Patients starve to death on NHS hospital wards
Forty-three hospital patients starved to death last year and 111 died of thirst while being treated on wards, new figures disclose today.
The death toll was disclosed by the Government amid mounting concern over the dignity of patients on NHS wards.
They will also fuel concerns about care homes, as it was disclosed that eight people starved to death and 21 people died of thirst while in care.
Last night there were warnings that they must prompt action by the NHS and care home regulators to prevent further deaths among patients.
The Office for National Statistics figures also showed that:
* as well as 43 people who starved to death, 287 people were recorded by doctors as being malnourished when they died in hospitals;
* there were 558 cases where doctors recorded that a patient had died in a state of severe dehydration in hospitals;
* 78 hospital and 39 care home patients were killed by bedsores, while a further 650 people who died had their presence noted on their death certificates;
* 21,696 were recorded as suffering from septicemia when they died, a condition which experts say is most often associated with infected wounds.
The records, from the Office for National Statistics, follow a series of scandals of care of the elderly, with doctors forced to prescribe patients with drinking water or put them on drips to make sure they do not become severely dehydrated .
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said the statistics were a grim and shaming reflection of 21st century Britain.
“These are people’s mothers, fathers, and grandparents,” she said. “It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but to find out that they died because they were not adequately fed or hydrated, is a trauma no family should have to bear.”
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director of Age UK, described the figures as “deeply distressing” given that such deaths were avoidable.
She said: “Hospitals and care homes must pick up on the warning signs of malnutrition and ensure that while older people are in their care they get all the help and support they need to eat and drink.”
The disclosures come as a public inquiry into Stafford Hospital, where thousands died amid appalling failings in care, prepares to publish recommendations in the New Year on changes to prevent such a scandal being repeated.
They also follow a series of scandals over care of the elderly, leading to an intervention from David Cameron earlier this year ordering nurses to attend to patients more often.
Mr Cameron announced that nurses would have to undertake hourly ward rounds to check whether patients are hungry, in pain, or need help going to the lavatory. It followed spot checks by NHS regulators, which found that half of 100 hospitals were failing basic standards to treat elderly with dignity, and ensure they were properly fed.
A report published last week by the Royal College of Physicians said too many hospitals treat patients as “medical conditions” not people, leaving the most basic and emotional needs overlooked.
In Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire, doctors resorted to prescribing patients with drinking water to ensure nurses did not forget, a report from inspectors warned in May last year.
The Care Quality Commission recorded one case where an elderly patient was found to be malnourished when they were admitted to the ward, yet not reassessed until 16 days later.
In many wards nurses were dumping meal trays in front of patients too weak to feed themselves and then taking them away again untouched.
A report by the Health Service Ombudsman last year condemned the NHS for its inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable.
The investigation found patients were left hungry, unwashed or given the wrong drugs because of the “casual indifference of staff”.
The ONS figures also disclose scores of care home residents who were found to be malnourished or malnourished when they died.
In total, 103 residents were dehydrated when they died, including 21 cases where it was the direct cause of death.
A further 39 deaths of care home residents involved malnourished residents; in eight cases malnutrition was listed as the direct cause.
Officials who compiled the figures said that not all the deaths could be directly blamed on poor care. Some illnesses such as dementia and diseases of the digestive tract make it more difficult to eat or drink.
The figures also disclose thousands of patients and care home residents suffering signs of neglect such as bedsores, when they died last year.
In total, 767 care home residents and hospital patients had bedsores when they died. In 78 cases in hospitals, and 39 cases in care homes, it was listed as the direct cause of death on deathc certificates.
There were also thousands of deaths of patients and care home residents who were suffering from septicaemia, which experts say is most often caused by infected wounds.
In total, 21,696 hospital patients and 1,100 care home residents were suffering from the blood poisoning when they died.
In care homes, it was the direct cause of death in 101 cases, and in hospitals, it caused 1,997 deaths.
