‘Bullying’ nurses at Stafford Hospital ‘ordered staff to take fake casualty records for waiting time targets’
Leftists substitute targets for incentives — which just increases dishonesty and corruption
Two ‘bullying’ nurses at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital ordered staff to fake casualty records to meet waiting time targets, a hearing was told today.
Sharon Turner and Tracy White falsely logged that patients were discharged earlier than they really were because of targets that required them to be dealt with within four hours, it was said.
Any staff who tried to disobey the senior nurses’ orders were told that unless they lied, the hospital would get fined and they would get the sack, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
Employees are said to have regularly sworn in the presence of patients, with Turner allegedly racially abusing a junior Asian doctor by calling him ‘Osama’s mate’ and asking if he had a bomb in his rucksack.
Black patients were also sometimes allegedly made to wait longer than those of other ethnicities, the hearing was told.
Whistleblower Helene Donnelly has claimed she was ‘ostracised and had to endure constant bitchy comments’ whenever she tried to insist on putting down the true times. She said: ‘The demands by Sister White and Sister Turner would appear frequently, during almost every shift.
‘Sister Turner and Sister White would often demand I or my colleagues change the discharge times to avoid a breach. They would frequently lie about discharge times, and pressurise members of staff to lie.
‘They would speak nastily and swear at people who did not change the times, or would change the times themselves – change the discharge times behind my back.
‘I believe everyone in A&E must have been aware of what was going on – even junior doctors. ‘It is my opinion senior managers must have known staff were altering discharge times. There were gaps in the paperwork.
‘To me, falsifying patient records seemed insane. I was told, in no uncertain terms, if we did not meet targets heads would roll.
‘I was concerned about the terrible consequences our actions would have on patient care.’
She claimed senior nurses ‘would use scaremongering tactics to make us comply’ with their orders to fake records. ‘They would tell us if we had a patient in breach we could lose our jobs.’
The panel heard some patients were inappropriately sent on to other departments in the hospital without being properly assessed, or even if A&E staff knew there were no available beds there.
Mrs Donnelly said sometimes staff were in such a rush to get patients out of casualty within four hours that staff ‘left patients to lie in soiled sheets to meet the targets.’
Recounting one occasion where she was scathingly told off by another manager for faking a discharge time, she said she looked at the paperwork and recognised White’s handwriting.
But the senior nurse did not come forward to admit the forgery was hers, the panel heard.
‘I realised Sister White would have been happy for me, a junior nurse, to taker the blame for her actions,’ said Mrs Donnelly.
‘As a result of this, absolutely nothing happened to Sister White in terms of disciplinary action.’
Both Turner and White were eventually subjected to an internal disciplinary inquiry in 2008, but they were later reinstated with no action taken against them.
During their suspension, Mrs Donnelly said she ‘incurred the wrath’ of their friends in A&E.
Mrs Donnelly said of their return: ‘Nothing had been learned other than how to break the rules more subversively.’
She said: ‘Sister White would deliberately make patients wait. Black patients were being made to wait.’
The nurse, who resigned in June 2008 because of the toxic environment, said: ‘The attitude of the sisters had not changed. ‘I knew I had to get out.’
The accusations against White relate to a period between March 2006 and July 2010, while Turner’s charges cover two years between July 2007 October 2009.
Both nurses are being jointly represented by a barrister from the Royal College of Nursing.
Turner admits a charge of calling a colleague ‘stupid’, and another of saying ‘I don’t give a flying f***’ when talking about patients. She and White deny all the remaining charges against them.
The ongoing central London hearing is expected to last ten days.
NHS pays out £2million after foreign surgeon botches operations – and there are still 94 OUTSTANDING claims
The NHS has paid out more than £2m in compensation to victims of a surgeon who is still allowed to work.
Rotherham Hospital has agreed damages settlements for four former patients of orthopaedic surgeon Manjit Bhamra, totalling just over £1m since last summer.
Previously 13 other patients had received a total of £1,058,784.
The latest payments of £1,005,000 include a single payment of £830,000, the highest individual claim so far settled.
Rotherham Hospital admitted liability in all four of the recently settled claims, while another 22 claims were withdrawn.
