Bedsores are killing ‘almost as many’ patients as deadly superbug MRSA
Bedsores are killing almost as many hospital patients as the deadly superbug MRSA in ‘completely avoidable’ deaths. And treating sufferers, who catch the ulcers when they are not moved enough, is costing four per cent of the NHS budget.
The sores known as pressure ulcers cause hundreds of deaths a year. And they take hold when bed-bound patients are not regularly turned over or given special mattresses by nurses.
Most victims are elderly or long-term patients who need help to move. The 10 worst offenders have been named in a desperate bid to end the epidemic. The statistics were drawn up by NHS standards watchdog Dr Foster after a survey of 150 hospitals.
And the worst had pressure ulcer rates four times higher than the national average. Bedsores hit 412,000 NHS patients a year and the latest figures show they killed 4,708 people between 2003 and 2008 close to the MRSA death-toll.
Two years ago Muriel Browning, 96, died at Suffolk’s Ipswich Hospital after a hip op. Daughter Angela claimed she was left for hours in dirty nappies, causing a sore that infected a surgical wound and killed her.
Angela said: ‘ Nurses couldn’t be bothered to take patients to the toilet. Its dreadful. But her she was left for hours in soiled and wet nappies. ‘As a result she developed a massive sore on her torso and around her genitals’. Within a month of being admitted she was dead from an infection that got into her surgical wound.
Unison’s nursing union chief Gail Adams claimed Government moves to save £20billion in the NHS could make the crisis even worse. She said: ‘Thousands of nurses are losing their jobs and this could lead to a rise in the number of patients with bedsores.
Action Against Medical Accidents say they are completely avoidable. Chief Executive Peter Walsh said: ‘It’s down poor nursing care and there should be zero tolerance of bed sores.
But sadly they are accepted and it leads to a lot of misery and suffering for patients and their relatives. ‘These are highly preventable. Stopping them is not rocket science. But in many hospitals they happen too easily.’
The new league reveals Cheshire’s Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust has the worst bedsores record. It is followed by the Medway Trust in Kent, Southend University Hospital Trust in Essex, Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester and West Herts Trust, which covers Watford General.
The final five are Luton and Dunstable Hospital Trust, West Suffolk Hospitals Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, George Eliot Hospital Trust in Nuneaton, Warwicks, and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. They all have the lowest bedsore rate.
The shamed hospitals were quick to insist they were taking action. A Warrington spokesman said: The prevention and reporting of ulcers has been strengthened over the past year. And the Royal Bolton said: A great deal of work has been undertaken to make improvements. But Southend chiefs disputed the accuracy of the statistics.
The league table comes at a time when NHS care standards are already under the microscope.
HIV fright for 30 new mothers after killer hospital tells them they could have AIDS
Thirty new mothers were told they could have HIV by a scandal-hit hospital, after a blood test fiasco. The ordeal began three months after they had all been given routine blood tests at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex. One of the women was told she had tested positive for HIV but this turned out to be false.
This then prompted staff to ring all the other women to tell them there could have been a mix-up with the results and that they may have the disease.
One of these was Rosemary Din who was tested before the birth of her daughter Ellie-May in April. She said she endured a tense 24-hour wait before finally being given the all-clear. She told The Sun, she had been terrified that her baby may have contracted the condition. ‘To call up like that and say they might have mixed up HIV results is disgusting,’ she said.
However, the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, Carol Drummond, said: ‘It is not unusual for people to have ‘false-positive’ results. This is why we test further to confirm the initial findings.
‘However, we want to be sure that there has not been a mix up of blood samples, so are following proper processes and contacting other women tested on the same day. ‘It is extremely unlikely that there has been an error, but we take the safety of our patients very seriously, so want to ensure they have the correct results. ‘We are sorry for the additional worry this is likely to cause the patients we have contacted.’
The hospital is at the centre of an official investigation after five women died in labour over the past 18 months.
Yesterday, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) confirmed they will carry out a full investigation into Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust in Essex.
It comes just two months after the trust was warned they needed to improve after inspectors raised major concerns about maternity care at Queen’s Hospital.
Serena Ali died in January after staff failed to spot signs of her ruptured womb and also tried to resuscitate her with a disconnected oxygen mask. The trust’s chief executive, Averil Dongworth said the care given to her was ‘of an unacceptable standard.’
Violet Stephens, 35, died in April when she was rushed in at 32 weeks. She had raised blood pressure a warning sign that she might have pre eclampsia. It was her third pregnancy and she had suffered from the condition at the same stage of her first pregnancy. But staff delayed giving her a caesarean operation for four days and she died soon after surgery from HELLP Syndrome – an advanced form of pre-eclampsia.