In July, an inquest heard that a young man who died of dehydration at a leading hospital rang 999 for police because he was so thirsty.
Officers arrived at Kane Gorny’s bedside, but were told by nurses that he was in a confused state and were sent away.
The footballer and runner, 22, died of dehydration a few hours later, an inquest heard in July.
Mr Gorny had survived a malignant brain tumour in 2008. The cancer affected his pituitary gland, which controls the body’s mechanisms, such as fluid levels.
Part of his treatment included a course of steroids to regulate the fluid levels in his body. These drugs, however, weakened his bones and he was in hospital for a routine hip replacement.
Doctors had warned that, without regular medication to control his fluid levels, he would die.
But when he was admitted to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, staff ignored repeated reminders from Mr Gorny and his family to give him the tablets, and he became severely dehydrated after being refused water.
His mother told the inquest that in May 2009 she received a distressed phone call from her son, in which he said he had called the police because he was so desperate for a drink.
Shortly before he died, his mother found him delirious and saw that his medication was untouched.
Mr Gorny became more and more dehydrated and sodium levels in his blood rose.
He died of water deficit and hypernatraemia, a medical term for dehydration, three days after he was admitted to hospital.
Teenage girl heckled at British Labour Party conference for saying she enjoys going to a deregulated (charter) school
Britain’s “comprehensive” (taxpayer-supported) schools became so bad that even the last Labour party government set up a deregulated alternative to them — the “academy”. But any departure from “all men are equal” still enrages some on the Left
A girl of 15 had to cope with a screaming heckler at the Labour Party conference yesterday after she spoke in praise of her academy school.
Resurrecting Old Labour’s views on education, the heckler sought to shout down Joan al-Assam, a Year 11 pupil from Paddington Academy in West London – even though the school was a flagship creation of the last Labour government.
Joan, a star pupil at the academy which opened in 2006, sought asylum in Britain at the age of six from Iraq with just the clothes on her back.
But when she made an emotional speech about how the school has helped her, she faced yobbish abuse from a woman believed to be a member of one of the teaching unions.
The heckler shouted support for comprehensive schools as Joan told the conference how she and her fellow pupils benefited from an arts education. The teenager, an A-grade student who was recently chosen to conduct an interview with Cherie Blair when she visited the school, continued unfazed.
Education Secretary Michael Gove last night condemned the ‘disgraceful’ incident and demanded that the heckler be kicked out of the Labour Party.
The intervention was an embarrassment for Ed Miliband and a reminder of the left-wingers who oppose even the last Labour government’s education reforms.
When the Paddington Academy was set up in September 2006 to replace a failing school, just one in four pupils achieved five GCSEs including English and Maths graded A* to C, the main benchmark for success at age 16.
Last year that figure had soared to 69 per cent, even though three out of four pupils do not speak English as a first language. In 2011 the school also sent its first pupil to Cambridge University.
Teachers turned round the school with a focus on solid academic subjects such as maths, with every pupil measured against personal targets every six weeks, with the results published to encourage competitive improvement.
It also enforces a strict uniform policy and a code that ‘the street stops at the gate’.
The mood turned ugly yesterday when Joan talked about arts programmes at the school.
‘Some of us explore our creativity through thousands of hours of brushstrokes and hundreds of hours of art. To many of you this may seem extraordinary that an inner city school offers so much, but to us at Paddington this is nothing but normal.’
At this point, the furious heckler yelled: ‘They do that at comprehensives too you know.’ There was a murmur of support from some seated with the heckler, but others booed the interruption and a woman shouted: ‘Leave her alone.’
The reaction to her coming under fire was instant on Twitter, where one viewer, Richard Angell said: ‘Appalled that a #Lab12 delegate heckled a pupil who came to UK as a political asylum seeker 4 championing the Paddington Academy she attends.’ Another called Lefty Lisa said: ‘Bad form. Delegate actually just heckled a year 11 student.’
