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Found 413 results
  1. News Article
    A prolific surgeon accused of poor care — some with a ‘catastrophic outcome’ — and altering patient notes has been found guilty of misconduct following a tribunal hearing. Jeremy Parker, who performed hundreds of operations at Colchester Hospital and the private Oaks Hospital until his suspension in 2019, faced a misconduct hearing in December and January. The medical practitioners tribunal investigated allegations that between August 2015 and November 2018, Mr Parker failed to provide good clinical care to six patients. It was also alleged he performed surgery in breach of restrictions on his clinical practice between October 2018 and January 2019 and that his actions were dishonest. Richard Holland, opening the tribunal case for the General Medical Council, said Mr Parker’s care of six patients – referred to as patients A-F – was “deficient” in a number of ways, with that provided to patient A leading to a “catastrophic outcome” where their leg was amputated below the right knee following “catastrophic blood loss” caused by severing of an artery during surgery. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 February 2022
  2. News Article
    An NHS surgeon has admitted to botching patients’ surgeries which left them with life-changing injuries, a tribunal has heard. Dr Camillo Valero, who works at Norfolk and Norwich NHS trust and is facing allegations over his conduct towards three patients, has been admitted to severing a patient’s gallbladder during an operation. Dr Valero is facing a medical practitioner’s tribunal where he already admitted to failures during two patients’ procedures. Allegations against him include a failure to obtain a “critical view of safety” for his patients during surgeries. He is also accused of shouting at patients during an altercation in an allegedly “aggressive” manner. According to a tribunal document he was accused of asking the patient “are you a doctor?” when discussing his medication. During surgery, Dr Valero is alleged to have misinterpreted the patient’s anatomy or sought assistance from an experienced surgeon following mistakes. In the case of the third patient, allegations which have not been admitted or proven, Dr Valero is reported to have inappropriately discharged a patient with learning disabilities and did not adequately assess their mental capacity. Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 January 2023
  3. News Article
    A hospital trust is facing a fine in a criminal prosecution over the death of a baby. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is prosecuting Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust over the death of Wynter Andrews. Wynter died 23 minutes after she was born by Caesarean section in September 2019 at the Queen's Medical Centre.  The prosecution is one of only two the CQC has brought against an NHS maternity unit. The trust is due to face sentencing at Nottingham Magistrates' Court later. Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 January 2023
  4. News Article
    A trust that sacked a whistleblower who had warned them about potential patient harm from a new procedure has been told to pay her more than £200,000. Jasna Macanovic won her case against Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust last year after the employment tribunal found board members had broken employment rules, including by telling her she would get a good reference if she agreed to quietly resign. Earlier this month, an employment tribunal judgment to establish the compensation she was owed said the trust had subjected Dr Macanovic to “a campaign of harassment” and rejected Portsmouth’s claim she had contributed to her own dismissal. The consultant nephrologist, who had been at the trust for 17 years, raised concerns about a technique called “buttonholing” – carried out to make kidney dialysis more convenient and less painful – that she claimed had caused harm to patients. After the procedures continued, the dispute escalated, culminating with Dr Macanovic being dismissed in March 2018. The employment tribunal panel said Dr Macanovic had raised her concerns about buttonholing properly, adding: “She was not alone in her concerns. The consultant body were fairly evenly divided. “She, however, went further than others, and where she believed that risks were being downplayed she did not hesitate to describe this as a cover-up or an act of dishonesty. Most people would not use that language, and it did cause very serious offence, but it had a specific meaning. It was not a general slur.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 January 2023
  5. News Article
    Ministers must use legislation to address an “unacceptable and inexcusable” failure to address racial disparity in the use of the Mental Health Act (MHA), MPs and peers have said. The joint committee on the draft mental health bill says the bill does not go far enough to tackle failures that were identified in a landmark independent review five years ago, but which still persist and may even be getting worse. The committee says the landmark 2018 review of the MHA by Prof Simon Wessely – which the bill is a response to – was intended to address racial and ethnic inequalities, but that those problems have not improved since then “and, on some key metrics, are getting rapidly worse”. Lady Buscombe, the committee chair, said: “We believe stronger measures are needed to bring about change, in particular to tackle racial disparity in the use of the MHA. The failure to date is unacceptable and inexcusable. “The government should strengthen its proposal on advanced choice and give patients a statutory right to request an advance choice document setting out their preferences for future care and treatment, thereby strengthening both patient choice and their voice.” A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are taking action to address the unequal treatment of people from Black and other ethnic minority backgrounds with mental illness – including by tightening the criteria under which people can be detained and subject to community treatment orders. “The government will now review the committee’s recommendations and respond in due course.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 January 2023
