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Found 11 results
  1. Content Article
    Complaints from staff are not being heeded. Why is it that healthcare staff's opinions and pleas for their safety and the safety of patients do not matter? Here are just some examples of where safety has been compromised: Disposable gowns are being reused by keeping them in a room and then reusing after 3 days. There were no fit tests. Staff were informed by management that "one size fits all, no testers or kits available and no other trusts are doing it anyway". Only when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced recently that fit tests were a legal requirement, then fit tests were given. I queried about fit checks only to discover that it was not part of the training and, therefore, staff were wearing masks without seals for three months before fit tests were introduced and even after fit tests! I taught my colleagues how to do fit checks via telephone. There was no processes in place at the hospital to aid staff navigation through the pandemic (no red or green areas, no donning or doffing stations, no system for ordering PPE if it ran out); it was very much carry on as normal. A hospital pathway was made one week ago, unsigned and not referenced by governance, and with no instructions on how to don and doff. Guidelines from the Association for Perioperative Practice (AFPP) and Public Health England (PHE) for induction and extubation are not being followed – only 5 minutes instead of 20 minutes. Guidelines state 5 minutes is only for laminar flow theatres. None of the theatres in this hospital have laminar flow. One of my colleagues said she was not happy to cover an ENT list because she is BAME and at moderate/high risk with underlying conditions. She had not been risk assessed and she felt that someone with lower or no risk could do the list. She was removed from the ENT list, told she would be reprimanded on return to work and asked to write a report on her unwillingness to help in treating patients. The list had delays and she was told if she had done the list it would not have suffered from delays. Just goes to show, management only care about the work and not the staff. It was only after the list, she was then risk assessed. Diathermy smoke evacuation is not being used as recommended. Diathermy is a surgical technique which uses heat from an electric current to cut tissue or seal bleeding vessels. Diathermy emissions can contain numerous toxic gases, particles and vapours and are usually invisible to the naked eye. Inhalation can adversely affect surgeons’ and theatre staff’s respiratory system. If staff get COVID-19 and die, they become a statistic and work goes on as usual. The examples listed above are all safety issues for patients and staff but, like me, my colleagues are being ignored and informed "it's a business!" when these safety concerns are raised at the hospital. The only difference is they are permanent staff and their shifts cannot be blocked whereas I was a locum nurse who found my shifts blocked after I spoke up. Why has it been allowed to carry on? Why is there no Freedom To Speak Up Guardian at the hospital? Why has nothing been done? We can all learn from each other and we all have a voice. Sir Francis said we need to "Speak Up For Change", but management continues to be reactive when we try to be proactive and initiate change. This has to stop! Actions needed We need unannounced inspections from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and HSE when we make reports to them. Every private hospital must have an infection control team and Freedom To Speak Up Guardian in post.
  2. News Article
    The NHS has a low bed base, and NHS England is reviewing ‘how we right-size our capacity’ across hospital, community and ‘virtual’ services, Amanda Pritchard has said. The NHSE chief executive addressed the annual NHS Confederation this week and said: “The NHS has long had one of the lowest bed bases among comparable health systems. And in many respects this reflects on our efficiency and our drives to deliver better care in the community. “But it was true before the pandemic, and it remains true now that we have passed the point at which that efficiency actually becomes inefficient. “So the point has come where we need to review how we right-size our capacity across the NHS. That will of course look at the whole picture of hospital, community and virtual capacity.” Ms Pritchard also highlighted the current pressures on the emergency care system, which has widely been linked to slow discharges from hospital and insufficient social care provision. She cited the “unacceptable rise in 12-hour waits for admission from [accident and emergency]” which “underlines that the issue is flow”, and said “we know we will need to make more progress before winter”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 June 2022
  3. Content Article
