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Judith Thomas-Whittingham
 

What impact will Department of Health proposals have on medical negligence cases?

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The Department of Health propose to introduce fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence cases and place a restriction on the medical expert fees which are vital in investigating these cases. The current proposals set to introduce this regime for...

Proposed reforms on clinical negligence funding

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The government have introduced a proposal to fix legal recoverable costs in clinical negligence cases, and the consultation is due to expire on the 2nd of May. The current cost regime that we have is that the opponent, the losing party, pays the...

Changes to the clinical negligence compensation discount rate

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Compensation in clinical negligence claims can often be received by way of a lump sum intended to cover the remaining period of the claimant’s life. The money is intended to put the claimant back into the same position they would have been in,...

Cosmetic surgery firms 'acting like salesmen'

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Cosmetic surgery firms are “behaving like double glazing salesmen”, according to an MP, who has told parliament that more needs to be done to protect the public from poor industry standards. Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for North Durham...

Cerebral palsy claims solicitors - Declan's story

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At Stephensons we specialise in helping families and individuals affected by cerebral palsy to claim the compensation they deserve - families like Declan’s. In the video below, Declan’s mum and dad, Julie and Ian, describe the anguish they...

Liverpool Care Pathway could be phased out

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An independent review is expected to conclude that the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) should be phased out in England. The LCP was developed at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital alongside the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute. The aim of the LCP was...

Care Quality Commission under scrutiny

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An independent report recently claimed that the Care Quality Commission failed to properly investigate maternal and infant deaths at Furness General Hospital. The CQC were called to investigate the Maternity Unit at Furness General Hospital due to...

Doctors claim IVF could be available to British couples for just £170

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A groundbreaking study has developed a ‘no frills’ IVF kit which will cut the price of IVF from thousands of pounds to just £170. The new kit could be made available to the thousands of infertile British couples who are denied treatment on...

Greater Manchester hospital chief executive quits

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The chief executive of Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester, Christine Green, has stepped down. Her resignation follows a loss of faith in her ability to improve the hospital's record of poor patient care by MPs, doctors and NHS regulators. Tariq...

Is it a happy 65th birthday for the NHS?

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The 5th July 2013 marked the NHS’ 65th Birthday. It is the world’s largest publicly funded health service and has helped save millions of lives. The NHS was implemented by the Labour government in 1948 and promised to provide care, which would...

Patient died of pneumonia after being left outside hospital in the rain

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On a rainy day in December 2010, Frank Kelly, 79, was found by his son, stood in the middle of the car park outside Worcestershire Royal Hospital wearing just his sodden pyjamas after nurses claimed they had simply ‘lost him.’ Sadly, Mr Kelly...

Wales to become first part of UK to have opt-out organ donor system

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Currently three people in the UK die every day as a result of a shortage of donor organs. Wales have decided to attempt to improve these statistics by becoming the first UK nation to give the green light to an opt-out system where consent will be presumed. ...

Hospital bosses who allow neglect and abuse could face criminal prosecution

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New Government plans recently unveiled could see hospital and care home managers face criminal prosecution if they fail to meet national care standards. Bosses will not be looking at the prospect of going to prison but they could face unlimited fines....

Hospital trust reports two "never events" in one month

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The BBC has recently reported on the story of two “never events” occurring at the same hospital in Devon in June 2013. According to the Department of Health, a “never event” is an incident that is so serious and preventable that they...

Stillbirth after acne drug wrongly prescribed

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A couple from Cambridgeshire have received an undisclosed amount of compensation after severe abnormalities were caused to their unborn daughter when her mother was prescribed an acne drug during pregnancy. Sarah Sharma was given isotretinoin, an acne...

A pregnant woman and her baby died after trainee doctors removed her ovary by mistake

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A heavily pregnant woman with appendicitis died on the operating table after two unsupervised junior surgeons had removed one of her ovaries by mistake. Maria De Jesus, 32, was admitted for surgery at Queen's Hospital in Romford, Essex to have her...

Pressure on Accident and Emergency Departments could lead to more deaths

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The pressures on Accident and Emergency Departments have been in the spotlight this week among revelations from the president of the College of Emergency Medicine that overcrowding could lead to more deaths and serious illness. It has been reported that...

Hundreds of women in breast cancer recall

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Over 250 women are being called back to The Royal Bournemouth Hospital in Dorset for cancer checks after concerns that a junior doctor failed to follow correct procedures. Earlier this month the hospital sent letters to 272 patients who had undergone breast...

NHS Trust admits negligence

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The BBC and Daily Mail have recently reported on the sad case of baby Jessica Strong, who died at 11 days old after contracting an infection at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. Jessica, who had been born...

