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Found 96 results
  1. News Article
    Patients in England can now have home abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak, the government in England has said. Abortion policy has changed several times during the current pandemic. Women and girls wanting to terminate an early pregnancy were first told the service would be available but that decision was then retracted. Now, the government has decided patients can take two pills at home instead of going to a clinic to avoid exposure to coronavirus. Charities had been worried that women who want an abortion but have underlying health conditions would put themselves at risk to have the procedure or turn to dangerous alternatives. Read full story Source: BBC News, 31 March 2020
  2. News Article
    Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women face a crisis as maternity and abortion services shut their doors because of the coronavirus outbreak. One MP this weekend warned that pregnant women were being treated like “second-class citizens” with the closure of NHS services and a lack of government guidance for those in need of urgent care. The NHS faces a severe shortage of midwives with the number of unstaffed positions doubling to one in five since the virus arrived in Britain. A fifth (22%) of senior midwives said their local maternity units had shut indefinitely because of staff self-isolating or being deployed elsewhere. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 29 March 2020
  3. Content Article
    This guidance recommends the following: Suspend initiation of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilisation (IVF) including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent gamete cryopreservation. Strongly consider cancellation of all embryo transfers whether fresh or frozen. Continue to care for patients who are currently “in-cycle” or who require urgent stimulation and cryopreservation. Suspend elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures. Minimise in-person interactions and increase utilisation of telehealth. Note: This guidance will be revisited periodically as the pandemic evolves, but no later than March 30, 2020, with the aim of resuming usual patient care as soon and as safely as possible.
  4. News Article
    At least 20 maternity deaths or serious harm cases have been linked to a Devon hospital since 2008, according to NHS reports obtained by the BBC. A 2017 review which was never released raised "serious questions" about maternity care at North Devon District Hospital. The BBC spent two years trying to obtain the report and won access to it at a tribunal earlier this year. Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) said the unit was "completely different" after recommended reforms. A 2013 review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) investigated 11 serious clinical incidents at the unit, dating back as far as 2008. The report identified failings in the working relationships at the unit, finding some midwives were working autonomously and some senior doctors failed to give guidance to junior colleagues. Despite the identified problems with "morale", the subsequent investigation by RCOG in 2017 expressed concerns with the "decision-making and clinical competency" of senior doctors and their co-operation with midwives. An independent review into midwifery in October 2017 noted "poor communication" between medical staff on the ward for more than a decade. The report identified a "lack of trust and respect" between staff and "anxiety" among senior midwives at the quality of care. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 March 2020
  5. Community Post
    I have been looking into health campaigns recently. There seems to be many that are affecting womens health that are not being heard or taken seriously. Are there health inequalities at play here?
  6. Content Article
    ECRI’s list of patient safety concerns for 2020: 1. Missed and delayed diagnoses—Diagnostic errors are very common. Missed and delayed diagnoses can result in patient suffering, adverse outcomes, and death. 2. Maternal health across the continuum—Approximately 700 women die from childbirth-related complications each year in the U.S. More than half of these deaths are preventable. 3. Early recognition of behavioural health needs—Stigmatisation, fear, and inadequate resources can lead to negative outcomes when working with behavioural health patients. 4. Responding to and learning from device problems—Incidents involving medical devices or equipment can occur in any setting where they might be found, including ageing services, physician and dental practices, and ambulatory surgery. 5. Device cleaning, disinfection, and sterilisation—Sterile processing failures can lead to surgical site infections, which have a 3% mortality rate and an associated annual cost of $3.3 billion. 6. Standardising safety across the system—Policies and education must align across care settings to ensure patient safety. 7. Patient matching in the EHR—Organisations should consistently use standard patient identifier conventions, attributes, and formats in all patient encounters. 8. Antimicrobial stewardship—Over prescribing of antibiotics throughout all care settings contributes to antimicrobial resistance. 9. Overrides of Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADC)—Overrides to remove medications before pharmacist review and approval lead to dangerous and deadly consequences for patients. 10. Fragmentation across care settings—Communication breakdowns result in readmissions, missed diagnoses, medication errors, delayed treatment, duplicative testing and procedures, and dissatisfaction.
