Health staff problems
Healthcare professionals are struggling against adversity:
Victims misdiagnosed by doctor paid £4m in compensation
Fri, 19 Feb 2010- The victims of a doctor who reduced children to “zombies” after misdiagnosing them have been paid more than £4m in compensation.
Doctors are addicted to every drug under the sun
Tue, 9 Feb 2010- Doctors are addicted to “every drug under the sun” the head of the first ever confidential GP service for health professionals has warned.
Tories to make GPs after hours care a priority
Wed, 3 Feb 2010- The Conservatives have pledged to make GPs responsible for round-the-clock care after the scandal of foreign locum doctors putting patients’ lives at risk.
NHS- renowned experts but no world class hospitals
Tue, 26 Jan 2010- Britain lacks any world- class hospitals because the culture of the National Health Service is still too much one of central direction and control, according to William Moyes.
Tax inspectors target health professionals such as doctors and dentists
Thu, 21 Jan 2010- Middle class professionals such as doctors and dentists are facing an unprecedented crackdown on tax evasion.
Health Direct NHS preview of 2010
Mon, 4 Jan 2010- Spending will dominate debates over the NHS and health – especially in an election year and the scale of NHS cuts will become apparent as the year progresses.
NHS faces potentially serious problems from wrong prescriptions on the NHS
Tue, 29 Dec 2009- Patients face potentially serious problems because of the piecemeal training given to young NHS doctors in giving out prescriptions, claim medicine experts.
Number of NHS staff at record high
Mon, 21 Dec 2009- Employment in the National Health Service jumped by another 23,000 jobs to a record high of 1.6m in the third quarter of this year, in spite of the squeeze to come on spending under the next government.
Swine flu chaos for children over vaccinations fiasco
Thu, 10 Dec 2009- Plans to vaccinate healthy children under the age of five against swine flu are in disarray after doctors refused to sign up to a deal.
Failing hospital condemns hundreds to death
Fri, 27 Nov 2009- Hundreds of patients died at an NHS hospital after suffering appalling standards of care, a report has found.
NHS accused over illegal gagging of doctors’ safety concerns
Thu, 5 Nov 2009- Outlawed gagging clauses are still being used by the National Health Service to silence concerns about patient safety the British Medical Journal has found.
3 ,000 NHS staff get private health care
Mon, 26 Oct 2009- The National Health Service has spent £1.5m paying for hundreds of its staff to have private health treatment so they can leapfrog their own waiting lists.
National swine flu vaccinations to start this week
Mon, 19 Oct 2009- A national swine flu vaccination campaign will begin this week, with high risk patients and frontline health workers the first to receive a single dose jab, the Chief Medical Officer has announced.
D octors say EU working week red tape is killing patients
Tue, 13 Oct 2009- Senior doctors say NHS patients are dying as a result of new European Union rules that impose a 48 hour week on hospital staff.
Threat to rural GPs who dispense medicine as fees cut
Tue, 6 Oct 2009- Rural GP surgeries are under threat as fees paid to them for dispensing medicines are being cut leading to fears some may be forced to cut back services, stop providing drugs or close.
Doctors urge ban on alcohol advertising
Wed, 23 Sep 2009- Doctors have called for a total ban on alcohol advertising, including happy hours and sponsorship of music and sporting events.
Warning- 200,000 NHS nurses are about to walk out the door
Mon, 14 Sep 2009- The “Sixties Bulge”, as it is known in the NHS, refers not to obesity in those approaching old age but a looming workforce problem that has been visible from some considerable distance.
Cruel and neglectful care of one million NHS patients exposed
Tue, 8 Sep 2009- One million NHS patients have been the victims of appalling care in hospitals across Britain, according to a major report released last week.
Fat, unfit, smoking NHS staff top the sick league
Tue, 1 Sep 2009- More than 45,000 NHS workers call in sick each day- one and a half times the rate of absence seen in the private sector.
One in three nurses say they will not be immunised against swine flu, despite being offered the vaccine as a priority to protect patients.
Wed, 26 Aug 2009- Concerns about the swine flu vaccine’s safety and a perception that the infection is mild are among reasons that NHS staff gave for refusing to have the jab, a survey of nearly 1,500 staff found.
GPs fear illness could be missed by swine flu hotline
Fri, 14 Aug 2009- Many GPs are concerned patients with serious health problems could be missed if they seek advice from the National Flu Pandemic Service.
Cutting doctors hours during swine flu outbreak is unnecessary risk labour Government is warned
Tue, 28 Jul 2009- Cutting junior doctors hours during the swine flu outbreak will be “a sledgehammer that breaks the camel’s back” medics have warned.
GPs criticise labour response to swine flu pandemic
Mon, 20 Jul 2009- GPs have criticised the labour Government’s response to the flu pandemic, accusing it of providing conflicting advice to both doctors and patients.
Swine flu set to hit one in eight British workers
17 Jul 2009- Almost one in eight workers are likely to be forced to stay at home with swine flu, according to labour government figures.
NHS dentists to be paid to take on patients
Thu, 9 Jul 2009- Britain’s much criticised NHS dental services are poised to be overhauled, with dentists being paid more for taking on new patients.
IVF blunders by fertility doctors rise for fifth consecutive year
Fri, 3 Jul 2009- The number of IVF blunders at British clinics is expected to rise when labour Government figures are published.
Catastrophic shortage of psychiatrists in NHS
Fri, Jun 19, 2009- There is a “catastrophic” shortage of psychiatrists in the NHS, leading to a reliance on foreign staff who may have difficulties with communication and the UK culture, a senior doctor said.
Junior doctors asked to lie about working hours to meet red tape targets
Tue, Jun 9, 2009- Misleading data is being submitted to comply with a directive that restricts junior doctors’ hours to 48 a week to meet eu targets.
NHS swine flu absence may reach 85%
Tue, May 26, 2009- The NHS may struggle to cope if there is a flu pandemic because of the number of staff who will fail to turn up for work, a report suggests.
Hospital managers worry after Mid Staffs failures
Wed, May 13, 2009- Around half of hospital managers and other staff believe elements of poor standards found at Mid Staffordshire foundation trust exist at their own organisation, a straw poll suggests.
Coroner criticises woeful and unacceptable treatment of Mike Tindall’s grandmother
Thu, May 7, 2009- A coroner has criticised a hospital’s “woeful and unacceptable” treatment of England rugby player Mike Tindall’s grandmother in the hours before she died of a stroke.
Bullying- the corrosive problem the NHS must address
Fri, May 1, 2009- Sir Ian Kennedy’s parting shots and last month’s staff survey both warn of a culture of bullying in the NHS. Health Direct analyses where and why the bullies are found.
Overworked healthcare professionals blamed for medical errors
Tue, 21 Apr, 2009- Patient safety is being put at risk by overworked medical staff who made 4,000 avoidable errors last year, it has been disclosed.
Ten NHS trusts have worse death rates than shocking Mid Staffordshire
Mon, 30 Mar, 2009- Ten health trusts have worse death rates than the hospital where at least 400 patients died needlessly because of “shocking and appalling” standards of care.
