The NHS Thread

escargot

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#31
My niece is a senior theatre technician and she works 24-hour shifts. In theory she is on call for emergencies but in practice she works the whole time. No sleep. :(

She'll kill somebody one day, possibly herself, asleep at the wheel on the way home. :shock:
 

ArthurASCII

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#32
escargot1 said:
Prescription are not paid for by under-18s though so at least children can have consultations and meds free. That wasn't the case before the NHS.
Us diabetics get free prescriptions too :)
 

rynner2

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#34
Stretched hospitals separate mums and babies
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:54pm BST 14/04/2007

Newborn twins and triplets are being separated from their mothers and sent to different hospitals as neonatal units face growing shortages in specialist care for premature babies.

It means that most hospitals have no choice but to send families in three or four different directions, says one expert.

Neonatal units surveyed by Bliss, the premature baby charity, were full-up and unable to take new admissions for an average of almost one month out of six. Eight out of 10 units had to stop admitting new cases on at least one occasion, reveals research by the charity, to be published on Tuesday.

Babies are being transported an average of 126 miles for specialist care, with journeys of 200 or 250 miles not uncommon, the charity has previously reported.

Jane Hawdon, a consultant neonatologist at University College Hospital, London, said that she believed that most hospitals had faced the "heartbreaking" decision to send newborn twins and triplets to different hospitals. It left the mothers distraught and fathers and relatives facing marathon round trips.

She said: "It is bad enough when the mother and baby can't be together, but increasingly we do see sets of twins and particularly triplets being separated. Most busy maternity units would have at least one occasion a year when this happens. The units are working at maximum capacity. Everybody will move heaven and earth to try to keep the babies together, but in the end, if it is a matter of safety and we can't find cots for them in the same place, we have to separate them."

The proportion of multiple births in England and Wales has risen by 20 per cent in the past 15 years, with 15 out of every 1,000 pregnant women now giving birth to more than one child. Multiple births are linked to older women having babies and the increasing popularity of IVF.

Dr Hawdon said that when her own baby was born seven weeks early the child was about to be sent to a hospital in Canterbury until, at the last minute, a cot was found close to where she lives in London.

She said that units could only afford to recruit enough staff if they were running at full capacity. They were often forced to choose between running at a loss or "squeezing an extra baby in".

Her own intensive care unit - which has a capacity of 12 babies - took 18 babies over Christmas. Staff worked late, cancelled leave, borrowed equipment, and on one occasion were dispatched to a medical equipment supplier to buy extra stethoscopes.

Sarah Skates, from Dartford, Kent, gave birth to twins after 26 weeks of pregnancy. One was sent to a hospital in Norwich, the other to Surrey, both a considerable distance away, leaving Miss Skates "absolutely distraught" in a third hospital, sharing a ward with new mothers and babies.

Miss Skates, 28, was told that her twins, Kiera and Cameron, would both be sent to Norwich, but by the time the ambulance came back for Cameron, the place had gone. She said that the experience, now two years ago, was "incredibly lonely" - separating her not only from her babies, but from their father, who went to Norwich to stay with their son.

Dr Andrew Lyon, a consultant neonatologist from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "I firmly believe that services are underfunded. We need both money and we need increased numbers of staff. In any situation where you separate mother and baby it is devastating, but with mulitple births you can be torn in a number of different ways."

Dr Lyon, who works in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said it was inevitable that the NHS would experience peaks and troughs in neonatal care, and that every unit could not be geared up to take every case. But he said the findings from Bliss, which showed that, on average, units were unable to take new admissions for 24 days over six months, showed that more resources were needed.

The research, carried out for Bliss by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, examined neonatal services in the last six months of 2005 by surveying senior nurses and leading neonatal networks.

Bliss is campaigning for one-to-one nursing for babies in intensive care to be made mandatory, a standard it says just two per cent of units can currently provide.

Ivan Lewis, the minister at the Department of Health in charge of care services, said he acknowledged that, despite a 13 per cent rise in the number of cots available since 2003, "in some localities there are still concerns".
http://tinyurl.com/38f8zo
 

rynner2

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#35
Freeze funding for giant IT scheme, say Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats are demanding a moratorium on further spending on the NHS's £12.4bn IT programme in England pending an independent inquiry into a catalogue of errors and delays. Norman Lamb, the party's health spokesman, said the government was in a state of denial about the technical, financial and political deficiencies of Connecting for Health, the agency responsible for what is the world's biggest ever non-military computer project. A report this week by the Commons public accounts committee is expected to warn that the programme is descending into fiasco.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story ... 35,00.html
 

rynner2

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#36
More on IT
Patients 'won't benefit from £12bn IT project'
By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
Last Updated: 6:34am BST 17/04/2007

Millions of patients are "unlikely" to see any "significant clinical benefits" from the National Health Service's £12.4 billion national computer system by the time all of the money has been spent in 2014, MPs warn today.

The Commons public accounts committee found that pilot projects on the National Programme for IT were already two years late and there were fears that the project would cost £20 billion - more than three times the original contract cost.

Edward Leigh, the committee's chairman, warned that "urgent remedial action is needed at the highest level" to protect the interests of patients and taxpayers.

He said: "This is the biggest IT project in the world and it is turning into the biggest disaster. This report is a massive wake-up call to the highest reaches of Government. It goes right to Cabinet level."

The scheme was conceived by Tony Blair five years ago to establish a central IT system that could be used to co-ordinate patients' demands.

