Patient Protect is an organisation dedicated to the prevention of neglect and incompetence in our National Health Service, and to the elimination of the secrecy which allows these problems to flourish. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant"¹
Last updated 27 August 2009.
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call 01227 713661 or fax 01227 711426 for more information or to report neglect
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Most patients enter hospital with the belief that they will be treated by competent staff, and that they will receive whatever treatment they need in order to achieve a successful outcome. The Patients’ Charter, recently abolished by this Government, actually stated that these beliefs amounted to a right, presumably protected by the Government.
The reality, however, is there is not enough money in the pot to allow everyone to get the treatment they need, and rationing is here to stay. Although most hospital staff are caring decent people, many can and do work beyond their level of competence, free from accountability, with their mistakes and identities hidden from the public.
Most rationing in our hospitals also goes on in secret. The elderly are usually the targets, although anyone who can be labelled as an unproductive member of society is at risk. As well as working to stop this discrimination, Patient Protect aims to make patients aware of what is happening. After all, secret rationing can only survive if it is kept secret.
Although the initial focus of this site was on NHS Hospitals, it is now clear that the problems we see are common to all areas of the health care system, both NHS and Private. For more details of the state of the private sector, check the article "Private Hospitals can damage your health". At present it seems that hospitalisation is safest as a private patient in an NHS hospital.
1)Why the young, the elderly and the disabled are targeted for rationing.
The first thing to understand is that the new "NHS Trust Hospital" is really nothing more than a commercial business, run by business managers whose chief responsibility is to work within the budget set by the government.
The managers know that there is not enough money to allow all the patients to get the treatment they need (and which they were promised under the Patients' Charter) but they also know that to fail in their duty to provide proper treatment can lead to huge awards of damages in the courts.
The solution to this problem is to exploit the method the courts use to decide what the level of damages should be. If the hospital negligently kills a 30 year old family breadwinner, they can end up compensating the family for the loss of future earnings - this can be millions of pounds. Similarly, killing a mum with three young kids can lead to big payments for hiring cook, nanny, housekeeper plus compensation for any income she may have had.
Negligently killing a young child, an elderly person or someone disabled, however, is virtually free of these risks, for the simple reason that there is hardly ever any dependency requiring compensation. Of course, families can and do complain bitterly, but 'toughing out' a complaint is cheap, as is the eventual issuing of an apology.
Government, of course, knows what is going on, but chooses to do nothing. Please read Watch out, you old chickens! for why.
2) How rationing works at the level of the ward.
Compared with wards for younger adult patients, wards for the elderly are affected in three ways by rationing:
i) reduction in quality and quantity of staff
ii) reduction in quality and quantity of equipment
iii) tighter controls on what treatments can actually be carried out, regardless of how necessary they are.
A phenomenon known as "supply driven demand" then operates as staff learn not to ask for things they know they will not get. Why do staff, whose primary duty is to put the interests of the patient first, accept these restrictions?
First, many of the staff who find these restrictions intolerable either avoid working on the wards for the elderly or quit altogether.
Second, of the staff who remain, some do care , but feel powerless to do anything. All nurses know that if they complain, or stand up for the patients, they are going to face hardship and sooner or later get fired; all nurses know the story of nurse Pink. Doctors also know that 'troublemakers' and 'whistleblowers' do not get good references or promotions and may, like Dr Bolsin have to leave the country to find work. A recent survey in The British Medical Journal found that a quarter of staff in an (unnamed) NHS Trust reported that they had been subjected to bullying in the previous year.
Third, some staff simply do not appear to care. Staff guilty of awful cruelty and neglect can avoid a guilty conscience by using 'techniques of neutralisation'. Examples of these techniques in use include:
"The funding cuts aren't my fault" (denial of responsibility)
"She was going to die anyway" (denial of victim)
"The resources are better used on someone else" (appeal to higher loyalty)
Fourth, some staff have ended up callous and heartless. Although they would not be tolerated on other wards, management allow them to remain on the elderly wards, presumably because they can be relied on never to stand up for the elderly patients.
3) How rationing works at the level of the patient.
It can be summed up as 'Lambs to the Slaughter'. Most patients and relatives will not realise (and will certainly not be told) that they are not getting a pressure relief mattress, even after they have developed bed sores; they naturally believe that the 'Nil by Mouth' sign over the bed is there for the patient's benefit (in some cases, no staff will admit to putting the sign there in the first place); 'Do not resuscitate' orders written in the notes frequently come to light only after the patient has died. Even if the relatives or patients do realise what is happening, it is often too late to reverse the damage. Patients, their relatives and their friends usually lack the experience and assertiveness to get past a skilful gatekeeper.
