Care Quality Commission reveals UK “postcode lottery”

David Prior, the chairman of the Care Quality Commission has reported that there are hospitals in the UK “where you would not want to go as a patient”.

He stated that the CQC’s main finding from recent inspections had been the “huge variation” between the quality of care provided in different areas of the country.

Mr Prior commented that England has “probably some of the best led, best run hospitals in the world”, however he described the variance in standards of care as an NHS postcode lottery.

In an interview to acknowledge his first 12 months as chairman of the CQC, Mr Prior said: “In those hospitals where you would not wish to go, you have a very poor damaged culture where employees feel they can’t raise concerns, where patients are not listened to.”

He said the CQC had identified a number of hospital trusts as “inadequate”, but highlighted that “Barking Havering and Redbridge is a good example,”. “Heatherwood and Wexham Park would be another one.”

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust was put into special measures in December last year after its A&E departments were found to be “unsafe”.

The newly appointed chief executive of the trust, Matthew Hopkins, has commented that: “I am working with our new chair, Dr Maureen Dalziel and all our staff to implement the trust’s improvement plan to resolve the issues raised in the Care Quality Commission report.

“Both Maureen and myself have a clinical background and are passionate about providing high quality care which will make Queen’s and King George hospitals a provider of choice.”

In January, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was told to make “urgent improvement to protect patients” at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough.

The trust declined to respond to Mr Prior’s comments.

Mr Prior told the PM Programme the kind of service which patients receive will depend on which hospital they go to.

He said: “We have postcode lotteries in the NHS because the quality of care in one hospital can be very different from the quality of care in another hospital. And I think by exposing those variances, we can address them.”

The Care Quality Commission has overseen the the regulation of health and social care services in England since 2009 and has faced strong criticism during this time.

Last year Mr Prior told the PM programme the “acid test” of success was to be able to ensure the CQC could identify hospitals which are at risk of failing “very early on”.

Next week the CQC will begin what it calls its “formal consultation” on new detailed guidelines about inspections and ratings.

The documents will explain how it hopes to regulate a range of health and social care services, including hospitals, mental health services, GP practices and care homes.

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Brain damaged patient wins compensation after 20 years

A family has finally won compensation for their daughter 20 years after she was left severely brain damaged following a botched heart operation.

Andrew and Julie Sugden were awarded a seven-figure sum allowing them to provide the necessary care required by their daughter Nathalie for the rest of her life.

Mr and Mrs Sugden struggled as best they could to look after Nathalie after she suffered severe problemsfollowing a surgical error.

With two other children to bring up, it has not always been easy to find the time and resources they would have liked to devote to her.

But, following a 20 year struggle for justice, it has now been revealed that the Bristol NHS trust responsible for Nathalie’s condition has finally agreed to pay the family a seven figure sum in compensation.

The settlement means that Nathalie, now 19, will have the financial security needed to provide her with he care she requires for the rest of her life.

Nathalie’s parents welcomed the award, but said they were “angry, frustrated and disappointed” the NHS Litigation Authority chose to fight the case “instead of admitting liability years ago”.

The settlement comes as the same trust faces a second inquiry into its paediatric cardiac services by Sir Ian Kennedy, who investigated the scandal over the care given to Nathalie and hundreds of other sick children in Bristol during the 1990s.

That inquiry heavily criticised James Wisheart, the surgeon who operated on Nathalie in August 1994, a month after she was born.

In 1998 Mr Wisheart was struck off by the GMC for serious professional misconduct but he preferred to take early retirement as the GMC action got under way. In doign so he retainineda pension which included extra money for a “merit award”, given to “exceptional” consultants.

Yet it is only now, more than 19-years on, that University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have agreed to pay the Sugdens compensation.

Mr and Mrs Sugden’s daughter was born in Plymouth with a congenital heart defect and underwent surgery at the BRI to repair the narrowing of her aorta, a condition which was restricting blood flow to her body.

When she suffered a cardiac arrest during the operation Mr Wisheart decided not perform a cardiac massage in order to restart her heart.

