‘Midwives are so rude’: NHS matron blasts lack of manners among staff and ‘worrying trend’ of inadequate care
A furious NHS matron has accused midwives of being ‘rude’ to women in labour and providing such a poor service that it could close the maternity ward, a leaked letter reveals.
In a damning indictment of midwives, medical and nursing staff, the Lead Nurse raises concerns about a ‘worrying trend’ in the lack of professionalism.
The four-page letter was written by Linda Birch, who runs the women and children’s division of the Wirral University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, after a series of spot-checks.
In the letter Ms Birch states: ‘The standard of care we are giving to our patients is not good enough and is deteriorating. ‘Patients describe scenarios where they believe staff have been rude to them, abrupt with them and have been very unhelpful.’
Among issues raised are concerns over record-keeping, lack of privacy and dignity for patients who are not given ‘what they need’.
Storage of medication and poor communication between patients and midwives is among the major issues forming another blow to the capability of the NHS.
Critically the number of bookings made by expectant mothers has fallen from 300 bookings per month in January 2011 to just 245 a month.
That means fewer than 3,000 births per year happen at Arrowe Park prompting concern that the maternity ward is not ‘financially viable’ and could face closure.
Lead Nurse Birch writes: ‘At less than 3,000 births, our unit is not financially viable. ‘We know that the overall birth rate is up locally, regionally and nationally. ‘However, we are losing patients to other providers because we are rude to them, we are not giving them what they need, we are not providing good care for them. ‘They are going away from us unhappy.’
The hospital serves an estimated 308,800 residents on the peninsula which lies between Liverpool and North Wales and 29 per cent of the population is below 30 years-old.
A spokeswoman for the Trust said: ‘Our Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital is absolutely committed to providing the highest possible standard of care.
‘We recognise there are always areas for improvement and we take comments, concerns or feedback very seriously. ‘This letter reflects the passion within our Trust to address any deviation from the very high standards we set.
‘The aim of sharing information is to engage every single member of staff in the part they have to play in keeping our patients at the centre of everything we do.”
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) perform random checks at hospitals to ensure that standards of care are being maintained at a high level.
A spokesperson for the CQC said: ‘We are aware of the concerns raised in the leaked letter and the information will form part of our intelligence gathering.
‘The Trust will be expected to answer questions based on what we have collated when we pay a visit to carry out a full inspection of the premises and procedures.’
Operator told blind pensioner her guide dog could READ signs to get her to hospital as she refused to book her an ambulance
A blind pensioner was told by an ambulance service operator she could get to hospital on her own as her guide dog would read the signs.
Outraged Alfreda Weir, 64, has had three strokes, kidney failure, heart failure and depends on her 10-year-old guide dog Yoko for getting around.
She has to make regular visits to the hospital for treatment and until recently she was regularly picked up by the Scottish Ambulance Service and taken to her appointments.
But after calling the service last week, Ms Weir was informed by an operator that she no longer met criteria and would have to make her own way to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.
Ms Weir, who lives alone in Dunfermline and has no family, was then left speechless when the operator effectively told her that her Labrador could read the hospital signs for her when she got there.
She said yesterday: ‘When the lady on the phone made it clear the ambulance wouldn’t be taking me for my appointment, I asked her what I would do if I made my own way to the hospital. ‘It’s a big place and they use signs to direct patients, but obviously I can’t read them. ‘She said to me “there are signs”. So I reminded her that I am visually impaired, to which she replied “but you’ve got a guide dog”.
‘So I had to tell her that my dog can’t read. She’s a lovely, clever little thing but she’s not that clever. I’m not sure if the operator was being rude or just stupid.’
As well as being blind, Ms Weir has 26 different medications for conditions such as bronchitis, diabetes and asthma.
She has used the patient transport system for years to get to appointments but a new booking system was introduced in October and she was told she no longer met criteria for a lift.
Margaret Watt, from the Scottish Patients Association said Alfreda’s treatment was ‘Absolutely inhuman’. She said: ‘I doubt any of the people in the ambulance service would think that was clever if it was one of their relatives. ‘What a ridiculous thing to say. That operator should be retrained on respect, compassion and dignity for patients, because she obviously hasn’t got any.
‘With regards to Ms Weir not being taken to hospital, that is also not acceptable. Not only is it inconvenient for the patient it costs a lot of money. ‘They should be making sure this lady gets to and from hospital safely and has no difficulties in getting around hospitals.’