Of the 17 payouts so far, the hospital has accepted liability in 10 and made no admission in the other seven.
Despite the huge amount of public money paid in compensation, an Information Tribunal recently ruled Rotherham Hospital was right not to disclose information relating to its concerns about Mr Bhamra’s work on the grounds that it was the surgeon’s ‘personal information’.
The General Medical Council cleared the surgeon of any wrongdoing in 2011 and he retains a full medical licence and is working at another Yorkshire hospital. The GMC declined to comment on how it reached its decision.
The claims against Mr Bhamra largely involve hip, knee, elbow and shoulder surgery he carried out at Rotherham Hospital where he worked full-time up to 2007 and then part-time until 2009.
A small number of claims involve Mr Bhamra’s work at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where he has worked at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield since 2009, and Goole Hospital where he worked on an ad-hoc basis.
Mid Yorkshire has said it has no concerns about Mr Bhamra’s practice, insisting it undertook robust checks when employing staff.
Lawyers representing former patients of Mr Bhamra have agreed a protocol with the NHS to help process the large number of claims.
A further 94 claims currently remain to be processed under the protocol.
The settled claims so far range from £1,750 up to £830,000, with a total of £2,063,784 paid out.
The money is paid by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) which co-ordinates negligence claims on behalf of health trusts who each pay into the scheme.
Rotherham Hospital admitted negligence claimed by Wayne Pickering, 60, from Cantley, Doncaster, who had a hip operation in February 2006.
Mr Pickering’s claim alleged the surgeon fractured his pelvis and damaged the sciatic nerve, leaving him with an unstable hip and seriously impaired mobility.
Tim Annett, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors who are representing the majority of claimants, said: ‘While some cases have already settled, a special protocol has been set up with the NHSLA and investigations are on-going to find out exactly what happened during the treatment of our remaining clients and ensure that any potential lessons are learnt to improve patient safety in future.’
Rotherham Hospital declined to comment on the recent settlements or on how much it envisaged being paid out in total.
Frail widow, 88, left on hospital trolley for 12 HOURS in ‘chaotic’ A&E department
A frail pensioner endured a 12 hour wait on a hospital trolley as overworked nurses struggled in a ‘chaotic’ accident and emergency department.
Betty Newberry, 88, was rushed to Worcester Royal Hospital by paramedics after a neighbour found her collapsed at her home last Friday.
Upon arrival her at 9pm, doctors carried out initial tests and scans before the widow was taken back to A&E to wait for a hospital bed.
Instead, she was left on a trolley in a tiny cubicle for a further 12 hours until she was finally admitted to a ward at 9.15 the following morning.
Councillor Joy Squires, 58, who looks after Mrs Newberry, who is her neighbour, said that during this time nursing staff were forced to treat patients in corridors as the busy department filled up.
At one point there were said to be six trolleys lined up next to each other as overworked staff struggled to cope.
Cllr Squires said: ‘Betty was in a cubicle on the A&E ward, she was asleep most of the time and she kept waking up.
‘She was very confused and kept trying to get out of bed, I was able to make sure she didn’t hurt herself.
‘It was unacceptable, I was shocked when I saw what was going on as I was unaware of what staff were facing.
‘I was shocked that there were trolleys in the corridor and people were being treated on them.
‘Having been there for a whole 12-hour shift I got to see just how much strain the staff are under.’
The Labour councillor now fears the hospital – which is expected to see an influx of emergency patients when the A&E at nearby Alexandra Hospital is downgraded – is already at breaking point.
She added: ‘Based on my experiences I don’t think the hospital has the capacity to handle the extra admissions.’
Mrs Newberry, who has no children, was said to be in a frail condition following her ordeal, during which she treated for a chest infection.
Following a stay in hospital she was transferred to a local nursing home.
Simon Trickett, chief operating officer for South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said Mrs Newberry’s experience was ‘extraordinary’.
He said: ‘That sounds an extraordinary experience and I hope it wasn’t a typical one.
‘Last month a reasonable portion of the hospital was blocked off because of the norovirus, which put pressure on beds. ‘It’s not acceptable but there may be operational reasons for when things like this happen.’