As a result of his negligence, Nathalie was left without blood-flow to her brain for nearly 15 minutes. She suffered a severe brain injury as a result, and was left with numerous serious health conditions including epilepsy, partial paralysis, limited mobility, learning and hearing difficulties, and a severely reduced IQ.

There followed months, stretching into years, of expensive specialist care for Nathalie, for which Mr and Mrs Sugden received no financial assistance because the trust did not admit liability.

But while the fatal cases were settled in the wake of Sir Ian’s 2001 inquiry report, other families are still waiting for compensation.

In cases of severe brain injury resulting in disability there is no time limit for claims.

The seven-figure settlement came just weeks before the case was due to go to trial and only after the trust had withdrawn an earlier offer.

If you or a member of your family have been affected by negligent hospital treatment which has resulted in unnecessary suffering or premature death then please visit our website for more information.

Gotelee Solicitors based in Ipswich, Suffolk, offer a friendly, professional service for all of your legal needs. Our medical negligenece team will pursue your case with determination and speed. We understand the impact of a mis-diagnosis or negligent treatment. You are guaranteed a friendly, understanding Medical Negligence lawyer who will give you clear advice and we can meet and advise you at our offices, your home or wherever is most convenient for you.

via Twenty year fight for justice by Bristol heart family – Telegraph.

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Victoria Harrison – Death caused by up to 43 hospital errors

Kettering Hospital, where 17 year old Victora Harrison bled to death, has revealed a litany of errors just weeks after withholding details for fear of “putting staff under more stress”.

An inquiry uncovered up to 43 errors, but hospital bosses refused to release full details.

The BBC has learned that routine observations were discontinued and nurses’ conduct was unprofessional.

Tracy Foskett, the mother of Miss Harrison, has seen the report and stated that all hospitals should publish details of their mistakes.

“I asked the hospital ‘did my daughter die as a result of the NHS not providing funding?’, and I was told ‘no, it was human error’,” she said.

 “So let the public know what that was – there needs to be more transparency.”

Initially the findings of the hospital’s internal investigation were not published as they would cause staff “additional stress and pressure in addition to that already experienced during the investigation and inquest”.

The BBC challenged the refusal under the Freedom of Information Act, which resulted in an internal panel agreeing that revealing the mistakes were “in the public interest”.

The report – with names redacted – also reveals 10 members of staff were disciplined.

Among the 43 mistakes, oversights and errors were:

  • The wrong surgeon being named on hospital documentation
  • Inconsistency in respiratory rate recordings
  • Uncertainty of blood loss
  • Inconsistency in handovers between nursing teams
  • Inaccurate recording of medical administration
  • No formal pain assessment
  • Problems with overnight monitoring
  • Vital signs not monitored after painkillers
  • Lack of piped oxygen in bed spaces three and four
  • Consultant not told of bleed
  • Member of staff did not check Miss Harrison’s abdomen
  • Inaccurate recording of attempted resuscitation
  • No record of discussions with the family]

The teenager, from Irthlingborough, was given an emergency referral by her GP on 14 August 2012, when she appeared to be suffering from appendicitis.

During surgery to remove her appendix, an artery was damaged. This was repaired by the surgeon at the time.

Later that day Miss Harrison texted her boyfriend from her hospital bed to say she was in pain and bleeding.

Some nursing staff were unaware of the bleed and others did not routinely read medical notes or could not always decipher surgeons’ handwriting, an inquest in December heard.

Her last written formal observations were taken at 20:15 BST on 15 August, nine hours before she was found unresponsive by nursing staff.

These missed opportunites were criticised by the coroner, Ann Pember, who stated that “the outcome may have been very different” had these been acted upon.

“I believe her chances of survival would have significantly increased,” she said.

Peter Walsh, from the patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), said the hospital’s original decision to “suppress” the report “did not help public confidence”.

“The trust’s original decision to withhold the report was wrong in so many ways,” he said.

“It runs against the spirit of openness and transparency when things go wrong, the need for which was made so apparent by the Mid Staffordshire scandal”.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “It is vitally important that trusts disclose information about things that have gone wrong so that we can learn from mistakes.

