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Found 66 results
  1. Content Article
    Craig Russo is an Operational Manager at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. In this blog, he tells us about a recent project he delivered in partnership with Accident and Emergency (A&E) services, the police and custody healthcare. Craig talks about the safety concerns that led them to take action and the positive impact they have seen so far. 
  2. News Article
    The Met Police has launched an investigation over concerns about stem-cell injections being offered to children as a cure for autism. The Royal Borough of Greenwich told BBC London it was aware of concerns surrounding "experimental procedures" on autistic children. The Met said it was investigating "a reported fraud relating to the provision of medical services". The National Autistic Society said there was no "cure" for autism. Greenwich Council said it issued a warning to schools and nurseries in the borough after it became aware of concerns. A spokesperson said the authority had recently been made aware of concerns that "an individual claiming to be a doctor plans to visit the UK to offer dangerous, experimental procedures on children with autism". "We understand that this person is proposing the transfer of bone marrow and spinal fluid to the brain by injection," the spokesperson said. "This unlicensed procedure poses a significant threat to life and there is no evidence of any benefits. "The safety and welfare of our children and young people is of the utmost importance." Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 April 2024
  3. News Article
    A controversial unproven medical condition which is rooted in pseudoscience and disputed by doctors is routinely being used in Britain to explain deaths after police restraint, the Observer has found. “Acute behavioural disturbance” (ABD) and “excited delirium” are used to describe people who are agitated or acting bizarrely, usually due to mental illness, drug use or both. Symptoms are said to include insensitivity to pain, aggression, “superhuman” strength and elevated heart rate. Police and other emergency services say the labels, often used interchangeably, are a helpful shorthand used to identify when a person who might need medical help and restraint may be dangerous. But the terms are not recognised by the World Health Organization and have been condemned as “spurious” by campaigners who say they are used to “explain away” the police role in deaths. The American Medical Association rejected “excited delirium” after it was used by police lawyers in the case of George Floyd. California lawmakers banned it as a diagnosis or cause of death in October, saying it had been “used for decades to explain away mysterious deaths of mostly black and brown people in police custody”. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has also warned that the current definition of ABD, as it is now more commonly known in the UK, could be leading to people “being subjected to avoidable and potentially harmful interventions”. In 2017, a Home Office-commissioned review into deaths in police custody said the terms were “strongly disputed amongst medical professionals”. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has also warned that the current definition of ABD, as it is now more commonly known in the UK, could be leading to people “being subjected to avoidable and potentially harmful interventions”. In 2017, a Home Office-commissioned review into deaths in police custody said the terms were “strongly disputed amongst medical professionals”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 March 2024
  4. Content Article
    In this blog, I discuss the limitations associated with FFP3 (Filtering Face Piece) tight-fitting masks as respiratory protective equipment (RPE) for the healthcare sector during the ongoing Covid pandemic. I highlight inequalities in the distribution of effective RPE among healthcare workers (HCWs) and also draw attention to the underlying reasons for the shortage of RPE that has beset our healthcare services since the start of the pandemic.
  5. News Article
    Staff have assaulted patients and falsified medical records following deaths, according to a shocking new report into a scandal-hit mental health hospital where Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane was a patient. Multiple incidents of staff physically assaulting patients and workers feeling too scared to report problems at Highbury Hospital have been uncovered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The watchdog revealed police have investigating the deaths of at least two patients in which staff involved were later found by the hospital to have falsified their medical records in a new report, published on Friday. The news comes after The Independent revealed Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, which runs Highbury Hospital, had suspended more than 30 staff members following allegations of mistreating patients and falsifying records of medical observations. The trust also faces a further CQC review, commissioned by health secretary Victoria Atkins, following the conviction of killer Valdo Calocane who was a patient of Highbury Hospital’s community service teams. This review is due to be published later this year. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 March 2023
  6. News Article
    An unprecedented number of women are being investigated by police on suspicion of illegally ending a pregnancy, the BBC has been told. Abortion provider MSI says it knows of up to 60 criminal inquiries in England and Wales since 2018, compared with almost zero before. Some investigations followed natural pregnancy loss, File on 4 found. Pregnancy loss is investigated only if credible evidence suggests a crime, the National Police Chiefs' Council says. File on 4 has spoken to women who say that they have been "traumatised" and left feeling "suicidal" following criminal investigations lasting years. Speaking for the first time, one woman described how she had been placed under investigation after giving birth prematurely, despite maintaining that she had never attempted an abortion. Dr Jonathan Lord, medical director at MSI, which is one of the UK's main abortion providers, believes the "unprecedented" number of women now falling under investigation may be linked to the police's increased awareness of the availability of the "pills by post" scheme - introduced in England and Wales during the Covid-19 lockdown. Scotland also introduced a similar programme. These "telemedicine" schemes, which allow pregnancies up to 10 weeks to be terminated at home, remain in effect. Campaigners are concerned that it is possible for women to knowingly or unknowingly use the pills after this point. MSI's Dr Lord says criminal investigations and prosecutions further "traumatise" women after abortions, and that women deserve "compassion" rather than "punishment". "These women are often vulnerable and in desperate situations - they need help, not investigation and punishment," he says. Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 February 2024
