How could our girl die of asthma attack in hospital? Damning report reveals failings in NHS care of patients ‘treated worse the animals’
Nurses who didn’t know how to give the kiss of life went into a panic when a child was admitted to hospital with a severe asthma attack. Her family described scenes of hysteria as staff who were meant to be helping their daughter desperately tried to call senior medics to ask them what to do.
Three days later, 15-year-old Lauren Hughes died having suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.
The appalling case was revealed by her parents today in a damning report by the Patients Association into failings in NHS care.
Pat and Dolly Hughes said one nurse became so distraught at the Ross-on-Wye community hospital she had to be calmed down by a colleague.
They said they couldn’t understand how a healthy teenager was able to die of an asthma attack while in hospital.
The hospital trust later admitted the nurses at its minor injuries unit weren’t trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and should have dialled 999.
Lauren had been taken to the unit by her mother when she started to suffer an asthma attack. Initially they couldn’t even get into the hospital as the door had been locked for the evening.
Lauren – who was in obvious distress – was also ignored by two paramedics walking out of the hospital who did not stop to help or even let her in.
She was eventually transferred to University Hospital North Staffordshire but died three days after the initial attack in May.
Dr Peter Wilson, Medical Director at Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs the community hospital said the trust has carried out a ‘full review’ of the unit where Lauren was treated.
Staff have also admitted that nurses are not trained to do CPR as it is ‘above and beyond what is expected of them’.
Today’s report on NHS care also found cases of patients being treated ‘worse than animals’ and ridiculed by ‘rude’ nurses.
Relatives also say doctors are ignoring their pleas to promise to resuscitate loved ones should they stop breathing. Some families spoke of a lack of compassion among staff who didn’t care if patients ‘lived or died’.
In one case, the daughter of a 94-year-old man who was being neglected by nurses told them ‘you wouldn’t treat an animal like that’. Sandra Lamb also revealed how a doctor refused to sign a form agreeing to resuscitate her father should he stop breathing.
In another example, an elderly man with dementia was allowed to wander out of hospital and drowned in a river. The family of Ronald Bowman, who was being treated at the Panteg Hospital, Pontypool, South Wales, think he was trying to get home to his wife.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association said: ‘The sad conclusion of this report is that still far too many patients are being shockingly let down by the NHS every day.
‘These appalling and tragic cases serve to highlight the devastating consequences when poor practice is left unchallenged and unchanged. Behind each one are many more unheard voices.
‘Whilst there is a lot to be proud of about the NHS, including the overwhelming majority of staff who are skilled and hard-working, these cases are a tragic wake-up call for those in Westminster as well as on hospital wards.’
Over the past few years a number of reports have drawn attention to examples of poor hospital care, particularly involving the elderly.
The Government, along with various NHS organisations, has repeatedly promised to drive up standards and change the culture of the health service. But the Patients Association said that little had changed. It has been producing annual reports of poor care since 2009.
Mike Farrah, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service staff, described the stories in the report as ‘shocking and deeply distressing’.
MISSING PATIENT WITH ALZHEIMER’S DROWNED IN RIVER NEAR HOSPITAL
An Alzheimer’s patient who went missing from a ‘dementia friendly’ ward drowned in a river near the hospital, his son said.
Nick Bowman has accused Panteg County Hospital staff of not appropriately caring for his father Ronald, from Langstone in Newport, who died earlier this year.
He said that his family had been assured by healthcare professionals that his 74-year-old father was being well looked after. But after escaping the ward, which is especially designed for patients with dementia, Mr Bowman drowned in a river near to the hospital.
The family believe that Mr Bowman was trying to cross the river so he could get home to his wife.
Mr Bowman was admitted to the Royal Gwent Hospital suffering with meningitis. He was later transferred to the Hafen Deg ward at Panteg County Hospital in Pontypool, South Wales.
His family were told that he would be checked on by ward staff every 15 minutes. But Mr Bowman managed to escape from the ward twice, being found once in the hospital car park and in the reception.
Mr Bowman went missing for a third and final time in June this year. Police found his shoes at the bank of a river near to the hospital.