“The tragic death of 17-year-old Victoria Harrison is a clear example of lack of communication between staff leading to a catalogue of errors and unacceptable care.

“It is essential that lessons are learnt and practices modified so that there is no repeat of such cases.

Following the hospital’s initial refusal to release its report, Ms Foskett set up a Facebook page to gauge public opinion and said she was amazed at the support she received.

“I know the hospital has put changes in place, but the public needs to be aware of what those are,” she said.

“These changes have come about because of the death of my daughter, a vibrant young girl. They should have already been in place.”

The hospital set up Victoria’s Legacy following her death

 Fiona Wise, the hospital’s chief executive, has said: “We have a right to withhold that information… where we feel it is appropriate to prevent further damage to individuals who have already been through a thorough investigation process.”

It has set up a programme of improvement measures and, as a result of the BBC’s request, has disclosed its detailed action plan relating to each of the 43 errors.

These include:

  • Clear and accurate record of blood loss to be recorded in every procedure on theatre record
  • Clear documentation of patient condition to be recorded on return from theatre to reflect all incidents, treatment and post-operative instructions
  • Ward standard to be developed for monitoring of patients at night
  • Senior staff to conduct spot checks on patient care and to challenge nursing documentation
  • Team-building days for staff

via BBC News – Kettering Hospital reveals Victoria Harrison death errors.

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Maidstone Hospital: Surgeries suspended after unnecessary patient deaths

Surgical procedures have been suspended at the Maidstone Hospital in Kent after up to 5 patients died have potentially avoidable comlications. One widow claimed that her husband had been treated like a “human guinea pig” for a newly introduced surgical technique.

The hospital will no longer be permitted to perform upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer surgery – for cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, liver and pancreas – for up to 12 months. An investigation by the Royal College of Surgeons has recently revealed higher than expected rate of complications following surgery in 2012 and last year.

An internal review, conducted by the hospital, found that up to five patients may have died as a result of “potentially avoidable” complications, which were linked to the use of laparoscopic, or keyhole, surgery techniques.

The widow of a 51-year-old oesophageal cancer patient, who received surgery to remove a tumour in 2013, has since launched a clinical negligence claim.

Her solicitor has stated that the surgical team had “strongly advocated a new minimally invasive technique”, which had supposedly carried benefits including a shorter recovery time and fewer complications. The entire operation was broadcast to a conference of consultants and trainees.

However, the patient suffered a major haemorrhage five days after being discharged and died despite intervention by the surgical team, said solicitors Thomson, Snell & Passmore.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has stated that upper GI cancer patients will be referred to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London until “necessary improvements were made”.

These incidents have been referred to the General Medical Council (GMC), however, no members of staff are being investigated at this time. A spokesperson for the Trust said that “while members of staff have been held to account, their overall standard of practice does not support further sanctions”.

The spokesperson has said that the report on the internal investigation into the problems cannot be published due to Data Protection and confidentiality reasons and stated that the complications which contributed to the five deaths “were not solely due to one specific and reoccurring theme”.

He added: “The types of complications were unusual for this type of surgery, however, and probably associated with laparoscopic [keyhole] techniques.”

The trust’s medical director Dr Paul Sigston said: “We are sorry that some patients did not receive the level of care and treatment that they should have due to potentially avoidable surgical complications. The actions we have taken will ensure the quality of care they receive is of the highest possible standard while improvements are made to address the findings of this review.”

Solicitor Sharon Lam, acting for the widow of the 51-year-old patient, said that there were “serious questions” about the reliability of the procedure in question.

“Our main concern is that the deceased could have opted for a more conventional procedure, but this particular procedure was highly advocated by the surgeon,” Ms Lam said.

The Trust has not named any of the staff involved for “HR reasons”.

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) said it was continuing to monitor the trust’s work in implementing the recommendations from its report.

via Cancer surgeries suspended at Maidstone Hospital in Kent after five patient deaths – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent.