  7. News Article
    Ambulance chiefs have warned that patients are coming to harm, paramedics are being assaulted and control room staff reporting a “high stakes game of chicken” with police during the implementation of a controversial new national care model. The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives say in a newly published letter they believe the “spirit” of national agreement on how to implement the Right Care, Right Person model is not being followed by police, raising “significant safety concerns”. The membership body set out multiple concerns about the rollout of the model, under which the police refuse to attend mental health calls unless there is a risk to life or of serious harm. In the letter to Commons health and social care committee chair Steve Brine, AACE chair Daren Mochrie says timescales for introducing it were often “set by the police rather than “agreed” following meaningful engagement with partners”, meaning demand was shifting before health systems had built capacity. They also flag a lack of NHS funding to meet the new asks. Mr Mochrie, also CEO of North West Ambulance Service Trust, described a “grey area” relating to what he called “concern for welfare” calls, which meet neither the police nor attendance services’ threshold for attendance. “To date this is the single biggest feedback theme we have heard from ambulance services, with some control room staff describing feeling like they’re in a ‘high-stakes game of chicken’ where the police have refused to attend and told the caller to hang up, redial 999 and ask for an ambulance,” he wrote. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 February 2024
  8. Content Article
    In this open letter to Steve Brine, Chair of the Health and Social Committee, The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives say they believe the “spirit” of national agreement on how to implement the Right Care, Right Person model is not being followed by police, raising “significant safety concerns”. It outlines key concerns, including the timescales for implementation, the consistency of application and failure by the police to attend when required.
  9. News Article
    Healthcare workers are being told not to report women to the police if they believe their patients may have illegally ended their own pregnancy. The Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (RCOG) says "deeply traumatised" women are being prosecuted following abortions. By law, patients' data must not be disclosed without their consent. The new guidance follows a recent rise in police investigations into abortions. NHS staff can breach confidentiality rules to give information to the police about possible crimes, but only if it is in the "public interest". The RCOG says it is "never" in the public interest to report women who have abortions, and that they must be safeguarded. In the first official guidance issued of its kind, a healthcare worker must "justify" any disclosure of patient data or "face potential fitness to practice proceedings". The organisation says it is "concerned" by the rising number of police investigations following abortions and pregnancy loss, and the effect this might have on "especially vulnerable" patients. Dr Jonathan Lord, RCOG's medical director, told the BBC: "A law that was originally designed to protect a woman is now being used against her. "We have witnessed life-changing harm to women and their wider families as a direct result of NHS staff reporting women suspected of crimes, and we just don't think that would happen in other areas of healthcare. "We deal with the most vulnerable groups who may be concerned about turning to regulated healthcare at all, and we need them to trust us". .Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 January 2024
  10. News Article
    Campaigners have written to the chief constables of Norfolk and Suffolk to request an investigation into thousands of mental health deaths in those areas. They say coroners are raising safety issues but no improvements are being made. A report by independent auditors found as many as 8,440 patients had died unexpectedly over three years. Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said it had started a review of patient deaths. Coroners worried about the risk of future deaths highlight unsafe practices in prevention of future deaths reports (PFDs). And authorities are required by law to respond with an action plan within 56 days. The Norfolk and Suffolk trust said it had responded to all PFDs and was working to ensure recommendations and actions were implemented. But Mark Harrison, from the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: "There's a criminal case to answer. And we want the police to investigate, where the same mistakes have been repeated time and time again." He said coroners were repeatedly warning of risks such as delays to treatment, lack of patient follow-ups, chaotic record keeping and disorganised communication between teams. Mr Harrison said: "The mental health trust always responds saying they've learned lessons, they are changing policy and practices. "But then what we're seeing in analysing the orders from the coroner are repeat circumstances where other people have died in similar circumstances to a previous prevention-of-future-deaths notice." Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 December 2023
  11. Content Article
    The first 14 minutes of this programme are focused on a Newsnight investigation into allegations of cover-up, avoidable harm and patient deaths relating to University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. At the time of broadcast, Sussex Police were investigating 105 claims of alleged medical negligence at the Trust.
