Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Woman loses leg after NHS staff accidentally inject it with disinfectant – By Ollie McAteer for

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.


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

Could the statutory duty of candour backfire? By Will Powell

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.

Click on the link to read more


Will Powell

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

NHS ombudsman accused of being ‘defensive’ by MPs

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.


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.”

Click on the link to read the report here… Investigating clinical incidents in the NHS


ITV News

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

My name is Bernard Benton and I need the right to live, I need treatment

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

My dad is called bernard benton and he is bed bound with multiple co morbidities


This was my dads reply , and I fully support him on this.

Love and respect you dad xxxxxxxxxxx

Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

NHS England’s condition ‘deteriorating’ – The King’s Fund

Services in the NHS in England are deteriorating in a way not seen since the early 1990s, according to the health think-tank, The King’s Fund.

In the second part of its pre-election review of the NHS this Parliament, The King’s Fund says that waiting times for A&E, cancer care and routine operations have all begun to get worse.

Dominic Hughes reports.

Please click on the link to see the video from the BBC

Please click on the link to read the report  The NHS under the coalition government nhs performance Kings Fund-Mar15


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, ,

I loved being a midwife but bullying, stress and fear made me resign

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.

Click on the link to read more



Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, ,

Thousands die of thirst and poor care in NHS

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.

Click on the link to read more


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

Bristol MP ‘determined upholder of NHS values of care free at the point of delivery’ – clinicians

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.

Click on the link to read the letter


Charlotte Leslie with her NHS surgeon father Ian


Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, ,

Mum slams NHS for ‘shocking failures’ over death of meningitis baby Leo Radcliffe

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.

Click on the link to read more


Baby Leo Radcliffe

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

Is the NHS getting safer? This is one of a series of overviews, looking at key areas of quality: safety, waiting times, mental health, person-centred care and international comparisons. The Health Foundation, Authors John Illingworth

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.

Click the PDF below to download the overview 

Swimming Against The Tide Briefing The Health Foundation



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

People with muscular dystrophy abandoned by NHS, says charity

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.

Click on the link to read more


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

Filed under: NHS, Uncategorized, , , , ,

Exclusive: Nurses demand more purchase power over products. By Steve Ford, Nursing Times

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.

Click on the link to read more

Exclusive Nurses demand more purchase power over products


District community elderly blood home patient dressing wound care

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , , ,

Patients who criticised their GP surgery online get ‘threatening’ letters from the practice telling them to find a new doctor

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.’

Click on the link to read more


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


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

Unfilled posts threaten patient care

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.’

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

They’re trying to kill me’ – Great Yarmouth great-grandfather before his hospital death

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.

Click on the link to more


Michael Richardson died at James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston in October 2013.

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

The biggest privatisation in NHS history: why we had to blow the whistle by Kate Godfrey

I’m not a journalist, but as of this morning I know what it feels like to be part of the biggest leak in NHS history.

Published on openDemocracy, the memorandum of information for the £700m sell-off of Staffordshire cancer services is now available for the 800,000 directly affected and 3 million indirectly affected patients to read online.

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.

Click on the link to read more

'Staffordshire commissioners want to hand all management and care of cancer and end-of-life patients to a private company.'

‘Staffordshire commissioners want to hand all management and care of cancer and end-of-life patients to a private company.’ Photograph: Alamy

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Whistleblowing, , , ,

Scandal of patients dying… just from a cracked rib: NHS ‘failing to use new technique that can stop pneumonia kicking in’

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.

Click on the link to read more

How revolutionary operation works.jpg

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, pictured is how the operation works

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

NHS scheme ‘like a police line-up’

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.

Click on the link to read more


Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford Photo: Eastnews Press Agency

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

First patients diagnosed through genome sequencing, the milestones announced today

Patients in the NHS are now receiving personalised care based on their DNA code. Two families have been diagnosed with rare conditions as part of a project at Newcastle Hospitals and University that used an analysis of their genomes – the complete set of people’s genes – to properly understand the health issues they are experiencing. They will now receive effective, personalised treatment, as well as helping prevent future generations who share their DNA from suffering a life of uncertainty about similar symptoms.

One hundred thousand genomes will be sequenced across the country, making the UK the world-leader in collecting and decoding human genomes to help scientists and doctors understand rare disease and design personalised treatments.

Click on the link to read more, and how this will help



Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

Harry Procko Exclusive: ‘Doctors got it wrong’, says Medical Director by Daniel Robbins – Notts TV News

The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s medical director has admitted that ‘doctors got it wrong’ over the treatment of Harry Procko.

Dr Stephen Fowlie is heard in the recording below talking about the treatment of four-year-old Harry, who is autistic, who died after being taken to the Queens Medical Centre last June. He was initially taken to the hospital with vomiting and diarrhoea and the hospital said he needed some tests. But after nine hours of waiting in unfamiliar surroundings, Harry became very distressed and his parents made the decision to take him home for the evening. The next day when he was taken back, doctors planned for a blood test to be taken and fluids to be given for dehydration but that never happened and two days after he was discharged, Harry collapsed, turned blue and died a short time later.

Here is what Dr Fowlie is heard saying when asked about the chain of events:

Click on the link to hear the audio correspondence and read the article


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders, ,

Elderly patients will get consultations with doctors via webcams to reduce pressure on A&E as part of £200 million NHS shake-up

The elderly will undergo consultations via webcams and patients will be offered GP appointments at weekends as part of an NHS shake-up. Simon Stevens, the health service’s chief executive, today announced a £200 million scheme aimed at providing better care for the most vulnerable patients so they don’t end up in hospital. Initially, it involves 29 local projects covering a total of five million patients which will all operate slightly differently depending on the needs of the population. But the hope is to gradually expand these nationwide with the overall aim of treating more patients at home – or at their GP – rather than in hospital. Mr Stevens said the problem with the set-up of the NHS at the moment is that it is too ‘fragmented’, meaning patients are passed ‘from pillar to post’ between the various hospital wards, outpatient clinic and their GP.

Click on the link to read more


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

More than 100,000 patients injured or killed by medical ‘blunders’ in the Welsh NHS since 2010, shock figures reveal

More than 100,000 patients have been injured or killed by medical “blunders” in the Welsh NHS since 2010, new figures have revealed.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that patients were injured on at least 102,807 separate occasions at Welsh hospitals, and an astonishing 1,742 of those led to major harm – or even death. On average, one Welsh NHS patient was harmed every 30 minutes as a result of doctors or nurses misusing drugs or equipment, making mistakes over paperwork or providing negligent treatment.

Click on the link to read more


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

The best thing about being a doctor is sharing the secrets of the NHS system – by Ellie May, consultant anaesthetist

I see where the health service fails patients and I want to apologise for it

There are so many excellent aspects of being a doctor you may think it difficult to pick the best one. The good news is I have the answer. The bad news is, it’s not what you think.

First, eliminate the sensible reasons for embarking upon a vocation in medicine, the benefits that parents point out: a job for life, employee benefits such as sick pay and maternity leave, and a public sector pension. Next, disregard obvious reasons, stated by eager applicants during their interview for medical school. Helping people, making a difference and job satisfaction. Leaving aside the irreverent: nudity, black humour and in-jokes are the domain of sniggering, usually male junior doctors. It can be amusing but is far from the best thing.

No, the best thing about being a doctor in the NHS today is having insider knowledge. Knowing the weak points in the system. Being able to identify where systems break down and having the know how, ability and confidence to intervene. Being able to remedy problems in a timely manner, averting disaster or just gently steering the plan back on course is something I am eternally grateful I can do. Not just for me but also for my friends and family.

Click on the link to read more


I know how best to access a busy consultant and how to push the receptionist at the GP surgery for an appointment. Photograph: Thomas Tolstrup/Getty Images

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, , ,

Hospital crisis hit 900 operations in West of England. Nearly half of those – 436 at Gloucestershire’s two main hospitals

More than 900 patients in the West of England had surgery cancelled for non-medical reasons at the start of 2015.

Nearly half of those – 436 – were due to be seen at Gloucestershire’s two main hospitals during a fortnight of intense pressure on the NHS. “Major incidents” were declared at a number of UK hospitals as medical staff struggled to cope with patient numbers. The Great Western Hospital in Swindon had the next highest total with 141 elective operations cancelled. Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust – which released its figures following a Freedom of Information request – said the pressure was due to high demand on it’s services, an increase in frail and elderly patients and a shortage of beds. A statement from the trust said that operations called off on the day – a “national standard” for measuring cancellations – brought the number down to 43. The figure of 436 includes operations cancelled before and on the day for “non-medical” reasons. The trust said the data was “complex” and “should be considered in that context.”

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

Is another NHS scandal brewing?

Do you think there is another NHS scandal brewing? Please fill in our one question survey


Lethal. Shocking. Unacceptable. Dysfunctional. Failures at every level. So said the report into maternity care at Cumbria’s Furness General Hospital.

But as was pointed out repeatedly as the inquiry published its findings on Tuesday, the parallels with Stafford Hospital are chillingly similar. In fact, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt went as far as calling it a “second” Stafford Hospital – albeit it on a smaller scale.

In both cases poor care was covered up by a culture of secrecy and intimidation, priorities seemed to have been distorted by the pursuit of foundation trust status and the wider NHS missed opportunities to deal with the problems at an earlier stage.

In both cases it led to unnecessary suffering – and it was left to patients to expose the truth. So can we be sure this is not happening elsewhere? It’s a question that always gets asked when these reports are published – and the sad truth is that there can be no guarantees.

Dr Bill Kirkup, the chair of the Morecambe Bay Inquiry, named after the trust which ran the hospital, admitted as such. He said “there could be elements” of what he found happening elsewhere when pressed by journalists.

Click on the link to read more


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

NHS calls for British doctors working in Australia to come back and help the shortfall in numbers in the UK

The NHS has been forced to ask British doctors in Australia to come home due to a major shortfall in numbers. Around 1,000 more GPs are urgently needed in England, according to new figures released by the House of Commons library.  It is thought that nearly 1,500 doctors – who cost the taxpayer up to £610,000 to train – move to Australia every year.

To bridge the gap they have been offered a place on a ‘fully funded’ programme, which they can choose to be either full or part time, if they return.  An advert was placed in the Australian Doctor and the Medical Observer by NHS England’s Shropshire and Staffordshire area team and Health Education Midlands earlier this month. It said: ‘This scheme will help you rediscover and enhance the skills you need to return, or start to practise in the UK. ‘It’s fully funded, so you will be supported whilst you complete the programme.’

Click on the link to read more


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

More than half of GPs expect to leave profession before 60, says BBC survey

More than half of family doctors say they are set to leave the profession early, according to a new survey. The survey of 1,004 GPs across the UK for the BBC’s Inside Out programme found that 56% said they expected to retire or leave before they are 60. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt described the figures as worrying, while Dr Krishna Kasaraneni of the British Medical Association said he was not surprised by them. Dr Kasaraneni said: “Politicians across the board need to acknowledge that general practice is not resourced correctly.”

