because doctors had no post death ‘legal’ duty to be honest to parents, in such circumstances, the case was struck-out.
The NHS ombudsman has been “defensive” and caused “pain” by its reluctance to admit mistakes when investigating patients’ complaints, a report by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has found.
The report adds that “serious questions” have been raised about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) which has caused “considerable anguish” when it has failed to uncover the truth, it said. MPs now want a new independent body to investigate clinical failures before they reach the ombudsman to “transform the safety culture of the NHS”. Current systems are “complicated, take far too long and are preoccupied with blame or avoiding financial liability”, the committee warned.
Some of the PHSO’s shortcomings are systemic and can only be addressed through legislation, which is needed early in the next Parliament. Our proposals for a new investigatory body will help transform the safety culture of the NHS and help to raise standards right across the NHS.
– BERNARD JENKIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE PASC
The PASC said patients and NHS staff deserved to have clinical incidents “investigated immediately” at a local level to establish facts and evidence, “without the need to find blame, and regardless of whether a complaint has been raised”. There also needs to be a “clear, effective central system” for disseminating lessons learned from local incidents across the national NHS, it added. A spokeswoman for the PHSO said: “We will carefully study this report which raises important issues about the investigation of clinical incidents for the health system, as well as about our service.”
A report published today (Friday, March 27) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the hospital’s maternity, surgery and outpatients services were ‘inadequate’.
Inspectors made an unannounced inspection of the hospital on The Ridge, together with its sister site, Eastbourne DGH, yesterday (Thursday) and on Wednesday. The health watchdog branded East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, as ‘inadequate’. An inspection took place in September last year before the CQC returned this week to assess the progress the trust had made addressing concerns raised. The CQC said in most cases, a rating of ‘inadequate’ would lead to the Chief Inspector of Hospitals recommending that the trust be put in special measures.
Toni Curry is fighting for the right for her father to live.
I have had to ask my poor dad the hardest question in my entire life today , and that was whether or not he chooses to be treated or allowed to die naturally without any treatment at all, in preperation for judgement day tomorrow at the surgery, so that I can fully express his current wishes as a consequence of Billingham district nursing team and Stockton PCT wanting a clear cut beurogratic case.
My dad is called bernard benton and he is bed bound with multiple co morbidities. He is 87 yrs old and is cared for at home by myself Toni Curry his daughter.
Due to dads illnesses the gp back in January 2015 thought it would be of no benefit to dad to send him back into hospital for treatment. I reserved the right to disagree at any point as it all depended on dads views at the end of the day. The division would have to lie with him to refuse any treatment. As with all elderly people when suffering an infection, they then can become confused and disorientated with fluctuating capacity. This is no different for my father.
Please click on the link below to read the rest of my fathers story
Please read this very moving account from a midwife who has now resigned, Joanna
I am tired of the paperwork, the audits, the inspections and the nights on the sofa sobbing after another dreadful shift
I am a midwife with eight years experience and I love my job. I practise in a large, bustling unit where the sounds of the doorbell, fridge alarms, emergency bells and birthing women create a glorious symphony. Eight years on I still get a frisson of excitement when I go on shift and see a full board and a busy delivery ward. But I practise in a unit where women’s needs and autonomy are quashed under reams of risk assessments, individual needs forms, care plans, catheter forms, cannula forms, ankle measurements and tick boxes on what leaflet was given to each woman and when. I work in an environment where my dedicated, courageous colleagues who want the best birth for every woman they care for now work from a place of fear – and that is a great tragedy. I am supposed to be the guardian of normal birth.
Up to 40,000 patients die annually because hospital staff fail to diagnose a treatable kidney problem, a figure that dwarfs the death toll from superbugs like MRSA
At least 1,000 hospital patients are dying needlessly each month from dehydration and poor care by doctors and nurses, according to an NHS study. The deaths from acute kidney injury could be prevented by simple steps such as nurses ensuring patients have enough to drink and doctors reviewing their medication, the researchers say. Between 15,000 and 40,000 patients die annually because hospital staff fail to diagnose the treatable kidney problem, a figure that dwarfs the death toll from superbugs like MRSA.