Secret rationing of treatment is bad enough, but there is worse. Although some patients may die promptly following withdrawal of treatment, others are stronger and threaten to linger on. These 'bed-blockers' often receive a helping hand with, for example, overdoses of diamorphine or diuretics. Diamorphine (heroin) is fast and effective, especially in someone unused to the drug and already weak. First it induces coma, followed by respiratory depression, and death. For the hospital, this has the advantage of having the patient slip away quickly and quietly without any fuss. Diuretics cause dehydration, and although the result is ultimately the same as with diamorphine the patient may survive, conscious, for up to a week even with the imposition of a 'Nil by mouth' regimen. Relatives who do not know the signs of dehydration may be tricked into believing that the rapid deterioration is due simply to the underlying illness.
Staff are likely to be more diligent and much less willing to participate in rationing and abuse if they know they can be identified later. Always keep a notebook and pen handy, and keep them visible.
Ask at the nurses' desk which nurses are responsible for hydration, nutrition and pain control. Write these names down as you get them. These names should be clearly stated in the Nursing Care Plan.
Write down the name of the person you are talking to.
Ask for the name of the consultant responsible for the patient, and also ask for the name of the doctor who will be responsible for the day to day management of the case.
If you ask all these reasonable questions in a friendly manner, you can expect straightforward civil answers. If you feel you are getting fobbed off with excuses like 'it's confidential' or 'too busy' or 'you don't need to know' then do not get upset. Simply go to (or phone) the Customer Services Officer and ask them to find out for you (don't forget to ask for their name). Explain that it is important that you know who is responsible for what in order that communication can be improved and problems can be avoided. If this does not work then send written complaints (see next section).
2) How to stop existing problems.
The first step is to recognise that rationing and neglect are taking place. Dehydration, bed sores and a general lack of attention from qualified staff (e.g. soiled bedding, call button out of reach, regular observations not being done) are all reasons to suspect neglect. Are the staff reluctant to show you the patient's records and discuss the drugs being used? Is Diamorphine PRN on the prescription chart? Is a DNR order in the notes without your knowledge? Are you told that the Consultant/Doctor/Surgeon is too busy to see you?
If you feel that the patient is deteriorating rapidly and their treatment seems to be the cause, rather than the cure, then step two is to complain effectively. Rationing and neglect are top-down processes, so
* Complain by fax/email to the Chief Executive of the Health Authority responsible for the hospital (phone the local Community Health Council for his name, fax and phone numbers) and
* Copy this by fax/email to the Chief Executive of the hospital and Consultant responsible for your relative's care.
* Immediately follow up with a call to their secretaries and confirm receipt of the fax. Stress to them that you will take things further if nothing is done. Ask for their name, write it down together with the time of the conversation. Send faxed copies to the other organisations (see below). Keep fax receipts.
* Keep records of all significant events - keep a diary with names of staff, what they do/do not do, etc, record conversations (use recording walkman, dictaphone, mp3 recorder, mobile phone etc), photograph evidence of neglect.
* If the situation does not improve rapidly, demand to see the Consultant and demand an immediate transfer for your relative.
* The following is a suggested outline - contact us if you can suggest any improvements. Please cut and paste to your word processor:
[Name and address of CEO of Health Authority]
Dear [Name of CEO]
I have reason to believe my relative [Patient's name], [Date of Birth], [Hospital Record Number] is not being treated at [Name of Hospital] in accordance with Article 2 of the Human Rights Act .
My main concerns are: (e.g. lack of treatment, attitude of staff, unhygienic conditions, patient lying in excrement, bed sores, dehydration, inappropriate use of diamorphine, etc)
1) ( write main concerns )
I require an urgent review of [Patient's name] and if this does not improve the situation , I would like to request a transfer to a different unit. Staff in this hospital have been negligent in the care of [Patient's name]. Their names are
1) Dr [Name]
2) Nurse [Name]
I enclose an extract of my diary of the events leading up to my dissatisfaction .
Failure of your health authority to improve the standard of care immediately will result in litigation on the grounds of negligence. In addition , if my relative, [Patient's name], dies , you will be liable for manslaughter in addition to knowingly being in breach of the Human Rights Act .
I look forward to an immediate review . My telephone number is xxxxxxxxxx. The telephone number of the ward where [Patient's name] is located is xxxxxxxxxx .
Yours sincerely ,
[Date and Time]
cc The Chief Executive of the [Name of hospital]
cc [Name of Consultant responsible for your relative's care]
cc Department of Health
cc Mr David Hinchcliffe, Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Health
cc [name of local MP], MP
cc Editor [Name of local newspaper]
cc [Name and Firm of your solicitor]
cc Dossier to European Court of Human Rights
You can find the name of your M.P. and a contact address at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
In the meantime, visit your relative and stay constantly, take pictures and tape any conversations. Note down everything in detail. That is the key .