The survey found that 25% of GPs said they would definitely leave before reaching 60, while 32% said thought they would probably not retire or leave general practice by that age. There were 6% of GPs who said they were definitely not planning to leave the profession before they turned 60.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: GP's, NHS, , ,

‘Appalling’ treatment of NHS whistleblowers must be investigated: Staff ostracised by hospital bosses demand independent inquiry after ‘whitewash’ Francis Report

NHS whistleblowers are demanding an independent inquiry into their treatment by hospital managers after a long-awaited report was declared a ‘whitewash’. In a scathing letter to the report’s author, they accused him of failing to hold any managers to account and leaving patients at risk of serious harm. The NHS’s ‘Freedom to Speak up Review’, which was published a fortnight ago, told how whistleblowers have faced a culture of ‘fear, bullying and ostracisation’ for daring to speak out. But whistleblowers whose careers have been ruined said still no action has been taken to address the concerns about patient safety that they have been making for years. Despite hearing awful reports about failures and cover ups over patients’ deaths, the report’s author Sir Robert Francis has ‘ignored’ their stories, they said.

NHS whistleblowers, however, have since confronted him, outlining their ‘serious concerns’ that his report has failed to address any of the specific concerns made by NHS staff about the alarming treatment of patients.

The letter has been signed by three high profile whistleblowers, including Dr David Drew, a top paediatrician who was sacked after claiming he had witnessed a cover up over a child’s death. It has also been signed by Sharmila Chowdhury, a senior radiography manager who spoke out about a £250,000 fraud at her Trust, and a third colleague who asked not to be named. Dated February 23, 2015, the letter states: ‘We have now had an opportunity to digest your report and have a number of serious concerns.

Click on the link to read the letter in full and more

19B9AB4800000578-2971737-image-a-1_1425034337676 26242FA200000578-2971737-image-a-2_1425034337678

NHS whistleblowers Dr David Drew (left) and Sharmila Chowdhury (right) have written to Sir Robert Francis demanding an independent inquiry into their treatment by hospital bosses, after they spoke out to raise concerns over patient safety


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

600 patients die of hunger and thirst every year: Hospital staff refuse to help, say families

Almost 600 patients are dying in hospitals each year because of hunger and thirst, figures show. Bereaved relatives have told how their loved ones were ‘forgotten to death’ by staff who refused to help them eat or drink. Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that 7,949 deaths have been attributed to hunger and thirst in the past decade.  In recent years, however, numbers have fallen – suggesting the standards of nursing care are showing signs of improvement.

The figures show that in NHS and private hospitals in 2013, dehydration was recorded as an underlying cause of death or a contributory factor in 574 deaths. In 2008 the total was 942. In 2013 a further 336 deaths were logged with malnutrition being an underlying cause or contributory factor. The two figures cannot be added together to give a total because some patients would have been recorded in both categories. Another 88 deaths in care homes in 2013 were attributed to dehydration and 33 to malnutrition, according to the figures which were obtained by Channel 4 News. The family of a retired engineer who died of acute dehydration have told how staff dumped drinks by his bed without bothering to help him reach them.

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‘Forgotten to death’: Almost 600 patients are dying in hospitals each year because of hunger and thirst, figures show, with bereaved relatives saying staff refused to help them eat or drink. (Stock image)

Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Abuse on a grand scale: Jimmy Savile raped and sexually assaulted victims aged 5 to 75 at 41 NHS hospitals, including 60 at Stoke Mandeville, during a 24 year reign of abuse

It sickens me that a man using his celebrity status was allowed to cover-up his prolific paedophile abuse.  Hospital staff dismissed allegations as they thought he was an ‘asset’ for the hospital. Shame on them all. Joanna

Jimmy Savile was allowed unfettered access to the NHS where he raped and sexually assaulted patients in 41 hospitals during a 24 year reign of abuse, a bombshell report has revealed this morning. The paedophile DJ attacked 60 NHS patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital alone, where he was given his own private bedroom and 24 hour access to all wards. It is also likely that he had sex with bodies in the Buckinghamshire hospital’s mortuary and is believed to have stolen a glass eye from one body and had it made into a medallion he wore round his neck.

One member of staff who was complained about Savile’s abuse was ‘severely reprimanded’ by her bosses and the complaint was dropped, the report said. The disgraced celebrity, who is now thought to be Britain’s most prolific paedophile abuser, assaulted victims as young as eight years old who were being cared for by the NHS. But despite at least 10 complaints being made nothing was done by senior managers to stop him.

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The Secretary of State for Health asked former barrister Kate Lampard to produce a ‘lessons learned’ report, drawing on the findings from all published investigations and emerging themes. The report includes 14 recommendations for the NHS, the Department of Health and wider government.

Click on the link to download the Independent report from The Department of Health. KL_lessons_learned_report_FINAL  Jimmy Savile NHS investigations: Lessons learned  


Fame: Savile raised millions for the Stoke Mandeville, which led to him being seen as an ‘asset’, 

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

Failure to train enough nurses proves very costly for NHS

Information obtained by the Royal College of Nursing in the East of England shows a 69pc rise in agency nursing expenditure across the region by £20m and a 26pc growth in the number of nurse vacancies across the region. The data shows that many hospitals are struggling to recruit permanent staff and are having to spend increasing amounts of money on temporary staff to look after patients and increasingly looking overseas to recruit nurses. Acute hospitals were asked under the Freedom of Information Act for registered nurse vacancies, nurse agency spend and overseas recruitment during 2014.

RCN director for the eastern region, Karen Webb, said: “The cost of central government’s failure to plan properly for the NHS’s workforce needs is proving cripplingly expensive.  “Through no fault of their own, NHS trusts in our region are scouring the globe looking for nurses and, in the meantime, having to make do with the sticking plaster approach of using expensive agency nurses. “It’s not good for patient care and it is the most inefficient and most expensive way to try and staff wards.”

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More than 1,000 doctors convicted of crimes from child porn to sexual assault are STILL practising – because banning them could breach their human rights

A growing number of doctors are continuing to practise despite being convicted of serious crimes such as child porn and sexual assault, it can be revealed today. Figures show that more than 1,000 medics have been allowed to keep their jobs after being found guilty of offences – a 10 per cent rise in two years. Other crimes include cruelty to children, domestic violence, drug-trafficking, possessing dangerous weapons and prostitution offences. It is believed many offenders could be treating children.

Campaigners have reacted angrily to the figures, accusing medical chiefs of not doing enough to protect patients.  But bosses at the General Medical Council, which released the data, say it is not always possible to automatically ban convicted doctors because it may breach their human rights.

Please click on the link to read this shocking article, Named and Shamed

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Not struck off: Dr Ashley Sibery (left) has been suspended after being convicted of injecting his wife with heroin, but could in theory return to work when the ban expires. Meanwhile, Dr Hassan Abdulla (middle) has been allowed to carry on working as a psychiatrist despite being convicted of illegally circumcising 41 boys in a ‘non-sterile’ unit. He has been barred from carrying out circumcisions for two years. Dr Nicholas Spicer (right) escaped being struck off in 2010 even though he was described by the General Medical Council as a ‘deviant’ for downloading child-sex stories

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , , ,

NHS levy: Patients could pay £10 a month to choose where they’re treated in future

Would you be willing to pay £10.00 a month to the NHS to be able to choose where you want to be treated?

Patients could choose where they want to be treated in future by paying an NHS top-up fee of £10 a month, a report suggests. The radical move would address the postcode lottery which sees hugely varying levels of quality of treatment in different areas of the country, think tank Civitas said. And the £3.5billion a year such a scheme could raise would be ploughed back into NHS services and hospitals, it added. Civitas claimed there was a proven “public appetite” for increased contributions to the NHS.

It cited surveys suggesting 60% of the public would be willing to pay higher income tax, while 54% said taxes should be raised to pay for healthcare. The report’s authors, NHS consultant Dr Christoph Lees and Civitas researcher Edmund Stubbs, said the fees would help plug the £30billion NHS funding gap predicted to exist by 2020.

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NHS should stop buying drugs which cost more than £13,000, researchers say

Cutting funding on drugs would stop people with terminal illnesses having the chance to live that much longer, and closing the door on most new treatments. Lets hope it never comes to that. Joanna

 The NHS should not spend more than £13,000 a year on drugs for individuals because higher spending does “more harm than good” by diverting funds from larger groups of patients, economists have said. A study by the Centre of Health Economics, at the University of York, says health spending on costly drugs, especially those which prolong the lives of terminally-ill cancer patients, is not an effective use of NHS resources, and says costs should be capped much lower. But health watchdogs last night hit out at the research, and said following the advice would mean “closing the door” on the majority of new drugs for patients. Under current NHS guidance, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence rarely backs drugs which cost more than around £40,000 a year, but cancer drugs which cost more can be funded via a special NHS Cancer Drugs Fund.

It means breast cancer drugs such as Kadcyla, which costs around £90,000 a year, and can extend life by an average of six months, in those for whom it is suitable, are funded by the NHS, despite their high costs.

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Debate about which drugs the NHS should fund has been hotly debated  Photo: Alamy 

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Policy change needed to deliver the NHS five year forward view. New report out from The Kings Fund

A new report from The King’s Fund has called for fundamental changes in how health services are commissioned, paid for and regulated to deliver the vision set out in the NHS five year forward view. The Forward View, published in October, sets out how NHS services will need to change in future. It has been endorsed by all three main political parties and will set the agenda for NHS reform in the next parliament. However, without significant changes to policy and new approaches to leadership in the NHS, the report argues that it risks suffering the fate of previous policy documents which have failed to deliver on their ambitions.

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Click on the link to download PDF  -The Kings Fund Report Feb 2015



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Exclusive: Pioneer nurse warns that ‘whistleblowing guardians’ must be screened. By Nicola Merrifield, Nursing Times

Nurse whistleblower Helene Donnelly has called for “rapid” action to ensure the introduction of the new “guardian” role recommended by Sir Robert Francis is not “used and abused”.

Ms Donnelly said she wanted to see a checklist of qualities and standards drawn up swiftly for the new “freedom to speak up guardians” to avoid the “wrong people” being selected for the job. The role was a key recommendation of Sir Robert’s independent review of whistleblowing – Freedom to Speak Up – which looked at the treatment of  staff who speak out and what measures should be introduced to create a more open reporting culture within the NHS. Sir Robert’s report, published last week, said that a “freedom to speak up guardian” should be appointed in every NHS trust to provide independent support and advice to staff about raising concerns. This full-time employee should be able to intervene if the complainant suffers any harm and must be able to escalate concerns outside of the organisation to bodies, said the report.