The report comes less than a year after the NHS watchdog NICE was forced to issue guidelines on giving patients water after it found that 42,000 deaths a year could be avoided if staff ensured the sick were hydrated.
Prime Minister David Cameron has apologised on behalf of the British government to victims of the contaminated blood scandal.
It came after a Scottish inquiry described the saga as “the stuff of nightmares”. Thousands of people were infected with Hepatitis C and HIV through NHS blood products in the 1970s and 80s. But the inquiry concluded few matters could have been done differently. And it made only a single recommendation – that anyone in Scotland who had a blood transfusion before 1991 should be tested for Hepatitis C if they have not already done so.
There was an angry response to the report from victims and relatives who had gathered at the National Museum in Edinburgh to see its publication after a six year wait, with shouts of “whitewash” after its conclusions were read out. The contaminated blood scandal has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, many of whom had been haemophiliac patients.
Click on the link to read and watch the video’s of today’s announcement
Patients’ lives are at risk because the Government has failed to find any “real solutions” to the NHS crisis, Britain’s top doctor warns today.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the the British Medical Association, which represents more than 150,000 doctors, blames the Tory-led coalition for the growing chaos in the health service as hospitals are “bursting at the seams” after A&E units across the country suffered “one of the worst winters on record”. In a major blow for the Government, Dr Porter, one of the most powerful people in the health service, will today go on the attack over new BMA research which exposes the scale of the NHS crisis for the first time. And he slammed both prime minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for their “series of headline grabbing initiatives and sticking plaster policies to bail out accident and emergency departments”. He accused the Government of failing to develop “a long-term, sustainable solution”.
Please click on the link to read and watch the video’s
Charlotte Leslie is a ‘determined upholder of the NHS values of care free at the point of delivery and need – not only for now, but for generations to come’. That’s the view of a group of NHS surgeons, professors and whistleblowers who put their careers on the line to keep the NHS free and safe both now and in the future. They include Professor Steve Bolsin, the anaesthetist who brought the Bristol baby heart surgery death rates into the public arena, leading to vastly reduced mortality at the Bristol Royal Infirmary as well as the implementation of clinical governance reforms in the UK.
In the letter, the group say that Bristol North West MP Ms Leslie, who sits on the Health Select Committee, has been a steadfast supporter of work done to make sure NHS staff will never again have their careers put at risk because they highlighted poor practices which undermined patient safety.
How many more will suffer before their life has already started, Joanna
A mother has slammed the NHS for ‘shocking failures’ over the death of her baby, including an NHS Direct call-handler who classed the emergency as non-urgent because the desperate parent failed to use the word ‘severe’.
Katie Corry, 22, held up her feverish baby Leo to the phone so the call handler could hear his ‘rapid’ breathing. An inquest heard the call was classified as non-urgent because Katie had not used the word ‘severe’ which would have prompted a speedier response in accordance with the script of questions and potential answers the call handler was using at the time.
Cancer survival rates in Britain lag more than ten years behind those in many other European countries, experts warn. Even for breast cancer – one of the most treatable forms of the disease – the figures are still well below those reached by France, Sweden and Italy in the late 1990s. For lung cancer, the rates are so far behind that patients in Britain are now half as likely to survive as those living in Austria. Macmillan Cancer Support has described the situation as ‘shameful’ and warns too many patients are dying needlessly here when they would survive had they been treated elsewhere in Europe. And despite billions being spent to improve cancer survival rates over the last 15 years – £640million invested by Labour in the early 2000s and £750million by the Tories – Britain does not appear to have gained any ground.
