Nurses who think it’s not their job to care: NHS forced to remind staff to feed patients
Conscientious government employees? You’d have to be lucky
Nurses are having to be reminded that it is part of their job to feed frail patients and check if they have bedsores. Millions of patients suffer pressure ulcers, hip fractures following falls or malnutrition during their stay in hospital, a report by Health Service bosses said. But it added that most of these cases could be avoided.
The report, which has been sent to hospitals to remind staff of their duties, includes guidance on how to improve standards of care – which amazingly includes such obvious steps as keeping patients well-nourished.
It shows that 70 per cent of patients with malnutrition are never identified by nurses, 10 per cent suffer bedsores and there are more than 200,000 falls a year on NHS property. Nurses and midwives have a ‘moral’ duty to help save the NHS money by treating patients better, they are told.
There have been complaints for years about nurses not bothering to help frail and elderly people eat their meals, often placing food out of their reach and throwing it away uneaten.
The report – High Impact Actions for Nursing and Midwifery: The Essential Collection – was quietly released by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement last month.
It says that about 40 per cent of hospital food is wasted, but a quarter of patients are malnourished and they get only two-thirds of their energy and protein requirements. Almost four in ten patients say they do not get enough help with eating in hospital, and malnutrition-related disease costs the NHS £13billion a year.
The report admits: ‘Most patients, carers, healthcare professionals, commissioners, senior managers and chief executives do not realise how common it is in the UK and so it goes unrecognised and untreated.’
Failure to stamp out avoidable bedsores, which increase the risk of infection and quadruple the elderly’s risk of death in intensive care units, costs the NHS up to £2.1billion a year – £24,000 per ulcer.
The report tells nurses: ‘Pressure ulcers should be seen as avoidable adverse events not an inevitable fact of life.’
Falls in hospital cost taxpayers more than £15million a year. Katherine Murphy, of the Patients’ Association, said: ‘The stories we hear on our helpline leave us in no doubt that there are too many nurses out disturbing’there who have forgotten what it means to care.
Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: ‘People pay a lot of tax for the NHS and in return they should get the very best of care. The fact that NHS officials themselves feel it necessary to remind nursing staff of these simple requirements is pretty disturbing.’
But Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘Nurses have told us they are concerned that sometimes work pressures mean they are unable to provide patients with the full range of quality care they would like. ‘Nurses need the resources to be able to do their jobs well including the right balance and mix of staff in the hospital and the community.’
The document also calls for the NHS to save money by reducing the number of Caesarean sections, helping the terminally ill die at home and improving the quality of hospital discharges.
It concluded: ‘A few nurses may still think that money is someone else’s business, but those that think this are, quite frankly, out of touch with reality. Addressing financial inefficiencies is a key personal, professional and moral responsibility.’
It comes as board papers reveal that NHS trusts are set to ration treatments such as hip replacements and cataract operations. Nursing homes for the elderly will be shut and fewer infertile couples will get IVF treatment
Surgeon at centre of child heart surgery scandal had asked to stop operating
A surgeon at the centre of an investigation into child deaths had asked to stop operating because of safety concerns but was put under pressure to continue, The Sunday Telegraph has been told.
An independent review into child heart surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford is expected this week to criticise the way the cardiac team at the unit worked, and say the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust did not monitor safety closely enough.
The inquiry was ordered after four children died in 10 weeks after undergoing cardiac surgery at the hands of consultant Caner Salih, who had just joined after three years working in Australia.
The investigation is expected to say that the newly appointed doctor was given insufficient support and supervision as he used medical techniques that the unit did not normally employ.
The Sunday Telegraph understands that Mr Salih raised concerns that the team was not operating safely but was persuaded to continue carrying out procedures. It is not clear who may have advised Mr Salih.
The inquiry comes ahead of a national review of children’s cardiac surgery which will say that several of Britain’s 11 centres for child heart surgery must close, in order to make the remainder safe.
The Children’s Heart Federation, a charity of 22 specialist support groups, has written to regulators expressing concern that children who underwent operations at the John Radcliffe hospital may have had far more “repeat” procedures than was necessary. The charity’s chief executive, Anne Keatley-Clarke said many young patients at the unit seemed to have had surgery repeatedly, with their parents believing this was standard practice, although they expressed very high levels of satisfaction.