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Exclusive Pioneer nurse warns that ‘whistleblowing guardians’ must be screened


Helene Donnelly

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Robots taking over the NHS – Over 80 robots are used in hospitals across Scotland

Machines are taking over the Scottish NHS, according to new figures on the number of robots being used in hospitals. At least 84 robots are now in service in hospitals across Scotland, completing tasks ranging from dispensing drugs to ferrying linen. One health board said that despite installation and maintenance costs, the robots had helped deliver savings of more than £750,000. And while human jobs have been lost, managers insist staff were deployed to areas where a human touch was still appreciated.

NHS Forth Valley is leading the way with a grand total of 40 robots introduced since 2010. Management have spent at least £130,000 on 13 automated guidance vehicles (AGVs) – robots that move waste and linen and transfer food trolleys to wards.

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Over 80 robots, many like these, are now in use in hospitals across Scotland

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Jeremy Hunt: message to NHS staff about whistleblowing

The Secretary of State for Health talks about NHS culture change and whistleblowing.

Two years ago, Sir Robert Francis published his public inquiry report on the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. His findings shook the NHS to its core, and I made it my priority as Health Secretary to work hand-in-glove with all of you to ensure that such an unspeakable tragedy could never occur in our NHS again. As a result of your energy, passion and commitment, the NHS is turning a corner.

Today I am publishing a report entitled Culture Change in the NHS  which outlines the work that has been done to implement Sir Robert’s recommendations over the last couple of years.

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Watch the Video’s ‘Climate of fear’: NHS staff scared of exposing danger to patients, whistleblowers tell RT


NHS whistleblowers take their protest to Westminster

An inquiry that found many NHS staff do not raise concerns about patient safety because they fear being ignored or bullied did not go far enough, whistle-blowing health professionals told RT. The Freedom to Speak Up Review found a “climate of fear” permeates the NHS in England, with whistleblowers subject to “shocking” treatment when they attempt to speak out. Sir Robert Francis QC, who led the inquiry, made a series of recommendations in his report including the appointment of “guardians” in each hospital to support staff who want to raise concerns. However, two former whistleblowers who spoke to RT, said the report fell short of tackling the real problems facing staff who speak out.

A group of former NHS staff protesting against the service’s “horrific” treatment of whistleblowers on Wednesday claimed the report did not go far enough to stop further incidents happening.

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Whistleblower culture change urged – Download The Freedom to speak up Report

Click on the link to download the “Freedom to speak up Report. Sir Robert Francis QC”    11th February 2015

New proposals to make NHS staff feel they can safely speak out following a damning report into the treatment of whistleblowers are being fast-tracked by the Government for legislation, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced. The report’s author, Sir Robert Francis QC, recommended 20 measures but stressed that a change in culture was more important than regulation. He said that his research – which saw him receive input from more than 19,700 NHS staff – had left him “in no doubt that there’s a serious problem in the National Health Service”.

The measures include asking every NHS organisation to identify one member of staff that other workers can go to with their concerns, who will then report directly to trust chief executives. The Government will also consult on establishing a national “whistleblowing guardian” within the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who will review the most serious cases . “Today I will be writing to every trust chair to underline the importance of a culture where frontline staff feel able to speak up about concerns without fear of repercussions,” Mr Hunt said. “The message must go out today that we are calling time on bullying, intimidation and victimisation, which has no place in our NHS.”

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Whistleblowing: NHS crushes those who speak out, Sir Robert Francis QC warns – Report out 11th Feb

Francis whistle blowing report due out Wednesday 11th February. Many of our friends Fiona Bell, David Drew, Sharmila Chowdhury and many more will be attending Westminster, they will also be having a meeting with Sir Robert Francis. Good luck to all. Our thoughts are with you, and thank you. Joanna 

The NHS should exploit the idealism of its doctors and nurses – not crush those put patients first, warns Sir Robert Francis, ahead of his landmark report on whistleblowing

Sir Robert Francis QC is poised to publish the results of a landmark inquiry into perhaps the greatest NHS scandal – the failure of the health service to take heed when its own doctors and nurses warn that patient safety is at risk. His review has taken two months longer than expected, after he was deluged with more than 18,000 submissions. Senior doctors and nurses told how their careers were left on the scrapheap, after they tried to alert NHS managers of unsafe practices and cost-cutting risking lives.

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Sir Robert Francis

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Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to cut staff

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said its strategy would reduce its financial deficit and improve care. The trust is in special measures and awaiting the outcome of an inquiry into deaths in a maternity unit. The plan was developed over two years after consulting with experts and patients. The trust runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Lancaster Royal Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal, as well as smaller community hospitals in Morecambe and Ulverston. The review was carried out by the trust along with local commissioning groups.

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Should NHS Whistle-blowers always be protected? – By Will Powell

I was very interested in a recent article published in “The Spectator” on the 3rd January 2015. The article is about a cancer surgeon named Joseph Meirion Thomas. He interpreted the published Francis Report as giving healthcare professionals protection if they were to speak out about failures within the NHS regarding patient safety issues. He also took the view, rightly or wrongly, that speaking out complied with a doctor’s duty of candour. However, little did he know that speaking out to improve the NHS would result in him being suspended from his job and ordered not to air his views in public again. Sadly, this has been the case for copious NHS whistle-blowers, over the years. Some have even suffered a far worst fate and lost their homes when others have had to leave the UK to seek employment abroad when these are the very healthcare professionals who could help return our NHS to its former glory. Mr Thomas should not have been vilified by his peers but applauded for doing what the Government, Department of Health and NHS purport as the right thing to do.

Mr Thomas is also gagged which, in my view, speaks volumes for the purported integrity of the NHS and the Department of Health’s public claims that all healthcare professionals are encouraged to speak up about patient safety issues. Contrary to the appalling treatment he has received from our Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, and others, Mr Thomas is, in my view, a HERO and I have no doubt that the majority of the public would say the same. He is clearly a man of integrity who only wants to improve the care provided by our NHS for young and old alike.

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Will Powell NHS Adviser for

Filed under: Whistleblowing, , ,

The NHS whistle-blowers who spoke out for patients

My hightest admiration goes to all of the whistle-blowers who unselfishly fight for the safety of others. The below comment from The Telegraph’s Patrick Sawer says it all, Joanna

“They have helped shine a light on the darkest recesses of the NHS, raising concerns over patient safety, staff bullying and declining standards of care. But rather than being praised for their courage many whistle-blowers claim they faced bullying, threats and in some cases the loss of their jobs”

Click on the link to see our hero’s


Please note: Kim Holt does NOT currently advise the CQC – this ended in 2014 

Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, , ,

Breakthrough cancer treatment ‘only offered to private patients’

A breakthrough cancer treatment is being denied to NHS patients while those paying privately can receive the procedure, it has been claimed. London’s University College Hospital is reportedly blocking patients funded from the public purse from using its £2 million gamma knife machine. Patients’ with medical insurance or private funding are however able to access the cutting edge treatment at the hospital.

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A doctor talks to a patient on a gamma knife machine Photo: Alamy 

Filed under: Cancer, Uncategorized, , ,

Why hospital is no place for the unwell – By Michael Deacon

My week on the wards was a soul-crushing experience

For a man of 34, this is no doubt unusual, but until last month, I’d never spent the night in hospital.

Three weeks ago, however, that changed. And since then, I’ve been thinking things over. Previously, I’d assumed the reason I’d never spent the night in hospital was because I’d never been ill. Now I’m wondering whether the reason I’d never been ill was because I’d never spent the night in hospital.

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Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, ,

GPs to conduct nationality checks in all new patients under health tourism crackdown

Exclusive: GP practices with high populations of EU migrants will be asked to check whether patients are eligible for free NHS care under Government pilots due to launch later this year, Pulse has learnt.

The pilots will be rolled out in 10 areas, and will involve GP practices asking all new patients if they have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles them to access primary care and certain secondary care treatment without an upfront charge. Practices will also be asked to collect information on so-called S1 forms from UK state pensioners resident elsewhere in EEA. Under the EHIC pilots, no patient will be charged for accessing primary care. However, the DH said they were designed to test the feasibility of practices routinely asking patients for documents to enable the NHS to recover the costs of primary care from their home countries. The pilots come as the Department of Health prepares to launch a consultation on new ways of recovering the costs of primary care from overseas residents. But a spokesperson refused to confirm if this would include any upfront patient charges for primary care.

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

Getting nurses back on the ward

As staffing ‘crisis’ in NHS deepens Blackpool hospital reveals how it is aiming to get some old hands back in the wards

The boss of Blackpool Victoria Hospital today reassured nurses that action is being taken to improve working conditions as the health trust attempts to persuade those who have left the profession to return. Gary Doherty said Blackpool, like other hospital trusts, had faced challenges to recruit staff during a difficult winter. There is a national shortage of nurses. One leading Lancashire health boss told The Gazette the situation was so severe nurses were now being signed up by hospitals before they had completed their training in a bid to get in first on recruits.

Health chiefs in North Wales have recently announced they are recruiting more than 70 Spanish nurses, amid a staffing crisis gripping the country’s health system.

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Karen Smith who works on the ITU Department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

Surgeon’s blunders to ‘cost NHS millions’

COMPENSATION claims running into millions of pounds are being drawn up by victims of disgraced hospital surgeon Roger Bainton.

Lawyers have taken on the cases of more than 100 of the consultant’s patients for a group legal action against the NHS. They believe individual settlements will range from a few thousand pounds to six-figure sums for those patients who have needed multiple operations or missed time off work following botched operations on their faces. The doctor has been suspended from the Royal Stoke University Hospital for two years – with the NHS trust already paying out around £500,000 to cover the cost of him staying at home, using extra staff to cover his absence, and reviewing his work.

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BLUNDERS: Roger Bainton

Filed under: NHS, NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, , ,

To save the NHS, copy Tesco – Five ways the Health Service needs to modernise, stat

The NHS is in the eye of a perfect storm. Huge, unpredicted demand, flat-line funding, staff and skills shortages, and – with an election just months away – no clear idea what happens next. In the circumstances I can understand NHS bosses looking to save money. But last week they did something incredibly stupid. Without much fuss, a £100 million investment in nursing technology promised by David Cameron has been cut by £35 million. This is the last thing we can afford to scrimp on. Look at the world outside the NHS: managing information and analysing data is now the cornerstone of most businesses. Many of us take it for granted that we can bank online, book a holiday online and buy our groceries online. Yet large parts of the NHS are still in the age of pen and paper, costing the frontline a fortune in lost efficiency. The nurse technology fund was destined to help end an NHS lunacy where district nurses, visiting carers and others – currently equipped with steam-driven computing systems that don’t talk to the patient’s GP practice – share vital patient data on one system, without forms, faxes, or files of paperwork.