This video explains the scandal of the treatment of whistleblowers in modern Britain. Speak up about abuse, fraud or unnecessary deaths and you could be treated like a dissident in a totalitarian country. The video uses many examples to illustrate how whistleblowers are subjected to an ordeal similar to dissidents in North Korea, Zimbabwe, or China. Lies and misinformation are spread to destroy reputations. Whistleblowers
A war hero who served in the Second World War and survived Dunkirk has lost both his legs after alleged hospital blunders by the NHS.
Douglas Mainwaring, 93, from Bridgend, first visited his GP complaining of a pain in his left foot in September 2008 and was told it had likely been caused by a verruca. It was treated with a special freezing spray but after the treatment his leg became gangrenous and had to be amputated in October 2012. His family claim investigations later revealed the original problemwas not a verruca at all, but was caused by a bone left sticking out after Douglas broke his foot during the war. His daughter Yvonne, 62, explained: “The GP sprayed quite a large area of dad’s foot.
“Less than a month later we noticed his foot turning black. We took him to hospital and the first thing the surgeon asked was, ‘When did you have frostbite?’ “After that things just got worse and worse. He was in terrible pain.”
Wonderful news. My highest admiration goes out to Ashya’s parents that had the faith and courage to defy doctors here in the UK. Joanna
The parents of five-year-old Ashya King, who were jailed after taking him abroad for brain tumour treatment, say their son is now free of cancer
Ashya King is free of cancer after he was given treatment not available for him on the NHS, his parents have claimed. The five-year-old’s family have told of his “miracle” recovery, as the centre where he was treated declared him cancer-free, The Sun reported. Ashya’s mother Naghmeh, who alongside her husband Brett sparked an international manhunt last summer by removing the little boy from hospital in Southampton without medical consent, described the news as incredible.
Scientists are having extraordinary success treating cancer with new vaccines they believe could be a ‘game-changer’ in the battle against the disease.
They have worked out how to teach the body’s immune system to identify cancer cells, allowing patients to be primed to destroy cancer. In one case an American woman given just weeks to live was cleared of advanced blood cancer. She is still alive three years later, and her doctor says she is not a one-off. British researchers are now working on a related approach. Both methods involve taking T-cells, which fight infection, and giving them the ability to recognise a special tag on the surface of cancer cells, called the WT1 protein. The research is being carried out on patients with leukaemia. But the scientists hope their vaccines will eventually be used to fight many types of cancer, including that of breast, bowel and prostate – whose cells tend to have WT1 on their surfaces.
7,500 people, many haemophiliacs, given contaminated blood
Diseases came from high risk donors including prostitutes and prisoners
Many victims needed liver transplants and dialysis
People inadvertently infected partners and children with diseases
Follows publication of 1,800-page, six-year report into scandal
The Government will apologise this week for what has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the National Health Service – the infection of thousands of patients with deadly diseases through use of contaminated blood products.
Following the personal intervention of David Cameron, there will be a formal statement of regret given to the House of Commons, similar to those acknowledging the official failures of Bloody Sunday and the Hillsborough football disaster. This will come after the publication on Wednesday of the 1,800-page Penrose Inquiry, a six-year report into a scandal that has led to more than 2,000 British deaths. About 7,500 people, many of them haemophiliacs, are known to have contracted HIV and hepatitis C after being given imported blood products taken from high-risk donors such as prostitutes and prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s.
A DOCTOR who says he was victimised after raising concerns about patient care has written an open letter demanding a full investigation by the Scottish Government.
Dr Sukhomoy Das, who was invited to take part in Sir Robert Francis’ review of the way the NHS treats whistleblowers, is demanding a probe into the issues he raised and believes were covered up. Dr Das, who is still employed by the NHS working with stroke patients, says he raised concerns about the quality of locum cover hired by his former health board, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, back in 2006. The board insists his concerns, which included patients being misdiagnosed, were fully probed at the time and no patient safety issues were identified. However, the board has twice paid settlements to Dr Das since 2006 after failing to interview him for two different jobs.
This overview considers how the NHS has performed over the current parliament in relation to patient safety. We look at data relating to reported incidents and harm, episodes of care free of certain types of harm, and patient and staff perceptions of safety.
