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Preventable health crisis

Preventable health crises which NHS staff are struggling under Labour’s adversity:

Dementia costing UK £23bn a year
Thu, 18 Feb 2010- Dementia costs the country £23 billion per year- more than cancer and heart disease combined but receives a fraction of the funding, according to a new “wake-up call” report.

Doctor Daniel Ubani unlawfully killed overdose patient
Fri, 5 Feb 2010- A coroner has demanded a review of EU agreements over the recognition of doctors when he ruled that the death of a 70-year-old patient who was administered a tenfold overdose by an “incompetent” German GP was unlawful killing.

Two catch Legionnaire’s disease at hospital attacked over hygiene
Wed, 20 Jan 2010- Two patients have contracted Legionnaire’s disease at a hospital recently condemned for poor hygiene, blood splattered equipment and an unusually high death rate among patients.

Drunk and overdosing homeless people put strain on NHS
Wed, 6 Jan 2010- One drunk or drug addicted homeless person is admitted to hospital every three hours, putting a severe strain on the National Health Service, new figures show.

12 NHS hospitals at centre of safety scandal
Mon, 30 Nov 2009- The true scandal of NHS hospitals failing to comply with basic safety standards is revealed.

Swine flu- strain resistant to Tamiflu spreads between UK hospital patients
Mon, 23 Nov 2009- A strain of Tamiflu resistant swine flu has spread between patients in a hospital as five patients on a unit for people with severe underlying health conditions at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, were diagnosed with swine flu that is resistant to the drug

150,000 dementia sufferers being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs unnecessarily
Thu, 19 Nov 2009- Up to 150,000 people with dementia are being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs unnecessarily, a Government ordered review disclosed.

NHS told to brace itself over swine flu epidemic
Tue, 27 Oct 2009- The NHS has been told to brace itself for action after a steep rise in swine flu infections.

NHS mistakes are harming thousands
Wed, 14 Oct 2009- More than 5,700 patients in England died or suffered serious harm due to errors latest figures for a six month period show.

Half of pregnant women will refuse swine flu vaccine
Mon, 5 Oct 2009- Almost half of pregnant women say they would refuse to take the swine flu vaccine, suggesting many are worried about the safety of the jab, according to a new poll.

NHS medication errors double in two years to 860,000 errors
Fri, 2 Oct 2009- The number of patient safety incidents involving medicines has more than doubled in two years, official figures showed.

Labour to slash £20bn off NHS budget
Mon, 21 Sep 2009- The National Health Service will have to find savings of £15bn to £20bn, Andy Burnham, the labour health secretary, has acknowledged

Women and older people less likely to receive heart attack drugs
Fri, 18 Sep 2009- Thousands of women and older people who suffer heart attacks are dying unnecessarily because they are not being prescribed the gold standard treatment which could prevent another attack.

It’s Monday, so it must be Swine Flu- Swine Flu rise points to Monday sickies
Mon, 7 Sep 2009- A weekly rise in cases of swine flu across the country on Mondays suggests that employees are using the pandemic as an excuse for throwing a Monday morning “sickie”.

Why it’s time to end the war on drugs
Tue, 25 Aug 2009- The director of public health for Cumbria, Professor John Ashton, startled a room full of local delegates at a conference entitled “Tackling Drugs, Changing Lives” by calling for total legalisation. “The war on drugs has failed,” he said. “We need to think differently.” He said that heroin, and everything else now banned, should be available over the counter in chemists’ shops.

Swine flu shirkers cost firms more than virus, say employers
Mon, 17 Aug 2009- Staff using the swine flu pandemic as an excuse to take time off work are causing more disruption to businesses than the virus itself, according to employers.

Swine flu- rise in UK deaths but overall numbers decline
Mon, 10 Aug 2009- The number of deaths in England linked to swine flu jumped by nine to 36 over the past week, according to the Health Protection Agency.

Swine flu five times more virulent than normal
Wed, 5 Aug 2009- Swine flu has been blamed for two more deaths– as the first full analysis of the virus shows it is five times more virulent than ordinary seasonal flu.

Pregnant women up to four times more likely to become seriously ill with swine flu
Thu, 30 Jul 2009- Pregnant women are up to four times more likely to be seriously ill and require hospitalisation when they have swine flu than the general population, new research from the United States suggests.

Swine flu death toll rises to 16 in Britain
Mon, 13 Jul 2009- A patient from London has died after contracting swine flu taking the number of swine flu related deaths in the UK to 16, it was announced today.

Swine flu cases in Britain could top 100,000 a day
Mon, 6 Jul 2009- The number of swine flu cases could reach more than 100,000 per day by the end of August, Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, told the Commons.

IVF baby given to wrong woman was an accident waiting to happen
Thu, 25 Jun 2009- A solicitor representing an IVF couple whose last embryo was wrongly implanted into another patient has described the clinic mix up as an “accident waiting to happen”.

WHO declares global swine flu pandemic and says virus is ‘unstoppable’
Mon, Jun 15, 2009- The world is officially in the grip of the first global flu pandemic for 40 years.

MPs criticise NHS in England for forcing patients to spend their last days in uncaring hospital surroundings
Thu, May 21, 2009- Elderly patients in the final stages of terminal illness are being denied the right to die at home due to inadequate NHS and social care, a critical parliamentary report warns.

NHS trust’s emergency care ‘appalling’, say reports
Mon, May 11, 2009- Poorly handled reorganisations, a failure to take patient complaints seriously, a “closed culture” and a “hugely disappointing” failure to blow the whistle lay behind “appalling” standards of emergency care at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, two reports said last week. Health Direct will this week examine the fallout from the preventable deaths

Swine flu- hospitals could turn away critical patients in a pandemic
Tue, May 5, 2009- Hospitals could be “rapidly overwhelmed” and forced to turn away critically ill patients if a flu pandemic reaches Britain, according to the Government’s own assessment.

Swine flu confirmed in Britain
Tue, Apr 28, 2009- Swine flu has reached Britain it was disclosed last night, as officials confirmed that two people were being treated in a hospital isolation unit after contracting the disease on holiday in Mexico

Flaws exposed in NHS winter planning
Fri, 17 Apr, 2009- The NHS must improve the way it deals with the increased demand for hospital care in winter months, director general of NHS finance, performance and operations David Flory has said.

NHS patients must have more input on services
Fri, 3 Apr, 2009- NHS organisations are still not giving patients enough say on health services.

Children’s lives put at risk by poor care at specialist hospital
Fri, Mar 20, 2009- Children’s lives were put at risk by the poor standard of care at a specialist hospital, according to the second damning report into health provision to be published this week.

More NHS job cuts on the way
Thu, Mar 12, 2009- The director general of NHS finance, performance and operations David Flory has warned that health service redundancies are likely to continue at their current rate of around 54 a month.

Transplant row over organs for drinkers
Fri, Feb 20, 2009- Heavy drinkers are receiving nearly one in four of the UK’s liver transplants, it was recently revealed, igniting a furious row about the ethics of allocating organs to people with alcohol problems.

Row brews as DoH rejects VTE blood clots deaths records
Mon, Feb 09, 2009- Healthcare Commission chair Sir Ian Kennedy has written to health secretary Alan Johnson to protest after the Department of Health rejected proposals aimed at reducing deadly blood clots

NHS drug shortage looms as Pound plummets
Tue, Jan 27, 2009- The NHS could face a shortage of drugs because the weak Pound means speculators are targeting UK pharmaceutical supplies for export to more lucrative markets.