Dehydration can cause death in as little as three days, so it is important to spot it early. The first effect of dehydration is a sensation of thirst, so complaints about feeling thirsty should be taken seriously. The depression, confusion and delusions which follow as the dehydration deepens are also important signs which are often assumed by relatives to be part of some natural downhill progression. One useful test for serious dehydration is to gently pinch some loose skin between thumb and forefinger. Dehydrated skin stays 'pinched' whereas normal skin returns to its original shape (try this on yourself first!). Other effects of dehydration include dry mouth and throat and shortness of breath (in turn making speech and swallowing difficult), deafness, swollen tongue, constipation and pneumonia. Dehydration weakens skin, and once the patient is too weak to move, bed sores can quickly develop.
Bed Sores (also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers) develop as a result of lying in the same position for too long. Constant pressure on the same spot reduces the flow of blood to the extent that the skin dies. If the pressure continues the area and depth of the tissue necrosis increases. Necrotic (dead) tissue quickly becomes infected and this infection can spread to the blood. Poor nutrition and hydration increase the risk of bed sores. The risk of bed sore development should always be assessed and reassessed frequently, and staff who fail to do this or who fail to act appropriately to an assessment are clearly negligent. Make sure you get to see if the patient's back and heels look healthy. Staff should routinely conduct an objective pressure sore risk assessment, such as the Waterlow pressure sore 'Risk Score'. The assessment is very simple to do yourself; just get a copy of the form, print it and then fill it in. If the patient appears to be at risk, ask a senior nurse if she agrees with your score. The Waterlow website has useful information on both prevention (you can buy a download ‘Pressure Sore Prevention Manual’) and treatment.
Diamorphine, otherwise known as Heroin, is usually used in palliative care and heart attack patients. It is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (through a vein). Placing it through a vein makes the drug act faster. Its effects are multiple. Used usually for pain relief, it can also depress respiration thus decreasing your drive to breathe. It also relieves anxiety e.g. in heart attack patients. It is a drug that is useful in heart failure enabling the load of the heart to be less thus relieving the problems of the failing heart coping with a large amount of blood.
It can be prescribed as a PRN (dose) which means as "as much as necessary"(necessary for what?). Being a controlled drug, it has to be signed for two people when giving it. Usual doses are 2.5-5mg. It may be placed in a syringe pump, usually in palliative care, (e.g. for terminal cancer patients) to relieve pain and distress. Diamorphine is contraindicated in people with respiratory conditions because it may cause respiratory arrest.
How incompetence is concealed.
section is in preparation. If you need information on this section, please email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at 01227 713661 (or +44 1227 713661
from outside the
How to protect yourselves from incompetence.
section is in preparation. If you need information on this section, please
email me at email@example.com or phone me at 01227 713661 (or +44 1227
713661 from outside the
Complaints and the NHS
The original purpose of this website was to help to prevent the elderly and other vulnerable groups from becoming victims of secret rationing. Sadly most feedback to this site is to report first hand experience of cruelty and neglect in our hospitals. Most people report being stonewalled by hospital staff handling their complaint, and remain dissatisfied with the explanations they have received. What follows in this section is a very brief survey of your options.
Hospital (or GP) Records - Patients, and relatives of deceased patients, are entitled to see and receive an explanation of the original records and/or have photocopies of the originals supplied at cost. The Access to Health Records Act 1990 gives you a right of access to health records of a deceased relative from 1 November 1991. The Data Protection Act 1998 , which repealed most of the 1990 Act, allows living patients to access their own records, paper and computerised, with no limit to how far back you can go.
The fees involved are modest and are limited by statute, but if you have difficulty finding the money, please give me a quick call. Please note, that radiographs (x-rays) are very expensive to copy, and it may be better to leave a request for copies of these out of the initial enquiry unless they are central to your complaint. Instead, ask for a list of any X-rays and scans held by the hospital, and ask them to include dates, views and name of doctor requesting them.
Hospitals can usually supply explanatory notes and an application form on request, but you can cut and paste the sample letter below. The holder of the health record has a period of 40 days from the date of your application within which to provide the copies requested. Make sure that you enclose evidence as to your identity with your application - the 40 days only starts when they are satisfied as to your identity. There are a limited number of reasons for withholding access to records, but these will rarely apply. Please contact me if you need help organising or understanding your copies of the health records.
Re: [Patient's name], deceased, dob [date of birth]
I wish to apply for copies of any records you hold for the above patient. I am the next-of-kin of [Patient's Name], and this application is made under S3(1)(f) of the Access to Health Records Act (1990). [Patient's Name] was a patient of yours in [year(s)]
I understand that a fee will be payable to cover the cost of making the copies and postage. In view of the high cost of copying radiographs and other images, please do not copy these, but instead provide me with a complete list (including dates, views, name of Doctor requesting them) of what, if any, you are holding.
Please contact me at the above address if you require payment in advance.