A spokesman for the trust said he could not comment on the report, which would not be presented until Thursday.
He added: “Our aim is to provide the best services to patients that we can and we would want to ensure that where there are concerns these are fully investigated.”
European police to spy on Britons: Now ministers hand over Big Brother powers to foreign officers
Rather bizarre. I would think that only a tiny percentage of Britons support this
Ministers are ready to hand sweeping Big Brother powers to EU states so they can spy on British citizens. Foreign police will be able to travel to the UK and take part in the arrest of Britons. They will be able to place them under surveillance, bug telephone conversations, monitor bank accounts and demand fingerprints, DNA or blood samples.
Anyone who refuses to comply with a formal request for co-operation by a foreign-based force is likely to be arrested by UK officers.
The move will spark a damaging row with backbench Tory MPs opposed to giving such draconian powers to Brussels. The Tories were opposed to the directive in opposition, saying it showed a ‘relish for surveillance and disdain for civil liberties’.
But ministers have made a dramatic U-turn since joining the pro-EU Lib Dems in government, and the wide-ranging powers are due to be approved later this week.
According to the campaign group Fair Trials International, under the new rules it would be possible, for example, for Spanish police investigating a murder in a nightclub to demand the ID of every British citizen who flew to the country in the month the offence took place.
They could also force the UK to search its DNA database – which contains nearly one million innocent people – and send samples belonging to anybody who was in Spain at the time. This could leave an entirely innocent person facing an agonising battle to establish his or her innocence.
Tory MP Dominic Raab, who has campaigned against the power grab, said: ‘This sweeping directive would put serious operational strains on hard-pressed UK police forces. ‘There are scant safeguards to protect the personal information of law-abiding British citizens. These serious issues should be properly debated in Parliament before the UK decides to opt in.’
The new powers are known as the European Investigation Order (EIO), which is intended as a partner to the highly controversial European Arrest Warrant (EAW). One of the major concerns about the EAW, to which Britain is signed up, is that it has been used to investigate the most minor misdemeanours, such as the ‘theft of a dessert’ in a Polish restaurant.
Now member states want to make it easier to gather evidence on another’s soil. The proposal requires an ‘opt in’, which means Britain could sit back and play no part in the new regime. But Whitehall insiders say ministers have been persuaded it has many benefits. In particular, police say they will gain from the fact that the arrangements will be reciprocal, making it easier for them to track suspects overseas.
However the powers in the directive are available to prosecutors only. Britons under suspicion will not have any right to demand information from overseas police which could prove their innocence.
The countries demanding the new powers include ex-Eastern Bloc states Bulgaria, Estonia and Slovenia, as well as Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and Austria. Other nations, including Denmark, are believed to be ready to say no.
Fair Trials International has been leading demands for Britain to stay out of the EIO. The group fears miscarriages of justice and civil liberties abuses and is also concerned about UK police being obliged to investigate matters which are not even crimes here, such as the Portuguese offence of criminal defamation.
Whitehall officials say UK police would be allowed to refuse these requests. It is the first time the coalition has had to consider a controversial EU directive.
The fact that ministers are actively opting in will cause great concern on the Tory benches. MPs point out that since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, justice and Home Office matters are among the few areas over which we retain control of our own affairs.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The Government is considering whether or not we should opt in to the European Investigation Order. ‘As we pledged in the coalition document, the Government will approach legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system.’
Plans for directly elected police commissioners and a new FBI-style agency to tackle serious crime will be unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May today. Voters will be allowed to elect powerful officials who will control multi-million-pound force budgets and can order chief constables to carry out their policies – or face the sack.
Mrs May hopes the reforms will free police from bureaucracy, making them ‘crime-fighters, not form-writers’. But she faces fierce opposition from the Association of Chief Police Officers, whose president, Sir Hugh Orde, has previously warned that the new jobs could attract ‘retired coppers or lunatics’.
The idea will be to have the first elections as soon as possible. The commissioners will replace the current chairmen of local police authorities, who are simply appointed.
