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Found 352 results
  1. News Article
    A senior doctor has told Scottish ministers to drop “patient-blaming language” over “unnecessary attendances” at emergency departments. Lailah Peel, the deputy chairwoman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said the phrase suggested that patients were responsible for the problems and showed a misunderstanding of the issues. Patients have waited 30 hours for beds in overcrowded A&E units while ambulances have queued outside hospitals waiting to hand over patients to overstretched staff. Sturgeon, announcing measures to ease the strain, said: “To reduce the pressures in hospital and the knock-on impacts at the front door we need to do more firstly to avoid unnecessary attendances at hospital and second to speed up the discharge of patients from hospital.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 12 January 2023
  2. News Article
    An investigation by The Independent has revealed that the number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E for treatment has exceeded 50,000 a week for the first time. Leaked NHS data shows that last month as many as one in eight patients faced a “trolley wait”—the time between attending A&E and being admitted—longer than 12 hours, as the health service comes under ever greater strain. Sources across the country told The Independent that hospitals are having to “squeeze” patients into spaces other than normal wards or A&E, with no direct oxygen lines. Meanwhile patients wait for hours in ambulances outside emergency departments. Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 January 2023
  3. News Article
    Patients have suffered cardiac and respiratory arrests because of errors using oxygen cylinders, NHS England has warned, citing more people being cared for in “areas without access to medical gas pipeline systems” such as corridors and ambulances queuing outside A&E. A patient safety alert issued by NHS England today identifies 120 incidents in the past year related to oxygen cylinder use, including cylinders either being empty at point of use, not switched on, inappropriately transported, or inappropriately secured. Some of the incidents involved “compromised oxygen delivery to the patient, leading to serious deterioration and cardiac or respiratory arrest” the alert said, and at least 43 caused harm. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 10 January 2023
  4. News Article
    Nigel Edwards is the Chief Executive of the think tank the Nuffield Trust. In this interview, he outlines the discharge problems currently faced by NHS hospitals, highlighting lack of staff and resources in the social care sector as major causes of hospital capacity issues. Source: Channel 4 News
  5. News Article
    Patient safety is at risk “every single day”, with patients in desperate need of intensive care waiting hours in Accident and Emergency departments across Scotland, the deputy chair of British Medical Association Scotland has said. The harrowing description of the scenes in hospitals came as health secretary Humza Yousaf admitted patients were receiving care he would not want to receive himself as the NHS continues to battle intense winter pressures. Dr Lailah Peel, deputy chair of the Scottish arm of the British Medical Association (BMA), told the BBC’s Sunday Show the crisis was “years in the making”. She blamed a creaking social care system and increased delayed discharges. The comments come after details of a January 2021 briefing from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the College of Paramedics to the health secretary warned of an unacceptable situation in Scotland’s hospitals. Reported in the Sunday Times, the briefing also specified the actions needed to avoid a similar situation during the current winter crisis, warning an increase of at least 1,000 new beds was needed as well as more doctors and nurses. Dr Peel said it was the case patients were “absolutely” dying in hospitals in Scotland due to the ongoing crisis in the health service. "There’s no shadow of a doubt that that is happening,” she told the BBC. Read full story Source: The Scotsman, 8 January 2023
  6. News Article
    The extent of the gridlock in hospitals over Christmas has been revealed, with data in England showing record numbers of ambulances delayed dropping off patients at A&E. More than 40% of crews were forced to wait at least half an hour to hand over patients in the week up to 1 January. That is the highest level since records began a decade ago. But there is hope pressures could soon start easing, with flu and Covid admissions dropping last week. But the UK Health Security Agency is warning it is too early to say whether the flu season - the worst in a decade - has peaked, because reporting lags over the festive period may have affected the data. And Matthew Taylor, of the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals, said wards were still incredibly full, which was creating delays in A&E and for ambulances. He said hospitals were facing "crisis conditions" that were presenting a risk to patients. Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 January 2023
  7. News Article