NHS is killing patients with learning disabilities, regulators find
Wed, 25 Mar, 2009- The National Health Service is killing people with learning disabilities, according to a report published yesterday on the deaths of six disabled patients.
Children at risk through lack of training for doctors and nurses, report warns
Fri, Mar 13, 2009- Children are being put at risk by inexperienced surgeons and a lack of basic child protection training in hospitals, a damning report from the health watchdog has found.
NHS managers risk court over clinical errors
Wed, Mar 4, 2009- NHS managers should be legally responsible for some clinical negligence cases, a patient safety expert has argued.
Hospitals ration caesarean births to save money
Thu, Feb 26, 2009- NHS trusts have for the first time barred women from routinely having elective caesareans because they cost too much.
Sir George Godber- pioneer who marched the NHS forward
Thu, Feb 19, 2009- It has been the misfortune of every chief medical officer for the past 30 years to have had to follow in the footsteps of Sir George Godber who has died at the age of 100. With his death has gone one of the last living links to the foundation of the National Health Service.
NHS boss angry at transplant organs for foreigners
Mon, Feb 16, 2009- A leading National Health Service hospital has come under attack from the labour government’s transplant authority for giving livers from dead Britons to overseas European Union patients in private operations.
London acute trusts face shake up as bosses resign
Wed, Feb 11, 2009- London’s hospital trusts face a massive management shake up after the resignations of five chief executives over failures in their trusts.
EU cuts to trainee surgeons’ hours threaten patient safety- Royal College of Surgeons
Thu, Jan 29, 2009- Trainee surgeons are under pressure to falsify their working hours and are operating on days off as hospitals struggle to comply with cuts to working hours, the Royal College of Surgeons has said.
NHS managers’ skill levels criticised by MPs
Mon, Jan 19, 2009- The National Health Service lacks the leadership and commissioning skills to implement the labour government’s plans for high quality care in the NHS, a cross party committee of MPs warned.
Clinical negligence fees set to soar
Mon, Jan 05 2009- The fees trusts must pay to the NHS Litigation Authority for its clinical negligence scheme are to shoot up by more than half.
GP referrals up by 300,000 statistics show
Wed, Dec 03, 2008- The number of GP referrals has shot up by nearly 300,000 compared with the same period last year, official statistics released reveal.
GP commissioning costs lots and delivers little
Fri, Nov 21, 2008- A major study into practice based commissioning has found it to be an “expensive investment” that has delivered little in terms of better services for patients or financial savings.
Doctors do not back cervical vaccine choice made by labour ministers
Wed, Oct 29, 2008- The wrong vaccine against cervical cancer has been chosen by the labour Government and doctors would give their own daughters the alternative jab, a prominent doctor has warned.
Specialist maternity baby care overstretched
Wed, Oct 22, 2008- Staffing shortages are stretching specialist baby care units to the limit, labour campaigners say.
Polyclinics will destroy trust between patients and GPs
Fri, Oct 17, 2008- Plans for polyclinics or so-called “super surgeries” could destroy the trust patients have in GPs, according to a new study.
NHS Choices- patients slow to take up rights on hospital
Tue, Oct 7, 2008- Patients’ right to choose which hospital treats them is being taken up far more slowly than the labour government had hoped and there are large variations around the country, according to private hospital operators.
Midwives deal with three births at once, says expert
Thu, Sep 25, 2008- Midwives are “overworked and overstretched”, sometimes caring for three women in labour at the same time, according an expert.
Average NHS dentist earns six figure salary
Wed, Sep 17, 2008- The average Health Service dentist received a 13 per cent pay rise last year, official figures shows this week. That means they now earn more than £100,000 on average without any increase in their NHS workload.
Top doctors slam NHS drug rationing
Tue, Sep 09, 2008- Britain’s top cancer consultants have accused the labour government’s drugs rationing body of ignoring the plight of patients forced to sell their cars and remortgage their houses to pay for cancer treatments freely available in Europe.
IVF for infertile couples ‘should be NHS priority’
Tue, Sep 02, 2008- NHS trusts should make IVF a much higher priority by offering wider and more consistent treatment, according to a government panel.
Dentists pulling out more teeth instead of fixing them
Fri, Aug 29, 2008- Dentists are increasingly pulling patients’ teeth out because they lose money if they carry out more complex operations to fix them, official figures show.
Litany of surgical blunders revealed
Thu, Jul 31, 2008- Cases of 14 brain surgery patients who were the victims of catastrophic errors when neurosurgeons operated on the wrong side of the head are to spearhead a government drive to make operations safer.
Polyclinics threaten 600 GP practices, say Tories
Fri, July 18, 2008- More than 600 GP practices are under threat because of labour Government plans for “super surgeries” despite overwhelming public opposition to the proposals, according to the Tories.
Doctors’ anger at labour’s cruelty to patients
Thu, Jul 10, 2008- The medical establishment is in revolt against Labour’s policy of denying National Health Service treatment to patients who pay privately for cancer medicines.
NHS at 60- Labour’s dentistry reforms failing dental patients
Wed, Jul 2, 2008- NHS at 60- Labour’s dentistry changes designed to improve NHS dental services in England have not been successful, a report by MPs says today.
NHS ordered to end care bias against men
Tue, Jun 17, 2008- The equality watchdog has ordered the National Health Service (NHS) to take urgent action to end anti-male discrimination in healthcare.
Michael Parkinson fights for dignity in care homes
Thu, June 12, 2008- Elderly people are being treated like inmates in prison by uncaring nurses, Sir Michael Parkinson has claimed, as he promotes a drive to ensure patients live with dignity and respect in hospitals and care homes.
More consultant radiologists needed to meet rising demand, say BMA doctors’ leaders
Tue, Jun 3, 2008- Around 1,300 extra consultant radiologists are needed in England over the coming years if the NHS is to meet the increasing demand for emergency interventional treatments, diagnostic imaging and screening, the BMA has warned.
NHS hospitals’ care standards vary in postcode lottery
Thu, May 29,2008- Most patients staying overnight in hospital are happy with their care, but this masks problems in key areas and variations in standards, a survey says.
NHS shake up to axe hospital services
Fri, May 23, 2008- Scores of hospital departments such as maternity units and cancer clinics will be closed or merged across the country under plans for a radical shake-up of the NHS.
GPs could face fee if patients use A&E
Mon, Apr 28, 2008- Family doctors GPs could be charged when their patients go to accident and emergency units if they could have been treated at the local surgery
GPs set to lose income guarantee
Tue, Apr 22, 2008- The minimum income guarantee for family doctors is set to be scrapped, in a move that could open up health services to more competition.
Patients told only one illness at a time, please
Fri, Apr 18, 2008- Family doctors have put up signs in surgeries banning patients from discussing more than one ailment per appointment.
NHS dentists play as patients wait
Fri, Apr 11, 2008- Health service dentists have been forced to go on holiday or spend time on the golf course this month despite millions of patients being denied dental care.