Mrs May will also announce radical plans to scrap the discredited Serious Organised Crime Agency and replace it with the National Crime Agency, a force to crack down on organised crime, drug-smuggling and people-trafficking. Soca was launched four years ago but faced fierce criticism, amid revelations it had clawed back only £78million from crime bosses despite costing the taxpayer a staggering £1.2billion.
A Whitehall source said last night the NCA, which is expected to have a team of between 3,000 and 8,000 ‘agents’, had ‘been approved and has been designed specifically to become Britain’s very own FBI’.
The proposals, forming part of Lib-Con coalition’s Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, are set out in an internal document entitled Policing In The 21st Century.
Mrs May will also outline a major shake-up to ensure forces do not prevent police officers from carrying out their public duties, for instance jumping into a pond to rescue a drowning child, for fear of breaching health and safety regulations.
Many British school buildings not fit for purpose, say teachers
More than one in four teachers says their school buildings are not fit for learning, according to a new survey. A quarter of teachers said the design of their classrooms was “poor” and did not provide an environment suitable for lessons, with bad ventilation, lighting and layout.
More than nine in ten agreed that pupils’ behaviour is influenced by the school environment, according to the poll of 503 teachers, with more than half saying their surroundings had a negative impact.
The poll came days after hundreds of teachers, parents and pupils staged a protest at Parliament against the government’s decision to axe a £55 billion school rebuilding programme.
The decision has infuriated schools, with more than 700 told they will be denied funding for building projects promised by the previous government.
Teachers surveyed by the Teachers Support Network and the British Council for School Environments (BCSE), with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said many school buildings lacked space for students to relax and criticised classrooms for being too small and uninspiring.
One teacher told researchers: “We currently have 250 more students in our school than we were designed to accommodate.”
Others raised concerns about lavatory facilities, with one teacher commenting: “Students are very vocal about inadequate toilet facilities, which makes them feel unrespected.”
BCSE chief executive Ty Goddard said: “The survey shows school environments matter. Money invested in school buildings is an investment in teachers and children, not a wasted luxury. We need professional environments which support our teachers to do their jobs.”
Julian Stanley, chief executive of the Teacher Support Network, added: “Continued long-term investment to improve many of the dilapidated school premises that still exist across the UK must surely be a wise use of tax payers’ money, benefiting communities for generations to come.”
Getting a university degree ‘can slow down dementia’
More hilarious reasoning. A more parsimonious conclusion would be that those who are capable of getting a university degree (higher IQs etc.) are more resistant to dementia. There is NO proof that actually going to university does anything
Staying on at school and then going to university can help protect against dementia symptoms, according to scientists. They say education acts as a ‘protective layer’ around the brain, helping to slow down the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Even though people who spend longer studying are just as likely to get the illness as someone who leaves school at 16, it will not advance as quickly. This means they will not suffer from symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and mood swings so early on in the disease.
Past research has shown that for every additional year spent studying there is an 11 per cent reduction in the risk of developing the signs of dementia. But this study suggests that education does not actually prevent the disease being triggered in the first place – it only helps sufferers’ brains ‘cope’ with the damage.
Researchers at Cambridge University looked at the brains of 872 people in Europe, donated for research after their deaths, who had all filled in questionnaires about their education.
Just over half – 56 per cent – were suffering from some form of dementia at the time of their death. But the scientists found that disease had progressed far less quickly among those who had spent more time at school or university.
Dr Hanna Keage, a member of the Anglo-Finnish research team, said: ‘Previous research has shown that there is not a one-to-one relationship between being diagnosed with dementia during life and changes seen in the brain at death. ‘One person may show lots of pathology in their brain while another shows very little, yet both may have had dementia. ‘Our study shows that education in early life appears to enable some people to cope with a lot of changes in their brain before showing dementia symptoms.’
The researchers said understanding the mechanisms behind the effect would be of ‘considerable value to society’. Professor Carol Brayne, who led the Cambridge scientists, said: ‘Education is known to be good for population health and equity.