Harm caused by health care affects every health system in the world; the NHS is no exception. Research from the UK suggests that around 8-12% of admissions to hospitals will involve an adverse event, resulting in harm to the patient. Between half and one third of these adverse events are thought to be preventable. Similar figures are reported in international studies.
The NHS has made great progress in tackling some specific causes of harm in hospitals. The number of people developing infections such as MRSA as a result of their care has remained low during this parliament. The proportion of patients receiving care that is free of four common adverse events, including pressure ulcers, has increased from 91% in July 2012 to 94% in February 2015.
Staff reporting of hospital safety incidents continues to improve. There has been a sustained increase in the reporting of incidents during this parliament, while the percentage of staff saying they have witnessed an incident has remained roughly the same. This suggests that the proportion of hospital incidents going unreported has declined.
Some warning signs are emerging among the NHS workforce. During this parliament, the percentage of staff who say there is a blame culture in their organisation has risen, as has the percentage of staff who have reported feeling unwell because of work-related stress. Around 40% of patients feel there aren’t always enough nurses on duty to care for them.
We don’t know how safe health care services are outside of hospital. There is little published evidence from which to draw conclusions about levels of harm in primary and community care. Less than 1% of all reported incidents are in primary care, despite 90% of all patient contact taking place there, suggesting significant underreporting of harm in this care setting.
I cannot understand with all the history of this doctor, and the errors that had happened, not alone being suspended from a hospital in 2010, he still was able to get through the system and work! It’s beggars belief that this has happened, and will it happen again? Joanna
A DOCTOR who mistakenly prescribed a fatal dose of medication to a pensioner has been struck off. Dr Prashen Pillay, pictured below will be permanently removed from the General Medical Council register following a hearing this week. A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel upheld several charges against Dr Pillay which involved incidents in Sussex and other parts of the country between 2010 and 2014. Joan Dixon died of poisoning after Dr Pillay wrote milligrams instead of micrograms on her prescription while she was being treated at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.
Mrs Dixon, 77, of High Street, Findon, near Worthing, had mental health problems and was sectioned in 2010. She fell and broke her hip in the Orchard ward of the Harold Kidd Unit in Chichester in September that year. She was treated in Ashling ward of St Richard’s Hospital where she was found to have an irregular heartbeat, a swollen calf and bladder problems. Dr Pillay was supposed to prescribe 250 micrograms of digoxin, a drug which regulates the heart, but wrote milligrams instead.
People with muscular dystrophy are being driven to depression and suicidal thoughts by a lack of support from the NHS, with some doctors advising patients to Google the condition on diagnosis, a charity has found.
There are more than 60 types of muscle-wasting conditions affecting about 70,000 people in the UK and Muscular Dystrophy UK says that their rare nature mean that those affected are often left abandoned and isolated with nowhere to turn. It surveyed 700 people with such conditions and found that more than half experienced feelings of depression, a fifth had suicidal thoughts and one in four were forced to wait more than three years for their diagnosis after first raising concerns with a health professional.
There are more than 60 genetic muscle-wasting conditions. The charity Muscular Dystrophy UK says the NHS is not giving patients enough support to cope with what is often a difficult diagnosis. Photograph: Mopic / Alamy/Alamy
The joint survey of over 850 nurses by Nursing Times, NHS Supply Chain and the Royal College of Nursing will inform a major new campaign to boost the influence of nursing staff in the NHS procurement process.
A resounding 90% of survey respondents thought senior nurses should have greater influence over what products were used to support patient care. A similar percentage said they believed nurses could save money if they had greater involvement in the purchasing process and 87% thought patient safety would be improved through close working between nursing staff and clinical supplies teams. More than half, 55%, said they had already seen areas where savings could be made by changing the clinical products they used, for example through standardisation or reducing waste.
A new scoring test to determine who is most at risk of developing memory problems will help doctors spot the signs of dementia, scientists said today.