Mortality rates should act as a warning sign

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The Telegraph has reported 14 NHS Trusts are under investigation due to mortality rates. It was found that nine of the Trusts which were investigated have been labelled as ‘outliers’ on the Hospital...

Baby dies after birth was not immediately noticed

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The Manchester Evening News has reported the tragic story of a baby who died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. Baby Maninder Singh was starved of oxygen at birth after midwives failed to notice that he had...

Father died after doctor failed to give him life-saving drugs

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The Daily Mail has recently reported that father-of-three Mr Edward McKean, 52, died in hospital after a junior doctor left life-saving drugs off his medication chart. In April 2012, Mr McKean underwent surgery to...

Health Secretary bans gagging clauses for NHS staff

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The Telegraph has recently reported that gagging orders (also known as ‘compromise agreements’) which prevent NHS whistleblowers raising concerns about patient safety are to be banned. NHS staff leaving...

Health & social care failing patients with dementia

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The health and social care system is struggling to deal with patients with dementia according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which has just published its Care Update (Issue 2: March 2013). According to the...

Death rate concerns at local hospital

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Some deaths at Royal Bolton Hospital may have been wrongly attributed to septicaemia, a report has found. It was revealed by the Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group that in March 2011 to April 2012 there were 800...

Wake up call for underperforming NHS

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The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to tell the Commons today of the “shocking underperformance” of the NHS, leading to an estimated 30,000 premature deaths each year in the UK. His comments are...

Doctors don't trust their own hospitals

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The Department of Health has recently surveyed 101,000 doctors, nurses and paramedics of which, 37% of them revealed they would not recommend their own hospital to friends or family. The study found that there were only...

Restructuring of the NHS - Health and Social Care Act 2012

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In 2010 it was recognised by the Government that the NHS needed modernising to meet the new challenges of today and to avoid the crises of tomorrow. In 2012 the Health and Social Care Act received its Royal Assent and...

Patients must be the first priority in all of what the NHS does

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The result of the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which is the Trust responsible for Stafford Hospital, was published on 6th February 2013. In his report, Mr Francis QC outlines some 290 recommendations as a result of his...

Nurses warn of dangerously understaffed wards

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The Nursing Times has reported that more than a half of nurses believe their ward or unit is dangerously understaffed. Last week, the Nursing Times conducted an online poll of nearly 600 of its readers on issues...

Failure to meet A&E targets at Stepping Hill Hospital

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Almost 1 in 10 patients visiting A&E at Stepping Hill Hospital have to wait for longer than the 4 hour target set by the Government to be seen. The health regulator, Monitor, has instructed hospital bosses to...

Mother of three sadly dies following weight loss surgery

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The Daily Mail has recently reported on the tragic case of a mother of three who died following a puncture to the stomach during a gastric band operation. Tracey Korkmaz, 41, underwent a gastric sleeve operation in...

Baby boom continues to stretch maternity services in the NHS

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The second annual State of Maternity Services Report by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has revealed that in 2011 there were 688,120 babies born in England, up more than 124,000 since 2001. The continuing baby boom...

Calls for the advertising of cosmetic surgery procedures to be more heavily regulated

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Having cosmetic surgery is potentially a life changing decision. It can have a positive or a negative impact. You only need to look at the recent media coverage regarding PIP implants to see how cosmetic surgery can go wrong. ...

Will Lord Saatchi's Bill lead to developments in treatment for cancer?

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Lord Saatchi began work towards the Medical Innovations Bill towards the end of 2011. The first reading of the Bill before Parliament was on 3rd December 2012.Lord Lord Saatchi began work towards the Medical Innovations Bill towards the end...

Care Quality Commission demand 'immediate improvements' to Basildon Hospital

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The Telegraph has recently reported that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are demanding ‘immediate improvements’ to Basildon Hospital’s paediatric unit after a number of ‘serious incidents’ there. ...

1.8 million NHS patient records lost in a year

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The Daily Mail has recently reported on the Official Statistics revealed by the NHS that at least 1.8 million sensitive papers went missing throughout the health service in just 12 months. This equates to 5,000 confidential records being lost...

NHS blunders that 'should never happen'

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The Telegraph has recently reported that in 2011/12 there were 161 incidents of foreign objects left inside patients, including swabs, needles, screws, instruments and wires. These incidents are described by the NHS as...

Breast screening advice updated amid controversy over harm

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BBC News Health website has stated women who are invited to have breast cancer screening in the UK are to be given more information about the potential harms of being tested. An independent review has been set up to...