This is the sort of technology British Gas, BT and Virgin broadband engineers use to efficiently schedule and monitor customer visits. Mini-cabs use it to see where their next job is coming from. In health, it would mean monitoring care schedules and outcomes on tablets or smartphones.

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Large parts of the NHS are still working in the era of the gas-lamp Photo: ALAMY

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Terminally ill doctor Kate Granger’s ‘my name is’ campaign wins support

A campaign by a terminally ill doctor to encourage healthcare staff to introduce themselves to patients is being supported by more than 90 NHS organisations.

Dr Granger started her campaign to improve the patient experience in hospital, shortly after she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer three years ago. The doctor who informed her that her cancer had spread did not introduce himself to her and did not look her in the eye. She was also dismayed by other staff who failed to introduce themselves when caring for her. She subsequently set up #hellomynameis on Twitter. Her campaign reminds staff to go back to basics, build trust and make a vital human connection with patients by – at the very least – giving their names.

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Dr Kate Granger was disappointed by the lack of respect she was shown as a patient

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Super A&E con exposed: NHS chief promised new £90m unit in Northumbria won’t lead to other hospitals being downgraded… but three nearby facilities will now stop taking ‘blue light’ cases

A new £90 million emergency-only hospital hailed as ‘a glimpse of the future’ by the most senior doctor in the NHS will lead to three other A&E units being effectively downgraded, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. After NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh visited the site of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital last February, he praised it as an example for others to follow. Local NHS bosses say it ‘aligns’ with Sir Bruce’s controversial plan to develop a two-tier emergency network across England – a move critics claim will jeopardise A&Es, meaning longer journeys for patients.

When unveiling his national plan in November 2013, Sir Bruce said it was ‘complete nonsense’ to suggest some A&Es would be downgraded as a result of the drive to develop larger specialist units.  But the opening in June of a new 210-bed facility in Cramlington, ten miles north of Newcastle, will trigger the loss of ‘blue-light’ emergency services at three district general hospitals elsewhere in Northumberland. Officials insist Hexham, Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals will maintain ‘walk-in A&E services’. Yet the three units will only be staffed and equipped to cope with incidents typically dealt with by lower-ranking urgent care centres, according to a leading doctor.

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Local NHS bosses have accused Sir Bruce of trying to create a ‘two tier’ emergency response system which critics say will mean longer journeys for patients

Filed under: A&E, Uncategorized, , , ,

Hospital trusts accused of ‘hoarding’ more than £130m instead of spending cash on patient care

Five NHS trusts in the Midlands have come under fire for “hoarding” cash in banks instead of spending it on patient care, after it emerged bosses were sitting on more than £134 million of unspent income.

While neighbouring trusts struggle to make ends meet, The Royal Wolverhampton Trust, Dudley Group of Hospitals, Walsall Healthcare Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust and West Midlands Ambulance Service all operated on a surplus last year, with millions more kept in the bank, according to figures uncovered by Midlands-based daily paper the Express & Star. South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson accused health chiefs of hoarding money which could be invested in patient care.

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Planned strike action by health workers suspended after talks breakthrough

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

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Health workers strike

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

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

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

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

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

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Support group established to help NHS staff who are being bullied


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NHS ‘most important issue’ suggests BBC/Populus poll

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

Click on the link to read more and see the poll


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

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

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

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

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Filed under: NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, , ,

New £10m plan to lure GPs out of retirement

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

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GPs will be encouraged to delay retirement Photo: Alamy 

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

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

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

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

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

sophie 1  Sophie 2

Me and my granddaughter Sophie. Joanna Slater


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

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

Click on the link to read more



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

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

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

Click on the link to read more


Senior Black Country coroner Zafar Siddique

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A mother’s plea to the NHS

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

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

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

Please click on the link to read more


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

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

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

Click on the link to read

Click to access 350.pdf


Filed under: NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, , , ,

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

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

Click on the link to read more


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

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‘Nurse failed to call doctors as our girl died’

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

Click on the link to read more of this shocking story


 Isabella Janew died of a cardiac arrest

Filed under: NHS Blunders, Uncategorized, ,

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

Under-funding given the most blame for NHS problems

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

Click on the link to read


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

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

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

Click on the link to read Will’s article


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

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

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

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


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50 die under secret 999 policy

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

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

Click on link to read more


Filed under: A&E, Care Homes, Elderly, Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , ,

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

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

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

Click on link to read more


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

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Diary of a death without dignity – My mothers “Last Six Months” in Hospital by Joanna Slater

January 8th 2008 was the date that my mother passed away in hospital after being in hospital for 6 months. It was 7 years ago, and I still remember as if it were yesterday.

I first started to write these notes purely as a reminder of all the things that happened to my mother throughout the first few weeks when she arrived in hospital for her hip operation.

Each day before I started work I would enter onto my computer all my notes from the previous day. I never thought that I would still be writing six months later. My notes had become an up-to-date diary of my mother and how her condition deteriorated during this terrible, and tragic course of events. It has also allowed me to capture all the memories of our time together, the laughs, the tears, the precious words spoken, and I captured it all.

I published my mother’s notes onto my blog, and then extracts of my mother’s story was published in the Mail on Sunday in June 2011.

I had no idea what would have happened next. I had over one thousand hits on my blog and emails of hundreds of people telling me of their own tragic stories. I knew then that writing my notes was for a reason.

I then self published a book with the full story of my mother’s “Last Six Months” in hospital, including 50 more story’s of the very kind people that had written to me.

Here is the link to the Mail on Sunday in which extracts of my mothers story was shown



Kay, my very elegant mother

Filed under: Elderly, Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, , , ,

This idiotic debate on the NHS will get us nowhere says Nigel Burke

Many shocking NHS scandals have seen daylight lately yet nothing has really stuck. The health service enjoys one of those Teflon reputations – just like a non–stick frying pan everything is shiny until you get one big dent then dirt sticks to that and soon you’ve got a revolting crusty pot. That is about to happen to the NHS. Patients, I read, are being ferried to A&E in fire engines. It’s truth–time for the National Health Service.

Britain must finally admit that the mounting list of bad news is a pattern that means something, not just a series of unfortunate events. That will make us sad and angry because we are still proud that with the NHS our great postwar generation abolished the question: “Can we afford the doctor?” We need to grieve, then move on and find a way to organise a health service like other European countries do, without getting stuck on a mad, fundamentalist debate about privatisation.

Click on the link to read more of Nigel Burke’s article


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Former nurse dies after extreme ambulance and A&E delays – Daughter says she would rather end life than grow old in the UK.

The daughter of a pensioner who died of pneumonia just days after being left for hours lying in agony on a cold floor because no ambulances were available to help has decried the state of the NHS, saying she would rather end life than grow old in the UK.

Helen Forde watched as her 92-year-old mother, Bridget Forde, drifted in and out of consciousness after suffering a fall and breaking her hip last month. Despite serious heart problems and being in severe pain, it took four 999 calls and a wait of more than five hours before an ambulance arrived. Her nearly-blind daughter, who was “unable to see if she’d turned blue”, said she was repeatedly told no help was available.

When paramedics eventually arrived at her home in Birchwood Avenue, Muswell Hill, they were said to be shocked at her condition. Mrs Forde was taken to the Whittington Hospital in Archway where she waited another 14 hours in A&E for a bed. What turned out to be a minor bone fracture ended with her dying of pneumonia six days later (on December 8) – something her daughter is convinced is the result of the slow ambulance response time and an NHS “in crisis”. She said: “The last memory I have of my mother is her lying on that floor in agony. It’s something I can’t forgive nor forget.

Click on the link to read more


Helen Forde holding a photo of her mother Bridget Forde

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NHS waiting times: Which of the 15 promises have been broken under the Coalition?

Over the weekend Labour’s shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, claimed that the Coalition has breached the rights of British patients under the NHS constitution. Many people will be surprised to hear they even have these rights. Since when? What force do they have? And, as the Service posts the worst A&E waiting time figures in a decade, what actually are they? Well, the situation is not as straightforward as it seems. The NHS constitution, written in 2009, has no legal force in itself – it just describes the rights which the NHS is already bound to uphold by British and European law, including the right to access care for free and the right to have your complaints properly investigated.

One of these patient rights is to be treated in a timely fashion, as defined by the Department of Health in the NHS handbook, available to the public and all members of staff in the NHS.  This DoH defintion has three elements. The first is the time it takes to get a non-urgent appointment with a specialist (target 18 weeks). The second is the length of time it takes to see a cancer specialist after an urgent referral from your GP (target two weeks). The third element is a raft of 13 non-binding “pledges” which the NHS aims to fulfil in a certain percentage of cases.

Together, the two basic rights and 13 “pledges” form a list of 15 promises that define what people should expect from “their NHS”, and provide a crucial measure of whether the government is fulfilling its own stated goals.

With that in mind, how many of them –according to NHS England data – are actually being upheld under the Coalition?

Click on the link to read   tic 1  Redcross

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt defends A&E waiting times – video. The Guardian.  Click on the link




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NHS set for a bumpy start to 2015

Reports over the weekend suggested that Labour is set to make the health service a key election battleground should come as no surprise – nor should the timing. Figures will be published this week that are expected to show performance in A&E units in England has dropped to its worst level since the four-hour waiting time target was introduced a decade ago. The data released on Tuesday will measure the October to December quarter, but from the weekly statistics covering all but the last two weeks of the period we already know that performance has been consistently below the target level. Even a remarkable turnaround over the festive period would be unlikely to save the government’s blushes. Labour is bound to jump on the figures as a sign that the NHS is suffering under the coalition, which will no doubt prompt ministers to compare performance with Labour-controlled Wales where waiting times are even worse.

Click on the link to read more


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NHS is facing £1.1billion in clinical negligence claims every year

The amount spent on clinical negligence claims has increased more than a third under the Coalition, with £1 in every £100 of the £95billion annual NHS budget used to compensate for mistakes last year. The £1.1billion figure was in data released by the Department of Health, which revealed the sum was paid out by the NHS Litigation Authority last year in claims equal to more than £15 for everyone in Britain. That compares to £863million in 2010/11, a jump of 38 per cent in the past four years. The number of litigation claims made every year has almost doubled under the Coalition. The scale of claims currently being made is unprecedented, with 11,945 cases reported by NHS trusts over the last financial year compared to 6,562 in 2009-10. As a result, the NHS has had to increase the amount it retains to deal with claims from £8.7billion in 2010 to £15.6billion in 2013-14

Click on the link to read more


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An alternative guide to the new NHS in England – The Kings Fund

During its lifetime our health system has undergone profound change, with the recent Health and Social Care Act introducing the most wide-ranging reforms since the NHS was founded in 1948

In the wake of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, introduced by Andrew Lansley, there was a lot of confusion about the new structure – and funding systems – within the NHS.