The matter has now been resolved and Alfreda will be picked up by the ambulance again, but she said she is nervous about calling the operator to book up.
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said that they would not comment on specifics of the case because of patient confidentiality, but issued this statement: ‘Ambulance transport is provided for patients who have a mobility or medical need.
‘The decision to provide transport was based upon the initial information provided by the patient. Once further information and the patient’s circumstances were clarified, transport was confirmed and will continue to be provided in future.’
Some British industries to be shielded from green energy costs as household bills to soar
Energy-intensive industries will be shielded from subsidising new nuclear power plants and wind farms, under Government plans that will see other businesses and consumers paying billions of pounds more for electricity.
Government estimates show that policies to subsidise low-carbon power alone will add £95 to household bills by 2020.
Ministers will on Thursday unveil the long-awaited Energy Bill, intended to encourage £110bn of investment in low-carbon generation this decade. It will offer generators long-term contracts guaranteeing prices for electricity from new power plants – paid for through levies on electricity bills.
Government estimates show that these and other subsidies for low-carbon power will add £95 to household bills by 2020. The cost to all energy consumers is likely to triple, up to cap set at £7.6bn a year by 2020 – with other ‘green’ policies adding yet more.
Industry and consumer groups have warned that the additional costs could plunge more households into ‘fuel poverty’, put some firms out of business and force industries to relocate overseas.
In an attempt to assuage fears, the Government will today unveil plans to exempt energy-intensive industries from additional costs arising from the new long-term electricity contracts.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation. There would be no advantage in simply forcing UK businesses to relocate to other countries.”
Ministers are yet to specify which industries will be exempt, or how much money they will save.
However, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the exemption would not affect the £7.6bn total for subsidies by 2020 – so would see other businesses and households pick up the costs instead.
He insisted the impact of the exemption on others was “likely to be extremely small”.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said the move was a “critical reform” to ensure industry remained competitive.
Manufacturers union EEF welcomed the move but said the Government must act to protect all energy consumers.
The British Chambers of Commerce called on the Government to address wider concerns over business energy costs, warning that nearly 40pc of businesses felt rising energy bills had adversely affected their growth.
Ministers will also today announce a consultation on plans to reduce the UK’s energy demand. These could include paying consumers for electricity saved by installing energy-efficient lighting.
The edifice of marriage is always worth repairing
Wedded bliss doesn’t exist – but a deeper passion does happen. Comment from Britain
There are innumerable reasons to admire our monarch, but 65 years of conjugal accord comes close to topping the list. Note that I do not use the trite expression “wedded bliss”. I have yet to meet any long-hitched couple who’ve been skipping around in a permanent state of ecstasy for multiple decades. Most lengthy relationships are only one part romance to two parts endurance test. Many people claim they’re never bored in their marriage, when what they really mean is they are yoked to someone who takes eccentricity and intransigence to new heights of bloody-mindedness.
Even when you do have the great good fortune to be married to someone interesting, they can’t be riveting over the cornflakes every day for 50 years. My own husband is a walking compendium of intriguing facts, but I still want to sink an axe into his skull every time he mentions local planning regs. It’s no wonder that when the late Anne Bancroft was asked the secret of her 41-year marriage to Mel Brooks, she growled, “Just working hard.” I bet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would concur with that: not only have they had to head up “the Firm” for 65 gruelling years, they have also had to support three of their children through equally testing matrimonial disappointments.
I couldn’t help but imagine the Duke sending a salute across the ether to retired Navy officer Nick Crews, whose excoriating email to his divorced children bemoaned their “copulation-driven” splits. I don’t imagine Crews is any more prudish than most naval men of his ilk – more likely he believes it’s weedy to abandon a decent spouse for the sake of erotic diversion. In the not-so-distant past, couples worked their way through such indiscretions in the same way they would tackle financial or medical problems: there may have been damage to the render and chimney pots, but nothing that troubled the whole stately edifice. But we Generation X types are too recreation-minded to bother with tedious repairs; it’s no wonder we find the long-entwined so mesmerising, yet baffling.
I have had some fun imagining what Crews would say about the female banker who reportedly divorced her husband because of his “boring attitude” to sex. I imagine it would be something along the lines of, “Brace up woman! My generation didn’t get to where we are today without enduring a spot of sexual tedium.” As any marital veteran will tell you, you can cherish a passion for your spouse that’s far deeper than mere sexual flames. However, you may have to stick in your marriage for a fair few decades to appreciate that wisdom.
