Tag Archives: NHS

Rising of patients seriously hurt by NHS blunders: More than 6,000 incidents were recorded last year


From Daily Mail: A patient is treated by the NHS every 90 minutes following a serious medical blunder. More than 6,000 incidents involving accidental cuts, punctures, perforations or haemorrhages were logged last year – three times the rate of 2005.

Campaigners say that poor training and inadequate staffing levels explain the mistakes. Senior doctors have warned the cash-strapped NHS is heading into an ‘extremely difficult autumn’. Hospitals have been told to cancel thousands of non-urgent procedures. The medical blunders make the financial pressures worse by extending hospital stays and encouraging compensation payouts.

The figures released earlier in the week reveal 6,082 incidents of patients needing NHS treatment following a blunder in English hospitals last year.  This compares with 2,193 ten years ago, according to NHS Digital, the official health statistics unit. The bill for compensation stood at £1.48billion last year, a 27 per cent increase on 2014, accounts for the NHS Litigation Authority show.

Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association said: ‘With all the systems and procedures that are in place within the NHS, how are such basic, avoidable mistakes still happening? It is a disgrace that such incidents are increasing. There is clearly a lack of learning across the NHS, or even within individual trusts. These patients have been very badly let down by poor processes and utter carelessness. We call for the Government and Royal Colleges to take steps to address this alarming rise.’

Andrew Goddard, registrar at the Royal College of Physicians, last week warned that a funding and staffing crisis is putting huge pressure on doctors. ‘Physicians are facing rota gaps, consultants acting down into trainee positions, inability to recruit to posts in key specialties due to a lack of trainees, and difficulties in covering day-to-day services,’ he said. ‘We’re heading into an extremely difficult autumn.’

The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health has also warned of staffing shortages, raising concerns that children’s care is ‘increasingly compromised’.


The paediatric workforce is at ‘breaking point’ it said in a report, with more than half of units failing to meet staffing standards. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has repeatedly called for a new culture of transparency to increase safety in an era of fewer resources.

Last year he launched what he called a ‘reformation’ in the culture of the health service, claiming he wanted to make British people the ‘most powerful patients in the world’.

He encouraged every member of staff – from cleaners up to consultants – to blow the whistle when they see evidence of poor care, in a bid to halt the annual toll of 10,000 avoidable deaths in English hospitals.

Mr. Hunt has repeatedly urged doctors to take the same approach to safety as the aviation industry. He has pledged that those who own up to blunders will get legal protection – the same system as that used among airlines.

NHS staff will be protected from prosecution based on their own evidence although they could still face sanctions if guilty of malpractice or negligence.

The new system involves the creation of the independent Healthcare Accident Investigation Branch, which starts work this autumn.

Safety campaigners said the first thing the unit must do is launch a review of why problems are rising so fast.

Peter Walsh, of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents, said more complex procedures and better reporting of incidents may partly explain the rise, but would not account for the figures trebling. He said: ‘I suspect inadequate staffing and increased pressure at work are also factors.

I also know there is a lot of concern among surgeons that the training they get is not as thorough and adequate as used to be the case. There is not as much time spent on technical skills. Of course it is a known risk of surgery that these things happen, but that doesn’t make it OK and much of the time they are really bad errors that are perfectly avoidable.’

One of the most common mistakes we hear of during laparoscopic surgery is perforation of the bowel. This is very, very serious and can be fatal if not repaired very quickly. The increase in incidents is very worrying and there needs to be an investigation to get to the bottom of it.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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More than 33,000 people died needlessly over the past few years because of shocking flaws in NHS treatment

Ain’t government run health care grand?


From the Daily Mail: More than 33,000 people died needlessly over ten years because of poor care after a heart attack, a major study has found.

Nine out of ten patients do not receive the correct treatment after an attack, it revealed. Shockingly, the researchers warned that the true number of needless deaths could be twice as high as their estimate. Doctors said the findings were ‘unacceptable’ and needed urgent attention across the NHS.