    Junior doctors have threatened to stage a “full walkout” for three consecutive days in March in which they would not treat A&E patients. The British Medical Association told the government this morning that junior doctors would strike for 72 hours if it is supported in a ballot that opens next week. The association said that “doctors will not provide emergency care during the strike”, which is likely to worsen deadly accident and emergency delays. Hospital bosses said they were “deeply worried” by the BMA’s announcement, urging the government to start negotiating rather than “sitting back and letting more strikes happen”. NHS bosses fear that the BMA will co-ordinate strike action with the nursing and ambulance unions if the dispute is allowed to rumble on. Nurses will strike on January 18 and 19, and ambulance workers are due to walk out on January 11 and 23. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 6 January 2023
  8. News Article
    A man turned up to an accident and emergency department in the Midlands complaining about ear wax on the day a hospital declared a critical incident, a nurse who works there has said. Lesley Meaney, a sister at University Hospitals of North Midlands (UNHM), said the patient presented to A&E with “no pain, no discomfort, just eat war wax!” Earlier on 30 December officials at the trust declared a critical incident, citing “extremely high demand for all of our services.” The disclosure by Ms Meaney underlines the scale of the challenge facing the NHS and staff working in hospitals across the country. Writing on Twitter, Ms Meaney added: “Seriously what is up with the general population? A major incident declared, ambulances queuing, and you decide to come to the emergency department on New Year’s Eve with ear wax.” Dr Matthew Lewis, medical director at UNHM, said: “The accident & emergency departments at UHNM are some of the busiest in the country so we would urge the public to only come to our Emergency Departments if it’s for serious, life-threatening conditions that need immediate medical attention, such as persistent severe chest pain, loss of consciousness, acute confusion, severe blood loss, serious burns, broken bones, suspected stroke. Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 January 2023
  9. News Article
    The crisis engulfing the NHS will continue until Easter, health leaders have warned, as senior doctors accused ministers of letting patients die needlessly through inaction. More than a dozen trusts and ambulance services have declared critical incidents in recent days, with soaring demand, rising flu and Covid cases and an overstretched workforce piling pressure on the health service. But amid warnings that up to 500 people a week may be dying due to delays in emergency care alone, and of oxygen for seriously ill patients running out in parts of England, NHS leaders warned more chaos was expected until April. “It seems likely that the next three months will be defined by further critical incidents needing to be declared and the quality of care being compromised,” said Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ministers face growing pressure to grip the crisis. The British Medical Association (BMA) said the government’s “deafening” silence and failure to act was a “political choice” that was leading to patients “dying unnecessarily”. The Liberal Democrats urged the government to recall parliament, while Labour blamed government “mismanagement” for creating a sense of “jeopardy” around the NHS. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 January 2022
  10. News Article
    Patients should “make their own way to hospital” if they can do so during Wednesday’s strike by ambulance workers, a cabinet minister said yesterday, as the government warned that the industrial action would put lives at risk. Senior government figures said that ambulance unions had still not agreed national criteria for what conditions would be considered life threatening and responded to during the strike. Steve Barclay, the health secretary, is understood to be writing to all striking unions, including nurses, seeking discussions on patient safety. Yesterday Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Office minister, said people should still call 999 in an emergency but might in less serious cases have to make their own way to hospital. “We are working to ensure that if you have a serious injury, in particular a life-threatening injury, you can continue to rely on the ambulance service, and we would urge people in those circumstances to dial 999,” he told Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg on BBC1. “If it is the case that you have less serious injuries, you should be in touch with 111, and you should seek to make your way to hospital on your own if you are able to do so.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 19 December 2022
  11. News Article
    Patients are not safe from harm in three out of seven emergency departments, a damning new Hiqa inspection report has revealed. The report was released on the same day as an Oireachtas committee was warned of a growing crisis in primary care, with patients in some parts of the country unable to access basic GP services. Emergency Departments in Cork University Hospital (CUH) and University Hospital Limerick (UHL) were among seven EDs assessed by the health watchdog. In three EDs, including Cork and Limerick, inspectors found failures to ensure “service providers protect service users from the risk of harm.” Inspectors also found patients’ “dignity, privacy and autonomy” was not respected in UHL, while CUH was only partially compliant in this area. The report also highlighted lengthy waiting times, including one patient who spent 116 hours on a trolley at UHL. Read full story Source: The Irish Examiner, 15 December 2022