  6. News Article
    A group of transgender people have lost their legal case against NHS England over waiting times to get seen by a gender specialist. The two trans adults and two trans children had tried to get the wait times - more than four years in one of their cases - deemed illegal. But a High Court judge ruled on Monday the waiting times are lawful. The Good Law Project - which helped to bring the legal action - said it would seek permission to appeal. The four people brought the legal action against NHS England (NHSE) over the waiting time to get a first appointment with a gender dysphoria specialist. The claimants argued that NHS England was failing to meet a duty to ensure 92% of patients referred for non-urgent care start treatment within 18 weeks. They said the waiting times were discriminatory, arguing the delays faced by trans people were longer than for other types of NHS treatment. But the judge dismissed the claim on several grounds. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 January 2023
  7. Content Article
    It’s so important that mesh-injured women are able to access redress for their injuries, many of which are life-changing. Often, financial support is not a bonus but is necessary, as women have had to leave their jobs or reduce their hours to cope, move to accessible housing or sell their home to live with family. Many have also experienced marriage breakdown as a result of mesh complications. One in four women in Sling The Mesh need a stick to help them walk, so need to pay for mobility aids or scooters, and there are also the ongoing costs of travel to doctors and hospital appointments. Waiting times are up to four years for mesh removal, so many women cash in savings or pensions to pay for private removal which costs thousands. The psychological impact of mesh injuries also takes a toll and with long NHS mental health waiting lists, many turn to the private sector for counselling for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma. Likewise, many women have difficulty accessing NHS Physiotherapy so turn to the private sector for specialised physio to help mobilise internal pelvic scar tissue which can cause ongoing pain after mesh removal. The concept of redress is about proactively correcting a wrong that has been done to a group or individual. It differs from clinical negligence, which is about identifying and proving that the actions of an individual healthcare professional or service caused specific harm. Redress involves an authority taking responsibility for harm that has been caused under its watch, whereas clinical negligence is an adversarial process with strict legal boundaries. In 2020, the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) Review’s report, ‘First Do No Harm’ (Cumberlege Review), called for “a new independent Redress Agency for those harmed by medicines and medical devices” to be created, based on models operating effectively in other countries.[1] This Agency was to offer women harmed by mesh a specific, non-adversarial route to compensation. However, in its official response to the report, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) rejected this recommendation, stating that “while the government is sympathetic to the experiences of those patients who gave evidence to the report, our primary focus is on improving future medicines and medical devices safety.”[2] The Government's failure to accept the IMMDS recommendations around setting up a Redress Agency means that the clinical negligence system is the only route left to women to pursue financial compensation, and it is a long, onerous process that is often unsuccessful. Sarah’s story - failures in the clinical negligence route Sarah* has spent the last two years fighting for redress through a clinical negligence case because of injuries following pelvic mesh surgery. Over the past few years, she has gone through two episodes of mesh erosion, two surgeries and an episode of sepsis. Since the mesh device was implanted, she has also experienced fibromyalgia and arthritis of the sacroiliac joints. She recently received a letter from the Head of Clinical Negligence at the law firm she was working with, informing her that they would not take her case forward. It was unlikely to be successful as she had her surgery before complications for mesh surgery were fully understood, and prior to 2013 when National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence (NICE) guidelines for urinary stress incontinence were changed. The letter stated: "The difficulty with your claim is that your TVT/mesh insertion surgery took place quite some time ago in 2007 when this was considered to be the gold standard to treat stress urinary incontinence, because the mesh surgery was quick, relatively simple and did not require a prolonged stay in hospital. It was only later on that the problems with mesh and the risks associated with mesh became fully known.” "A court would assess your claim based on the state of medical knowledge and expertise that existed at the time you had the mesh surgery in April 2007, with the problems and risks associated