Four patients die thirsty or starving EVERY DAY on British hospital wards show damning new statistics
Four patients are dying hungry and thirsty on hospital wards every day, shocking figures reveal. Dehydration or malnutrition directly caused or was linked to 1,316 deaths last year in NHS trusts and privately run hospitals.
The revelation follows a series of damning reports accusing staff of failing to address the most basic needs of the vulnerable, particularly the elderly.
Only this month David Cameron was forced to order nurses to carry out hourly spot checks of patients just to see whether they need help eating, drinking or going to the toilet.
And in some hospitals doctors have been forced to prescribe patients with drinking water or put them on drips to make sure they do not become severely dehydrated.
Figures obtained by the Daily Mail from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2010, the most recent data, 155 patients died in hospital from dehydration while a further 48 died from malnutrition.
A further 812 patients died with dehydration and another 301 with malnutrition, although the conditions did not directly cause their death.
Officials who compiled the figures pointed out that not all deaths could be directly blamed on poor care. Some illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or certain forms of cancer make it very difficult for patients to eat or drink.
But campaigners said that no one in this day and age should be dying hungry or thirsty in hospital, regardless of the circumstances. Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ‘These figures are a terrible indictment of our precious National Health Service. ‘They represent avoidable deaths. These people needed our care when they were at their most vulnerable.’
Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, said: ‘There must be systematic monitoring of malnutrition in older patients. From the hospital ward to the hospital board, everyone needs to take responsibility and help stop this scandal.’
The ONS provided figures for the number of deaths in both NHS and privately run hospitals where malnutrition and dehydration was reported as a ‘direct cause’ or a ‘contributory factor’.
They show that they are far higher compared to a decade ago; only 862 such deaths were recorded in 2000. The latest figures are slightly up on the previous year when there were 1,292 such deaths. But when the numbers of deaths per patients in hospital is taken into account, the figures for the two years are broadly similar.
Early this month Mr Cameron announced that nurses would have to undertake hourly ward rounds to check whether patients are hungry or thirsty, need help going to the lavatory or are in pain or discomfort. And last year similar guidance was issued by the General Medical Council reminding doctors that care does not begin and end with clinical treatment
Reports by the Care Quality Commission, the Health Service Ombudsman and the Patients Association have all highlighted poor care. In October, a review by the CQC watchdog found that half of 100 hospitals visited by its inspectors were not doing enough to ensure elderly patients had enough to eat or drink.
In Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire, doctors had resorted to prescribing patients with drinking water to ensure nurses did not forget.
In many wards nurses were dumping meal trays in front of patients too weak to feed themselves and then taking them away again untouched.
The Mail has long called for better care of patients in old age as part of our Dignity for the Elderly campaign. Last year we launched a separate appeal with the Patients Association which helped draw ministers’ attention to the scale of the neglect.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘Many patients who suffer or die from malnutrition and dehydration are admitted to hospital with these conditions and have underlying health conditions like cancer that make them more susceptible to these problems. However, every NHS patient has the right to expect that they are looked after properly in hospital.’
The spokesman said action had been taken to ensure nurses would have ‘more time to check that patients are comfortable, are helped to eat and drink, and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve’.
How was he allowed into the UK? ‘Beast of Bulgaria’ with a reputation for slicing off ears is held by police
A notorious Bulgarian gangster who was one of the world’s most wanted criminals has been seized by police – after being tracked down to a gym in South London.
Shaven-headed Tihomir Georgiev, who was on Interpol’s ‘most wanted’ list, was suspected of murder when he fled his native country for London. The 43-year-old, a boxer and former henchman to a Bulgarian mafia boss, reportedly has a fearsome reputation for slicing off the ears and fingers of his enemies.
But after fleeing the Britain, Georgiev was seized by officers from Scotland Yard’s Extradition Unit yesterday at a boxing gym in Bermondsey, South London, according to The Sun.
The Bulgarian was still wearing shorts and fighters’ bandages on his hands when police led him away under a European Arrest Warrant, according to the paper
Georgiev, suspected of murdering one of his own drug dealers for disobeying an order, was part of a gang of criminals seized in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2010.
But before the trial concluded, he skipped his £20,000 bail, fled to London, and lived on the streets for months until the owner of Rooney’s Gym in Bermondsey took pity on him, allowing him to sleep and train at the facility.
Georgiev even took part in boxing events at the gym and his face was used on promotional posters for upcoming events.
The Bulgarian fugitive was able to flee to the UK as his home country joined the EU in 2007, meaning his background would not have been checked when he entered Britain.
A profile of Georgiev on the Interpol website listed him as being 1.78 metres tall, with greying hair and ‘black’ eyes. His place of birth is listed as Pleven, Bulgaria, and Interpol state he is wanted for ‘life and health’ offences.
A Met Police spokesperson confirmed a 43-year-old man is being held over a Bulgarian murder at a London police station.
