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Found 149 results
  1. News Article
    “I’ve seen patients take swings at doctors because they’re not happy with the time it’s taken or the doctor’s diagnosis. I’ve seen fire extinguishers set off and thrown at people, computers lifted and thrown across the emergency department and people run out of cubicles and punch other patients – people they don’t know – for no reason.” Roger Webb, a security supervisor at the Queen’s Medical Centre hospital in Nottingham, is recalling some of the more unsavoury incidents he has witnessed in the course of his work. “I’ve been struck in the groin, had scratches all over my arms where people have dug their nails in. I’ve been bitten and I’ve been spat at while trying to deal with situations. The spitting is the most depressing of those, though, because it’s so contemptuous and so horrible. And legally it’s assault.” Like staff across the NHS, those at the QMC have seen a rise in abusive, threatening and intimidatory behaviour by patients and their relatives in recent years. In 2021-22, Nottingham University hospitals (NUH), the NHS trust that runs the QMC and its sister City hospital, recorded 1,237 incidents of aggression, violence and harassment. But it had many more – 1,806 – during the following year, 2022-23. Last year brought another increase. In the six months between April to September alone, NUH recorded another 1,167 incidents, leaving 2023-24 likely to be the worst ever on record. Staff have been hit, spat at, threatened, verbally abused and racially abused during this roll call of unpleasant incidents. Racially aggravated harassment has increased notably. Some of the incidents have led to perpetrators being charged and convicted. Worryingly, in a growing number of cases, the patient has been responsible for several incidents while receiving one single episode of care. Care delays are the main trigger for abuse at the QMC. But such incidents also arise when staff are treating drunks, rival gangs, people who are high on drugs and those with mental health problems. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 25 February 2024
  2. News Article
    The head of the NHS has today announced the rollout of ‘Martha’s Rule’ in hospitals across England from April, enabling patients and families to seek an urgent review if their condition deteriorates. The patient safety initiative is set to be rolled out to at least 100 NHS sites and will give patients and their families round-the-clock access to a rapid review from an independent critical care team if they are worried about their or a loved one’s condition. This escalation process will be available 24/7 to patients, families and NHS staff, and will be advertised throughout hospitals, making it quickly and easily accessible. NHS chief Amanda Pritchard said the programme had the potential to “save many lives in the future” and thanked Martha’s family for their important campaigning and collaboration to help the NHS improve the care of patients experiencing acute deterioration. Thirteen-year-old Martha Mills died from sepsis at King’s College Hospital, London, in 2021, due to a failure to escalate her to intensive care and after her family’s concerns about her deteriorating condition were not responded to promptly. Extensive campaigning by her parents Merope and Paul, supported by the cross-party think tank Demos, has seen widespread support for a single system that allows patients or their families to trigger an urgent clinical review from a different team in the hospital if the patient’s condition is rapidly worsening and they feel they are not getting the care they need. Merope Mills and Paul Laity, Martha’s parents, said: “We are pleased that the implementation of Martha’s Rule will begin in April. We want it to be in place as quickly and as widely as possible, to prevent what happened to our daughter from happening to other patients in hospital. “We believe Martha’s Rule will save lives. In cases of deterioration, families and carers by the bedside can be aware of changes busy clinicians can’t; their knowledge should be recognised as a resource. We also look to Martha’s Rule to alter medical culture: to give patients a little more power, to encourage listening on the part of medical professionals, and to normalise the idea that even the grandest of doctors should welcome being challenged. We call on all NHS clinicians to back the initiative: we know that the large majority do listen, are open with patients and never complacent – but Martha’s doctors worked in a different culture, so some situations need to change. “Our daughter was quite something: fun and determined, with a vast appetite for life and so many plans and ambitions – we’ll never know what she would have achieved with all her talents. Hers was a preventable death, but Martha’s Rule will mean that she didn’t die completely in vain.” Read full story Source: NHS England, 21 February 2024
  3. News Article
    More than 100 families looking after severely disabled adults and children outside hospital, have told the BBC that the NHS is failing to provide enough vital support. The NHS says help is based on individual needs and guidelines ensure consistency across England and Wales. However, some families describe the system as adversarial. Only those living outside hospital with life-limiting conditions, or at risk of severe harm if they don't have significant support, get this help from the NHS. It is provided through a scheme called Continuing Healthcare (CHC) for adults, and its equivalent for under-18s, Children and Young People's Continuing Care. Cases in England are decided by NHS Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) - panels responsible for planning local health and care services. In Wales, they are overseen by local health boards. The BBC has heard from 105 families who described serious concerns with how the two schemes are working - with most calling for reform. One young man with 24-hour needs hasn't received any CHC help despite being eligible since February 2023 - his parents, who first applied for support on his behalf nearly two years ago, currently provide round-the-clock care Another family were told overnight care for their teenage child - who is non-verbal, has severe mobility issues and requires 24/7 support - would be reduced from seven down to three nights a week, without a reason being given. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 February 2024