However, the project has been dogged by failure and the committee's key conclusion was that "at the present rate of progress it is unlikely that significant clinical benefits will be delivered by the end of the contract period".

Its 175-page report found:

Pilot schemes that were meant to allow doctors to share patient clinical records were already two years late. "No firm implementation dates exist," it said.
The Government had not sought to keep a detailed record of expenditure. So far £2 billion had been spent but estimates of the total costs ranged up to £20 billion.
There was no evidence that officials had carried out an examination to see if the project's financial benefits outweighed the costs.
There was a shortage of companies big enough and with the necessary skills to meet the contract's needs after three key suppliers, including Accenture, pulled out.
Key NHS staff were not being kept up to date. "The department has failed to carry an important body of clinical opinion with it," it said.


Mr Leigh said the project was turning into "one of the biggest IT disasters of all time" and the only solution was for it to be broken up into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Lord Hunt, the health minister, defended the scheme. He said "substantial progress" had been made since the first National Audit Office report last summer and "we are on track to meet our broad targets". He said it would provide "safer, faster and more efficient health care for patients".
http://tinyurl.com/33bxrx
 

ElishevaBarsabe

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#37
I seriously hope that you lot in the UK can get this together, because if you can't, there is no hope for national health in the U.S.A.
 

lupinwick

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#38
There was a shortage of companies big enough and with the necessary skills to meet the contract's needs after three key suppliers, including Accenture, pulled out.
That statement alone is enough to put the fear of god into any company being asked to consider "assisting". The government could always "ask" companies to tender to take on the job of fixing it (this kind of demand has been done before).
 

rynner2

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#39
Q&A: Consultant contract

The new consultant contract, introduced in 2003, was the biggest shake-up in specialist doctor care since the NHS was formed.
But the National Audit Office (NAO) says patients have not seen any benefit.

What was the new contract meant to do?

The deal, which over 95% of the 32,000 consultants in England have signed up to, was heralded as a "something for something" arrangement by government.

Consultants have always argued that the hours they put in have not been financially rewarded.

So the deal was designed to give them a pay rise and lead to fewer hours to help meet the European working time directive.

In the first three years, they have received an extra 27%, increasing their NHS pay from £87,000 to £110,000 a year by 2005-6.

Many also earn money from carrying out private work.

The hours consultants worked for the NHS also fell under the contract, from 51.6 per week to 50.2.

In return, consultants agreed to sign up to set job plans brokered by NHS managers which were meant to herald a more patient-friendly service.

These plans were meant to lead to consultants spending a greater proportion of their time with patients and also running more clinics at times suitable to patients, such as evening sessions.

Is more care being provided?

The overall care provided by consultants has increased by 4%. But this does not tell the full story.

Individually, the amount of care provided by consultants has fallen - even though the contract was meant to mean they had more time for patients despite a fall in hours.

The target was for 75%, but consultants only managed 72.6%.

The sole reason the amount of care has increased at all is because more consultants - over 3,000 extra or 11% more - are working in the NHS.

And the NAO said even that increase cannot be put down to the contract as consultant numbers were increasing before it came in.

What do consultants think?

Even though consultants are getting more money for less work, they still are not happy.

A survey by the NAO showed 43% felt their NHS work was not properly valued.

Specialist doctors have reported that they have lost autonomy under the deal.

Detailed job plans are now agreed with NHS trusts and has led to a culture of "clock-watching", some say.

The British Medical Association also reports that "many consultants continue to work many unpaid hours in excess of their contract through their professional dedication to patient care".

What can be done about the problems?

The NAO has urged trusts to pay more attention to job planning.

To achieve this, the watchdog said they should carry out a full assessment of what is needed from consultants in terms of levels of activity and patient outcomes.

Consultants have also been told they must engage more with managers and improve communication.

The government has also been warned that it should make sure it carries out accurate assessments - the NAO said it had underestimated the workload of consultants before the contract began.

This mistake, the NAO said, contributed to the contract costing £150m more than predicted.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6569179.stm
 

escargot

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#40
Having had personal experience of the best of the NHS over the last 24 hours, I feel entitled to praise it. :D

I have had a slow-growing dental abscess, which I dismissed at first (as you do) as a bit of neuralgia or whatever. Big mistake!

The various relevant bits of the NHS swung into action - emergency dentistry, the night helpline, my own GP - and I expect to be over it by tomorrow.

I dread to think how I'd have gone on without such support. The pain was terrible. :(
 

Fizz32

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#41
I'm with Scargs on the praise for the sharp end of the NHS - my personal experience was finding a lump, seeing the doc 48 hours later, getting an appointment at the hospital for exactly one week after that, lump removed. Care and concern all the way, I can't praise the staff highly enough.

Professional experience? I worked for the NHS in Wales in the early research stages for the IT system. Part of my job was gathering information about existing IT equipment in GP practices, in order to upgrade to kit that would run the new information system. How the hell do you do that when you don't know what the new system's going to need? I did point out that we were doing this exercise far too early, we should wait until the requirements were actually determined, as things would inevitably change and we'd have to do it all again, but no, we had to do it then because the big cheeses in our area wanted to show off to the big cheeses in the other Welsh areas that they'd completed it. And when the IT budget is a one-year budget, not the three-year usually allocated to IT kit (and we pleaded for a three year), how the hell do you plan expenditure for upgrading to compliance three years ahead?