The failure to stick to international treatment guidelines contributes to a quarter of heart attack deaths in England and Wales, which experts say could be easily avoided.

The researchers estimate that one patient dies needlessly every month in every hospital in England and Wales because of poor care – including failing to give patients certain drugs and not ordering crucial scans.

Someone suffers a heart attack every three minutes in the UK, with nearly 200 people of working age dying every week. Treatment has improved rapidly in recent years, with the development of 24/7 acute cardiac units meaning patients are fast-tracked to expert teams.


But the new study reveals the treatment of patients after an attack is falling woefully short. The researchers analysed 390,000 cases of the most common type of heart attack – called a non-ST elevation heart attack or NSTEMI – in 247 hospitals in England and Wales between 2003 and 2013.

For each case they checked whether the patient had been given 13 treatments – including scans, drugs and medical advice – recommended in international guidelines. They found that in 87 per cent of cases, patients did not receive at least one of the interventions.

Doctors often failed to give patients anti-cholesterol statin drugs or anti-clotting drugs, which are proven to drastically reduce the risk of a repeat attack.

They missed out crucial scans, which can pick up further hidden problems, and they neglected to advise patients about the best way to change their lifestyle, including how to improve their diet and stop smoking. The researchers from the University of Leeds and University College London wrote in the European Heart Journal: ‘We found that if all patients during the study period had received the investigations and treatments for which they were eligible… around 33,000 deaths may have been prevented. This equates to over a quarter of all NSTEMI deaths, or about one avoidable death per month per hospital over the last decade.’

The team used data from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) and said: ‘We speculate that MINAP captures less than half of all NSTEMI in England and Wales. Consequently, the number of preventable deaths that we report will be underestimated.’

They concluded: ‘We clearly show that, across a modern healthcare system such as in the UK, there are substantial opportunities to improve outcomes through relatively simple measures.’

Read the whole story here.


Brighton Council ‘Proud’ Of Asking Kids To Choose Gender



From Sky News: Brighton and Hove City Council wrote to thousands of parents asking them to confirm their primary school places this week. It wrote to parents urging them to support their child’s choice of “gender identity” and asked them to leave the form blank if the child had “another gender identity” altogether.

Brighton and Hove City Council reportedly wrote: “We recognise that not all children and young people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth or may identify as a gender other than male or female, however the current systems (set nationally) only record gender as male or female. Please support your child to choose the gender they most identify with. Or if they have another gender identity please leave this blank and discuss with your child’s school.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told The Sun the letter was “utterly ridiculous”. He said: “Schools should be teaching kids to read and write, not prompting them to consider gender swaps.”

Council Leader Warren Morgan defended the letter, tweeting: “I’m proud my council is leading on #Trans work. If it helps even one kid be themselves or tackle bullying, then headlines don’t matter.”

Cllr Emma Daniel, head of Brighton’s equalities committee, said she was aware of “concerns” over the wording. She told Sky News: “For most parents, the form’s straightforward, you just tick male or female, as you normally would. Or a very small minority of parents, they have children who are struggling with their gender identity – it’s really important that they can access our schools safely, get their education like anyone else, and feel fine about that.

“So all we’ve done is put a guidance note on there for the families that that applies to.”

Excerpt from the Brighton & Hove Trans Needs Assessment, 2015

Excerpt from the Brighton & Hove Trans Needs Assessment, 2015

Due to all the negative press they’ve received, the Council issued a statement:

“You may have seen reports in the media about our pupil registration form, which we have sent out this week to parents who have applied for school places.

We would like to make it clear that parents and carers are not being asked to speak with their child about their gender or gender identity. We will be reviewing the wording of our form to see whether we can in future make this clearer.