Three weeks later Mr Bowman’s body was found four miles downstream from the hospital.
His son said: ‘We believed that as he had left the ward twice before, that the medical staff would be especially diligent when keeping an eye on my father. This was not the case.
‘My family and I are incredibly hurt and distressed that after my father was admitted to hospital with meningitis, and seemingly making a recovery, he was left without any of the basic care that he deserved and he needed.’
TOO SCARED TO GO TO HOSPITAL AFTER ‘APPALLING TREATMENT’ OF SISTER
Joan Girdiefski is afraid to be admitted to her local hospital following the treatment of her sister Margaret Allen.
She had been admitted to King George’s Hospital, in Ilford, Essex, and was suffering from advanced breast cancer.
Mrs Girdiefski told the Patients Association that when her other sister phoned the ward to ask after Margaret, she was told by a nurse: ‘She is screaming away nicely.’
She said: ‘I would rather die on my own settee than be admitted into the local hospital, because I would hate to depend on people that wouldn’t care if I either lived or died.’
Sandra Lamb accused a doctor at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital of acting like God when he refused to promise to resuscitate her father Edward.
Mrs Lamb said on one evening she had tried to summon a nurse to help the 94-year-old but there was no one on the ward. She then noticed 18 other patients had pressed their ‘assistance lights’.
When a consultant refused to sign a form promising to resuscitate her father, she told him: ‘You are not God. I brought my father here to make him well, not to kill him.’
Cardiac arrest survival rates in Britain ‘dire’ and not improving
Cardiac arrest survival rates across Britain are “dire” and show no sign of improving, campaigners warned today
Official figures show that fewer than one in five people who suffer a cardiac arrest receive adequate care from bystanders. The NHS statistics also found that in some areas, just one in 14 people, who collapse with a cardiac arrest, survive such an incident.
Campaigners today described the figures as “dire” and urged people to undertake vital CPR training.
Since April last year, when the Department of Health began collecting data on cardiac arrests, survival rates have shown no improvement. Patient records kept by the country’s 12 regional ambulance services, show that fewer than 20 per cent of those who suffered a cardiac arrest – and were sent to hospital by paramedics – survived.
Survival rates peaked at 28 per cent in May last year but have since deteriorated and have failed to rise above 20 per cent, according to The British Heart Foundation, which compiled the figures.
In the East Midlands, ambulance crews saved just three in 40 people – a 7.5 per cent survival rate. Survival chances are highest in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, where one in three such patients survived and were later discharged from hospital. In June only 58 of the 314 casualties attended by paramedics lived across England – just 18.5 per cent.
In the American city of Seattle, an area in which more than half of the population are trained in CPR, a majority of its patients survived while similar rates are recorded in Stavanger in Norway, where pupils learn CPR at school.
Separate figures show that medical professionals attend about 30,000 “out-of-hospital” cardiac arrests in Britain every year.
Prof Peter Weissberg, the BHF’s medical director, warned there had been “no sustained improvement in survival rates from witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, where CPR and a defibrillator could have helped”. Many people can survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest but only if they receive immediate CPR,” he said. Sadly, in the vast majority of cases in the UK this doesn’t happen. We know Hands-only CPR works but more bystanders need to step in if we’re ever to see the majority become the minority.”
The organisation knows of 28 people who have survived a cardiac arrest because somebody they know had seen the campaign’s advertisement.
The video, which has been viewed online more than 2,4 million times, shows how hard and fast chest compressions need to be to the tune of the Bee Gees’ disco classic Stayin’ Alive. The charity is launching a new phase of the campaign today.
Earlier this year Fabrice Muamba, a player renowned throughout the game for his fitness, suffered a massive cardiac arrest as Bolton played Tottenham in an FA Cup quarter final, in front of 35,000 spectators and millions watching on television.
A cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. The heart suffers an electrical malfunction, which causes it to beat irregularly. Casualties become unconscious and lose a pulse within seconds and can die within minutes unless they receive treatment.
A heart attack is triggered by a loss of blood flow through a blocked artery.