GPs win legal fight over pensions cap
Wed, Mar 26, 2008- Patricia Hewitt acted unlawfully when health secretary by capping the pensions of family doctors after they earned more from a new contract than expected, the High Court has ruled.
Doctors raise concerns over 24 hour drinking
Tue, Mar 11, 2008– The British Medical Association flagged up a possible link between 24 hour licensing and alcohol related cases in accident and emergency units and said the labour government “must act” if this was confirmed.
Children wait years for vital dental care
Tue, Mar 04, 2008- More than 10,000 children with severe dental problems including jaw deformities and an inability to bite properly are waiting up to seven years for corrective treatment on the National Health Service.
NHS 18 week target is preventing choice
Mon, Feb 25, 2008– Hospitals across England are stopping patients booking advance appointments in an attempt to meet a labour Government promise of treatment within 18 weeks.
Midwives left woman to drown in the bath
Fri, February 22, 2008- A pregnant woman lay drowning in a hospital bath just as she was about to give birth after staff left her unattended for 45 minutes – despite being told she had a history of fainting attacks, an inquest has heard.
Third of NHS trusts don’t check CVs of health professionals
Fri, Feb 15, 2008– A third of NHS Trusts have identified healthworkers using fake CVs or lying about criminal convictions, according to research seen by Health Direct.
Productivity in health service down 2 pc a year
Fri, Feb 01, 2008- Productivity in the health service has fallen by 2 per cent a year on average since the labour government began seriously increasing NHS expenditure, official statistics revealed.
Junior doctors in jobs scramble as MMC lurches to new crisis
Tues Jan 15 2008- Junior doctors will face even tougher competition for jobs this year with close to three applications expected for each position, National Health Service managers have warned.
New doctor training body needed by BMA in stinging rebuke
Wed Jan 09 2008- The labour government should be stripped of its responsibility for training junior doctors in England, a report says.
Doctors quit dirty NHS for India
Thu Dec 27 2007- The influx of thousands of Indian doctors into the National Health Service is going into reverse. Hospitals in India are now said to be cleaner and better equipped than many in Britain and doctors are quitting the NHS to work there instead.
Ministers back GP plan that sidesteps contracts
Thu 20 Dec 2007- Family doctors face working unorthodox hours in so called super surgeries under a radical pilot scheme that could turn into a nationwide blueprint for medical care.
Nurses hold silent protest at sacking of colleague for talking to the media
Mon 10 Dec 2007- Thousands of health workers from across Britain have held silent protests against the sacking of a Manchester nurse. Members if Unison took to the streets wearing gags a month after psychiatric nurse Karen Reissmann, who criticised NHS cuts, was fired for speaking to the media.
Housing blow for junior doctors in new recruitment fiasco
Thu 15 Nov 2007- Junior doctors beginning their training in hospitals will no longer have their accommodation found or paid for, Health Direct reveals today.
Tory health bill challenges Labour on NHS improvement plan
Wed 7 Nov 2007- The health service would have a clear divide between purchasers and providers with ministers and the Department of Health having much less day to day involvement in its running under a bill published by the Conservatives.
Superbug hospital may face criminal charges over 331 C difficle deaths
Fri 12 Oct 2007- Hospital managers could face criminal prosecution for the worst ever recorded outbreaks of the superbug Clostridium difficile which killed at least 90 patients.
Tony crony Lord Darzi’s health review targets GPs and MRSA superbugs
Thu 4 Oct 2007- Lord Ara Darzi, Health Minister and author of the interim report on the NHS says that every patient who stays in hospital will be screened for the superbug infection MRSA and at least half of GP practices will open on Saturday mornings or one or more evenings per week.
A terrible way to treat our doctors- Financial Times Comment on MMC
Thu 13 Sep 2007- Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) is a suitably Orwellian name for a Stalinist new system for training doctors in the National Health Service. The phrase is a perfect example of newspeak. To oppose a “modern” system is to be a conservative, if not a reactionary.
Dental students will shun NHS when qualified
Wed 5 Sept 2007- Almost one in five dental students plans to shun NHS work completely, a study has suggested. The results suggest that the new contract which was designed to make NHS work more attractive has had limited success.
5,000 extra midwives are needed to cope with the increase in birthrate RCM find
Mon 3 Sept 2007- Nearly 5,000 more midwives will be needed by 2012 if the Government is to meet its target for maternity services, the Royal College of Midwives said. The college has increased its target from 3,000 because of a rising birthrate, which has exceeded government estimates, and a reassessment of present shortages.
Nurses don’t report abuse of the elderly
Wed 29 Aug 07- More than half of nurses would not report the abuse of an elderly person in their care, according to a survey published today. The poll of NHS and private sector nurses, conducted for Help the Aged, found that a lack of training, heavy workloads and fear of confrontation or of upsetting the victim all prevent nurses taking action.
Cameron promises a bare knuckle fight to save NHS District Hospital services
Mon 20 Aug 07- David Cameron the Conservative leader, attempted to regain the political initiative today by promising a “bare knuckle fight” with the Government to save local NHS hospitals from closure.
NHS dentists can cost more than private dentistry
Thu 16 Aug 07- Patients are paying less for some private dental treatment than they do on the NHS because of controversial untested changes introduced by the labour Government last year. The price for a filling on the NHS is now £43.60 but some private surgeries charge just £35, Health Direct reveals.
Health Direct- official NHS staffing data shows we are right about health professionals cutbacks
Wed 15 Aug 07- Official NHS staffing data shows that the number of National Health Service workers fell last year for the first time since comparable records began in 1996 – a year before Labour came to power which confirm that Health Direct’s count of job cuts last year were right.
NHS Dentistry access is not improving
Thu 9 Aug 07- A shake up in NHS dentistry in England has failed to increase access to services, labour government figures show. A Department of Health report showed 28.1m people had been to an NHS dentist in the previous 24 months. This was 50,000 down on the figures on the eve of the changes in April 2006. The number of dentists in the system has also fallen.
GPs- Quarter of patients can’t book in advance £12 million patient survey finds
Tue 31 Jul 07- A quarter of patients still cannot book advance appointments with their GP – more than two years after Tony Bliar promised to solve the problem. The results from an “unfair and biased” £12m survey of more than two million people about services at their GP surgery found doctors are still manipulating their appointments system to hit targets.
Junior doctor shambles threatens the NHS eminent Doctors warn
Wed 18 Jul 07- Last week a labour ministerial statement confirmed that almost half this year’s applicants under the junior doctors’ career and appointments system have had their careers in UK medicine abruptly cut short.
Thousands of new nurses still job hunting
Thu 5 Jul 07- Almost a third of nurses – some 4,000 – had not found jobs six months after qualifying last year, according to official statistics. More than half of physiotherapists and one in five midwives were also still unemployed half a year after completing their studies, the Department of Health admits.
Seven NHS doctors held over al-Qaeda bomb plot
Tue 3 Jul 07- The suspected al-Qa’eda terrorists behind the attempted car bomb attacks on Britain were almost all foreign doctors working in the NHS, it was disclosed today. It comes as an eighth person – also a foreign doctor who has worked in the UK – was arrested in Australia in connection with the attacks.