NHS? Fantastic at the caring end, but dear god, there are some numpties running it.
 

rynner2

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#43
Yes, the people at the sharp end are skilled and caring. (I'm finally coming to the end of several months treatment for a serious fracture.)

But my last visit to the consultant took a journey of two hours (bloody bus service!), and then a wait of another hour past my appointment time. It was an anticlimax when the consultation itself lasted about 3 minutes!

The main problems originate higher up, in the management and political levels, and adversely affect patients (eg, MRSA), staff (poor career prospects, etc), and the tax-payers (much public money wasted for no good return.)
 

escargot

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#44
Whenever I've worked for the NHS, always as a minion, I have shown my gratitude by working extra-hard.

Bank holidays are generally quiet on certain wards. Regular staff can use them to catch up on admin.
As an agency carer I couldn't help with that, so on BHs, I'd bath all the patients. It would take me all day. They'd be delighted as many wouldn't have had a proper bath in a while, and some were able to have a nice 'soak' as they would at home. :D
 

rynner2

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#45
Minister heckled over NHS policy

A government minister has been heckled by healthcare workers while defending the government's NHS record.
International Development Secretary Hilary Benn responded to accusations that the government was following the US model of "greed before need".

Mr Benn disagreed, saying NHS finances would increase by 10% this year.

The debate came as Unison warned tens of thousands of health workers will strike unless the government makes an improved pay offer.

After speaking at the conference about the role of unions and the government in helping people in poorer countries, Mr Benn took questions from delegates.

One asked: "Why doesn't the government continue to provide an example to the rest of the world on how to deliver health care and keep the NHS going, rather than going down the road of following the American method of putting greed before need?"

Mr Benn responded saying the NHS had 85,000 more nurses in the past decade, adding there would also be a 10% increase in the funding available to the NHS.

He continued to defend the government's decisions on pay:

"I know how unpopular the decision the government has taken about the phasing of the pay award, that's unpopular; inflation is also unpopular with you and the other people who live in your community.

"In the end, the government has a responsibility not to allow inflation to continue to rise, and sometimes you have to take difficult decisions which not everybody likes, but that is one of the jobs of being in government."

Strike

Earlier, Unison national officer Karen Jennings outlined the threat of industrial action.

"I think a strike is certain if we can't get the government to come back to the table and talk", she said.

The Brighton conference is set to hear calls for ministers to stop giving health contracts to private firms.

BBC labour affairs correspondent Stephen Cape says there is much anger over Chancellor Gordon Brown's decision to offer many public sector workers a below inflation pay rise in two stages.

There are up to six motions on pay at the conference, with some calling for specific strike dates.

Unison's health care executive has agreed to back an emergency motion calling for urgent talks with the chancellor.

Ms Jennings told BBC News: "We need to see them [ministers] to be more generous in spirit as well as practically in terms of people pay."

She added that those she represented were very disappointed with the government's pay offer.

"Our members are extremely angry and this is going to be very, very clear from conference when we leave it - what course of action we'll be taking and this will be on the back of a range of other health organisations who are also very, very angry."

More than 1,000 delegates are set to vote on a motion expressing outrage that a Labour government continues to privatise NHS services and staff.

The government said its goal was simply to provide the best possible service.

Ms Jennings warned ministers they faced losing the support of health workers unless policies were changed.

Referring to the success of the BBC's Life on Mars drama, set in the 70s, she went on: "The 70s may look cool on TV but under the Tories the NHS suffered from appalling under-investment and contracting out of cleaning, catering and services to the lowest bidder."

She said that in the 70s it would have been considered "crazy" to send patients' notes to India to have them typed.

But now, she said, private companies were targeting hospitals with deficits and offering free trials and promising big cash savings if they outsourced their medical typing to countries overseas.

A Department of Health spokeswoman denied that private companies were creaming off huge profits at the expense of patients.

She said: "Where private organisations can help the NHS deliver better services for patients and better value for taxpayers we will use them. If they can't, we won't.

"Our goal is simple - the best possible health service, tax-funded, free at the point of need."

She added that more than 250,000 people had received treatment faster than they would otherwise have done thanks to the independent sector.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6580519.stm
 

rynner2

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#46
Doctors' report claims: 'We no longer have free health care'
By Andrew Johnson
Published: 23 April 2007

Increasing numbers of patients are paying for private "top-up" treatments alongside NHS care, meaning the health service is no longer free, a report by leading doctors warns today.

The doctors have written to all three main political parties, and the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, outlining their concerns that the idea of a free health service is a "political mirage".

The study was written by three doctors, including Karol Sikora, professor of cancer medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine for the group Doctors for Reform, which has nearly 1,000 members, all working for the NHS.

It says that patients are developing "sophisticated approaches to purchasing upgrades to their care", including in key areas such as cancer and heart disease.

Publication of the report "Free at the point of delivery: reality or political mirage" comes the day after International Development Secretary Hilary Benn was heckled by union delegates as he tried to defend the Government's record on the NHS.

While politicians often claim care is free at the point of delivery "this mantra is now a political mirage", the report said. Doctors for Reform is urging a debate on future healthcare funding.

"Without reform to health funding, the use of 'top-up' payments is likely to increase due to the upwards pressure on medical costs, the limits to tax-financing and ... the increasing importance of consumer choice," the study said.


It blamed patchy provision of NHS services across the UK, long waiting times and varied quality. It also pointed to the falling cost of private treatments due to advances in technology and increased competition between different firms.