  12. News Article
    Police are investigating 105 cases of alleged medical negligence at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton amid claims of a cover-up. Specialist officers from the National Crime Agency and Sussex police are looking into cases of harm, which include at least 40 deaths, in the general surgery and neurosurgery departments between 2015 and 2021. An email from Sussex police, released to The Times after a court application, revealed the huge investigation is looking into 84 cases connected to neurology and 21 related to gastroenterology. Most of the families are yet to be told that their case is among them. Officers were called in by the senior coroner after she heard of allegations made by two consultant surgeons at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS organisations with 20,000 staff. The trust has been accused of bullying the whistleblowers and attempting to cover up the circumstances of the deaths. Mansoor Foroughi, a consultant neurosurgeon, was sacked for “acting in bad faith” in December 2021 after raising concerns about 19 deaths and 23 cases of serious patient harm. Another whistleblower, Krishna Singh, a consultant general surgeon, claimed that he lost his post as clinical director because he said the trust promoted insufficiently competent surgeons, introduced an unsafe rota and had cut costs too quickly. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 27 November 2023
  13. News Article
    The police have begun an investigation into the clinical practices of former consultant neurologist Michael Watt. He was at the centre of Northern Ireland's largest patient recall in 2018. Over 5,000 patients were recalled amid concerns over his clinical practice. In a highly significant move, an email was sent to patients and families of deceased patients and explained that the investigation is called Operation Begrain. It will be conducted by a major investigation team led by Det Ch Insp Neil McGuinness and Det Insp Gina Quinn. Danielle O'Neill, a former patient of Dr Watt, said she and others are in "complete shock and hope that at last justice will be done". "It's been a long and difficult five years and it is not over yet," she added. Earlier this month a medical tribunal found that the former doctor's fitness to practice was "currently impaired" and that his professional performance was "unacceptable". An appeal will be made to former patients who have concerns regarding their medical treatment by Michael Watt, to come forward to the police. A short questionnaire will also be shared in order to "capture patients' concerns", that information will go straight to the investigation team and will be the first step in the police investigative process. Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 November 2023
  14. News Article
    An NHS trust and ward manager have appeared in court charged with the manslaughter of a 22-year-old mental health patient who died in hospital in July 2015. Alice Figueiredo was found dead at Goodmayes Hospital in east London, and an investigation into her death was opened in April 2016. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised the Met Police to charge North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) with corporate manslaughter last month following a five-year investigation. It is just the second NHS Trust to face manslaughter charges. The Trust is additionally charged with an offence under section three of the Health and Safety at Work Act in connection with mental health patient Ms Figueiredo's death. Ward manager Benjamin Aninakwa also faces a charge of gross negligence manslaughter and an offence under section seven of the Health and Safety at Work act. NELFT is just the second ever NHS Trust believed to have been charged with corporate manslaughter, after Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust was charged over the death of a woman who underwent an emergency Caesarean in 2015. Read full story Source: Mail Online, 6 October 2023
  15. News Article
    NHS England has warned the decision by police forces to respond to far fewer incidents involving people in mental distress could pose ‘risks’ to both patients and a service “already under enormous pressure”. National mental health director Claire Murdoch has written to integrated care board leaders and mental health trust CEOs about the possible impact of the “right care, right person” policing model which is being rolled out across England. In July, policing minister Chris Philp gave all forces the green light to implement the RCRP model. The approach was first trialled in Humberside and involves officers only attending mental health calls where there is a risk to life or serious harm. Now, in a letter seen by HSJ, Ms Murdoch has admitted the new model is a “major change for services already under enormous pressure” and warns that implementing all of the actions set out in the national partnership agreement may take time between the police and the NHS. This took three years in Humberside, she notes. Ms Murdoch wrote: “I know you will all be doing your best to make this work, but I am so mindful of the risks to services and people with mental health problems, as I am sure you are too.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 September 2023
  16. News Article
    Criminal acts of violence at GP surgeries across the UK have almost doubled in five years, new figures reveal, as doctors’ leaders warn of a perfect storm of soaring demand and staff shortages. Police are now recording an average of three violent incidents at general practices every day. Staff are facing unprecedented assaults, abuse and aggression by patients, with surgeries struggling to cope with “unmanageable levels of demand” after years of failure to recruit or retain sufficient numbers of family doctors. Security measures such as CCTV, panic buttons and screens at reception are now increasingly being rolled out across GP surgeries, the Guardian has learned, with senior medics claiming ministers perpetuate a myth that services are “closed”. Last night, Britain’s two most senior doctors condemned the wave of violence and called for urgent action to finally resolve the workforce crisis. “It is unacceptable that GPs and their staff are afraid and at risk of being verbally or physically abused, when they are working amid exceptional pressures and striving to do their best for patients,” said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association. “GP practices are facing unmanageable levels of demand with 2,000 fewer GPs than in 2015.” He added it was “no surprise” that patients were struggling to get appointments because of the national “lack of capacity” and “lack of historic investment in general practice”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 31 May 2022