  12. News Article
    Elderly people who fall may only be sent an ambulance after they have spent four hours on the floor, and some category 2 calls may not be responded to under one of the first agreements with ambulance unions about next week’s strikes. But the deal between South East Coast Ambulance Service and the GMB union will see many union staff continue to work on ambulances and in control rooms – and others may be asked to come off the picket line if operational pressures escalate. HSJ has seen the details of the deal – thought to be one of the first agreed before next Wednesday’s strike. Some other trusts are hoping to conclude negotiations shortly, but for several — such as in the North West and London — it is thought no strike “derogations” (exceptions) have so far been agreed, and managers are concerned that unions are resistant. Trusts have been pushing for more cover on strike days – especially around category 2 calls. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 December 2022
  13. News Article
    All ambulance services have declared the highest level of alert due to ‘extreme pressures’ facing the urgent and emergency care system. One senior ambulance chief told HSJ that ambulance response times have dropped dramatically in the last few days, while A&E handover delays have surged. They said: “The wheels are falling off [the emergency care system] now, we’re in a really awful situation.” They said ambulance leaders have major concerns about the planned strike action by nurses on Thursday, fearing this will exacerbate discharge delays and have a knock-on effect on ambulance handover problems. It also comes ahead of strike action planned by ambulance staff for next week. HSJ has seen internal communications which confirm all ten ambulance trusts in England are now in level four of their “resource escalation action plan”, which means they can seek assistance from other nearby trusts or services. However, this is more difficult when an entire sector is under pressure, as is the case currently. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 December 2022
  14. News Article
    Bosses at the North West Ambulance Service issued an urgent warning to members of the public on 999 calls and apologised for delays last night. At 5pm on Monday (December 12), more than 600 patients were waiting for an ambulance across the North West, the service said. Another 100 emergency vehicles were parked outside of hospitals waiting to handover patients. 'Severe weather and hospital handover delays' had an impact on the service last night, as well as 'significant demand'. Ambulance chiefs said they had to 'maximise resources' by putting all clinically-trained staff on the frontline and increasing use of private providers. In an urgent message issued on Monday night, medical director Dr Chris Grant said: "This is an urgent message for the public across the whole of the North West. Tonight, across both our 111 and 999 services, we're seeing a really significant demand and I apologise for the delay in getting care to you but I do need your help. "We've called in all our operational and clinical resources to make sure we prioritise those who have the most life-threatening conditions. We need to keep our phone lines free so please only call us back if you no longer need our help or if your own condition has got significantly worse. Thanks for your support." Ged Blezard, director of operations at NWAS said: "Please only call 999 if someone has a serious illness or injury, you think their life is at risk, and you cannot get them to hospital by any other means. We know there are patients waiting for our help and we are sorry that we are unable to respond as quickly as we would like. Read full story Source: Manchester Evening News, 13 December 2022
  15. Content Article
    Key findings Awareness of the range of UEC options is generally good but patients and the public are sometimes confused about the difference between A&E and walk-in centres, minor injuries units and urgent treatment centres. Confusion is compounded by the patchy availability of some of these, in terms of both locations and opening times. A key driver of attendance at A&E is the difficulty of getting appointments or advice from GPs and NHS 111. Another is that people are not getting the support they need in the community - for example to manage long term conditions. Some of those going to A&E are clear that they would have preferred a GP appointment. Some evidence suggests that referrals to UEC might not always be appropriate. Between 2019 and 2021, GP referrals in general increased significantly (179%), but avoidable attendances from GP referrals more than doubled (255%). Care homes might be taking an overly cautious approach - 41% of care home referrals may be avoidable. NHS 111 might also be over-cautious. Patients enduring long waits in A&E seem less concerned about adherence to the four hour target (if they are even aware of it) than about unpleasant experiences in waiting areas - some with possible clinical or patient safety risks. Some discomfort could be mitigated by better communication - for example regular updates on anticipated waiting times.