£6 million payout for severely brain damaged boy

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The Daily Mail has recently reported that Joseph O’Reggio who is now 11 years old, has been awarded £6 million in compensation for his injuries caused by complications at his birth. Joseph was born at New...

Strong association between weekend hospital deaths and consultants not working weekends

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Studies have shown that the chance of dying in hospital is between 10 and 14 per cent higher if admitted as an emergency at the weekend, rather than during the week. Why is this? According to a...

One GP for 500,000 patients in out-of-hours service

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Up to half a million people have to share one out-of-hours GP in parts of England, reports the Telegraph. A third of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) have reduced their spending on out-of-hours services, which is a notable...

Misdiagnosis of athlete's foot results in leg amputation and compensation of £750,000

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The Daily mail has recently reported that a businessman from Weston-super-Mare had to have part of his right leg amputated after being told a serious diabetic infection was merely ‘athlete’s foot’. Bob...

Hospital's fear of litigation stopping them from admitting mistakes

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The Telegraph has recently reported that hospitals are failing to admit to their mistakes that result in serious harm to patients because they fear being sued. The researchers were investigating how closely the NHS...

Two year old girl died after swine flu diagnosis

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The BBC has recently reported that two-year-old Georgia Keeling, who had meningitis, was wrongly diagnosed with swine flu by paramedics hours before her death on 4 August 2009. An inquest into her death held at Norwich...

Coroners issue record number of hospital recommendations

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A Ministry of Justice report has revealed that coroners have issued a record number of recommendations to hospitals, in order to prevent future patient deaths. The Ministry of Justice published a report last...

Supplementary legal aid scheme will not go ahead

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The Ministry of Justice has announced they will not proceed with implementation of the proposed Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme in April 2013. The scheme threatened general damages, those which compensate for pain...

Recognition for our personal injury and clinical negligence teams

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We were delighted to hear this week that our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence teams have been short listed for the second consecutive year in the 2012 Proclaim Personal Injury Awards, in the ‘Claimant team of the year’ category. In...

Patients dying of thirst in Britain's hospitals

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According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), hundreds of hospital patients are dying of dehydration each year. The figures reveal that dehydration was a contributing factor in 812 deaths and the cause of a further 155 deaths in 2010, the latest...

Complaints about doctors rise by 23%

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The number of complaints in the UK made to the General Medical Council (GMC) about doctors has risen 23% in the past year, the regulator says. The report from the GMC said that in 2011 there were 8,781 complaints...

10% of patients see GP five times before cancer referral

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The Daily Mail has recently reported that nearly one in ten patients saw their GP five or more times before being referred to hospital to be tested for cancer. The Daily Mail has also reported that on average, 25% of those who go on to be...

Thalidomide apology

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On August 31st, German company Grunenthal issued an apology to all the victims of the thalidomide birth defects tragedy. This is the first apology that has been issued by the company since the drug was released on to the market over half...

Seriously ill prisoner rushed to hospital

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When the NHS took over medical care in jails from the Prison Medical Service in 2005, it was hoped that this would improve the medical treatment of prisoners dramatically. However, The Guardian has recently published a...

More than 20% of patients 'harmed' in some hospitals

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Official NHS data taken from the ‘NHS Safety Thermometer,’ which was launched in April this year, has shown that more than 20% of patients in some NHS Hospitals suffer harm due to avoidable accidents, complications and mistakes....

Patients' health at risk due to budget cuts

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The Telegraph has recently reported that the new leader of the British Medical Association Dr Porter, has warned that key services throughout the NHS are being rationed as a result of budget cuts. Dr Porter said that...

Formal NHS complaints rise by 8%

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The Guardian has recently reported that in the last year, written complaints to the NHS rose by more than 8%, with the service receiving more than 3,000 complaints a week. The NHS Information Centre have reported that...

5000 fewer nurses in hospitals since 2010

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The Guardian has recently reported that there are almost 5,000 fewer nurses working for the NHS than there were in May 2010. New NHS workforce figures show that there are 276,608 qualified nurses working in the health service, 4,823 fewer than...

BBC Wales investigation uncovers medical negligence compensation increase

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A BBC Wales investigation has revealed that compensation payouts by the NHS in Wales have almost doubled since 2009. The figures, obtained by the BBC using Freedom of Information requests, indicate that Health Boards...

Tameside Hospital staff care 'inadequate'

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The Manchester Evening News has recently reported that a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy died just 16 hours after being admitted to Tameside Hospital. Emma Stones was admitted with flu-like symptoms but died hours...

Simple change in charts could save thousands of lives

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A recent study performed by the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that thousands of hospital deaths could be prevented each year if patient observation charts are standardised. The study, which looked at hospitals throughout the...