NHS Complaints Procedure - Most complainants find these procedures a complete waste of time. The Local Investigation of the complaint usually exceeds all time limits, results in nothing new being revealed, and merely provides the staff with an opportunity to discover what evidence you have against them. According to a recent study by the Public Law Project: "The overwhelming feelings that that complainants were left with, following attempts at local resolution in these cases, were that issues had been covered up, staff had been protected, and that no one was prepared to take responsibility" ( Section 2.53, Cause for Complaint? An evaluation of the effectiveness of the NHS complaints procedure). Independent review is far from independent (mine was denied by the Acting Chairman of the Trust) and when a review is granted the evidence is often presented in a biased way or even tampered with. The Ombudsman's staff seem to spend most of their time presenting excuses for not holding an investigation. It is important to note that attempting to reason with administrators at each of these levels is very time consuming, and care must be taken not to exceed the three year limitation period for Civil Litigation, after which civil actions are normally barred. NHS procedures are not available if you have stated, in a letter or orally, that you intend to take legal action. A critique of the NHS Complaints Procedure prepared by SIN also suggests that the whole procedure is a complete waste of time.
Complaints to the UKCC about poor nursing standards are also likely to be a waste of time - please see the review of the state of the UKCC, copied from the NHS-Exposed site.
following three subsections are in preparation. If you need information on
these sections, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at 01227
713661 (or +44 1227 713661 from outside the
Civil Litigation - The new website http://www.medicalclaims.co.uk/ is free and provides information on clinical negligence claims.
Criminal Prosecution -
Inquest - One of the most common ploys used by coroners trying to avoid an inquest is to say that they are satisfied that death was due to natural causes. The cause of death is usually written by the hospital's own pathologist, who is hardly likely to want to draw attention to dehydration, diamorphine or negligence as being significant factors in causing death. A recent court case has made the 'natural causes' excuse for not holding an inquest much less tenable. The judges in this case made it very clear that if the patient suffered from a condition which, if not monitored and treated in a routine way will result in death, and, for whatever reason, the monitoring and treatment is omitted, then the coroner must hold an inquest unless he can say that there are no grounds for suspecting that the omission was an effective cause of death.
* Newspaper and other Reports
* House of Commons Health Select Committee and Legislation
* Newspapers on the Web
Newspaper and other Reports:
BBC Website, 25 May 2004
Abused pensioner's body to be exhumed - An order has been obtained by police to remove the body of William Pettener, 95, who was a resident at a private nursing home in Porthmadog in Gwynedd. A member of staff at the Bodawen nursing home has been suspended following allegations made by several members of staff concerning abuse by a fellow worker at the home. Members of staff alleged that a colleague used verbal abuse against them and both verbal and physical abuse against residents. The retired engineer, from Ormskirk, died at the home on 12 April, with the cause of death given as bronchopneumonia. It is thought the exhumation will take place next week.
social services say ?sorry? for neglect - Social Services chiefs have
apologised to the son of a pensioner who died through neglect. Frail Mary
Sharpe, 86, died after developing a pressure sore on her back. She was
Now Social Services chiefs have been forced to make a full apology to her angry son who has been fighting for justice since his mum’s death. He alleges he only discovered the bedsore when it became infected and began to smell. Geoffrey claimed: ?I walked through the door and was appalled to find the flesh around the wound had begun to rot and was exposing the spine. I was furious. She was unable to walk, talk, or swallow and had little movement. She was literally on her deathbed but was even robbed of dignity there.?
Ananova, 19 May 2004
found guilty of killing patient by neglect - Two nurses have been found guilty
of killing an elderly patient at a nursing home. Dennis Latham, 33, from
Blackburn, Lancashire and Barbara Campbell, 62, from
was the nursing services manager at the home at the time of the death.
Dennis died in July 1999 from septicaemia resulting from pressure sores the
"size of a fist" that developed while she was a resident at
The Daily Telegraph, 13 May 2004
Care is being jeopardised and hospital resources squandered in a Government drive to bring down waiting lists before the next election, NHS doctors warned yesterday.
Orthopaedic surgeons are concerned that an initiative to employ overseas doctors in special private centres could lead to inferior and sometimes "botched" operations.
They say the move will end up costing the taxpayer more because the NHS will have to correct poor surgery and replace hip and knee implants sooner than normal.
concerns follow an NHS inquiry into an unnamed South African doctor employed by
a private company. The surgeon, who worked at the
Timperley, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic
Independent, 13 May 2004
Incompetent student nurses are being allowed to qualify because hospital examiners are too reluctant to fail them, an industry report warned yesterday.
The Nursing And Midwifery Council, which regulates the profession, strongly criticised senior nurse mentors who assess trainees on the wards for passing sub-standard students as fit to practice. Patients may be put at risk because mentors are "failing to fail" students who, in some cases, have repeatedly had concerns raised about their ability to perform clinical tasks, the report said.