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Opportunities to take action against breast surgeon were missed


A review has found that two hospitals missed opportunities to intervene against a consultant breast surgeon who was alledgedly performing unnecessary or incomplete operations.

The investigation into the work of Dr Ian Paterson at two private West Midlands hospitals was initiated by Spire Healthcare in 2007.

In 2012, Mr Paterson was suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) due to negligent surgical treatment.

Spire Healthcare has since apologised “unreservedly” to all patients.

A number of key events and missed opportunities occurred at Spire Parkway in Solihull and Spire Little Aston in Sutton Coldfield leading to a failure to take action against Mr Paterson, the independent review concluded.

While he was employed by Spire Healthcare, between 1993 to 2012,  Mr Paterson is said to have “continually breached” Spire’s practising privileges policy which should have alerted them that he was unwilling to comply with procedures.

In 2007, the Heart of England NHS Trust alerted the private healthcare provider of the issues surrounding the surgeon’s work. However the review has found there was little communication between the trust and Spire about HEFT’s investigation into Mr Paterson.

A total of 15 recommendations for improving procedures were made in the report and all will be implemented, Spire said.

Following Mr Paterson’s suspension by the GMC in 2012, the case was then referred to the West Midlands police.

Mr Paterson performed “cleavage sparing” mastectomies at both of the two private hospitals and Solihull Hospital.

The procedure, which left a small amount of tissue for cosmetic reasons, was condemned by the GMC because it breached national guidelines because it risked the return of cancer.

More than 700 patients, who had been treated by the surgeon and subsequently recalled by Spire, were contacted as part of its review.

Mr Paterson was invited to take part but declined to do so, Spire said.

Rob Roger, chief executive of Spire Healthcare, said the report made “challenging reading”.

“We give a full and unreserved apology to all of the patients and their families for any distress they have suffered as a result of their treatment by Mr Paterson while he was a surgeon at the Spire Parkway and Little Aston hospitals,” he said.

“I would also like to apologise to the professionals who raised concerns at the time Mr Paterson was practising.”

In December, an independent review of his work at Solihull identified many surgical failings that had put hundreds of cancer patients at risk.

The report said senior managers at the trust did not respond effectively until 2007 and their response was neither sufficiently robust nor rigorous.

In November, a solicitor representing some patients said the NHS has so far paid out £3,220,315 in damages, out of 503 claims.

A spokeswoman for the Medical Defence Union stated that Mr Paterson was unwilling to comment on the Spire report due to his duty of confidentiality and the ongoing investigations.

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Is quality NHS care affordable in the current economic climate?

Only one year has passed since the publication of the last Francis report – yet it seems that change has already began. Analysis by the Nuffield Trust indicates that although “quality” has been “on the agenda” there are still concernson the impact of financial constraints. Is quality care affordable?

The QualityWatch programme was create to aid our understanding of what is happening to quality during periods of financial constraint. A lot of our information is derived from the performance measures used within a service – and a lot of effort is going in to looking at what’s happening to quality within organisations. However, it is also important that we look across services too. There are, arguably, two areas where this is especially important.

The first, is a key focus on models of integration around the obvious pressures on A&E and urgent and emergency care. Performance has improved to a higher standard than it was ten years ago, but when you look across the measures you can still see signs of cracks.

For example there are still crowded A&Es with long waiting times, slow emergency ambulance response times and the continued rise in emergency admissions especially for some elderly patients. Additionally this group is made increasingly vulnerable by “unprecedented” reductions in social care spending.

It has been widely observed that these changes are unlikely to be due to a single factor but are more about the broader systems of care and our ability to prevent health crises and alternatives to hospital and A&E visits.

The second area has received noticably less attention recently and is around the public health indicators – particularly the ones linked with prevention. These basic measures of population health are generally a reflection of much more than NHS care, but they can be slow to create change.

However some markers are more sensitive than others and need to be watched, as they can give early warnings of potential long term issues. These include indicators around health related behaviours such as teenage conceptions, or those linked with the supporting processes around health screening and promotion.