  7. News Article
    Incorrect use of menstrual cups could be resulting in some women suffering pelvic organ prolapse, the Victoria Derbyshire programme has been told. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy wants some manufacturers to include better safety advice. Menstrual cups fit into the vagina and collect period blood. They are not currently regulated in the UK, and there is no safety testing. Menstrual cups, which can last up to 10 years, have grown in popularity as a more sustainable alternative to single-use tampons and pads. But there are claims that more education is needed before women decide to use them. There is limited research on the products, but in a report by the Lancet Public Health journal last year – which looked at 43 studies involving 3,300 women and girls living in rich and poor countries – the authors concluded menstrual cups were a "safe option". But the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is calling for the cups, which are produced by a growing number of manufacturers worldwide, to be better regulated. Currently they are not safety-tested, and there is no industry standard or body responsible for collating complaints. Read full story Source: BBC News, 11 March 2020
  8. Content Article
    My health has always been a ‘challenge’ as they say. I had a stoma in 1988, when I was 28 years old, for bowel disease. They were never sure if it was Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, but I was more than happy to kiss my rotten colon goodbye. It restored my bowel health and I carried on working and living my life with my husband and child. Two years after the ileostomy, I had further abdominal problems and a MRI suggested ovarian cancer. I had an emergency laparotomy which revealed severe endometriosis which had obliterated my whole pelvis and infiltrated my internal organs. The gynaecologist closed me up and said nothing could be done as my pelvis was ‘frozen’ and I would have to be treated medically. The condition plagued me for the next 20 years; I developed cysts in the pelvis which were drained repeatedly. My health was at times poor but I still managed to work and live my life. In 2010, my gynaecologist retired and I was referred to a new team. They were based 80 miles from where I lived, which was a nuisance but I felt it was worth the journey to have the best. They were adamant I needed a hysterectomy – they were not happy with the recent imaging and felt one of the cysts looked suspect. I spent years putting this off as I was very fearful. I had been told it could be very easy to make things much worse. In 2012 my mum had a massive brain haemorrhage and I became her carer, but by 2014 they were still saying I needed the surgery to find out what the suspect mass actually was so, reluctantly, I agreed. January 2015 The hysterectomy went ahead at a private hospital. I was in BUPA, my mother was brain damaged and I was her carer, I needed this op out of the way so I could go back to caring for her. I awoke from the surgery to be told it had been very difficult – I felt totally wiped out. Two days after the operation, there was no improvement. I was encouraged to get up from the bed; I could barely move but I managed a few steps when I felt something running down my legs forming a green puddle on the floor. My bowel had perforated and the contents were flooding out of my vagina. My consultant was away and I was transferred late at night to the local NHS hospital. That was a nightmare in itself as they at first wouldn’t accept me. I lay there in A&E with warm liquid pumping out of me with every spasm of my bowel. I was convinced it was blood and I tried not to think of my loved ones whom I thought I’d never see again. My poor husband looked on helplessly; he spent a freezing night in the car as he wanted to be near me. I spent 3 months in hospital being fed through my central vein. I was told I may never eat or drink again and my whole life just fell apart. It was explained the suspect mass was in fact a twisted mess of bowel, adhesions and goodness knows what possibly caused by the repeated aspirations I’d had for the endometriosis. I was told because of the perforation I now had a fistula which is essentially a connection between my small bowel and my skin. Despite my numerous surgical experiences, I had never heard of such a thing but Dr Google soon educated me and it did not make good reading. I became seriously depressed, wanting my life to end. I was discharged in the spring of 2015 to a totally different world. I could by now eat small amounts but the holes appearing on my abdominal wall were evidence the fistula had not healed. I was too afraid to move as any activity meant I’d have ominous discharges from various orifices. I totally lost confidence in myself, the doctors and the world in general… I became a recluse. Life with a fistula was difficult. Apart from the constant dressings required to contain the output, I was in permanent pain and suffered frequent infections. Considering I had gone into hospital reasonably well and come out like this was almost too much to bear. I tried to access mental health support but I was put on a waiting list whilst my mental state got progressively worse. I was told I would have to wait for two years for the fistula to be repaired. It was a long wait, my daughter had a baby so that kept me going and I looked forward to being free of this demon within. I missed the old capable me so much. March 2017 The repair op took place this time in the NHS hospital, albeit as a private patient again. I couldn’t wait any longer and so once again made use of my medical insurance. Again I had serious complications. The days that followed the surgery were horrific, I truly wanted to die. My gut had stopped working, a condition called ileus. Bile was building up in the stomach so I had a nasogastric tube inserted; the thirst was causing me to have hallucinations. I tried to impress upon everyone how ill I was feeling, but I didn’t feel believed; they told me I was anxious and all my problems were normal post op things. My husband called as usual to visit, getting more worried as each day was passing. I had spiked a temperature of 39.6⁰C. I cried into his chest as I tried to sit up to relieve the horrific symptoms I was experiencing. Next minute I had no breath, I was suffocating. My husband called for help and, even at that point, I was told I was having a panic attack until the nurse saw my oxygen levels – they were 71% which was dangerously low. I