‘This study provides strong support for investment in early life factors which should have an impact on society and the whole life span. This is hugely relevant to policy decisions about the importance of resource allocation between health and education.’ Just over 800,000 people in the UK suffer from a form of dementia, the majority of them elderly.
More than half have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of the disease. Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘This is the largest study ever to confirm that hitting the books could help you fight the symptoms of dementia in later life.
‘We now need more research to find out why an education can make the brain more “dementia resistant”. ‘Until then the message appears to be: stay in school.’
Jogging is bad for you
For many years, running has seemed the ideal form of exercise. It improves your fitness levels and the health of your heart. It boosts your metabolism and can help you lose weight. It costs nothing – after the initial outlay on a decent pair of trainers – and can be done anywhere. Since jogging became popular in the late Seventies, running has often been promoted as a panacea for a range of health issues.
But is running really all it’s cracked up to be? Greg Brookes, a London-based personal trainer with a clientele that ranges from celebrities and City high-fliers to housewives, has come up with a list of seven deadly sins as far as running is concerned.
‘Lots of people start running to lose weight and it doesn’t always work – and this is why,’ says Brookes. His first assertion is that running actually decreases the size of your heart.
‘Small muscles use less energy and are more efficient,’ he says. ‘The heart is a muscle and if you force it to keep working for long periods of time it will naturally shrink to use less energy and become more efficient. ‘If you want to increase the size of your heart then you must strength-train your heart, not endurance- train it.’
The next is that running causes injury through repetitive movements – an accusation that will be familiar to many whose knees or ankles have proved unequal to the demands placed on them. ‘The more you run, the more your body prepares itself for your next run. You will actually start to hold on to more fat’
‘When you run, two-and-a-half times your bodyweight is transmitted through your joints,’ says Brookes. ‘If that force is repeated over and over, eventually your weakest joint will give out.
‘Usually the ankles or the knees are the first to go, generally because of poor hip and core stability. Wearing a brace only exacerbates the problem by moving the strain on to the next weakest joint while maintaining the old injury.’
Contrary to popular belief that any exercise will speed up your metabolism, running can, says Brookes, do the opposite. Long-distance running will often deplete your energy stores and then start breaking down your muscle tissue to use as energy. ‘If you want some serious muscle wastage and to reduce your metabolic rate,’ says Brookes, ‘then keep running.’
He also alleges that far from making your body leaner, running can cause it to gain fat. ‘Fat is one of our body’s favourite sources of energy,’ says Brookes. ‘The more you run, the more your body prepares itself for your next run. You will actually start to hold on to more fat.’
Another reason that you won’t get leaner is that the body is an amazing machine and will adapt to anything. ‘The more time you spend running, the better you become at running and the more efficient you get, the less energy you use and the fewer calories you burn,’ says Brookes.
And then there’s the vexatious issue of cellulite and running. Standard wisdom holds that lack of proper exercise causes poor lymphatic and blood circulation and poor lymph drainage, which contribute to causing cellulite. But according to Marco Mastrorocco, head coach and gym manager at the Epic kickboxing gym in West London, exercising in the wrong way – for example, by running – can increase your chances of developing cellulite.
‘Cellulite is primarily a malfunction of the circulatory system and bad drainage in tissue under the skin,’ says Mastrorocco. ‘If exercise is sustained for too long – through lots of running – it causes free radicals which in turn damage cells. Our body can cope with over-exertion if it’s in quick bursts.’
Carole Caplin of health club Lifesmart is of a similar opinion. ‘Most people say cellulite is simply something that you can work off. Unfortunately this isn’t the case,’ she says. ‘Exercise is usually a “good” stress on the body, but hard, impactful exercise like running can compound cellulite, as lymph drainage is already compromised as a result of an accumulation of stress.’
Add to this list the risk of cardiac distress and heart attacks and the indisputable fact that running is pretty boring and time-consuming, and you have a damning list of charges.
All of this raises the question of what we should be doing instead. To Brookes, the answer is simple: high-intensity training. ‘Intensity training is like strength training for your heart and lungs,’ says Brookes. ‘It burns more calories, strengthens your heart and joints and increases your metabolism – and takes about ten minutes.’
