Two patients died after waiting in ambulance outside ‘full’ Oldham hospital unit
Two patients died after being left waiting in ambulances outside an over-stretched hospital. The patients, believed to have been in their 80s, couldn’t get into the Royal Oldham Hospital for seven and 20 minutes respectively. They were assessed by ambulance crews as ‘very sick’ and were both suspected of having suffered heart attacks.
The A&E department was so busy that all but the most urgent cases were being sent to other hospitals at the time. All five resuscitation beds at Oldham were full.
The two patients were assessed and treated by a casualty doctor and senior nurse in the ambulances.
It is understood neither actually had suffered a heart attack by the time they were admitted – although both later died at the hospital. One died in the resuscitation unit the following day and the other three days after being admitted to a ward.
A probe has been launched after ambulance chiefs reported the incident to regional health authority NHS North West.
It comes just two months after bosses at Pennine Acute Trust – which runs the Royal Oldham – closed the A&E at neighbouring Rochdale Infirmary. Trust bosses denied that had left Oldham unable to cope.
They said that while they had been ‘particularly busy’ on the night – last Monday – the two patients had received treatment in the ambulances.
An official said: “We have five adult resuscitation beds in A&E for seriously ill ambulance patients. “If there are five resuscitation patients in the department then they must be stabilised before they can be moved. “Ensuring that patients get the right treatment at the right time and in the right place is an absolute priority for us.”
The trust said that, in line with national trends, demand for emergency care was 10 per cent higher than this time last year across the trust – which also has hospitals in Bury and North Manchester.
A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service said when A&E departments were struggling to cope, all but life-threatening cases were diverted to alternative hospitals. Union official Craig Wilde, north west ambulance spokesman for Unison, said: “It is completely unacceptable to leave critically ill patients in ambulances outside A&E departments. It puts our members in a terrible position.”
Patients groups said they had reports of significant overcrowding at the hospital. David Cartwright, from the Patients Council, said: “We have been receiving numerous calls over the past few months regarding Oldham A&E being fit to burst, and on some occasions some patients taking over six hours to be treated. “A colleague advised that ambulances were eight deep on Monday evening queuing to get access with sick patients on-board.”
A spokesman for NHS North West said: “We are working closely with Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust, North West Ambulance Service and NHS Oldham to understand the pressures that the Royal Oldham Hospital A&E was under on the night of May 16 and to see if there are any improvements to be made or actions to be taken.”
Pennine Acute said that it had not received any complaints from the families of the patients who died.
Hospital slammed for ignoring woman, 30, who screamed out as she lay dying from brain virus
A hospital has been slammed for ‘gross failures’ after a coroner heard that nurses ignored a young woman screaming for help as she lay dying. Jane Harrop died in February 2010 after medics at Birmingham’s Good Hope Hospital, failed to diagnose a rare brain virus, passing it off as ‘severe migraines’.
She was left screaming in pain by nurses as another patient was left to comfort her.
Her widower, Dean, 29, is now planning to sue the hospital.
Coroner Adrian Cotter said he was ‘saddened’ by the way health assistant Jane, 30, was treated by hospital staff. He said it was a ‘gross failure’ that doctors failed to examine her for 12 hours, despite obvious warning signs.
He told the inquest, at Birmingham Coroner’s Court: ‘I am deeply concerned that an entirely independent witness in a bed so close to Jane’s should be left with the impression that she was ignored by nurses and not examined by a doctor. ‘I’m also very concerned that Jean Paul was left with the impression the following day that someone at the hospital was warning her to keep her mouth shut.’
He found no neglect on Good Hope’s part, as the failures did not sufficiently contribute to her death, but said he would write to hospital bosses about the case.
The inquest had previously heard that Jane, from Birmingham, had been suffering from sub-acute meningomyeloencephalitis – a rare brain virus – for at least two months. Despite repeated visits to her GP and to the hospital, doctors diagnosed her crippling head pains as migraines – and one even said she was depressed because she hadn’t had a baby.
Jane’s devastated widower, Dean said: ‘We’re pleased the coroner recognised our concerns. ‘We’d also like to thank the other patient, Jean, who came forward. Without her, they wouldn’t have listened to us.’
