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Found 15 results
  1. News Article
    A major acute trust has confirmed the health service inspectorate has begun a criminal investigation into three incidents at its hospitals. University Hospitals Birmingham FT told HSJ the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has started a criminal investigation into incidents involving potential errors around the provision of anti-coagulant medication. The trust received a letter from the CQC this month informing it that the regulator has begun the investigation under regulation 22 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (regulated activities) regulations 2014. The incidents happened at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and Good Hope Hospital — the trust’s two main sites. Regulation 22 says: “In order to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of service users, the registered person must take appropriate steps to ensure that, at all times, there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced persons employed for the purposes of carrying on the regulated activity.” The CQC launched a prosecution into East Kent Hospitals University FT this month for failing to meet fundamental standards of care. The regulator also successfully prosecuted University Hospitals Plymouth Trust in September after it pleaded guilty to breaching the duty of candour. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 October 2020
  2. News Article
    An anaesthetist who had been drinking before an emergency caesarean that led to the death of a British woman should serve the maximum three years in jail if convicted and should be banned from working as a doctor, a French prosecutor has demanded. Helga Wauters is on trial in Pau, south-west France, for the manslaughter of Xynthia Hawke in 2014. She is accused of starving Hawke of oxygen for up to an hour after pushing a ventilation tube into the wrong passageway. Orlane Yaouang, prosecuting, described the scene in the operating theatre when Hawke turned blue as “carnage” and spoke of the “surreal situation” in which the panicked hospital staff called the emergency services. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 9 October 2020
  3. News Article
    A GP has been given three life sentences for 90 sex assaults on female patients. Manish Shah assaulted 23 women and a 15-year-old girl while working in London - carrying out invasive examinations for his own gratification. The Old Bailey heard he used Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody as examples to frighten patients about their health. Judge Anne Molyneux described him as a "master of deception who abused his position of power". "You made up stories which got into heads and caused panic," she said. Shah, from Romford, convinced his victims to have unnecessary checks between May 2009 and June 2013. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 February 2020
  4. Content Article
    The reporting reveals a legal and medical system that sometimes struggles to differentiate accidental injuries from abuse, particularly in cases involving children too young to describe what happened to them. Physicians intent on protecting the most vulnerable in some instances have overstated the reliability of their findings, using terms such as “100 percent” and “certain” to describe conclusions that usually cannot be proven with absolute confidence. Child welfare workers, overworked and untrained in complex medical issues, are not always sure how to proceed when the primary evidence against a caregiver comes in the form of a doctor’s note. Under this system, children are sometimes taken from seemingly caring parents, while others are left in situations that, in rare cases, turn out to be deadly. Parents managed to regain custody in most of the cases reviewed by reporters, in some instances after additional medical findings or reports from outside experts raised doubts about the initial abuse determination. Nevertheless, some parents lost jobs or faced financial ruin as the result of their fights with Child Protective Services, and a few children emerged from foster care suffering from depression or other health issues. In a few instances, caregivers were charged criminally or had their parental rights permanently terminated, despite questions about the doctors’ findings in their cases.
  5. News Article
    Reports of illegal teeth-whitening that could leave patients at risk of health problems including burns or lost teeth have increased, the BBC has found. General Dental Council (GDC) figures showed a 26% rise in reports last year. Teeth-whitening can only be performed legally in the UK by professionals registered with the GDC. One beauty school claimed to have provided "thousands" of candidates with illegitimate qualifications, an undercover investigation found. Failure to comply with the requirement to be registered can result in a criminal record and an unlimited fine. Untrained beauticians using teeth-whitening kits have been known to cause tooth loss, burns and blisters. Dr Ben Atkins, president of the Oral Health Foundation, said: "When things go wrong in dentistry, they can really go wrong. I've been that dentist with the full back up service when the patient's had that heart attack. It would be catastrophic for the patient and the person who's been trained and told it's legal to do it." Read full story Source: BBC News, 10 February 2020
  6. Content Article
    Recommendations from the report There should be a single repository of the whole practice of consultants across England, setting out their practising privileges and other critical consultant performance data, for example, how many times a consultant has performed a particular procedure and how recently. This should be accessible and understandable to the public. It should be mandated for use by managers and healthcare professionals in both the NHS and independent sector It should be standard practice that consultants in both the NHS and the independent sector should write to patients, outlining their condition and treatment, in simple language, and copy this letter to the patient’s GP, rather than writing to the GP and sending a copy to the patient. Differences between how the care of patients in the independent sector is organised and the care of patients in the NHS is organised, should be explained clearly to patients who choose to be treated privately, or whose treatment is provided in the independent sector but funded by the NHS. This should include 219 Recommendations clarification of how consultants are engaged at the private hospital, including the use of practising privileges and indemnity, and the arrangements for emergency provision and intensive care. There should be a short period introduced into the process of patients giving consent for surgical procedures, to allow them time to reflect on their diagnosis and treatment options. We recommend that the GMC monitors this as part of ‘Good Medical Practice’ The CQC, as a matter of urgency, should assure itself that all