Church of England gives women bishops the thumbs down – again
The Church of England has again voted down the introduction of women bishops, after a long and divisive debate including over 100 speeches. The measure had majority support but did not win the two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod that was needed for it to pass. It was lost in the House of Laity by just six votes.
The result will embitter and embarrass supporters of modernisation, with many tweeting that they were “ashamed” of the church’s decision.
Among existing bishops, 44 voted for women to join their ranks, three voted against and two abstained. Among priests, 148 were in favour and 45 against. Of the laity, 132 were in favour and 74 were against. Forty-two of the church’s 42 dioceses have previously backed women as bishops.
The church will not vote on the issue again for at least five years. But there has been speculation that women priests might turn to civil law for redress, asking that the church be stripped of its exemption to obey equal-employment laws.
Before the vote, Sally Muggeridge of Canterbury asked who would go to see the Queen, a woman, and “tell her that we’ve failed her?”
Canon Jane Charman of Salisbury described the debate as “one of the most inward looking… I can remember”, saying a spin doctor did not exist who could make excluding women sound like good news to the outside world: “Synod, we need to pass this legislation.”
But speakers opposing the measure cited scripture as the basis for their refusal of “female headship”. [Citing scripture! How crass! What’s scripture got to do with it? 1 Timothy 2:11–12 or 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 are just silly old-fashioned stuff not nearly wise as today’s politicians, apparently — JR]
The synod was voting on a compromise measure that would have allowed women bishops but left wriggle room for conservative evangelicals, with women bishops able to “delegate” authority to a male bishop if their parish requested it. The incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the compromise was “as good as we can get”.
But Edward Armitstead of Bath said the measure was unsatisfactory and that opponents of female bishops had not really been listened to: “The measure as it stands is discriminatory and does not offer reassurance to the almost a third of members who cannot accept female headship.”
Bishop Peter Forster of Chester said he was uncomfortable with the ordination of women as bishops even though he gladly ordained female priests. The proposed change would allow parishes to choose their own bishops and would mean bishops “will not be in Eucharistic communion with one another”.
Women spoke against the measure too. Rosemary Lyon said she was not a misogynist but “we need to stick with scripture.” “Please vote against this. There is a better way,” she said.
Canon Rebecca Swyer of Chichester said she felt the church did not have the authority to make this decision.
Rod Thomas of Exeter said the compromise would still mean recognising the authority of female bishops, something he believed was not accepted in scripture.
But Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked how long the church could sustain a system in which some priests are blocked from being bishops. He said he wanted the church to “liberate itself” from the issue so that no more time and energy would be spent on it.
Anger as British sex abuse report ‘turns blind eye to Pakistani gangs’ despite admitting that they account for a QUARTER of all cases
A report into gang sex abuse came under fire yesterday for concluding there was no particular problem among Asian groups.
The study by deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz came to the controversial conclusion, despite figures in her own report revealing that more than a quarter of perpetrators of gang-based child abuse known to the authorities are Asian.
But she said this was not enough to conclude that there was a particular issue with Asian gangs. Instead, her report says simply that abuse is carried out by men of all backgrounds.
Miss Berelowitz said the ‘model’ of Asian men targeting white girls was just one of ‘a number of models’, and warned that if investigators concentrated on those patterns, victims could fall through the net.
Last night a Government source said it was ‘difficult to overstate the contempt’ with which ministers viewed the report’s conclusions. And the NSPCC said the report exposed the danger of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the ethnicity of abusers.
In May, nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 in Rochdale with drink and drugs were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court.
Judge Gerald Clifton told them one of the reasons they targeted their victims was because they were not part of their community or religion.
Last year Abid Saddique was jailed for his role as ringleader of a Derby gang that cruised streets for girls as young as 12 who were plied with vodka and cocaine before being raped or abused.
Saddique, who is of Pakistani origin, took the vulnerable young girls to ‘parties’ in hotels or flats with other gang members.
Two months ago, documents emerged which allegedly showed agencies in Rotherham were aware of allegations of widespread targeted abuse of teenage girls in the town by groups of Asian men – but did nothing for fear of looking racist.
Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: ‘If there is a problem with one community in a particular area we must be bold enough to address it and not just turn a blind eye.’
A Government source said: ‘It is difficult to overstate the contempt the Government has for the methodology and analysis in this report. The whole thing is half-baked.’
Figures in the report state that out of 1,514 perpetrators identified, some 415 were Asian. This is 27 per cent of the total, far in excess of the proportion of Asian people in the community at large, which is 6 per cent. Some 545 are described as white, 244 as black, 49 as mixed, while the rest were undisclosed.
But Miss Berelowitz’s report said: ‘Different models of exploitation have been identified. The evidence is clear that perpetrators come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims – contrary to what some may wish to believe.’
The report suggested the proportion of Asian perpetrators in the figures may be higher than whites because the authorities were targeting non-whites. It even concluded that the data on ethnicity was ‘unreliable’ because victims sometimes changed their description of their abuser.
A Whitehall source said last week: ‘It’s important we don’t take a politically correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here. ‘Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic background. But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.’
Tory MP Margot James said: ‘On the face of it, this is an issue for all ethnicities, but there is a specific problem in certain Asian communities – specifically the Pakistani community – in too many cities to ignore the phenomenon. ‘Unless we recognise the problem, we won’t be able to devise a strategy for tackling it.
‘It is very disappointing that this report has shied away from it, given the fact that some leadership is coming from within the Asian community. They need support.’
Homosexual marriage is losing Tories votes: Poll contradicts claims of British PM
Voters are turning away from the Tories because of David Cameron’s support for gay marriage, according to a poll. The finding casts doubt on the Prime Minister and George Osborne’s claims that backing same-sex weddings will boost Conservative chances of securing a majority at the next election.
A ComRes survey published today found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tories believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.
In a further blow for the PM, 65 per cent agree that his plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction.
One in four voters says gay marriage could sway their vote at the next election. But while 7 per cent say they are more likely to vote Tory, 18 per cent – more than twice as many – say they are less likely.
More significantly, the effect is dramatically magnified among those who voted Conservative in 2010 but say they may not do so at the next election.
Only 4 per cent of this group say they are more likely to vote Tory over gay marriage, while 36 per cent say they are less likely.
That eightfold margin has increased as public discussion of the issue has intensified in recent months. In April the margin was just three to one.
The poll comes after the Chancellor wrote a newspaper article earlier this month arguing that the Conservative Party would be wrong to drop its support for gay marriage.
Only 23 per cent of all voters agree with the Tory leadership that gay marriage will help them win the next election, while 40 per cent disagree. Of those who have turned away from the Tories since 2010, 17 per cent agree and 56 disagree.
The poll of more than 2,000 voters conducted over the past week also found that 63 per cent believe many of those opposed to gay marriage are reluctant to say so ‘for fear of being called a bigot’. By a margin of 45 to 38 per cent, voters do not think opponents of gay marriage are bigots who should be ignored.
In another result that piles pressure on Mr Cameron, 71 per cent say ‘marriage is important to society and should be promoted by the state’.
That will embolden Cabinet ministers such as Iain Duncan Smith who are telling Mr Cameron he must honour his long-standing pledge to recognise marriage in the tax system at the next Budget, rather than waiting until 2015 as the Chancellor would prefer.
Another huge majority – 69 per cent – believes children should be raised by a father and a mother in a committed permanent relationship.
There is some solace for gay rights campaigners. Two thirds of voters back civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
And by a margin of 44 to 38, voters say legalising gay marriage is important because maintaining the distinction between civil partnerships and marriage ‘worsens public attitudes towards gay people’.
Gay marriage is not part of the Government’s current legislative programme but all three party leaders have said they will support its introduction before the next election.
Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage pressure group, said: ‘This poll is the latest blow to a profoundly undemocratic plan that day by day is falling apart before our eyes. ‘[Mr Osborne] should concentrate on fixing Britain’s broken economy instead of trying to rip up the centuries-old definition of marriage in a desperate bid to appear progressive and trendy.’