Jane’s mother-in-law, Teresa, added: ‘It’s not going to bring Jane back, but it might stop another family from going through the pain.’
Following the inquest, Good Hope has now apologised to Jane’s relatives. A spokesman said: ‘We are very sorry the areas highlighted where the care given to Mrs Harrop, particularly the night before she died, fell below the high standards we aimed for.’
Nurses at the hospital will now have to complete a new training module, and a new head nurse has been appointed to drive up standards.
A verdict of death from natural causes was recorded.
Christian doctor who prescribed faith in Jesus fights for his job in Britain
A Christian GP is facing the threat of being struck off for suggesting a patient could find solace in Jesus. But Richard Scott said yesterday that it was worth the risk if he could ‘make a stand’ for his faith.
Dr Scott, 50, was placed under official investigation for talking to a patient about Jesus.
The Cambridge-educated GP, who used to be a medical missionary and surgeon in Tanzania and India, has refused to accept a formal warning from the General Medical Council, which said he risked bringing his profession into disrepute by discussing Christianity.
He is preparing to appeal against the censure – even though he has been warned this could result in him being struck off.
Dr Scott insists no guidelines were breached as religion was mentioned only during a ‘consensual discussion between two adults’ after he had carried out a thorough and lengthy consultation with a patient last year at his Christian-orientated practice in Margate, Kent.
The father of three, whose wife Heather, 50, is also a doctor, is fighting to have the formal warning removed from his unblemished record – maintaining that he acted professionally and within the medical regulator’s guidelines.
The complaint was brought by the mother of the 24-year-old patient, a man who was described as ‘in a rut and in need of help’. Dr Scott told him that faith in Jesus could give comfort and strength.
When asked by his mother how the meeting had gone, the patient apparently replied: ‘He just said I need Jesus’ – prompting her to complain that Dr Scott had ‘pushed religion’ on her son, who nevertheless continued to receive treatment from the practice.
Dr Scott, a lay preacher, told the Mail: ‘The GMC decided to take the complaint seriously, which I feel is an injustice. ‘They said that by speaking about my faith I had abused my position and potentially exploited vulnerable patients. ‘The patient didn’t indicate that they were offended or wanted to stop the discussion. If that had been the case, I would have immediately ended the conversation. ’
Dr Scott is one of six Christian partners at Bethesda medical centre in Margate, which is named after a biblical pool of healing. It states on the official NHS Choices website that spiritual matters are likely to be discussed with patients during consultations.
Dr Scott added: ‘By appealing against the decision, it will go to a public hearing where the GMC may warn me or decide to take matters further. But it is worth the risk as I wanted to do this because there is a bigger picture. ‘I wanted to give confidence and inspiration to other Christians who work in the medical profession.’
Dr Scott’s case follows a series of high-profile disputes between Christians and their employers over their freedom to express their faith – including a nurse who prayed for a patient and an electrician who displayed a cross in his van.
Andrea Williams, founder and director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is handling his case, said Dr Scott had acted within the GMC’s guidelines and his unblemished record should not be tarnished – even by a letter on his file.
Simon Calvert of The Christian Institute said: ‘Are we really getting to a position where Christians are not allowed to speak about their faith at all in the workplace? ‘Dr Scott had a rigorous policy of not pressing the point if people didn’t want to hear his views and it sounds like he was very respectful. ‘I think the GMC should be glad to have people like that rather than disciplining and putting them under pressure to keep their faith quiet.’
But Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘Our guidance is clear. Doctors should not normally discuss their personal beliefs with patients unless those beliefs are directly relevant to the patient’s care. ‘They also must not impose their beliefs on patients, or cause distress by the inappropriate or insensitive expression of religious, political or other beliefs or views.’
British Conservatives under fire as only 1 in 3 muggers is jailed
Less than a third of convicted muggers and car thieves end up in jail, figures reveal. Thanks to the rise of community sentences, just over half of drug dealers go to prison – and only 43 per cent of those who have sex with a child under 13 are put behind bars.