For the vast majority of families stating their child’s gender as male or female is very straightforward. We have put some additional text in the form this year that we hoped would help the small number of families who will struggle to respond to the question about gender and encouraging these families to speak with their child’s school. This was in response to calls from families, young people and schools to show an inclusive approach to gender.

There are increasing numbers of children and young people nationally identifying as Trans. Many Trans people nationally report having been bullied when they were at school. By acknowledging the range of gender identities in our school communities we are helping ensure schools are safe spaces for everyone. “


Cancer drugs taken by more than 12,000 patients a year may be axed in NHS funding crisis

Remember the Opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games which included children celebrating the role of the National Health Service (NHS) in British society? Wonder if any of those kids will be sorry if they need cancer treatments in the future?

Children used as NHS propaganda during the 2012 London Olympics Ceremony

Children used as NHS propaganda during the 2012 London Olympics Ceremony

Cancer drugs taken by more than 12,000 people a year are set to be axed, under NHS plans approved yesterday, reports the Daily Mail.

Medicines rationing body National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (quite an ironic acronym, don’t you think?) is to reassess all 47 cancer treatments currently available via the Cancer Drugs Fund. Of these, 23 drugs have previously been refused by the regulator and experts fear that they will be again.


The move – which experts warn will set cancer treatment ‘back by a generation’ – is part of a massive shake-up of the £400million fund, which has repeatedly overspent its budget due to overwhelming demand.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, who drew up the plans, said pharmaceutical companies could easily make the drugs available by simply dropping their price. But critics say the proposals are too rigid for the state of modern medicine, and will lead to patients missing out.

The Cancer Drugs Fund was launched in 2010 to pay for medicines not routinely approved by NICE. Initially its budget was capped at £175million a year, but this rose to £416million as demand grew, with patients paying the price of subsequent cutbacks. Now control of the drugs are to be handed back to NICE – which employs a tough cost-benefit threshold – in a bid to rein in spending.

Cancer charities said the decision means uncertainty for thousands of patients.

NICE has not updated its rules for drug evaluation since 2001.

Decisions are based on a ‘quality-adjusted life year’ score, by which the cost is calculated of giving patients an extra ‘quality’ year of life. If that score is deemed to be above £30,000, or £50,000 for seriously ill patients, the drug is not funded.But critics say that this system has not moved with the times, with targeted, gene-based drugs now often costing in excess of £70,000 a year.

Some 23 of the 47 treatments currently on the Cancer Drugs Fund have been judged not to be cost effective by NICE either in draft or final guidance in the past.

It is estimated that 12,026 patients would receive these treatments in 2015/16, were no changes to be made. Another 10,000 patients are already to miss out due to previous cutbacks made last year.

Officials insisted that any patient already taking a treatment available on the Cancer Drugs Fund will continue to receive their medicine. Funding will also continue for new patients, but only until NICE has a chance to re-assess the drugs.

Read the whole story here.

Ain’t socialized health care grand?


Hospital moved RAF sergeant over fears his uniform would upset patients

Multiculturalism is to blame, of course.


The Guardian: A hospital has apologised after an injured RAF sergeant was moved out of a hospital waiting room because staff thought his uniform would upset other patients.

Aircraft engineer Sgt. Mark Prendeville, 38, was taken to accident and emergency at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother hospital in Margate, Kent, after chemicals from a fire extinguisher got in to his eyes during a training exercise.

The sergeant, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was taken to an empty corner of the waiting room before being moved behind a corner by hospital staff, the Sun reported.

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

A number of veterans and military figures have spoken out against Prendeville’s treatment.

Former chief of the air staff Sir Michael Graydon described the incident as disappointing. “I would have thought, regardless of whether he had his uniform on or not, it was more important to deal with the situation, which was the chap had something very unpleasant happen to him, and he should be dealt with immediately,” he said. “Moving him to other rooms in the danger of offending people strikes me of getting the priorities absolutely wrong.”