  17. News Article
    A health worker has been arrested on suspicion of administering poison with intent to endanger life after a child died at Birmingham Children's Hospital. The 27-year-old woman was arrested on Thursday and has been suspended from her role at the hospital. The child was being treated in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, a spokesperson for the hospital said. Police said the woman had been released while investigations continued and forensic tests were being examined. A spokesperson for Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust said it was "supporting the infant's family at this distressing time and ask that privacy is respected during this process". "Following the death of an infant at our Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital, we have asked West Midlands Police to examine what has happened, in line with our own safeguarding policy," it added. "The staff member involved has been suspended by the Trust following the national process on the sudden unexpected death of a child." Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 May 2022
  18. News Article
    Detectives have begun an investigation into the deaths of two babies at the hospital trust at the centre of the largest maternity scandal in NHS history. The babies died in separate incidents last year at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, both during birth. One of them was a twin. The cases were among 600 examined by West Mercia police alongside an inquiry by Donna Ockenden, a senior midwife and manager, into failings at the trust. Her report revealed last week that 201 babies had died and 94 suffered brain damage as a result of avoidable mistakes. Nine mothers also died because of errors in care. Detectives are working with prosecutors to determine whether charges should be brought over the two deaths last year, after years of warnings that maternity services were in crisis. West Mercia police said they were investigating the trust as an organisation as well as individuals. The trust could face a charge of corporate manslaughter if it is found that the way the hospital organised and managed its services caused a death that amounted to a “gross breach” of its duty of care. If found guilty, the trust would face an unlimited fine. Individuals charged with gross negligence manslaughter could go to jail if convicted. The move by the police comes amid growing fears that the unsafe care identified in the report could be taking place in maternity services in other parts of the country. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 3 April 2022
  19. News Article
    The police are investigating the death of a young person at a mental health hospital, The Independent can reveal. Police are investigating the death of a young girl at The Huntercombe Maidenhead mental health hospital in February. In a statement to The Independent: Thames Valley Police, said: “Thames Valley Police is conducting an investigation after the death of a girl following an incident at Huntercombe Hospital in Maidenhead on Saturday 12 February. The girl’s next of kin have been informed and our officers are supporting them. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time. An investigation is ongoing to understand the circumstances around this tragic incident.” The Care Quality Commission has also said it was notified of the young girls death. The care regulator said it could not comment further. The NHS confirmed to The Independent admissions to one of the hospital’s wards have been suspended. The 60-bed hospital was rated Inadequate and placed in special measures by the CQC in February 2021 following serious concerns over care of patients. Read full story Source: The Independent, 26 February 2022
  20. News Article
    Two healthcare workers who exchanged vile texts while needless drugging sick people to ‘keep them quiet’ have been found guilty of ill-treating patients. Senior nurse Catherine Hudson, 54, was found to have regularly tranquillised patients unnecessarily for her own amusement and to have an ‘easy’ shift. While Charlotte Wilmot, 48, an assistant practitioner, wrote vile texts encouraging her to carry out the dangerous acts, with complete disregard for the consequences. Preston Crown Court heard the pair worked on the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and had carried out needless sedations between 2017 and 2018. Restrictions on prescription drugs were so lax in the stroke unit that staff would help themselves and self-medicate or steal drugs to supply to others, the court heard. Drugs such as Zopiclone, a powerful medicine used to treat insomnia, were often stolen and used to drug multiple patients. Police launched an investigation in November 2018 after a student nurse raised concerns about the treatment of patients in the stroke unit. A number of staff members were arrested during the course of the investigation and their mobile devices were seized. Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 October 2023
  21. News Article
    Former police officers, including a murder detective, have been hired by NHS hospitals in a move that campaigners have warned risks discouraging whistleblowers. The Sunday Telegraph has revealted that retired officers have been employed by a trust currently under scrutiny for its treatment of doctors who raise patient safety concerns. One of them has taken up a patient safety incident investigator role worth up to £57,349 a year. Meanwhile a senior detective has been called into multiple trusts on an ad hoc basis to conduct investigations. Last night a leading patient group called on the NHS to be transparent about exactly how such personnel are being used, “given the ongoing concerns about how such roles interact with whistleblowers”. Paul Whiteing, chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), said: “We at AvMA welcome any steps taken by Trusts to professionalise the investigation of patient safety incidents. This is long overdue. “But given the on-going concerns about how such roles interact with whistleblowers, to maintain trust and confidence of all of the staff, trusts need to be clear, open and transparent about why they are making such appointments and the role and duties of those they employ to fulfil them, whatever their backgrounds.” Campaigners have warned that some NHS trusts deliberately seek to conflate patient safety issues with staff workplace investigations. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 30 September 2023