This video, produced by the King’s Fund think tank, gives an idea of what the reforms were originally meant to achieve, and of the situation that has resulted.

Click on the link to watch the video


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Important – Please Fill in Survey – I Need Your Help – Joanna Slater “Strength in Numbers”

Dear Friends,   Please fill in Survey  Personal details not necessary

As some of you may well know I have been working on a project with my friend Brad Meyer to help you all with your health issues.

“Having felt overwhelmed by our lack of understanding and certainty about the health care given to some of our loved ones”, we have come up with an idea on how technology can help us regain some sense of control when managing health issues.

You can help us make sure we are on the right track by filling in this survey,  Here is the link  In return, we will keep you updated on our efforts if you wish.

Thank you all for your help and support. Together lets make 2015 a year that will be a major leap into organising all our health care issues. Lets make it happen “Strength in Numbers”

Kind Regards Joanna Slater and Brad Meyer



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The rise of the £300,000 NHS fatcats

Investigation discloses doubling in number of NHS managers being paid equivalent of at least £300,000 a year, with some on as much as £620,000 annually

The number of NHS managers being paid the equivalent of more than £300,000 a year has doubled in just 12 months, it can be disclosed. In some cases, cash-strapped health trusts are hiring temporary executives for hundreds of thousands of pounds, an investigation by The Telegraph has found. Patients’ groups said the “exorbitant” rates could not be justified, and nursing leaders said the sums were a “kick in the teeth” for junior staff who were refused a one per cent pay rise. NHS board reports indicate that during 2013-14, 44 “interim” executives were employed on rates of £1,000 a day — the equivalent of £228,000 a year — compared with 24 the year before.

Click on the link to read more


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Dr Scrooge meets the GP ghosts of past, present and future

In a twist on the Charles Dickens classic, one GP looks at how general practice has changed over the years and what it faces in the future

Click on the link to read

A Christmas carol

What lies in store for general practice and the NHS? Photograph: John Bramley

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NHS crisis grows as young Britons turn their backs on family doctors

An alarming new dimension to the NHS crisis has been revealed as data shows young adults are bypassing GPs and heading straight to overstretched A&E departments because they can’t get suitable appointments. A stark generational divide in the way people use the NHS is highlighted in a report by Citizens Advice, which finds that people aged 18 to 34 are more than twice as likely to attend A&E departments or walk-in centres as those aged 55 and over – and that they are far less likely than older people to be able to see a GP when they need to.

Click on the link to read more

Accident and emergency

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NHS managers ‘delaying cancer tests to meet targets and avoid fines’ are putting lives at ‘serious risk’

Patients with suspected cancer are being refused urgent tests by NHS managers in a ploy to meet waiting times targets, senior doctors have warned. Some patients have their cancer risk ‘downgraded’ and are told they do not qualify for the two-week track. They are then not seen for up to six months. Many are later confirmed to have cancer and campaigners warn that such lengthy delays are putting lives at ‘serious risk’.  Cancer survival rates in Britain are notoriously lower than those elsewhere in Europe and this has partly been blamed on GPs not picking up the early warning signs, and referring patients for tests. But an investigation by Pulse magazine has identified that doctors are increasingly having referrals ‘bounced back’ by hospital managers who say patients are unlikely to have cancer, so can wait longer.

Click on the link to read more


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The NHS Frontline – The Reality of Mental Health Services

Please read this very well written article by Dr Zoe Norris who is a GP in the NHS, and her frustration in trying to get help for one of her patients

Click on the link to read


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Four in five new NHS nurses are from overseas

Four in five extra nurses recruited in the last year are from abroad, according to new figures which sparked warnings that the NHS has become “astonishingly over-reliant” on foreign labour. Nurse leaders accused hospitals of “panic-buying” overseas workers at great expense to plug staff shortages, while patients groups raised fears that care is being compromised by nurses with poor command of English. It comes as separate figures show almost one in 10 council houses is now occupied by those from abroad. Data from every NHS hospital trust in the country shows 5,778 nurses were recruited from overseas over the last year, with the largest numbers coming from Spain, Portugal, the Phillipines and Italy. The figure makes up 81 per cent of extra nurses hired in England over the period, as hospital trusts rushed to hire more staff after widespread shortages were exposed in the wake of the Mid-Staffs scandal.

Click on the link to read more


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NHS finally apologises to family eight years after man’s death at scandal hit hospital

The family of a man who died ­eight years ago at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital have finally had an apology from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Mr Hunt has also offered to meet ­relatives of John Moore-Robinson to discuss their concerns after an inquest found a “continuous series of ­shortcomings” contributed to his death. John’s family – who have campaigned with the Sunday Mirror for a safer NHS since his death in April 2006 – sent a copy of the coroner’s report to the Health ­Secretary demanding that medical staff responsible for his death are held to account. He replied: “I am sorry for your loss, for the failings of the NHS and that the system let you down so badly when you sought answers and redress.”

Click on the link to read more


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NHS waste’s more painful than cure

Britain is struggling to pay for the NHS yet its inefficiencies cost a fortune each year. Time it was run like a proper business

Why on earth is the NHS paying £3.67 for tablets you can buy at Boots for 23p?

Finding the money to pay for the NHS is a headache for every chancellor. Millions of baby-boomers are discovering their bodies need running repairs. A few of us are at the stage where parts are not just wearing out but seem to have dropped off. Falling birth rates from the 1960s have created a yawning gap between those paying into the NHS and those getting benefits out. Longer life expectancy means this problem can only get worse. The number of over-65s is projected to rise from 2012’s 11million to 18million by 2037. The number of over-85s will more than double from 1.4million then to 3.6million by 2037 when alarmingly I shall be 88. The NHS costs us £113billion a year, or £2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. Another way of looking at it is that out of every £1,000 we earn more than £100 goes on the NHS. We do get reasonable value for money: the NHS is cheap compared with our European neighbours’ health systems. The problem is finding extra cash to improve it from already too high taxes.

Click on the link to read more


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One in three hospitals do nothing when visitors complain

One in three hospitals has admitted to doing nothing when visitors complain about poor treatment of those in their care. NHS watchdogs said they had been contacted by members of the public who had attempted to intervene because they feared patients were at risk of harm, only to be told it was none of their business. In one case, two female visitors who found a lost and confused elderly man roaming a hospital without shoes on, said staff refused to help them, leaving them to look after the man who went on to soil himself. In another, a hospital visitor who complained that an Accident and Emergency department was cramped and dirty, with dried blood on stretchers, said he was told that as he was not a patient, his complaint could not be considered.

Click on the link to read more


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NHS Grampian patient care whistleblower quits post

A whistleblower who went direct to the Scottish government to raise concerns about NHS Grampian has revealed he has quit his post in frustration. Speaking to BBC Scotland, cancer specialist Malcolm Loudon said he felt he had no option but to approach former health secretary Alex Neil.  The findings of a series of subsequent investigations were published earlier  NHS Grampian has accepted all the recommendations of the reports and apologised to patients. A report by Health Improvement Scotland (HIS) said patient care at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary faces a “serious impact” if problems are not “urgently addressed”. It made 13 recommendations for improvement for NHS Grampian.

Click on the link to read


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Seven mental health patients died waiting for beds

Seven mental health patients have killed themselves in England since 2012 after being told there were no hospital beds for them, the BBC has learned. An investigation of coroners’ reports and NHS trust papers with the journal Community Care found another patient denied a bed later killed his mother. It comes as mental health beds are being cut in England – figures show more than 2100 have gone since 2011. The NHS England said spending on mental health was increasing in real terms. The investigation by BBC News and Community Care has also revealed an email that a chief executive of a mental health trust wrote to NHS England in frustration this summer after one of her senior officials came to tell her that: “Yet again there were no mental health beds in London in either the NHS or private sector.”

Click on the link to read more


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Patients to get ‘duty of candour’, says Jeremy Hunt

Patients to get ‘duty of candour’, says Jeremy Hunt – Telegraph. All hospital directors will have to pass a “fit and proper” person test, under new rules introduced by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, that come into force on Thursday. Care home directors will also have to pass the test from April 2015, as part of a package of measures to increase accountability in the NHS. The new test means that anyone who has been responsible for serious misconduct or mismanagement will not be able to run hospitals and homes. People who have been declared bankrupt will also be excluded. Under a new “Duty of Candour” scheme, hospitals will also be required to disclose information about incidents which caused patients harm and provide an apology. Mr Hunt said that new systems were necessary in the wake of the tragic events in Mid Staffordshire, saying they would bring in a “new era of openness”.

Click on the link to read more


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

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

Click on the link to read more


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All Your Stories – Strength in Numbers

Dear Friends,

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

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

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




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

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

Click on the link to read more

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

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

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



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

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

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Anger at NHS ‘mismanagement’ as number of foreign nurses soars

The Royal College of Nursing has slammed the findings as “no way to run a health service” as the number of nurses arriving to work here from overseas has leapt by nearly 50 per cent in just a year. Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN said: “It is common sense that relying on short-term fixes is far more expensive in the long run. “Yet the UK has been cutting the supply of nurses to save money, then realising too late that patient safety is in danger and paying even more money to recruit from overseas.  “It is the equivalent of relying on payday loans and it is no way to run a health service.” The new figures show that, for the first time in almost a decade, Britain is now importing more nurses than it exports. At a time when the NHS is struggling amid crippling cuts and a desperate shortage of money, the RCN said the “mismanagement” and costly scramble to tempt nurses here from abroad is wasting millions of pounds.

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NHS hospitals ‘sending patients home too early and missing cancer diagnoses’

Patients are being sent home from hospital too early – often before it is safe for them to leave – the parliamentary and health service ombudsman has said. Dame Julie Mellor said that the failures were putting patients at serious risk and placing a “massive cost” on the NHS for emergency readmissions. Publishing summaries of 161 investigations carried out between April and June this year, Dame Julie added that early discharges and other major failings such as missed cancer diagnoses, were having a “devastating impact” on patients and their families.

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NHS: Five Year Forward View

The leaders of the NHS England have set out their vision of why the NHS needs to change and their proposals for doing so in a new document, the ‘Five Year Forward View’.

The 40 page document sets out the action that they think needs to be taken on the prevention of ill health, giving patients control of their care, the adoption of new care models and increased funding.

Click on the link to read the full report


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NHS: Money alone won’t buy us better treatment

The battle for the future of the NHS is well under way. And as the general election approaches, two visions for the service are competing for popular and political support.

Both sides recognise that the NHS is under great pressure and that something has to give. The population that it serves is ageing and growing. There will be up to four million more people in England by the end of the decade. The urgency of the new challenges it faces, such as Britain’s poor treatment of mental health, is becoming better understood. Senior figures within the health service believe that the gap between its responsibilities and its budget could amount to £30 billion a year by the end of the decade (compared with its annual budget of around £110 billion).