Professor Sikora said: "The current debate on healthcare funding is strikingly inadequate.

"Having to 'top-up' NHS care is a reality for many patients. But the political debate continues to perpetuate the mirage of a service completely free at the point of delivery. We must have a full and frank debate about the future of healthcare funding."

In the letter to Ms Hewitt, Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley and the Liberal Democrat's health spokesman Norman Lamb, Doctors for Reform set out three key questions.

It asked: "Can the NHS guarantee a universal service in future, given that it does not today?

"Should doctors inform patients of 'top-up' options as part of their general duty of care?

"How can access to healthcare be made equitable, given that neither NHS care nor the current 'top-up' payments meet that criterion"


Christoph Lees, a consultant obstetrician and maternal-foetal medicine at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, added: "While welcoming patients' ability to enhance their care by choosing different parts of a package of care from the NHS and private sectors, we must recognise that this approach may disenfranchise those unable or unwilling to pay for 'top-up care'.

"There is no point pretending ['top- up'] charges don't exist. We would ask the Department of Health to clarify its position regarding the interaction of 'top-up' payments with NHS care."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We will never change the values of the NHS - universal, tax-funded, free at the point of need."

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn was barracked at Unison's Health Workers conference in Brighton yesterday with claims that the NHS was facing a crisis.

Mr Benn said he did not agree, pointing to increased investment and thousands of extra nurses.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health ... 474429.ece
 

rynner2

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#47
Trainee doctors 'will go abroad'

More than half of trainee doctors are ready to leave the UK if they fail to get a training post, a survey suggests.
The British Medical Association, which carried out the poll of 650 doctors, has asked to meet Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to review the findings.

There are estimated to be 10,000 more applicants than posts and the BMA wants action to prevent an exodus.

The Department of Health said most trainee doctors who worked abroad returned to the NHS.

Parliamentary rally

The survey is published on the same day that the Conservatives are holding an opposition debate on the situation.

Grassroots doctors' organisation Remedy UK is also set to gather at least 500 doctors to lobby Parliament.

Last week, a leaked report showed an employers' organisation was considering sending surplus trainee doctors abroad to work for the charity Voluntary Service Overseas.

However, the most likely option is that doctors who do not get training posts will be offered a service grade NHS job - which does not include any training.

But the BMA's survey found two thirds of those polled would not consider this kind of job.

It also found that 4.5% of the doctors surveyed have already had offers of posts overseas confirmed.

And 39% said they would seek medical employment outside the NHS, while 44% said they might leave medicine altogether.

The BMA wants a guarantee from the Department of Health that no junior doctor will lose out on training as a result of the online application process (MTAS) or competition for posts.

Dr Jo Hilborne, chairman of the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee, says: "The NHS could lose thousands of its best young doctors simply because of poor planning. This is not acceptable.

"It's unfair on them, it's unfair on their patients, and it's unfair on the taxpayers who've funded their training."

'Many options open'

She added: "These changes have caused anxiety on a massive scale, and we are concerned about their impact on patient care as well as doctors' morale.

DOCTORS' TRAINING
Under the new system, doctors should achieve consultant level in 11 years
The online application process MTAS (Medical Training Application Service) has been heavily criticised
Doctors cited badly designed forms and poor selection methods and warned the best candidates would miss out on jobs
An independent review panel has already recommended a number of changes to MTAS

"We want to discuss ways of addressing this with the health secretary."

Matt Jamison-Evans, of Remedy UK said: "Junior doctors want to be moving forward with their skills.

"People will either leave the profession, or will leave the country and get training somewhere else."

But a Department of Health spokeswoman said: "There are many options open to applicants who do not secure a training place, including trust grade posts in the NHS, locum work, or spending a period of time working outside the NHS.

"However, it's not unusual for doctors to either work abroad or travel and Australia and New Zealand are favourite destinations.

"The majority of those who go abroad come back to England to continue their careers in the NHS, enriched by their overseas experiences," the spokesman said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6584403.stm
 

lupinwick

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#48
Kind of on topic, and very sad.


Man must go blind to get NHS help

Mr Howard says he and his wife fear they will be left housebound
An elderly man has been refused NHS treatment which would save his sight - until he goes blind in one eye.

Ex-serviceman Leslie Howard, 76, from Acomb, York, was diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in his right eye in November.

His local primary care trust (PCT) only pays for the £6,000-a-year treatment once he loses the sight in one eye and develops wet AMD in the other.

The Royal National Institute of the Blind was "outraged" by the decision.
BBC
 

rynner2

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#49
More worrying news:
ROYAL CORNWALL GOES BANKRUPT

11:00 - 27 April 2007

A Cornish hospital is in so much debt, the Government will not lend it any more money, the head of the NHS has warned.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust saw its financial shortfall double in the last year and by the end of March was £29.8 million in the red. It has been repeatedly branded "technically bankrupt".

Now the situation has become so bad, it has been declared unable to pay back any more loans and has received an emergency cash injection.

To balance the books, the Department of Health has been forced to bail it out with a lump sum on which the trust will just pay back the interest owed - similar to an interest-only mortgage.

Unlike a full loan, there is no time scale set for repayment but hospital bosses will now face a "rigorous review" over the inability to show they could repay any loans properly.

It is among more than a dozen trusts nationally identified as being in difficulty at the end of the 2006-07 financial year.

