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Posts Tagged ‘NHS

Contemptible Governments.

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[I don’t always read the papers when I get them and sometimes might pick up on an article from a week or two ago, this is one of them.]

To say I was astonished and annoyed, reading the treatment of thousands of patients infected with hepatitis C because of incompetence and neglect, is putting it mildly.

For over 20 years the victims, of professional incompetence in the Blood Bank services and moral turpitude in numerous governments, have tried to get a degree of justice, without success, after being infected by contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

As far as I understand, until threatened with court action in 1991 consecutive governments have done next to nothing to help and recompense the victim’s of their collective negligence, this explains it better:

“In 1991, under threat of court action for allowing knowingly contaminated blood products into the country, the British Government made ex-gratia payments to those infected with HIV, at an average of £60,000, upon the condition that haemophiliacs would sign an undertaking not to sue the Government for any future infection through their treatments. ”

It doesn’t get much lower than that.

According to the Beeb, they (along with the families of those who died) might, if they push, get a little bit more money.

However, as the Yorkshire Post reports:

“But victims will still not receive the same levels of compensation as received by victims in the Republic of Ireland after the Government ruled such a move would be too expensive.

The package was unveiled after growing pressure on the Government to compensate those who became ill after receiving contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s, some of which came from “skid row” donors such as prison inmates.

Medical expert Lord Winston has branded the scandal “the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”, with 4,670 haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C, of whom 1,243 were also infected with HIV. Nearly 2,000 have already died.

A two-year privately-funded inquiry into the scandal led by Lord Archer of Sandwell found that commercial interests had taken precedence over public health and said Ministers should apologise to victims, provide financial assistance for those prevented from working, ensure victims could get insurance and offer them benefits not freely available on the NHS, such as free prescription drugs, counselling and home nursing. “

Here are links to the Tainted Blood site and the Archer report

Update 1: We should not forget how the Department of Health deliberately withheld information until the very last minute, in 2009:

“The government is accused of withholding documents that could be vital to uncovering how thousands of haemophiliacs became infected with hepatitis C and HIV through blood transfusions.

Although the Department of Health has handed over thousands of papers to an independent public inquiry chaired by Lord Archer of Sandwell, the MP Jenny Willott has discovered through a parliamentary question that 35 are being withheld, many on the grounds of commercial interest.

“It is appalling that after 20 years, the government is still withholding information on one of the biggest health disasters this country has ever seen,” said Willott.”

Written by modernityblog

17/01/2011 at 04:02

What Tory Reforms Did To The NHS

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Readers with a longer memory than most will remember the changes instigated by the Tories into the NHS.

The BBC highlights the consequence of internal market reforms, vulgar statistics and a management more concerned with pounds and pence, rather than patients:

“The trust had been climbing the NHS ratings ladder during the period in question and was even given elite foundation trust status.

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Independent Inquiry site.

“The evidence gathered by the Inquiry shows clearly that for many patients the most basic elements of care were neglected. Calls for help to use the bathroom were ignored and patients were left lying in soiled sheeting and sitting on commodes for hours, often feeling ashamed and afraid. Patients were left unwashed, at times for up to a month. Food and drinks were left out of the reach of patients and many were forced to rely on family members for help with feeding. Staff failed to make basic observations and pain relief was provided late or in some cases not at all. Patients were too often discharged before it was appropriate, only to have to be re-admitted shortly afterwards. The standards of hygiene were at times awful, with families forced to remove used bandages and dressings from public areas and clean toilets themselves for fear of catching infections. “

However, I suspect that those useless feckers in New Labour won’t learn anything from this, and will re-hash more Tory drivel rather than do away with those awful internal markets and the poverty of thought that drives this type of thinking.

Update 1: The Guardian reports:

“About half of the patients and relatives who gave evidence to the inquiry singled out difficulty in obtaining food and drink as a major concern. Some patients never received food at mealtimes; some who did found that it was placed too far away for them to reach it and so was removed, untouched.

Intake of food and water, both vital to recovery, was not encouraged. “Frequently the explanation appears to have been a lack of staff but sometimes staff were present but lacked a sufficiently caring attitude,” the report said.

Breaches of patients’ privacy and dignity included patients left inadequately dressed in full view of passersby; patients moved and handled in unsympathetic and unskilled ways, causing pain and distress; and rudeness or hostility.

“However difficult the circumstances, there is no excuse for staff to treat patients in the manner described by some witnesses,” Francis concluded.

Staff were equally critical about the hospital’s management, and described bosses who bred “an atmosphere of fear of adverse repercussions”, stressed NHS targets were the top priority and were secretive when things went wrong.

