Sunday, 31 August 2008

University Hospitals Leicester links directly to McCanns fraudulent Find Madeleine Fund

British sniffer dogs detected blood and the scent of death in McCanns apartment

One of the Directors of this fraudulent Fund is Dr Doug Skehan, a cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital. The Fund, which has raised over £1million from publicly donated money, has been used to help pay Dr Gerry McCanns mortgage.
article here

Link Drs Gerry and Kate McCann: Maddie died in apartment, there was no abduction says Portugese Police.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

NHS admit pregnancy test mistakes

An NHS laboratory in Sheffield has admitted it failed to properly carry out blood tests on pregnant women.

More than 50 women had to be re-tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI) when infections were not picked up by the laboratory in Sheffield.

Six women from Sheffield were re-tested and a smaller number from Rotherham.

An investigation revealed the mistake after a pregnant woman tested positive for HIV at a clinic at Hallamshire Hospital in 2006.

article here

Friday, 29 August 2008

NHS scientist, Martin Hatcher from Exeter, accused of paedophilia

Details can be found here

NHS C.diff deaths up 30% in year

DEATHS linked to the C.diff superbug have soared almost 30 per cent in a year, official figures revealed yesterday.

Last year 8,324 people had clostridium difficile when they died — up from 6,480.

The figure is more than twice the 3,757 C.diff mentions on death certificates in 2005 — and four times the 1,804 in 2001.

More than nine in ten died in an NHS hospital, with most of the rest in nursing homes.

But deaths linked to MRSA fell from 1,652 in 2006 to 1,593 last year, the Office for National Statistics said. It was the first time they have dropped since 1993.

The ONS pointed out that some of the C.diff increase may be due to more complete reporting on death certificates.

But shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley blasted the rise, calling PM Gordon Brown’s £50million hospital deep clean programme a “gimmick”.

He said: “The vast majority of these deaths could have been avoided if the Government had taken action at the right time.”

Lib Dem Norman Lamb called the toll “dreadful”.

article here

Monday, 25 August 2008

Shock Report Warns Elderly Going Hungry In Hospital

Elderly people are going hungry in hospital because staff fail to ensure they are fed, a charity has said.

An Age Concern study of 110 English and Welsh NHS trusts found 43% did not run protected mealtimes - where non-urgent work stops to make sure patients eat.

Age Concern's Patrick South said: "Tackling malnutrition should be a top priority for all NHS trusts."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We recognise that protected mealtimes are an issue."

'Unacceptable inconsistencies'

The study found that one in three NHS Trusts in England had not yet introduced a so-called red tray system, where meal trays are colour-coded to show which patients need help with eating.

It reported cases of patients being taken to the toilet and routine examinations being carried out during mealtimes, resulting in people missing out on food.

NHS trusts have not been specifically instructed by the government to introduce protected mealtimes or red tray systems.

And Age Concern argued that Healthcare Commission standards on nutrition did not go far enough.

Mr South, Age Concern's head of public affairs, said tackling malnutrition should be a priority for all trusts.

He added: "Our evidence shows unacceptable inconsistencies across the country.

"It's shocking that many older people still find themselves trapped within a 'postcode lottery of commitment' to improve nutritional standards on hospital wards."

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) received more than 29,000 reports of incidents concerning patient nutrition in 2007.

These included badly-fitted feeding tubes, frail patients unable to reach their food, people who had trouble swallowing being given incorrect meals and poor nutrition contributing towards deaths.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We know that good nutrition is central to people's good health and ability to recover from illness, which is why in October 2007 we launched the Nutrition Action Plan, in conjunction with over 25 leading stakeholders.

"This aims to outline how nutritional care and hydration can be improved amongst vulnerable adults in all health and social care settings.

"In addition to this, the National Patient Safety Agency has already produced three Nutrition Fact Sheets as part of a series of 10 for clinical staff in the NHS."

article here

Cancer victims 'forced into debt' to pay for medicines freely available elsewhere in Europe

The NHS drugs rationing body is forcing cancer patients to remortgage their homes to pay for medicines freely available elsewhere in Europe, senior doctors warned yesterday.

More than 20 leading cancer consultants said they were 'dismayed' at guidance issued by Nice - the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - to refuse four kidney cancer drugs on the NHS.

