Pneumonia patient, 86, sent home from hospital in freezing temperatures wearing just her night clothes
An 86-year pneumonia patient was sent home from hospital in sub-zero temperatures wearing just her nightdress and a thin dressing gown.
The family of Eunice Williams were furious to discover the state she was in, especially as they had supplied plenty of warm clothing. They have now received an unreserved apology from Wrexham Maelor Hospital after they complained.
Mrs Williams, who lives near Llangollen, north east Wales, had been admitted with pneumonia a week earlier and her family was terrified the journey in the cold could make her worse.
Yesterday they said she was deteriorating.
Her nephew Paul Douglas, 32, said: ‘I made sure she had plenty of winter clothes to wear because it had been so cold but these were ignored and she was sent home in night clothes with the warm things in a bag. She was close to getting hyperthermia.
‘It’s disgraceful an 86-year-old woman who has just been treated for pneumonia should be treated in this way. She could have died.’
The family were told Mrs Williams would be discharged and taken home by ambulance so Mr Douglas, of Wrexham, and his mother, Mary, went to prepare the house and greet her. But they could not believe the state she was in when she arrived.
They did, however, commend the treatment Mrs Williams received while in hospital.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has since apologised unreservedly for the error. A spokesman said: ‘We can confirm the family have contacted the hospital to express their concerns about this incident. ‘It has been investigated and we have spoken to both Mrs Williams and the family to express our sincere apologies that we did not ensure Mrs Williams was changed into appropriate clothing before her journey home.
‘We have already spoken to the relevant nursing staff and reminded them of the importance of making sure patients are correctly dressed, taking due account of the weather.
‘A formal meeting has been arranged to review the incident and to ensure all involved are clear this event was not acceptable and should not occur again.’
NHS bureaucrats enjoy 2% pay rise taking average salary to £74,600 despite freeze on nursing wages
NHS executives have enjoyed a two per cent pay rise over the past year – even though nurses are suffering a pay freeze. Official statistics show that senior managers, such as finance directors and human resource officers, now earn an average of £74,654. This is up £1,459 from the average figure last September.
The pay rises for bureaucrats come despite the fact that nurses have been suffering a two-year pay freeze since March last year.
Nurses start at £21,000 a year and their average salary is just over £30,000. The pay freeze means that, in real terms, their pay has been cut – because of the rising cost of living.
Separate figures, released following a parliamentary question, indicate that more nursing staff have lost their jobs since the election than managers.
In August of this year, there were 4,544 fewer bureaucrats working in the NHS than there were in August 2010 – many of them walking off with six-figure pay-offs. But over the same period, the number of qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors plummeted by 4,573.
It means that 29 more frontline nursing staff lost their jobs than administrators during the two year period.
And, to make matters worse, no fewer than 1,341 of the departing managers received redundancy pay-outs of more than £100,000.
The total includes 173 who were paid more than £200,000 when the organisations for which they worked were abolished. In total, almost £1billion has been paid in redundancy packages to managers since the election.
John Lister, of campaign group Health Emergency, said of the pay figures: ‘This is yet another hammer blow to the morale of our nurses.
‘Frontline staff are now working longer hours under extraordinary pressures for no extra pay. Despite that, it is a small band of well-paid execs who are being rewarded with higher wages.’
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘Nursing staff are already being stretched to breaking point because of staffing cuts, and on top of that they are seeing their pay being cut in real terms.
‘Chief executives enjoying a significant increase in pay sends completely the wrong message to hard working frontline staff.’
Earlier this month a damning report by the Care Quality Commission found that many trusts were failing to meet quality standards because they employed too few nursing staff.
Robert Oxley, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The NHS needs nurses treating the sick not back-room form fillers.
‘This is yet further evidence that hospital bosses are managing their budgets poorly. They should be protecting the front line while cutting back the bloated bureaucracy.
‘There are necessary savings to be made but it appears NHS management are incapable of taking the right decisions for taxpayers and patients.’
Labour’s health spokesman Andrew Gwynne, who obtained the figures on staffing levels, said the true position was much worse.
He said that once health visitors and midwives are taken out of the picture, the number of nurses has fallen by around 7,000 since the election.
‘The Prime Minister’s boasts about cutting NHS bureaucracy have come to nothing,’ he said. ‘Instead, he’s quietly axed the jobs of thousands more nurses than managers.
‘David Cameron is allowing the front-line of the NHS to take a battering as he cuts the budget. He has wasted £3bn on a re-organisation of the NHS back-office that is adding fresh layers of bureaucracy and damaging patient care.
‘As the NHS haemorrhages nursing staff patients will pay the price of David Cameron’s false promises. Ministers are taking unacceptable risks with standards of patient care. They cannot continue to ignore the warnings from nurses’ and doctors’ leaders.’
British Maths graduates get £20,000 lure to be teachers
About 150 grants are to be offered to graduates with first–class or 2:1 degrees as part of a government drive to improve standards.