There is also the question of health inequalities – which have stubbornly persisted whilst our general health improves. As money gets tighter it’s increasingly important that we watch carefully to ensure that economies do not adversely affect the quality of services and the well being of disadvantaged subgroups of the population.

Both these issues suggest the need to collate information, sometimes from providers, at a population level. Where information like this was once analysed by primary care trusts – it now resides between three new organisational types – clinical commissioning groups, commissioning support units, health and wellbeing boards and Public Health England.

But these are challenging times, especially for those charged with developing this local perspective, and it’s important that these bodies are supported in taking these population based views.

This means making data accessible across a locality, and having the capability and tools to combine information from providers and primary and community care services directed at the same population.

One example is being able to access anonymised records that link care episodes for a defined population, and capture the critical events in terms of people’s health, wellbeing and service use (such as the type of information that can be gleaned from initiatives such as For example we need to know, not just how well people recover from a hip fracture, but how well local preventive strategies are reducing the prevalence of hip fracture.

So yes we do have to improve the way we look at quality within organisations – and yes we do have to fill in the holes in our data sets – but we also need to invest in understanding the information that spans services. This perspective is going to be essential if the fledgling models of integrated care are to be successful, and if health and local authorities are to commission better quality outcomes for the whole community.

via Can we afford quality healthcare in the current financial climate? | Healthcare Professionals Network | Guardian Professional.

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Mother died due to blunders in maternity care

Rosida Etwaree loved being a mother, so when she became pregnant again in late 2009 — this time with twins — she was excited and looking forward to holding her new babies for the first time. Unfortunately, she never got the chance.

Mrs Etwaree gave birth to two girls under caesarean section but died shortly after due to catastrophic errors in her care.

She was one of five mothers to die in childbirth at the Mayday Hospital, now called Croydon University Hospital, in 2010 — a victim of a catalogue of errors by medical staff.

Mrs Etwaree’s widower, Ahamud, is now left to care for their five children and believes that those responsible for his wife’s death should face the consequences.

“Rosida was a wonderful, devoted mother who loved her kids so much,” Mr Etwaree told The Telegraph. “Now I want to make sure whoever was responsible for her death is brought to justice, because I would never want anyone to suffer the way me and my family have done.”

Mr Etwaree recently received an undisclosed sum in compensation from Croydon Health Services NHS Trust after adnmitting liability for a series of failings in its treatment of Mrs Etwaree.

The Crown Prosecution Service is now examining evidence, in consideration of manslaughter charges against the trust.

The other women who died shortly after giving birth at the Mayday in 2010 included Malgorzata Doniec, who suffered fatal bleeding on the brain, just weeks after giving birth. An inquest heard there were failings in her care, including missed opportunities to save her life.

Following the deaths, the hospital was put on a warning by the health regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

Mrs Etwaree, 45, went into hospital on June 23 2010, and had the twins following a caesarean section which was recommended by her consultant due to a heart condition in one of the babies and because Mrs Etwaree had raised blood pressure.

The babies were shown to her before being taken away for cleaning and monitoring.

A few hours after the birth, Mrs Etwaree suffered the first of two cardiac arrests. Staff resuscitated her after the first, but the second, a short time later, was fatal.

“I just sat there in shock,” said Mr Etwaree. “It didn’t seem real. My first thought was how was I going to raise the children without their mother.

“Then, when I was led in to see her body and I hugged and kissed her, her forehead was cold. That was the moment I really knew she was gone.”

A post-mortem examination revealed that the cardiac arrests had been triggered by prolonged and severe internal bleeding following the caesarean.

Mrs Etwaree’s case shocked even legal professionals familiar with cases of medical negligence.

Evidence commissioned by Mr Etwaree’s solicitors found that hospital staff:

  •  Failed to accurately record the extent of Mrs Etwaree’s blood loss in the operating theatre or to adequately monitor her following surgery;
  •  Did not provide regular blood transfusions or identify the severity of her condition and return her to theatre for further investigations
  • Failed to provide appropriate supervision and guidance to junior staff during and after the caesarean section.