The first three academies – state-funded schools independent of town hall control – were opened by Labour in 2002. A further 200 had opened by the time the party left office in 2010, mainly replacing under-performing comprehensives. The Coalition expanded the programme and allowed existing schools to gain the status as well. There are now more than 2,300.
Ministers attribute their good results to greater freedoms enjoyed by heads, including over staff pay, the curriculum and the school calendar.
A Labour spokesman said: ‘No one should be heckled at a party conference, least of all a teenage girl making her first speech.’
‘British universities face collapse into global mediocrity’: Warning over future of higher education as just 10 UK institutions make it into top 100 list
UK universities face a ‘perfect storm’ as dropping investment, hostile visa conditions and a ‘vacuum’ of postgraduate study are contributing to their slump in international rankings.
The higher education institutions have dropped in an international league table, putting the nation’s reputation for higher education at risk, it has been suggested.
While the UK currently still has the second best university system in the world behind the United States, a number of leading institutions have tumbled down the rankings this year.
Top spot was retained for the second time by the California Institute of Technology which excels in science and engineering.
Oxford University is number two in the ranks, producing some of the best graduates in the world
Oxford University is number two in the ranks, producing some of the best graduates in the world. But the UK institutions face competition from Asia, who have been heavily investing in education
In total, just ten UK universities are in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2012/13, compared with 12 last year and 14 in 2010/11.
The table’s authors warned that, beyond the very best institutions, UK universities face ‘a collapse in their global position within a generation’.
In the 2012-13 table, the US continues to dominate, but institutions in China, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan have begun to rise up through the ranks, the Times Higher Education supplement reported.
Alan Ruby, senior fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, said: Asia’s universities ‘are rising on a tide of public investment’.
In contrast, many Anglo-American universities in the top 200 have lost their places, but still continue to dominate in terms of numbers.
Meanwhile, the West faces cuts and is struggling to compete for the most talented staff and students, and cannot provide the most advanced facilities.
The latest table shows that the UK has three universities in the top 10, with Oxford taking second place, up from fourth last year.
Cambridge was in seventh place, down one from sixth last year, while Imperial College London took eighth place, the same as in 2011.
The UK has seven universities in total in the top 50, and 31 in the top 200, down one from 32 last year.
The rankings show that leading Russell Group UK universities have slipped down in position compared with last year.
Bristol University, which was 66th in the table last year, is 74th in this year’s table, while Sheffield University has fallen nine places to joint 110th.
Leeds has dropped from 133rd to joint 142nd, Birmingham has fallen 10 places to joint 158th and Newcastle is down to joint 180th from 146th place.
The University of Sussex fell from 99th place in the 2011/12 table to joint 110th place in this year’s ranks, while the University of St Andrew’s slipped from 85th to 108th.
Cambridge University still attracts the cream of the crop
Cambridge University still attracts the cream of the crop with its ranking of number seven, but experts warn that the UK’s institutions are in danger of slipping into ‘mediocrity’
But among the risers is York, which has jumped from 121st place last year to 103rd, Nottingham, which has gone from 140th to 120th place, and Warwick, which is joint 124th compared with 157th last year.
Of the UK’s 32 representatives in the top 200 in 2011-12 ranks, 20 have fallen.
Several well-known name have suffered, including the University of Bristol which slipped from 66th to 74th and the University of Glasgow which plummeted from 102nd to 139th.
Topping the table again this year was the California Institute of Technology.
Rankings editor Phil Baty said: ‘Outside the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, England’s world-class universities face a collapse into global mediocrity.
‘Huge investment in top research universities across Asia is starting to pay off.
‘And while the sun rises in the East, England faces a perfect storm: falling public investment in teaching and research; hostile visa conditions discouraging the world’s top academics and students from coming here; and serious uncertainty about where our next generation of scholars will come from, with a policy vacuum surrounding postgraduate study.’
But David Willetts, the UK’s universities and science minister, insists that the results are something to be celebrated.
He said: ‘The league table shows that our university sector has maintained its world-class standards.