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Anger over ‘cash for diagnoses’ dementia plan

Family doctors will be paid £55 for every patient they diagnose with dementia under a new NHS England scheme which has been condemned as an “ethical travesty”. Leading GPs said the national project amounted to “cash for diagnoses” – allowing doctors to make a direct profit if they classify patients as suffering from dementia. In some parts of the country, NHS authorities have gone still further – offering family doctors £200 for each new diagnosis made, The Telegraph can reveal.

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Parents long wait for truth on baby’s death may be over

Anne and Graeme Dixon have spent the past 13 years investigating the death of their 11-month-old daughter, Elizabeth, and the treatment she received after her birth. Now, due to recent changes in the way the parliamentary and health service ombudsman (PHSO) works, they believe they could be a step closer to finding some answers. Elizabeth was born eight weeks early, in 2000, in Frimley Park hospital in Surrey. Immediately after birth, her blood pressure began to rise but was left untreated until she was transferred to Great Ormond Street hospital some two weeks later. By that time, Elizabeth had suffered severe brain damage. It was another 10 months before the Dixons were able to take their daughter home. Then, just days before her first birthday, Elizabeth died during the night, after her breathing tube became blocked when an agency nurse failed to maintain it.

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Graeme and Anne Dixon whose baby Elizabeth died 13 years ago


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Report finds failure to address patient concerns

The extent of the NHS’ failure to address patient concerns has been revealed in a report released today. Healthwatch England says health professionals often refuse to say sorry, show no compassion and in some cases patients feel bullied if they complain about their care. Patients and care users describe the experience as a nightmare and a waste of time. We chat to Anna Bradley, chair of HealthWatch England and Erika Irwin, whose daughter Gemma died of cervical cancer last month


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Half of patients failed by NHS never hear the word ‘sorry

Half of patients failed by NHS never hear the word ‘sorry’: Just one in three feel they are taken seriously when they raise complaints

Fewer than half of those who complain to the NHS ever receive an apology, a report revealed yesterday. Only one in three patients feel they are taken seriously when they raise examples of poor care, the official complaints watchdog warned. Healthwatch England said the complaints handling process was ‘utterly bewildering and often ineffective’ – with far too many people put off by red tape or bounced round the system until they simply give up.  One exhausted patient told the watchdog: ‘This fight has robbed me of my flesh, dignity and energy.’ Another said: ‘There has been no outcome to my complaint – simply more distress, inconvenience, injury and injustice.

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Healthcare strikes have worked before – could they save the NHS? written by Dr NEIL SINGH

Today is the first NHS strike since action over pay 32 years ago; health workers at the frontline know that if they do not act soon, the NHS will decompensate and fail.

Click on the link to read


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NHS funding and finances – The Kings Fund

The NHS is going through the biggest financial squeeze in its history. Since 2010, its budget has effectively been frozen, increasing by just enough to cover inflation. While this is generous compared to other areas of public spending, increasing demand for care means that services are under huge pressure.

The NHS has responded well to these challenges but financial pressures are growing, with large numbers of hospitals now in deficit. Looking further ahead, pressure to spend more will grow as the costs of treatment rise, public expectations increase and the population continues to age. Here is a selection of our research, analysis and other content relating to NHS funding and finances.

Please click on the link to download pdf’s



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NHS patients in England to have online medical records by April 2015

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has promised all NHS patients in England will have online access to their medical records by April 2015. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Hunt claimed England will be the first country in the world to offer such access to patient data. “It means you will no longer have to pay to access your medical record. You’ll be able to see it and show it to anyone you choose. You’ll find it easier to do detailed research about your condition and easier to challenge decisions. Because the boss is not the doctor – it’s you,” he said.

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NHS funding crisis set to hit cancer patients

Cancer patients will have to wait months to be diagnosed after visiting their GP as the NHS here faces a financial meltdown, it was warned yesterday. People at risk of stroke and those with debilitating and life-limiting conditions will also be caught up in the growing crisis. Health chiefs also said the NHS needs a £21million injection or the number of people waiting at least 15 weeks for a first hospital appointment will rise by 20,000. A leading GP claimed the predicted rise in waiting times will be disastrous for sufferers.

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Up to 200 ‘dangerous’ GP surgeries face closure under inspection regime

Up to 200 GP surgeries face closure or being placed in special measures for providing potentially dangerous care to thousands of patients, the chief inspector of family doctors has warned. Professor Steve Field has said that a handful of surgeries would be shut down after being found guilty of “serious failings”, while others would be given a year to improve or be closed.

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Nurses’ poor handwriting and maths ‘is costing lives’: Death rate at two hospitals falls 15% when staff were given electronic devices to record information

Thousands of patients are dying in hospital each year because of bad handwriting, errors in maths and poor monitoring by nursing, according to a study. The death rate at two hospitals fell by 15 per cent after nurses were given electronic devices in place of handwritten paper notes to record patients’ heart rates and breathing. Researchers calculated that 750 deaths were prevented in a year at the two hospitals, Queen Alexandria in Portsmouth and University Hospital in Coventry.

Across the NHS, this means 37,000 deaths could be avoided if nurses were given the devices rather than relying on traditional handwritten notes from nurses. At present, nurses are meant to measure patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and take certain other readings and note them down on a board at the end of the bed.

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NHS whistleblowing ‘problems persist’

Promoting whistleblowing was a key recommendation of the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal. A number of steps have since been taken in England, but Patients First warned that a “culture of fear” still existed. It has produced a dossier of 70 cases, highlighting problems like bullying and mismanagement of complaints. The document is being handed in as part of Patients First’s submission to an independent review of whistleblowing, which was set up by the Department of Health in England and is being led by Sir Robert Francis, who was in charge of the Stafford public inquiry.

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Baby Lizzie’s parents, Anne and Graeme Dixon – The longest wait – written by Heather Mills at Private Eye

A COUPLE’S 13-year battle for an inquiry into the blunders that led to the brain damage and subsequent death of their baby daughter has been dealt a blow after NHS England suddenly pulled the plug on a planned investigation.
Elizabeth Dixon, born prematurely in Frimley Park hospital in Surrey, suffered severe brain damage after nurses and doctors ignored, failed to properly record and did not treat dangerously high blood pressure over 15 days – instead giving her medication for a non-existent infection. By the time she was transferred to Great Ormond Street hospital in London, where her blood pressure was eventually reduced, it was too late to prevent brain damage.
Then, while being cared for at home 10 days before her first birthday, Elizabeth suffocated after a newly qualified agency nurse, with no experience of paediatric tracheostomy care, failed to keep her breathing tube clear.

Click on the Private Eye pdf written by Heather Mills to read more

Private Eye



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35,000 patients wrongly struck off GP registers

Up to 35,000 patients have been wrongly struck off GP registers in the last year in NHS cost-cutting exercises targeting the elderly and vulnerable, an investigation has found.
Doctors said patients are increasingly being denied vital check-ups, cancer screening and suffering delays obtaining medication because of botched attempts by authorities to update records and reduce practice funding.
In some parts of the country more than one third of patients who were stripped from the lists should never have been deleted, official figures show.
GPs said blunders by schemes which have targeted the elderly and children who failed to attend vaccination appointments had led to angry scenes in GP surgeries when patients found out what had happened.

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One week to go for the NHS to comment on how it will be honest and accountable

NHS trusts have until next Friday (5 September) to have their say on how they could show they are meeting the government’s new regulations on being open and honest to patients when things go wrong and on making sure they employ directors who are suitable for the roles.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has drafted guidance on how the 162 NHS trusts across England can meet the government’s new ‘duty of candour’ and the ‘fit and proper persons’ regulations.
These will oblige providers to be open and honest when things go wrong and to hold directors to account when care fails people.
NHS trusts will have to make sure they are meeting these two regulations from November, with other providers of health and adult social care following next spring, subject to Parliamentary approval.
Also, NHS trusts have the chance to comment on the CQC’s proposals about how it will use its enforcement powers when the regulator believes that a regulation has been breached and on its wider guidance on how they can meet the new ‘fundamental standards’ of care.
CQC’s guidance will help both NHS trusts to determine whether they are meeting the regulations and, CQC to decide what action to take when they do not.

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Hospitals to be ranked by quality of food

Hospitals will be forced to provide better quality food under legally binding rules after patients tweeted a series of pictures of inadequate and unappealing meals.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has announced new clauses in hospital trust contracts to provide better quality food.
Hospital canteens selling food and drinks to staff, patients and visitors will also have to comply with strict rules on fat, sugar and salt with healthy options available.
However shops, coffee bars and junk food outlets will be exempt meaning chocolate, crisps, burgers and supersized sweet drinks will still be available.
Under a new set of inspections, hospitals will be evaluated on a number of points and ranked on the quality of their food. The results will be available for patients to search on the NHS Choices website.

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Complaints to NHS about staff attitude rise

More complaints are received by the NHS about the attitude of its staff than almost any other subject, official figures have revealed.
Last year there were more than 13,000 written complaints about staff attitude, an eight per cent increase on the previous year.
The figures will raise questions about the governments dignity and respect agenda which is supposed to be central to patient care.
The data, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, showed that the only subject area where there were more complaints was clinical treatment, with more than 52,000 complaints in 2013/14.
Overall the number of written complaints received by the NHS in England has risen by four per cent to reach 174,000, the equivalent of 480 per day.

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NHS England withdraws involvement from baby death probe – Written by Shaun Lintern for HSJ 27th August 2014

NHS England appears to have ruled itself out of direct involvement in patient care investigations after refusing to join the Care Quality Commission in a probe into the death of a baby girl.
In a policy line direct from chief executive Simon Stevens, NHS England yesterday declared it is “not and has never been an investigatory body”. This comes despite the body possessing the power to investigate patient care in its role as a commissioner.
The commissioning body issued the line after it emerged the CQC had signalled its intention to launch an investigation into the death of a baby girl with the close involvement of NHS England.
NHS England’s national director of patient safety Mike Durkin had “worked closely” with the CQC as the watchdog developed an approach to the investigation, NHS England confirmed

Please click on the link to read full article
NHS England withdraws involvement from baby death probe

Copied from HSJ artical :


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Thousands of foreign nurses will no longer require UK work experience to treat patients in Britain

Thousands of foreign nurses will no longer have to do any work experience in the UK before treating patients here.
In a hugely controversial move, the nursing regulator is to scrap its requirement to do three months of supervised work placements in Britain.
Instead, staff from outside the EU will simply have to take an online multiple choice test and exam.
One senior NHS official, who works at a major hospital trust in the North of England, said they were concerned that the lack of checks would “put patients at risk”.
In a dramatic twist, when approached by the Daily Mirror, the Nursing and Midwifery Council asked us not to run the story until the end of September.
It said this would give the regulator time to inform “stakeholders” about the changes and prepare arrangements to make a formal announcement.
But at 5pm today, the NMC emailed our reporter to say it was bringing “forward the announcement to tomorrow”.