Accusing Nice of rationing too severely, they called for a radical change in the way the NHS makes decisions.

Among the 26 signatories is Professor Karol Sikora, one of Britain's leading cancer experts and former chief of the World Health Organisation Cancer Programme.

The outcry follows draft guidelines from Nice this month on the drugs sunitinib, bevacizumab, sorafenib and temsirolimus.

The body concluded that the therapies - which can extend a patient's life by months - were not good value.

Cancer doctors warned that around 3,600 patients would die more quickly.
Now, in a letter to the Sunday Times, some of the UK's most eminent doctors have added to the criticism.

'Once again Nice has shown how poorly it assesses new cancer treatments,' they said.

complete article here

Saturday, 23 August 2008

NHS v. Privatisation: Dead patients don't cost the NHS a thing: Toothless patients don't cost the NHS a thing either!

NHS dentists in England are extracting more teeth and providing patients with fewer x-rays, fillings and crowns, official figures revealed yesterday.

The NHS Information Centre said treatments involving the fitting or repairing of false teeth accounted for 38% of complex dental activity in 2003-04. This rose to 48% in 2007-08. At the same time, extractions increased from 7% to 8% of dentists' workload, but the proportion of time spent on preparing and fitting crowns fell from 48% to 35% and fillings from 28% to 26%.

Dr Barry Cockcroft, the chief dental officer, rejected a suggestion that the contract given to NHS dentists in April 2006 discouraged time-consuming interventions to save natural teeth. He said: "The oral health of the nation has improved dramatically over the last 10 years thanks to fluoride toothpaste, fluoridated water and greater awareness of the importance of oral hygiene." The increase in dentures was caused by a growth in the number of older people and a switch towards providing partial dentures instead of a full set.

The information centre said 27 million people - 53.3% of the population - were seen by an NHS dentist in the two years following the introduction of the contract. That was 1.1 million down on the number seen in the previous two years.

Mike Penning, a Conservative health spokesman, said: "Since Labour introduced its botched, untested new contract, well over one million people - more than the entire population of Birmingham - have lost access to an NHS dentist."

article here

Friday, 22 August 2008

Nurse, 36, suffering brain haemorrhage had to wait 2 hours for ambulance before she died

The grieving husband of a nurse who died from a brain haemorrhage after waiting more than two hours for an ambulance accused an NHS Trust of brushing the incident "under the carpet".

Martina Simmons, 36, collapsed at her home in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, after she suffered powerful headaches, heavy vomiting, and passing out.

A first responder paramedic arrived at her home within three minutes of the initial call, but it took another two hours for Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) to dispatch an ambulance to take her to hospital.

When the ambulance arrived, Mrs Simmons could no longer breathe and when she arrived at Weston General Hospital at about 1.25am on June 7 surgeons were unable to get her to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol for life-saving surgery.

The nurse later died in the same hospital where she worked.

Mrs Simmons and her husband Shaun were due to go on their second honeymoon to Majorca two weeks ago to celebrate their third wedding anniversary. Instead, Mr Simmons held a funeral for his wife at Weston Crematorium.

The 39-year-old widower, a Navy reservist, has now made a formal complaint against the ambulance service.

He told the Western Daily Press: "I have still not had any explanation as to why it took so long and I have not been involved in any investigation. I'm very angry about it and I feel they have brushed it under the carpet. I do not blame the paramedics because they did a fantastic job.

"I blame the fact that they do not have the resources that they need. I was told on the night that there were only two ambulances covering Weston. That, on a Friday night in a busy resort town, is nowhere near enough. I'm not going to let this lie. I want something done, I'm disgusted by it. I want a lot more ambulances in Weston. I don't want this happening again to someone else."

The Healthcare Commission criticised GWAS for its response times and management of vehicles following the death of student Rebecca Wedd in Cirencester. She had to wait 42 minutes for an ambulance after she was hit by a car in May 2007.

article here

Thursday, 21 August 2008

NHS cancelled more than 100,000 operations in a year

The number of cancelled operations is almost twice as high as previously admitted by the Government with thousands of patients suffering from multiple cancellations.

Ministers have previously said that cancelling operations is "unacceptable" yet have failed to act to prevent hospitals from cancelling procedures, often just hours before surgery is due to take place.