Describing Georgiev, one source told a Bulgarian newspaper: ‘The Boxer fought his competitors with brutal ferocity. ‘He tried to expand his group’s scope. If threats did not work, he would quickly resort to the knife and physical violence. ‘Those who refused to work for the gang were brutally beaten.’
Tens of thousands of criminals in Britain commit a new crime within a month of receiving a caution
Tens of thousands of criminals go on to reoffend within days of being let off with a caution. In one year, 21,000 offenders – including 6,000 teenagers – broke the law within a month of being given what is effectively a ‘slap on the wrist’.
It means that every day almost 60 criminals – a third of them youths – offend again less than four weeks after being let off for crimes from theft to violence.
The figures are yet another illustration of Britain’s soft justice system and will raise further fears over the ‘caution culture’.
Just weeks ago it emerged that more than half of those involved in the August riots had been let off with a caution for earlier crimes.
The latest statistics were revealed days after Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt called for fewer young criminals to be sent to jail. Mr Blunt faces an overcrowding crisis as prison numbers rocketed to more than 87,000 this week.
Last year police handed out 235,600 cautions to thugs instead of passing the cases to prosecutors to administer justice in court. Critics say the penalties – which carry no other punishment than remaining on their record – undermine the message that ‘crime does not pay’.
The figures revealed that in one year, 6,007 children and 14,994 adults committed further crimes a month after being handed a caution.
Almost a quarter of all under-18s given reprimands end up reoffending within a year. The average adult reoffender commits more than two offences after a caution.
The totals emerged after a parliamentary question from Priti Patel, a Tory backbench MP, who said last night: ‘This shows the scale of the problem ministers have inherited.’
The figures, from 2009 – the most recent available – show 17.6 per cent of all adults handed a caution reoffended within a year, as did 23.3 per cent of juveniles.
A total of 85,750 adults reoffended within a year as did 39,697 juveniles who were issued a reprimand or final warning – the under-18 equivalent of a caution.
Some 52,442 adults and 22,648 children reoffended within six months; 23,403 adults and 9,572 juveniles did so after two months.
Separately, Miss Patel found that every year, hundreds of adult criminals receive cautions despite having been convicted of offences more than 15 times before.
From 2005 to 2009, there were 2,347 occasions on which a cautioned adult offender with 15 or more previous convictions received another caution within a year.
Despite these figures, Mr Blunt said earlier this week he wanted to see fewer children being locked up, with more being told to say sorry to their victims instead.
He said he did not believe ‘offending should automatically lead to prosecution’, adding: ‘In some cases, particularly involving young children, restorative justice can satisfactorily resolve incidents.’
Criminologist David Green, of the think-tank Civitas, said: ‘The thousands who are reoffending within a month are only those who are caught – which will be a tiny proportion of the real number.
‘These figures show cautions are being inappropriately used. If these are career criminals, they should be given more serious sanctions.’
Last month the Daily Mail revealed 50 people a day suffer a violent or sexual attack by a convict spared jail in the soft justice system. Official figures showed every year more than 18,000 convicts given a community punishment commit a sexual or violent crime within 12 months of being sentenced.
Dodgy British crime statistics again
They would make Stalin proud
The riots that left whole neighbourhoods up and down the country in a state of ruin last August were the worst civil disturbances for a generation. But reading crime figures released yesterday, it is almost as if the five days of widespread looting and violence never took place. Nearly half of the areas worst-affected by the riots saw crime fall during that month, according to Home Office statistics.
In Croydon, where a 144-year-old furniture shop was one of dozens of buildings burned to the ground and a photo of a woman jumping from a first-floor inferno became one of the defining images of the riots, police recorded just seven disorder offences.
Seven disorder offences. Rioting by hundreds of mostly-masked youths in the south London borough saw dozens of shops burned, including a 144-year-old furniture store.
The disparity comes down to the way officers recorded the avalanche of offences committed during the unrest. Some forces classified hundreds of feral thugs rampaging through different streets in the same city as just one incident of public disorder.
Similarly, mass looting in which one person broke into a shop only to be followed by dozens more was recorded as a single offence.
And not one force reported the offence of rioting, officially defined as ’12 or more people who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose’.
In a statement, the Home Office said: ‘It is important to understand the basis of crime recording to appreciate the impact of the disorder incidents on crime statistics. ‘Police record crimes according to the number of specific victims, rather than the number of offenders.’
But Trevor Reeves, the owner of the 144-year-old Reeves Furniture Store in Croydon that was destroyed in an arson attack, slammed the police’s method of recording crime as ‘crazy’.
‘You would expect a great big blip in the crime statistics after those five days of rioting,’ he told the Telegraph. ‘It is crazy to put down something like looting as one crime and is unnecessary. The whole world saw what was happening and to record it like this will just make them look ridiculous.’