The inspectors found women delivering their babies on antenatal wards instead of labour wards, a shortage of midwives and some staff working beyond their expertise.
Midwives told inspectors they were concerned about the lack of equipment for monitoring foetal heart beats, and inspectors themselves noticed parts were missing from equipment.
Written reports showed ‘significant delays in patients going to theatre or receiving requested pain relief and babies being born in inappropriate locations’, inspectors said. Staff reported only one paediatrician covering 39 patients on postnatal as well as all patients on the labour ward who had just given birth. One member of staff said ‘it is like working on a conveyer belt’.
Since then, improvements have been made but not enough to satisfy the CQC that everything is being done to ensure patient safety.
A further investigation into A&E services, which will not be published until next month, has uncovered more problems, including delays in people being seen, treated and admitted for surgery.
CQC’s Colin Hough, said: ‘We’ve been monitoring this trust very closely, making frequent unannounced visits, talking to patients and staff – and we keep finding problems. ‘Some progress has been made, but not enough.’
In April 2010, when the trust was registered with the CQC, it had eight conditions put on it, seven of which were then lifted. The full inquiry will now review patient care in A&E, during planned operations and treatment, and maternity services. The CQC has a range of powers, including the ability to close wards and hospitals.
British human rights law to be reviewed
The Home Office is to review a central plank of human rights law in an admission that it is causing serious damage to Britain’s border controls.
A consultation paper to be launched within days will open up a debate on the future of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees “the right to a family life”.
Article 8 is increasingly being used by foreign criminals and illegal immigrants to dodge deportation.
A highly-placed source told The Sunday Telegraph that the issue would be raised in a paper on immigration to be issued by Home Secretary Theresa May before Parliament breaks up for the summer.
It comes as this newspaper can reveal that a new Article 8 test case has created a “loophole” which could allow thousands of asylum seekers granted the right to stay in Britain under the Government’s “back door amnesty” to bring their families to this country.
Last week, a separate court ruling left the Home Office unable to deport more than 200 Somali immigrants, most of them criminals, after judges in Strasbourg decided that sending them home would breach Article 3 of the convention, which bans inhumane treatment.
The serial offender who brought the case has told this newspaper that he is ashamed of his criminal record and wants to find a job and lead a law-abiding life in Britain.
The issue of immigration has also divided the Cabinet, it has emerged. Downing Street has rejected a plan by Mrs May to put a cap on the number of foreign students allowed to work after they finish their studies in Britain, after resistance from Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.
The developments make it harder for the Coalition to meet its pledges to tighten border controls and cut immigration, after figures last week showed the UK population was growing at its fastest rate for half a century.
The review of Article 8 will aim to ensure the law is applied in a “more balanced way”, the Government source said, after a string of cases in which criminals have escaped being sent back to their homelands by claiming they had the right to a family life in the UK.
They have included a drug dealer from the Caribbean who beat his partner and failed to pay child maintenance, and a Sri Lankan robber whose only claim to “family life” was that he had a girlfriend in Britain.
This newspaper has campaigned for a review of the legislation. It is the first time that the Government has indicated that Article 8 needs to be re-examined, and opens the way towards full reform of the law.
The Government source said that including Article 8 in the forthcoming consultation paper on “family immigration rights” should be taken as a “clear signal” that ministers are alarmed by the current situation.
The source said the Government had listened to this newspaper’s concerns about “family life” cases, adding: “We do want to start a debate about Article 8 rights and how they can be expressed in a more balanced way.”
Our campaign, launched in April, has called on David Cameron to review the laws that cite Article 8 with a view to removing the family life defence from legislation.
The Government source expressed concern about a new test case ruling in which Article 8 was used by an asylum seeker to win permission to bring her family to Britain.
The woman was one of the 161,000 permitted to stay in Britain under the “legacy” scheme after their files were lost in a Home Office blunder. Critics have called the scheme a back door amnesty.
Like most of the asylum seekers who have benefited from the “legacy” scheme, the woman was not awarded full refugee status, which confers automatic rights to bring dependants to Britain, but instead was given the lesser status of “indefinite leave to remain”, which does not.
Officials fear the ruling could open the door to more asylum-seekers to bring their families to Britain.
The senior Government source said: “This is a disturbing development and another example of the courts opening up a new loophole.