The new tool is aimed at dementia of the debilitating condition, which currently affects more than 47 million people across the world. By 2030, the World Health Organisation predicts that number will spiral to 75 million. But researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota hope their research will help identify those most at risk, to help doctors intervene with potentially preventative treatments. Study author Ronald Petersen, from the Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, said: ‘Our goal is to identify people who are at the highest risk for dementia as early as possible.
‘Early detection of individuals at high risk of developing memory and thinking problems that we call mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is crucial because people with MCI are at a greater risk of developing dementia. ‘This allows for a wider window of opportunity to initiate preventative measures.’
Click on the link to read, and take the memory test
While forgetting what you went upstairs for is and taking a few minutes to recall where you parked your car is no cause for concern, if you can’t remember your grandchild’s name but can recall childhood memories, you should visit your GP, experts say
The trust in charge of the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven has declared a major incident.
The News & Star has learned that staff were called to a meeting at 3pm yesterday. There they were told that the hospital is now at “escalation number five”, which is an internal major incident. A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust told the News & Star that the declaration is across the trust, but the Carlisle hospital is more acutely affected. We understand that the hospital simply ran out of beds yesterday afternoon, and had no option but to declare an emergency and call for help from its partner agencies.
NHS England has said it will not be commenting.
A full statement from the trust and NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group is expected later.
Have you been affected? Call 01228 612653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A group of patients who criticised their local GP surgery on Facebook have been told to consider finding a new doctor in an attempt to stifle negative feedback online. Staff at the Trent Meadows Medical Practice near Burton, Staffordshire, had been monitoring social media comments and culprits have since been sent ‘threatening’ letters.
Sylvia Blackshaw, 35, had written that on three occasions she waited for 90 minutes for an appointment for her newborn baby. But she was later accused of abusive behaviour by the surgery who branded it ‘inappropriate patient behaviour’ and warned her that she should consider finding an ‘alternative practice’.
Mrs Blackshaw had said ‘OMG. Demand a recount!’ in a comment on a glowing report for the surgery from health watchdog the Care Quality Commission on her local paper’s Facebook page.
A fortnight later a letter sent to her home from the surgery said: ‘We have a zero tolerance for inappropriate patient behaviour which is either face to face, over the telephone or on social media networks and do not accept this from our patients.’
Row: Jenny Wheeldon, left, and Sylvia Blackshaw, right with son Jake, have been told to consider finding a new GP after their surgery saw their criticism online. Warning: This letter below from GP partner Judith Crosse has also been sent to other critics
A shortage of junior doctors and consultants at an ‘inadequate’ mental health trust must be tackled urgently, says the BMA. Unsafe staffing levels were first revealed at NSFT (Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust) in a damning report by the health regulator, the CQC (Care Quality Commission), published last month. At that time, the trust said vacancy rates in clinical services were below 10 per cent.
However, a BMA freedom of information request to the trust has revealed the medical vacancy rate, as of February, stands at 14.4 per cent — equating to a shortage of more than 31 doctors. BMA Eastern regional consultant committee chair Rob Harwood said the findings highlighted the need for proper investment in health services and needed to be addressed ‘urgently’. Dr Harwood said: ‘We perhaps ought not to be surprised that a trust recently placed in special measures by the CQC needs more doctors, based on its own figures. ‘Mental health services need appropriate resources to allow them to care properly for their patients.’
The regulator, which is responsible for ensuring high standards of care are upheld across the country’s hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes, has been accused of not acting quickly enough or thoroughly investigating scandals relating to Mid Stafford Hospital and Winterbourne View care home. The British Medical Association added that it had “no confidence” in the regulator last June after allegations of a cover-up over inspections at a children’s hospital in Cumbria.
Eileen Chubb surrounded by Whistle-blowers from all sectors reads a statement outside Downing Street. This statement along with comprehensive evidence was delivered to Number Ten Downing Street earlier. Prior to this the Whistle-blowers attended Parliament in committee room 17 and invited all MPs to attend.