hospital providers are complying effectively with up-to-date national guidance on MDT meetings, including in breast cancer care, and that patients are not at risk of harm due to non-compliance in this area. Information about the means to escalate a complaint to an independent body is communicated more effectively in both the NHS and independent sector. All private patients should have the right to mandatory independent resolution of their complaint. The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust board should check that all patients of Paterson have been recalled, and to communicate with any who have not been seen. We recommend that Spire should check that all patients of Paterson have been recalled, and to communicate with any who have not been seen, and that they should check that they have been given an ongoing treatment plan in the same way that has been provided for patients in the NHS. A national framework or protocol, with guidance, is developed about how recall of patients should be managed and communicated. This framework or protocol should specify that the process is centred around the patient’s needs, provide advice on how recall decisions are made, and advise what resource is required and how this might be provided. This should apply to both the independent sector and the NHS. The Government should, as a matter of urgency, reform the current regulation of indemnity products for healthcare professionals, in light of the serious shortcomings identified by the Inquiry, and introduce a nationwide safety net to ensure patients are not disadvantaged. The Government should ensure that the current system of regulation and the collaboration of the regulators serves patient safety as the top priority, given the ineffectiveness of the system identified in this Inquiry. If, when a hospital investigates a healthcare professional’s behaviour, including the use of an HR process, any perceived risk to patient safety should result in the suspension of that healthcare professional. If the healthcare professional also works at another provider, any concerns about them should be communicated to that provider. The Government addresses, as a matter of urgency, this gap in responsibility and liability.
  7. Content Article
    Colour is a hallmark of Autumn across the US. A more spectacular set of colours, in a variety of shapes and sizes, paint the sky at daybreak every October in New Mexico. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest gathering of its kind. In 2019, its 48th year, the fiesta hosted 550 hot air balloons, 650 pilots and entertained close to 900,000 visitors. The event holds a place on the bucket lists of travellers around the world. It is hard to describe the feeling of glee standing amid a mass ascension until you’ve been there amongst the early morning crowds. You might think it’s all fun, funnel cakes and floating but—like any aviation activity—ballooning entails risk. Make no mistake, the balloonists and their teams, the organisers, law enforcement, and even participants play a role in the safety of the event. Before sunrise each day, the “dawn patrol” of 8–10 hot air balloonists lift off. These experienced pilots gage the safety of the sky prior to the authorities giving the signal for the assent to begin. Only after that, does the wave after wave of multiple balloons unpack, gear up, inflate and take off from the field. Crews mull about, patiently navigating their designated space amongst onlookers and their cameras to get ready for flight. They implement standard procedures to safely gear-up for flight. Healthcare, too, prepares teams for complex situations to ensure safety through standardisation and practice. The US healthcare accreditation agency, the Joint Commission, shared insights on reducing maternal harm due to postpartum haemorrhaging that summarises best practices centered on readiness, recognition, response and reporting to support systems learning. Stanford Medicine in California recently held a series of “dress rehearsals” prior to opening a new hospital. The test of the space gave clinicians, administrators and patient advisors a chance to make sure conditions were right for a safe opening day. The fiesta organisers also deploy tactics to learn from what doesn’t go well. They use technology to gather input from crews and the public to identify areas for improvement. Traffic into the 360-acre launch site creates ineffective and potentially dangerous situations given the swell of people arriving in town. Attendees almost double the size of the city for the 10-day event. Public input gathered online helped planners to redesign this year’s park and ride shuttle system after it failed in 2018 to reliably get people to the festival. Hospitals also use information technology to learn how to improve the safety of the care experience. Researchers in Washington State developed a 4-step model built on inpatient experiences with undesirable events. They used patient and family knowledge to design informatics solutions that engage patients as contributors to safety. The model supports raising awareness of problems, encouraging prevention actions, managing emotional harms and reducing barriers to reporting .A rare situation stalled the festival this year: fog. Yes, fog is not something New Mexican’s encounter often but it shut down opening day morning—none of the balloonists could take off. This unique occurrence would have been all the more problematic had teams not heeded safety advice in this less-than-ideal situation. Practices and protocols keep patients safe too but only if they are followed. A unique set of circumstances led to the death of a patient awaiting care in a Pennsylvania emergency department. Protocols weren’t followed limiting situation awareness, communication and process completion. Balls were dropped and the results were tragic. Complex systems can manifest unintended consequences from strategies designed to protect people. Balloon fiesta has its share of mishaps. Pilots end up in the Rio Grande, drift into powerlines, bones get broken and, rarely, lives are lost. The expert crews mean well but failures happen. A nurse in Tennessee who made a medication mistake that resulted in patient death was charged criminally. While lawmakers may feel this is a just approach, it is a threat to healthcare transparency. A series of incidents involving misdiagnosis of child abuse is raising concerns in the US. While specialised paediatricians can readily identify patient conditions that indicate abuse, sometimes those judgements are made in error. The decisions made to protect children instead accuse innocent parents or family members of harm. The safe flight of those families then tumbles to the ground. The pace is back to normal in Albuquerque. Balloons still float above us in the morning and afternoon—'tis the season. They brighten the clear blue skies with the Sandia mountains as a backdrop. But you can bet that what did go wrong this year will be folded into the event planning so all that participate in the 2020 festival will be as safe as possible.