was having a stage 1 respiratory arrest, and I was rushed to ICU and spent days fighting for my life. A three month hospital stay followed and this further catastrophe had resulted in a fistula worse than the one I went in with. I now had to wear three stoma bags, two of which leaked constantly. I felt a mutilated mess. Again, I left hospital a broken shell, with no support apart from my family who were also finding it hard to accept what had happened to me. Life now... It’s now 3 years since the failed repair and I have never recovered. It actually made things much worse. As well as the fistulae and three stoma bags, I now have bladder problems as part of my bladder was excised during the last op and gallbladder disease thanks to the parenteral nutrition. The inflammation in my body has led to autoimmune diseases, such as scleritis, which is an agonising and destructive eye condition. The whole awful experience has left me a broken, psychological wreck. I finally accessed mental health support at the end of 2019 and have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Life is difficult. In my mind there are so many unresolved issues which have plunged me into a deep pit of depression I can’t get out of. The therapy I now receive is ‘systemic’ so basically addresses how my husband and I are responding to the trauma, rather than the trauma itself. The initial trauma of my surgery going so wrong has now been followed by a second trauma of lack of support, feelings of worthlessness and the consequences of having a complex condition whilst living in rural west Wales where my local hospital can’t treat me. How I wish I’d said NO to that fateful hysterectomy! But we don’t do we. The surgeons are the experts, they lead and we follow, that’s how it works. Lamb to the slaughter springs to mind. That is probably unfair, my surgical luck was bound to run out one day, but I am angry at losing one of life’s most important gifts – good health. To make matters worse I’ve discovered that the suspect mass that they told me had to come out, had actually been identified 30 years previously. It was a harmless benign fibroma. That makes things harder to bear as I realise I probably never even needed the surgery. I didn’t complain or even ask many questions as I was too ill, traumatised and exhausted. My mother ended up in a home, my marriage is understandably struggling, my husband and I no longer work. I had nothing left to challenge anyone. My psychologist says I need answers to help me move on but I’m now told it’s too late. I have to go back to that hospital because I am now so complex my local hospitals won’t treat me. It’s a 3 hour round trip to a place that absolutely terrifies me. An enterocutaneous fistula is a very rare complication of surgery. But as I told my Consultant, it’s only rare until it happens to you. Then statistics become irrelevant. They seem to overlook the fact that there is a person behind that tiny statistic, who has to somehow learn to live again with all the fallout of that disastrous surgical experience.
  9. News Article
    More than 20 leading NHS doctors and experts back Baby Lifeline demand for safety training for maternity staff to cut £7m a day negligence costs The Independent’s maternity safety campaign goes to Downing Street today as senior figures from across the health service deliver a letter demanding action from prime minister Boris Johnson. Charity Baby Lifeline will be joined by bereaved families, Royal Colleges and senior midwives and doctors in Downing Street to hand in a letter calling on the government to reinstate a national fund for maternity safety training. Baby Lifeline, which has also launched an online petition today, said the government needed to find £19m to support training of both midwives and doctors to prevent deaths and brain damage, which can cost the NHS millions of pounds for a single case. The letter to Mr Johnson has also been signed by Dr Bill Kirkup, who led the investigation into baby deaths at the Morecambe Bay NHS trust and is investigating poor care at the East Kent Hospitals University Trust. He said: “There have been real improvements in maternity services, but as recent events in Kent and Shropshire have shown only too clearly, much more remains to be done. The Maternity Safety Training Fund is badly needed.” Sir Robert Francis QC, Chairman of the public inquiry into poor care at Stafford Hospital, who also signed, said: “The cost in lost and broken lives, not to mention the unsustainable financial burden and the distress of staff caused by these avoidable mistakes, is indefensible.” Other signatories included former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a number of senior maternity figures, charities and clinical associations. Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 March 2020
  10. News Article
    An NHS trust at the centre of an inquiry into preventable baby deaths will repay money it received for providing good maternity care. In 2018, Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust received almost £1m, weeks before its services were rated inadequate. The BBC revealed in December the trust had qualified for the payment under the NHS's Maternity Incentive Scheme. The trust said an "incorrect submission" had been made and it had ordered an independent review. Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SaTH) is at the centre of England's largest inquiry into poor maternity care, with more than 900 families contacting a review looking into concerns over preventable deaths and long-term harm. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote to ministers questioning if improvements to the Maternity Incentive Scheme were needed in light of payments made to both Shrewsbury and Telford and East Kent Hospitals, despite both facing serious questions over the safety of maternity services. The trust in Shropshire was paid £963,391 after certifying it had met the 10 safety standards demanded by the scheme, which is run by NHS Resolution. In the letter, seen by the BBC, Mr Hunt suggested one improvement would be to link payments to CQC maternity and safety ratings. "The whole approach is likely to be discredited if trusts can meet all 10 actions and yet still be delivering poor standards of care," the letter said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 March 2020
  11. News Article