    The Health and Social Care Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry to consider the preparedness of the UK to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. MPs will focus their discussion on measures to safeguard public health, options for containing the virus and how well prepared the NHS is to deal with a major outbreak. At Patient Safety Learning we are gathering #safetystories from both staff and patients to highlight the challenges for safety in healthcare that are resulting from the pandemic. Ahead of the Committee’s next oral evidence session we have raised several urgent safety issues with the Chair, Jeremy Hunt MP. The Committee should seek answers and actions from NHS leaders and politicians on the issues identified to ensure the safety of staff and patients. Below is a summary of our submission to the Committee, a full copy of which can be found here. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff There has been an increasing number of concerns raised by staff through the media over the past week around problems accessing appropriate PPE. While at a senior level there has been assurances about the availability of appropriate PPE for NHS staff, we are concerned that this is not being borne out by their experiences on the front-line, undermining trust and confidence that staff safety is being treated as a priority. In our submission we’ve cited several issues raised by healthcare workers in this regard, such as discrepancies in the amount of PPE available to staff in some roles (e.g. ambulances) as opposed to others (e.g. emergency departments). There have also been concerns about the guidance provided on what PPE is required. We’ve been advised of incidents where this has been downgraded to reflect the availability of supplies; this is clearly highly risky and does not reflect a science-based response to the pandemic. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What is being done to ensure all ‘at risk’ staff have access to PPE, not only in the Intensive Treatment Units (ITUs) but Emergency Departments, Wards, Ambulances, in the community, everywhere? Who is in charge in every organisation to ensure that PPE is available and in use, according to robust guidelines? How do staff report concerns and to whom? What assurances are there that the safety of staff is paramount and that the cost of PPE is not preventing staff from having access to life-saving protection? How is the NHS supply chain communicating with trusts over likely lead times for PPE and availability of supplies? Is there transparency in this so that trusts can plan effectively how to use the stocks they have left? Testing There has been a number of reports about how the UK’s approach to testing differs from World Health Organization guidance and we’ve had concerns raised directly with us by staff who are genuinely fearful that they are infected and spreading the virus to their friends, family and the general public without knowing. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What is the policy for testing and tracing patients for Covid-19 in the UK? What are the requirements for test production and testing capacity in this country? What are the plans and timescales to deliver this? We think that the scale of testing is compromising our ability to track the spread of the virus and isolate those that are infected. Non Covid-19 care Understandably the healthcare system is focusing its attention on the deadly effects of the coronavirus and we believe that we need to pay attention to patient safety now more important than ever. We are hearing stories of patients whose planned tests, elective operations, diagnostic procedures are being postponed or delayed while the health care system focuses on responding to the pandemic. It is important to assess the impact the coronavirus will have on other areas of care and ensure it does not magnify or exacerbate existing patient safety issues. We’re asking patients to share their safety stories with us to highlight weaknesses or safety issues that need to be addressed and share solutions that are working, so we can seek to close the close the gaps that might emerge as a result of the pandemic. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What arrangements are being put in place to inform patients and families of any changes in non Covid-19 care during the pandemic? How are UK patients and families being informed about any such changes in their care? What should patients do if they notice new signs and symptoms? References [1] UK Parliament, Health and Social Care Committee: Preparations for Coronavirus, Last Accessed 25 March 2020. [2] HSJ, Staff in ‘near revolt’ over protective gear crisis, Last Accessed 25 March 2020.
  4. Content Article
    RCEM’s recommendations An additional 4,500 beds across the United Kingdom be made available between now and next Winter, and approximately 8,500 more over the next five years. The allocation of additional beds should be made available based on a local assessment of population needs and not worsen health inequalities. Hospitals should define thresholds for occupancy, and justify if they exceed 85% (sometimes this is appropriate, but more often, not) • Any new hospital buildings should increase the proportion of side rooms in order to restrict the number of beds made unavailable through infection and reduce nosocomial infections. There needs to an increase in Mental Health bed capacity. Assessment areas for short term, resource intensive assessment of people suffering a mental health crisis would improve care and patient experience.