McGovern, a mentor at
The Guardian, 13 May 2004.
Hospital Meal Times to be Sacrosanct- the government has told NHS hospitals to return to the values of Florence Nightingale by introducing strict mealtime discipline on the wards to ensure that patients eat their food.
ministers want nurses to adopt procedures trialled at King's College hospital
"We saw patients were not being prepared for meals, not in a comfortable position and with food left out of reach. Food was placed on the table next to bottles of urine and vomit bowls. It was awful. Patients would be eating when someone was taking blood at the next bed or putting a patient on a commode."
She said the contracting out of catering over the last 10 years may have contributed to the downgrading of meal times. Recent NHS research found that 40% of people coming into hospital were malnourished and of those 70% became further malnourished during their stay in hospital.
Her response was to introduce a "protected mealtime", setting aside two hours from noon for eating and rest. Doctors were told to keep away unless there was an emergency and visitors were discouraged unless they came to help the patient eat. The diagnostic department which used to do all inpatient tests during lunchtime has rescheduled to take only outpatients then.
Daily Telegraph, 29 April 2004
'tried to kill elderly to free beds' - A ward sister tried to murder four of
her elderly patients in a ruthless drive to free hospital beds, a court was
told yesterday. Barbara Salisbury, 47, crossed the line between
"humane nursing and callous dispatch", it was claimed. She gave
a 76-year-old man an excess of diamorphine, telling him as she did so:
"Give in. It's time to go." On another occasion she instructed
a nurse treating a 92-year-old: "Lay him flat. With any luck his lungs
will fill with water and he'll die." She justified her administering
of diamorphine to an 88-year-old woman at
Robin Spencer, QC, prosecuting at Chester Crown Court, said: "Barbara Salisbury arrogated to herself the right to decide when patients should die, and attempted by her actions to shorten what remained of their lives. "If she thought a patient had no hope of recovery she didn't want to have to wait too long. If a patient could be made well enough she would aim for that. If not, she would hasten death. "One way or another, she wanted these patients off her ward."
Spencer alleged that
The Sunday Times, 25 April 2004
How extra spending failed to improve the public services - confidential research prepared for senior ministers and aides showed that, although the government had pumped billions of extra taxpayers? money into the public sector, large amounts had apparently been wasted.
Since Labour was elected in 1997, total public spending has risen almost 50% to £459 billion. But the research found the taxpayer, hit by a series of stealth taxes, had not received value for money. Much of the cash had been swallowed up by an inefficient bureaucracy and inflation-busting pay rises for civil servants.
The revelations, contained in cabinet committee minutes leaked to The Sunday Times, may have lasting consequences for Blair and Labour come the general election, which is expected next year. The reports showed public sector productivity ? the key measure of efficiency ? has ?fallen steadily? since 1997. According to official data never previously released, efficiency has dropped 10% over the past seven years. In health and education, the key election battlegrounds, it has slumped by between 15% and 20%. In the past, the government has only ever admitted to a 3% fall in productivity since the 1997 election.
In basic terms, this means the extra money being spent on the public sector is not being adequately reflected in better services. Economists found that the massive ?inputs? into the public sector were not being matched by enhanced ?outputs? in the form of better schools, hospitals and police forces. Experts calculate the slump in productivity means Labour is wasting £20 billion a year ? equivalent to almost 6p on the basic rate of income tax.
The government is also expected to be forced to admit that it will not meet its pledge to employ 7,500 more NHS consultants by the end of this year. It claims to have met the target for GPs but professional bodies say many new GPs are part-timers. The Audit Commission reported last week that, despite the billions ploughed into the NHS, hospital trusts now had a cumulative debt of £500m.
Times, April 24 2004
GMC ignored surgeon warning - the future of the General Medical Council (GMC) was back under the spotlight yesterday after the disclosure that it could have acted against a disgraced gynaecologist ten years before he was struck off.
warned the GMC in 1988 that Richard Neale was already banned from working in
Correspondence has now emerged, however, that shows that the GMC was consulted about Mr Neale by North Yorkshire Police in 1988, when a decision to take no action against him was made by Lord Walton, who was the council’s president.
GMC papers relating to the episode have been destroyed, but a file found by the
police was handed to a government inquiry into the NHS's handling of the Neale
case. Its findings are expected to be announced this year. The GMC
admitted it was warned about Mr Neale by Canadian medical authorities in 1985.
It blamed administrative blunders for its failure to act when he arrived in
It issued an unreserved apology yesterday. Its chief executive, Finlay Scott, described the council’s conduct in 1988 as “extraordinary and inexplicable”. An official added: “A situation like this could not arise again.”