  16. News Article
    As the pressures of winter and the Covid treatment backlog grow, the NHS is struggling. In Manchester, one organisation is pioneering a new way to care for people that tries to reduce the burden on the health service. It's the first call-out of the day for nurse Manju and pharmacist Kara in north Manchester. They are on their way to see Steven, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and had a fall the previous night. This might have led to a call-out for an ambulance crew and a visit to A&E. But instead the Manchester Local Care Organisation (LCO) stepped in. Once at Steven's house, Manju makes sure he hasn't been harmed by his fall, while Kara checks his medication. Manju notes that Steven's tablets could have contributed to his fall. Manju asks Steven how he copes going up and down the stairs. "I'm OK, just about," he says. But when he has a go at coming down the stairs, Manju spots he could use an extra grab rail and says she will sort one out. This intervention by the team has not only avoided Steven ending up in A&E, but also ensures he can continue to live independently in his own home. That's a key part of the LCO mission, according to Lana McEwan, one of the team leaders in north Manchester. "We would consider ourselves to be an admission-avoidance service, so we're trying to prevent ambulances being called in the first instance. "When an ambulance has been called, we're taking referrals directly from the ambulance service and responding within a one or two-hour response depending on need, and that's an alternative to A&E." Local neighbourhood teams are made up of nurses, social workers, pharmacists and doctors, all working together to keep people out of hospital. Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 December 2022
  17. News Article
    Lying on a trolley in a hospital corridor in pain from a broken hip, Anne Whitfield-Ray could not believe she was in the care of the NHS. "It was absolute chaos - like something out of a third world country," said the 77-year-old from Worcestershire. "The staff were rushed off their feet, paint was peeling off the walls and patients were being squeezed in everywhere they could - in makeshift bays, in corridors and side rooms. It was horrific." Anne spent 15 hours in that position until a bed could be found for her. Such delays used to be the exception, something that happened on the odd occasion in the depths of winter. Now they are commonplace. Latest figures show nearly 40% of A&E patients who need admitting face what is called a trolley wait - a delay of four hours or more waiting for a bed to be found. These are the sickest and frailest patients - the ones who cannot be sent home immediately after treatment. Research has linked delays like this with longer hospital stays and even a higher risk of death. By the time patients get to this point, they may have already faced hours of waiting in A&E or, increasingly, stuck outside A&E in the back of an ambulance, as was the case for Anne. She is now back home recovering after surgery, a few days after her fall in October. She said that despite her experience she cannot fault the staff: "They are doing the best they can. But this is not what should be happening in the NHS". Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 December 2022
  18. News Article
    NHS managers will be held accountable for failings at an overcrowded hospital where patients were put at risk of “serious harm” and some were left waiting up to 25 hours for a bed, ministers have warned. Forth Valley Royal Infirmary’s A&E was operating at two and a half times capacity during a visit by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) in September. Inspectors said that patients were at risk because of poor handling of medicines and unsafe working conditions at the hospital, which was placed in special measures by the Scottish government last month. The Times reported last month that the hospital had been declared “unsafe” by staff after five consultants resigned following severe criticism of the hospital’s leadership. They described it as a “war zone” and told of fire-fighting to cope with patient numbers while working in a “toxic” environment. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 6 December 2022