In January, John Goulston, the chief executive of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, wrote to Mr Etwaree to apologise and admitted that the death was “avoidable”.

Mr Etwaree used to work two jobs but now has been forced to give up work to devote hims time to caring for his children.

“The last four years have been hard,” he admitted. “I’ve had to learn to cook, with the help of Rosida’s friends.

“There’d be times I’d only sleep a couple of hours a night before getting up again to prepare everyone for school. I had no option. I’ve had to step in for the children and learn to be both a mother and a father to them.

“The settlement money will help. But it won’t replace my children’s mum.”


If you or a member of your family have been affected by negligent hospital treatment which has resulted in unnecessary suffering or premature death then please visit our website for more information.

Gotelee Solicitors based in Ipswich, Suffolk, offer a friendly, professional service for all of your legal needs. Our medical negligenece team will pursue your case with determination and speed. We understand the impact of a mis-diagnosis or negligent treatment.  You are guaranteed a friendly, understanding Medical Negligence lawyer who will give you clear advice and we can meet and advise you at our offices, your home or wherever is most convenient for you.

via The hospital blunders that allowed a new mother to die – Telegraph.

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13,000 GPs receive automatic bonuses for time served

Thousands of family doctors are being paid automatic bonuses of up to £14,000 a year simply for staying in their jobs, new figures disclose.

Official statistics reveal that more than 13,000 GPs are being awarded annual payments for time served, under a system which was quietly introduced as part of Labour’s GP contract.

Ministers said last night that they are committed to phasing out the payments, which they described as “antiquated and deeply unfair”.

Under the terms, a family doctor typically receives an extra £100,000 in their last decade of work in payments which also contribute towards their pension.

The new NHS figures show that more than 9,000 GPs received payment of at least £5,000 under the deals in 2010/11, including more than 1,000 doctors who received length of service bonuses of at least £10,000 each.

Under the system, GPs receive “seniority payments” annually from the age of 29 until they retire.

The new figures show that the average family doctor received a boost of more than £6,000 from the awards, with total payments costing the NHS in England and Wales almost £90 million a year.

Ministers have pledged to phase out the arrangements, which were part of Labour’s much-criticised 2004 GP contract.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary said: “As this government has repeatedly said, antiquated progression pay is deeply unfair to other parts of the public sector who don’t get it, and to the private sector who have to pay for it. Our changes will ensure GPs’ earnings more fairly reflect their surgery’s workload and performance.”

The scheme will be closed to recently qualified GPs from April, but, amid resistance from doctors’ leaders, the reductions to others; income will be gradual, with payments reduced by 15 per cent a year until 2020.

Patient groups said the lucrative arrangements were costing the NHS dearly, and called for more urgent reform.

Roger Goss, from Patient Concern, said: “I don’t see why any health worker should be paid more simply for being older. You shouldn’t have a blanket system like this, which rewards people simply for doing their job – this is the sort of perk which is very peculiar to the public sector.”

He said it was “entirely unfair” that GPs could receive automatic bonuses of up to £14,000, when some workers struggle on whole salaries lower than that.

Mr Goss said: “The whole system of NHS pay needs to be reformed – most members of the public have no idea about these kinds of bonuses, as well as the merit awards that most consultants get, and we need a simple and transparent system where we know who gets what.”

Charlotte Leslie, a Conservative MP and member of the Commons health select committee, said: “To most it will seem odd that a GP should be paid not on quality of work, but simply on length of time spent in the job.”

She said most family doctors work hard and could not be blamed for accepting the perks they were offered, but that she was glad to see “common sense prevailing” with changes being introduced under the new contract.

The figures published yesterday by the Health and Social Care Information centre show that on average, GPs in England received an extra payment of £6,257 in 2010/11 for length of service – an increase of 6 per cent in a year. Those in Wales received an average bonus of £6,056, with a similar rate of increase.

By the age of 60 a GP typically receives an extra £10,500 a year under the scheme – with the largest sums paid to those who already have the highest earnings.