Data commissioner criticises DoH over MMR transparency
Fri, Jan 16, 2009- The information commissioner has criticised the Department of Health for withholding information about the introduction of the MMR vaccine.

Drug resistant superflu in Britain
Thu, Jan 8, 2009- A potentially deadly, drug resistant strain of “superflu” is circulating in Britain, scientists have warned.

Flu cases could be heading towards rates not seen for eight years
Wed, Dec 24, 2008- Flu cases in England and Wales could be heading towards rates not seen for eight years after they rose by more than 75 per cent in a week.

NHS dentists face £100m in penalties for under performance
Thu, Dec 04, 2008- NHS dentists are being charged more than £100m in penalties for underperformance against contracts in 2007-08, a report claims.

Doubts about safety of NHS maternity care as negligence payouts reach £1 billion
Wed, Nov 19, 2008– Errors that caused serious harm to mothers and babies have accounted for nearly half of the £2.1 billion paid out as a result of medical negligence since 1995, Health Direct has learnt.

European healthcare rankings
Fri, Nov 14, 2008- New report that ranks the UK 13th for healthcare out of 31 European countries.

Nine out of ten preventable deaths in the NHS are not reported
Wed, Nov 5, 2008- Of the estimated 72,000 annual deaths in the NHS, just 3,200 are recorded by the National Patient Safety Agency, MPs were told.

NHS hospitals are warned on core standards
Tue, Oct 21, 2008- Almost a third of National Health Service hospitals risk being refused a licence to operate because they are still not meeting core standards of safety, effectiveness cleanliness and record keeping, the Healthcare Commission, the NHS inspectorate warned.

NHS trust slammed over £400,000 yacht fund
Thu, Oct 16, 2008- An NHS health trust in East Yorkshire is facing criticism over plans to spend £400,000 on a yacht for unemployed youngsters.

Employers face higher bills for health benefits
Fri, Oct 3, 2008- The cost to UK companies of providing employee healthcare benefits is one of the highest in Europe, according to an independent study published today as worries about the NHS continue.

Cancer patient with months to live wins court order for last- chance drug on NHS
Fri, Sep 19, 2008- A cancer patient has won a legal battle against the NHS to be given a drug that doctors say could prolong his life by up to three years.

NICE U Turn to save thousands of peoples’ sight
Wed, Sep 03, 2008- Patients at risk of going blind will have their sight saved under a unique deal announced by the NHS drugs rationing watchdog NICE.

NHS diabetes care ‘still has mountain to climb’, experts warn
Wed, Aug 27, 2008- The NHS still ‘has a mountain to climb’ in the treatment and prevention of diabetes despite labour Government boasts of good progress, experts have said.

New prostate cancer drug hailed by experts
Mon, Aug 18, 2008- A powerful new drug could transform the treatment of men with aggressive prostate cancer, according to London’s Institute of Cancer Research whose scientists developed it.

Dirty NHS hospitals report 20,000 pest infestations
Tue, Aug 12, 2008- NHS hospitals have reported mice, rats, squirrels, bedbugs, fleas, cockroaches, ants, flies, silverfish and even foxes. Nearly 20,000 cases of pest infestations in NHS hospitals have been recorded over the past two years, the Conservatives have said.

Measles endemic in Britain official warning
Thu, Jul 24, 2008- Measles has become endemic in Britain, 14 years after its spread was halted in the resident population, the country’s public health watchdog says.

Health Direct compares dangers of drug taking
Mon, June 23, 2008- Health Direct has compared the latest hospital admission figures by drug types which shows that drinking alcohol is by far the most damaging drug.

Postcode lottery claims heart attack victims
Tue, May 27, 2008– Patients are dying unnecessarily from heart attacks in rural areas because of a new postcode lottery in care standards, Health Direct has learnt.

Who Cares- one family’s shocking story of “care” in today’s NHS
Mon, May 12, 2008- Who cares- Paul Steane went into hospital with a minor problem – through repeated neglect in two NHS hospitals he emerged an invalid.

23 million people have not seen a dentist for two years
Wed, Apr 23, 2008- Almost half of Britons have not seen an NHS dentist in the past two years, it has been claimed.,

Prescription charges postcode lottery widens
Tue, Apr 15, 2008- The gap between prescription charges in England and Scotland has widened dramatically to £2.10 as people south of the border were stung by a 25p increase- with charges in Wales scrapped entirely.

Number of X-ray errors reported has doubled
Wed, Apr2, 2008- A new method for reporting errors in X-rays and scans has found almost twice as many as had been reported under the old arrangements.

Thousands of mistakes in cancer treatment costs NHS payouts of £50m
Tue, Mar 18, 2008- Thousands of mistakes were made in treating cancer patients last year and more than 500 cases were missed by doctors, official figures show.

Prostate cancer services subject to wide postcode lottery
Fri, Mar 14, 2008- Prostate cancer services must be improved to help tackle the wide variations in care seen across England, say health experts in Prostate Cancer week.

Health spending on non NHS care soars
Thu, Feb 28, 2008- Spending on patient care from outside the NHS has been the fastest growing component of the health service’s expenditure during the past decade and reached £5bn a year in 2006, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

A&E patients die waiting for ambulances to meet labour targets
Wed, Feb 20, 2008- Seriously ill patients are left for hours in ambulances instead of being immediately admitted to accident and emergency departments to meet a labour Government target on treatment times, it was claimed.

CBI seeks go ahead on ISTC extra health centres
Mon, Feb 11, 2008- The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) raises the stakes on Monday over the role of the private sector in public service provision as it challenges the labour government to stop dithering and give the green light to another wave of health treatment centres.

Fighting cancer and the ‘unjust’ health service
Mon, Feb 04, 2008- Cancer sufferer Colette Mills explains why she is battling against NHS rules that bar patients from ‘topping up’ their care with private drugs.

Cancer patient runs out of time in NHS drugs funding postcode lottery
Mon Jan 28, 2008- A woman suffering from breast cancer has run out of time to benefit from a potentially life extending drug which the National Health Service (NHS) denied her, even though she was prepared to pay for it

Major study on the NHS reveals over 17,000 unnecessary deaths a year
Mon Jan 21 2008- A statistical analysis of World Health Organisation data reveals that the poor performance of the NHS is causing 17,157 deaths per year and £34 billion of extra spending under Brown has made no difference to UK mortality.

Dentist shortage hits at least seven million people
Thur Jan 17 2008- NHS dentistry was reformed two years ago and a lack of access has prevented one in six people from seeing an NHS dentist for almost two years, a poll suggests. Citizens Advice surveyed 1,800 people in England and Wales and found 300 had been frustrated – suggesting as many as 7.4m adults could be affected.

Wrong sort of competition in NHS claims ex Health boss
Fri Jan 11 2008- The NHS is using the wrong sort of competition to improve services according to Chris Ham, the former head of strategy at the Department of Health.

Prostate Cancer- a health disservice
Tue 18 Dec 2007- As 2007 draws to a close it is sad to contemplate that during the year another 10,000 men in the UK will have lost their lives to prostate cancer, and that 10,000 families this Christmas will be grieving the loss of a loved one as a result.