The trust’s board, which was meant to hold managers to account and ensure high clinical standards were maintained, were aware of the weaknesses but failed to ensure improvements were made, the report says.”

Update 2: The Press Association coverage:

“The inquiry concluded that the trust’s board – which exacerbated its problems by cutting staff to save £10 million in 2006/7 – was “disconnected” from what was actually happening in the hospital.

Mr Francis said “the scale of failure” was greater than has been revealed to date. While he concluded that Stafford Hospital should not be closed, he recommended that Health Secretary Andy Burnham review whether to remove Mid-Staffordshire’s status as a foundation trust – a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS.”

Update 3: Over at the Torygraph:

No one on the board at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has faced censure and all of them were either paid off, walked into another job or allowed to remain in post. The man who ran the hospital trust received a large pay-off despite his part in the scandal.

Martin Yeates, the former chief executive, left the trust “by mutual agreement” with a pay-off of £400,000 and a pension worth £1.27 million, it has been alleged.”

Update 4: The Guardian again on the tick box culture:

“The BMA chairman, Hamish Meldrum, said the inquiry pinpointed a “culture of fear” in some hospitals that prevented clinical staff from reporting lapses in standards of care.

He added: “The fact that Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust was more focused on meeting government targets, achieving foundation status and saving money, demonstrates very clearly what happens when financial pressures and a tick-box culture are more important than delivering high-quality patient care. I call on the government and all hospital managers to learn the lessons from Staffordshire and to put patients first.””

Update 5: Few case histories and medical understatement:

“When her son left her that night he remembered that she looked bright and well.
The following day she seemed unable to use her arms. The next day she became extremely confused. There was gauze on the back of her head, and a bandage. After the family demanded an explanation, the ward sister said that their mother had fallen during the night. They had found her nightdress in the bedside cabinet and when they got home discovered it was “saturated in blood”.

The following night Mr Bunn received another call to tell him his mother had suffered a further fall, and he was asked to come to the hospital. “My mother was lying… full stretch out on the tiled floor,” he said. “Some effort had been made to remove the blood. It was smeared all over the floor. You could not see a hair on her head. It was completely swathed in bandages. There was a lady doctor holding my mother’s head in her hands.”

Mr Bunn recalled saying, “Oh Mum, what have they done to you…” to which the doctor replied coldly: “I have got a mother too.” The son later remarked: “There was no compassion in that woman whatsoever.”

His mother was sent for a scan. She had a huge bleed on one side of her brain and her brain was swollen. The doctors told the family it was impossible to operate, and that if she regained consciousness then she would not be the same.

Mr Bunn then learnt that his mother had suffered a further previous fall that he had not been made aware of, and a doctor said to him: “We have let you down.”

Update 6: Over in Wales the BBC reports:

“The seven new health boards which run the NHS in Wales are set to go more than £43m over budget, according to research by BBC Wales.

Six are forecasting a deficit for the end of their first financial year, with all under pressure to make savings.

When they were set up in October 2009, Health Minister Edwina Hart said that they “must live within their means”.

The boards control all hospitals and community services, GP and dentist funding.

The new boards were created by integrating the 22 old boards – set up in 2003 based on council boundaries – with seven NHS trusts which were then running hospitals.

The new boards are responsible for deciding which treatments and services are available and they also have responsibility for ensuring hospitals meet targets on waiting times.

Hospital worker (generic)
1 Betsi Cadwaladr LHB – Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham, Anglesey and Gwynedd – break even
2 Hywel Dda LHB – Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire – £12m
3 Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University LHB – Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend – £3.9m
4 Powys Teaching LHB Powys county – £7.6m
5 Cwm Taf LHB – Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil – £4.8m
6 Cardiff and Vale LHB – Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan – £5.5m
7 Aneurin Bevan LHB – Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen – £10m

Research by BBC Wales into the latest combined financial position shows the seven boards have a running deficit of around £67m, which they forecast being able to bring down to £43m. “

Labour’s Achilles Heel.

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Politicians and politicos often live in a bubble, of their own making, where outside perceptions are frequently disregarded and they begin to believe their own spin.

I think it is partly a problem of incumbency and in part the arrogance of power, so it is with new Labour and the NHS.

Mike O’Brien, health Minister, has been keen to disregard and poo poo a new report on health safety in the NHS. But even if he were telling the truth the perception of the British population of the NHS has changed in the past 12 years, new Labour saw to that.

The implementation of market reforms, taken over from the previous Tory administration and management by top-down statistics, have altered the NHS, hospitals and the public’s perception of it. This is evidenced by the MRSA scandal and the inability to keep hospitals clean after in-house services were privatised and when cack handed managerial targets become the norm.