BMA Doctors’ survey finds public unhappy with NHS reforms
Wed 27 Jun 07- Doctors’ leaders this week said the public was as disenchanted with NHS reforms as the medical profession, releasing a survey showing that only a third of patients were happy with the changes of the last 10 years. On the eve of its annual meeting in Torquay, Devon, the British Medical Association (BMA) released a study suggesting that only 34% of the public thought a decade of reform had made the NHS any better, while 42% thought there had been no improvement.
Baby boom stretches midwives as labour underfunding continues
Wed 13 Jun 07- Midwives are delivering almost 25% more babies than experts believe is appropriate, figures released by the Conservative Party suggest. The Tories say the government’s failure to anticipate a big rise in the birth rate in England has left midwives under intense pressure. They argue this could derail labour ministers’ commitment to offering all women a choice of where to give birth by 2009.
NHS is on brink of collapse, say consultants
Wed 6 Jun 07- The NHS is on the brink of collapse and cannot be saved unless Gordon Stalin Brown intervenes when he becomes prime minister to give doctors the authority to organise a recovery, the leader of Britain’s 33,000 hospital consultants claimed today.
Support staff do midwife tasks as midwifery crisis deepens
Wed 30 May 07- Extra workers drafted in to help hard pressed midwives could actually be putting mothers and babies at more risk, a report has claimed. Maternity support staff are supposed to free up midwives’ time by helping with paperwork and non clinical duties. However, Kings College London found some trusts in England try to use them to care for pregnant women, even though they are not sufficiently trained. Experts stressed support staff should never replace midwives or doctors.
Thousands of NHS staff avoid sex and crime CRB checks
Wed 23 May 07- Tens of thousands of people working with children and vulnerable adults in the NHS are still not being put through criminal record checks promised by the government in the wake of the Soham murders, it has emerged. A survey found that 68 per cent of health trusts in the UK are failing to vet staff who began working before the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was set up in 2002.
Doctors admit NHS treatments must be rationed- BMA
Mon 7 May 07- British doctors will take the historic step of admitting for the first time that many health treatments will be rationed in the future because the NHS cannot cope with spiralling demand from patients. In a major report that will embarrass the government, the British Medical Association (MBA) will say fertility treatment, plastic surgery and operations for varicose veins and minor childhood ailments, such as glue ear, are among a long list of procedures in jeopardy.
NHS hit by first staffing fall in decade
Tue 1 May 07- The number of National Health Service workers fell last year for the first time since comparable records began in 1996 – a year before Labour came to power. Health unions and opposition politicians blamed the drop on government mishandling of NHS finances, but there was disagreement over the extent of the fall for front line services as labour’s dodgy accounting was again called into question.
NHS free at point of use is a political mirage Doctors warn
Tue 24 Apr 07- A National Health Service largely free at the point of use is becoming a mirage, according to Doctors for Reform, a pressure group that would like the NHS to move from a tax-funded model to a system of social insurance with top up payments. The report shatters the NHS’s founding principle that health care should be free for all at the point of delivery.
Doctors’ morale hits record low new poll claims
Wed 18 Apr 07- A survey of more than 1,400 doctors found that 69% would not recommend a career in medicine. The same number said morale fell in the last year. The study for Hospital Doctor magazine found that many doctors blamed Labour government targets and reforms for their ill-feeling. Some 54% of those surveyed by Hospital Doctor said morale was “poor” or “terrible” with only 2% of doctors described their level of morale at work as “excellent”.
Ambulance staff falsified response times figures to meet NHS targets
Fri 6 Apr 07- Ambulance control room staff changed response time figures, improving the trust’s performance against government targets, an Audit Commission investigation has revealed. Managers and the board at the former Wiltshire Ambulance Service trust, now part of Great Western Ambulance Service trust, put pressure on the control room to meet targets ‘at all costs’ but failed to manage staff effectively or properly follow up concerns about the number of figures being manually altered on the computerised control system, says the report, published last week.
More than half of NHS Staff wouldn’t be treated at their own hospital
Fri 30 Mar 07- Fewer than half of NHS staff members would be happy to be a patient at their own hospital, according to an official survey by the health service regulator. More than a quarter, 27 per cent, said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: “I would be happy with the standards of care provided if I was a patient in my trust”.
Junior doctors recruitment fiasco- “this is a fight we cannot afford to lose”
Mon 19 Mar 07- Some 12,000 people took part in Saturday’s march through central London. That represents more than one in three junior doctors in Britain. Consider that another one in three or four was working or asleep between nightshifts, and that most doctors have not been on a march before, and you will understand the scale of the anger.
NHS workforce falls by 11,000
Fri 16 Mar 07- The number of people working in the NHS fell by 11,000 in the last quarter of 2006, official figures reveal. Health unions said the loss across the UK, revealed in Office for National Statistics, would “inevitably have a negative impact on patient care”. Total full and part time NHS staff numbers are estimated by the ONS as being 1,222,000.
Health Direct praises NHS workers’ blogs as thousands of NHS staff protest over job cuts
Mon 5 Mar 07- In respect to the national day of action on Saturday that was called in support of the NHS and to protest against cuts in both patient care and staff jobs, Health Direct praises four blogs written by NHS staff. Random Acts Of Reality by Tom Reynolds an E.M.T working for the London Ambulance Service; NHS Blog Doctor by Dr John Crippen, Life in the NHS by Julie and Nee Naw by Mark Myers.
Disillusioned doctors say Labour decade of reform has failed NHS
Mon 19 Feb 07- Most doctors believe that Labour has failed to reform the NHS and that funding by taxation alone will not improve the quality of care. An online poll of more than 3,000 doctors carried out for The Times offers the most striking picture yet of the level of disillusionment within the profession. Most say that the billions of pounds injected into the service since 2002 have not been well spent and that services have not improved.
Pregnant mothers are turned away due to midwife cash shortages
Mon 12 Feb 07- A dire shortage of midwives is forcing maternity units to turn away expectant mothers, a survey has found. Figures show that centres across England closed temporarily for a total of 170 days last year, during which time women would have had to go elsewhere for help.The survey, collated by the controversial research organisation Dr Foster, found that 24 of the 39 maternity units forced to close had to do so for periods of 24 hours or more.
BMA team ‘stunned by GP contract’ as a bit of a laugh
Wed 31 Jan 07- GPs were so stunned by the terms offered to them when negotiating their new contract in 2004 that they thought it was a “bit of a laugh”, a doctor has said. Dr Simon Fradd, who was one of British Medical Association’s GP negotiators, said they were shocked by the approach taken by the labour government. They could not believe that the labour govt was stupid enough to offer GPs the chance not to do evening and weekend work for only a 6% pay cut, he said.
Conservative’s Cameron would hand power back to GPs
Wed 24 Jan 07- Many centralist targets for the National Health Service would be scrapped under a Conservative government as more purchasing power was handed to family doctors, David Cameron, the Tory leader, said yesterday. The policy would encompass a full-blooded return to GP fundholding- the practice of giving family doctors budgets to buy care on behalf of their patients, which Labour originally abolished but is now partially reinstating through it’s latest policy wheeze of practice based commissioning (PBC).