Core health standards being missed
Wed 12 Dec 2007- Both private sector and NHS-run organisations are failing to meet core minimum standards for patient care, with neither outperforming the other, says the UK health sector’s inspectorate.

NHS ignoring human rights of people with learning disabilities
Mon 3 Dec 2007- The NHS is holding thousands of people with learning disabilities in bleak accommodation with scant regard to their human rights, inspectors warn today.

One in 10 suffers hospital harm as blunders kill 90,000 patients
Thu 29 Nov 2007- Accidents, errors and mishaps in hospital affect as many as one in 10 in-patients, claim researchers. The report in the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care said up to half of these were preventable. Checks on 1,000 cases in just one hospital found examples of fatal surgical errors, infections and drug complications.

Ambulances queue at full hospital at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Fri 23 Nov 2007- Paramedics are treating patients in ambulances outside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and ambulances are queuing outside the hospital because of a major alert which has left it with no beds available to new admissions.

Patients losing faith in the NHS, claims survey
Tue 6 Nov 2007- Growing concern among the public about falling standards in the NHS is revealed in another new health survey notes Health Direct.

Record numbers go abroad for health treatments
Mon 29 Oct 2007- Record numbers of Britons are flying abroad for medical treatment to escape NHS waiting lists and the rising threat of hospital superbugs. More than 70,000 Britons will have treatment abroad this year, a figure that is forecast to rise to 200,000.

DIY dentistry- lack of access to NHS Dentists leaves people having to pull their own teeth
Tue 23 Oct 2007- Problems with getting an NHS dentist are leading some people to pull their own teeth out. If that’s not enough to make you wince, then the potential pitfalls will be. There are people out there pulling their own teeth out with pliers.

Hospitals overlook superbug infection guidelines as preventable deaths grow
Tue 16 Oct 2007- The outbreak of Clostridium difficile at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, in which at least 1,100 were infected and between 90 and 330 died, carries one clear lesson for policymakers and patients alike.

Jane Tomlinson widow asks for cancer drug review to end drugs postcode lottery
Mon 8 Oct 2007- Fundraiser Jane Tomlinson’s husband and the NHS trust that treated her have called for a review of the availability of advanced trial drugs. Mrs Tomlinson’s husband Mike said she found it “distressing” that she could not get access to Lapatinib, when it was available elsewhere in the UK.

NHS rated as mediocre only 17 compared with 29
Tue 2 Oct 2007- The UK and other centralised health systems with a single funder perform worse than those financed by multiple insurers, according to a consumer focused survey of European healthcare.

Allergy epidemic gets poor care in the UK
Thu 27 Sep 2007- Poor care and confusing advice is being used to deal with an allergy epidemic in the UK, experts have said. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee warned there were not enough specialist services and that food labelling was inadequate.

New NHS complaints service launched by the Citizens Advice Bureau
Tue 4 Sept 2007- A new NHS complaints service is being launched by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and will be rolled out across Scotland ahead of a national roll-out of the service. The confidential scheme helps patients take forward grievances about the NHS.

NHS deaths could be halved say doctors as 10,000 die needlessly every year
Tue 28 Aug 07- More than 10,000 people are dying needlessly each year after being denied intensive care treatment, according to senior doctors. They have written to the Health Secretary Alan Johnson, warning that many patients are dying after routine surgery because of a failure to identify them as high risk cases.

UK stroke treatment is worst in Europe with hundreds needlessly dying every year
Mon 27 Aug 07- The UK has the worst outcome for strokes in western Europe despite spending the same amount or more on care as other countries, a leading article in the British Medical Journal warned

Cancer survival rates- 7000 UK patients are dying needlessly every year
Wed 22 Aug 07- Cancer survival in the UK is still below the European average, despite recent improvements, a report says. Survival rates in lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer were lower in the UK compared with everywhere except eastern Europe.

Scandal of filthy hospital kitchens
Tue 14 Aug 07- A searing indictment of the cleanliness of UK hospital kitchens is revealed in research showing that almost half are plagued by vermin, risk infections by storing food incorrectly or employ staff with poor personal hygiene.

Whistleblower Surgeon breaks cover over NHS beds crisis
Tue 7 Aug 07- Specialist wards full to breaking point. Patients with serious injuries are denied care and a health service paralysed by arguments about funding. Martin Bircher, one of Britain’s most senior consultants, speaks out.

Do not give local authorities control of healthcare warns the Financial Times
Mon 16 Jul 07- In the name of devolution or “the new localism”, a crime may be about to be committed. Despite promises from Alan Johnson, the new health secretary, of no new structural reform to the National Health Service “for the foreseeable future”, labour ministers appear to be considering giving local government a bigger say in, maybe even control over, the NHS.

Dementia victims being failed by NHS- NAO reports
Fri 6 Jul 07- Hundreds of thousands of elderly people suffering from dementia are being comprehensively failed by the labour government and the health service, Whitehall’s spending watchdog warns. Far too few people are being diagnosed as suffering from dementia – or are being diagnosed much too late – and even then drugs and other treatments are not widely available.

Labour’s NHS reforms pushed hospital chief to suicide finds coroner
Thu 28 Jun 07- A hospital manager jumped 100 feet to her death, driven to suicide by the stress of NHS reforms. Morag Shedden Wilson, 32, stabbed herself with a kitchen knife and then jumped from a motorway bridge on the M60 into the Manchester Ship Canal. An inquest heard that Miss Wilson, who was head of dietetics at Wythenshawe Hospital, was under pressure because of reforms introduced by the Agenda for Change, a labour Government review.

David Cameron kills health ‘passport’ idea
Fri 22 Jun 07- David Cameron has put the final stake in the heart of the Conservatives’ proposal at the last election for a “patient passport”, which would have allowed patients to use National Health Service funds to contribute towards the cost of private operations.

Lung patients ‘let down by NHS’ BLF claim
Mon 11 Jun 07- Many people with lung diseases believe there are not enough NHS lung specialists to help them cope with their condition, a survey suggests. The British Lung Foundation questioned 3,200 patients and found many are disillusioned with what they see as the low priority given to their care. Death rates from respiratory illness in the UK are almost double the European average, says the charity.

IVF clinics are corrupt and greedy exploiting NHS postcode lottery- Winston claims
Fri 1 June 07- Britain’s leading fertility expert condemned the IVF industry yesterday, saying that it had been corrupted by money and that doctors were exploiting women who were desperate to get pregnant who were failed by the NHS.

GPs out of hours cover- death row shows systemic failure of service
Fri 25 May 07- The partner of a woman who died from septicaemia following flaws in out-of-hours GP care has said he is convinced it could happen again. Penny Campbell, 41, from Islington, north London, died in 2005 after consulting eight doctors in four days. A report said a major system failure in the service was a direct factor leading to Miss Campbell’s death.

Thousands of NHS patients still facing ordeal of mixed sex wards
Thu 10 May 07- Hospital patients are suffering the indignity and embarrassment of being cared for on mixed-sex wards – a decade after the labour government pledged to abolish the practice. Almost one in five NHS trusts is continuing to treat patients admitted for routine treatment alongside members of the opposite sex in breach of government rules.