Brookes believes that working at a high intensity creates more ‘metabolic disturbance’ in your body than jogging, which means that although you’re not burning as many calories as you would with a long, steady jog in the park, you will be burning more calories over the following 24-hour period. It will also increase your aerobic capacity by constantly challenging the heart.
‘There are lots of ways to do intensity training,’ says Brookes. ‘Warm up for five minutes, then run hard for 30 seconds, then jog or walk for 90 seconds. Repeat between three and eight times. You could use the same pattern on a rowing machine or exercise bike. ‘The downside,’ he says, ‘is that it feels like hell while you’re doing it.’
Now even “Gaia” Lovelock thinks windfarms are absurd
A recent bit of news from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) suggests that James Lovelock, the scientist behind the Gaia theory of Earth and its life systems, might have a point when he criticises most renewable energy sources as inefficient at best and foolish at worst.
In its latest interim management statement, issued this week, SSE reported that “weather conditions” during April, May and June contributed to a full 30 per cent drop in electricity output from its wind farms, hydroelectric facilities and Slough biomass heat and power plant. Output from those sources fell to 700 gigawatt-hours during that period, compared to the 1,000 gigawatt-hours generated during the last quarter of 2009.
While SSE didn’t elaborate on those “weather conditions,” one factor certainly had to be the fact that the first half of 2010 saw the “driest first six months of the year for 100 years,” according to the UK’s Met Office. And, as the climate continues changing, Britain can expect that type of situation to become more common, the agency warns.
If hydroelectric power sources are threatened by climate change, wind energy’s greatest shortcoming is its great variability, Lovelock warns in his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia:
“Used sensibly, in locations where the fickle nature of wind is no drawback, it is a valuable local resource, but Europe’s massive use of wind as a supplement to baseload electricity will probably be remembered as one of the great follies of the twenty-first century … ,” he writes.
Lovelock argues the only clean energy sources that make sense for society are nuclear and solar thermal energy. All the rest aren’t viable without heavy injections of government subsidies and green cheerleading, he says.
Lovelock acknowledges he sometimes takes a bit of hyperbolic licence to make his points — as when he warned that global warming will lead to a die-off of billions of humans this century, resulting in only a “few breeding pairs of people” left in the Arctic. But does he have a point here? Is the bit of news from SSE a warning sign that we’d be better off by aggressively developing nuclear and concentrating solar power (such as that proposed in the Desertec project), and forgetting more intermittent clean-energy sources?
Another amusing and fact-free post from the eccentric Jo Abbess
It’s pure “ad hominem” propaganda with not even a mention of any of the factual issues involved. It’s all about “trust” according to her. Slightly pathetic, actually. Maybe she needs a father figure.
Her invocation of “The Science” (without saying what it is) is standard fare from politicians and thus tends to show what Jo Abbess is.
Skeptics do things like pointing out the lack of correspondence between tree-ring “measures” of temperature and what actual thermometers say. THAT is science — but you get none of that from Ms Abbess below.
And her claim that what Phil Jones does is “rigorous” is the funniest bit of all.
She has however so far allowed comments on her blog that contradict her.
Glad to see Professor Phil Jones is back at work and enrolling students for the autumn on the Climate Change MSc postgraduate degree programme at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) :-
This course would probably be useful for a number of mainstream media journalists to follow. Even if they don’t have an appropriate background in Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental studies or similar, it could be of benefit to ameliorate their world view.
They could learn something from the lectures and coursework – that the Science of Climate Change is a serious and rigorous endeavour – unlike the apparently lax behaviour of their own profession over the last year or so.
Investigative journalism without the “investigation” part appears to be a mishmash of unverifiable facts and unfounded opinions. You need to know who is credible at the very least, and you can’t get that from following the vindictive views of public contrarians.
If you want to understand Climate Change, you need to study the Science, not just read denier-sceptic web logs or talk to Steve McIntyre, Benny Peiser, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts, Doug Keenan, Nigel Lawson or Christopher Monckton, and think that you have thereby become sufficiently informed.
“Climategate”-style attacks on Climate Change Scientists by negatively-motivated commentators are completely unacceptable. Media workers need to learn to identify those whose opinions they cannot trust.