  8. Content Article
    This National Partnership Agreement sets out: the defined roles of the five partners the commitment to working together and sharing accountability for delivery through the linked governance structures core objectives and our priorities for 2018-21, and a link to the workplans that provide the details of the activities to deliver priorities how they are working together to improve data and evidence so that they can better understand the health needs of people in custody and the quality of health and social care services delivered to people in prisons.
  9. Content Article
    This report is not simply a story about a rogue surgeon. It would be tragic enough if that was the case, given the thousands of people whom Ian Paterson treated. But it is far worse. It is the story of a healthcare system which proved itself dysfunctional at almost every level when it came to keeping patients safe, and where those who were the victims of Paterson’s malpractice were let down time and time again. This video report was streamed live on ITV News on 4th February 2020.
  10. Content Article
    The Government’s response and action needed The Government’s response to the publication of the Inquiry’s report advised that they would look at these recommendations and report back ”in three to four months’ time”.[3] When doing this it is vital that these recommendations are considered holistically as part of the wider change that is needed, where patient safety is treated as a strategic purpose of healthcare. Patient safety is currently treated as one of many priorities to be weighed against each other. We think it is wrong that safety is negotiable. Patient safety must be core to the purpose of healthcare, reflected in everything that it does. We look forward to the Government’s response to the Inquiry recommendations. This must include action for change, including: Culture change Creating a culture in healthcare where staff feel safe and secure in reporting patient safety concerns, knowing their concerns will be actively welcomed, listened to and acted upon. Healthcare organisations should regularly and independently assess their organisational culture and have programmes of action to ensure a just and learning culture is in place. Staff reporting concerns An open and learning culture clearly signposting staff on how to raise concerns and that these concerns are acted upon. Harmed patients are supported Patients receive the support they need when things go wrong. ‘Harmed patient care pathways’ outline the provision of advice, guidance, practical and psychological support to patients and families. Learning from complaints All private patients have the right to mandatory independent resolution of their complaint. Patient safety applies to all, irrespective of whether care is provided for in the NHS or independent sector. #Share4Safety Organisations develop systems and measurements to improve patient safety, collecting data on patient safety and sharing learning. We strongly support the recommendation made by the Inquiry that where a healthcare professional is suspended with a perceived risk to patient safety, these concerns should be communicated to other providers that they work for. Leading and owning patient safety A new model for leadership and governance for patient safety that operates in both the NHS and independent sector. There should be high standards and behaviours set for our leaders and they should be supported by specialist patient safety experts in executive and non-executive board roles. Organisations need clear and published goals for patient safety with board focus and effectively oversight on reducing patient harm. The healthcare system operates as one coordinated system with patient safety as a core purpose. If action isn’t taken, then the Paterson Inquiry will become yet another report of unsafe care where sympathetic noises are made but no real learning and change occurs. If Government and leaders say that ‘lessons have been learned’ then they need to tell us what those lessons are, what actions they are taking, and publish updated reports on their progress and share these publicly. Without having these measures in place, how can the public and patients be assured that there won’t be future reports of unsafe care? As the Inquiry Chair said, “it is wishful thinking that this could not happen again”. References The Guardian. Ian Paterson inquiry: more than 1,000 patients had needless operations. 4 February 2020. The Right Reverend Graham Jones. Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, February 2020. House of Commons Debate, Paterson Inquiry, 4 February 2020, Volume 671.
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