The news came as it was revealed more than 27,000 jobs have been cut from the NHS in the last year. The Government's official NHS workforce census shows the largest fall since records began in 1980.

In total, more than 5,800 nurses' jobs were lost in the cull, but only 2,600 NHS managers' jobs were lost.

The RCHT has repeatedly hit the headlines after becoming one of the trusts worst-hit by the NHS financial crisis.

Last night Sheena Cox, a member of West Cornwall Health Watch, said: "One thing I find worrying is with our increase in funding 11 per cent up on last year, they are going to take £45 million over three years to pay back historical debt. That money should be used for front-line services, not to pay off mismanagement. It is worrying as well because they keep saying it won't affect patient services but it has got to."

As part of the new rules for financing hospitals, some NHS trusts are offered loans through their local Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) to help tide them over until year-end.

But NHS chief executive David Nicholson has named RCHT among 13 which have been given bailed out with "public dividend capital" after a loan was ruled out "because they could not afford to meet the repayments".

Mr Nicholson said the old system practice of "cash brokerage" where money was shifted around the NHS in "an unfair way" had been scrapped. It means trusts that had underspent will no longer have to bail out overspending trusts.

But the "new, transparent and responsible repayable loans system" could not be used to help the Cornwall trust because it was too heavily in debt.

The South West Strategic Health Authority is now working through a review process with the trust to "identify long-term solutions" to the problem.

Mr Nicholson said: "I have no doubt that this will be a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable process for those trusts who are undergoing this process, but our absolute priority is continuity of patient care and to ensure that we have to tackle the underlying problems in these trusts no matter how uncomfortable that may be."

In April 2006, the RCHT was £15.7 million in debt but during the year, that figure leapt to £29.8 million. A new chief executive was drafted in and John Watkinson took over on January 1 this year.

A spokesman for the trust said yesterday that an immediate priority was to ensure the agreed deficit of £29.8 million was not exceeded by the end of the financial year and that this was achieved through a combination of cost-saving and income-generation measures.

A new "realistic, achievable budget" for the coming year was approved by the trust board on March 29 this year and it was hoped it would be "the springboard for a steady return to overall balance".

"We anticipate these measures will be achieved whilst also securing the future of the St Michael's Hospital, Hayle as an elective care hospital undertaking mainly orthopaedic and breast surgery and securing £2 million capital investment to safeguard maternity services. It will also lead to re-introducing therapy services in West Cornwall, developing the award-winning and environmentally friendly Cornwall Food Programme that will improve hospital meals and conducting a wide-ranging management review that will see a new emphasis on direct patient care."

The spokesman added: "Restored to financial balance, the trust can look forward to further strengthening its services for patients and developing improved ways of delivering high-quality care to scattered and often deprived rural communities.
http://tinyurl.com/ynqqdj
 

lupinwick

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#50
Whereas some people think its all a success :?:

Recognise NHS success, says Blair

Tony Blair has admitted his NHS reforms have been "really tough" for staff but said waiting list cuts, new hospitals and more staff were a sign of success.

He said he did not think there would be a reversal of the "essential course" of more choice for patients and greater competition between health providers.
Source

You have to wonder whether or not they're on the same planet as the rest of us....
 

mindalai

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#51
Scrubs once used a plotline similar to this story. I don't know whether to feel sorry for the man or to tell him to stop being so ungrateful.

A grandfather is taking legal action against the NHS after spending all his money when he was told he had months to live - only to learn he had been misdiagnosed.

John Brandrick was told he had pancreatic cancer two years ago after scans revealed a 7cm tumour.

The 62-year-old, from Newquay, Cornwall, said he was told by doctors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske that he only had a limited time to live. As a result he decided to enjoy what time he had left living a lavish lifestyle of hotels, restaurants and trips away.

Then the hospital told him that he was actually suffering from the non-fatal pancreatitis and not pancreatic cancer.

Mr Brandrick said that in the year that he thought he was dying he spent everything and now he faces losing his house.

"My life has been turned upside down by this," he said. "I was told certainly, by the doctor, that I had cancer and from that day I lived life in full. I was told I had limited time to live. I got rid of everything - my car, my clothes, everything."

Mr Brandrick is now seeking compensation but said he is 'not a leech' and does not want to have to go through the courts.

He said: "I do not want to pay solicitors, I do not want the hospital to pay solicitors because there are people that need that money. But if they have made the wrong decision they should pay me something back."

The Royal Cornwall Hospital's NHS Trust said there is "no clear evidence of negligence" in the case.

A spokesman said: "The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was based on the outcome of a series of investigations and the symptoms that Mr Brandrick was experiencing early in 2005. Whilst we do sympathise with Mr Brandrick's position, clinical review of his case has not revealed that any different diagnosis would have been made at the time based on the same evidence. The NHS Litigation Authority has agreed that there is no clear evidence of negligence in Mr Brandrick's treatment."
 

rynner2

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#52
Doctors call for an independently run NHS
By Nic Fleming, Medical Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:06am BST 09/05/2007

Doctors' leaders launched a fierce attack on Labour's handling of the NHS yesterday and said an independent board of governors should take over its day-to-day running.

Unveiling a blueprint for the future of the health service, the British Medical Association also described health care rationing as inevitable, and said a core list of taxpayer-funded treatments should be drawn up to end the postcode lotteries faced by many patients.

The BMA said ministers should be prevented from "constant political dabbling" in the day-to-day running of the health service following a decade of "incoherent and contradictory" reforms.