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is leading the pack – but those who compiled the table say the West will be edged out of the ranks by Asia unless they can invest more
‘Only the US has more institutions in the global top 10, top 50 and top 200. Our closest European rivals, such as Germany, are a long way behind.’
He defended the hike in students fees, saying it helped increase the money available to teach students, said the government had protected research funding.
He also said in the education magazine that the Coalition had invested millions of pound into encouraging UK universities to develop international relationships.
Mr Willetts said the government had to be aware of the treat Asia showed in eclipsing UK institutions because of their rapid advancements and investments.
Thirteen different areas of university work, grouped into five areas, were studied to create the overall rankings.
Experts examined teaching and the learning environment, which is worth 30 per cent of the overall ranking score.
They take into account research, looking at the volume, income and reputation of the institution, which is also worth 30 per cent of the final mark.
They look at citations, worth another 30 per cent, industry income which counts for 2.5 per cent of the mark and international outlook, studying staff, students and research, which makes 7.5 per cent of the mark.
America, Britain and Japan are the countries most sceptical that man is to blame for global warming
It appears that the existence of global warming, once such a hotly contested issue is now widely accepted, but the extent to which mankind is behind the changes still divides opinion.
A recent online poll found the percentage of people who believe global warming is happening is consistently high across the world, but belief that man is to blame is much lower, with the US, Britain and Japan being the most sceptical.
Of the 13,500 people surveyed from 13 countries the majority agree global warming is happening, basing this opinion on increased or excessive rainfall, rising average temperatures and droughts.
There was still some discrepancy across countries, with 98 per cent of those surveyed in Hong Kong and Mexico believing in climate change, compared to 72 per cent in the United States.
However there was far more of a divide between nations when it came to belief in the reason behind global warming.
Global warming, or the rise of the earth’s atmosphere is believed in large part to be due to an increase of greenhouse gases, produced by industry emissions, the burning of fossil fuels and large scale farming, becoming trapped in the atmosphere.
The rate of increase is rising, with two thirds of the recorded 0.8°C rise early 20th century having occurred since 1980.
In response to the question of whether human activity was mainly responsible for climate change the U.S. Britain and Japan all revealed a fairly high level of skepticism.
In the United States 58 per cent agreed human activity was a contributing factor while in Britain it was 65 per cent and 78 per cent in Japan.
These scores were markedly lower than other nations. In Hong Kong 94 percent of citizens agreed, followed by 93 percent in Indonesia, 92 percent in Mexico and 87 percent in Germany.
The poll was conducted for the insurance firm Axa by opinion poll group Ipsos and questioned people in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.
Though no explanation was offered for the differing levels of acceptance of mankind’s role in global warming there seems to be a divide between those countries that are developing and those that are highly industrialized.
Britain ‘to be hit by 70s-style blackouts withing three years’ and EU rules may also force up bills, warns Ofgem
Green rules coming from the EU threaten to plunge Britain into 1970s-style blackouts in three years and lead to energy bills doubling.
Millions could be pushed into fuel poverty – having to choose between heating or eating – because Brussels diktats are closing power stations needlessly, the Government’s energy regulator warned yesterday.
The plants that remain in Britain will not be able to keep up with demand by winter 2015, a dire report from Ofgem predicted.
The chance of blackouts, similar to those seen during the three-day week crisis of the 1970s, is currently rated as one in 3,300 by the energy regulator. But it could drop to as low as one in 12 over the next three years, Ofgem said.
The UK’s spare generating capacity, currently 14 per cent, could drop to 4 per cent or even shrink to nothing at the same time, it warned.
The ‘alarming’ findings have left senior figures in the energy industry desperately worried, sources say, as the vast scale of the challenges facing the UK’s energy future becomes clear.
If the report’s predictions come true, Britain could be left dependent on an unreliable undersea cable line with France for its emergency energy supply.