Consultant attacks neglect on wards
Thu 18 Jan 07- A senior doctor claims that patients are at risk on hospital wards after watching elderly relatives develop “needless” and “distressing” complications. Dr Katherine Teale, a consultant anaesthetist at Hope Hospital, Salford, spoke out after two family members developed bed sores and a third lost six per cent of body weight following prolonged nausea. In an article in the British Medical Journal, she described the “invisible barrier between the nursing station and the patient areas” while visiting relatives and friends in hospitals across the country.
NHS faces big risks from back pay claims under Agenda for Change reviews
Mon 8 Jan 07- NHS staff claims for back pay under the Agenda for Change (AfC) contract are the ‘biggest risk’ to the Department of Health’s pay and workforce strategy. The draft strategy, seen by HSJ, claims that there are currently nearly 11,000 back pay claims outstanding from lawyers acting on a no-win, no-fee basis, as well as trade unions representing NHS staff members, with the number rising by about 200 claims a month.
Report on NHS staffing angers unions as it predicts 36,000 NHS jobs lost this year
Fri 5 Jan 07- The National Health Service is set to shed more than 36,000 jobs this year before facing “very volatile” changes in its workforce that could leave it with thousands more hospital consultants than it can afford to employ, according to a leaked document from the Department of Health. At the same time, however, big cuts in nurse and medical training budgets last year and this year could mean the service will be short of 14,000 nurses, 1,200 family doctors and 1,100 junior hospital staff by 2011.
Santa’s present for John Prescott- a kidney stone for Christmas Day
Thu 28 Dec 06- Our beloved deputy leader must have been a bad boy this year as John Prescott was taken to hospital on Christmas Day after falling ill with a kidney stone. Prezza took an unexpected tour of front line NHS Accident and Emergency staff on Christmas day at his local hospital in Hull- Castle Hill Hospital. Officials said that Prescott still intended to deputise for Tony Bliar, who has swanned off to Miami for a post Christmas break.
Sat-nav ambulance goes on 400 mile detour
Mon 4 Dec 06- An ambulance crew who relied on a satellite navigation device while transferring a patient 12 miles across Essex realised something was wrong only when they reached Manchester four hours later.
NHS staff pay rises claim half of extra £5.5bn funding
Fri 24 Nov 06- Almost half of last year’s £5.5bn increase in health spending in England went on higher pay, the latest figures from the Department of Health show. This year, the department expects to incur a redundancy bill of about £400m from shrinking the number of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts. The redundancy bill, which excludes any redundancies from National Health Service trusts shedding jobs to balance their books, is four times the projected overspend for this year. In addition, the department spent a mighty £133m on external consultants last year.
Big increase in NHS complaints
Wed 15 Nov 06- The number of written complaints received by frontline NHS trusts in England jumped by more than 5% during 2005-06. Figures from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care show that 95,047 complaints were registered during the year. This compared with 90,413 complaints made during the previous 12 months.
Thousands to join NHS cuts rally at Westminster today
Wed 1 Nov 06- Thousands of NHS staff are expected to descend on Parliament for a rally against the state of the NHS. NHS Together, an alliance of 16 health unions, has arranged the demonstration against job losses in the NHS and the pace of government reforms. The health service is facing unprecedented upheaval with increasing private sector involvement and major hospitals under threat of cuts. Officials from the alliance will also be lobbying MPs.
NHS blows millions on removing 187,000 tattoos
Thu 27 Oct 06- The National Health Service spent tens of millions of pounds removing nearly 200,000 tattoos last year, according to figures released by the Department of Health last week. Rosie Winterton, the health minister, said in a Commons written answer that doctors had carried out the procedure, involving either skin grafts or lasers, on 187,063 tattoos.
Elderly home care ‘needs change’
Wed 18 Oct 06- Inspectors have criticised the standard of home care for hundreds of thousands of elderly people in England. The Commission for Social Care Inspection report said many people found their carers too rushed and there was little time to build trust. Commission chair Dame Denise Platt said the report Time to Care? painted a “mixed picture” of the quality of care. The government admitted that “issues of poor quality and reliability” remained.
Dentists abandon children on NHS
Mon 9 Oct 06- Up to two-thirds of children in some areas of England are failing to get regular dental treatment as thousands of youngsters have been dropped by dentists no longer willing to provide free National Health Service care. This weekend dentists have warned that children will find it even more difficult to get free dental care in the future as fewer dentists undertake NHS work.
Labour’s NHS-speak spin is demeaning to patients
Wed 4 Oct 06- Terms such as “frequent flyers” and “bed-blockers”, used by Labour ministers and NHS staff to describe patients, are demeaning, the patients’ tsar says. Harry Cayton said such negative words shifted blame to patients and should be avoided, the Royal Society of Medicine journal said.
NHS staff out in national strike over DHL outsourcing
Fri 22 Sep 06- Hundreds of NHS workers have gone on strike, in the first national walkout in the health service for 18 years. Staff who work for the delivery arm of the health service in England are angry their jobs are being privatised. The supply agency NHS Logistics is due to be handed over to German transport company DHL from the start of October.
NHS workers vote to strike in protest at National Health Service privatisation
Wed 13 Sep 06- Hospitals and GP surgeries face shortages of key medical equipment after NHS workers decided yesterday to stage the first national strikes in the health service since 1988. As anger increases over the policy of using private companies to provide NHS services, Unison, the public services union, announced that its members at NHS Logistics had voted by 74 per cent to strike over the £22 billion outsource of their award winning network to the German haulage firm DHL.
Unions gear up for fight over NHS £22bn DHL health ‘privatisation’ deal
Fri 8 Sep 06- Unions have pledged support for strike action in a bid to stop the Labour Government outsourcing two National Health Service operations to DHL, the German-owned logistics company. The result of a strike ballot of NHS staff is due to be announced on Monday at the start of the Trades Union Congress annual meeting. Unions are using the high-profile event to begin a campaign against the DHL deal.
DHL signs £22 billion NHS supply deal
Tue 5 Sep 06- DHL, the German-owned logistics company, yesterday signed a controversial contract that will outsource the purchasing and delivery of billions of pounds worth of supplies annually to the National Health Service. DHL will take over some 1,650 staff from NHS Logistics and the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, expecting to deliver at least £22bn of goods and services to the NHS over a 10-year deal worth £1.6bn a year in revenue.
Involve doctors in health policy or risk damaging the NHS, BMA warns
Fri 1 Sep 06- Doctors’ leaders are calling on politicians to involve doctors in developing health policy or risk damaging the NHS. This was the message given by BMA Chairman, Mr James Johnson, ahead of the political party conference season. In a newsletter to Westminster MPs and Peers, Mr James Johnson says: “All over England doctors are seriously worried by the rapid introduction of new reforms, fragmentation of services, the lack of evaluation of new policy measures, over emphasis on the role of the independent sector, and a lack of clear vision on the direction of travel.