At least 20 terror suspects have British passports torn up in security crackdown to stop them returning to UK
At least 20 terror suspects have had their British passports torn up on national security grounds to stop them entering the country, it emerged today.
In the last two years alone Home Secretary Theresa May has stripped British citizenship from 16 individuals considered to pose a threat to the UK.
Rules in place for a decade allow ministers to act to revoke passports in a bid to target the so-called ‘enemy within’.
The Home Office today defended the policy from claims it was equivalent to ‘medieval exile’, insisting the British citizenship was ‘a privilege not a right’.
Officials said that from 2002 to September last year 20 citizens were stripped of their passports. A report by the Bureaux for Investigative Journalism, published in The Independent today, suggested the number is 21, of which only two have successfully appealed.
At least five of the 16 to lose their citizenship under the coalition were born in Britain, the report said. One man had lived in the UK for five decades.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Citizenship is a privilege not a right. The Home Secretary has the power to remove citizenship from individuals where she considers it is conducive to the public good. An individual subject to deprivation can appeal to the courts.’
However, concern has been expressed that after losing British citizenship suspects have been targeted, and in some cases killed, in US drone attacks.
Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, is to write to Mrs May about the scale of the threat posed to Britain.
‘There was clearly always a risk when the law was changed seven years ago that the executive could act to take citizenship away in circumstances that were more frequent or more extensive than those envisaged by ministers at the time,’ Mr Hughes told The Independent.
‘I’m concerned at the growing number of people who appear to have lost their right to citizenship. I plan to write to the Home Secretary and the Home Affairs Select Committee to ask for their assessment of the situation, and for a review of whether the act is working as intended.’
Two men involved – Bilal al-Berjawi, a British-Lebanese citizen, and British-born friend Mohamed Sakr, who also held Egyptian nationality – travelled to Somalia in 2009. They are said to have become involved with Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qa’ida. Both rose to senior positions in the organisation.
They were stripped of their British nationalities by Mrs May in 2010 and were killed in separate US airstrikes.
Saghir Hussain, Sakr’s former UK solicitor said: ‘It appears that the process of deprivation of citizenship made it easier for the US to then designate Mr Sakr as an enemy combatant, to whom the UK owes no responsibility whatsoever.’
Gareth Peirce, a leading human rights lawyer, said the use of the powers ‘smacked of medieval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary’.
Global warming to blame for crumbling stone walls of 13th century fortifications
They admit that “There is evidence of repair over the centuries right from the thirteenth century right through” but this lot of crumbling is different, apparently. That there has been NO global warming in recent years they do not address. Myths are apparently enough to cause ancient stone walls to crumble
For centuries they stood firm against marauding Welsh invaders but now the historic walls of Ludlow are said to be under threat from a new enemy – climate change.
Residents living near one section of the medieval structure were this weekend advised to leave their homes temporarily after engineers found that it was unsafe.
Three other sections of the wall in the picturesque Shropshire town have collapsed in the past fortnight.
Parts of the structure date back to 1233, when Ludlow, now better known for its listed buildings and Michelin-starred restaurants, was a fortified border town.
Colin Richards, head of conservation and archaeology for Shropshire, said: “It’s amazing that they have stood for 800 years and the climate change that has affected them over the last couple of years has wreaked so much damage.”
Mr Richards told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is evidence of repair over the centuries right from the thirteenth century right through, but last year was the second wettest year on record.
“It’s this alternation between very wet periods and then very dry periods.
“Recently we’ve had a saturation of the material behind the wall and then the frosts which come and expand the moisture and it just gives it sufficient pressure to cause it to move out beyond its plane of stability and collapse.”
In places, water had leeched through the bedrock of the ground, turning to frost.
“The frost has eroded the stone and so we’ve got areas of wall which are just hanging there at the moment.”
The local authority took action at the weekend after an inspection of the wall backing onto the gardens of 14 properties in the town.
An engineer found that its condition had “seriously deteriorated over the past year, and is now considered to be unsafe”.
Shropshire Council said the safety concerns were confined to part of the walls in The Linney, which back on to the gardens of a small number of residential properties.