Former RAF navigator Flt Lt John Nichol said he was appalled, and told the newspaper: “This is horrifying, you should be treated differently for wearing a uniform, you should be lauded because you’re wearing uniform, you should be celebrated for wearing uniform.”

A spokesman for East Kent University hospitals NHS foundation trust apologised to Prendeville for “any embarrassment”. “A member of the armed forces in uniform attended our A&E and was asked by a member of staff if he wanted to sit inside the department rather than the waiting room,” he told the Sun.

“This employee was acting in good faith because previously, there had been an altercation between a member of the public and a different member of the armed forces in uniform.”

Prendeville was training at RAF Manston, Kent, when the accident happened on Wednesday.


Culture of Death: Healthy woman commits suicide because she doesn’t want to become a “burden”

Gill Pharaoh and her husband

Gill Pharaoh and her husband

Daily Mail: A healthy former nurse chose to end her life at a Swiss suicide clinic because she did not want to become a burden on her family or the NHS. Gill Pharaoh, 75, was not suffering from a terminal illness but decided she did not want to depend on others by becoming frail in old age.

The former palliative nurse, from north London, travelled to the Dignitas-style Lifecircle clinic in Basel for her assisted suicide on July 21. She travelled there with her husband, John, and spent the evening before her death having a ‘tranquil’ meal on the banks of the Rhine.

In a blog post two months before she died, Mrs. Pharaoh explained why she had chosen to die.  ‘Until I was seventy I was very fit and able to fully participate in any activity I wanted to do. I felt I could still be busy and useful and fairly productive. Then I had a severe attack of Shingles and it all changed. At seventy five I am told I look ok and I take no medication.

‘However, I feel my life is complete and I am ready to die. My family are well and happy – their lives are full and busy. I can no longer walk the distances I used to enjoy so the happy hours spent exploring the streets of London are just a memory now.’

The mother-of-two explained that she did not want to become an ‘old lady blocking beds in a hospital ward’. She wrote: ‘I have had to make my exit while I am in my right mind and capable of doing so without too much assistance, because I am afraid of compromising the people around me whom I love.’

‘I have had to do this outside my home, and without telling too many people for the same reason. I have written my goodbyes and tidied my life and hope I have managed to exit as unobtrusively as possible. I have always held a donor card but that will be redundant now.

‘If I could have booked my death quite openly, I could have had a party before I died, in the way that people have done, and continue to do, in Switzerland and other places. ‘In which case, perhaps any of my body parts that could be reused could be collected immediately. I could also be sure that I will never be an old lady blocking beds in a hospital ward. This would save the NHS a fortune.

Speaking to the Sunday Times weeks before her death, Mrs. Pharaoh said she wanted to end her life because she knew how frail she was becoming. ‘I have looked after people who are old, on and off, all my life. I have always said, “I am not getting old. I do not think old age is fun”.

‘I know that I have gone just over the hill now. It is not going to start getting better. I do not want people to remember me as a sort of old lady hobbling up the road with a trolley.’

Mrs. Pharaoh spent her last day with her husband, John, dining by the Rhine in Basel. He said it was ‘enjoyable’ and that he chose not to spoil their last evening together by being ’emotional and heavy’.

Before her journey to Switzerland, Mrs. Pharaoh told her children, Mark and Caron, who did not find it easy to cope. She said: ‘It is not his [John’s] choice at all and my kids are backing me, although it is not their choice. My daughter is a nurse and she said, “Intellectually, I know where you are coming from but emotionally, I am finding it really hard”, and I know she is.’

Yes, best to off yourself to save NHS a fortune…so their employees can retire with six-figure pensions.

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Benefits mother-of-four let her kids go hungry to pay for foreign boob job – but now wants NHS to pay for ANOTHER operation after surgery was botched

Gibson: Selfish mom

Gibson: Selfish mom

DailyMail: An unemployed mother-of-four who let her children go hungry so she could pay £4,000 ($6,349 US) for a boob job in Poland is asking the British taxpayer to fork out £5,000 ($7,936 US) for a new one after her surgery left her with wonky breasts.