Guardian, 10 March 2004
Doctors violated disabled boy's rights - The human rights of a severely disabled boy and his mother were violated when doctors who thought he was dying overrode his mother's objections and gave him diamorphine to ease his death, the European court of human rights ruled yesterday.
unanimous ruling by seven judges in
The court awarded David Glass, who survived and is now 18, and his mother, Carol, pounds 7,000 in damages and pounds 10,500 in costs for a breach of article 8 of the European convention on human rights, the right to respect for private life.
The judges said: "The court considered that the decision to impose treatment on David in defiance of his mother's objections gave rise to an interference with his right to respect for his private life, and in particular his right to physical integrity."
A "do not resuscitate" (DNR) order was put in his notes without telling his mother.
David's condition deteriorated and doctors recommended diamorphine, which depresses breathing, to relieve his distress. Ms Glass did not agree that he was dying. She asked to take David home if he was dying, but a police officer summoned by the doctors advised her that if she attempted to remove him, she would be arrested. David was given diamorphine and his condition deteriorated. His family demanded it be stopped, but a doctor said this was possible only if they agreed not to resuscitate him.
Relatives tried to revive him and a fight broke out in which doctors and police officers were injured. While the fight was going on, Ms Glass successfully resuscitated David. His condition improved and he returned home. Three family members were later jailed for violent disorder and causing actual bodily harm.
Glass took her case to
Guardian, 11 February , 2004
Relatives demand prosecutions for hospital abuse - Relatives have today rejected a trust's 'unreserved apology' and demanded prosecutions following an internal inquiry that found vulnerable older people were assaulted by its mental health staff.
Norma Chatt, whose 81-year-old mother spent more than a year on Rowan ward at Withington hospital in Greater Manchester, said today: “I want the people responsible brought to justice, that is what all the relatives want. What use is an apology nearly two years later?" She claimed her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, suffered six black eyes while on the ward. She said: "When all the relatives got together and compared what had been going on it was awful. There were reports of patients being scalded, not being fed and having soap put in their mouths."
The call for prosecutions comes a day after a report into the inquiry by the mental health trust, which was responding to a damning inspection last year of care standards on the ward by the Commission for Health Improvement (Chi). Chi inspectors found poor management and supervision and low staffing levels.
The inquiry report revealed patients with dementia, schizophrenia and depression on Rowan ward were kicked, slapped and beaten by staff. It concluded standards of nursing care were outdated, doctors failed to report patients injuries, systems to detect abuse were poor and there was a culture of "intimidation and even fear" among staff on the ward.
However the report failed to single out who was to blame for the injuries and concluded they were "unattributable".
Sunday Times, 08 February 2004
seeks inquiry into ?mass euthanasia? at hospital - A Coroner is demanding a
public inquiry into claims that 11 hospital patients were deliberately starved
to death. He believes that it could be
is now increasing concern across
The allegations first surfaced after Jayne Drew, a healthcare assistant, alerted the hospital managers after the deaths of Simon Smith, 74, and Arthur Boddice, 81, in the summer of 1997. Families of fellow patients at the hospital claimed that some staff had become so upset at seeing elderly people being starved that they had taken it upon themselves to feed them secretly. One relative has described how it was distressing to see his father go without food. Andrew Hughson said his 75- year-old father, also called Andrew, would vainly stretch his hand towards meals being delivered to other patients. ?We kept being told that feeding him would be bad for his general health, and he was too frail to tell us otherwise,? he said. Simon Smith’s son Michael said ?At the time we thought my father’s treatment was consistent with what you would expect. Now it appears he was not being fed. We all want to know the precise causes of these deaths and we still haven’t had an answer.?
Ann Alexander, the solicitor acting for the bereaved families, said it was unfair that top QCs and junior counsel were being provided out of public funds to represent the health authority, medical and nursing staff at the inquest while no legal representation was being provided for the families.
are also investigating the unexpected deaths of 62 patients ? all pensioners ?
who had been admitted for postoperative rehabilitation at the Gosport War
Memorial hospital in Hampshire. In
CHI Press Release, 22 January 2004
CHI gives evidence to Health Select Committee on the abuse of older people - The plight of older people who are abused while receiving NHS services was highlighted before a Government inquiry today.
"Some older people are among our most vulnerable citizens and that makes it possible for them to become victims of abuse. It must be a matter of extreme concern that even when we would expect them to be safe in the care of the NHS, some older people are still at risk," said Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) chairman Dame Deirdre Hine.
"We know that most NHS staff are caring and committed and give sensitive care to older people. However, caring for older people is a demanding and complex job, especially if the patients are showing challenging behaviour. If staff don’t get the full support, training and supervision that they need, then this can result in some older patients being abused. That abuse can take the form of physical abuse, but also emotional abuse, neglect or inappropriate restraint and sedation".