Postcode lottery of death rates in NHS hospitals
Wed 25 Apr 07- The large disparity in mortality rates in NHS hospitals is exposed today in research carried out for The Daily Telegraph. Patients are twice as likely to die in hospitals with the highest mortality rates than in those with the lowest, according to a report from Dr Foster Research, the independent health information company.

Indian hospitals are better than NHS hospitals
Thu 19 Apr 07- A political row has broken out over the state of Britain’s hospitals after a retired consultant complained that his wife received far better treatment in India. Opposition parties accused Labour of running down the NHS and failing to put patients first.

Patients die in ambulances with no paramedics on board
Mon 16 Apr 07– NHS Patients are dying directly because low skilled helpers are being sent out to handle life threatening 999 calls, ambulance whistleblowers have warned. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that in some areas of the country only 35% of ambulance service staff are fully trained paramedics. Ambulance staff say pressure to meet the government’s eight-minute target for responding to life-threatening calls has resulted in “technicians” being sent instead.

Labour’s dentistry health reforms ‘have failed directly’
Mon 2 Apr 07- Radical Labour Government reforms to improve patient access to NHS dentists have failed, it was claimed. The charity Citizens Advice said there is “huge inequality” in access to dentists in England and Wales, and urged action to deal with “dentistry deserts” in many areas including some parts of Hampshire and Lancashire. It claimed two million people are forced to put off treatment or go private because they can’t find an NHS dentist.

Treatment delays give patients new cancers
Mon 26 Mar 07- Cancer patients who have had tumours removed are dying because they are waiting so long for for follow-up radiotherapy that their tumours return, a government report has found. After surgery, patients should receive radiotherapy within 28 days, according to the Royal College of Radiologists. However, in some areas, patients are waiting three times as long. In Kent, for example, the waiting time for breast cancer patients who have had tumours removed by surgery is three months.

Risks of taking drugs- tobacco and alcohol ‘are more dangerous than LSD’
Fri 23 Mar 07- Alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than many illegal drugs including the hallucinogen LSD and the dance drug ecstasy, according to a new scale for assessing the dangers posed by recreational substances. Drug specialists say the current system for ranking drugs – class A for the most dangerous to class C for the least dangerous, as set out in the Misuse of Drugs Act – is “not fit for purpose, irrational, arbitrary and lacking in transparency”.

Medical errors- new campaign aims to reduce deaths and costs
Mon, 12 Mar 07- A safety drive is to be launched by the government’s health watchdog in the face of “alarming” figures on the harm patients suffer in hospital and elsewhere. Various studies, some using US data, estimate that there is a one in 300 chance of a hospital patient dying as a result of medical error. One in 10 is estimated to suffer harm, of whom a third suffer serious harm, while studies suggest that 600 errors are made a day in primary care with more than one in 10 prescriptions containing errors.

Doctors who face the dole as MMC’s application IT system remains as fiasco
Wed 7 Mar 07- Given all the emphasis on investing in and improving the NHS, the idea of a wave of doctor unemployment seems a nonsense. Alarmingly, however, it is very much a reality. Last week, the fears of thousands of junior doctors were realised when they failed to secure interviews for trainee consultant posts under a new fast-track system called Modernising Medical Careers. The doctors who missed out are left wondering whether to try to retrain in another speciality, emigrate, or leave medicine altogether.

1.7m will have dementia by 2051
Wed 28 Feb 07- More than 1.7 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2051, costing billions of pounds each year, experts have forecast. The grim projections are based on the most up to date evaluation of dementia. Currently 700,000 – or one person in every 88 in the UK – has dementia, incurring a yearly cost of £17bn.

Bird flu- health officials finally propose big rise in antiviral drugs for pandemic
Tue 6 Feb 07- Health officials are proposing up to a sixfold increase in the UK’s stockpile of antiviral drugs as they reinforce preparations against a possible flu pandemic in the coming months. Based on computer simulations of the likely spread of the virus, experts believe it may be worth increasing stocks of the drug Tamiflu, made by Roche, the Swiss based pharmaceutical group, from the current 14.5m courses to 60m 90m, or up to one and a half packets for every UK resident.

NHS disintegration continues as health trust may hand most roles to private companies
Fri 2 Feb 07- Hillingdon primary care trust in London may become the first to hand over almost all its core functions to the private sector, including the commissioning of millions of pounds of care for National Health Service patients. The move, which is likely to provoke bitter opposition from the health service unions, would see the private sector taking over not just the provision of community services but the assessment, planning, contracting, procurement and performance management of £258m a year’s worth of health care for its local population.

Warning of obesity risks to entire generation
Fri 26 Jan 07- An entire generation of children now at primary school is heading towards increased rates of serious health problems, an influential committee of MPs says. It criticises the departments of Health and Education and Skills for doing too little to stem the “alarming” obesity epidemic. At least one primary school child in seven is now classed as obese.

Catalogue of abuse in NHS care homes
Wed 17 Jan 07- The NHS faces being stripped of its responsibility for learning disability services after inspectors today issue the second damning report in six months into the care of some of the most vulnerable members of society. People with learning disabilities had been subjected to physical and sexual abuse at a hospital in London, according to an investigation by the Healthcare Commission.

Private hospitals produce patchy standards Healthcare watchdog reveals
Wed 20 Dec 06- Nearly one private hospital in 20 failed to meet the basic standards laid down by the health service regulator. Only a third met most of them. Figures released for the first time today by the Healthcare Commission reveal mixed standards in some hospitals and clinics run by the largest private health care providers.

Private health contracts are destabilising NHS services claim Doctors
Tue 12 Dec 06- NHS bosses are forcing doctors to refer patients to private centres for fast-track treatment while imposing longer waiting times on local hospitals, it has emerged. The move has been condemned by the British Medical Association, GPs and surgeons, who say that a “two-tier” health service is being established to prop up privately-run centres, which were introduced by the Government with the aim of helping the NHS.

Mentally ill murder 400- a rate of 1 every week
Tue 5 Dec 06- More than 400 people have been killed by mentally ill patients released into the community in the past eight years, a government inquiry will reveal this week. The Department of Health study, concludes that on average 52 people a year — one a week— are killed by mentally ill patients. It will say that a significant proportion of these deaths could have been avoided, had it not been for health service failures or legal loopholes.

Degradation, filth and shame in an NHS hospital on mixed sex wards
Thu 30 Nov 06- Twenty-four hours to save the NHS! I wonder how often that promise comes back to haunt Tony Bliar 10 years later. Week after week reliable reports and the government’s own figures tell a disgraceful story of incompetence, debt, misery and filth in the National Health Service. That story is supported, week after week, by heart-rending personal accounts of horrors on the wards.

NHS Trusts warned not to axe acute mental health beds prematurely
Thu 23 Nov 06- Mental health trusts have been warned not to cut acute beds until their community services are fully developed. In a report about bed over-occupancy, the Mental Health Act Commission found that in the year leading to July 2006 the national average for bed occupancy in acute admission wards visited was 101 per cent. In London it was as high as 112 per cent.

Scandal of Labour’s blunders that led to murder by mental patient
Thu 16 Nov 06- The needs of dangerous psychiatric patients are being put before the safety of the general public, according to a report to be published today on the murder of a retired banker by a mental health patient. The highly critical report into how a psychiatric patient at a south London hospital escaped and attacked Denis Finnegan as he cycled through Richmond Park will reveal how a catalogue of systemic errors led to his death.

