Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Ambulance crew 'let patient die'

By Geneviève Roberts
Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Two Ambulance workers have been arrested on suspicion of neglecting a dying man.

They were detained after detectives were given a tape recording of them in the dying patient's house, in which they were allegedly heard discussing not bothering to try to revive him.

The two men, aged 35 and 44, both employees of South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust, had been sent to the home of a disabled man, Barry Baker, who dialled 999 saying he thought he was having a heart attack.

Ambulance controllers kept Mr Baker, from Brighton, talking on the phone as they ordered the paramedic and ambulance technician to get to him.

But the 59-year-old, who lived alone, collapsed unconscious while talking on the phone, leaving the line open to the control centre as he lay on the floor.

Minutes later, dispatch centre staff heard their crew enter the house, making disparaging comments about the state of the home. A police source said the crew were then heard discussing Mr Baker and saying "words the effect that he was not worth saving".

Both men have been suspended and bailed until next month while a police investigation is carried out. No charges have yet been made. A police source said: "Apparently, the paramedics' first reaction was to comment on the untidy and unkempt state of the house. Then they are heard to comment on seeing Mr Baker and saying that it was not worth bothering to try to carry out resuscitation to try to save him.

"They then are heard discussing what to tell ambulance control and decide to say that he was already dead when they arrived.

"Obviously the crew did not realise the phone was still connected and the 999 call was all recorded on tape."

"The controllers were so shocked they contacted senior managers and the police were called in."
Source: The Independent

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

NHS doctor Bilal Abdulla found guilty of terror campaign

The NHS doctor who tried to murder thousands of people in the London and Glasgow car bombings had been part of a terrorist cell in Iraq, counter-terrorism sources have told The Times.

Bilal Abdulla came to Britain to open a “new front” in the Islamist jihad after he had been refused permission to carry out a suicide attack in Baghdad.

The car bombs he tried to detonate outside the Tiger, Tiger nightclub and at Glasgow airport were the first terrorist attacks in Britain to have been inspired – but not directed — by al-Qaeda in Iraq. Previous Islamist plots have had connections to al-Qaeda and Kashmiri extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Abdulla, a 29-year-old Iraqi born in Aylesbury, showed no emotion as he was convicted yesterday at Woolwich Crown Court of conspiracy to murder and cause explosions. He faces life imprisonment and will be sentenced today.

Full article here

£1.7bn NHS surplus 'should have been spent on patients'

The £1.7bn surplus made by the NHS in England in 2007-08 has come under fire from parliament's spending watchdog.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the public accounts committee, said last night that at least part of the money should have been spent on patients who were denied access to life-saving drugs or were provided with low-quality care.

It was reasonable for the health service to build up a contingency reserve, but the 2007-08 surplus was twice what NHS chiefs had planned, he added.

Leigh, the Tory MP for Gainsborough, was responding to a joint study by the National Audit Office and Audit Commission, which concluded that the surplus "reflected good use of resources rather than a failure to deliver healthcare".

The auditors said the NHS had made good progress in meeting national healthcare targets, including reducing waiting times and hospital acquired infections.

Steve Bundred, chief executive of the Audit Commission, said: "The surplus is equivalent to about one week's funding for the whole NHS. The organisations in the NHS are performing better financially and this surplus has created an element of certainty for financial planning that has not existed in recent years. This is especially reassuring given current financial pressures throughout the economy."

Tim Burr, head of the National Audit Office, said: "The surplus was generated through good financial management: NHS bodies delivered more cost savings than expected while still delivering against targets and improving the quality of healthcare. But better forecasting of the outcome could enable resources to be deployed more flexibly in-year."

Leigh, whose committee supervises the NAO, was more critical. He said: "The surplus represents a large amount of money that could have been spent on NHS patients and wasn't. While national targets were met, there are still examples of local organisations which are falling below standard, both medical and financial, and which might have benefited from additional cash.

"The Department of Health does not plan for the NHS to spend the surplus until at least 2009-2010. It is good to build in contingency, but it is a lot of contingency when, in certain parts of the country, patients are still being denied access to drugs and receiving low quality care."

Source: Guardian

Cancer patient given less than two months to live is told she must wait 25 days for drugs

A cancer patient given less than two months to live has been refused a life-prolonging drug until an NHS trust finishes a month-long investigation.

Margaret Jones hopes to be treated with Revlimid for myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow.

Her consultant says the drug, which costs around £4,300 for each cycle, could extend the 72-year-old's life without debilitating side effects.

But bosses at her primary care trust ruled they would not pay for Revlimid because it was not 'cost effective', even though other PCTs prescribe it for myeloma sufferers.

Mother-of-three Mrs Jones - backed by her family, MP, doctor and cancer charities - appealed on the grounds that another patient living nearby successfully overturned the trust's decision to block the same drug treatment in September.