Nurses bemoan lack of IT training
Wed 23 Aug 06- Nurses feel they are not receiving sufficient training in the use of IT systems, according to a new survey. The Royal College of Nursing published the findings of the survey, carried out by Nursix, on 22 August 2006. It also said that nurses feel ignored in NHS IT decision making. The survey found that 87% of nurses felt it was important that they were consulted about IT plans, but only 12% felt they had been adequately consulted. Although 38% said they have had adequate information about current NHS IT developments, 61% said they have not, including 26% who have had none at all.
Doubts over future of hospitals as lives are put at risk
Fri 18 Aug 06- At least 10 major hospitals in England face potential closure or a downgraded role, the BBC has learned. Talks are under way about removing emergency care from hospitals in London, Surrey, Sussex, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cornwall. The sites will either close or be left to handle basic care, with “super” regional centres seeing the most ill. NHS bosses say the measures are aimed at reducing deficits and treating more patients in the community.
41,000 NHS drug errors logged in a year
Fri 11 Aug 06- More than 41,000 medication errors are made in the NHS in a year, it was revealed today, and while most mistakes lead to no ill effects, 2,000 cause moderate to severe harm to patients. The figures have been collated by the National Patient Safety Agency from reports of mistakes in the dose or type of drug given to patients and submitted to the agency by doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff. The statistics inevitably underestimate the problem to a degree since not all errors are reported.
New NHS CEO appointment raises questions about commitment to reform
Fri 28 Jul 2006- The only public sector candidate to be shortlisted for the post of National Health Service chief executive got the job yesterday, prompting speculation that the government is losing its nerve over the scale of reforms. David Nicholson, 50, head of the new London strategic health authority, saw off a shortlist of otherwise private sector candidates compiled after a worldwide search.
Ignorance on diabetes treatment
Fri 14 July 2006- Two-thirds of the two million people with diabetes in the UK do not take their medication as prescribed, research suggests. The study also found one in three did not understand what their medication was for or how to take it because they felt stupid asking questions. Experts warn failure to manage diabetes properly can have serious consequences. Diabetes UK, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and Ask About Medicines commissioned the study.
RCN reacts strongly to international nurse recruitment block
Tue 4 Jul- The RCN has reacted strongly to the Department of Health’s announcement that it is to restrict international nurse recruitment by removing nursing from the list of recognised shortage professions. General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Beverly Malone, said “International nurses have always been there for the UK in times of need and it beggars belief that they are now being made scapegoats for the current deficits crisis.”
‘Lack of jobs’ for trainee nurses warns RCN
Fri 30 Jun- The Royal College of Nurses has warned that thousands of newly qualified nurses and other health professionals will be without jobs by the time they graduate this year. A survey of 20 universities suggested that more than 80% of nurses qualifying this summer have yet to find a job, compared to 30% this time last year.
Doctors toughen position against Labour’s NHS reforms
Thu 29 Jun- The British Medical Association moved towards near total opposition to market-like reforms to the National Health Service yesterday. It called for no further involvement of the private sector, a potential end to the split between purchasers and providers and to the private finance initiative. The decision at the annual representative meeting in Belfast went against the leadership, which had been a fierce critic of elements of the reforms but had worked to maintain a dialogue with Labour ministers.
Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) still failing to stir GPs
Wed 21 Jun– GP leaders, the government and primary care trusts have all ‘failed to inspire’ doctors to take up practice-based commissioning, according to an NHS Alliance report. The report, based on workshops with over 2,000 members, says the biggest problem has been the ‘lack of clear communication and leadership’ from the centre, strategic health authorities and PCTs. And it said frontline staff were confused about government policy on PBC and where it fits into the overall policy picture.
NHS faces brain drain, BMA doctors warn
Thu 15 Jun- Doctors’ leaders said yesterday that the profession faced a potential brain drain because of a shortage of posts being made available under controversial government reforms. The British Medical Association said that up to 11,500 doctors could be left disappointed because there were only 9,500 training posts being competed for by more than 21,000 doctors.
Doctors warn that General Practices are bursting at the seams
Thurs 18 May- Three quarters of GP practices responding to a BMA survey say their premises are not suitable for anticipated future needs. The survey results, published today describe how family doctors are prevented from expanding their patient services by lack of space, coping instead with a daily round of “hot desking”, room juggling and even using the coffee room for immunisations.
Half of all NHS hospitals can’t afford to replace midwives
Mon 8 May– More than one in three hospitals are cutting budgets for maternity care as the National Health Service financial crisis deepens. The cuts mean that almost half of all health trusts are not replacing midwives who leave the service, according to research by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). Meanwhile, one in four heads of midwifery have also been forced to reduce home visits and 10 per cent are cutting back on home births, despite NHS guidance that women should be allowed to opt for such a procedure.
Out of hours GP shake up attacked as “shambolic” as £70 million is overspent
Fri 5 May- The shake-up of the out of hours health care system in England was “shambolic” and led to longer waits and higher costs, a committee of MPs has said. New providers are spending 22% more but are not meeting key targets, the public accounts committee claimed. Fewer than 10% of primary care trusts met targets on assessing patients within 20 minutes of an urgent call the National Audit Office found.
Tue 25 Apr- Nurses and health workers threatened industrial action after Tony Bliar admitted yesterday that the NHS faced a “challenging” year and more job cuts. Nurses’ leaders said they were considering a work-to-rule, including stopping voluntary overtime, which could plunge heath care into crisis. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of the biggest union, Unison, promised support for industrial action to protect health service jobs. He said: “We are being told that somehow jobs will disappear or be left unfilled without patients and staff feeling the pain. What utter nonsense.”
Thu 20 Apr– One in 10 of England’s 21,000 dentists left the NHS at the start of April after rejecting a new contract and local health bosses have struggled to replace them, leaving patients to ring help-lines. Patients are then told of dentists accepting NHS patients – in some areas this is a minority – or diverted to services aimed at out-of-hours care.
Doctors For Reform provide evidence of how the NHS is failing and unsustainable under Labour’s reforms
Wed 5 Apr- We once believed the NHS was the finest healthcare system in the world. Today few healthcare professionals would make that claim. Britain is the world’s fourth largest economy. But it does not enjoy standards of healthcare consistent with its status.
Wed 29 Mar– Public services often fail to consider the special needs of older people, according to a new report by three independent watchdogs published. It suggests that “deep-rooted cultural attitudes to ageing” in local public services are hampering wider Government plans to improve health, social care and local council services for older people. The report has been produced jointly by the Healthcare Commission, the Audit Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
Tue 28 Mar– Hospital consultants are spurning the National Health Service by paying for medical insurance so they can be treated privately if they become ill. A survey of 500 consultants, commissioned by Bupa, the health insurer, found that 41% of senior hospital doctors have invested in private health cover.