Chaired by Robert Robinson, a mental health lawyer, the report is said to be one of the most damning in the past decade. Over 400 pages it details a catalogue of preventable errors at Springfield Hospital which led to Mr Finnegan’s murder. It concludes that a special medium secure facility in the hospital, the Shaftesbury Unit, must be closed pending an external audit.

Hewitt faces major opposition to her NHS cutbacks and closure plans
Wed 8 Nov 06- Patricia Hewitt has given the go-ahead to a reshaping of hospital services in Yorkshire, widely viewed as the first big trial of her resolve to push through politically contentious reforms. The health secretary has backed significant changes to services in the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust despite local opposition. Local activists have gathered a 40,000-signature petition, gained a seat on the local council and warned local Labour MPs in marginal seats they could lose support at election time.

NHS patient safety ‘must improve’ says Healthcare Commission
Tue 31 Oct 06- More needs to be done to improve standards of safety in the NHS and independent sector, a watchdog says. The Healthcare Commission said that while most patients received safe care, standards were inconsistent in England and Wales. The watchdog said there was no clear indication on the number of deaths that could be avoided. It also raised concerns about a range of other areas, including mental health care and health inequalities aka the NHS postcode lottery.

Eighty NHS cottage hospitals face cuts
Fri 20 Oct 06- As many as 80 cottage and community hospitals in England are threatened with cuts or closures in direct contradiction to Government policy, which calls for more health services near people’s homes. Campaigners said yesterday that 10 community hospitals closed within the first six months of this year and that since 1999 as many as 2,000 local beds had been lost.

Britons are the fattest in Europe
Tue 10 Oct 06- A major Government study has shown the continuing North-South divide when it comes to the health of people in England. The report also shows that the UK has the highest obesity rate in Europe and that Boston in Lincolnshire has the highest number of people with obesity in England. The “Health Profile” says men in northern counties die on average two years earlier than those in the South – partly because of higher obesity levels and smoking-related disease. Life expectancy for women is also a year shorter.

Record numbers of patients visit A & E as GPs services are cut
Tue 3 Oct 06- The number of people seeking treatment at accident and emergency units is at a record level. Statistics from the Department of Health (DoH) reveal that there were 18,759,104 A&E visits in 2005-06, up five per cent from 17,837,180 the -previous year. The rise comes as up to 60 National Health Service trusts face having to downgrade their A&E units due to Labour’s funding cuts.

Mental health services are ‘failing’ as watchdog finds that the services are abysmal.
Fri 29 Sep 06- People suffering mental health problems are being failed by poor access to key community services, a watchdog says. Most people with mental health problems are treated out of hospitals. The Healthcare Commission’s review of 174 mental health teams in England found gaps in out-of-hours care, talking therapies and access to information. The watchdog rated only one in 10 as excellent, with nearly half just getting a fair grade.

Tories have best health and education policies, say voters in MORI poll
Mon 18 Sep 06- The public has become so disillusioned with the Labour government’s ability to deliver improvements in key public services that the Conservatives are now seen as having the best policies for education and health for the first time since Labour won power in 1997, according to polling by Ipsos MORI. The research company’s quarterly tracking index, which is eagerly watched by the government, shows the public disagrees by two to one (59 per cent compared with 31 per cent) that Labour’s policies will improve the state of public services overall.

IVF donor sperm crisis revealed as NHS fails couples
Thu 14 Sep 06- Almost 70% of fertility clinics either have no access to donor sperm, or find it extremely difficult to obtain, a BBC survey suggests. Two thirds of IVF clinics have trouble getting the sperm they need. Specialists say infertile patients are becoming desperate and more resources are needed for campaigns aimed at recruiting donors.

EU chief to help cut barriers to patients crossing borders
Wed 6 Sep 06- Europe’s public healthcare systems must brace for radical change as barriers to patients crossing borders to seek treatment drop, the European Union’s top health official said yesterday. Markos Kyprianou, EU health commissioner, told the Financial Times that he would act to implement the right of patients to travel for treatment across the 25-member bloc in the wake of recent court judgments.

90% of Nurses ‘too busy to monitor food’- new survey
Tue 29 Aug 06- Nine out of 10 nurses say they do not always have time to help ensure hospital patients eat properly, a study has found. The charity Age Concern believes this could be one reason why six out of 10 older patients are at risk of becoming malnourished while in hospital. The charity said the NHS was continuing to fail patients despite guidelines which make feeding a core priority. Malnourished patients stay in hospital for much longer, are three times as likely to develop complications during surgery, and have a higher mortality rate.

NHS botches 300 births a year
Mon 28 Aug 06- More than 300 babies a year are being left with brain damage because of oxygen starvation caused by lack of proper care at birth. The National Health Service litigation authority, which handles damages claims from hospital patients, has for the first time released data from every hospital in England showing the number of babies damaged by botched deliveries. The accidents are being blamed on staff shortages leading to inadequate monitoring.

Insurer tells hospitals cleanliness is way to healthy books
Thu 17 Aug 06- Hospitals could save billions of pounds a year if they took simple steps to cut the number of patients who are admitted with one illness only to catch an infection like MRSA or suffer another mishap, according to an insurance broker. Marsh, the world’s largest insurance broker which also advises clients on risk, pointed out that one in 10 hospital admissions lead to additional and unrelated problems.

Rural areas lose out to cities over health spending postcode lottery
Mon 7 Aug 2006- Money needed for patients in rural England is being diverted to inner-city areas where it is not even being spent, experts say. Researchers at Cambridge University Medical School say the 29 primary care trusts (PCTs) most in surplus in 2004-5 were virtually all in inner-city areas. In comparison, the 29 most in-debt PCTs were in rural areas, which received on average £205 less per head of population

Risks of taking drugs compared- Scientific review of dangers of drug taking- Drugs, the real deal
Wed 2 Aug 2006- Health Direct reproduces the first ranking based upon scientific evidence of harm to both individuals and society of taking drugs. It was devised by government advisers- then ignored by Labour ministers because of its controversial findings. The analysis was carried out by David Nutt, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and Colin Blakemore, the chief executive of the Medical Research Council. Copies of the report have been submitted to the Home Office, which has failed to act on the conclusions.

Drug classes have little link to the dangers
Tue 1 Aug 2006- Following on from yesterday’s post MPs demand changes to classification of illegal drugs by the Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Home Office has now been warned by its own senior advisers that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful to the nation’s health than the Class A drugs LSD and ecstasy. Britain’s antiquated drugs laws stand accused of failing millions of people because they bear little or no relationship to the harm caused by everything from a hit of heroin to a seemingly harmless pint of lager.

MPs demand changes to classification of illegal drugs
Mon 31 Jul 2006- The ABC system of classifying illegal drugs should be replaced with a more scientifically based scale of harm, a committee of MPs will say today. In a scathing report entitled Drug Classification: Making a Hash of It?, the Commons science and technology committee says there is no consistency in the way drugs are classified A, B or C and no evidence to support the official view that the classification has a deterrent effect.

Patients ‘failed’ by NHS inefficiency reports Sir Liam Donaldson the Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
Thurs 20 July 2006- Thousands of NHS patients are failing to receive appropriate care due to waste, inefficiency and postcode prescribing, the chief medical officer for England said today. Professor Sir Liam Donaldson blamed variations in care across the country on doctors and NHS managers who put their own preferences for certain treatments before the needs of patients. Both the over-use of some treatments and the under-use of others were wasting millions of pounds, he warned in his annual report on the state of public health. His report noted that shortcomings in patient safety were costing the NHS at least £3bn every year.