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Self-harm by mental health patients in NHS has risen by 56%, figures show

Growing numbers of people being treated in mental health units are harming themselves and trying to take their own lives, new NHS figures suggest.
The number of such incidents at 29 of England’s 52 NHS mental health trusts rose from 14,815 in 2010 to 23,053 last year, an increase of 56% over four years.
The average number per trust rose from 511 to 795 last year over the same period.
Labour, which obtained the figures under freedom of information laws, linked the increase to cuts in the number of doctors and nurses working in mental health units and their budgets.
“Mental health services have been squeezed year on year, the number of specialist doctors and nurses has dropped and there aren’t enough beds to meet demand. The pressure this is putting on mental health wards is intolerable”, said Luciana Berger, the shadow public health minister, who obtained the figures.
“It is unacceptable that people in touch with mental health services may not be getting the support they need. They are some of the most vulnerable patients in our NHS”, she added. That some mental health wards were running way above their recommended maximum capacity of 85%, sometimes reaching as much as 138%, was also a factor explaining the rise, Berger added.

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Cancer patient ‘kept on trolley in hospital storage room without food for THREE nights’

A cancer patient claims she was treated “like a dog” after being kept on a trolley in a hospital storage room for three nights.
Charlene Lynch, 27, who suffers from Hodgkins lymphoma, also claims she was not fed because staff did not know she was there.
She was admitted to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin, last Friday, when she required emergency surgery on her foot.
But after the procedure, instead of being sent to a post-op recovery ward, a bed shortage meant she was 
abandoned in the tiny room and given a curtain for a blanket

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PHSO – 81 Case summaries show the profound impact that failures can have on the lives of individuals and their families

These short, anonymised stories show the profound impact that failures in public services can have on the lives of individuals and their families.
They provide examples of the complaints the PHSO handle and they hope they will give public service users confidence that complaining can make a difference.
This first set includes cases the PHSO closed in February and March 2014. Most of them are cases they have upheld or partly upheld. These cases provide clear and valuable lessons for public services by showing what needs to be changed so that similar mistakes can be avoided in future. They include complaints about failures to spot serious illnesses like sepsis and mistakes by government departments that caused financial hardship.

Please click on the link to see all of the 81 case summaries


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£1m state payout for ‘blacklist’ care staff

Nurses and care home workers accused of abusing or endangering elderly residents have been paid £1 million in Government compensation, after judges ruled that their human rights had been breached.
Sixty nurses and care staff received out-of-court settlements worth a total of £1,062,005, including legal costs, last year, equating to £17,700 each.
The compensation was paid after they were automatically placed on a “blacklist” banning them from working with vulnerable adults as soon as allegations of misconduct against them were made.
The most senior judges in the country ruled that the blacklisting procedure broke human rights law by denying nurses the right to a fair hearing before suspending them without pay for months, forcing some to sell their homes


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Britain braced for a bargain ‘Viagra’ boom: Thousands more to get impotence pills on NHS as price plunges 93%

Hundreds of thousands of men could enjoy a boost to their love lives following an NHS decision to dish out much more Viagra on prescription.
Until this month, only men who suffered impotence as a side effect of illness or those evaluated by a specialist could be given the pills on the NHS.
But since Viagra’s patent ran out last year, its cost has plummeted by 93 per cent as generic versions of the drug have become available.

Click on the link to read more and see the video


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North East NHS patients hit by huge rise in number of cancelled operations

Thousands of cancelled NHS operations are putting a “drain” on resources as figures reveal a massive rise in procedures not happening at the last minute.
Information from NHS England shows that as many as 1,924 planned surgical procedures were cancelled in the region in 2013/14.
Some hospital trusts had more than a 100% year-on-year increase in the number of operations that had to be rescheduled, with a shortage of beds and increase in activity reasons behind the problem.
Health unions have raised fears that the high number of cancellations is draining financial NHS resources as an operation can cost anything between an average of £730 for a cataract operation to as much as £5,800 for a hip replacement.

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NHS patient groups warn more doctor assistants may be ‘healthcare on cheap’

The government is launching a recruitment drive to hire more doctors’ assistants to try to help take pressure off a straining NHS under plans announced on Thursday.
The physician associates will have two years of intensive training instead of the seven completed by doctors, and will provide support in the diagnosis and management of patients in hospitals.
But patients’ groups have warned that it could result in healthcare being provided “on the cheap” and that patients would not be able to tell the difference between who was a doctor and who was not.

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NHS physician associates

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Birmingham NHS trust to cut 1,400 jobs

An NHS trust in charge of Birmingham and Black Country hospitals is set to shed a staggering 1,400 jobs, the Mail can reveal.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust will stagger the swinging cuts over a five-year period.
The cutbacks will punch a huge hole in the already stretched 7,500 workforce, one worker said.
The trust, formed in 2002, runs City Hospital in Birmingham, West Bromwich’s Sandwell General, Rowley Regis Community Hospital, Birmingham Treatment Centre and Leasowes Intermediate Care Centre .
It is currently developing a new, super hospital – Midland Metropolitan – to serve the 530,000 people living in Sandwell and West Birmingham. It is set to open in 2018.
A whistleblower last night broke ranks to say: “Morale is at rock bottom. Our concern is for patients and the ancillary services which rely on the trust.

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Stroke patients are more likely to die at weekends because of poorly-staffed wards with fewer nurses to spot the signs

Stroke patients admitted to hospital at the weekend could have a higher risk of dying on badly staffed wards, new research suggests.
A study of 56,000 patients found a huge disparity in the number of nurses working on stroke units at weekends.
The worst staffed wards saw an extra death for every 25 patients within a month of admission, the data shows.
The research, carried out by specialists from the Royal College of Physicians and five British universities, found a five-fold difference in weekend staffing between the best and worst hospitals.
While the best stroke units had five nurses for every ten patients, the worst-staffed had just one nurse monitoring ten people.

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Youth mental health care ‘in dark ages’, says minister

Mental health services for young people in England are “stuck in the dark ages” and “not fit for purpose”, according to a government minister.
Norman Lamb told BBC News he was determined to modernise the provision of psychiatric help for children.
The care and support minister is launching a task force to look into how to improve services.
One task force member said that “ultimately, money will have to be spent”.
The problems in children’s mental health services have been catalogued in a series of investigations by BBC News and the online journal Community Care

There has been an increase in the number of young people being treated in adult wards and travelling huge distances to receive help
A recent survey carried out by the charity Young Minds showed that councils were cutting services
A report from NHS England last month acknowledged it had no idea about the extent to which mental health problems affect young people. They are however to open an extra 50 beds for inpatient care

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Mental health sector hit by dramatic reduction in nurse posts

More than 3,600 nursing jobs have gone in the past two years, with trusts suffering a 2.3 real terms funding cut, a major investigation into the state of the NHS mental health sector has revealed.
The analysis, based on freedom of information requests to the 57 mental health trust in England, found many had slashed beds and staffing levels – despite record demand for services and government pledges to ensure mental health was given the same priority as other sectors.
Data supplied by 52 trusts revealed an average reduction in nursing staff of 6% from 2011-12 to 2013-14, with six trusts reporting reductions of more than 10% (see table below). This represents and overall drop of about 3,642 whole-time equivalent nursing posts.
The findings have fuelled concern mental health services have been seen as an “easy target” by managers struggling to cut costs and implement new rules on safe staffing in the acute sector.
However, mental health trusts said the drop was also down to efforts to move more care into the community and the creation of new types of services employing a wider range of professionals.

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Mental health sector hit by dramatic reduction in nurse posts


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Warning for hospitals on NHS sick list as chief inspector says struggling facilities are ‘in denial’ over poor care

A hard core of struggling hospitals are “in denial” about their failure to provide safe and high-quality care to their patients, the chief inspector of hospitals warns.
In an interview with The Independent, Professor Sir Mike Richards said that some NHS trusts had failed to “look outside” their own institutions for what “sometimes seems like decades” and adopt the best practices of other, more successful hospitals. He said the public’s loyalty to the NHS should not “blind us to the fact” that the NHS does not always do “quite as good a job as we would like it to do”.

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Surgeon sacked after giving man a VASECTOMY by mistake during minor operation

A surgeon who gave a man a vasectomy by mistake has been sacked with doctors admitting an attempt to reverse the blunder failed.
The horrific mistake happened when the man was undergoing a minor operation at Liverpool’s Broadgreen Hospital earlier this year.
The hospital “apologised unreservedly” to the patient at the time – but it is now understood the man has been told a procedure to correct the error did not work.
This means that although he may still be able to have children through IVF he will not be able to have children naturally.
The urology department at Broadgreen Hospital has now admitted the vasectomy error was just one of five botched operations in twelve months

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Prostate cancer drug ruling a ‘fiasco’, says charity

Abiraterone is already given to patients at the end-of-life after chemotherapy as it gives patients an extra few months.
But the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said it was not cost-effective to offer it earlier.
It said while the drug improved quality of life, it was unclear whether it had the same impact on life expectancy.
This was due to problems with the research data, NICE said, claiming the trial was finished early – something disputed by the drug’s makers Janssen.
‘Vital opportunity’
Instead, patients will have to rely on their doctors applying to the Cancer Drugs Fund, a special pot set aside for cancer drugs not routinely available on the NHS.
Some 3,000 patients have done this in the last year, but that fund is due to end in 2016.
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, the largest men’s health charity, said the whole process was “a fiasco”.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Cancer patient Mike Sawkins: “I’m privileged to be on this expensive drug”
He criticised NICE’s inflexibility and the drug company’s results-gathering process, saying: “This decision is a kick in the teeth for men with advanced prostate cancer.

Click on the link to see video and read more


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For ALL who’ve been silenced-either whistleblowers (all types) or complainants (all types) Gather Together 10th September 2014

A word from Eileen Chubb, one of the BUPA 7 Whistleblowers re the Protest 10th September 2014 Parliament Square, London.
This is for ALL who have been not listened to by the Authorities… Either Professional or Patient or Relative Whistleblowers… OR Whistleblowers and Complainants from other sectors…Social Services, Aviation, Navigation, Railways, Retail, Bank, Police etc. etc.


Please gather on 10th September 2014 at 12 pm on Parliament Sq, London. Banners and whistles will be provided to all those who have not brought their own.
At 2pm all the flags and banners will be lowered in remembrance of all victims of silence. People who have lost someone will hold up their photos and names and instead of two minutes silence, there will be two minutes breaking the silence. We want thousands of whistles to be blown.To remember that whistle-blowers could have saved them all.