  4. News Article
    Jason Watkins, a British actor, has urged A&E units to look again at procedures surrounding infants as he has channels his anger at his young daughter’s death from sepsis into trying to “improve the system”. The actor said that his fury at the death of Maude aged two on New Year’s Day 2011 led him to smash up his shower. “It wasn’t anger at any individual, it was anger at fate. Why should we deserve this?” he told Andy Coulson’s Crisis What Crisis? podcast. “You feel really vulnerable and there’s a sort of rage against that. And there are all these different ways of resolving and wrestling out of this horrible dark pit that you’re in." He now campaigns for the UK Sepsis Trust. “I was never angry at any individual,” he said. “My anger was fuelled into trying to work out better ways of dealing with sepsis, or even more than that, the way that we look at infants in A&E. Because you know, it’s a funding issue, it’s an organisational issue. It’s another conversation. “Because I had identified that there wasn’t an individual at fault in the hospital, it has to be the system. So we’ve got to improve it. My anger is fuelled into that. There’s no bitterness. Nobody made a technical mistake, it’s just nobody really thought of the possibilities of what could be happening. “For me the whole of looking at infants arriving at A&E needs to be looked at again. Because if I say that Maude died twelve years ago, and that the ombudsman report about sepsis a couple of months ago said that nothing had changed about sepsis, now, that was like a body-blow, that makes me feel sick even thinking about it now, because we’ve worked so hard over that time.” Read full story Source: The Times, 1 February 2024
  5. News Article
    A London acute trust is planning to provide staff working in frailty units with body cameras and those in antenatal clinics with additional security, as violence and aggression against them goes ‘through the roof’. Matthew Trainer, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust in north east London, described the measures the trust is planning to take in response to growing staff concerns about their safety. Speaking at a King’s Fund event about making NHS careers more attractive, Mr Trainer said: “We need to understand the impact of violence and aggression against the workforce and that’s going through the roof just now. “Our ultrasound technicians have now asked for help as their antenatal scans are becoming so fraught. We are about to introduce body cameras in our frailty wards to help with the increase in violence and aggression against staff there.” Mr Trainer – who joined BHRUT in 2021 from Oxleas Foundation Trust – said a long-running problem with violence and aggression in emergency departments was spreading to other departments. Mr Trainer stressed the main problem, particularly in frailty units, was not patients’ own behaviour, but that of family and friends visiting them. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 December 2023
  6. News Article
    Top boss of NHS complaints in England has told the BBC he wants Martha's rule to be introduced to give patients the power to get an automatic second medical opinion about hospital care, when they think things are going wrong. Rob Behrens said he had been moved by the plea of Merope Mills, who shared the story of her daughter's death. Martha was 13 when she died from sepsis. Merope Mills wants hospitals around the country to bring in Martha's rule, which would give parents, carers and patients the right to call for an urgent second clinical opinion from other experts at the same hospital, if they have concerns about their current care. It is something that Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Rob Behrens fully supports. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Along with many others, I was moved and in great admiration for what Merope has said and done and I give unambiguous support. "Unfortunately, as tragic as this case is, it's not the first and there have been many cases where patients have been failed by their doctors because they haven't been listened to." Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 September 2023
  7. Content Article
    Two years after his 13-year-old child died needlessly in hospital, Paul Laity reflects on life without her. Martha Mills died of septic shock due to a series of serious failures in her care after she injured her pancreas in a cycling accident. Her father Paul talks about the ongoing pain of grief, and the additional burden of knowing that Martha's death was preventable, caused by the complacency of her doctors and a culture in the hospital that meant consultants were reluctant to ask expert advice from paediatric ICU. "Martha’s avoidable death was unusual in that the prime causes weren’t overwork or a lack of resources, but complacency, overconfidence and the culture on the ward. What upsets me most was that the consultants – a different one most days – took a punt that she was going to be OK over the weekend. No one assumed responsibility; they hoped for the best rather than playing safe. Was everything done for Martha that could have been done? Emphatically not. It’s very hard to live with this knowledge. But just as hard is the recognition that I, too, didn’t do enough." Further reading ‘We had such trust, we feel such fools’: how shocking hospital mistakes led to our daughter’s death (The Guardian, 3 September 2022) Prevention of Future Deaths Report: Martha Mills (28 February 2022)
  8. Content Article
    Melanie Whitfield, Associate Director of Patient Safety at Kingston NHS Foundation Trust, and Helen Hughes, Chief Executive of Patient Safety Learning, recently ran a workshop for Patient Safety Partners (PSPs) at the Kingston Trust. Here is a summary of the workshop.