Stroke patients dying needlessly from Labour’s health failures
Wed 12 July- Stroke patients are needlessly dying or suffering more serious disablement because not enough priority is given to stroke services, according to a report by the Commons Public Accounts committee. The report found that stroke is not treated as a medical emergency, brain scans for patients are often delayed and a significant proportion of stroke patients are not treated on specialist units.

Whooping cough is still widespread in the UK
Fri 7 Jul- Almost 40% of children who visit their GPs with persistent coughs have signs of whooping cough, a study suggests. The University of Oxford researchers said its research, which involved 172 children, showed whooping cough was widespread among young children. And the team says its study – reported in the British Medical Journal – shows GPs should consider diagnosing whooping cough even in fully immunised children.

‘Mediocre’ NHS fails to make Europe’s top 10- 22nd out of 26
Wed 28 Jun- The NHS is ‘mediocre’, according to the Euro Health Consumer Index 2006 organisation behind an index ranking the UK’s public healthcare system 15th of 26 European countries. France was ranked top of the Euro Health Index 2006, which covers 28 performance indicators in five categories.

Measles- how a spurious health MMR scare brought an old killer back
Mon 19 Jun- As health chiefs last week reported the worst outbreaks of measles across Britain in 20 years, slow progress was being made in bringing to justice the doctor who sparked the MMR scare. At the high court in London, lawyers for the General Medical Council (GMC) gave the first public hearing to disciplinary charges against Andrew Wakefield, whose scientific paper published eight years ago caused millions to shun the vaccination for fear that their children might contract autism.

Doctors fight to save DTB drug guidance from government axe
Tue 13 Jun- A highly respected and influential journal which gives doctors independent advice on the drugs they prescribe is set to close because the government is withdrawing its funding after 40 years. The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin is sent to every doctor in the country and offers what many describe as highly readable guidance on the value of sometimes heavily marketed pills. But the Department of Health has refused to renew its contract.

NHS jobs cutbacks- Health Direct total now passes 15,000 staff axed
Mon 29 May– Health Direct calculates that with the announcement of the loss of another 600 NHS staff at the Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust last week, as part of its cost-reduction plan to help make £33m in savings- the total number of NHS jobs losses now totals 15,025.

Britain- the sick heart of europe
Mon 15 May- Heart disease, the most preventable health threat facing Britain today, is costing the economy £29bn a year. Rising rates of obesity, an ageing population and the soaring prescription bills for heart drugs such as statins mean that the bill is likely to rise in the future.

A record 6 NHS hospital closures announced in one day in one county
Thu 11 May- Health Direct’s blog has been chronicling the sad demise of the NHS for over two and half years, but until today we have yet to observe the record of six NHS hospitals being closed in one day in only one county. Massive cuts to health services across Gloucestershire will see 500 job losses- many compulsory, community hospitals closed and maternity services moved to help balance a £38 million deficit.

Scots top heart death rate league in NHS postcode lottery
Tue 9 May- Scottish women are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those in south west England, figures show. British Heart Foundation (BHF) data shows Scots men and women still have the highest heart disease death rates in the UK at 221 and 81 per 100,000. Rates for men are next highest in north-west England at 210 and for women in Yorkshire at 72. The UK average is 173 for men and 58 per 100,000 for women. Death rates have fallen in every region of the UK.

NHS cutbacks and closures- Health Direct notes 11,525 NHS jobs are announced to date
Sat 6 May- Health Direct has collated over 11,525 NHS job redundancy announcements in recent weeks.

RCN warns of 13,000 NHS jobs cuts in cash crisis

Mon 24 Apr– Financial instability – the national picture: the NHS audit review shows well over a quarter of NHS organisations in England (including a third of Acute Trusts) have failed to break even at the end of the financial year 04/05. For the financial year 05/06, RCN does not believe that this is improving and estimates 27% of all NHS Trusts (and approximately half of Foundation Trusts) will report an end of year deficit.

Chief execs should ‘take the rap’ if the elderly are failed on dignity

Fri 21 Apr- Chief executives could face the sack if their trusts consistently fail to treat their elderly patients with dignity, the national clinical director for older people has said. Professor Ian Philp told HSJ he wanted to see dignity breaches become as ‘totemic’ an issue for senior managers as four-hour accident and emergency waits.

NHS cutbacks and closures- 7,500 latest roll call review

Fri 14 Apr– NHS hospital job cuts that will run into more than 7,500 have been announced in recent weeks as the NHS struggles to balance the books. Here is a timetable of the latest cutbacks and redundancy announcements

Warning over NHS hospital closures in “creative destruction”

Thu 6 Apr- The National Health Service is entering a period of “creative destruction” when hospitals will need to close and services be reconfigured, the former head of the Department of Health’s strategy unit warned this week. But Chris Ham, professor of health services management at Birmingham University, said there were serious doubts about whether politicians and health ministers “will be prepared to live with the consequences”. He said: “My guess is that they won’t.” The 2001 election result in Kidderminster was “engraved on politicians’ minds”, Prof Ham said.

Madness- Britain’s mental health time bomb

Mon 27 Mar- New figures reveal one in five people will need treatment. Which is why experts are calling £20m cuts in services ‘cruel and insane’. Health authorities are secretly cutting millions of pounds in funding for psychiatric services, despite alarming new evidence of a crisis affecting an estimated one in five people in Britain. In a move branded “the real madness” by health experts, debt-ridden NHS trusts are slashing budgets and cutting care for the mentally ill.

Hewitt puts job on the line in defence of NHS reforms

Tue 21 Mar -Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, has put her job on the line over the National Health Service’s finances and pledged to press ahead with market-based reforms. The reforms might seem to be going “too far and too fast”, she said, but were “absolutely necessary” and “the only route to safeguard the NHS”. Her pledge to press ahead came as it emerged that hundreds of jobs are likely to be cut from NHS Direct, the flagship telephone and web-based helpline as competition from others for services it hoped to provide threaten to plunge it into a deficit later this year.

Public pessimism about NHS grows sharply for Labours reforms

Thu 16 Mar– Public perceptions of the National Health Service have become sharply more pessimistic over the past three months, with an opinion poll showing the highest level of voter disillusion with the sector in four years. According to the latest results of the quarterly Deloitte/Ipsos MORI delivery index, some 22 per cent of people said they expected the NHS to get better over the next few years while 44 per cent expected it to get worse..

NHS overspending increases waiting times for patients

Tue 7 Mar– Early signs that a big overspend in the National Health Service in England is starting to affect patient care came with the waiting list figures for January. Although the total list rose by only 7,600 in the month, up 1 per cent, the number of patients waiting between three and five months for treatment has jumped by 36,600- 25 per cent. In other words, while the number of patients waiting has only risen slightly, the wait has increased.

Unfunded black hole in NHS pensions schemes grows to £26.8 billion

Mon 27 Feb– The black hole in public sector pensions is almost four times larger than originally estimated, Whitehall accounts show. This follows a change in the way the Government works out the cost of its retirement schemes. Labour Government documents show that since last year the amount of annual provision needed for public sector pensions has risen from £24.2 billion to £81 billion. For the NHS the Treasury figures disclosed that the provision for the NHS pension schemes this year are some £26.8 billion, rather than the £7.8 billion in the previous year’s figures.