National Grid and the Government could order mothballed generating plants to fire up again to plug the energy gap. The battle to keep the lights on could then become a stand-off between British ministers trying to keep the country running and European bureaucrats trying to enforce rulings on the UK.
Ofgem said the UK faced ‘an unprecedented combination of the global financial crisis, tough environmental targets and the closure of ageing power stations that would increase the risk to consumers’ energy supplies and could lead to higher bills’.
The report warned that there ‘will be a significant reduction in electricity supplies from coal and oil plants over the period, primarily driven by closures required by European environmental legislation’.
It added: ‘The risk of electricity shortfalls is expected to be highest at the end of the period, in 2015-16 and 2016-17.’
The most damaging piece of EU ‘green tape’, industry insiders say, is a 2001 measure designed to limit emissions for older power stations. The Large Combustion Plant Directive forces all coal or oil-fired power plants built before 1987 to install expensive emissions-reducing equipment or face closure by 2015.
It was spawned out of the Brussels obsession with weaning all European countries off coal power. But because of Britain’s rich mining heritage, it is a measure that hits the UK harder than any other EU member. Nine of the UK’s coal and oil-fired power stations are destined to shut by 2015. This represents about 15 per cent of the UK’s total generating capacity. This would leave Britain dependent on imported gas – which comes with a notoriously volatile price tag.
Respected energy analyst Peter Atherton said: ‘What’s difficult now is that there is legislation in place that will shut down plants deliberately. There are very good plants that are being ordered to shut before they should. The rest of the coal fleet is under a sentence of death.’
At the moment market energy prices are about £50 per megawatt hour – the unit used to measure power. Mr Atherton said prices could ‘easily’ hit £100 per megawatt hour in 2015. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the Government would respond to the report before the end of the year. He said: ‘Security of electricity supply is of critical importance to the health of the economy and the smooth functioning of our daily lives.’
Consumer groups called on the Government to protect homeowners from ever-rising bills. Richard Lloyd, director of consumer group Which?, said: ‘It’s alarming to hear Ofgem predicting that we could be relying more on imported gas in a matter of years which could mean further price rises for hard-pressed consumers.’
The inverted snobbery of the British Labor Party leader relies on a deception
Some comments below by a British woman who went to a real “comprehensive” school, which makes her a “compster”. Such schools vary a lot according to their catchment area but their reputation is for bad pupil behaviour and poor intellectual standards. They are Britian’s principal taxpayer-supported schools. They are rarely a starting point for a lifetime of achievement
My privately educated mate has lovely manners and first-rate grammar. But in suffering, in bitter experience, I am his superior and I carry that knowledge like a knife. This is where Compsters score: lacking playing fields, we have never been under any illusion that life is cricket.
Ed Miliband made a big issue of his school in his acclaimed “One Nation” conference speech. “I went to a comprehensive,” Ed said. About 15 times. Unlike the Labour leader, I don’t believe that a choice your parents made for you merits applause. It’s the choices we make ourselves that prove who we are.
Anyway, it’s pretty pathetic that Ed should need to boast that he went to the same sort of school as 93 per cent of Britons, isn’t it? But then it’s pathetic that, in a modern democracy, only eight out of 31 government ministers are fully fledged Compsters. Ed set out to convince people how ordinary he is compared to the “born-to-rule” elite to which Cameron and Clegg belong. Hugging his invisible hoodie to his skinny frame, Pleb Ed pointed out that he had once lived among us at Haverstock Hill Comprehensive in north London.
What Ed forgot to explain is that he is the scion of leftist intellectuals, another kind of social – or socialist – elite. Around the Miliband dinner table in Hampstead, young Ed would say, “I must switch on the television set and discover who shot JR.” And old dad Miliband would snort: “Dallas is American hegemony in action, son. Beware Sue-Ellen, that sensual-mouthed, lipsticked lackey of capitalist running-dogs!”
No wonder Ed was thrilled to go to Haverstock with local oiks who thought Marx was a mate of Spencer. There, he could enjoy the educational experience on offer to any bright, hard-working child in an inner-city comp – being picked on, thumped, and sent on his way with cheery cries of “F— off, Brains!”