    Hundreds of women have said they’ve undergone “distressing” diagnostic tests at NHS hospitals which were not carried out in line with recommended practice. Around 520 women who attended NHS hospitals in England to undergo hysteroscopies — a procedure which uses narrow telescopes to examine the womb to diagnose the cause of heavy or abnormal bleeding — have told a survey their doctors carried on with their procedures even when they were in severe pain. This is despite the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advising clinicians should offer to reschedule with the use of general anaesthetic, epidural or sedation if the pain becomes unbearable. The Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopy patient group has surveyed 860 women who had had the procedure at an English NHS hospital, and shared the results with HSJ. Of them, 750 said they were left distressed, tearful or shaken by the procedure, with around 466 of them saying that feeling remained for longer than a day. Many of the women said their painful hysteroscopies damaged their trust in healthcare professionals, had made cervical smears more painful and had a negative impact on sexual relationships. Patient Safety Learning have connected with the campaigning group 'Hysteroscopy Action' on this issue. We have seen stories and comments posted on the hub from patients who have suffered similar distressing experiences. We are using this feedback and evidence to help campaign for safer, harm-free care. We welcome others to join in the conversation. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 March 2020
  12. News Article
    The parents of a baby who nearly died after a series of failings during his birth said they were "heartbroken" mistakes continued to be made East Kent Hospitals told Harry Halligan's parents they would learn lessons from his delivery in 2012. But similar failings recently came to light after the death of Harry Richford in 2017 and the trust is now being probed over up to 15 baby deaths. The trust said it made "many changes to the maternity service" after 2012. Parents Dan and Alison Halligan, from New Romney, said watching news coverage of an inquest into Harry Richford's death earlier this year, which laid bare the failings, had brought back stressful memories. Mr Halligan said the trust "clearly haven't learned from [the] mistakes" made in his son's care, adding that it was "heartbreaking" to see "the same mistakes being repeated". Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 March 2020
  13. News Article
    Every week for nearly a year, Lorraine Shilcock attended an hour-long counselling session paid for by the NHS. She needed the therapy, which ended in November, to cope with the terrifying nightmares that would wake her five or six times a night, and the haunting daytime flashbacks. Lorraine, 67, a retired textile worker from Desford, Leicester, has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her psychological scars due to a routine NHS medical check, which was supposed to help her, not leave her suffering. In October 2018, Lorraine had a hysteroscopy, a common procedure to inspect the womb in women who have heavy or abnormal bleeding. The 30-minute procedure, performed in an outpatient clinic, is considered so routine that many women are told it will be no worse than a smear test and that, if they are worried about the pain, they can take a couple of paracetamol or ibuprofen immediately beforehand. Yet for Lorraine, and potentially thousands more women in the UK, that could not be further from the truth. Many who have had a hysteroscopy say the pain was the worst they have ever experienced, ahead of childbirth, broken bones, or even a ruptured appendix, commonly regarded as the most agonising medical emergency. Yet most had no warning it would be so traumatic, leaving some, like Lorraine, with long-term consequences. But, crucially, it is entirely avoidable. Do you have an experience you would like to share? Join our conversation on the hub on painful hysteroscopy. We are using this feedback and evidence to help campaign for safer, harm-free care. Read full story Source: Mail Online, 3 March 2020
  14. Content Article
    To access this video you will need to sign in to BBC iPlayer and be in the possession of a TV licence.
  15. Content Article
    Key points: Outpatient hysteroscopy (OPH) is a procedure carried out in the outpatient clinic that involves examination of the inside of your uterus (womb) with a thin telescope. There are many reasons why you may be referred for OPH, such as to investigate and/or treat abnormal bleeding, to remove a polyp seen on a scan or to remove a coil with missing threads. The actual procedure usually takes 10-15 minutes. It can take longer if you are having any additional procedures. You may feel pain or discomfort during OPH. It is recommended that you take pain relief 1-2 hours before the appointment. If it is too painful, it is important to let your healthcare professional know as the procedure can be stopped at any time. You may choose to have the hysteroscopy under general anaesthetic. This will be done in an operating theatre, usually as a day case procedure. Possible risks with hysteroscopy include pain, feeling faint or sick, bleeding, infection and rarely uterine perforation (damage to the wall of the uterus). The risk of uterine perforation is lower during OPH than during hysteroscopy under general anaesthesia. Join the conversation on the hub about hysteroscopies.
  16. News Article
    Women in Scotland who have experienced complications following vaginal mesh surgery are to be offered an independent review of their case notes. Mesh implants have been used to treat conditions some women suffer after childbirth, such as incontinence and prolapse. However, many women experienced painful, debilitating side effects. Some of the women who have suffered complications met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last November. She was told a number of them had understood the mesh would be completely removed but that had not happened, leaving some of the synthetic substance still attached. After hearing about their experiences, Ms Sturgeon has now written to the women she saw, confirming that in the spring they will be given the chance to sit down with an independent clinician for a review of their case notes. That will be followed up by a report and possible referral to specialist care. The case note review will initially only be offered to those who attended the first minister's meetings however, it may be offered more widely at a later date. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 February 2020