Naica Gibson stopped buying food for her kids at the end of the month so she could put away almost a third of her benefit cash to fund the surgery on her ‘sagging’ 38D bust. The single-mother even refused to pay for clothes, school trips and days out from the children’s London home for two years as she saved up to go under the knife, saying she ‘had to cut back on pretty much everything. I missed meals as well as them.’

But after her Polish plastic surgeon allegedly left her with one boob bigger than the other – she’s now desperate for another. This time though, she’s wanting it on the NHS for free. The 31-year-old told The Sun: ‘I’m from England and deserve the treatment if I need it. I don’t see anything wrong in using my benefits for a boob job.

Naica has said she can’t even bear to look at her breasts, which have been left covered in scars by two trips to Poland paid for by her benefits cash. She was required to keep her newly boosted bosom wrapped in bandages for weeks after two operations – her initial boob job and a second to tweak them – and relied on a daily cocktail of painkillers to numb the after-effects of her surgeries. However, ever since unravelling them she’s been repulsed by what she claims is a noticeable disproportion in their sizes – an issue which can now only be fixed with pricey corrective surgery.

But instead of scrimping on food once more, Naica – who says she can’t work because she has to look after her four childrenis this time going to the NHS, asking the taxpayer to foot the £5,000 bill. She said that despite being a mother, she still seeks to look her best, and because her attempts to do so have gone wrong it is now up to the NHS to help her.

Selfish mom of four children

Selfish mom of four children

The saving process for the boob job that she thought would restore her chest back to its youthful glory was a lengthy one for Naica, who lives with her four children – aged between one and 14, from two different fathers – in a three-bedroom townhouse in Tottenham, North London.

She is reportedly paid a total of £1,357 ($2,154 US) every month in tax credits, income support, child benefit, housing allowance and council tax, all from the public purse. Her saving plan saw her put away £100 every week. However, she admitted by the end of the month she’d have ‘no money left for the kids,’ at which point she’d take them to their gran’s house for their dinner. ‘I was determined to get my dream boob job no matter what, even if it meant cutting back on things for the kids,’ she said.

Despite initially planning on paying for an op in the UK, Naica – who has been on benefits all her adult life – couldn’t help but be tempted by the considerably cheaper surgery available in Poland after being blown away by Harley Street prices, where similar procedures start at around £8,500.

After months searching Google for ‘cheap places for cosmetic surgery’, Naica found one surgeon claiming to have given boob jobs to some of the cast from hit reality TV show, Geordie Shore. In January this year, after two years of saving, she paid the £4,250 she’d put away for her operation and travel costs.

However, on her way home she said she realized her boobs weren’t a natural shape and were already becoming extremely firm. She returned to Poland in February, going under the knife again. But her bad luck continued, with her dream breasts quickly becoming a total nightmare. They picked-up an infection on her second flight back home, and required almost immediate hospital treatment when she touched back down in the capital. She said: ‘All I could think was all those missed meals for nothing. I just wanted them fixed.’

Gibson just wants what SHE WANTS...

Gibson just wants what SHE WANTS…

Doctors have since told her she requires corrective surgery to re-do her boobs. She’s now waiting to speak to a GP to be given the green light for her third op, but this time paid for by the NHS.

Roger Goss, co-director of campaign group Patient Concern, blasted Naica’s cheek. He said: ‘This is simply not right. It gives the NHS a bad name, which it doesn’t deserve. Money used on Naica’s operation would make a massive difference to patients and save lives.’

Andy Silvester, campaign director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This is yet another example of how badly our benefit system needs to be reformed. It’s sheer madness. It was her choice to use her benefits for her surgery, and unless there’s a clear medical reason for the NHS to step in it should be for her to pay for any adjustments.’

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