with mesh only becoming known at a later stage. "Consequently, a court will take the view that the consultant advising you at the time of your surgery in 2007 could only advise you based on the state of medical knowledge that existed at that time and cannot be held legally to blame for the treatment and advice that he gave you, if the risks associated with mesh only became apparent afterwards. "Therefore, unfortunately, further to the above we believe that if your claim proceeded further with the commencement of court proceedings, we would not have a reasonable prospect of success." It is my view that, given the evidence of harm caused by pelvic mesh, a woman who underwent surgery in 2007 should be equally entitled to redress as a woman who had surgery much later. I highlighted the issue with Helen Hughes, Chief Executive of Patient Safety Learning, who responded, “When responding to the IMMDS Review, the Government rejected a recommendation to introduce a separate redress scheme for mesh on the basis that patients could take healthcare providers to court for clinical negligence, or manufacturers for product liability. However, as this case sadly illustrates, the legal complexities involved in this means that for many mesh-injured patients this is simply not an option, leaving them with no alternative route to help meet the cost of any additional care and support they may need.” A national Redress Agency is the only way to offer equitable redress A Redress Agency specifically aimed at women with pelvic mesh injuries would offer a more equitable, compassionate route to secure compensation. As well as women having a higher chance of success going through a Redress Agency, women would not be forced to face the stress of legal action that often lasts for years while dealing with the pain and limitations they live with as a result of their injuries. At the moment, it does not appear that the political will or financial provision exists to make this a reality. *name changed for anonymity Related reading Tokenism in patient engagement is unethical—but it is also dangerous. A blog by Kath Sansom Doctors’ shocking comments reveal institutional misogyny towards women harmed by pelvic mesh - a Patient Safety Learning blog “There’s no problem with the mesh”: A personal account of the struggle to get vaginal mesh removal surgery References 1 First Do No Harm. The report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, 8 July 2020 2 Government response to the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, 21 July 2021
  8. News Article
    A “commended” NHS nurse has been awarded nearly £500,000 for being wrongly sacked after she claimed that high workloads led to a patient’s death. Linda Fairhall, 62, a 44-year veteran of the health service, said she made 13 separate pleas to bosses warning that her colleagues were overburdened, but she was ignored each time. Fairhal told officials at the University Hospital of North Tees and Hartlepool that she was worried about a recently imposed policy that obliged nurses to monitor patients who took prescribed medicines and maintained that it led to nurses having to conduct 1,000 extra patient visits a month without extra resources. She said nurses were overwhelmed by the additional responsibility, which resulted in rising “anxiety” among staff and higher rates of absence. However, Fairhall told the tribunal in Teesside that nothing was done in response to her concerns, and ultimately a patient died. The tribunal heard that the nurse raised her last warning with officials just before she went on annual leave. On her return she was suspended and investigated for “bullying and harassment”, then sacked for gross misconduct. A tribunal has now ruled that the decision to dismiss Fairhall was “materially influenced” by her complaints regarding patient safety, with the panel adding that it could not “genuinely believe” that she was guilty of misconduct. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 4 January 2023 Read the full tribunal decision: Ms L Fairhall v University Hospital of North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust
  9. News Article
    Victims and family members affected by the contaminated blood scandal are calling for criminal charges to be considered as the public inquiry into the tragedy draws to a close. While the inquiry, which will begin to hear closing submissions on Tuesday, cannot determine civil or criminal liability, people affected by the scandal are keen for the mass of documents and evidence accumulated over more than four years to be handed over to prosecutors to see whether charges can be brought. About 3,000 people are believed to have died and thousands more were infected in what has been described as the biggest treatment disaster in the history of the NHS. The inquiry has heard evidence that civil servants, the government and senior doctors knew of the problem long before action was taken to address it and that the scandal was avoidable. But no one has ever faced prosecution. Eileen Burkert, whose father, Edward, died aged 54 in 1992 after – like thousands of others – contracting HIV and hepatitis C through factor VIII blood products used to treat his haemophilia, said the inquiry had shown there was a “massive cover-up”. She said: “In my eyes it’s corporate manslaughter. You can’t go giving people something that you know is dangerous, and they just carried on doing it. As far as my family’s concerned, they killed our dad and they killed thousands of other people and there’s been no recognition for him since he died, there’s been nothing. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 January 2023 See UK Infected Blood Inquiry website for further details on the inquiry.