  9. News Article
    Soaring numbers of families struggling to care for someone with dementia have hit a “crisis point” with nowhere to turn for help when their loved one puts themselves or others at risk of harm, a charity has said. More than 700,000 people in the UK look after a relative with dementia. Many feel they can no longer cope with alarming situations where they or their relative are at immediate risk of being harmed, according to Dementia UK. Dementia can affect a person’s ability to manage their reactions to difficult thoughts and feelings. This can lead to them experiencing such intense states of distress that they become verbally or physically aggressive, putting themselves and those around them at risk of harm. The charity says carers and their loved ones are being failed because health and social care support services are already stretched to their limit, which has led to a surge in calls to its helpline. Sheridan Coker, the deputy clinical lead at Dementia UK, said: “We’re increasingly being contacted by families who are at risk of harm with no one to turn to. We receive calls where the person with dementia has become so distressed that they have physically assaulted the person caring for them, often a family member." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 31 July 2023
  10. News Article
    Local clinical leaders are continuing to question pressure from government and NHS England to relax Covid-19 visiting restrictions. Visitors, and people accompanying patients, have been restricted throughout covid, and in recent months there has been substantial local variation. Ministers and NHSE, as well as other politicians and some patient groups, have been pressing for more relaxed restrictions for some time and in recent weeks have stepped up their instructions. National visiting guidance was eased in March, and other infection control guidance, including requiring the isolation of covid contacts, was relaxed last month. Last week, the Daily Telegraph reported health and social care secretary Sajid Javid planned to “name and shame” trusts not implementing the changes, and to call hospital chief executives directly about it. Meanwhile, chief nursing officer Ruth May reiterated the visiting rules last month, saying on Twitter: “We must not underestimate the important contribution that visiting makes to the wellbeing and personalised care of patients and make it happen.” However, an NHSE online meeting for clinical leaders on Friday was told that while “a great number of trusts have returned to previous visiting policies… we know there are trusts which haven’t implemented this fully”. One said: “It is very difficult to safely return to pre-covid visiting as some hospital’s estate can’t safely support visitors in already over-crowded [emergency departments] and increasingly busy [outpatient departments]. “Surely local risk assessment is key and should be supported rather than increasing pressure to simply blanketly return to pre-pandemic arrangements everywhere?” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 9 May 2022 You may also be interested in: Visiting restrictions and the impact on patients and their families: a relative's perspective It’s time to rename the ‘visitor’: reflections from a relative
  11. News Article
    Hospitals are still banning patients from having bedside visitors in ‘immoral’ Covid restrictions. Last night, MPs, patient groups and campaigners criticised the postcode lottery that means some frail patients are still denied the support of loved ones. Nine trusts continue to impose total bans on any visitors for some patients, The Mail on Sunday has found. Almost half of trusts maintain policies so strict that they flaunt NHS England’s guidance that patients should be allowed at least two visitors a day. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are among those continuing total bans on visiting for some of their patients. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) has even been imposing its draconian restrictions on disabled patients who need special help for their care – only allowing visits on three days a week for a maximum of an hour each time. Tory MP Alicia Kearns said: ‘It is utterly unforgivable and immoral. There is no scientific evidence for any remaining inhumane restrictions on visiting. Trusts are breaching the rights of families. 'Visitors save lives, they advocate and calm their loved ones. When will this madness end?’ Read full story Source: MailOnline, 1 May 2022 You may also be interested in: Visiting restrictions and the impact on patients and their families: a relative's perspective It’s time to rename the ‘visitor’: reflections from a relative
  12. News Article
    Relatives of intensive care Covid patients were left traumatised by being banned from visiting their seriously ill loved ones during the pandemic, a study has found. Researchers found two-thirds of family members of patients in intensive care were still suffering high levels of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) three months after their relative was admitted. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares and physical sensations such as pain, sweating, feeling sick or trembling. Before the Covid pandemic, symptoms of PTSD in family members of intensive care patients were between 15 and 30 per cent, depending on the condition. The team from the University of Colorado School of Medicine said visitation restrictions may have inadvertently generated a secondary public health crisis of stress-related disorders in family members of Covid patients. At the height of the pandemic, hospitals across Britain restricted access to patients, with many people forced to say goodbye to dying loved ones over Skype, or behind screens or windows. Even as late as last winter, a Telegraph investigation showed that a quarter of trusts were still imposing restrictions on visitors. The findings suggest that the rates of PTSD may be higher in relatives than in patients. A previous study by Imperial College and the University of Southampton found that only one-third of patients on ventilators suffer symptoms. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 25 April 2022
  13. News Article
    Lateral flow tests could cost care home visitors £73 a month, a leading UK charity has said, as it renewed calls to keep the devices free in such settings. The government has previously announced that free testing for the general public will end from 1 April, and that this will include care home visitors. However, charities have warned the shift away from free tests could place a heavy financial burden on those visiting care homes, where testing is still advised. James White, the head of public affairs and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the proposed charge on lateral flow tests for visitors to care homes was a cruel tax on care. “Over the past two years, we’ve consistently heard many tragic stories from families struggling to visit their loved ones in care homes. For many people with dementia, this isolation has led to a significant deterioration in their condition and mental health,” he said. “With infection rates rising once again, the government must provide free lateral flow tests for all visitors to care homes so that families are not put in an agonising position where they are forced to ration visits, leaving people with dementia once again isolated and alone.” Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “No one should have to pay out of their own pocket for tests in circumstances where the expert advice is clear that testing remains an important safeguard against Covid,” she said. “If care home visitors are going to continue to be asked to keep testing to protect their loved ones, it would be completely unacceptable to expect them to pay.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 March 2022 Further reading Visiting restrictions and the impact on patients and their families: a relative's perspective
  14. News Article
    Merope Mills’s recent article in the Guardian should be mandatory reading for all medical and nursing students. All of us who are senior doctors or nurses will recognise only too well the dangerous conditions that Merope describes: the senior doctors with overinflated egos; the internecine warfare between departments; the nursing staff and junior doctors who are rendered impotent by repeated attempts to galvanise action from off-site but know-it-all seniors; the lack of integrated thinking that results when there is no consistent lead clinician; and, most dangerous, not listening to the patient or their relatives, and not directly examining the patient. Candour and co-production are terms much used in healthcare, but for some staff these aspects of care are a million miles away from the ego-driven practice in which they engage. This is why Merope’s advice is so important. Do not have blind faith in your clinician. Do not leave all the thinking to them. Do equip yourself with knowledge and, most of all, do demand to be treated as an equal partner in the care of your body or your loved one. Current and former healthcare professionals respond to Merope Mills’s account of losing her daughter after a series of catastrophic medical errors. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 11 September 2022
  15. News Article
    The midwife leading a review into Nottingham's maternity services has urged families and staff to come forward with their experiences. Donna Ockenden was appointed in May to head the inquiry into the services at Queen's Medical Centre and City Hospital. It was launched after more than 100 families with experiences of maternity failings wrote to former Health Secretary Sajid Javid demanding the action. A much-criticised initial review was subsequently scrapped. Ms Ockenden, who uncovered 200 avoidable baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust across two decades, said the review is now open to families, NHS workers and others who wish to contribute. "By September 1 we'll be ready to receive contact from families," she told Nottinghamshire Live. "In the mean time if there are either families or members of the NHS that want to get in touch they can use our new email. And also those who represent communities, whether that's safe communities or women's groups in Nottingham." People can contact the review through the email nottsreview@donnaockenden.com, which was launched last week. Ms Ockenden said that positive steps were being made in putting in place the "building blocks" for the review, which is due to start on 1 September 2022. Read full story Source: Nottinghamshire Live, 17 August 2022
  16. News Article
    Survivors of the contaminated blood scandal have been awarded interim government payments after a 40-year battle, but thousands of parents and children of the victims have still received nothing. Ministers have accepted the urgency of the need to make the £100,000 payments to about 3,000 surviving victims, after being warned that those mistakenly infected with HIV and hepatitis C were dying at the rate of one every four days. But parents and children of the victims accused the government of perpetuating the scandal by failing to recognise their own trauma and loss in today’s announcement. Contaminated blood products administered in the 1970s and 1980s to up to 6,000 people have already led to the deaths of more than 2,400 people in the biggest treatment scandal in NHS history. The government said it intends to make payments to those who have been infected and bereaved partners in England by the end of October. The same payments will be made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Announcing the plan, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, said: “While nothing can make up for the pain and suffering endured by those affected by this tragic injustice, we are taking action to do right by victims and those who have tragically lost their partners by making sure they receive these interim payments as quickly as possible. “We will continue to stand by all those impacted by this horrific tragedy, and I want to personally pay tribute to all those who have so determinedly fought for justice.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 August 2022
  17. News Article
    England’s care regulator has been accused of failing to keep private nursing home residents safe after a family alleged a delay in exposing serious risks led to a loved one’s painful premature death. Relatives of Bernard Chatting, 89, said they relied on a “good” rating from the Care Quality Commission when they moved him into a £1,200-a-week home in Dorset. But after he experienced care so unsafe he ended up in hospital and died a few weeks later, it emerged the CQC already knew the home was failing badly. The case comes as CQC’s traffic light ratings become increasingly important for people looking to place relatives in England’s 17,000 care homes amid a staffing and funding crisis which experts fear could increase the risk of maltreatment of the most vulnerable citizens. The ratings from inadequate to outstanding are one of the few ways that families can check care standards. “We wouldn’t have sent Dad there if we knew,” said Chatting’s son-in-law, Phil Davenport. “It is beyond my understanding how the CQC inspect, have serious concerns, and yet not advise the public more quickly. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 March 2023
  18. 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.
  19. News Article
    The mother of a sick girl has confronted the health secretary during a hospital visit in London, telling him that NHS staff are “worked to the bone” and the government is doing “terrible damage” to families on waiting lists. Sarah Pinnington-Auld, whose three-year-old daughter, Lucy, has cystic fibrosis, rebuked Steve Barclay over NHS staff working conditions and long waits for treatment as he visited King’s College hospital. She told the Conservative cabinet minister how her daughter was pushed off an “absolutely horrific” waiting list because of “the obscene number of people who came through and the lack of resources”. “The damage that you’re doing to families like myself is terrible, because it was agony for us as a family waiting for that call,” she said. “Preparing our children, for their sister and her hospital visit, for then it to be cancelled. And I know you look and we’re all numbers, but actually they’re people waiting for care.” “The doctors, the nurses, everyone on the ward is just brilliant, considering what they’re under, considering the shortage of staff, considering the lack of resources,” she said. “That’s what’s really upsetting, actually, because we have a daughter with a life-limiting, life-shortening condition and we have some brilliant experts and they’re being worked to the bone, and actually the level of care they provide is amazing, but they are not being able to provide it in the way they want to provide it because the resourcing is not there.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 December 2022
  20. News Article
    The government has proposed new legislation to make patient visiting a legal right and also give the Care Quality Commission (CQC) fresh powers to enforce it. The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a consultation to seek views from patients, care home residents, families, professionals and providers on the introduction of new legislation which will require health and care settings, including hospitals, to accommodate visitors in most circumstances. It said the new visiting laws will also provide the CQC with a “clearer basis for identifying where hospitals and care homes are not meeting the required standard”, and enable it to enforce the standards by issuing requirement or warning notices, imposing conditions, suspending a registration or cancelling a registration. It said although the CQC currently has powers “to clamp down on unethical visiting restrictions”, the expected standard of visiting rules is not “specifically outlined in regulations”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 21 June 2023
  21. News Article
    Trust in care homes has slumped, leaving half of the British public lacking confidence that friends or family would be well looked after. Nationwide polling for the Guardian revealed 9 out of 10 older people believe there are not enough care staff, and half have lost confidence in the standard of care homes since the start of the pandemic. The survey conducted by Ipsos this month follows a doubling in public dissatisfaction in the NHS and exposes deepening fears about the fitness of a social care sector that had its weaknesses exposed by Covid-19, which claimed 36,000 lives in care homes in England alone. The Relatives and Residents Association (RRA) said the polling tallied with calls to its helpline about the “harm and anguish caused by poor care and frustration at the inconsistency in standards”. “We must weed out the poor providers and invest in skills – care workers must become our most valued workers, not the least,” said Helen Wildbore, the RRA’s chief executive. “Tomorrow, any one of us could need them.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 24 April 2023
  22. News Article
    A father whose baby died at six weeks after his vitamin K jab was missed has urged parents not to be taken in by misinformation spreading across social media. Alex Patto, 33, and his wife wanted their newborn son, William, to have the vitamin K jab to protect him against a rare but serious bleeding disorder known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). But the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge missed the jab and their firstborn child tragically passed away at six weeks old after suffering a bleed on his brain. Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has completed a serious incident report and an inquest is due to take place in the coming months. Having gone through baby loss, Alex said he finds it “hard to understand” why parents would trust unverified information on social media over advice from their healthcare professional to opt into the jab. iNews previously revealed an increase in anti-vaccination misinformation on social media discouraging parents from getting the vitamin K jab for their newborn babies. The jab is a vitamin injection, not a vaccine – which are given to protect against infectious diseases – but doctors have reported videos on social media are incorrectly mislabelling it as such. Read full story Source: iNews, 23 March 2023
  23. News Article
    Staff in hospital emergency departments in England are struggling to spot when infants are being physically abused by their parents, raising the risk of further harm, an investigation has found. Clinicians often do not know what to do if they are concerned that a child’s injuries are not accidental because there is no guidance, according to a report from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) that identifies several barriers to child safeguarding in emergency departments. Matt Mansbridge, a national investigator, said the report drew on case studies of three children who were abused by their parents, which he said were a “hard read” and a “stark reminder” of the importance of diagnosing non-accidental injuries quickly, since these are the warning sign in nearly a third of child protection cases for infants under the age of one. “For staff, these situations are fraught with complexity and exacerbated by the extreme pressure currently felt in emergency departments across the country,” Mansbridge said. He said the clinicians interviewed wanted to “see improvement and feel empowered” to ask difficult questions. “The evidence from our investigation echoes what staff and national leads told us – that emergency department staff should have access to all the relevant information about the child, their history and their level of risk, and that safeguarding support needs to be consistent and timely/ Gaps in information and long waits for advice will only create further barriers to care,” he said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 April 2023
  24. News Article
    A son has accepted a settlement and an apology from the north Wales health board nearly 10 years after his mother was a patient in a mental health unit. Jean Graves spent nine weeks at the Hergest unit in Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor in 2013 after struggling with anxiety and depression. Her son David said she was left "severely malnourished" and fell. He previously said his mother - who was 78 when she was treated at the unit - collapsed six times and, over the course of six weeks, lost 25% of her body mass. The health board also apologised for the "distress" the family experienced while seeking answers "over many years" and said it hopes to "learn and improve" from Mr Graves's experience. In a letter to him, executives said: "It is very clear to us that we have failed your mother and that she should have had a better care whilst in our services." It said her records were incomplete or were "amended without proper evidence" and she was placed on a ward with a mix of patients with both psychiatric illness and older organic mental illness, which was not "best practice". Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 March 2023
  25. News Article
    A terminally ill mother says she was "horrified" after she was handed her baby's remains in a supermarket carrier bag by NHS officials. Lydia Reid's son Gary was a week old when he died in 1975. She later discovered his organs had been removed for tests without her permission and only received them last month after almost 50 years of campaigning. The 74-year-old, told BBC Scotland she was visited last month by the head of NHS Lothian as well as another senior NHS official. "I thought they were coming to help me sign some papers. When they arrived I noticed one of them was carrying a Sainsbury's carrier bag," Ms Reid said. "Then they said they wanted to complete the list of body parts in case anything had been missed out. She handed me the Sainsbury's bag and said she wanted me to check them now." Inside the carrier bag was a six-inch box containing body parts preserved in wax. "I was so shocked and said 'How dare you. That is the only parts of my son and you want to hand them to me in a carrier bag. "I was absolutely horrified. She said she didn't realise it would be a problem." Tracey Gillies, medical director for NHS Lothian said: "I would like to repeat publicly the apology we made to Ms Reid in person for the upset and distress this has caused. Ms Reid has been a leading figure in the Scottish campaign to expose how hospitals unlawfully retained dead children's body parts for research. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 March 2023
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