Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Shortage of nurses ‘kills hundreds of patients after emergency surgery’: Investigation finds hospital with highest staffing levels have lowest death rates

  • Experts analysed the chance of dying within 30 days of being admitted for an emergency operation
  • Discovered five-fold variation in death rates across 156 NHS hospital trusts
  • Crucially, the hospitals with the worst survival records had far fewer nurses, doctors and surgeons 
  • Researchers linked a 7 per cent difference in death rates to staffing alone

Hundreds of patients die every year after emergency surgery because there are not enough nurses to care for them, research suggests. A five-year investigation into death rates in English NHS hospitals found those with the highest staffing levels had the lowest death rates.

Experts who analysed the chance of dying within 30 days of being admitted for an emergency operation discovered a five-fold variation in death rates across 156 NHS hospital trusts – from 1.6 per cent at the best trust to 8 per cent at the worst.  Crucially, the hospitals with the worst survival records had far fewer nurses, doctors and surgeons.

When the hospital trusts were divided into the best, middle and worst groups in terms of the number of nurses and doctors per patient – researchers linked a 7 per cent difference in death rates to staffing alone. This was despite the fact that patients at the best hospitals – many of which have specialist or trauma units – were often more seriously ill before surgery and more likely to suffer complications following operations.

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British hospitals near bottom of league tables for botched ops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smooth Operator? Surgeons and songs are a winning mix, study finds

After a study of music and healing, Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales came up with a tongue-in-cheek list of what to play in theatre. While classical music is preferred by most surgeons, some more current suggestions were put forward. Sade’s Smooth Operator was approved – but REM’s Everybody Hurts is a no-no. Although the songs are only meant as a bit of festive fun from medical staff at the hospital, the benefits of music helping patients and surgeons alike stems from a legitimate study. According to their findings, around 80% of theatre staff said music helped while carrying out operations. They also found that music is played 62-72% of the time in the operating theatre, with songs often chosen by the lead surgeon.

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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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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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