Fri 24 Mar– NHS hospitals serving Tony Bliar’s Sedgefield constituents announced 700 job losses yesterday, bringing the total cut over the past fortnight to more than 4,000, according to figures compiled by the Guardian. Conservatives accused the government of allowing the health service to sink under financial pressures caused by ministers’ mistakes. They forecast job losses in England might top 15,000 as staff are made to pay for Labour government errors.
Wed 22 Mar- Thousands of Dentistry practitioners are likely to reject the contract offered by the government and quit the National Health Service to treat only patients prepared to pay, according to a survey of NHS primary care trusts. The trusts, which provide GP and dental care locally, have admitted that thousands of children will be hit. Some have already written to patients warning them that from April 1 both adults and children will be obliged to find another dentist unless they are prepared to pay for treatment or buy insurance.
Thu 9 Mar– Tony Bliar was accused of trying to pass the buck for the NHS debt crisis to civil servants after its chief executive was forced to resign and take responsibility for this year’s record overspending. Sir Nigel Crisp, 54, the Department of Health’s top civil servant, stunned Whitehall by announcing his resignation after reports of a breakdown in relations with Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary.
Fri 3 Mar– Speculation is mounting about the future of Sir Nigel Crisp, the National Health Service chief executive and permanent secretary of the Department of Health as ministers appear to lose confidence in him. As the health service heads towards a record £790m overspend, Sir Nigel appears to have lost much of the confidence of health ministers and the support of his top tier of “field management” – many of the 28 chief executives of the strategic health authorities.
Tue 21 Feb– Annoyed health staff have joined a new waiting list in Wales – this one is expected to last for over a year, and it’s for their back pay- which has arisen from the restructuring “Agenda for Change” exercise.
Mon 13 Feb– The move to bring back matron, a key policy in the Government’s reform of the NHS, has been dealt a blow by a hospital trust that is considering axing half of its “modern matron” posts. Under cost-cutting plans to deal with a deficit of about £2 million, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is considering losing 185 staff over two years, which it hopes will be absorbed in natural wastage.
Thu 9 Feb– The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) found that thousands of elderly people in care homes are being given the wrong medicine, someone else’s medicine or doses that are dangerous. Nearly half of all care homes in England fail to meet minimum standards for managing medicines prescribed by GPs, says the independent watchdog.
Wed 4 Jan– Many cancer patients were forced to scale down Christmas because of the cost of their illness, according to a survey published by the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief. The survey findings show that some cancer sufferers were forced to borrow money from friends, take out a loan or extend their overdraft to make ends meet. Some had even cancelled Christmas as a result.
Wed 28 Dec– Care homes ‘need a Jamie Oliver’. A charity- Counsel and Care is appealing for a celebrity TV chef to do the same for elderly care homes as Jamie Oliver did for school children’s meals as enquiries by the Lib Dems and the charity have shown that more than 2,000 homes in England failed to meet government minimum standards for meals last year.
Tue 22 Nov– Britain is facing a mass exodus of nurses. Hospital staff who came from overseas several years ago to help out the NHS are now being lured to other countries where wages are much higher. The warning has been made by the Royal College of Nursing which has discovered that half of the foreign nurses in Britain are now considering jobs in other countries.
Tue 15 Nov– The chief medical officer has attacked the health profession for complacency in its preparations for a lethal flu pandemic that he says is now a “biological inevitability”. Sir Liam Donaldson last week called together 30 public health leaders, including the heads of the royal colleges, to emphasise that the disease could kill between 50,000 and 750,000 people and should not be treated as a joke.
Tue 8 Nov– Well, you won’t find it in Britain. Our teeth are in crisis. Dentists are leaving the NHS, giving up or going private. But can the government’s reforms stop the rot?
Fri 4 Nov– According to a report by the National Audit Office, around a half of incidents in which NHS hospital patients are unintentionally harmed could have been avoided, if lessons from previous incidents had been learned. Whilst reporting has improved at the local level, at the national level progress on developing a national reporting and learning system has been slower than envisaged in the Department of Health’s 2001 strategy “Building a safer NHS for patients”.
Fri 21 Oct– A place on the register of an NHS dentist is gold dust in many parts of the country, with mammoth queues for new practices and many people left disappointed. But the biggest shake-up since the introduction of NHS dentistry is aiming to get the service smiling again.
Mon 10 Oct– NHS 24 is at breaking point and the executive is at war with dentists. Is the health service safe in the government’s hands as more patients die through misdiagnosis?
Tue 4 Oct– NHS consultants have been threatened with redundancy, the first time that this has happened for many years. The move by Oxfordshire Mental Healthcare NHS Trust is an indication of the extreme financial pressures being experienced by many parts of the health service despite several years of the most generous financial settlements it has ever enjoyed.
Wed 21 Sep– Almost 3,000 newly qualified junior doctors are out of work, the British Medical Association claims. Nearly one in 10 new junior doctors was unable to find training posts in August, according to a BMA survey.
Mon 22 Aug– Ministers have been accused of living in “a fantasy world” after new evidence contradicted Government claims that almost everyone can see a GP within 48 hours. A YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph suggests that almost half of patients cannot get an appointment to see a family doctor within two days, despite the fact that this is supposed to be a key Government achievement.
Thu 11 Aug– A french doctor who was hired by a private hospital in Cambridge to treat National Health Service patients botched 60% of the operations he conducted, according to a confidential government report. The surgeon was so unfamiliar with the type of joint replacement procedures he was to perform that he had to refer to a textbook while operating
Wed 10 Aug– Responding to a government announcement about the new ‘Modernising Medical Careers’ training system for junior doctors Mr Simon Eccles, chairman of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said “Modernising Medical Careers gives us an opportunity to achieve a streamlined system where a doctor’s career progression depends on their ability rather than how much time they’ve spent at a particular grade.
Thu 28 July– Doctors across the north west who are trained at a cost of millions of pounds can’t find jobs. In one shocking case, Manchester medic Ivo Dukic, 25, has been rejected from nearly 80 posts and is now looking abroad for work. He is even considering giving up medicine altogether despite seven years’ study.
Wed 20 July– “On the state of public health” The CMO ANNUAL REPORT 2004 by Prof Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England.
Wed 13 July– Groups from different faiths prayed for patients, but praying for patients undergoing heart operations does not improve their outcomes, a US study suggests. The study found those who were prayed for were as likely to have a setback in hospital, be re-admitted, or die within six months as those not prayed for.
Thu 7 July- As a third of the UK’s 230,000 doctors are from overseas patients’ lives are being put at risk because thousands of doctors working in the UK may not have sufficient English language skills, doctors warn.
Wed 6 July- Involuntary manslaughter charges are becoming more common as Doctors are increasingly fearful of facing criminal charges when patients die, medical experts say.
Mon 20 June– Nursing leaders say staff need more help to afford property as more nurses are being forced to quit the profession because they cannot afford to buy homes, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.
Fri 17 June- The NHS shift system could be putting doctors and patients at risk, experts have warned where Doctors who are working long hours have been linked to more medical errors.
Thu 9 June– Patient confidentiality is being put at risk because a key group of hospital doctors do not have adequate office space, it will emerge at a BMA conference today.