  5. News Article
    Hospitals across Ukraine are “desperate” for medical supplies, doctors have warned, as oxygen stores are hit and other vital health supplies run low amid bombardment from Russian forces. UK-based Ukrainian doctors have issued an urgent appeal for donations of supplies as they travel to eastern Europe in response to reports of shortages of medical equipment and medicines. The World Health Organisation warned on Sunday evening that oxygen supplies in Ukraine were “dangerously low” as trucks were unable to transport oxygen supplies from plants to hospitals across the country. Dr Volodymyr Suskyi, an intensive care doctor at Feofaniya Clinical Hospital in Kyiv, told The Independent he had been forced to use an emergency back-up system to supply oxygen to a patient on life support after the area near plant which supplies his hospital was bombed. Dr Dennis Olugun, a UK-based doctor who is leading the group of medics from the Ukrainian Medical Association of the United Kingdom (UMAUK) to deliver medical supplies, said the situation was “desperate” in some areas. He said some hospitals did not have basic necessities such as rubber gloves. He told The Independent: “What they need in the hospitals is portable ultrasound machines, portable x-ray machines because they have so many patients they much rather walk around the wards and do whatever diagnostic work rather than transporting patients." The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations have called for medicines, pharmaceutical ingredients and raw materials to be excluded from the scope of sanctions being levied against Russian trade. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 March 2022
  6. News Article
    NHS England has asked hospitals across the country to open hundreds more intensive care beds so they can take in patients from the hardest hit areas, to prevent those patches having to ration access. A letter sent to dozens of acute trusts today by NHS England asks them to enact their “maximum surge” for critical care from tomorrow, opening up hundreds of beds, which will rely on them redeploying staff and cancelling more planned care. The letter is to trusts in the Midlands but HSJ understands a similar approach is being taken in the other regions where critical care is not currently under as much pressure as London, the East of England and the South East. The message to surge capacity to support a “national critical care service” was reinforced to trusts nationwide in a call with Keith Willett, NHS England covid incident director, also on Wednesday. The letter, from the NHSE Midlands regional team, said there had been a national request for the region to surge beyond its own needs to support London and the East of England. “Significant” numbers are likely to be transferred, HSJ was told. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 January 2021
  7. News Article
    More than a third of critical care units in the East of England are either at or have exceeded their maximum surge capacity, information leaked to HSJ reveals, and all but one are above their normal capacity. Data from the region’s critical care network shows that as of 11 January, seven of the region’s 19 critical care units were either at 100% of, or had exceeded, what is known as ”maximum safe surge” capacity. This represents the limit of safe care, mostly based on available staffing levels. The units have opened more beds, but they require dilution of normal staffing levels. Across the East of England, 482 of the region’s current 491 intensive care beds, after the opening of surge capacity, were occupied. This included 390 patients in intensive care with confirmed covid-19, six with suspected covid and 86 non-covid patients. It gives a regional occupancy rate of 91 per cent against total “safe surge” capacity. Published government figures show the rapid increase in demand for intensive care in the East of England in the last two weeks — the number of patients with covid in mechanical ventilation beds is more than double what it was just after Christmas. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 11 January 2021
  8. News Article
    London’s hospitals are less than two weeks from being overwhelmed by covid even under the ‘best’ case scenario, according to an official briefing given to the capital’s most senior doctors this afternoon. NHS England London medical director Vin Diwakar set out the stark analysis to the medical directors of London’s hospital trusts on a Zoom call. The NHS England presentation, seen by HSJ , showed that even if the number of covid patients grew at the lowest rate considered likely, and measures to manage demand and increase capacity, including open the capital’s Nightingale hospital, were successful, the NHS in London would be short of nearly 2,000 general and acute and intensive care beds by 19 January. The briefing forecasts demand for both G&A and intensive care beds, for both covid and non-covid patients, against capacity. It accounts for the impact of planned measures to mitigate demand and increase capacity. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 6 January 2021
  9. News Article
    NHS hospitals have been told to cancel operations in an effort to free up 30,000 beds to create space for an expected surge in coronavirus patients. In a letter to NHS bosses today, NHS England said hospitals should look to cancel all non-urgent surgeries for at least three months starting from 15 April. Hospitals were given discretion to begin winding down activity immediately to help train staff and begin work setting up makeshift intensive care wards. Any cancer operations and patients needing emergency treatment will not be affected. The letter from NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: “The operational aim is to expand critical care capacity to the maximum; free up 30,000 (or more) of the English NHS’s 100,000 general and acute beds." In the meantime hospitals were told to do as much elective surgery, such as hip operations and knee replacements, as possible and to use private sector hospitals which it said could free up 12 to 15,000 beds across England. Sir Simon also said patients who did not need to be in hospital should be discharged as quickly as possible adding: “Community health providers must take immediate full responsibility for urgent discharge of all eligible patients identified by acute providers on a discharge list. For those needing social care, emergency legislation before Parliament this week will ensure that eligibility assessments do not delay discharge. Read full story Source: The Independent, 17 March 2020
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