The incentive is being offered by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in collaboration with the London Mathematical Society and the Royal Statistical Society. Applicants will be required to show a strong mathematical background, an excellent understanding of mathematics and statistics at school level, and a commitment to education and teaching. The institutions will offer the graduates support in training and assist their careers.
The scholarships are part of the Coalition’s teacher training strategy, following similar schemes for physics, chemistry and computer science teachers.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said: “High–quality mathematics education is at the heart of improving our society and our economy. By working together, these institutions will help deliver a scholarship scheme to make sure we have excellent mathematics teachers in this country with deep subject knowledge.
“It will help raise the status of the teaching profession and also make a huge difference in the lives of children.”
Following earlier reforms designed to improve teacher training, the Department for Education said 62 per cent of those entering training to teach maths had 2:1 degrees or better, compared with 51 per cent in 2010–11.
Charlie Taylor, the chief executive of the Teaching Agency, the body that oversees training, said: “We want the brightest and best graduates with a strong mathematics background to join the profession. These scholarships will help us to do this.” Nigel Steele, the honorary secretary for education at the IMA, said: “Mathematics, through its applications, already contributes massively to the economy. Research also shows that those who do well at mathematics at school are likely to earn more than their peers.
“The scholarship scheme designed by the IMA, on behalf of its collaborating bodies, will attract highly–qualified graduates who might not otherwise have considered teaching as a career.
“These scholars will help strengthen the mathematics teaching force in its capacity to inspire those who will determine the future.”
Fit brass fixtures to cut superbugs, say scientists
Sounds interesting. I’ve got a lot of brassware in my house so I like the idea!
Brass door knobs, handles and handrails should be brought back into common use in public places to help combat superbugs, according to scientists.
Researchers have discovered that copper and alloys made from the metal, including brass, can prevent antibiotic resistance in bacteria from spreading.
Plastic and stainless steel surfaces, which are now widely used in hospitals and public settings, allow bacteria to survive and spread when people touch them.
Even if the bacteria die, DNA that gives them resistance to antibiotics can survive and be passed on to other bacteria on these surfaces. Copper and brass, however, can kill the bacteria and also destroy this DNA.
Professor Bill Keevil, head of the microbiology group at Southampton University, said using copper on surfaces in public places and on public transport could dramatically cut the threat posed by superbugs.
Professor Keevil said: “There are a lot of bugs on our hands that we are spreading around by touching surfaces. In a public building or mass transport, surfaces cannot be cleaned for long periods of time.
“Until relatively recently brass was a relatively commonly used surface. On stainless steel surfaces these bacteria can survive for weeks, but on copper surfaces they die within minutes.
“Part of the process DNA from bacteria is also destroyed just as rapidly on the copper, so you cannot get gene transfer on the surface.”
Almost 43,000 people a year are infected in hospitals with antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA and Clostridium difficile.
Antibiotic resistance usually occurs in a single bacterium that then multiplies and passes on this resistance to other bacteria around them.
In research published in the journal Molecular Genetics of Bacteria, Professor Keevil and his colleagues found that compared to stainless steel bacteria on copper surfaces bacterial DNA rapidly degraded at room temperature.
Professor Keevil added: “We live in this new world of stainless steel and plastic, but perhaps we should go back to using brass more instead.”
Atheism as a religion
They sound like pretty uncertain atheists. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. One wonders why they don’t just attend their local Anglican church (e.g. the U.S. Episcopalians). They are nice people and you don’t have to believe anything to belong there. And they have neat buildings too. I usually go along to the Christmas day sung Eucharist at the local Anglican cathedral myself. They put on a very good show
It isn’t often that one hears of atheists attending church, however a new movement seems to be gearing up, as non-believers search for ways to create secular community groups. A Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., is holding weekly services for atheists and humanists. And, now, in London, stand-up comics are launching their own house of worship — a secular project that is sparking international attention.
The Islington Gazette is reporting that comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans are preparing for what the outlet dubs “a godless congregation,” which will be located in Canonbury (a residential district in the north of London). The atheist church, called “The Sunday Assembly,” will provide secular weddings, funerals and monthly services (the first Sunday of every month).
Jones and Evans, a musical impov duo, will launch the church on Jan. 6 (on the Feast of Epiphany). According to the Gazette, the two decided to create the house of worship when they realized that, while they enjoy some aspects of religion, they do not believe in a higher power.
“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” Jones told the outlet.
Rather than in-house reverends, the church will include speakers who will come in to talk about a variety of issues each month. And, much like deity-driven churches, the house of worship will include a house band led by Evans.
“We all should be ludicrously excited every single moment to be alive in one of the best countries in the world,” Jones noted. “If the church becomes a useful place for others, that would be a good thing. We just want people to feel encouraged and excited when they leave.”
While Jones’ and Evans’ new project is certainly curious, they aren’t the first non-believers to share an appreciation of church culture. Author Alain de Button, too, has noted that atheists can learn quite a bit from believers.