"Our findings so far show that older people’s services are generally given low priority in comparison with other services. We believe that the standard of care of older people nationally is worrying and what is more, the NHS doesn’t seem to be learning because the same issues keep coming up again and again," said Dame Deirdre.
"Despite the best efforts of many staff, we are seeing too many cases where older people are not getting the care they need and this is unacceptable. We are delighted the Health Select Committee is holding this inquiry and we hope the resulting report will lead to action to help ensure a greater focus on older people’s services," said Dame Deirdre.
Friday, 16 January 2004
Cancer ward nurse arrested after patient's suspicious death - Murder squad detectives have arrested a nurse in connection with the death of a pensioner and are investigating the cases of other patients who were treated on the same cancer ward. The 25-year-old was arrested on suspicion of administering a noxious substance at Hull Royal Infirmary.
Wednesday, 24 December 2003
Patient challenges doctors for right to live - Aman with a degenerative brain condition has launched an unprecedented human rights challenge to guidance for doctors which he believes could allow them to end his life by legally sanctioned euthanasia.
Leslie Burke, who has cerebellar ataxia, is mounting a right-to-life challenge to General Medical Council guidelines on withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatment which spell out when doctors can stop artificial feeding and let a patient die.
'Our gran died after long wait on trolley' - an 86-year-old woman died of a brain haemorrhage after being left for eight hours on a hospital trolley.
Her family claim they were told she was suffering from a simple chest infection. Dorothy Atkinson's relatives say they were told by Leeds Infirmary that she was "fine" and were urged "not to worry." But hours later tests showed the great great grandmother was suffering from a brain tumour and was bleeding heavily. Two days later she was dead.
The retired hospital worker was taken to LGI after collapsing at her nursing home in Pudsey on Thursday, December 11. She was admitted to hospital just after 5am. Soon afterwards her family telephoned the hospital to check on her. They say they were told she was "fine" but was suffering from a chest infection.
But when they arrived at the hospital at around 1pm that day, they say they found her lying on a trolley in the corridor, unable to move and covered in her own vomit.
Her son, Peter, said she was eventually moved to a bed but only after the family "caused a scene." On the Friday she was taken for tests and a CT brain scan revealed she had a tumour and was suffering a major haemorrhage.
Daily Mail, 17 July 2003
NHS targets ?cost lives" - Patients are being left to die by hospitals forced to meet ?meaningless" targets rather than give proper care, it was claimed yesterday (16/07/03). Liberal Democrat health spokesman Dr Evan Harris claimed the latest NHS star ratings showed only how well hospitals could hit targets and fill in spreadsheets. He said, ?Star ratings divert the attention of doctors and nurses and force hundreds of managers to spend their time collecting information, not improving patient care."
The Guardian, 18 December 2003
health patients 'neglected' - Chronic staff shortages in NHS mental health
The Commission for Health Improvement said mental health remained "the poor relation of the NHS", four years after ministers pledged to make it a priority.
Its inspectors found that "significant national shortages of psychiatrists and nurses are having a major impact on clinical leadership and quality of patient care".
Mental health trusts commonly relied on excessive numbers of agency staff who did not have the skills needed to cope with a violent incident, the commission said. This left permanent staff working long hours and feeling unsafe.
Patients were also concerned about their exposure to violence from other patients. Bed shortages led to inappropriate mixes of patients with different needs. Staff struggled to stop illicit drugs and alcohol.
The Daily Telegraph, 04 December 2003
IVF mother was killed by negligence of hospital staff - medical negligence by her own hospital colleagues led to the death of a doctor just hours after the birth of the twins for which she had yearned.
A verdict of "medical misadventure to which neglect contributed" was recorded at an inquest into the death of Dr Sandyha Senanayake, who gave birth to a boy and a girl at the hospital where she worked, only to die shortly afterwards of internal bleeding.
30,000 nurses desert the NHS
numbers of nurses are quitting amid growing concern about the continuing staff
crisis in the Health Service. The number who left the
The exodus of 30,200 nurses almost cancelled out 31,700 new recruits, many from overseas. In the previous year, 18,700 nurses left the profession.
The Royal College of Nursing said it feared the loss of experienced nurses heralded a 'demographic timebomb' with increasing numbers of NHS staff becoming eligible for early retirement.
Daily Mail. 02 December 2003
Life-saving treatment 'denied to over-70s' with breast cancer'
THOUSANDS of older women are being denied surgery for their breast cancer because of their age, a cancer surgeon will claim today.
Fentiman, professor of surgical oncology at Guy's and
Instead of surgery, many women over 70 were only given the standard breast cancer drug, tamoxifen - but in many cases without the test which would show whether the drug was likely to work for them or not, he says.
Fentiman, an eminent cancer surgeon, is speaking at a debate today run by
"This practice is very widespread. Across the nation it must run into thousands.
