Sunday 28 June 2009

Ten ways the NHS is killing people

Over the past few years, three close relatives of mine have been seriously ill. In each case, their chances of survival were seriously impaired by a catalogue of mismanagement and inefficiency. In particular, the delays in diagnosis and treatment, if other patients have had the same experiences, could be significant in the UK’s shameful cancer survival statistics.

I was once told by a consultant that the number of ‘no-shows’ equalled his waiting list and cost the NHS many thousands every year. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever fully researched why patients miss appointments; they could start by asking my family, who have experienced all of the following...
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Source: MacHeath

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Friday 26 June 2009

No criminal charges over 18 superbug deaths at hospital

NO CRIMINAL charges will be brought over an outbreak of Clostridium difficile at a Scottish hospital in which 18 people died, it was announced yesterday.
The outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire saw 55 patients infected with the bug between December 2007 and June 2008.

A report which condemned conditions at the hospital and failures in hygiene and infection control was passed to prosecutors last year. But yesterday the Crown Office said there would be no criminal proceedings over the outbreak.

Apology: Dr Plavelil George

In a report of GMC proceedings published on 27 April 2007 “Shifts row consultant 'shut ward'” [The Metro] stated that in 2001 Dr George, then a consultant at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, ordered closure of a children's ward in protest at having to cover for a junior doctor.

We also reported that he refused to treat and sent home a boy who was plainly very ill with what turned out to be meningococcal septicaemia.

We now accept that Dr George did not order closure of the ward nor did he refuse to treat the boy and it was not inappropriate to send him home.

Moreover Dr George has not faced charges of professional misconduct before the GMC.

We apologise to Dr George for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages and costs.
Source: The Metro.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Doctors Accused Of Trying To Kill Off OAP

An investigation has been launched after the family of an elderly stroke victim claimed hospital doctors tried to end his life.

John MacGillivray and daughter Patricia

John MacGillivray with his daughter Patricia

John MacGillivray, 78, from Auchterarder, was admitted to Perth Royal Infirmary having suffered a stroke on May 22.

Two days later, his family were told by hospital doctors he would die within hours.

His daughter Patricia MacGillivray told Sky News: "It was to our shock, we just couldn't believe it.

"When he was admitted to the hospital on the Friday he was still able to move around and feed himself and suddenly here we all were being told 50% of his brain was dead and he was definitely going to die that Sunday night and to prepare ourselves to say our goodbyes.

"It was unimaginable. All too much, too quickly, too soon.

The only conclusion we can draw is that they were trying to euthanise my father. He wasn't getting the right treatment for stroke and when we stopped the drugs he recovered

Patricia MacGillivray

"There were several issues we already had with the level of care he had received in the short while he had been in the hospital, so we started to become suspicious.

"That's when we started asking about his medication.

"It was then we learned that the medication we had been told he was going to receive when he was first admitted, which was specifically for stroke, had been changed to medication for treating seizures which we'd never seen him have.

"The effect of that medication was to sedate him."

The MacGillivray family instructed doctors to immediately withdraw all medication and launched a round-the-clock bedside watch.

Within two days, Ms MacGillivray says her father had made such a good recovery he was being recommended for stroke rehabilitation treatment and four weeks later he was back home walking around his garden in Auchterarder.

Ms MacGillivray feels if her family had not intervened in the treatment her father was receiving at Perth Royal Infirmary then her father would not be alive today.

She said: "The only conclusion we can draw is that they were trying to euthanise my father. He wasn't getting the right treatment for stroke and when we stopped the drugs he recovered.

"We have lodged an official complaint against Perth Royal Infirmary to the health trust and we are waiting for their response. We also have the full backing of our local MP."

Maggie Simpson, director of the Nursing Delivery Unit for NHS Tayside, told Sky News: "NHS Tayside takes every complaint it receives very seriously.

"We are currently investigating the concerns the MacGillivray family have, so we can respond in detail to all the complex issues they have raised.

"We expect to complete our thorough investigation in the very near future and will be writing to the family with a detailed response."

John MacGillivray's case reignites the euthanasia debate.

At present in the UK, euthanasia is illegal, but following several high-profile cases political pressure to change the law has mounted.

Yet just as the pro-euthanasia lobby appears to be strengthening, cases like Mr MacGillivray's raises the question as to just how much control doctors should have over patient treatment in certain cases.

Robin Mackenzie, a senior lecturer in Medical Ethics at Kent Law School, said: "What the doctor is obliged to do is to provide the patient and the relatives with a range of choices - these are the options, these are the risks involved, this is what we are prepared to do.

"Then everyone together should then come to a decision about what's best in the circumstances."

Friday 12 June 2009

Hospital bugs 'are being neglected'

The Government was accused of "neglecting" deadly hospital bugs as figures showed some infections may be rising.

Cases of MRSA have increased in more than one in 10 NHS trusts while Clostridium difficile has gone up in almost one in five - despite an overall reduction in the two illnesses since a £120 million crackdown was launched. Other bloodstream infections - such as MSSA, which left actress Leslie Ash fighting for her life - may also be going up, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

Edward Leigh, Conservative MP and chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said the increases were "threatening all those who use our healthcare system." He said: "There has been a lamentable lack of progress in measuring these other infections and therefore they have been neglected."

While the Department of Health met its overall target to reduce MRSA bloodstream infections by 57% and C diff was reduced by 41%, Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said "compliance with good practice is still not universal". It emerged there was no national data on some of the most common infections, such as urinary tract infections and pneumonia.

Mr Morse said there was a "lack of robust comparable data" on infection risks. He added: "The Department of Health's hands-on approach to what seemed, in 2004, to be an intractable problem, has been successful in reducing MRSA bloodstream and C diff infections. This is a significant achievement and a good example of what concerted effort can achieve. Inevitably, with a focused and centrally-driven initiative of this kind, the improvements are not uniform across the NHS and we still don't know in any meaningful way what impact there has been on other healthcare-associated infections."
Source: The Metro

Sunday 7 June 2009

Man died after ambulance detour

An emergency patient died after a paramedic allegedly diverted an ambulance because his shift had ended.

An investigation is under way after the incident in Stockton, Teesside, on 18 May, in which a 69-year-old man died.

Instead of taking the stroke victim to Stockton's North Tees Hospital, a paramedic drove to the town's ambulance station.

A North East Ambulance Service Trust (NEAS) spokesman said a paramedic and a technician had been suspended.

The 3.3 mile (5.3 km) journey from the patient's house to the hospital should have taken less than 10 minutes.

But the delay meant he was not admitted to hospital until 30 minutes after the 999 call was made.

The driver suspended over the incident is aged 53 and the technician who was with the patient in the back of the ambulance is 54.

A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service Trust said: "This incident was immediately reported to us by another member of staff and as soon as we were notified, we acted to suspend a paramedic and an advanced technician from duty.

"We appointed a senior officer to carry out a full investigation of the incident and have notified the North East Strategic Health Authority, Stockton-on-Tees Teaching Primary Care Trust and the Health Professions Council of our actions.

"We have also been in touch with the family of the patient to give them our condolences and to keep them updated on developments.

"Patient care is our number one priority and we treat any action which falls short of the high standard expected of our staff extremely seriously.

"This has led to a thorough investigation and both the paramedic and advanced technician are now being dealt with in line with the trust's disciplinary procedures."