Children must experience nature in order to learn that it’s worth saving
Britain’s Greenie George gets practical
We don’t have to disparage the indoor world, which has its own rich ecosystem, to lament children’s disconnection from the outdoor world. But the experiences the two spheres offer are entirely different. There is no substitute for what takes place outdoors; not least because the greatest joys of nature are unscripted. The thought that most of our children will never swim among phosphorescent plankton at night, will never be startled by a salmon leaping, a dolphin breaching, the stoop of a peregrine, the rustle of a grass snake is almost as sad as the thought that their children might not have the opportunity.
The remarkable collapse of children’s engagement with nature – which is even faster than the collapse of the natural world – is recorded in Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, and in a report published recently by Britain’s heritage conservation body, the National Trust. Since the 1970s the area in which children may roam without supervision has decreased by almost 90 per cent. In one generation the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places in Britain has fallen from more than half to fewer than one in 10. In the US, in just six years (1997-2003) children with particular outdoor hobbies fell by half. Eleven- to 15-year-olds in Britain now spend, on average, half their waking day in front of a screen.
There are several reasons for this collapse: parents’ irrational fear of strangers and rational fear of traffic, the destruction of the fortifying commons where previous generations played, the quality of indoor entertainment, the structuring of children’s time, the criminalisation of natural play. The great indoors, as a result, has become a far more dangerous place than the diminished world beyond.
The rise of obesity, rickets and asthma and the decline in cardio-respiratory fitness are well documented. Louv also links the indoor life to an increase in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other mental ill health. Research conducted at the University of Illinois suggests that playing among trees and grass is associated with a marked reduction in indications of ADHD, while playing indoors or on tarmac appears to increase them. The disorder, Louv suggests, ”may be a set of symptoms aggravated by lack of exposure to nature”. Perhaps it’s the environment, not the child, that has gone wrong.
In her famous essay The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood, Edith Cobb proposed that contact with nature stimulates creativity. Reviewing the biographies of 300 ”geniuses”, she exposed a common theme: intense experiences of the natural world in the middle age of childhood (between five and 12). Animals and plants, she contended, are among ”the figures of speech in the rhetoric of play . which the genius in particular of later life seems to recall”.
Studies in several nations show that children’s games are more creative in green places than in concrete playgrounds. Natural spaces encourage fantasy and roleplay, reasoning and observation. The social standing of children there depends less on physical dominance, more on inventiveness and language skills. Perhaps forcing children to study so much, rather than running wild in the woods and fields, is counter-productive.
And here we meet the other great loss. Most of those I know who fight for nature are people who spent their childhoods immersed in it. Without a feel for the texture and function of the natural world, without an intensity of engagement almost impossible in the absence of early experience, people will not devote their lives to its protection. The fact that at least half the published articles on ash dieback have been illustrated with photos of beeches, sycamores or oaks seems to me to be highly suggestive.
Racist chants at English soccer match
Tottenham Hotspurs is a largely Jewish London football club who sometimes refer to themselves as “Yids”. In sport however political correctness often gets forgotten and they do come in for racist abuse
And in Italy recently there was more than abuse. A group of Tottenham fans were physically attacked by thugs supporting a rival Italian football club: Lazio
But in Britain it was just hot air
The bile-spewing West Ham fans who baited their Tottenham Hotspur rivals because some of their number had been stabbed by a Nazi mob could take a couple of lessons in history.
What the West Ham fans were chanting:
‘Adolf Hitler, he’s coming for you’
‘Can we stab you every week?’
Ashley Mills, a 25-year-old Tottenham fan, was the most severely injured of 10 compatriots who were subject to an unprovoked act of violence while drinking in the Drunken Ship pub in Campo de Fiori, Rome, ahead of his club’s Europa League tie with Lazio.
The Ultras – renowned hooligans in the Eternal City – had come 50 strong to make an anti-Semitic attack against Tottenham, with their traditionally Jewish heritage.
Two men, both fans of Lazio’s neighbouring club Roma, were arrested and charged.
In celebration of the foregoing hate-crime, West Ham fans, who were said to number hundreds rather than dozens yesterday, chanted ‘Viva Lazio’.