£1.2million payout for undiagnosed tumour

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BBC News has reported a 20-year-old woman grew to be 6ft 5ins tall because of the effect on her growth of an undiagnosed tumour in her pituitary gland. Kate Woodward had explained to the High Court that she felt like a...

GPs three times less likely to refer patients for cancer tests

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Official figures released by the National Cancer Intelligent Network (NCIN) have revealed that some GPs are three times less likely to refer a patient to a specialist, causing thousands of cancer patients being treated too late and missing out...

TB screening gaps among those most at risk are revealed

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A recent survey of all primary healthcare providers in the UK has revealed that around 40% are failing to implement the recommended screening programmes to detect tuberculosis among those most at risk Last year, a...

Tragic death of baby after being turned away from hospital

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There has been a very sad case in the news recently concerning a seven month old baby who died after being refused access to Stafford Hospital. The baby, Holly, was found unconscious in her cot by her mother. An...

6,000 lives could be saved by standardised bedside health chart

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The Telegraph has recently reported that as many as 6,000 deaths which are attributable to miscalculated deterioration of a patient’s condition could be prevented if a standard bedside health chart was introduced. ...

37 claims for Furness General Hospital maternity care

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Last week it was reported by The Guardian that Furness General Hospital is facing 37 compensation claims over deaths and injuries to both mothers and babies as a result of poor care provided by its maternity department. Figures also revealed...

'Resourcing problem' leads to 45-minute ambulance wait

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The Telegraph has recently reported that Ambulance staff at the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) left 78-year-old Harold Tinsley for just over 45 minutes after neighbours had called 999 when he had fallen outside his house on the...

Young man dies in hospital from dehydration

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Kane Gorny, 22, died in May 2009 of dehydration while under the care of St George’s Hospital staff. It was heard at the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court that a post-mortem examination found dehydration caused high sodium...

Child heart surgery units to close

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There are currently ten hospitals in England that perform child heart surgery and approximately 3,600 operations are carried out each year on children born with heart defects. However, groups including the Royal College...

Quarter of health and social care providers 'failing'

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recently released a report into the failures of health and social care providers across England. The report found that more than one in four are failing to meet essential standards of quality and safety....

MMR jab debate reignited following Italian ruling

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A recent Italian ruling has reignited the debate over the controversial MMR jab and its potential links with autism. An Italian court held that nine-year old Valentino Bocca’s autism was provoked by the MMR jab he was given when he was...

NHS mental health discrimination described as 'shocking'

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NHS managers in England and Wales have been accused of ‘shocking discrimination’ in the provision of mental health services. A report commissioned by the Mental Health Group of the London School of Economics...

Misdiagnoses compensation rises to over £98 million

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The Telegraph has recently reported on the NHS Litigation Authority’s figures (NHSLA) which have revealed that in 2010-2011, more than £98 million in compensation payments were made to patient’s whose illnesses were not...

Change in law to allow elderly to sue the NHS

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Ministers have this week announced that age discrimination relating to decisions on whether to treat NHS patients is to be outlawed following a consultation conducted by the Home Office. The Government is implementing...

1,200 women re-called for new smear tests

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The Mail Online has recently reported that over 1,200 women who underwent smear tests at the Brough and South Cave medical practice in Hull during the last 13 years have been advised they will need to have their smear tests retaken. This was...

Big brother in NHS wards

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The Guardian has recently reported on the Royal and Liverpool Broadgreen University Trust’s plans to install thirty surveillance cameras within their Intensive Care Unit, Kidney Dialysis Department and in one of their Operating Theatres....

Profit v Patients?

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The first private company to run an NHS hospital has signed a deal which will see it take the first £2 million in profits, despite the hospital being £40 million in debt. In February 2012, Circle Healthcare...

Tonsillitis is on the up

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The Telegraph has reported in the last few weeks that the myth that removing the tonsils does not work has led to a 40 per cent rise in the number of children admitted to A & E in the last decade suffering from painful tonsillitis....

GPs prescription 'errors' highlighted

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A recent General Medical Council (GMC) report has revealed that GPs are making too many errors when prescribing medication to patients. Estimates have suggested that the numbers involved could be as high as 1 error in every 6 patients receiving...

A child's symptoms are ignored, he dies as a result

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An inquest last month heard that Harry Connolly, aged just 19 months, was a “victim of basic errors by medics”. These errors cost Harry his life, he died in April 2011. A post-mortem examination revealed he died of dehydration and...

Raising awareness of Group B Streptococcus

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Joanne Green, a mother from Urmston, has recently been raising awareness regarding the infection of Group B Streptococcus, which cost the lives of her unborn twins who tragically were stillborn at 36 weeks. The NHS...