My daughter is five and she likes to ask questions. Some are awesome: “Why can’t you see black holes?” “Why is sugar sweet?” “Can I be the first girl president?” “If I do this, will it explode?” (Answers: physics of light; chemistry of food; yes you can; and “Stop shaking that bottle right now!”). Other questions are more complicated: “How do babies get inside mommies’ tummies?” and “Will you and mommy die?” We try to answer all questions honestly, but also appropriately for her age.
A few weeks ago, though, Ellie asked me the one question I’ve been preparing for since before she was born, but was still not ready to answer: “Daddy, what is Down syndrome?”
The country’s biggest NHS Trust has been placed in special measures, in the wake of a damning inspection report that catalogued unsafe care caused by staff shortages and a bullying culture at one of its main hospitals.
Whipps Cross Hospital, part of the Barts Health NHS Trust, was branded inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a report which uncovered 208 serious incidents last year alone – including the deaths of two unborn babies, a new mother and a newborn baby. The Trust, which serves 2.5 million in east London and Essex, has been plagued by financial problems since it was formed by the merger of three London Trusts in 2012. It is also projecting a deficit of £93m this year. Two years ago, managers decided to cut hundreds of nursing posts to help balance the books, after a slowdown in national NHS funding combined with crippling repayments on a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal forced the Trust into the red. In total, 220 nursing posts were lost at Whipps Cross, and hundreds of other staff had their pay and responsibilities downgraded.
As a result, inspectors said yesterday, the hospital did not have enough staff to ensure safe care.
A Norfolk widow has revealed her final conversation with her husband just hours before NHS staff followed a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice without consent.
Former metal polisher and gardener Michael Richardson, 66, of Bath Hill Terrace, Great Yarmouth, died at James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston on October 27 2013. His widow Janet, 66, has accused medics of playing God with his life after discovering that a do not resuscitate (DNR) notice had been placed on him without consent by the family or Mr Richardson. He had been ill for several years with a lung condition which caused his breathing to stop but had been given more than a year to live.
That document, together with others relating to the joint £1.2bn privatisation of cancer and end-of-life services in Staffordshire, was sent to me. They are commercially confidential, secret agreements that will rebuild NHS services for hundreds of thousands of people, but are for the eyes of the bidding companies only. Not only is this the first billion-pound NHS privatisation, it is the first time that it has been deemed acceptable to put care designed to meet the needs of our most vulnerable patients on sale.
Uniquely for a privatisation on anything of this scale, there has been no public consultation, simply a series of weak “engagement” events led by paid “patient champions”. For the past year unpaid patients have not been able to have their say. Thanks to the brave person who shared the documents, now they can.
Nurses and other clinicians must receive tailored training to address the lack of confidence and skills they have in raising end of life issues with patients, a report by the Commons’ health select committee has said.
The MPs’ inquiry into end of life care found variation in the quality and practice of care given to people approaching the end of life – defined by the committee as those who appear likely to die within the next 12 months – within both hospital and community settings.
Evidence submitted to the committee by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman stated that half of all its complaints around this type of care featured poor communication – including between clinicians and patients or the family, within clinical teams and between hospitals and community services.
The patient in front of me is five minutes late for her 10-minute appointment. As she sits down she tells me she is feeling suicidal, as her father has just been diagnosed with cancer and she is about to be evicted from her flat for non-payment of rent. It is 9.05am on a Monday and the waiting room is already standing room only. This is a slightly extreme scenario, but it does happen. Whenever general practice is discussed in news reports, the main complaint seems to be that people cannot get appointments with their GP. There are many reasons for this. Chronic underfunding, combined with ever-increasing unfunded work being dumped on us are two major reasons why it is harder to see your family doctor. Another important reason, which the media seems to pay scant attention to, is the misuse of the system by patients themselves.