It outlined proposals for a written constitution setting out the rights of the public and the responsibilities of the Government.

The Department of Health should focus more on public health issues such as diet, obesity and smoking, it added.

James Johnson, BMA chairman, said the report had been drawn up following widespread alarm expressed by doctors at the "incoherence" of Government policies and the resulting "reorganisation fatigue".

Mr Johnson said: "We do not think the health service benefits from constant political dabbling and micro-management. What every new Secretary of State seems to do, contrary to the advice of civil servants, is to embark on another reorganisation of the service.

"When it comes to the day-to-day running of the NHS, the role of national politics should be significantly reduced."


He added that current reforms were "about as unpopular as you can get with the whole of the workforce and, more to the point, lack coherence and are internally contradictory".

The BMA published a set of 24 recommendations yesterday in a report entitled A Rational Way Forward for the NHS in England.

Faced with growing financial pressures from Government targets and pay rises, primary care trusts (PCTs) have been forced to make increasingly difficult decisions about which treatments they can afford.

This has led to anger from patients who are unable to get treatments for conditions that are funded by PCTs in neighbouring areas.

A growing number of experts has said that in practice health care rationing already exists, and have called for more honesty from politicians on the subject. Expensive treatments, such as the new generation of targeted cancer drugs, and the ageing population will only increase the pressures.

The BMA called for an open, honest public debate to determine which drugs and therapies should be paid for from the public purse. Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said: "We are saying that if rationing is to take place it should be done in a coherent, open and transparent manner, involving politicians, professionals and the public."

Andy Burnham, health minister, said: "We resist any call to make the NHS a slimmed-down, emergency service, because that's what it would become if we started rationing care.

"The only losers would be the poorest people."
http://tinyurl.com/3y8tjw
 

rynner2

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#53
Superbug kills NHS critic’s father
Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Correspondent

A WOMAN who confronted Tony Blair on television over the failings of the National Health Service has lost her father to MRSA, the hospital superbug.

During the 2001 election campaign Carol Maddocks described on the BBC’s Question Time programme, where Blair was a panellist, how the health service was letting down her daughter Alice, who had a rare blood condition.

Blair later met Maddocks at Downing Street and pledged NHS funding to improve registries of bone marrow donors to help to save Alice’s life.

Now, however, Maddocks has described how Harry Lister, her 74-year-old father, died an agonising death after contracting MRSA following “awful” care in their local hospital.

“My father was let down by the NHS and we, as a family, are really angry about it. Society now accepts that when we go into hospital we could contract MRSA, but this should not be a risk we run,” Maddocks said.

Maddocks, a former nurse, had seen many patients die, but she said her father’s death last June was the most horrific she had ever seen.

“MRSA had got into my father’s bloodstream and it had taken hold of his whole body, his heart and his other organs,” she said. “I have never witnessed anyone die in so much pain and that will stay with me for ever.”

Lister died of MRSA at Dewsbury and District hospital in June 2006 after going in for examination of a bowel problem. The family say that he contracted the superbug from an endoscope, an instrument used to examine the bowel.

Maddocks says that, while in hospital, her father was left to become dehydrated, lay in dirty sheets and the family had to battle with nurses to get him a bath. He told his family that other elderly patients were left unable to eat meals and that nurses congregated round a desk while patients were left without care.

“Although what Tony Blair did for bone marrow registries was extremely positive, that has not been reflected in our experience of the NHS,” said Maddocks. “We feel the care our father received in our local hospital was awful.”

By contrast, Maddocks is happy with the way Alice was treated at the same hospital where Lister died.

She did not approach the media to discuss her father’s treatment but the nature of his death emerged while she was being interviewed about Blair’s time in power.

Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Dewsbury and District hospital, said that it could not comment on Lister’s death as his medical notes were in transit.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 782038.ece
 

stu neville

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#54
Absolutely delightful news from the BBC (he said with not a trace of irony or sarcasm..)
End of year surplus 'fantastic'

North Bristol NHS Trust has reported a £85,000 surplus in funds in its end of year accounts.

The trust said it had also managed to make savings of £27m in what has been the fourth year of a financial recovery plan instigated after a £52m overspend.

A bank loan, being paid back over 20 years, has helped with the deficit.

The trust's chief executive Sonia Mills said to make savings and come out with a small surplus was an "absolutely fantastic result".

"This is an important milestone for the trust, as over the past four years we have brought our expenditure in line with our annual income," she said.

"In addition, last year and this year we stand on our own two feet without any extra funding support."
On relating this link to an old colleague of Mrs N's, a ward sister at one of said trust's hospitals, I was treated to a stream of invective the like of which I've rarely heard (she's had to manage with about 70% of required staff for three years, as have all the wards there.) In fact, at Mrs N's hospital, despite being a regional centre for paediatrics covering seven counties, they're heading in the same direction: not covering maternity leave, recruitment freezes, staff sickness going through the roof as burn-outs are soaring.

We know that the govt has pumped billions more into the NHS. So where the fucking hell is it all going? (Hint - it involves computer programmes, BMWs, expense accounts and people with clipboards who know precisely dick about ill people.) I've said it before, possibly in this thread, but when doctors and nurses ran the NHS it worked, not perfectly, but it worked, with an administrator or two to order paper clips and file things. Ill people cost what they cost to treat, not what some Julian with a degree in interference says it must cost to treat them. This news story just serves to highlight what the NHS is all about these days.