The local authority was already liaising with English Heritage after a 30ft section of the walls, which date back to the 13th century, collapsed last month, damaging a parked car.
Council leader Keith Barrow said: “We are talking to the Diocese of Hereford and advising them to urgently review the safety of this particular section of the wall.
“Our number one concern is the safety of residents and we are advising the people who live in these particular properties to temporarily leave their homes to be absolutely sure that they are safe.”
Rosanna Taylor-Smith, county councillor for Ludlow North, added: “We would like to reassure people that we are doing everything possible to manage the situation.”
However, it was believed that only one homeowner has decided to leave so far though engineers were continuing to monitor the wall section in case it deteriorates further requiring an evacuation.
Residents have been offered temporary accommodation by the council.
The walls, which are owned by the Diocese of Hereford, are one of the most complete ancient perimeter defences of any historic town in England.
Officials at the Ludlow Town Walls Trust are reportedly preparing to submit a bid for a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help preserve the structure.
More than £1 million is thought to have been spent shoring up sections of it over the last four years while the council is facing a bill for £250,000 for recent collapses.
Tories in turmoil as British PM vows ‘no lurch to Right’ then signals curbs on migrants using NHS
Senior Conservatives last night urged George Osborne to ‘change direction’ in this month’s Budget – amid mounting alarm about both the economy and ‘incoherence’ at the top of the party.
David Cameron’s former tax adviser Lord Forsyth said a package of radical tax cuts was needed to stimulate Britain’s ‘flatlining’ economy.
And Mr Cameron himself also came under fire for potentially confusing the public after pledging the party would not ‘lurch to the Right’ following the party’s dire showing in last week’s Eastleigh by-election.
He made his comments just as ministers signalled new crackdowns on immigration, health tourism and human rights laws clearly aimed at pleasing the discontented grassroots.
The mixed message frustrated senior party figures already unnerved following Eastleigh, where the Tories were pushed into third place behind the Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party.
With an eye on the March 20 Budget, Lord Forsyth said Mr Osborne should ‘spend less time talking about an age of austerity and more time explaining how we can get back to an age of prosperity’. He added: ‘Out there in the country people are hurting, their living standards are falling – they’re finding it difficult to pay for their gas and electricity bills, the amount that’s left in their pay packages after stoppages is getting less and less, and to coin an old cliché, it’s the economy stupid, and George has actually got to change direction.
‘He’s got to put a touch on the tiller, he’s got to start cutting taxes and encourage enterprise to invest, because at the moment we are flatlining and we’re spending far more than we are bringing in income and the electorate understand that.’
Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell also warned that the Budget could trigger a dangerous phase for the Chancellor and Prime Minister unless they could convince increasingly rattled backbenchers they had a recipe for restoring Tory fortunes.
Former minister Tim Loughton said the Government needed to start ‘doing some of the thing that people voted Conservative for at the last election. That’s about reducing taxes rather than coming up with new taxes, it’s about recognising families are having a tough time and recognising marriage and families in the tax system which we said we would do and haven’t.’
Mr Cameron insisted yesterday that he would not respond to the growing Ukip threat by adopting a string of new Right-wing policies.
He said he recognised that people felt Britain’s problems were ‘not being fixed fast enough by the Government I lead’. But he added: ‘The battle for Britain’s future will not be won in lurching to the Right, nor by some cynical attempt to calculate the middle distance between your political opponents and then planting yourself somewhere between them. That is lowest common denominator politics – and it gets you nowhere.
‘The right thing to do is to address the things people care about. It’s not about being Left-wing or Right-wing – it’s about being where the British people are. And where the British people, rightly, are on all these issues is where the Conservative Party is, too.’
Despite his comments, ministers signalled initiatives that appeared designed to appeal directly to disaffected Tory voters, with a pledge to scrap the controversial Human Rights Act and to tackle health tourism.
Tory MP Mark Field said the conflicting messages showed there was ‘incoherence at the top’. He said: ‘We’re saying one thing and thinking we can somehow convince the voters, yet actually the voters are not fools.’