  10. News Article
    The chair of an inquiry into hundreds of deaths at a mental health trust has revealed she may not be able to deliver it in its current form following a ‘hugely disappointing’ lack of staff coming forward to give evidence. Former national clinical director for mental health, Geraldine Strathdee, chair of the non-statutory inquiry into deaths at Essex Partnership University Trust, has penned an open letter warning just 11 of 14,000 staff contacted said they will attend evidence sessions. It was meant to report in spring 2023. However, after raising concerns with ministers, Dr Strathdee said she believes the inquiry will not be able to meet its terms of reference with a non-statutory status. The inquiry was announced in 2021 and last year chiefs revealed they were probing 1,500 deaths of people in contact with Essex mental health services between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2020. However, without statutory powers, staff are not compelled to give evidence under oath. Many bereaved families, of which just one in four has engaged with the current probe, are campaigning for a statutory inquiry into deaths. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 January 2023
  11. News Article
    A man plans to sue a nursing home because, he says, during the pandemic his mother was put on end-of-life care without her family being told. Antonia Stowell, 87, did not have the mental capacity to consent because she had dementia, say the family's lawyers. Her son, Tony Stowell, said if end-of-life care had been discussed, he would not have agreed to it. Rose Villa nursing home in Hull says all proper process in Mrs Stowell's care was followed with precision. As a prelude to legal action, Mr Stowell's lawyers have obtained his mother's hospital records which, they say, show she was diagnosed with suspected pneumonia while living in the home. End-of-life drugs were then prescribed and ordered by medical professionals. In a statement, Rose Villa said: "We believe that our dedicated and professional team provided Antonia with the very best care under the direction of her GP and medical team, and all proper process in the delivery of this care was followed with precision." Mr Stowell's lawyers, Gulbenkian Andonian solicitors, said his mother's hospital records reveal the decision to put her on end-of-life care was made two days before the family was told. In their letter to the home announcing the planned legal action, they said Mrs Stowell could have had "48 additional hours on a ventilator with treatment… with the necessary implication that Antonia Stowell could still be with us today or at least survived". The lawyer dealing with the case, Fadi Farhat, told the BBC: "As a matter of law, there is a presumption in favour of treatment which would preserve life and prolong life, irrespective of one's age or condition. "Therefore to deviate from that presumption means a patient, or family members, should be consulted as soon as that decision is made or contemplated." He adds: "What is particularly concerning for me is this case occurred at the height of the pandemic. That should worry everybody because it demonstrates that rights can be suspended in times of crisis, when the very purpose of legal rights is to protect us during times of crisis." Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 January 2023
  12. News Article
    There is a "moral case" for compensation to be paid to people affected by the contaminated blood scandal, the government has said. But Paymaster General Jeremy Quin told MPs he could not commit to a timetable. In August, the government announced that 4,000 UK victims would receive interim payments of £100,000. Tens of thousands of people contracted HIV or hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s after being given infected blood. In September, modelling by a group of academics commissioned by the public inquiry estimated that 26,800 people were infected after being given contaminated transfusions between 1970 and 1991. The study calculated that 1,820 of those died as a result, but that the number could be as high as 3,320. The inquiry, chaired by retired High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff, began taking evidence in 2018. The interim compensation announcement in August came after Sir Brian argued there was a compelling case to make payments quickly - saying victims were on borrowed time because of their failing health. Payments have been made to those whose health is failing after developing hepatitis C and HIV, and partners of people who have died. But families have complained that many people affected, such as bereaved parents, missed out. Read full story Source: BBC News, 15 December 2022
  13. News Article
    Lucy Letby used a plunger to force milk and air into one of the babies she is accused of attempting to murder, a medical expert has told a court. The alleged attack caused the infant’s stomach to distend to such a degree that she then projectile vomited a “massive” amount of milk so violently that the material left her cot and splashed over a chair several feet away. Staff at the Countess of Chester Hospital managed to save Baby G’s life but the incident was so catastrophic that it caused the child severe brain damage. Seven years later she still suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Dr Dewi Evans, a consultant paediatrician called in by the prosecution, said the use of a plunger on the end of a syringe was the only explanation for the baby’s sudden collapse in the early hours of 7 September 7 2015. Letby, 32, of Hereford, is accused of murdering seven children in the neonatal unit of the hospital in Cheshire, and of ten attempted murders, between June 2015 and June 2016. She denies all the charges. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 13 December 2022