8,000 NHS patients a week discharged in the middle of the night to 'free up beds'

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Figures released recently suggest that almost 8,000 NHS patients a week are sent home from hospital in the middle of the night, amid claims the practice is being used to relieve pressure within the Health Service. The...

Soldiers claim clinical negligence after returning from duty

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The Daily Mail has reported that in the last 3 years 13 soldiers have brought clinical negligence claims against a hospital in Birmingham, which cares for soldiers who are brought home injured from the frontline (i.e. from Afghanistan or Iraq)....

The pitfalls of ovarian cancer clinical negligence claims

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To mark Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, last month, the organisation that represents doctors accused of negligence, the Medical Defence Union (MDU), has carried out research into doctors’ failure to diagnose ovarian cancer in women....

Where are we up to with Legal Aid reforms?

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Amendments to the Legal Aid system are never far from the minds of any high street lawyer. We have all been caught up in the lobbying, arguing and worrying about what is going to happen and the...

Are regulations surrounding EU doctors putting patients at risk?

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Following the House of Lords European Union (EU) sub-committee’s report on the mobility of healthcare professionals, it appears likely that there will be some major changes in the way that EU doctors are treated while practising in the...

Elderly patients and the NHS

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The Care Quality Commission has recently considered whether nutrition and dignity standards were being adhered to at 100 hospitals. The CQC spent a day on two wards at each site and concerns were identified in 55 cases. Both the James Paget...

Cheap care is poor care

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Concern has recently been raised that healthcare assistants, in many hospitals and care homes within the UK, are undertaking tasks without sufficient training. Healthcare assistants clearly have an important role...

Emergency surgery patients' at risk

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The Royal College of Surgeons have raised concerns that the lives of thousands of NHS emergency surgery patients are being risked by poor care and delays in treatment. A recent report indicates that approximately...

Paramedic left disabled after wrong part of brain removed during botched biopsy

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A retired paramedic was left disabled and requiring 24 hour care after a surgeon removed the wrong part of his brain during a botched operation . John Tunney, from Sutton Coldfield, underwent a biopsy on a pituitary...

Ex-nurse labelled 'hysterical' after she asked for a breast lump to be removed

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The Daily Mail has this week highlighted the shocking case of a former ward sister who was dismissed by doctors as being ‘hysterical’ when she requested that a breast lump be removed. In December 2005 Miss...

Teenager seeks £200,000 in clinical negligence claim

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A teenager has filled for legal action against her GP on the grounds of clinical negligence after contracting a rare bone disease which was not properly diagnosed . Gaynor Salmons is claiming close to £200,000 in...

Grow old gracefully? No thanks!

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Studies have shown that “silver surgery” is booming as the older generation prove that looking good is not just for the young. Rather than the usual image we associate with an OAP of grey hair, twin set and...

GPs and hospitals repeatedly miss life threatening tumours

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Hospitals and GPs in Essex are being criticised for failing to identify a tumour the size of an orange despite repeated attendances by the patient. Mr Purkiss attended his GP practice on three occasions in January 2011 and...

Increased NHS waiting times may cost lives

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Dr Mark Potter, Chairman of the British Medical Association's Consultants Committee, has raised concerns about increased NHS waiting lists for tests and treatments. His comments will no doubt add pressure to David Cameron who has stressed that patients...

'Win a baby' in IVF lottery

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On 30th July 2011 Britain’s first IVF Lottery will launch after the gambling commission granted a licence to the fertility advice charity ‘To Hatch.’ The charity will sell raffle tickets online for £20...

Increased hospital waiting times leads to delays for operations, patient pain and suffering

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In England, hospitals are expected to see patients within 18 weeks – the standard waiting time provided by health chiefs. It has been said that financial problems in the NHS are likely to cause a rise in waiting times in...

My big fat surgery prize draw... what's on your shopping list?

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It was reported in the national news yesterday that a company has been raffling off cosmetic surgery procedures in a monthly prize draw. But is a nip/tuck or a breast enlargement really something which should be trivialised in such a way? ...

Coroner slams 'conspiracy of midwives' to hide negligence after baby death

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A coroner has condemned midwives at Furness General Hospital in Barrow after they repeatedly failed to notice that a newborn baby had an infection, which later killed him. In October 2008, nine-day-old Joshua Titcombe died...

Midwife shouted 'no pain, no gain' during botched delivery of stillborn baby

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A disciplinary hearing was told this week how a midwife shouted ‘no pain, no gain’ to a woman in labour whose baby was later stillborn. The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard how Biobelemoye Toby called Heather...