For more details on Edna s Law see


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UK’s worst doctors are named, shamed but let off: Just a slap on the wrist… for fatal mistakes and criminal behaviour

Some of Britain’s worst doctors have been allowed to carry on practising despite making fatal medical errors and engaging in criminal behaviour, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
In spite of such failings as overlooking cancer symptoms, botching operations and kerb-crawling, they have been effectively let off with a slap on the wrist.
In total, 147 doctors were given formal warnings by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2013, which is charged with upholding professional standards. Cases included:
At least five in which doctors missed the symptoms of cancer – sometimes with fatal consequences;
A surgeon who threw a scalpel across an operating theatre during an operation;
A GP who indecently exposed himself at a Christmas party; and another caught soliciting for prostitutes.
In each case, the GMC chose to issue a warning rather than impose a tougher penalty. Last year, 55 other doctors were struck off – 1.6 per cent of the 3,348 formally investigated.
A further 86 were suspended, out of the total of 233,000 doctors who are licensed to practise

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Watch Sir Robert Francis QC being interviewed by Eamonn Holmes on SKY explaining about the launch of the Independent review on whistleblowing.

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NHS says no to new breast cancer drug Kadcyla – Are you affected by the Kadcyla decision?

A pioneering new breast cancer treatment will not be routinely available in England and Wales, the NHS drugs advisory body NICE is proposing.
The drug – Kadcyla – adds six months of life on average to women dying with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
NICE criticised makers Roche for not setting an affordable price, in its updated draft guidance.
The drug costs £90,000 per patient but Roche said it had offered a lower – undisclosed – price in recent talks.
The two organisations have been in negotiations since the first draft guidance from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), rejecting the drug, was published in April.

Click on the link to read more

Are you affected by the Kadcyla decision? Sensitive C4 documentary wants to hear from you. email : health@voltage.tu


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NHS whistleblowers urged to share experiences of poor patient care

Sir Robert Francis QC, who led two major inquiries into failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, has launched a call for evidence for his review of whistleblowing in the health service
NHS staff are being urged to share their experiences of blowing the whistle on incidents of poor patient care.
Sir Robert Francis QC, who led two major inquiries into failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, has launched a call for evidence for his review of whistleblowing in the health service.
The aim of his independent review, commissioned by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year, is to recommend how best staff can be supported to raise concerns about poor patient care.

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Leeds hospital blunders revealed in report

DOCTORS wrongly removed a woman’s kidney after mistaking it for an ectopic pregnancy, a new report on serious incidents at Leeds hospitals shows.
Two patients also received adrenaline overdoses, there was an outbreak of MRSA among new mums and staff failed to respond when a patient deteriorated, according to the document.
It details 16 serious incidents recorded by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in May and June, with 11 of these pressure ulcers.
The report, by chief medical officer Dr Yvette Oade, says there has been an increase since 2013 in the number of serious incidents.

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Princess Alexandra Hospitals Trust boss used taxpayer-funded credit card

The chief executive of a struggling hospital trust spent £50,000 on an NHS credit card in a previous job, it is claimed.
Phil Morley, boss of Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) in Harlow which serves Epping Forest, spent the money between 2011 and April this year while in charge of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital Trust.
He joined PAHT, where corporate credit cards are not held by individual trust executives, having resigned from his previous role in April.
Last week it emerged the PAHT was in financial difficulty and had been reported to the health secretary due to a deficit of £16.5m in 2013/14 and a planned deficit of £11.5m for 2014/15.
Among the expenses paid to Mr Morley was £3728.65 spent in Florida over eight days in January 2012, according to Taxpayers’ Alliance.
Also appearing on the card statement were a £1,284 stay at The Montague in London, an £817 spend at The Royal Horseguards, and a £663.45 bill from the Bloomsbury Hotel.

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A&E closures ‘affect death rates’

Closing hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments has knock-on effects that lead to more patient deaths, a US study has shown.
Shutting down a local casualty ward can have a significant adverse impact on the fate of patients at nearby hospitals, it is claimed.
Recent closure of an A&E unit increased the death rate of patients admitted to surrounding hospitals by 5%, the research conducted in San Francisco found.
The results come in the midst of a major review of hospital emergency services in England which critics fear will open the door to widespread closures.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, who is leading the review, has said that rationalising the current “fragmented” system could drive up standards and save lives.

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NHS gets extra £250m to clear surgery backlog: 10,000 to have cataract, knee and hip ops as waiting list soars over 3 million

The NHS is to spend £250million to clear a massive backlog of knee, cataract and hip replacement operations.
Jeremy Hunt will today announce that the injection of cash will help ensure no one waits more than a year for treatment – unless it is clinically necessary.
But the plan will also mean longer waiting times for tens of thousands of patients.
The number of people on the NHS waiting list now stands at 3.1million – its highest for six years; with almost 600 having waited for longer than 12 months. The Health Secretary will say the money will pay for up to 100,000 operations over the next few months in a bid to treat some of those who have waited the longest.

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NHS Highland accused of ‘breaching human rights’

A health board is being accused of breaching the human rights of two patients who have had to travel almost 700 miles a week for months to access dialysis treatment.
The women, who both live in Campbeltown, have to travel to Vale of Leven Hospital in ­Alexandria as NHS Highland provides no dialysis machines.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Kathleen Sharp, 64, and Mary MacKay, 73, make the six-hour, 230-mile return trip to hospital. A third dialysis patient from the isle of Gigha clocks up almost 600 miles a week and is collected in a separate car to tie in with ferry times.

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Safe nurse staffing levels could cost £414m, says NICE

Ensuring safe nursing staff levels on adult hospital wards will cost the NHS up to £414m, according to an official estimate by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. But some leading nurses say the true cost will be at least double that.
The impact assessment estimated the cost of implementing the NICE staffing guidance for adult acute wards, which was published earlier this month, could be anything from £0 to £414m.
The guidance said less than two registered nurses on a ward at any time was a patient safety “red flag” that required action, and acknowledged a ratio of more than eight patients to one registered nurse could increase the risk of a red flag occurring.
Last week NICE followed up the guidance by publishing a separate analysis on its predicted financial impact. NICE said a realistic mid-point when it came to the cost would be around £207m – a 5% increase on current planned staffing levels.
However, it said the extra costs of safe staffing were likely to be offset by savings from fewer pressure ulcers and healthcare-acquired infections, shorter stays in hospital due to more effective care and reduced risk of being sued because of poor care.

Click on the link to read more from Nursing Times.Net
Safe nurse staffing levels could cost

Click on the link to read the full five-page NICE resource impact commentary


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Widow is denied the chance to have dead husband’s baby after NHS bosses ‘refuse IVF on the grounds she is SINGLE’

Nursery nurse Donna Turner has been refused the chance to have her dead husband’s baby because NHS bosses said it would make her a single parent.
Mrs Turner last night told how she had been refused IVF treatment using sperm taken from her husband of only eight months.
Surgeons had even reversed Paul Turner’s vasectomy as he lay dying from bowel cancer, just months after the couple married, so the sperm could be harvested and frozen to fulfil the couple’s desperate wish to have a baby.
Mrs Turner said NHS staff had turned her down for IVF treatment because, as a widow, she was officially single.

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Faulty NHS equipment kills 300 people a year: Further 5,000 are left seriously injured by devices including pacemakers and MRI scanners

More than 300 patients a year are dying due to faulty NHS equipment, according to a damning new report.
Nearly 5,000 people were left seriously injured last year after using faulty equipment including pacemakers, MRI and CT scanners, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
In the highest annual total of deaths since records began, 309 patients died last year in ‘adverse incidents’ linked to medical devices.

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Risk of infecting surgery patients with CJD not taken seriously, say MPs

Health officials must do more to prevent the spread of variant CJD, the human form of BSE, say MPs. They warn that the ongoing risks of infection are not being taken seriously enough.
Some hospitals may have put patients at risk by failing to decontaminate surgical tools used on people with vCJD, and it was impossible to know if the national blood supply was clear of the infectious agent, they said.
The MPs go on to accuse ministers of complacency and to call for a fresh effort to develop better sterilisation procedures and the establishment of a large blood-screening trial in the next 12 months to reveal the scale of the “silent infection”.

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Complaints against doctors double

The rise in the use of social media has contributed to a doubling of complaints against doctors in five years, it has been reported.
Negative press coverage and a decline in “deference” towards doctors from patients has led to the soaring number of complaints, which rose from 5,168 in 2007 to 10,347 in 2012.

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Nurses ‘stripped war hero, 93, of his dignity’ by leaving him naked and lying in his own urine days before he died

Frank Foster was battling fatal brain tumour and admitted to hospital in May
Daughter says nurses at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Kent, ignored his cries
She said she found him ‘tearing his clothes off in agony’ on a soaked bed
So appalled she took pictures of him and lodged complaints with staff
Mr Foster, a solider in King’s Royal Rifle Cops, died six days later on June 13
He fought and was shot in the Battle of El Alamein in the Second World War
Hospital has launched an internal investigation into the care of Mr Foster

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NHS staffing guidelines: it would be a mistake to set minimum levels

Adequate staffing levels, although necessary, are not enough to guarantee safe and high quality care
In the wake of the Francis inquiry and Berwick review, Nice’s new safe staffing guidelines, for which I produced the statistical and economic analysis, may have caused surprise by stopping short of setting minimum staffing levels. Yet doing so would have been a mistake. It would have led to repeated mistakes across management of health services, abdicating responsibility for the correct completion of checklists and targets, while failing to acknowledge human experience.

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Anger as operation blunders are revealed by Scots NHS boards

PATIENTS’ groups reacted with fury yesterday after it emerged 35 Scots have been victims of operation blunders in the last five years.
Mistakes include one patient having a needle put into the wrong side of their chest in an emergency procedure and others having operations on the incorrect part of their head.
Four out of Scotland’s 14 health boards admitted operating on the wrong body parts.
NHS Tayside revealed they had 20 incidents in which staff had incorrectly carried out operations or procedures on the wrong part of their body – but could not provide details.

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Hospital patients and staff scared to complain says MP

Patients, relatives, and staff are scared of speaking out about problems in hospitals, MP Ann Clwyd has warned.
Ms Clwyd – critical of her late husband’s care in a Cardiff hospital – said some were afraid complaining would mean poorer treatment.
She said she had calls about the issue from medical staff who would not give names for fear of being sacked.
Ministers said they wanted everyone to “feel comfortable” raising any concerns they have about the Welsh NHS.

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NICE sets out guidance on safe nurse staffing levels for hospitals

Less than two registered nurses present on a ward during any shift, day or night, represents a patient safety “red flag”, according to major guidelines for the NHS.
In addition, nurse managers must check staffing levels are safe on hospital wards where each registered nurse is caring for more than eight patients during day shifts.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has today published the final version of its much-anticipated guidance on safe staffing levels for acute inpatient wards – the first of a series covering a range of healthcare settings.

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NICE sets out guidance on safe nurse staffing levels for hospitals


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