Lung Cancer Patients’ Charter set up to combat NHS bias

Wed 8 Feb– Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer but sufferers are still not getting the care and attention they deserve, campaigners say. Patients who want more done to combat the disease have drawn up a Lung Cancer Patients Charter to set minimum standards for treatment.

Dobson leads opposition to plans for doctors’ surgeries in supermarkets

Thu 2 Feb– Frank Dobson has warned the Labour Government that allowing Tesco to offer family doctor style services could lead to the closure of GP surgeries. The former health secretary is leading opposition to the plans to bring private companies in to run NHS services usually provided by family doctors.

Alzheimer’s drugs to be available to NHS patients

Fri 27 Jan– Key drugs for people with moderate dementia will continue to be available on the NHS under revised plans unveiled by the treatment watchdog. NICE provoked an uproar in March last year when it published draft guidance which stated that drug treatments.

Sex offenders can still slip through NHS net

Wed 25 Jan– Known sex offenders could be employed in front-line children’s services for up to six months before their records are revealed. Trusts have been using a fast-track system since 2002, which clears recruits against government black lists, but these does not cross-reference with either the sex offenders register or local police information.

Cancer patients lose out in radiotherapy pressures

Tue 17 Jan– Staff shortages in radiotherapy units across the UK are leading to long waits for cancer patients and may be reducing their survival chances, a report says. Departments are often less able to cope with the volume of patients than their counterparts in many poorer countries, a British Medical Journal report said.

Welsh NHS in intensive care due to cash crisis

Wed 11 Jan– Jonathan Osborne, an ENT consultant in North Wales, is stepping down as chairman of the Welsh consultants’ committee. Here, Health Direct reproduces his damning assessment on the state of the NHS in Wales. As Wales struggles through the critical winter months, when hospitals are crammed to bursting point with emergency medical admissions, is our health service up to the task? The omens are not good.

NHS trust scraps Cardiac Catheter Ablation heart op that cured Blair

Tue 3 Jan– An NHS trust is scrapping the routine procedure- Cardiac catheter ablation that cured Tony Bliar of a heart murmur, because of its financial deficit and the need to hit the government’s six month waiting list targets. The move by Oxford Radcliffe trust will leave hundreds of patients with a debilitating condition that reduces their quality of life.

Thousands of elderly die alone in their homes

Thu 29 Dec– ‘Home alone’ deaths for thousands- thousands of people die miserable deaths alone, uncared for and in poverty, figures suggest. A study by MP Paul Burstow found around 60 people a week die alone without the support of friends and family.

Health watchdog finds two thirds of hospitals are dirty in spot inspections

Mon 19 Dec– The Healthcare Commission challenged hospitals to regain the confidence of patients on cleanliness by bringing all services up to the standards of the best. The regulator made the move when publishing the findings of the first independent inspections of hospital cleanliness in England. Inspectors visited 99 NHS and private hospitals between July and September, arriving unannounced to prevent a late clean up operation.

Health financial balancing act tumbles off tightrope

Fri 16 Dec– Why, amid the biggest feast in the National Health Service’s 57-year history, have parts of it managed to create such a famine? It is a question that even those in charge of the NHS’s finances are struggling to answer – let alone the bemused lay person who looks on bewildered as about a quarter of NHS trusts shed staff, delay operations for weeks or months, and cancel clinics in order to reduce by next April a deficit that between them is currently projected to total almost £1bn.

Hit teams to go into hospitals in deficit- which will only increase their cash shortages

Wed 7 Dec– Emergency turn-around teams are to be sent into the worst performing hospitals in England to tackle the NHS’s predicted £623 million budget deficit. Announcing the move, Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, said the teams were highly experienced in solving financial crises and management problems in the health service. Health Direct warns that these “hit teams” will be extremely expensive as they are consultants from the private sector. But these experts are not from any organisations with any medical specialiality- they are bean counters from McKinsey and PwC.

Teenagers health worsens despite millions being spent

Thu 1 Dec– Scottish teenages are getting fatter and more youngsters are smoking and drinking, according to a worrying new report. Scots appear to be ignoring messages aimed at improving their health, according to a new report which has found that obesity is on the rise and more teenagers are smoking and drinking.

MS patients to be given cannabis spray drug

Mon 21 Nov– A cannabis-based medicine is being made available to British patients with multiple sclerosis for the first time following approval from the Home Office for its importation from Canada. The oral spray derived from the cannabis plant will be available on prescription for around £4 a day. Research indicates that it relieves the pain and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.

Tamiflu anti bird flu drug linked to two deaths

Thu 17 Nov– The anti-flu drug Tamiflu can induce strange behaviour leading to accidental death, Japan’s health ministry has warned, after two teenagers died shortly after taking the medicine.

Anti male bias in battle for Cancer money

Wed 9 Nov– A man diagnosed with prostate cancer has only one- quarter of the cash spent on research into his disease compared to the amount devoted to a woman’s breast cancer. The wide discrepancy shows the scale of the discrimination against men. The two diseases kill similar numbers.

CMO labels N5H1 bird flu as ‘Public Enemy No1’

Wed 2 Novt– The Chief Medical Officer- Sir Liam Donaldson, has called on NHS managers to ‘react as well’ to a flu pandemic as they did to the London bombings. Professor Sir Liam Donaldson was speaking last week as he unveiled a revised contingency plan to deal with a possible transmission of avian flu to humans.

H5N1 Asian Bird flu may have been brought into UK earlier than thought

Thu 27 Oct– The possibility that H5N1 Asian bird flu could already be present in Britain is being studied by Government vets who are investigating whether the potentially lethal strain contaminated a quarantine “facility” in Essex much earlier than thought.

H5N1 bird flu inevitable says Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson

Mon 17 Oct– A severe form of avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ – called H5N1 – has affected poultry flocks and other birds in several Asian countries since 2003. As of 17 October 2005, 117 people have also caught the infection, as a result of close and direct contact with infected birds. Sixty of these have subsequently died.

17 million hospital food meals are wasted

Thu 13 Oct– One in 10 hospital meals is thrown away untouched, according to figures which raise fresh concerns over the hidden scandal of malnutrition among NHS patients. More than 17 million platefuls went into the bin last year, amid complaints from patients’ organisations that elderly and confused patients are not being given the help they need to eat, and that many are missing meals.

Half of Primary Care Trusts to close in NHS efficiency drive

Tue 11 Oct– The Department of Health is planning to axe more than half of Britain’s 302 Primary Care Trusts, which were created only three years ago. Sir Nigel Crisp, the chief executive of the Department of Heath, has written to the 28 Strategic Health Authorities urging them to make substantial cuts to the trusts, which purchase services from hospitals on behalf of general practitioners

UK Cancer care is worst in W Europe- NICE’s money shortages blamed

Mon 3 Oct– British delays keep new drugs from cancer patients- cancer patients in Britain are less likely to be treated with the latest medicines than those in almost any other European country, except for former communist states such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The lack of availability affects treatments including Herceptin, the breast cancer “wonder drug”.