Police in the London borough of Southwark recorded just one public disorder offence despite five days of unrest and 314 other offences. Officers in Manchester also said crime fell during August, despite recording 11 public disorder offences and 386 related crimes. A total of 184 incidents of violent disorder and 5,112 connected offences were recorded by police forces across England. Despite this, nine of the 15 worst affected councils recorded more crime in August 2010 than a year later.
The figures did show that knifepoint robberies rose by 10 per cent last year and that one victim is held up by a knife-carrying criminal every 35 minutes. Senior officers have warned the attacks are carried out by muggers determined to steal smartphones and cash.
Separate figures show a double digit rise in the number of pickpocket thefts – the biggest increase for nearly a decade.
Across England and Wales, robbery rose by 4 per cent in the year to September 2011 compared with the previous 12 months.
There were 15,313 knifepoint robberies in the same period – up 10 per cent from the 13,971 offences a year earlier, the crime statistics showed.
Around half of all robberies took place in London and the most common items stolen were smartphones, bags and cash.
The Metropolitan Police recorded a 13 per cent rise in robberies in the capital and West Midlands Police recorded a 10 per cent increase.
Former Met commissioner Lord Stevens, who is chairing a commission into the future of policing set up by Labour, said the rise in crimes against the person was ‘a bit alarming’. He said: ‘I’m not surprised. It’s really worrying. We’ve got to get on top of them really quickly or you could run out of control.’
The British Crime Survey, based on a poll of more than 40,000 victims, suggested a 5 per cent rise in burglary, and a 7 per cent increase in car theft.
Pickpocket thefts rose by 12 per cent to nearly 600,000, while garden shed break-ins fuelled a 15 per cent rise in other thefts of personal property. However, overall recorded crime fell fractionally. The number recorded was down by 4 per cent to 4.1million.
Chief Constable Jon Murphy, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: ‘While incidents in violence against the person fell, a continued cause for concern was the increase in pickpocketing, robbery and robbery with knives.’ ‘This has been driven by a rise in robberies of personal property and police will want to focus on tackling these offences and offering crime-prevention advice.’
Meanwhile, the number of murders and other killings rose by 5 per cent in the year to March 2011, said the Home Office. That is a rise of 28 – taking the total number of violent deaths to 636, up from 608 in 2009/10. The latter includes the 12 victims of the Cumbrian shootings in June 2010 by Derrick Bird.
Ministers are set to introduce a ‘tough’ law meaning automatic jail for anyone caught carrying a knife with the intention of using it to commit a crime. Currently just one in five of those caught carrying a knife is given a jail term. The rest are handed community sentences, fines or other punishments.
Policing minister Nick Herbert said: ‘Today’s crime figures cannot be used to show there is a long-term change in either direction. There are areas of concern and, as we have consistently said, crime remains too high. ‘We know good policing makes a difference.’
Power to the people? British Liberals have other ideas…
As you would expect — JR
People sometimes accuse me of being too hard on MPs. Why, they say, are you so sceptical? Well, just look at what the Establishment has done to the election promise to give voters the right to sack their MPs in the middle of a Parliament.
Here was a strong idea, widely endorsed. Now it is being strangled.
Two independent-minded Tories, Douglas Carswell and Zac Goldsmith, went before the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee yesterday to cry foul. The Whips long ago gave up on pukka Mr Carswell (Clacton) and tanned Mr Goldsmith (Richmond Park). That is greatly to the credit of both men.
Both support ‘parliamentary recall’ – the term for allowing constituents to call a by-election if they feel their MP has erred badly. However, they loathe the way the Government is pretending now to fulfill its promise to bring in recall. A White Paper has emerged from Nick Clegg’s office. It certainly suggests something rather greasier than what was expected.
Many of us imagined an arrangement under which, say, 20 per cent of an MP’s constituents might have to sign a demand for a re-election, which would then be held if 50 per cent of voters opted for that in a local referendum.
Cleggy and his Tory ministerial sidekick, clean-fingernailed Mark Harper, had a different idea. Their draft Bill hands the power of triggering the re-election process to – oh no! – a committee of parliamentary grandees.
Madness. The whole point of recall is to empower poor, ruddy electors fed up with MPs for fiddling their expenses, reneging on promises, failing to attend the Chamber (Gordon Brown, ahem) or Heaven knows what.
David Cameron’s guru Steve Hilton was hot for this idea. Alas, it was given to mad monk Oliver Letwin, a minister who complicates everything. Then it passed to Mr Clegg, who must have thought about his U-turn on college fees, contemplated voters’ sentiments and done a big gulp.
Out of the Whitehall sausage machine we now have this White Paper which, disgustingly, would give the political party system all the power originally envisaged as going to the voters. Classic.