The figures have been obtained by the Conservatives who used Freedom of Information laws to request the data from NHS trusts.

Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said: "Having an operation cancelled can cause huge distress for patients and their families. It's simply unacceptable that these figures are so high.

"The Government are directly to blame for these problems. NHS staff are doing the best they can but how can they plan patients' care properly when they are continually hampered by Labour's top-down targets? Labour's boom and bust approach to the NHS finances has made things even worse, with bed shortages and staffing shortages in far too many trusts."

article here

Fatal delay: NHS trust took 42 minutes to dispatch an ambulance to girl who later died after she was struck by a car

The family of a student who died after waiting 42 minutes for an ambulance blamed the 'disgraceful' delay for her death.

Rebecca Wedd, 23, was hit by a silver BMW as she walked with a group of college friends to her summer ball.

Police arrived at the scene in seven minutes, but it was almost three-quarters of an hour after the 999 call when paramedics finally appeared.

The national target for answering such a call is eight minutes.

Miss Wedd was flown by air ambulance to a nearby hospital but died of her injuries the following day.

Her distraught father, Peter Wedd, 53, spoke of his anguish yesterday after a damning report condemned the NHS Trust involved.

He said: 'My daughter's death has been a nightmare for our family and I would not want anyone else to suffer like we have.

'I believe that if an ambulance had arrived within a reasonable timeframe, my daughter could be with us today. Instead we have had to live through this nightmare.

'In anyone's book being forced to wait 42 minutes for an ambulance is a disgrace and I sincerely hope that this does not happen again.'

article here

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

‘Diabolical’ NHS stops vital drug

By Mike Pyle
20/ 8/2008

A grandmother of 15 has said the NHS’s decision to stop funding the drug that has prolonged her life is “disgusting”.

Joan Hughes, 66, was given access to drug Sunitinib in February, following a three-month battle with Berkshire East PCT.

Since starting on the drug Joan’s cancer has gone into remission.

But the NHS has this week announced it is to stop providing the drug to people, although it will continue to supply those already on it.

Joan, of Bywood, Hanworth, said: “I think it’s disgusting. It’s certainly been good to me. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it weren’t for the drug.

“My cancer has gone into remission now and it might have saved my life.

“I couldn’t have got this far without it. No way.”

Joan’s cancer, which started in her kidneys, is no longer active although it could return at any time.

Joan’s daughter, Helen Peters, 43, of Harmans Water, said: “It’s absolutely diabolical.

“What’s the point of paying into the NHS if they just say ‘we have this wonderful drug, but you can’t have it’?

“Nobody should play God. While the drug is doing good, why are they taking it away and giving a death sentence?”

Cancer Research UK has also spoken out against the decision. A spokesman said: “We’re very disappointed with the decision.”

The NHS made the decision based on recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) saying that the drug, along with three other kidney cancer drugs, does not provide value for money.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, clinical and public health director at NICE, said: “The decisions NICE has to make are some of the hardest in public life.

"NHS resources are not limitless and NICE has to decide what treatments represent best value to the patient as well as the NHS.

“Although these treatments are clinically effective, regrettably, the cost to the NHS is such that they are not a cost effective use of NHS resources.”

article here

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Glitter UK return bid for NHS care

Gary Glitter wants to come back to Britain to get help for medical problems, it was revealed yesterday.

The partially-deaf singer, 64, will walk free from jail in days — and hopes to get NHS care.

Speaking in Thu Duc, Vietnam, he said: “Conditions aren’t perfect here so I can’t cure my illness as I’d like to.

“I need access to a UK hospital.”

The paedophile — real name Paul Gadd — was caged for three years in 2006 for molesting girls aged 11 and 12.

He once vowed never to return to the UK but will be deported to London following his release.

Second corpse left at NHS ward

A second case of a corpse being left on a hospital ward has been confirmed by health bosses.

The body was left on the ward at Glasgow Royal Infirmary for seven hours.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the dead patient had been kept on the ward to allow grieving family to gather and pay their last respects.

Once relatives had arrived the body remained on the ward to allow a priest to travel to the hospital and conduct a blessing.

Last week it emerged a corpse was left alongside patients at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow for more than seven hours.