  14. News Article
    Nanette Barragán, US representative for California’s 44th Congressional District, has announced the introduction of new legislation intended to establish a National Patient Safety Board (NPSB) as a non-punitive, collaborative, independent agency to address safety in healthcare. This landmark legislation is a critical step to improve safety for patients and healthcare providers by coordinating existing efforts within a single independent agency solely focused on addressing safety in health care through data-driven solutions. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, medical error was the third leading cause of death in the United States, with conservative estimates of more than 250,000 patients dying annually from preventable medical harm and costs of more than $17 billion to the U.S. healthcare system. Recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that patient safety worsened during the pandemic. The NPSB’s solutions would focus on problems like medication errors, wrong-site surgeries, hospital-acquired infections, errors in pathology labs, and issues in transition from acute to long-term care. By leveraging interdisciplinary teams of researchers and new technology, including automated systems with AI algorithms, the NPSB’s solutions would help relieve the burden of data collection at the frontline, while also detecting precursors to harm. A coalition of leaders in health care, technology, business, academia, and other industries has united to call for the establishment of an NPSB. “We have seen many valiant efforts to reduce the problem of preventable medical error, but most of these have relied on the frontline workforce to do the work or take extraordinary precautions,” said Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and spokesperson for the NPSB Advocacy Coalition. “The pandemic has now made things worse as weary, frustrated, and stressed nurses, doctors, and technicians leave clinical care, resulting in a cycle where harm becomes more prevalent. Many organizations have united to advance a national home for patient safety to promote substantive solutions, including those that deploy modern technologies to make safety as autonomous as possible.” Read full story Source: Business Wire, 8 December 2022
  15. Content Article
    What is the National Patient Safety Board? Since early 2021 there has been a growing coalition of healthcare organisations and groups calling to create the National Patient Safety Board in the United States.[1] This is a proposed federal agency with the goal of preventing and reducing patient safety events in healthcare settings, modelled after the National Transportation Board and the Commercial Aviation Safety Team.[2] Legislative proposal Nanette Barragán, US representative for California’s 44th Congressional District, has announced the introduction of new legislation intended to establish a National Patient Safety Board as a non-punitive, collaborative, independent agency to address safety in healthcare.[3] Its proposed duties are: Supporting Federal departments and agencies in monitoring and anticipating patient safety events with patient safety data surveillance technologies. Providing expertise to study the context and causes of patient safety events and solutions. Formulating recommendations and solutions to prevent patient safety events from occurring. In carrying out this role, the National Patient Safety Board would be required to submit annual reports to the United States Congress and would also be able to hold hearings, take testimony, receive evidence and issue reports as appropriate. It’s proposed to comprise: Five Board members, each nominated by the President, by and with the advice and consent for the US Senate, for a term of 6 years. A Chair and Vice Chair, designated by the President from among the members of the Board to serve a term of 3 years. It is also proposed that it establishes and maintains a public-private team, known as the Health Care Safety Team, to sit underneath this to review, update and prioritise patient safety event measures and data sources related to patient and provider safety in healthcare settings, including survey data, electronic health records data, claims data, health information exchange data and reports of patient safety events.[4] National Patient Safety Board campaign You can find out more details about the campaign to support the creation of a National Patient Safety Board, and if relevant how to contact your US House member’s office in regards to this, here. References National Patient Safety Board, About, Last Accessed 9 December 2022. National Patient Safety Board, A New Solution to Address the Problem of Medical Errors, 26 July 2022. Business Wire, House Bill Establishes Federal Agency Dedicated to Patient Safety, 8 December 2022. H.R.9377 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): National Patient Safety Board Act of 2022, 1 December 2022.