“Article 8 rights have always been about when you are in this country. If a single person comes here then claims Article 8 rights for relatives then that does take it further.”
The test case centres on a woman who fled the war-torn African country of Burundi in 2003 and claimed asylum in Britain. After a long delay, Peace Musabi’s case was considered under the legacy scheme and she was granted indefinite leave to remain.
Now she has won a key victory granting her three children permission to come to Britain on Article 8 grounds.
Last week a similar case was brought by Jeto Titti, a mother-of-three who fled Rwanda in 2002. The judge in her case was still considering the verdict this weekend.
In the latest family rights cases, both mothers presented evidence that they genuinely suffered in their war-torn home countries, but there was no claim that their children are fleeing persecution. It opens the prospect of less-deserving applicants bringing similar cases.
Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP, said: “Yet again, inflated interpretations of the right to family life risk undermining all attempts to bring immigration under control.
“I welcome this recognition that Article 8 is creating a serious problem – the review is an opportunity for the coalition to tackle a problem the last government created.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We are going to consult on the family route shortly and look at what requirements we should place on foreign nationals who wish to establish a family life in the UK. This is part of a package of reforms we are putting in place to manage migration.”
British class hatred
‘I actually smiled when I saw they had double-barrelled surnames’: Fury at columnist’s crass Tweets about deaths of three gap-year boys
A newspaper journalist who cruelly mocked the the deaths of three teenagers killed on a gap year has been forced to apologise for her grossly insensitive comments on Twitter.
Guardian columnist Kia Abdullah tweeted that she had ‘smiled’ when she heard the news that students Max Boomgaarden-Cook, 20, Bruno Melling-Firth and Conrad Quashie, both 19, had died in a coach crash in Thailand.
The journalist, who has published a controversial book about paedophiles, asked her hundreds of followers if it was ‘awful’ that she felt no sympathy for the death of the three school friends, who had spent months saving for a tour of South-East Asia.
‘Is it really awful that I don’t feel any sympathy for anyone killed on a gap year?’, she wrote. ‘I actually smiled when I saw that they had double-barrelled surnames. Sociopath?’
Her flippant comments about the tragic deaths – just days after the boys died – received a torrent of disgusted Tweets.
Abdullah initially backtracked by deleting her insensitive Tweets, apologising for her ‘stupid and heartless comments’ and saying she ‘should have known better’.
But the columnist then seemed to take a more defiant tone, insisting that she thought deleting her posts would be ‘cowardly’ but she was caving in to demand from shocked Tweeters, posting ‘since the consensus is that I should, I will’.
She then appeared to recognise the anger surrounding her glib remarks, posting ‘Rather glad I’m not on foursquare’; which is an application that lets people know online where the user is.
The News of the World reported that the grieving step-mother of Max, Madeleine Boomgaarden, used Twitter to respond to the contibuter’s cruel jibes, telling her ‘Your words have caused so much pain. ‘As the step-mother of one of those boys whose Thai bus coach deaths you laughed at, hope you regret the pain & your career dented.’
The three gap-year students were killed in a road crash in Thailand just days after beginning their ‘trip of a lifetime’. The school friends had saved for months before setting off on a tour of South-East Asia.
They died instantly early on Tuesday last week when the coach in which they were travelling from Bangkok to the northern town of Chiang Mai was hit from behind by a bus.
Conrad, who had been due to start university in Manchester with Max in September, had celebrated his 19th birthday in the Thai capital on Saturday with his two friends and girlfriend Elisa Smith, who then flew back to London.
As a Twitter campaign was launched to persuade the Guardian website to ban Abdullah from writing for them, a spokesman for the newspaper said she was only an occasional contributor and they were not responsible for her.
More British social worker evil: Boy and girl put into care for months after social workers decide they can’t cope with life… in YORKSHIRE
Social workers put two children in to foster care for months because they feared the youngsters would not be able to adapt to Yorkshire culture, it has emerged.
In what was described by one lawyer as one of the ‘most bizarre’ social services decisions they had ever encountered, the boy and girl were put into care in Hampshire 200 miles away from the White Rose county. Social workers believed the pair would feel ‘isolated’ if they were sent to live with a relative in the north.
However a lawyer has helped the West Yorkshire-based aunt of the children secure custody of them.
Nigel Priestley, senior partner with Ridley and Hall solicitors in Huddersfield, said: ‘Choosing to put children into foster care because of the “Yorkshire ‘culture” is one of the most bizarre social services decisions I have ever come across. ‘This case is an extreme example of the challenges that many kinship carers face.