British households ‘may have to pay up to £125’ for green changes to poor homes
Households may have to pay up to £125 per year to cover the cost of “green” home improvements for the poorest customers under Coalition plans, energy companies have warned.
Industry sources said the cost of a new green scheme has been underestimated by up to £1.8 billion per year by Whitehall officials. The new policy, called the Energy Company Obligation, will begin to hit households next year at a time when rising gas prices have already pushed the average bill above £1,335 annually.
Under the initiative, gas and electricity suppliers will be forced to offer poor households ways to save energy, such as insulation and more efficient boilers, which will be charged back to all households through bills.
Ministers claim this will cost bill-payers just £1.3 billion per year or about £50 per household – the same as under current schemes to help poor customers.
However, one major energy company told The Daily Telegraph that it is preparing for the cost of ECO to be up to £3.1 billion per year – or £125 per household. Another senior energy boss agreed with this assessment, saying the Government “needs to switch its digits around” to from £1.3 billion to £3.1 billion.
The Government strongly disputes its scheme will be so expensive. Greg Barker, the climate change minister, said he “will certainly not allow customer bills to be impacted in that way”. He added: “The Prime Minister showed this week with his determination to legislate to get people the lowest energy tariffs that we are the Government on the side of the consumer.”
Mr Barker said energy companies will be forced to meet their obligations at the Government’s price or hand over their responsibilities to third parties to deliver more cheaply. “We believe our economic model is robust and [the companies] are not taking into account the dynamics of the market,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Energy companies are currently lobbying the Government to put a £1.3 billion cap on the cost of ECO, amid fears that suppliers will be blamed for rising bills when the scheme comes into force.
Energy UK, the industry group representing the Big Six suppliers, has commissioned an independent report into the issue, which will be presented to the Prime Minister and Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, today.
This study by NERA Economic Consulting found the cost of the green charges will be around £2.3 billion – or £95 per household. But it says this estimate may be too low as there are other risks to the green scheme that could cause the real cost to “exceed” this figure.
The report, due to be published on Monday, will say “unreliable” calculations by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have led it to underestimate the charges.
The NERA economists will also conclude that the ECO system is an “expensive” way of helping poorer households bring down their energy bills.
Last night, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “ECO replaces existing energy efficiency schemes almost pound for pound, so there will be no additional costs on bills. “New powers under the Energy Act 2011 will allow us to require energy companies to provide regular information on the actual costs of delivery and how these are passed through to consumers. For the first time we will know if energy companies are simply passing through actual costs or looking to increase their profits by charging consumers more than is necessary. “We will keep the impact on consumer bills under constant review throughout the lifetime of the scheme.”
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has found that the rising gas price is the biggest cause of higher bills for energy customers, adding around £290 to the average annual bill between 2004 and 2010.
Green charges have contributed around £75, including £30 to support investment in low-carbon power generation, and £45 for funding energy efficiency improvements in homes.
However, the effect of environmental policies on bills is likely to get bigger over the next decade as bill-payers will have to partially subsidise new wind farms and nuclear power stations. The CCC believes environmental policies will raise bills by around £110 a year by 2020.
Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, says this will be cheaper for households in the long run as too much reliance on gas power stations will leave the UK exposed to the rising price of fossil fuels. He told MPs on the Energy Committee this week that most experts believe gas prices will “stay high or go higher”.
“Drought” in Britain too: Drat that pesky global warming!
Swathes of Britain were under water yesterday as rain battered the country, turning roads and railways into rivers. Homes were flooded and transport networks ground to a halt as two weeks’ worth of rain fell overnight in some areas.
Hazardous travelling conditions were exacerbated by 60mph winds, bringing widespread disruption across the UK. Debris and leaves blocked drains, adding to the chaos.
The West Country and the Midlands were the worst hit, but the storms moved east and were expected to drench more areas overnight and today – with forecasters predicting 2.5in of rain in places.
The Met Office warned that it had weather warnings out for south-west England and south-east Wales, as well as western Scotland, over the next few days.
The Environment Agency put more than 200 flood warnings and alerts in place yesterday, mostly in the South West and the Midlands.