But on December 5 Anne Walker, chief executive of East and North Hertfordshire PCT, said her case was still being investigated and said a response would be sent 'within 25 working days' - about half of Mrs Jones's life expectancy.

The case reignites the controversy over the 'postcode lottery' for NHS care and the time taken by the Government's rationing body to approve new cancer drugs.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) ruled last month that it would deny Revlimid to patients with myeloma despite admitting that it could extend life by up to three years.

Mrs Jones, of Welwyn, Hertfordshire, was diagnosed with myeloma just before Easter 2006. She had been using the controversial drug thalidomide to fight the cancer but recently began to suffer damaging side-effects, including loss of feeling in her hands and feet, and excruciating pain elsewhere in her body.

Following advice from her consultant-haematologist at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, backed by the charity Myeloma UK, she applied to the trust to use Revlimid - but was declined.

Yesterday she said: 'It seems wrong that there is a drug that can help people and yet the authorities put it beyond the reach of them. It is like being in a cage and somebody putting a piece of bread just out of reach. It is cruel.'

Full article here

Monday, 8 December 2008

Mystery American man funds life saving drugs denied by NHS

A terminally ill dad who thought he would never see his baby daughter start school may live to see the special day after a mystery American offered to fund treatment denied by the NHS.

Jack Rosser, 57, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in his kidneys just days after his daughter Emma was born.

He was told he might only have two years to live - unless he took a drug called Sutent, which could help him to live for several months more.

However, at 3,000 pounds a month, Mr Rosser's Primary Care Trust refused to pay for the drug, saying the cost did not justify the little time he stood to gain from treatment.

"I've actually fought for my country in the navy, I've never been sick or on the dole," Mr Rosser told Sky News.

"The first time you want to claim anything back from the country and it gets thrown in your face."

Mr Rosser's plight was highlighted by a postcode lottery cancer campaign group - a move which had life-changing consequences for the Gloucestershire man.

An anonymous benefactor from New York, said to be a hedge fund manager, contacted the group offering to pay for Mr Rosser's treatment.

Mr Rosser's wife Jenny told Sky News she was moved when she learnt of the man's generosity.

"I felt very humble and quite tearful," she said.

"It's been such a fight and all I can say is thank you. He's given my daughter the opportunity to get to know her dad."

Mr Rosser's illness is terminal, but he says he has been given the gift of extra life.

In the extra months he hopes to live, Mr Rosser said: "Some time I could see this gentleman and thank him."

Source: Sky News

Monday, 1 December 2008

NHS must learn lessons from Haringey Baby P case, says Healthcare Commission

Lessons from the Baby P case must be learnt within Haringey and the wider NHS, according to the Healthcare Commission.

The warning follows the publication of a joint Healthcare Commission review into Haringey Council's arrangements for safeguarding children and young people after the death of a 17-month-old boy, known as Baby P.

The Haringey review, also conducted by Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, found systemic failings within the service which cared for Baby P.

Anna Walker, Healthcare Commission chief executive, said: 'From a healthcare perspective, we were particularly concerned about the inadequacy of systems necessary to enable agencies to work together effectively on behalf of children.'

'The lessons must be fully understood and fully acted upon, both in Haringey and more widely including by the NHS.'

The commission will now carry out a review of every NHS trust in England to ensure they are meeting safeguarding children obligations.

NHS gravy train drives six figure salaries

The Sunday Times has revealed that a ‘nurse consultant’ (nurses able to carry out minor operations) in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, earned over £100,000 last year thanks to overtime bonuses for helping to reduce hospital waiting lists.

And some proper consultants, one in Devon and Exeter and one in Greater Manchester for starters, are earning over £220,000 for the same heroic commitment to achieving the Government’s 18-week waiting list target.

This raises a number of questions.

The most obvious is how on earth can a nurse, even a nurse consultant, more than double her basic earnings (£50,000) through overtime? How many extra hours is she doing and what rate is she being paid for them? The same clearly applies to the consultants.

More fundamentally, if reducing waiting lists is a National Health Service target (and it has been ever since Labour took power in 1997) why is it necessary to pay people extra to do what they’re supposed to be doing in the first place?

The Government (chiefly former chancellor Gordon Brown and a succession of health ministers) has chucked countless extra billions at the NHS over the past few years and achieved precious little extra for it.

All that’s that’s happened is that consultants and general practitioners (neither of whom were underpaid) have been given monumental pay rises for doing the same job and further monumental bonuses if they do a bit more.

Some fortunate nurses (no doubt very capable) have also been given a second class ticket on this particular gravy train too, although the great majority of nurses (unlike GPs and consultants) remain underpaid.

I can feel a fever coming on, doctor.
Link to article here
NHS nurse takes home £100000 salary thanks to overtime