GOK Wan’s family have told of their fury after the TV star’s frail aunt lay in agony on a trolley at a Scots hospital for seven hours.
Mary Wan, 81, was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary after complaining of excruciating leg pains at her nursing home in the city. But relatives were horrified when she was left until early in the morning with no food or medication, despite suffering a stroke just weeks before. Gok’s cousin Charles, 51, who is Mary’s son, said: “My mum is an elderly Chinese woman who doesn’t speak any English. I have to speak up for her.
“For someone of her age to suffer in pain for that time is not on. She is the best mum in the world and deserves to be looked after properly.”
A ‘worrying’ scheme to construct a series of computer databases containing the details of how every elderly person wants to die is being recommended by MPs.
They are pressing Ministers to push ahead with a universal system for recording people’s death wishes – despite fears people could be denied life-saving hospital treatment. Doctors or nurses would ask elderly patients where they want to die and whether they would prefer treatment to be withheld if all appears lost. Their wishes would then be added to databases to be shared with GPs, hospital staff and ambulance crews. The Health Select Committee wants to reduce the number of dying patients being ferried to hospital for ‘unnecessary’ reasons. While around seven in 10 people say they want to die in their own homes, only two in 10 actually do. Too often, according to a report from the committee today, doctors carry information about where and how their patients want to die ‘in their heads’. Under the new system, if a patient has indicated they want to die at home, this information will be passed to paramedics called to an emergency.
Older doctors should be allowed to go home at 4pm to stop errors occurring, according to new guidance. NHS England says flexible working patterns should be brought in to help older GPs who find their “concentration goes” after 4pm. The advice was given by Kate Staveley, assistant performance director at NHS England’s Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucester area team. Writing in the March newsletter of Devon’s Local Medical Committee, she said: “We are all working harder than we ever have before and if we want to thrive and survive it is essential that we look after ourselves and each other.
The lives of elderly patients with broken ribs are being put at risk because emergency departments and GPs are failing to refer them for up-to-date assessment and treatment.
Breathing difficulties caused by these injuries can lead to the lung infection pneumonia, which is especially dangerous for older people. A revolutionary two-hour procedure that involves implanting flexible titanium splints to support the fractures while they heal was approved for NHS use in 2010, and has been shown to slash lung infection rates. But according to DePuy Synthes, which manufactures the unique Matrix Rib Fixation System, the implants have been used only in a total of 350 cases – although the Health & Social Care Information Centre say there were 29,401 hospital consultations involving rib fractures last year alone.
A hospital has been criticised after patients were forced to parade their conditions on laminated signs, under a new scheme likened to “a police line-up”. Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, has introduced a trial which sees Accident & Emergency patients given cards detailing their medical condition. Hospital managers say the initiative – which labels patients according to their level of urgency – is designed to help speed up waiting times. All patients are given a green or red laminated cards detailing their condition – meaning those with alcohol problems, mental health issues and gynaecological problems – could lose patient confidentiality.
The sales to a total of 11 private firms, some with dubious records, are intended to help hospitals tackle the backlog of patients waiting for surgery and tests.
Jeremy Hunt’s claims that the NHS is not for sale lay in tatters last night after he signed the largest privatisation deal in history. The Health Secretary, who has repeatedly denied health services are being siphoned off to private firms under this Government, faced furious reactions as the £780 million deal was revealed.
The sales to a total of 11 private firms, some with dubious records, are intended to help hospitals tackle the backlog of patients waiting for surgery and tests. Heart, joint and a variety of operations will be carried out, as well as scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Under the deal struck by the NHS Supply Chain, many services will be provided in mobile units, rather than hospitals.
The news was met by anger, not least because three of the 11 profit-driven firms have previously been slammed for providing poor quality of care.
Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze. In the past, high-energy ultrasound has been combined with injected microbubbles, which vibrate in response to sound waves, to get drugs across the so-called blood brain barrier. But the new research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, is the first demonstration that ultrasound alone might have a beneficial effect on the memory-robbing condition.