It was ‘taken as read’ that Tory rebels plotting a challenge against Mr Cameron would hold their own post-mortem of the disastrous Eastleigh result. He added: ‘If the Coalition doesn’t last and if we are back in opposition in 2015, then clearly there will need to be a fundamental change of direction of where the Conservative Party goes.’
Asked if the Tories were moving closer to losing power, he said: ‘It’s going to be 2015 – I am under no illusions about that.’
Nick de Bois, secretary of the backbench 1922 Committee, accused Mr Cameron of pursuing a ‘flawed political strategy’ by focusing on ‘divisive’ issues, such as gay marriage, that alienate traditional voters.
‘The Government seems recently to have been focusing on what some have described as these rather metropolitan, elite, brand-conscious ideas, such as wind farms and whatever,’ he said. ‘We need to be connecting and speaking directly to those people who are living in the very sharp and harsh real world.’
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said voters no longer believed Tory promises. ‘Their own supporters look at a Conservative Party that used to talk about wealth creation, low tax and enterprise and it now talks about gay marriage and wind farms,’ he said.
One way to know that you’re doing the right thing
Is to look at peoples’ reactions to what you’re doing. If, for example, you decided that you wanted to clean up the MPs’ expenses system and every MP then started howling about how we mere ignorant citizenry aren’t supposed to control them then we’d know that we were on the right track. Similarly, if every criminal in the country (to the extent that this is a different group from MPs) starts to complain about the length of sentences after just and righteous trials then you would at least begin to suspect that you might have created sentences which have a deterrent effect.
And when you’re doing supply side reforms to the economy if you start to hear loud wailing from those suppliers being reformed then you’ve got a pretty good indication that you are achieving your goal. As with this letter to the Telegraph:
“As doctors and health-care workers, we are concerned about the Government’s proposed secondary legislation (under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act) to force virtually every part of the English NHS to be opened up to the private sector to bid for its contracts. These regulations were proposed on February 13 and will become law on April 1 unless MPs first insist on a debate and then vote them down. Parliament does not normally debate or vote on this type of regulation, but it is possible. We urge parliamentarians to force a debate and vote on this issue to prevent another nail in the coffin of a publicly provided NHS free from the motive of corporate profit.”
There then follows 1,000 or so signatures. Which is, as I say, a signal that something is going right. The aim and point of the NHS reforms is indeed to introduce a market. Competition among suppliers that is. The reason for doing this is that in the absence of competition the producer interest will dominate, not that of the consumer. This is why we insist upon more than one electricity supplier in the economy, welcome that there are many sources of food (whether trivially in shops or more importantly from many different farmers and producers), sell off four licenses for mobile telephony at a time, not just one.
We desire to have this competition because it stops that producer interest from ossifying and then taking over the entire system. Very much to the detriment of the consumer who is the person we’re actually concerned with.
As a result we’ve got those producers howling about how just ghastly it is that people will be able to compete with them. Screaming about how undignified it is that such august personages might have to consider what consumers want rather than what producers might deign to provide.
Great eh? It’s working!
Outrage at British parents who ‘blacked up’ baby to look like black football star
It certainly looks unpleasant but I am not sure why it is being regarded as a slur. It could be complimentary. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”
A baby has become embroiled in an online race row after he was ‘blacked up’ to look like former Manchester City football player Mario Balotelli.
Chocolate was smeared over the child’s face and a washing-up sponge stuck on his head to copy the striker’s Mohawk hair.
A picture of the baby, who even sports the footballer’s slogan ‘Why Always Me?’, was then posted on the Internet sparking outrage last night. The photo was retweeted 2,000 times.
Jim C posted on Twitter: ‘You thought you’d seen it all. Dear me.’
While another said: ‘Parents tweeted ghastly picture of baby dressed as Mario Balotelli, this must be child abuse.’
Matt Bishop added: ‘Jesus wept, who does this to their child!?!?!?!?’
Parenting expert Sue Atkins, author of Parenting Made Easy: How To Raise Happy Children, told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Just looking at this picture makes me very uncomfortable, especially the fact the child is blacked up. I don’t like it at all.’
It is believed the photo was uploaded by a Manchester United fan on Instagram.
Balotelli, from Italy, left Manchester City to play for AC Milan after helping the club to win its first title in 44 years.