  16. News Article
    Two clinicians who say they lost their jobs at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust after raising patient safety concerns claim the trust’s legal team brought a five-figure costs threat against them to prevent witnesses from giving evidence in a tribunal. The threat of costs liability, intended to bring the case to a halt, was made halfway through the hearing – less than 48 hours before witnesses for the trust were due to give evidence. One of the claims put forward at the tribunal hearing was that the trust had destroyed crucial evidence by deleting the email account of a former staff member. The clinicians – Samir Lalitcumar and Ahmed Ghedri – brought allegations of poor practice against current and former staff at the trust. Berkshire NHS trust claimed their allegations, including claims that the trust had deleted email evidence, were “without merit”. A fortnight into the tribunal hearing, both out-of-work medics were threatened with costs liability, known as a “drop-hands offer”, totalling more than £300,000, had they opted to proceed with their case and lost. Lalitcumar and Ghedri had brought claims of whistleblowing detriment against their former employer, Berkshire Healthcare Trust. They say they were “victimised” and unfairly dismissed as a result of having blown the whistle on dangerous care within the trust’s geriatrics services – potentially affecting upwards of 2,000 patients. Read full story Source: Computer Weekly, 7 December 2022
  17. News Article
    In September, Shine Lawyers won a $300 million settlement in two class actions over the failed mesh products by Johnson & Johnson Medical and Ethicon. However, the law firm is proposing to take up to $99.5 million from the payout in costs, just under a third of the total sum. Of 11,000 women involved in the class action, Janelle Gale is one of 200 who is not happy with Shine Lawyers' compensation proposal. Representatives of the group said there was mass confusion over what compensation they might be eligible for and how many hoops they would have to jump through to receive a payment. Despite having barely any leakage before her 2014 surgery, afterwards Janelle became heavily incontinent. She was a drag-racing champion, but that came to a halt. She said it destroyed her marriage, she couldn't have sex and she still can't work. Read more Source: ABC News, 3 December 2022
  18. News Article
    NHS England has acted unlawfully by making thousands of patients with gender dysphoria wait “extreme” periods of time for treatment, the high court has heard. Transgender claimants, who have suffered distress as a result of delays, want the court to declare that NHSE broke the law by failing to meet a target for 92% of patients to commence treatment within 18 weeks. NHSE figures show there are 26,234 adults waiting for a first appointment with an adult gender dysphoria clinic, of whom 23,561 have been waiting more than 18 weeks. The number of children on the waiting list is approximately 7,600, of whom about 6,100 have been waiting more than 18 weeks. In a witness statement, one of the claimants, Eva Echo, said she received a referral in October 2017 but had still not been given a first appointment, leaving her in “painful indefinite limbo”. A co-claimant, Alexander Harvey, who has been waiting for a first appointment since 2019, said the delay “means that I have to continue to live in a body which I don’t feel is mine and which does not reflect who I am”. He said he had twice tried to kill himself. In written submissions for Tuesday’s hearing, David Lock KC, representing the claimants, said delays to puberty-blocking treatment – the current waiting time for children to access services is more than two years – could cause “intense anxiety and distress” to adolescents as a result of them experiencing “permanent and irreversible bodily changes”. While NHSE accepts it has not met the 92% target across the cohort of patients for whom its health services are commissioned, it claims a breach does not give rise to enforceable individual rights. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 November 2022