The revelations come as a poll shows voters believe the Government is even softer on crime than Labour.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has been heavily criticised for his money-saving plans to send fewer offenders to jail and reduce the prison population by 3,000. This would see more sex offenders and drug dealers free to roam the streets. Figures show thousands of our most serious criminals already get off with soft community sentences.
The statistics, released following a parliamentary question from Labour’s justice spokesman Sadiq Khan, show just 32 per cent of muggers and 22 per cent of those convicted of child neglect and cruelty go to prison. In addition, 42 per cent of drug dealers and 54 per cent of those guilty of conspiracy to murder get off without being sent into immediate custody. Only 51 per cent of criminals who commit a sexual assault are jailed and, amazingly, just a third of those who have had sex with children under the age of 13 end up in prison.
The figures, which cover the period from April 2009 to March 2010, also show dangerous drivers, arsonists, people convicted of firearms offences and those who steal cars are more likely to escape jail than not.
Last night Dr David Green, director of the centre-right think tank Civitas, warned even more criminals would get soft justice under Mr Clarke’s proposals. ‘Some serious offenders, such as burglars and robbers, have been receiving light sentences for many years, and the latest figures show that little has changed,’ he said. ‘If Kenneth Clarke has his way, then we can expect ever fewer serious offenders to receive the sentences they deserve.’
A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times found some 30 per cent believe David Cameron’s government is less effective at reducing offending than Gordon Brown’s, while 43 per cent rate the two as much the same. As many as 62 per cent opposed Mr Clarke’s plan to halve sentences in return for early guilty pleas.
The Justice Secretary shocked the Tory conference last year with his stated aim of scrapping prison sentences of less than six months in a bid to reduce the prison population by 3,000 to around 80,000. Community sentences range from treatment programmes and job training to curfews and unpaid labour.
MPs are due to debate a Labour motion today condemning Mr Clarke’s soft justice proposals.
Tory backbencher Philip Davies is understood to be planning to vote with the opposition on the issue. He said: ‘These figures show that it’s difficult enough to be sent to prison – you have to be a very persistent or serious offender to have any chance of going to prison at all. ‘For Ken Clarke to want to make it any harder for criminals to get into prison beggars belief. He is completely out of step with public opinion on this.’
The latest figures also reveal many serious offenders are still able to take part in elections, as a ban on voting only applies to those sent to jail.
British Government to give green light to first fully free state run boarding school — for black kids
It is thought to be first time that a state primary school has ever bought its own boarding school to educate its children. The joint venture between the Government and the Durand Education Trust will see inner city children from south London educated at a school in Sussex.
The Government has committed up to £17.34 million phased over four years to contribute towards the capital costs, with significant investment already made and committed to by the school’s foundation for the remainder.
Under the plan, children will leave Durand Primary School, in Lambeth, south London, aged 13, and board for four nights a week, free of charge, at the school, built on the site of a former public school in west Sussex.
Durand has committed to funding the furnishing of the middle school and will pay for the construction of sixth form accommodation for older children.The first pupils will start to arrive from September 2012.
Unlike like other state boarding schools, where a fee is payable, Durand will ensure that the cost of boarding is paid for, so that parents do not have to pay a penny. Almost half of the children that attend Durand Academy receive Free School Meals and more than 95 per cent are from black or minority ethnic backgrounds. Some 40 per cent live in overcrowded households.
The new all-through Academy will provide 250 places for years 7 – 9, 375 boarding places for years 9 – 11 and a proposed 250 places for post-16 pupils.
Greg Martin, the school’s executive head, told The Daily Telegraph: “This project will transform life opportunities for children and families from Stockwell’s estates. We believe that all children deserve the best education and this project will help us to deliver that for our intake.”
Mark Dunn, former chairman of West Sussex Council, said: “This is a hugely exciting and welcome development. Not only will the proposed project bring alive the school in West Sussex again but it is also offer life changing opportunities for hundreds of children.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “The poorest children are too often left behind because of weak schools and lack of opportunity. “This unique and pioneering project, led by one of London’s best primary schools, will give disadvantaged pupils the type of education previously reserved for the rich. It is vital that we concentrate resources on the children who need it most.”
Last April The Daily Telegraph disclosed how Durand Primary in London purchased St Cuthman’s, a former public school in west Sussex, for a seven figure sum.