1 in 4 people who may have diabetes are undiagnosed, new audit suggests

Thu 22 Sep– A quarter of all people who may have diabetes have not been identified, leaving them at increased risk of developing serious complications. This is a key finding of a clinical audit carried out by the Health and Social Care Information Centre on behalf of the Healthcare Commission.

Postcode lottery for drugs caused by NICE

Fri 16 Sep– Cuts keep patients waiting for drugs- Tens of thousands of patients face potentially fatal delays in receiving the best drugs for their diseases because of Government cuts, it was admitted. Almost a quarter of the treatment appraisals being carried out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) have been delayed because it has had to scrap one of its three committees carrying out assessments.

NHS warned over more A&E unit closures

Wed 24 Aug– Fears are growing about patient safety over the rising number of A&E units which are closing. Demand on A&E departments has rocketed since GPs stopped routinely providing out-of-hours cover last year.

Flu pandemic is a high possibility the HPA has warned

Mon 15 Aug- The risk of an influenza pandemic is at its highest for a ‘very, very long time’, the Health Protection Agency has warned. The agency has been preparing for an outbreak of a new virus ‘as though it will happen’, chief executive Professor Pat Troop

New NHS star ratings by Healthcare Commission

Mon 1 Aug– The Healthcare Commission has just published the annual star ratings of performance for NHS trusts in England. Star ratings show that the NHS improving against tougher targets but that a third of acute trusts fail on financial performance.

NPSA publishes first NHS patient safety data analysis

Tue 26 July– More than half a million patients every year suffer as a result of medical errors or incidents while in NHS hospitals. The first public analysis of patient safety data in England and Wales is published by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

Hospitals failing on safety targets, says CMO

Thur 21 July– Hospitals are slow to introduce measures to protect patients’ lives, Prof Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England, said yesterday. Publishing his annual report, On the State of Public Health, Sir Liam said the NHS had “not fully embraced” the concept of patient safety.

NHS still has a long way to go to achieve a ‘patient-led’ service, says the Healthcare Commission

Tue 19 July– Despite improvements the NHS still falls short on putting patients first, says a watchdog. The NHS still has a long way to go to achieve a ‘patient-led’ service, says the Healthcare Commission.

Prostate cancer ‘priority’ call

Mon 18 July- Over 30,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year and over 10,000 die from the cancer. Prostate cancer patients are demanding the disease is given a higher priority by the government and the NHS.

CMO criticises helpline delay

Tue 12 July- The chief medical officer will urge the police to set up emergency helplines more quickly after hospitals were flooded with calls from anxious relatives of commuters caught up in the London terror attacks.

BMA condemns competition and payment by results in NHS

Fri 8 July- The competitive market in the NHS and the policy of “payment by results” were both condemned by representatives at the BMA’s annual meeting in Manchester.

Care for old failing in London

Mon 4 July- Press headlines proclaiming a ‘care crisis’ have been commonplace in recent years. As care homes have closed and as hospitals have been unable to discharge patients who no longer need medical treatment but require some form of social care, there have been fears that the care market is failing.

Targets turn hospital into war zone, doctor tells Hewitt

Fri 1 July- A junior doctor told Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, that targets in accident departments were turning her hospital into a war zone.

Patients want cleanliness not choice BMA poll finds

Tue 28 June- Cleaning dirty hospitals should be the top priority for the NHS and is much more important than giving patients a choice of where they are treated, a poll of patients conducted for the doctors’ organisation, the British Medical Association (BMA) found.

NHS anti male bias kills 2,500 lives a year

Tue 21 June- Doctors have identified a “funding bias” against men within the National Health Service that they believe is costing at least 2,500 lives a year.

Third of NHS staff ‘reject own hospitals’

Thur 16 June- NHS staff were asked their views on a range of issues and around a third of NHS staff would not want to be treated in their own hospitals, a survey has found.

Hospital managers forced into ‘life and death’ choices

Tue 14 June- Hospital managers are being forced to make life or death decisions about closing wards when faced with an infection outbreak, according to the body that represents NHS trusts.

Heart patients lack aftercare

Wed 8 June– The Healthcare Commission today (Wednesday) publishes a survey of nearly 4,000 heart patients who have attended NHS trusts across England. The survey suggests too many patients are not receiving follow-up care and rehabilitation after being hospitalised with coronary heart disease.

Cannabis may help mentally ill

Mon 6 June– Chemicals found in cannabis could be used to relieve symptoms of severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, researchers have claimed.

Chief brands trust boards a disaster

Fri 27 May– The chief executive of the NHS Appointments Commission has launched a stinging attack on trusts’ committee culture, which he branded a ‘disaster’.

Out-of-hours systems miss targets

Thur 19 May- Now that Primary Care Trusts co-ordinate out-of-hours services, health bosses in the West have failed to meet some of their targets in providing an out-of-hours service.

Targeting the NHS targets

Wed 18 May- This labour government will be forever associated with targets when it comes to the health service. The t-word really came to the fore in the 2000 NHS Plan, which set more than 200 targets from increasing staff numbers to cutting waiting times.

Doctor stands for NHS services

Tue, 3 May– Dr Robert ‘Bob’ Hodges- is standing as an independent Parliamentary candidate in the Cheltenham constituency at the General Election as he is fighting the closure of NHS services.

NHS fertility system in chaos

Thu, April 28– Plans to reform fertility treatment available on the NHS have resulted in a chaotic postcode lottery system with vast differences in the level of treatment on offer.

750,000 UK flu pandemic deaths predicted

Mon, March 28– Mortuaries and emergency services are to be put on alert and told to prepare for up to three-quarters of a million deaths from a bird flu pandemic, The Independent on Sunday can reveal

Cot crisis in birthing cutbacks

Thu, March 17– Dozens of women due to give birth to seriously premature babies are being sent hundreds of miles around Britain each week because of an NHS crisis over intensive care cots

Government’s A&E target puts patient care at risk, says BMA survey

Despite the colossal efforts of accident and emergency (A&E) staff to improve waiting times for patients, the pressure to meet the Government’s 4-hour waiting target can put patient care at risk, according to new figures published by the British Medical Association (BMA)

Hospital’s “systemic failure” killed patient

A Bristol hospital’s “continued system failure” contributed to the death of a patient, an inquest jury has ruled. John Stratton was wrongly given an overdose of Heparin, an anti-blood clotting drug, at Bristol Royal Infirmary in January 2004.

25,000 die from preventable VTE

Each year over 25,000 people in England die from venous thromboembolism (VTE) contracted in hospital. This is more than the combined total of deaths from breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents, and more than twenty-five times the number who die from MRSA. The figures are alarmingly high.

£200m vaccine will only be just a stopgap against flu outbreak

More than 53,000 people could die, but antiviral jab will not prevent all the deaths the Government took out a £200 million insurance policy yesterday against an epidemic of flu that could kill more than 50,000 people.

Great Ormond St hospital cancelled operations and wards

Great Ormond Street hospital has revealed they have had to cancel operations, close beds and close wards because of a funding crisis. The famous children’s hospital blamed a systemic financial crisis.

Consultants fight closurers

A group of 35 consultants from Cheltenham General Hospital have taken a stand against closing childrens’ wards. They have sent a letter to Health secretary Dr John Reid asking him to call in proposals to move children’s inpatient services to Gloucestershire Royal. They say the move is the thin end of the wedge and that it will lead to more services leaving Cheltenham and going to Gloucester.

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