Hospital bosses apologised for the delay in the transfer of the Stobhill patient to the mortuary.

But they said they had acted in the "best interests" of the family of the patient at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, who died suddenly at the hospital on August 12.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said in a statement: "It was the wishes of the grieving family that the body remain on the ward so that family members could gather to pay their last respects and also await a blessing by a priest.

"Mindful of the need to balance the request made by the family with the needs of other patients, staff arranged for the patient's body to be screened from view."

The board said the priest could only get to the hospital four hours after he was told of the patient's death.

article here

Monday, 18 August 2008

Widow may sue NHS over delays in diagnosing husband’s cancer

A woman is considering legal action against Scotland's largest health board after a delay in diagnosing cancer in her husband, who subsequently died.

Sandra Wilson, 60, felt the death of her husband Ian, 63, could have been avoided if the cancer had been detected earlier by doctors.

She also said she was shocked that despite the ombudsman supporting her concerns over the delay, no-one appears to have been held responsible.

Professor Alice Brown, the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman, recently upheld a complaint that the diagnostic process was unnecessarily delayed.

Mrs Wilson said she is now taking legal advice over the matter.

While the ombudsman's advice was that it was "unlikely" Mr Wilson would have survived, she said he may have been spared agonising complications.

article here

Ban on drugs that could have saved NHS £500,000

GPs have been stopped from giving patients three drugs which would have saved the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds in a clash over the Scottish Government's prescribing policy.

article here

Over 50s being neglected in hospital

Hospitals fail to provide basic care to over-50s, particularly if they are old and frail, research has suggested.

By Sarah Knapton
Last Updated: 6:21AM BST 15 Aug 2008

Experts found a significant disparity in the treatment offered to patients with conditions like osteoporosis and incontinence compared with heart disease or diabetes.

Dr Nick Steel, senior lecturer in primary care at the University of East Anglia, who led the study, said: "One of the conditions that came out worst was osteoarthritis, where we asked people if they'd received basic advice such as doing exercises to control the condition, and whether they had effective pain relief."

The research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that the quality of healthcare for people with common health conditions "varied substantially by condition".

Scores on the quality of care ranged from 83% for heart disease to 29 per cent for osteoarthritis.

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "These figures show that age discrimination within the NHS is still rife. The system is therefore clearly failing thousands of older people."

The study, which involved 8,688 people, examined 13 different health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression and osteoarthritis.

The researchers found that substantially more care was provided for general medical conditions 74 per cent than for geriatric conditions 57 per cent.

Kate Jopling, head of public affairs at Help the Aged, said: "These depressing results show that when it comes to healthcare, all too often older people and the conditions that affect them come far down the pecking order. Yet again, ageism rears its ugly head."

Friday, 15 August 2008

NHS refused £35,000 operation

A mother was forced to spend almost £35,000 on surgery after NHS medics told her they could do nothing to fix her curved spine.
During seven years of ineffective treatment, including physiotherapy, acupuncture and painful nerve-route injections, Marjory Muir, 47, of Wellside Road, Balloch, near Inverness, was never once referred to an expert in adult scoliosis.

When she inquired about surgery to relieve her of the crippling pain in her back, one orthopaedics specialist warned her it was too risky and “no one in the UK will touch you”.

But 18 months after a six-hour operation in London, Mrs Muir, who was 5ft before the surgery, now claims to have grown two inches and dropped two dress sizes around her waist.

She claims her high blood pressure has been controlled, her digestive problems are “vastly improved” and she is no longer in constant pain down the left side of her body.

The human resources director with Tulloch Homes Group now wants to push the Scottish Government to fund a dedicated adult scoliosis expert north of the border.

Mrs Muir believes she is one of at least 100 adult scoliosis sufferers in Scotland, but surgeons expert in the illness in Scotland operate only on children.

The mother-of-one was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis after complaining of back pain to her doctor when she was 25. After having her son eight years ago, her health deteriorated significantly.

“I was scrunched up, I had a hump on my back and my shoulders were down,” Mrs Muir said. It also left her with a constant pain down her left-hand side and severe sciatica in both legs.

In 2006, after years of treatments, her doctors admitted defeat. But she soon discovered adults in other parts of the UK were being offered surgery for the same condition.