Under the scheme, a full seniority bonus is paid to those in the top third of earnings, with reduced rates for those who earn less.

The “seniority” bonuses came on top of the rest of their earnings, which are linked to numbers of patients in their practice, and performance against hundreds of criteria, such as weighing patients or diagnosing diseases such as diabetes.

A spokesman for the British Medical Association said: “We recognise that the government has expressed a determination to phase out age-related pay progression across the public sector, and we remain concerned at how the removal of seniority will affect GP retention.

“However, we are pleased to have negotiated for these to remain in place for the next six years for those currently receiving them. We have also secured a commitment that all the savings made will be reinvested back into general practice budgets and will not be lost to the profession as a whole.”

via 13,000 GPs receive automatic bonuses for time served – Telegraph.

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Scandal hit NHS Trust to be dissolved

The Secretary of State for Health, has announced that the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust is set to be dissolved following reports of poor patients care and up to 1200 unnecessary patient deaths.

In 2010, Andrew Lansbury MP launched an independent public enquiry into the care provided by the Trust between 2005 and 2009. The report found that the Trust had caused “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people”, with some patients left lying in their own faeces for days or given the wrong medication.

An investigation by the Healthcare Commission revealed that somewhere between 400 and 1,200 people more than would be expected died at Stafford Hospital, amid reports of appalling care.

It was also suggested that managers were more focused on hitting targets and finances in order to achieve foundation trust status instead providing an adequate quality of care to patients.

Since April the Trust has been in administration, after services were deemed “unsustainable” by the health watchdog Monitor.

Administrators said it was set for financial ruin as without changes it would   face annual debts of £40 million by 2017.

Under today’s announcement, Stafford could still retain consultant-led   maternity services after Mr Hunt agreed for NHS England to carry out a   review into the issue.

The administrators had originally planned for maternity services to close, but this was subsequently changed to accommodate the creation of a midwife-led unit.

Mr Hunt has now agreed a review of that decision to see whether consultant-led services – needed for more difficult births – should be retained.

Support Stafford Hospital (SSH) have now accepted that the Trust should be dissolved after initially criticising the proposals to downgrade maternity services as they feared it would put services in the area back 40 years.

Cheryl Porter, of SSH, said the group accepted “Stafford cannot stand alone” and should be part of a larger health network with other partner hospitals.

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Gillian Astbury death: Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust sentence delayed

The case of a diabetic patient who died at Stafford Hospital has “wider implications” that mean a judge needs “time to reflect” before sentencing the NHS Trust, a court has been told.

Gillian Astbury, 66, lapsed into a coma after nurses failed to give her insulin and died at the hospital in April 2007.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust admitted health and safety breaches.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told Stafford Crown Court he would reserve sentencing of the trust to a later date.

An inquest in 2010 ruled there had been a failure to provide basic care.

The trust had previously admitted health and safety breaches at Stafford Hospital, including poor record-keeping and having an inadequate system for the handing over of patients between different shifts and wards in relation to the death of Mrs Astbury.

Mrs Astbury, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, died in the early hours of 11 April after being admitted to Stafford Hospital with fractures to her arm and pelvis.

Nurses Ann King and Jeannette Coulson did not notice her high blood sugar, and she fell into a diabetic coma.

Ms King was struck off and Ms Coulson was cautioned after a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel found them guilty of misconduct last year.

During Friday’s hearing, further details of the poor standard of care Mrs Astbury received were given by the prosecution.

Bernard Thorogood, prosecuting, said she had been let down by the “complete absence” of proper systems of handover between nurses, and “poor” record-keeping and communication between wards and clinicians in place at Stafford at that time.

He said: “All the clinical and nursing staff were working in the context of poorly-led and poorly-run systems with no effective management oversight and control.

“In short, the nursing staff were set up to fail.”

The NHS trust is running an annual operating deficit of about £11m.

It became the first foundation trust to go into administration in April.

Stafford Hospital was at the centre of a public inquiry into its “appalling” standards of care between 2005 and 2009.

via BBC News – Gillian Astbury death: Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust sentence delayed.

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