‘All sorts of obstacles can be put in their way by social services but thankfully, my client had a very sensible judge and the support of an excellent legal team.’
The nine-month custody battle started last August, when the aunt applied to the courts to have her niece and nephew placed with her. But Hampshire Social Services decided not to place the children with her and the reason given was that the social worker didn’t think they could cope with ‘a different culture’.
The aunt, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was stunned when told the reason that her nephew and niece could not come and live with her. She herself had been brought up in Hampshire but moved to Kirklees several years ago, along with other family members.
She said: ‘The children had been in foster care for several months. They needed to be with their family at such a difficult time for them. ‘I put myself forward as a carer. I work. I have a loving family close by. I thought that, together, we could show them what real family life was like. They had had a tough time at home.
‘The court ordered an expert independent social worker to prepare an assessment of my ability to parent the children and she had no hesitation in supporting my application. ‘But to add insult to injury Hampshire ignored this assessment even though their own social worker decided that I could “provide a good level of care”.
‘Their social worker decided that the children ‘had grown up within the southern region and couldn’t adapt to the change in area and culture’. ‘Apparently, speaking with a Southern accent would cause ‘difficulties and isolation’.’
Mr Priestley said: ‘I was born in Stalybridge, Cheshire, so I’m a comer-in but I have settled in Yorkshire. ‘The aunt has provided a great home for the children and they will adapt as children do.’
Britain’s Chief Rabbi: Equality laws leading to new Mayflower exodus
New equality laws are forcing religious people to flee the country because they are being denied the freedom to live in accordance with their beliefs, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has warned.
The Orthodox Jewish leader claimed that anti-discrimination policies had fuelled an “erosion of religious liberty” in Britain that was leading to a new “Mayflower”, a reference to the flight of the persecuted Pilgrim Fathers to America in the 17th century.
His comments follow growing alarm from leading religious figures over the increasing influence of equality laws. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has called on the Prime Minister to review equality legislation amid concerns that religious freedoms and Britain’s Christian heritage are under threat.
Speaking to the House of Commons public administration select committee, Lord Sacks said there was “no doubt” numbers of religious believers in Britain were “extraordinarily” low.
He continued: “I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organisations is an erosion of religious liberty. “We are beginning to move back to where we came in in the 17th century – a whole lot of people on the Mayflower leaving to find religious freedom elsewhere.”
The Pilgrim Fathers sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth to America in 1620 to escape religious intolerance in England.
Charles Wookey, the assistant general secretary of the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales, told the MPs that religious organisations were struggling with “rapid social change”. This meant they were forced to alter practices that had been in place for many years, he said.
Recent months have seen a series of clashes of rights reach the courts as a result of equality legislation which was introduced under Labour and designed to prevent discrimination on the grounds of religion or sexuality.
Roman Catholic adoption agencies have closed because they cannot reconcile the requirements under the new laws with their belief that children should not be placed with gay couples.
In March, Owen and Eunice Johns, a Christian couple from Derby, were defeated in the High Court when they sought to overturn a ban on becoming foster carers which was imposed because their traditional beliefs meant they could never tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.
In May, Margaret Forrester, a Catholic mental health worker, was sacked after a long disciplinary process which was launched because she shared a pro-Life booklet with a colleague.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, welcomed Lord Sacks’ remarks. “There has been a significant curtailing of religious freedom in this nation, due to the ‘equalities’ culture and the imposition of political correctness on the public,” she said. “These days, you can lose your job if you have ‘incorrect’ views. At the Christian Legal Centre we have 50 cases and have seen a number of Christians sacked or disciplined because of their beliefs.
“We were a nation admired the world over. Now people look at us in astonishment unable to believe that we have let such heritage slip so quickly and dramatically.”
However, secular campaigners described Lord Sacks’s comments as “fatuous in the extreme”. Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, called on the Chief Rabbi to withdraw his “foolish” statement and apologise for suggesting that his religion is not allowed to flourish in Britain. “If by religious freedom the Chief Rabbi means religious privilege, it is clear that he would be happier in some kind of theocracy,” he said.
“Rather than fleeing this country, he should thank his God that he lives here and knows that he and his people are safe and free to practice their religion within the law. “The equality laws that he disparages are a wonderful achievement and something that most people – including many Jews – welcome as progressive, just and long overdue.”
Too few ‘outstanding’ schools are outstanding at teaching, warns British schools inspectorate
Schools are being given the top rankings by Ofsted inspectors for good management rather than the standard of teaching, claims the outgoing head of the watchdog.
The Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert said that schools were getting “outstanding” status for performance in the staffroom rather than in the classroom.
In her final speech before stepping down, she said that there was now a need for a “real focus” on the development of front line teaching. She said: “Too many outstanding schools have teaching and learning that is good but not excellent. Excellence needs to be reflected in the staffroom and the classroom.”
Mrs Gilbert’s comments came as Ofsted figures show that of the secondaries graded in 2009/2010 just 30 per cent received the top rating for their teaching compared to 95 per cent which were given outstanding for leadership and management. The figures for all schools currently graded outstanding less than two-thirds received the highest mark for their performance in the classroom.
The chief inspector said there was a “real work to be done around the quality of teaching” and that it was “important to reassert the need for a real focus on observation of the front line.”
Reported in the Times Educational Supplement, she said continuous professional development was key to improving teaching quality and she had a “real regret” that its importance was not spelt out in the current Ofsted inspection framework.
But her comments were condemned as “punitive” by one teaching leader. “There is no evidence that teachers are not doing a good job,” said Chris Keates, the general secretary of the teaching union NASUWT. “Ofsted is part of the accountability regime which, under the current Government is bringing in a whole series of measures that are shifting the focus onto teachers and away from school leaders. “We have got a punitive model that is becoming even more punitive.”
She admitted that after four-and-a-half years in the job, that inspections were more about judging value for money and delivering “readable” results. She called for ministers to allow the watchdog to inspect academy schools and to be given extra powers to look at financial stability, sustainability, and added value, especially as education was becoming ever more fragmented.
Mrs Gilbert also floated the idea that one day inspection could “become wholly commercial and contractual ” with schools paying for the inspections. Ultimately she said schools “could enter into an agreement about being inspected and use that report as a part of their selling device (to parents).”
The Government is currently tightening entry conditions to the profession and has made high-quality teaching a key theme of their reforms, drawing on international research showing it is a prerequisite to improving education systems.
‘Wonder pill’ that claims to contain your entire five-a-day quota of fruit and veg goes on sale in UK
Another outing for the antioxidant religion, apparently. It’s also an Amway-type racket
A daily ‘wonder pill’ said to contain all five portions of fruit and vegetables has gone on sale today. The supplement, called Juice Plus+, is popular in America and has a string of celebrity fans including TV adventurer Bear Grylls and the German Olympic team.
The UK distributer Justin Dodd believes the pills, which come in three different blends, could help busy people ‘hit their five-a-day.’ Mr Dodd, MD of specialist training firm Evolve Training UK, said: ‘Juice Plus+ really is a wonder pill in every sense. ‘It literally contains all five portions of your recommended minimum five-a-day, and can be taken on-the-move without any fuss.
‘This means everyone can still get their intake of vital vitamins, regardless of how busy they are.’
The pills contain no fat and less than 1 g of dietary fibre, protein and sugar. The ‘wonder’ pill doesn’t come cheap. A month’s supply costs £35.50 and a minimum order is four months.
The U.S producer of the pills, Natural Alternative International, claims it is the ‘next best thing to eating fruits and vegetables’ and say the supplements provide nutrition from 17 different greens and grains. They also say the pills can reduce the effects of a high-fat meal.
The company points to 16 clinical studies that found the pill supported the immune system, boosted heart health and effectively increased antioxidant nutrients in the body.
However, although the research was published in peer-review journals, most of it was funded by the manufacturer. The company say such sponsored projects are normal practice in the industry.
Scientists at the University of California Berkeley have also shed doubt on the glowing testimonials for the product. They said it was impossible to deliver’ nutrients of five servings of fruits in several capsules weighing 850mg.
They added in their Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements: ‘No capsules can substitute for fruits and vegetables, which contain the best balance of nutrients and phytochemicals.’ ‘You cannot “concentrate” significant amounts of them in a capsule.’
They warned that the supplement was distributed through a multi-tiered marketing scheme that gave it an exaggerated value and cost.
But writing on Juiceplusreviewed.com, Dr Isadore Rosenfeld from New York Hospital Weil Cornell Medical Center defended the product. He said: ‘It is not marketed either as a fiber supplement or as a substitute for eating more fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.’
Mr Dodd added today: ‘Juice Plus+ has not been designed to replace real food because it is real food. That said, it should only be used as part of a healthy lifestyle – and fruit and vegetables should be very much on the menu.’
Only about a third of Britons are thought to eat their five fresh fruits and vegetables a day as advised by the Department of Health.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.