Sorry, rant over. I need another glass of wine now.
 

mindalai

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#55
I'm sure all the nurses who were made redundant, all the student nurses who couldn't get their first jobs and all the patients who got shoddy care because of staffing levels are delighted to hear how well the trust's doing thanks to the budget cuts. :x
 

rynner2

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#56
Hospital choice irrelevant, say patients

John Carvel, social affairs editor
Monday May 14, 2007
The Guardian

Labour's health policy giving people the right to choose between NHS hospitals in England is regarded by most patients as irrelevant, the government's health watchdog will disclose this week.
The Healthcare Commission found the issues people regard as most important are whether they have confidence in a hospital's doctors and nurses, whether staff answer questions clearly and whether they wash their hands after contact with a patient before they touch another.

The issues they regarded as least important included whether they have a choice of admission dates, choice of hospital and enough information about different hospitals to make an informed decision where to be treated. The commission asked the Picker Institute research organisation to investigate recent inpatients' views about 82 aspects of their hospital experience.

The aim was to discover what patients care about most so that the commission could ask the most relevant questions in future surveys of hospitals' performance.
The three questions about choice were deemed by patients to be among the 10 least important aspects of a hospital's service out of the 82. The results are likely to be a disappointment to Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, who has made patient choice a cornerstone of NHS reform.

The new research was based on questionnaires completed by 448 patients in the autumn. The Picker institute told the commission that patients had so little interest in choice that there would be no point in asking more questions about it in the 2007 survey of patient opinion. Results from the 2006 survey are due to be published on Wednesday, providing information to grade the performance of 167 acute hospitals.

Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA's consultants committee said: "This research reflects what the BMA has been saying for several years - patients are clearly more interested in having a say in the kind of treatment they receive rather than where they receive it."

Peter Carter, general secretary Royal College of Nursing, said: "Asking people if they want more choice is like asking whether they want more peace. Of course they will say 'yes'. But what people really want is good relations with staff, good quality treatment and good information at the time of treatment."

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/publicse ... 75,00.html
I could've told 'em all that! I don't want to choose between hospitals - I just want my most convenient hospital to be good enough to treat me.

When you're sick or injured is not a time you want the added hassle of having to make a 'choice'.
 

maureenmac1

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#57
From Times OnlineMay 25, 2007

Out of hours care 'could cause more deaths'

(PA)
Penny Campbell: she died in March 2005 after consulting eight doctors over the course of four days

Philippe Naughton
The partner of a woman who died from multiple organ failure after flaws in out-of-hours GP medical care said today that he was convinced it could happen again.

Penny Campbell, a 41-year-old journalist and mother, died in March 2005 after consulting eight doctors over the course of four days. She had become infected with septicaemia during an operation for haemorrhoids.

A report by a panel of independent investigators published today found that the actions of at least one of the GPs, together with problems in how the out-of-hours service was run, meant that she was not offered appropriate care.

Camidoc, a private company contracted to provide out-of-hours cover, had no procedures to ensure that notes on patients were easily available to all GPs, so that each time she rang for help they treated her as a new patient. This was a "major system failure" and was a direct factor leading to Miss Campbell’s death, the report said.

Angus MacKinnon, Miss Campbell’s partner, said today that he believed the same tragedy could happen again elsewhere in England. He also called for the doctor found to have provided sub-standard care to be struck off the medical register.

"I’m convinced (that the same thing could happen again)," he said. "I’ve had dozens of people contact me, cases where people had really narrow escapes."

Today’s report identified weaknesses in the arrangements for out-of-hours care. Responsibility for providing the care passed from individual GPs to Primary Care Trusts in 2004. The report criticises the speed at which the change was implemented, and urges the Department of Health to provide a clear definition of the role of out-of-hours care.

Ms Campbell, from Islington, North London, was diagnosed with various conditions by the GPs, including colic, flu and viral infections, an inquest heard last year.

The coroner ruled that the doctors contributed to Miss Campbell’s death because they failed to recognise the seriousness of her condition. All eight doctors voluntarily stepped down from out-of-hours care while the investigation into her death was carried out - although they continue to work as GPs.

Today’s report said that six GPs provided Miss Campbell with a "reasonable standard" of care but one, named as Dr Chuah, did not adequately explore her symptoms to see if she had an acute illness.

Dr Chuah failed to offer Miss Campbell a reasonable standard of care during an 11-minute call at 4.50am on Monday, March 28, the day before her death. A transcript of their conversation shows that, when she checked with him that it was "not anything serious", he replied that if it was more serious, she would be a lot more sick and "wouldn’t be talking to me like this".

It adds: "Reviewing this transcript, it is apparent that Penny Campbell was articulate and coherent. In the course of the conversation she describes her symptoms quite clearly.

"It is also evident that Dr Chuah did not pick up the cues offered by her or further explore any of these symptoms to clearly and definitely exclude any serious pathology that could have accounted for these symptoms."

The investigation found that the care offered by an eighth GP, Dr Bengi Beyzade, could not be adequately assessed in retrospect. Camidoc has said the six cleared of wrongdoing will be able to work again for them following a review.

Dr Beyzade and Dr Chuah would have to go through a much more rigorous process involving a performance review with their PCT if they wished to return to work, it said.

Mr MacKinnon, 40, said the fact that the two doctors may be able to work again showed a "total lack of accountability" and was indicative of a wider problem regarding the work of doctors.