‘This is a 180-degree wrong proposal,’ chomped Mr Carswell out of one side of his mouth. ‘It has been messed up by the people in charge.’ He argued that under the Clegg idea, the party bosses would be able to threaten rebellious backbenchers.
Mr Goldsmith said the Government’s Bill was so terrible it needs to be opposed by the very supporters of parliamentary recall it supposedly set out to assure.
The committee’s chairman, Graham Allen (Lab), was concerned about elected politicians, who may already be too weak, facing constraints on their power. There are also worries that recall could be abused by pressure groups and vexatious obsessives. Mr Carswell met this argument by saying that the public are not fools. They would soon spot anyone playing silly games.
So what has gone on? ‘Sir Humphrey would like to keep the people at bay,’ reckoned Mr Carswell, a punchy performer and empirical thinker. ‘Most governments fear the impact of democracy,’ added Mr Goldsmith.
Some people recoil from Mr Goldsmith because he is stonkingly rich. Actually, he is proving a better tribune of the people than many MPs who are supposedly closer to their voters.
An academic from Reading University was wheeled on to provide opposing arguments. He was all in favour of more panels of the great and good. These people usually are. They seem to regard the populace as something unwholesome. The attitude of Paul Flynn (Lab, Newport W) to tabloid newspaper readers was, alas, similarly snooty.
But Mr Flynn perhaps had a fair point when he wondered if electors are sufficiently outraged by MPs’ misbehaviour ever to crowbar them out of office.
Do you feel you should have the right to bin dishonest MPs? If so, get writing to 10 Downing Street, specifically our ally Mr Hilton. Fight for your rights. The Establishment will not surrender them lightly.
Named and shamed: Failing British High Schools that play the system to be exposed
Secondary schools that try to manipulate league tables will be exposed next week when previously undisclosed information is made public, the schools minister said today.
MP Nick Gibb today claimed weak schools that play the system by only focusing on pupils who will affect their rankings will be revealed in a new league table figures to be published for the first time next week.
Mr Gibb said that since 1997 there has been a significant increase in the proportion of C grades awarded because weaker schools had been given incentives to focus on them. He said this meant students who might have been capable of getting As and Bs, or E students who might be able to get Ds, had been neglected.
In the reformed league tables, parents will be able to compare schools based on the amount of progress made by the top pupils between 11 and 16.
Mr Gibb said: ‘The way school league tables have evolved over the past two decades can encourage a degree of ‘gaming’ by some weaker schools, desperate to keep above the standard that would trigger intervention by Ofsted or the Department for Education.
‘But the purpose of performance tables must be to incentivise schools to raise standards and to enable parents to make informed decisions when choosing a school.
‘We are determined to stamp out any incentives to ‘game’ the system whereby some schools focus just on those pupils who will affect their league table position. It is vital that all schools give every pupil the best chance to maximise their potential.
‘We intend to make available data formerly kept secret in the Department for Education. ‘For example, we want to show how well secondary schools educate those children who left primary school still struggling in the 3Rs. ‘The new tables will have a column showing the proportion of such children who went on to achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C. ‘We can then compare schools to see which are better at helping children who started from this low base.’
The figures will also highlight how well a secondary school educates pupils who joined them as high achievers and will show how well schools transform the chances of children from poorer backgrounds, Mr Gibb said.
He added: ‘A key objective of the Government is to close the attainment gap between those from poorer and wealthier backgrounds. ‘We are giving those schools with more challenging intakes significant extra funding through the Pupil Premium – £600 for every child eligible for free school meals, from April.
‘In return, schools must deliver the same level of achievement for all children regardless of background.’ [In your dreams!]
The data will also show how each school performs in the EBacc, the core academic subjects, and only the highest quality non-GCSE and vocational courses will be included in performance tables to remove any incentive for schools to put students on to courses which do little to help them progress, Mr Gibb said.
British student atheists under fire over Mohammed cartoon
“A row has erupted over an atheist society at a top London University posting a cartoon sketch featuring the prophet Muhammad having a drink with Jesus on its Facebook page.
A student Muslim group is demanding the ‘offensive’ image of Jesus and Mo having a drink at the bar, taken from an online satirical sketch, be removed from the social networking site.
The president of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society at the prestigious University College London (UCL), Robbie Yellon, has stepped down over the controversy. But the Society still refuses to take down the image – claiming its right to defend ‘freedom of expression’.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association’s protest against the photo has been backed by UCL’s Union. A UCL Union statement said: ‘The atheist society has agreed they will take more consideration when drawing up publicity for future events.
BBC’s biased coverage of capitalism: “On the BBC website an interview was featured recently with the famous orthodox Marxist, Eric Hobsbawm, who promptly denounced capitalism as if he had established definitively its inferiority as a political economic system. Is the BBC such an irresponsible news organization that it will feature Mr. Hobsbawm’s characterization of capitalism with no one who champions that system featured responding to him?”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.