In January 2007, London surgeon Stewart Tucker operated on her, de-rotating her rib cage and her spine, and inserting two titanium rods, 15 screws and three hooks. Mrs Muir now has a scar from the nape of her neck to the bottom of her back.

She used her savings to pay for the operation. The surgery itself cost just £3,000 but the anaesthetic cost £1,500, and the hospital costs amounted to £30,000.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

Shock as dead body left in NHS ward for seven hours

The body of a dead patient was left propped up in bed on a hospital ward for more than seven hours, health chiefs have admitted.

Christine Martin said she saw the body while visiting her husband David in Glasgow's Stobhill hospital in June. The patient died at 11am but was not taken away until around 6.15pm.

Even after the dead man's son left the hospital at around 3pm there was a further delay in removing the body.

Mrs Martin said there were curtains around the bed but they were "open sufficiently for me to see this man, whom we had got to know over a period of ten days, lying dead, face uncovered, propped up on white pillows".

The health board said it had apologised to Mr Martin and his wife. A spokesman added: "We have acknowledged to the Martins that, beyond this, there was some delay in the transfer of the patient to the mortuary and steps have already been taken to ensure that this does not happen again."

The dead man's son told BBC Scotland that hospital staff acted with "utter compassion" to his request to see the body on the ward before it was taken to the mortuary.

Lynn McDowall, of the Royal College of Nursing, said the normal practice when someone died on a ward was to use a single room where the deceased could be seen by the family in a dignified manner.

She added: "This case highlights the kind of problems nurses come across, because no nurse would want a deceased patient lying on a ward for seven hours."

Mrs Martin wrote a letter of complaint to the health minister Nicola Sturgeon who said steps had since been taken to improve the procedure for removing dead patients from wards.

She said the issue of "non-clinical aspects of care" was a priority for the health service and there had been "shortcomings" in the Stobhill case.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

NHS should not save patients' lives if it costs too much, says watchdog

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Patients cannot rely on the NHS to save their lives if the cost of doing so is too great, the Government's medicines watchdog has ruled for the first time.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said the natural impulse to go to the aid of individuals in trouble – as when vast resources are used to save a sailor lost at sea – should not apply to the NHS.

The disclosure follows last week's controversial decision by Nice to reject four new drugs for kidney cancer even though they have been shown to extend life by five to six months.

Article here

Friday, 8 August 2008

GP's deaf baby girl denied twin ear implants in 'postcode lottery'

Dr Christine Wheatley's 11-month-old daughter Ellie has been denied full treatment because she is not blind as well as deaf.

Hampshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) has agreed to pay £33,000 for one cochlear implant but not an extra £18,000 for the second.

Dr Wheatley and husband Ed said the decision would leave Ellie at risk on roads and struggling at school.

Hampshire PCT said it made its decision after studying guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), which issues funding recommendations.

Nice currently only recommends 'bilateral' cochlear implants for deaf people under limited circumstances, such as where someone is also blind.

But some primary care trusts do fund bilateral implants for those who are simply profoundly deaf, said Dr Wheatley, 35, from Winchester, Hants.

She said: "We find it very frustrating knowing others families in identical situations have had their bilateral operations.

"Ellie has undergone nine months of assessments and the clinicians at the Cochlear Implant Centre in Southampton support bilateral implants for her.

"I believe the PCT only considered the extra cost of a second implant, not how much less her education will cost if she has both ears operated on now.

"We believe that morally Ellie should have the operation on the NHS."


C Diff linked to 300 NHS deaths in six months

The hospital bug Clostridium Difficile caused or contributed to nearly 300 deaths in Scotland in six months, an unprecedented investigation revealed yesterday.

The devastating toll the infection is taking on Scottish hospital wards was revealed at the same time as a highly critical report into a deadly outbreak of the bug the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire was published.

Charges could now be considered against health board NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, as the review of practices at the Vale has been passed to the area procurator-fiscal to consider if further action should be taken.

Between December last year and June 2008, 55 patients were diagnosed with C Diff infections at the Vale. Nine of these died as a direct result of the bug and it was a factor in a further nine deaths.

article here

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Hospitals 'infested with vermin'

The cleanliness of most NHS hospitals in England is threatened by frequent invasions of rats, fleas, bedbugs, flies and cockroaches, a report claims.