"To get justice where doctors have performed unprofessionally, to get justice for the victims of their incompetence, you have to sue them. That’s a broader problem within our health system," he said.

"Dr Chuah should be struck off."

Mr MacKinnon plans to write to the General Medical Council (GMC) about the conduct of four of the doctors. He is also pursuing civil action over the case.

Islington Primary Care Trust (PCT), which commissions Camidoc’s services, issued a statement today extending its sympathy to Ms Campbell's family.

Rachel Tyndall, its chief executive, said: "There were failings in her care and the systems to guarantee quality. The health service will respond to these.

"Islington PCT recognises the importance of out-of-hours services and is determined to learn lessons from this. We have already, and will continue, to do things differently as a result.

"We are committed to working closely with Camidoc and the other commissioning PCTs to ensure that out-of-hours care has efficient clinical systems in place to guarantee high-quality care that is responsive to the needs of patients. A case like this must never happen again."

Today’s report says the system of "safety netting" - where Miss Campbell was told to call back if she did not recover - was "seriously flawed".

Each of her calls to doctors were treated as an individual "episode", with Miss Campbell having to recount her symptoms again and again. Although Camidoc had put in place methods to transfer to a computerised records system, it failed to address existing risks and take steps to overcome the problems.

The report says that Camidoc was unprepared for its shift to a major out-of-hours provider of care. It also criticises Camidoc’s lack of process for driving up standards, saying that the systems for ensuring clinical governance was in place were not fit for purpose.

The system of out-of-hours care in England has been much criticised, with a recent study from the Public Accounts Committee saying that the Government thoroughly mishandled its introduction. Prior to 2004, out-of-hours care was managed by GPs but this was handed over to PCTs as a result of the new GP contract.

Mr MacKinnon backed those criticisms today. "If Tesco can open till midnight every night, why can’t our GPs open till midnight every night?" he said

"The National Audit Office said last year that the reform of out-of-hours has been incredibly expensive - it’s massively over-budget - so if they had spent a little less money on doubling doctors’ wages they would be able to afford better night-time and weekend care."

Ms Campbell had a son, Joseph, who was 6 at the time of her death.



Contact our advertising team for advertising and sponsorship in Times Online, The Times and The Sunday Times.

© Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 839763.ece

Edited because I forgot to before
 

rynner2

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#58
Hain calls for an end to NHS 'permanent revolution'
By Nigel Morris
Published: 28 May 2007

A cabinet minister has called for an end to the "permanent revolution" in hospitals and demanded limits to the use of the private sector in the National Health Service.

Peter Hain, a candidate for the Labour deputy leadership, gave a scathing assessment of his government's performance on health. Speaking at a hustings in Sheffield, he said: "A month from now Labour will have a new leader and, frankly, we all need to up our game. We've been playing like the reserves recently. In a host of areas we've allowed the Tories to make the running."

The Northern Ireland Secretary said there should be a moratorium on structural change and reorganisation within the NHS.

"The health service doesn't need to be in a state of permanent revolution in order to deliver. It's time to let the health service settle down and time to let NHS staff get on with the job."

He spoke out as a left-leaning think-tank said ministers should not be allowed to intervene in local plans to merge or close hospitals. The Institute for Public Policy Research said Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, should be stripped of the power to approve such changes or to refer them to an independent panel.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politi ... 588958.ece

"It's time to let the health service settle down and time to let NHS staff get on with the job" - and let the electorate forget about what a fecking mess we made with all our interfering. :roll:
 

rynner2

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#60
NHS fears despite books balancing

Ministers are to confirm the NHS has balanced its books - although many hospitals and other parts of the service are still struggling with debt.
A year ago the NHS finished with a deficit of more than £500m, but Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt staked her job on wiping out the debt in 2006-7.

Early figures even suggest there will be a surplus.

The book balancing needed training and public health budget cuts. Extra cash due to the service was also held back.

Feeling the pinch

Three-quarter year forecasts for 2006-7 showed that the health service was on course to break even.

But this masked the £1.3bn in deficits forecast to be run up by the third of hospitals and primary care trusts which pay for local services. It was predicted these hospitals and trusts would not balance the books by the end of the year.

These figures were almost exactly the same as the figures for 2005-6.

The latest accounts will show that financial balance has only been achieved by taking money from elsewhere.

First of all, £1.8bn of the extra money due to the NHS in 2006-7 - about a quarter of the total increase - was held back.

And regional managers working for strategic health bosses have also made cuts to central budgets, such as training, to build up a £450m contingency fund.

That is on top of the thousands of job losses that have been forced on NHS trusts - 17,000 in the past 12 months, according to the NHS Information Centre.


Ahead of the release of the figures, Health Minister Andy Burnham has admitted "difficulties" still persist, but that balance has been achieved without harming patient care.

But doctors do not share his confidence. In a speech on Wednesday, Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants' committee, will say the cuts have been "excessive".

"It takes weeks to cut, it takes years to rebuild trust. Morale is at an all-time low.

"The profession is angry because of this government's mishandling of the health service and has lost all confidence that the government can solve the problems it has created."


He will also warn ministers: "We will not stand by and let you decimate hospitals for purely financial reasons."

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "Cutting education and training and plundering public health budgets is not the way to manage the future of our NHS.

"No other business would be run on boom and bust and neither should the health service."

[ :evil: Who's been in charge of this then, Pat?]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6723657.stm
 
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