More from the authors of the report:

“However less positively the Guide found that 12 trusts significantly underperformed across these safety measures, seven trusts are not compliant with National Patient Safety Agency alerts and that 5024 people admitted with low risk conditions died in hospital last year (848 under the age of 65). Although it is inevitable that some patients with these conditions will die during or after treatment, comparing rates between hospitals and investigating those deaths that do occur are useful ways of identifying failings in patient safety.”

And when new Labour loses the next General Election, and that ushers in a nasty and vicious Tory government, then new Labour will have only themselves to blame, only themselves and their spin and BS.

Update 1: The Guardian has more on the NHS lottery:

“For Adrian Underwood, it began with a terrifying loss of movement down the left side of his body. A hospital scan in Nottingham identified a benign tumour that if untreated would eventually crush his brain. Yet no one told him about it.

More than 50 miles away in Solihull, Jenny Morgan sat in A&E for 90 minutes after suffering a stroke, before deciding to leave so she could “die at home”. Half-blinded and in excruciating pain, she later returned, only to be told the stroke unit was full. And on a ward in Essex, Gillian Flack found her severely disabled son drenched in urine and no nurses in sight. That night Kyle Flack, 20, suffocated after getting his head wedged in the metal bars of the hospital bed. “You think hospitals are safe,” said his 54-year-old mother, her voice trembling. “But if I had never taken Kyle to hospital he would have been alive.”

Her son died at Basildon University Hospital, where a report last week revealed evidence of dozens of patients dying needlessly in filthy conditions.”

Written by modernityblog

29/11/2009 at 14:53

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Lying Tory Bastards.

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Lies and Tories go together.

Despite David Cameron’s supposed cuddly image and fake concerns for non-old Etonians, his mates in the Tory Party gave away the game, the Observer has more:

“David Cameron was facing a battle to restore party unity behind his health policy last night after it emerged that several of his key shadow cabinet members put their names to a manifesto criticising the NHS and calling for it in effect to be dismantled.

The Observer can reveal that leading Tory MPs – who include Cameron’s close ally Michael Gove – are listed alongside controversial MEP Daniel Hannan as co-authors of a book, Direct Democracy, which says the NHS “fails to meet public expectations” and is “no longer relevant in the 21st century”.

Others listed as co-authors in the book, published shortly after the 2005 general election, include shadow cabinet members Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt and frontbencher Robert Goodwill. Clark and Hunt were unavailable for comment last night.

Gove is also one of a group of more than 20 Tory MPs and MEPs who are cited as supporters of Hannan’s views in another book, The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain, published in December last year, in which Hannan and Tory MP Douglas Carswell describe the NHS as “the national sickness service”.”

Cameron expects people to trust him with the NHS? Oh, yeah, look there’s a flying pig/Tory.

Update 1:
Whilst on the topic of the NHS, I am indebted to captainjako for the link to This American’s Experience of Britain’s Healthcare System. It is rather good.

Update 2: John Gray’s “A day in the Life of Joe Middle Class Republican” is topical.

Update 3:
Tendance Coatesy is good.

Written by modernityblog

16/08/2009 at 02:15

Trust The Tories?

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[I have neglected the Tories, probably because of my low opinion of them and they aren’t terribly exciting politically. You almost know what they’ll do if they get power again, but before that they’ll try to be all things to all men and tell people what they want to hear. So if I have the energy and inclination I will post a bit more on the Tories.]

The Tory Party is full of jokers, led off by their head clown, Cameron.

Their latest witticism is to propose that all NHS patient data be managed either by Microsoft or Google, maybe both.

Anyone who has rebooted their Microsoft operating system six times a day or more will fully appreciate the level of diligence which Microsoft does not aspire to.

As for Google, we all use that company’s products, well most of us. Those who happened to be Chinese and living in the People’s Republic of China have greater problems, their government coerced Google into blocking many critical sites, and without much of a murmur Google duly complied.

But there are unforeseen merits to the Tories’ idea, at least you will probably get to see your neighbours, relatives, friends’ personal medical records, that’s after they’ve been leaked across the Internet, sold to every conman and identity fraudster there is.

If you cast your mind back and think about the fairly minor data leaks which have come out of Whitehall, then the raft of information which could be extracted from the NHS database will dwarf those debacles several times over.

And even if, by some miracle, the NHS data is not leaked across the world then it might well be sold to private company’s or portions of it.

No doubt the inventive Tories will try to extract as much money from the NHS data as possible, creating mailing lists of patients’ ailments and auctioning them off to the highest bidder.

If you think the amount of rubbish and bumf that comes through your letterbox is a bit too much now, just wait until the Tories have got their hands on the NHS data.

Written by modernityblog

07/07/2009 at 03:03