Figures released by the Conservatives show that 70% of NHS Trusts brought in the pest controllers at least 50 times over a two-year period.

Vermin were found in wards, clinics and even operating theatres. A patients' group said the situation was revolting.

But health chiefs played down fears the infestations could lead to disease.

The figures were obtained by the Conservatives under the Freedom of Information Act, with every hospital asked to reveal how often pest controllers had visited between January 2006 and March this year.

One had wasps in a neo-natal unit, and flying ants on the main wards, while another reported rats in their maternity unit, and wasps in operating theatres.

A children's A&E was infested with flies, and main wards were also home to mice, silverfish, biting insects and beetles.

Other common problems included bedbugs, fleas and cockroaches.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Labour have said over and over that they will improve cleanliness in our hospitals, but these figures clearly show that they are failing."

Both the Department of Health and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) were sceptical of suggestions by the Conservatives that the presence of insect infestations could help spread infections among patients.

article here

Monday, 4 August 2008

'NHS is leaving patients to die'

Kidney cancer patient Clive Stone has begged Health Secretary Alan Johnson to step in and halt the 'postcode lottery' over a life-extending drug.

Mr Stone, from Freeland, near Witney, sent a letter to Mr Johnson about the refusal of Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust to give the drug Sunitinib to 20 patients, and asked the Government to intervene.

He sent it on July 16 and is disappointed he has not yet received a reply, saying cancer victims deserve quick action because they do not have a lot of time.

The letter was also copied to Witney MP David Cameron who sent Mr Stone an email acknowledging receipt.

The 60-year-old is campaigning on behalf of all the people in Oxfordshire who have been denied the drug Sunitinib by the Trust.

Mr Stone, chairman of the cancer support group FROG (Friends of Renal Oncology Group), said: "I am disappointed I have not yet received a reply from Alan Johnson. I sent him a personal letter on behalf of all the victims of this postcode lottery, urging him to intervene.

"Half the Government is on holiday, meanwhile nothing has been done and we are being left here to die.

"I have been a fighter all my life, but there are some older people in the same position who don't know where to turn. The nurses and doctors who I have seen have been fantastic but their hands are tied."

Oxfordshire PCT has declined to start funding the drug ahead of its approval next year by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. To date, 20 patients have been denied the drug by the PCT.

Mr Stone was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year and had a kidney removed, but the disease spread to his lungs.

Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Blind, immobilised, diabetic - but the NHS doesn't care

Eileen Puc has lived in a nursing home in Cardiff for the past three years after a stroke - her second - left her immobile, doubly incontinent, and only able to eat puréed food. Eileen has severe diabetes and needs four insulin injections a day. She is also registered blind. Her family is fighting to prove that she has 'health needs' to qualify for fully funded NHS continuing care to cover the £1,825 that the home charges every month.

'My question is: how ill do you have to be to qualify for NHS funding?' asks her 58-year-old brother-in-law, Vivien Roberts. 'We don't know the answer to that. If Eileen doesn't qualify, you're left thinking: who would?'

Following an admission to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend in June 2005, the family was told that Eileen could not go home because she needed 24-hour nursing care and that, because of her savings, she would have to pay her own way. Her husband of 55 years, Ivan, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease six years ago and has moved into Eileen's nursing home, where they share a room.

As of this month, Eileen has paid £61,000 in nursing home fees and the couple have been forced to sell their Bridgend house for £150,000 to fund it.

The family argue that her costs should have been covered by the NHS from the first day. In 2006, they asked Cardiff local health board to determine eligibility for funding. It said that she wasn't eligible, despite characterising her condition as 'unpredictable, unstable, complex and presenting risk of harm'.

That decision went to the board's appeal panel, which ruled that, although Eileen had unstable blood sugar and was, consequently, dependent on nursing staff, the NHS wasn't responsible for her care fees. A complaint was then made to Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, who described the decision as 'seriously flawed'.

'If nursing homes did not exist, the only place where the couple would be is the hospital,' says Vivien. He and his wife make the 50-mile round trip to see Eileen and Ivan at Nazareth nursing home in Cardiff every week. He points out that Ivan, who is 86 years old, also has serious health needs. 'They both worked all their lives and paid taxes and yet the NHS isn't there for them when they most need it,' he says. He believes his sister-in-law's health condition is clearly worse than those of people who have previously persuaded the courts in test cases of their needs.