Thu 2 June- Experts have warned NHS dentistry could be in jeopardy following the results of a survey of would- be dentists.
Tue 31 May- Doctors at four hospitals in Greater Manchester are being balloted to see if they support a motion of no confidence in their NHS management.
Fri 20 May- The NHS is facing a nursing crisis as two in five overseas nurses in London are planning to leave the UK, a survey says. A quarter of the capital’s nurses are from abroad and experts warn the NHS could “collapse” without them.
Fri, 13 May– A list of the most critical areas for joint working in developing NHS policy has been sent to the new Secretary of State for Health by the British Medical Association.
Thu 5 May- More dentists are to leave the NHS- more rural dentists have withdrawn from the National Health Service, forcing thousands of patients to find another practice or pay more for private treatment.
Wed, 4 May- Doctors accused the Labour Government of failing to recruit enough doctors and nurses to meet the target of seeing each patient within 48 hours.
Mon, 25 April- Recruits to nursing ‘must double’ according to the Royal College of Nurses. Thousands of UK-trained NHS nurses are quitting every year despite efforts to boost recruitment, the union has warned.
Thu, April 7- The Conservative Party is to campaign against Labour’s plan for ‘super-surgeries’. The Conservatives are to open a campaign to ensure that family doctors running small practices are not forced out of the National Health Service by government reforms, pledging a multimillion-pound package of funding.
Tue, April 5- The emergency health service hotline NHS 24 is in chaos, according to a new report which reveals that it is failing to diagnose illnesses on time and is putting patients’ health at risk. An internal review of the £47m-a-year service reveals that half of the patients who telephone for help are forced to wait up to 13 hours for qualified members of staff to call them back
Tuesday, February 15, – Thousands of extra surgeons are going to be needed over the next few years to meet demand, a report warns. The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) said there would be a 2,760 shortfall by 2010 because of early retirement and new working practices. “The shortage of surgeons in England and Wales is critical. It is extremely difficult to see how the government can meet its proposed ‘patient journey’ waiting list target of no more than 18 weeks if the NHS does not have enough surgeons to carry out operations.”
Govt “exaggerating” number of NHS staff. The government has published charts creating a distorted impression of employment in the Department of Health by exaggerating the increase in the number of staff over the past three years.
Mental health review after murder– John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, ordered a review of proposed changes to the law covering mental patients after a paranoid schizophrenic stabbed a banker to death.
Rescue package for NHS dentistry may make shortages even worse
Dentistry in the National Health Service is in deep trouble and a rescue plan could make the situation even worse, the government spending watchdog says.
The National Audit Office says in a report published today that new contracts planned by the Department of Health could be no more effective than the old. Undertreatment by dentists who are paid a salary could replace overtreatment caused by the present piecework system.
Until the contracts are agreed and the public is told how much treatment will cost, the efficiency of the changes will not be known. With only ten months to go before the system is implemented, time is getting short, the NAO says.
It also questions whether the primary care trusts (PCTs), which have responsibility for the new system, are competent enough.
Edward Leigh, MP, the chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, said that the current system pays dentists for 10-30 per cent more treatment than is needed. “Replacing it with contracts that emphasise prevention and the maintenance of oral health is much more in step with a modern approach to dentistry,” he said.
“What the Department of Health has failed to do is to give patients and dentists detailed information about how this ambitious new system is going to operate in practice and how much patients will have to pay.
“People are anxious about the flow of dentists out of NHS dentistry and into the private sector. There is a big question mark over whether this will be arrested under the new arrangements. The Department of Health has a big job to do reassuring patients and NHS dentists.”
Dentists are free to decide whether to carry out either private or NHS work, or a combination of the two. Most patients, except those who are exempt from charges, pay 80 per cent of the cost of treatment.
Therefore patients pay little more to go private, while dentists who choose this option enjoy their work without the treadmill of NHS patients. But poorer patients who are exempt from charges often cannot find an NHS dentist willing to take them on. In some areas hundreds of people have queued when a new dental surgery opens its doors.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said: “NHS dentistry is at crisis point and botched changes may well push it over the edge. Despite the desperate need for change, there are concerns within the dental profession and patient groups that this overhaul may be blighted by under-funding and insufficient capacity within the PCTs.”
Ian Wylie, the chief executive of the BDA, said: “Our own research found that only 1 in 10 dentists believed their PCT could cope with their new responsibilities. With less than a year to go until implementation, and still without a draft contract, it’s no wonder that many dentists are seriously considering whether their future lies with the NHS.”
Rosie Winterton, the Health Minister with responsibility for dentistry, remains confident. She said that trials of the new contract had worked well, the Government was putting in £59 million to tackle local difficulties and an extra 1,000 dentists were being hired, many from abroad. When PCTs start commissioning dentistry next October, they will get £368 million to ensure there is enough money to pay for the changes. The plan is to agree with each dentist how much NHS work he or she will do, and pay a salary accordingly. A dentist working full-time on NHS work would earn £69,000 a year.
As now, dentists will have to recover from patients their share of the cost of treatments, normally 80 per cent. The NAO is concerned that dentists will be less motivated to collect this money than they are under the piecework system.
Ms Winterton said that fears of dentists drawing their salaries and not doing the work were misplaced. “We are starting from the premise that they are professionals,” she said. But she was unable to provide information on treatment costs. She said the system of charging will be published “shortly”, but actual charges will take longer.
Frances Blunden of Which? said: “The situation with accessing NHS dentists is already horrendous, with large swaths of the country being off-limits to people seeking NHS treatment.
“The point has now come for the Government to answer the fundamental question: does the public have a right to NHS dental treatment? If so, it must commit to adequate long-term resources and provide incentives for dental professionals to work in the NHS sector.”
PAINFUL HISTORY OF CHARGES
# Free dentistry arrived with the NHS in 1948. But it didn’t last long.
# In 1951 charges for dentures were introduced by Hugh Gaitskell, partly to pay for the Korean War.
# Charges for the patient have steadily risen since then, while payments to the dentist have fallen in real terms.
# Children and pregnant mothers pay no charges, and those on income support or jobseekers’ allowance are also exempt.
# Those over 60 are exempt from prescription charges regardless of income, but do have to pay for dentistry: 82 per cent of adults over 60 get no help with dentistry charges.
# Those who pay — the great majority of patients — pay 80 per cent of the cost of a course of treatment up to a maximum of £378.
# Payments to dentists are based on 400 different procedures, each with its own fee — £6.85 for an examination, £10.80 for a scale and polish, £7.30 for a simple filling, for example.
# In real terms, almost all these fees are lower than they were in 1948. Then, the fee for an examination would have been £11.14 in today’s money, for a scale and polish £18.39 and for a filling £22.29.
# Charges to patients have also exceeded the rate of inflation. In the mid-1970s, the total paid in dentistry charges was only £33.4 million.
# By 1982-83 it was £149 million — a 450 per cent increase over a period in which the retail price index had risen by 135 per cent. Today the figure is £500 million
This article was reproduced from the Times on 25th November 2004: