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Found 813 results
  1. 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
  2. Content Article
    A new BMA report, “It’s broken” Doctors’ experiences on the frontline of a failing mental healthcare system", based on first-hand accounts of doctors working across the NHS, reveals a ‘broken’ system of mental health services in England. The current economic cost of mental ill health has been estimated to be over £100 billion in England alone*, but this report demonstrates that across the NHS, doctors are in an ongoing struggle to give patients the care they need because the funding is just not enough, there are not enough staff, and the infrastructure and systems are not fit for purpose. The report makes plain that without a concerted effort from central government to resource mental healthcare based on demand (which continues to grow beyond what the NHS can respond to) as well as changes in society to promote good mental health, the future looks bleak. The BMA carried out in-depth interviews with doctors across the mental health system, including those working in psychiatry, general practice, emergency medicine, and public health.
  3. Content Article
    Female urologists report higher rates of work-related physical discomfort compared to male urologists. This study in the American Journal of Surgery compared ergonomics during simulated ureteroscopy—the most common surgery for kidney stones—between male and female urologists. The authors found that across all conditions, women required greater muscle activation in multiple muscle groups and had greater NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) scores compared to men. These results suggest there may be gender differences in ergonomics during ureteroscopy based on muscle activation and subjective workload. There is therefore potential for personalising surgical workspaces and equipment.
  4. News Article
    Health secretary Victoria Atkins has said mental health patients and staff must report the “horrific” sexual abuse allegations uncovered by The Independent to the police. Ms Atkins said victims would have her full support if they reported their claims to the police. Her intervention comes following a joint investigation by The Independent and Sky News, which revealed almost 20,000 reports of sexual harassment and abuse on NHS mental health wards in England. The allegations uncovered include patients claiming to have been raped by staff and other patients while being treated on mental health wards. In response to the initial investigation, Ms Atkins said a review launched last year into mental health services would now also look into sexual assault within the sector. Speaking on Sky News, she said: “These are horrific allegations that should not and must not happen in our care. Very, very vulnerable people have to stay in mental health inpatient facilities, and they do so because they need care, support, and treatment. “Some of the behaviours that have come to light are criminal offences, and so I would encourage anyone who feels able to – and I appreciate it is a difficult step – to go to the police and please report them, because they are crimes and we must drive them out.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 February 2024
  5. Content Article
    In this interview, Professor Martin Marshall, former GP and Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, shares his concerns for the future of general practice in the UK. He outlines the danger that more of the workforce will turn to private practice due to current pressures facing NHS GPs.
  6. News Article
    Ambulance trusts have often prioritised capacity and response times over dealing with cases of misconduct, a review of culture in the sector for NHS England has found. The review says ambulance trusts need to “establish clear standards and procedures to address misconduct”. The work was carried out by Siobhan Melia, who is Sussex Community Healthcare Trust CEO, and was seconded to be South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust interim chief from summer 2022 to spring last year. Her report says bullying and harassment – including sexual harassment – are “deeply rooted” in ambulance trusts, and made worse by organisational and psychological barriers, with inconsistencies in holding offenders to account and a failure to tackle repeat offenders. She says “cultural assessments” of three trusts by NHSE had found “competing pressures often lead to poor behaviours, with capacity prioritisation overshadowing misconduct management”, adding: “Staff shortages and limited opportunities for development mean that any work beyond direct clinical care is seen as a luxury or is rushed. “Despite this, there is a clear link between positive organisational culture and improved patient outcomes. However, trusts often focus on meeting response time standards for urgent calls, whilst sidelining training, professional development, and research.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 February 2024
  7. Content Article
    The press has all been full of headlines about staffing levels in the NHS, but this is probably a problem across healthcare around the country. What this does is provide the perfect patient safety quandary, how do we keep all the areas safe. This often results in the redeployment of nursing staff to different areas, but does this provide the required levels of safety. It appears that having several areas in an “amber” staffing level is preferable than one red area. It is simple logic, but does this create an unrealistic expectation on staff that means the safety is better but only at a barely satisfactory level? Do we think that any of these decisions influences the efficiency of a ward? Is the ward safe and effective? In this blog, Chris Elston explores these issues and uses a Safety Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) to show some of the lesser appreciated risks to redeploying staff and consider some ways to reduce the risks.
  8. News Article
    The NHS has been accused of putting patients' lives at risk after it allowed hundreds of staff, including senior consultants and managers, to work thousands of miles from the UK. A Mail on Sunday investigation has discovered that NHS staff at every level are working remotely in places as far flung as Australia and Japan. Critics last night warned that the 'unacceptable and dangerous' arrangements could threaten patient safety. Professor Karol Sikora, a former director of the World Health Organisation cancer programme, said: "Allowing staff to work from abroad is a huge mistake that can only undermine patient safety and the efficacy of treatment." At least 335 NHS staff from 33 trusts have been allowed to work abroad in the past two years, according to data from Freedom of Information requests. Until last year, Constantine Fragkoulakis, 42, was employed as a consultant radiologist at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust in Nottinghamshire. The trust said its radiologists "routinely interpret images and write reports away from the hospitals where they are based". But Mr Fragkoulakis admitted there had been "a lot of IT issues, so there was no patient care involved or clinical work'. He added: 'Essentially it was just meetings that I did." Another consultant radiologist, Branimir Klasic, 50, is being allowed to work two weeks each month in Croatia by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South Wales. It said recruitment was "increasingly challenging" and that it was "open to exploring ways of working that ensures we can provide the skills and expertise that our patients need". A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are clear that ways of working, which are agreed between NHS employers and its staff, should never impact on NHS patients or services." Read full story Source: Daily Mail, 10 February 2024
  9. News Article
    Dozens of new allegations of sexual assault and abuse, including claims of rape and of patients being made pregnant, have emerged following an investigation into Britain’s mental health wards. One patient with a mental health disorder became pregnant by a member of staff. Allegations of rape, and of children being groomed by healthcare assistants, were among the 40 horrifying new reports of abuse made against rogue NHS Trusts. The investigation, conducted by The Independent, alongside Sky News, revealed more than 20,000 allegations of sexual assault and harassment across more than 30 NHS England mental health trusts since 2019. Several patients, who have come forward with their own harrowing stories, had allegedly been harmed by healthcare assistants, who currently are not regulated. Natalie, whose name has been changed, was one of several patients groomed and asked to share sexually explicit photos by a healthcare assistant working at a children’s mental health ward in 2020. Natalie, who was 16 at the time, told The Independent: “The first few conversations [after I was discharged] were very innocent. However after weeks and months, he started speaking in a sexual nature, asking me to send explicit photos of myself, posting explicit photos of himself and asking to meet up for sexual advances, I didn’t realise it at the time, but he was grooming me; this was all over Snapchat. “I feel and still feel very small, and that I wasn’t looked at as a person [by the hospital], and they only saw me as a patient with no feelings that mattered. It felt like another incident at ... that just got swept under the rug.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 10 February 2024
  10. News Article
    Rishi Sunak has admitted the government has failed on a pledge to cut NHS waiting lists in England. The prime minister said the government had "not made enough progress" but that industrial action in the health service "has had an impact". Mr Sunak made the comments in an interview with TalkTV. Cutting NHS waiting lists is one of five priorities Mr Sunak set out in January 2023, along with measures on the economy and illegal immigration. At the time he said "NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly" but did not set a timeframe for achieving that. Asked if his government has failed to achieve that pledge, Mr Sunak said: "Yes, we have." The prime minister continued: "What I would say to people is that we've invested record amounts in the NHS - more doctors, more nurses, more scanners. "All these things mean the NHS is doing more than it ever has but industrial action has had an impact." Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 February 2024
  11. Content Article
    As health care specialists, we spend a huge amount of time considering, empathising with, and addressing the needs of the people we want to help. We intimately understand the challenges children and young people face, and how these may impact their health and development long term. Exposed daily to this kind of emotional and physical distress, it can be easy for compassion fatigue to creep in. Our brains work automatically to protect our own mental health, almost desensitising us to the trauma experienced by others. It’s much easier to think of people as statistics, especially when it comes to children and young people. But the more we think in terms of statistics, the more immune to them we become, the more empathy we lose and the less potential there is for an effective, caring health care system that works well for everyone. We need to put the care back into health care.
  12. Content Article
    This report sets out the findings of an Independent Review into the care and treatment provided by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. The review was commissioned following reports of failings within the Trust’s services at the Edenfield Centre and the failure within the organisation to escalate concerns and mitigate patient harm.
  13. News Article
    The Health and Social Care Committee has launched a new inquiry to examine leadership, performance and patient safety in the NHS. Inquiry: NHS leadership, performance and patient safety MPs will consider the work of the Messenger review (2022) which examined the state of leadership and management in the NHS and social care, and the Kark review (2019) which assessed how effectively the fit and proper persons test prevents unsuitable staff from being redeployed or re-employed in health and social care settings. The Committee’s inquiry will also consider how effectively leadership supports whistleblowers and what is learnt from patient safety issues. An ongoing evaluation by the Committee’s Expert Panel on progress by government in meeting recommendations on patient safety will provide further information to the inquiry. Health and Social Care Committee Chair Steve Brine MP said: “The role of leadership within the NHS is crucial whether that be a driver of productivity that delivers efficient services for patients and in particular when it comes to patient safety. Five years ago, Tom Kark QC led a review to ensure that directors in the NHS responsible for quality and safety of care are ‘fit and proper’ to be in their roles. We’ll be questioning what impact that has made. We’ll also look at recommendations from the Messenger review to strengthen leadership and management and we will ask whether NHS leadership structures provide enough support to whistleblowers. Our Expert Panel has already begun its work to evaluate government progress on accepted recommendations to improve patient safety so this will build on that. We owe it to those who rely on the NHS – and the tax-payers who pay for it – to know whether the service is well led and those who have been failed on patient safety need to find out whether real change has resulted from promises made.” Terms of Reference The Committee invites written submissions addressing any, or all, of the following points, but please note that the Committee does not investigate individual cases and will not be pursuing matters on behalf of individuals. Evidence should be submitted by Friday 8 March. Written evidence can be submitted here of no more than 3,000 words.  How effectively does NHS leadership encourage a culture in which staff feel confident raising patient safety concerns, and what more could be done to support this? What has been the impact of the 2019 Kark Review on leadership in the NHS as it relates to patient safety? What progress has been made to date on recommendations from the 2022 Messenger Review? How effectively have leadership recommendations from previous reviews of patient safety crises been implemented? How could better regulation of health service managers and application of agreed professional standards support improvements in patient safety? How effectively do NHS leadership structures provide a supportive and fair approach to whistleblowers, and how could this be improved? How could investigations into whistleblowing complaints be improved? How effectively does the NHS complaints system prevent patient safety incidents from escalating and what would be the impact of proposed measures to improve patient safety, such as Martha’s Rule? What can the NHS learn from the leadership culture in other safety-critical sectors e.g. aviation, nuclear? Read full story Source: UK Parliament, 25 January 2024
  14. Content Article
    This is the video recording of a House of Lords debate on the delivery of maternity services in England, put forward by Baroness Taylor of Bolton.
  15. Content Article
    In 2023, the Royal College of Surgeons of England surveyed the UK surgical workforce to identify the key challenges facing surgical teams and to inform workforce planning. Respondents included consultants, surgeons in training, Specialist, Associate Specialist and Specialty (SAS) surgeons, Locally Employed Doctors in surgery (LEDs) and members of the extended surgical team (EST).   Advancing the Surgical Workforce reveals a number of interesting insights and paints a picture of a surgical workforce working long hours and in stressful environments. Too many staff are trying to navigate a system which frustrates the delivery of surgical services rather than enabling them. Surgical trainees in particular are increasingly being affected by these pressures. 
  16. Content Article
    Sickness absence in the English NHS in 2022 was 5.6% – higher than the 4.3% rate three years earlier pre-covid, and totalling some 27 million days sickness absence. Moreover, 54.5% of staff reported they had gone into work in the previous three months despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties. This is a challenge for staff, managers, employers and occupational health services. Sickness absence measured and reported accurately can help identify trends that may assist with both understanding individual causes and preventing or mitigating sickness absence patterns by addressing their root causes. The NHS, along with many other public sector organisations, however, relies on a system of sickness absence measurement called the “Bradford Factor” which some suggest is counterproductive, without research underpinning and needs to be replaced. The Bradford Factor is a system which creates individual level, “trigger points” at which line managers consider investigation which may lead to disciplinary action to supposedly prompt improved attendance and referral to occupational health. The NHS’s over reliance on the Bradford Factor is potentially discriminatory and highlights the urgent need for a shift in how the service manages sickness absence, writes Roger Klein in this HSJ article.
  17. News Article
    A "significant deterioration" in leadership at an NHS trust probably had a "knock-on effect" on its standard of services, a watchdog has found. Inspectors found staff felt encouraged to "turn a blind eye" to bullying in hospitals run by the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) downgraded the trust's overall rating to "requires improvement". The trust said it "fully accepts" the report and that recommendations were being worked on "as a matter of urgency". Ann Ford, CQC's director of operations in the north, said: "We found a significant deterioration in how well the trust was being led. "Our experience tells us that when a trust isn't well led, this has a knock-on effect on the standard of services being provided to people. "Some staff told us that bullying was a normal occurrence, and they were encouraged to 'turn a blind eye' and not report this behaviour. "This is completely unacceptable." Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 January 2024
  18. Content Article
    Left-handedness was historically considered a disability and a social stigma, and teachers would make efforts to suppress it in their students. Little data are available on the impact of left-handedness on surgical training and this report aimed to review available data on this subject. The review revealed 19 studies on the subject of left-handedness and surgical training. Key findings include: Left-handedness produced anxiety in residents and their trainers. There was a lack of mentoring on laterality. Surgical instruments, both conventional and laparoscopic, are not adapted to left-handed use and require ambilaterality training from the resident. There is significant pressure to change hand laterality during training. Left-handedness might present an advantage in operations involving situs inversus or left lower limb operations.
  19. Content Article
    The early recognition and treatment of deterioration in patients in clinical settings can help reduce avoidable deaths. NHS England commissioned Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) to examine the barriers which prevent worries and concerns being raised about a deteriorating patient. Evidence suggests that organisational culture, professional hierarchies, and the nature of leadership in healthcare environments are the three key factors behind this reluctance. The findings highlight the importance of psychological safety which is highly influenced by authentic leadership in overcoming these barriers.
  20. News Article
    More than 30 members of staff at a major NHS mental health hospital have been suspended over claims of serious misconduct including falsifying medical records and mistreating patients, The Independent has learned. The suspensions come after an internal investigation into serious conduct allegations at Highbury Hospital in Nottinghamshire, which employs hundreds of staff members. The suspended employees include registered professionals – such as doctors, nurses and nursing associates – and non-registered professionals, which would cover healthcare assistants and non-clinical staff. It comes just a week after the same trust – Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust – was issued with a warning by the safety watchdog over concerns about the safety of patients at Rampton Hospital, a high secure hospital which has housed patients such as Charles Bronson and Ian Huntley. In an email leaked to The Independent, the trust told staff: “We are saddened to report that over recent weeks it has been necessary to suspend over 30 colleagues due to very serious conduct allegations. “These allegations have included falsifying mental health observations, as well as maltreatment of patients in our care. “We hope we have your understanding in taking action when the conduct of colleagues falls so far outside of what patients deserve.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 January 2024
  21. Content Article
    The current challenges in the NHS are leading to staff burnout and staff leaving their jobs. In a new blog, hub topic lead Sally Howard asks us to take a few minutes out of our day to day work to reflect and re-calibrate.
  22. News Article
    Ministers are facing calls to tackle the NHS’s chronic lack of staff as figures reveal that the bill for hiring temporary frontline workers has soared to more than £10bn a year. Hospitals and GP surgeries across the UK are paying a record £4.6bn for agency personnel and another £5.8bn for doctors and nurses on staff to do extra “bank” shifts to plug gaps in rotas. Widespread short staffing has increasingly forced the service in all four home nations to hand colossal sums to employment agencies to hire stand-in workers. In England alone, the bill for agency staff, particularly nurses and GPs, has risen from £3bn to £3.5bn over the past year – a 16% rise. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said years of neglect of the growing NHS staffing crisis by Conservative governments had obliged “desperate” hospitals to spend “huge” sums on agency staff, including doctors who can cost more than £5,000 to hire for a single shift. The Royal College of Nursing said the levels of agency spending were “staggering”. It would be cheaper to employ more nurses as staff instead of having tens of thousands of vacancies, the general secretary Pat Cullen said. The NHS in England currently has 42,306 vacant nursing posts. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 January 2024
  23. Content Article
    in this podcast, Mark Doblas, lead clinical practice facilitator at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and Ruby Faruqi, Stay and Thrive matron at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust, share their first-hand experience of being international recruits to the NHS. They talk about how the #StayAndThrive programme has enabled them to support international recruits in their respective organisations. Simon Littlefield, director of nursing and integrated care at St. Georges, Epsom and St. Helier NHS Trust (GESH) explores the role of leaders in setting a culture that welcomes new international recruits.
  24. News Article
    A coroner overseeing a teenager's inquest has warned there will be more deaths unless mental health services improve for autistic people at risk of self-harm. Morgan-Rose Hart, 18, who had ADHD, autism and a history of mental illness had been a patient at a unit in Harlow, Essex, for three weeks. An inquest jury concluded she died by misadventure contributed to by neglect. Ms Hart, from Chelmsford, died in hospital six days after she was found unresponsive in the bathroom of her mental health accommodation in the Derwent Centre in Harlow, Essex in July 2022. The inquest into her death heard staff observations were falsified and critical observations were missed. In her Prevention of Future Deaths report, Ms Hayes said: "There is a significant shortfall of appropriate placements for people with autism who have mental health and self-harm risks in Essex both inpatient and in the community." She added: "During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. "In my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken." Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 January 2024
  25. News Article
    The NHS will start recording harm caused to patients during strike action where exemptions have been rejected by the British Medical Association (BMA). BMA council chair Phillip Banfield yesterday accused NHS England of the “weaponisation” of the strike “derogation” process, saying trusts had this week submitted more of the requests, which would permit some striking doctors to return to work, and were not providing information needed to determine if they were justified. NHS England wrote back to Professor Banfield, insisting it was only trying to prioritise safety, but also saying it would revise its own approach to derogation requests. This will include: asking trusts whose requests were rejected by the BMA “to compile a picture” of the impact on services; reinforcing requirements to report patient safety incidents during strikes and after mitigation requests, so “we can evidence harm and near misses which might have been avoided”. The letter says: “We have consistently asked local medical and other clinical leaders to consider applying to the BMA for patient safety mitigations where they have significant concerns for patient safety that cannot be mitigated through other options available to them, and where they can make a strong evidential case that the return of a limited number of junior doctors would address these risks. “We have done this, in part, because we have received a number of reports over previous periods of action that some teams have been put off seeking patient safety mitigations because of their prior experience of having applications rejected, or not receiving a response in time. We are sure you would agree that this is an unsatisfactory position, and that where patient safety concerns exist, these should always be escalated appropriately.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 4 January 2024
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