Read the rest of the article

Is the law bleeding the NHS to death?

Coming out of hospital with an injured finger could earn you £75,000. The NHS may have to cough up £9 billion in lawsuits. Is compensation culture killing our health service?

For Dr Spencer at his Norfolk surgery, the whoops-a-daisy moment came when he dosed a woman with bismuth. Startled by her dyspeptic response, and eager to reassure her increasingly agitated husband, he swallowed a spoonful of the stuff himself. “See? Perfectly safe!”

Two things then happened: Dr Spencer vomited, fell down and lay writhing on the floor. His patient died.

The explanation was simple. As the doctor explained to the coroner, bismuth and strychnine look remarkably similar in the bottle and, well, mistakes do happen. At the subsequent trial for manslaughter, Mr Justice Willes agreed. A simple blunder, he said, was not in itself a criminal act. To secure a conviction, the crown would have to prove that the doctor’s medicines were in such chaotic disorder that it was impossible for him to know which was which. Not guilty, said the jury.

Read the full article

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Superbug hospital escapes criminal charges

Clostridium difficile contributed to the deaths of the patients over two-and-a-half years at three Kent hospitals a health watchdog report found.

Appalling standards of care, crowded wards, financial problems, a shortage of nurses and poor hygiene all led to the outbreak the Healthcare Commission found in a highly critical report in October.

However after studying that report, Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive said there would be no charges over the deaths at hospitals run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospital Trust.

Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas said: "Whilst the report makes for grim and at times distressing reading, our review has not identified any information that would indicate a need or duty to conduct a criminal investigation into the Trust at this time."

Relatives of those who died in the outbreak reacted angrily to the announcement.

The article can be seen

Cancer-test blunder for 70 men

UP to 70 men may have been misdiagnosed in a prostate cancer scandal at a West Wales hospital.

It is feared that the men were either wrongly given the all-clear when they did have prostate cancer, or have undergone unnecessary treatment for a disease they never had.

A legal firm today revealed it is representing one man who was wrongly given the all-clear by the former Carmarthenshire NHS Trust. The 58-year-old from Llanelli has since been diagnosed with the disease and is still waiting for his treatment to start.

The trust, which has now become part of the new Hywel Dda NHS Trust, was forced to review more than 500 men’s prostate cancer tests earlier this year.

Fears about the scale of the Carmarthenshire cancer scandal comes as it emerged that more than 30 patients at Hereford County Hospital had also been misdiagnosed following mistakes reading tissue samples.

Tim Deeming, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, told the Western Mail he had been instructed to act on behalf of a patient who has been affected by the Carmarthenshire mix-up.

He said: “I know of two patients who have been misdiagnosed and expect to hear from others, as these incidents are, in all likelihood, just the tip of the iceberg.

“It is our understanding that of the 500 reviews carried out by Carmarthenshire NHS Trust up to 70 patients may have been given the wrong diagnosis.

Read the article

Friday, 1 August 2008

Consultant suspended after 17 patients with cancer wrongly get the all-clear

Seventeen cancer patients were wrongly given the all clear by a hospital after test results were misinterpreted, it was revealed yesterday.

The men and women may have missed out on months of potentially life-saving treatment because of the blunders at Hereford County Hospital.

In some cases the delay could have been more than two years. They have now received the devastating news that their initial diagnosis was wrong and have begun treatment.

In addition 14 people were told they had cancer when they did not. Some may have needlessly undergone debilitating treatment.

The scandal came to light after concerns were raised about a consultant who examined tissue samples at the hospital.

Six months ago a review of his work between May 2006 and August 2007 was started, and is now complete.

The consultant, who has not been named, has been suspended and is facing disciplinary action. Legal experts said the hospital may be sued by patients.

Paul Keetch, Liberal Democrat MP for Hereford, has sent a letter to Health Secretary Alan Johnson asking him to ensure resources are made available for treating the wrongly diagnosed patients.

Mr Keetch said: 'These people have not just been failed by Hereford, they have been failed by the NHS.

The article can be seen here