On Twitter this week, the novelist Jojo Moyes recalled her own experience at the same school: “Crossing the playground [at Haverstock] was like crossing No-Man’s Land. Have been in less frightening riots in the Falls Road [Northern Ireland].”
Pleb Ed recalled no such grim scenes; they would have complicated a feelgood speech. He said only that Haverstock was “a really tough school” and he was grateful for the chance to “meet kids from all walks of life”. And be stabbed by them.
“I wouldn’t be standing on this stage without my COMPREHENSIVE education,” hollered Pleb Ed. That’s a lie, and a cowardly one. If your father can wangle you work experience in Tony Benn’s office, then you are not a bog-standard Compster. If you grow up in a book-lined Georgian villa, you are born to a life of privilege most Compsters can only dream of.
The tragedy is not that Miliband is a hypocrite who uses his biography selectively to curry favour with the masses. That’s now standard political practice. No, the tragedy is that Ed actually went to the kind of crap school thousands of kids have to put up with, but ideology prevents him telling the truth about it.
In his new memoir, Last Man Standing, Jack Straw displays rather more candour. He confesses that inner-city schools “had become less pretty than many on the Left were prepared to admit”. Comprehensives, says Straw bluntly, were the brainwave of “elites planning for other people’s children”.
Shamefully, Pleb Ed’s speech contained not a single word of praise for Labour’s academies programme, which has done so much to bring back discipline and raise standards in secondary swamps. Instead, he took some cheap shots at Michael Gove, who is trying to build on that good work.
Pleb Ed should ask himself why the present head of Haverstock admits his school is no longer chosen by middle-class parents. Teachers who were allowed to be frightening; setting and streaming which permitted the geeky Miliband brothers to learn away from disruptive kids… over the years, such things were banished by Labour in the name of progress, which stymied the very children it was supposed to help.
If Ed Miliband is serious about the One Nation idea, he could start by admitting that too many comprehensives, like the one he attended, are failing and that every child deserves the education enjoyed by those lucky enough to be at private school. Then he could throw his party behind city academies and any kind of educational provision which gets results. Scorning elitism when you are the product of an elite yourself is no kind of lesson to teach our young people.
At which point, the resident public schoolboy would probably sigh and say: “An nescis, mea puella, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?”*. To which I would reply: Speak English, you posh git!
Did I mention I went to a comprehensive?
Facebook in Britain warns it will censor criminal ‘tribute’ pages
No freedom of opinion in Britain
Facebook’s director of policy has warned that offensive “tribute” pages praising criminals, such as the alleged killer of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, the police officer shot in Manchester, will not be tolerated.
Simon Milner said there was “no grey area” on the issue and that Facebook would take immediate action against member who set up deliberately offensive groups. “Our terms of service are absolutely clear on this kind of thing,” Mr Milner, who leads Facebook’s British public policy unit, said.
His comments follow the arrest last month of a man who created a Facebook group devoted to Dale Cregan, which described the alleged murderer of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes as a “legend”.
“Every police officers death is a course (sic) for celebration,” the group said.
John Tully, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers in London, said the arrested man could have committed an offense under the Public Order Act.
Must not call a pineapple “Mohammad”
A group of atheist students were thrown out of their freshers’ fair because they included a pineapple labelled ‘Mohammed’ on their stall.
The Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society (RAHS) said they wanted to celebrate free speech and promote their upcoming debate ‘Should we respect religion?’
But they were ordered to remove the offending fruit by union staff who said their actions were causing ‘upset and distress’ to a number of Muslim students and other societies.
RAHS refused, citing that they had labelled the pineapple after the Islamic prophet to ‘encourage discussion about blasphemy, religion, and liberty’.
According to RAHS, a group of students surrounded their stall and removed the pineapple’s name tag before the society was ‘forced to leave the venue’ accompanied by security