  22. News Article
    Police forces in parts of the UK have stopped answering urgent calls related to mental health even before alternative support is available to people, under a policy designed to free up officers’ time, MPs were told last week. The move means many vulnerable people are being left without help in areas where the necessary services and arrangements with other agencies are not yet in place, warned Sarah Hughes, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind. Giving evidence to the House of Commons health select committee on Tuesday 19 September, Hughes said, “We know of local Mind and local trust partners who are already experiencing people having no response because the police are saying they no longer respond to mental health calls.” The policy, Right Care, Right Person, which was developed by Humberside Police over nearly three years, is being rolled out in England and Wales from the end of October at varying speeds. Backed by the government and police representative bodies, it aims to ensure that patients in a mental health crisis are treated by the most appropriate agency, rather than have police act as default responder, when they may not be best suited to help. But the Royal College of Psychiatrists is among the organisations to have raised concerns over the levels of preparation and resourcing for the policy and the absence of evaluation of clinical outcomes or benefits and harms to the population. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 25 September 2023
  23. News Article
    A police investigation into allegations of cover-up and medical negligence over dozens of deaths at the Royal Sussex county hospital (RSCH) in Brighton has been expanded to include more recent cases, amid internal claims about dangerous surgery. In June the Guardian revealed that Sussex police were investigating the deaths of about 40 patients in the general surgery and neurosurgery departments at the RSCH. The force initially said the investigation, since named Operation Bramber, related to allegations of medical negligence in these departments between 2015 and 2020. It has now extended the scope of the investigation to more recent cases, amid internal allegations that the departments continue to be unsafe and fail to properly review serious incidents. An insider said the police should review what was considered to be an avoidable death after a procedure in July. The source said some of the surgeons remained a danger to the public. “You would not want your family members touched by these people,” they said. They added: “This is not a historic issue, it is ongoing. The same surgeons that were involved in previous problems remain in place.” They cited a woman who lost the power of speech in April after an alleged mistake in surgery to remove a brain tumour led to a stroke, and a man who was left with a brain abscess in May after being operated on despite a heightened risk of infection. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 September 2023
  24. News Article
    A police investigation is to be launched into failings that led to dozens of baby deaths and injuries at a hospital trust. The maternity units at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust are already being examined in a review by senior midwife Donna Ockenden. The review will become the largest ever carried out in the UK, with about 1,800 families affected. Nottinghamshire Police said its decision to investigate followed discussions with Ms Ockenden. Her team is looking into failings that led to babies dying or being injured at Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen's Medical Centre. Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: "On Wednesday I met with Donna Ockenden to discuss her independent review into maternity cases of potentially significant concern at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and to build up a clearer picture of the work that is taking place. "We want to work alongside the review but also ensure that we do not hinder its progress. "However, I am in a position to say we are preparing to launch a police investigation. "I have appointed the Assistant Chief Constable, Rob Griffin, to oversee the preparations and the subsequent investigation." Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 September 2023
  25. News Article
    The Metropolitan police has won its battle to stop attending most of the mental health calls it receives after a tense behind-the-scenes row with the health service, the Guardian has learned. From 31 October the Met will start implementing a scheme that aims to stop officers being diverted from crime fighting to do work health staff are better trained for. In May, the Guardian revealed that the Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, had written to health and social care leaders setting a deadline of 31 August – leading to furious reaction from health chiefs who wrote to the commissioner protesting that it would put vulnerable people at risk. The agreement means Rowley will push his deadline for the start of the changes back by two months, before a phased introduction. Health services will not publicly criticise the police decision, and will race to put measures in place to pick up the work. The scheme is called Right Care Right Person (RCRP), and has been agreed nationally by government departments and national police and health bodies. The letter sent on Thursday says: “In practice, this means that police call handlers will receive a new prompt relating to welfare checks or when a patient goes absent from health partner inpatient care. The prompt will ask call handlers to check that a police response is required or whether the person’s needs may be better met by a health or care professional.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 August 2023
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