The Daily Telegraph, 29 October 2003
June 18, 2003
'Ignored' surgeon's fury at death of patient, 85 - Staff at a hospital with one of the highest death rates in the country are alleged to have allowed an elderly women to die against the specific instructions of her surgeon.
Shields said that he was overruled behind his back by anaesthetic staff at
The woman’s family have complained to the hospital and called for an independent inquiry. In March, the independent Dr Foster guide to hospitals said that Oldchurch had one of the highest mortality rates for emergency admissions. It awarded it one star out of a possible ten.
The hospital denies the allegations and said that an internal inquiry had found that the patient should not have been operated on because she was suffering from a number of pre-existing medical conditions.
Mr Shields, who was working as a locum at the hospital, resigned, saying that he was appalled at the management of patients there. He added that the woman’s care had been his responsibility, not that of the anaesthetists who run the high dependency unit, where the patient was being treated.
?I am not prepared to accept responsibility for the death of patients under my care when treatment is either not given or withdrawn by others without my consent,? he said.
He has won support from SOS NHS Patients in Need, which represents the families of patients whom it believes die unnecessarily in hospitals. ?This highlights the fact that so many doctors are prepared to write off someone just because they are elderly,? Julia Quenzler, a spokeswoman, said.
The affair began when the 85-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital on April 19 with an apparent obstruction of the bowel. She was taken to the high dependency unit and operated on by Mr Shields. His instructions had been that in the event of cardiac arrest she should be resuscitated. The next day, he said, he saw her twice and she appeared stable. But on his ward round the following morning he was told she had died and from the medical notes discovered that a decision had been made by the anaesthetic staff not to resuscitate her.
A report prepared by another surgeon, Shukri Sami, said the death was caused by heart disease and failure, with no evidence that a medical intervention had caused the death. Mr Sami blamed a ?lack of communication? between the surgical and anaesthetic teams for confusion over resuscitation.
Mr Shields resigned immediately. He was suspended from operating and caring for his patients. ?Accordingly, the person who drew the trust’s attention to the problem has been removed, instead of the problem being addressed,? he said. ?So much for the Government’s charter for whistleblowers.?
The hospital said that the order not to resuscitate had been entirely appropriate in this case, and claimed that it had been agreed by Mr Shields, who had subsequently changed his mind. A spokeswoman said an inquiry had found Mr Shields should not have operated on the patient because she was not in a suitable medical position. She said the surgeon had then tried to influence the woman’s family, who had agreed that she should not be resuscitated, to change their minds after the event.
Mr Shields denies all these claims. He also strongly denies the trusts's claim that he had been in favour of a DNR order. ?The form was actually signed by the anaesthetic senior house officer, who certainly knew my view,? he said.
Rees, chief executive of
?We have met with the patient’s daughter and would wish to make it clear that they are understandably unhappy with the management of their relative’s care. However the decision made by the clinician after discussion with the family to implement the ?do not resuscitate? policy was in our opinion clinically correct.?
June 18, 2003
Nurse 'tried to kill five patients'
By Russell Jenkins
POLICE have charged a hospital nursing sister with the attempted murder of five elderly patients who later died.
Salisbury, 47, who worked at
It is understood that the inquiry, led by Detective Chief Inspector Adrian Wright, has centred on medication administered to patients while under her care on a general ward.
Detectives began their investigation in May 2002 after colleagues raised concerns in relation to a ?number of issues? over her treatment of four men and one woman in the NHS hospital who later died. It is understood that detectives looked at many other cases as part of their inquiry.
Mrs Salisbury went on holiday in June last year for two weeks and returned to discover that she was suspended from duty. She has remained off work on full pay since.
lived with her family in
The brief hearing before magistrates was told that Mrs Salisbury had been charged with the attempted murder of five patients between May 1999 and April last year.
She is alleged to have attempted to murder James Byrne, 76, on or around May 18, 1999, Reuben Thompson, 81, between February 22 and March 14, 2002, Frances Mary Taylor, 88, on March 21, 2002, Frank Owen, 92, on March 31, 2002, and Bertram Madeley, 76, on April 28, 2002. All five have since died.
Mrs Salisbury was released on conditional bail to reappear next week. An order was made by magistrates banning the publication of her address.
Any members of the public with queries should contact a hotline, 01270 612 132, he said.
Michael Mackey, the nurse’s lawyer, said that she would fight the charges. ?All I can say is that these charges will be strenuously denied and this will be contested,? he said. ?She has been conditionally bailed and was due to appear at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday.?
Shipman experts aid inquiry into hospital deaths
expert in the use of the heroin-based painkiller diamorphine is to be appointed
by police conducting an investigation into the deaths of more than 50 elderly
patients at a community hospital. Relations allege that the drug, used by
Harold Shipman to kill many of his patients, was overprescribed at the
The Times 07/11/02; p.3
Police investigate deaths of 30 elderly patients
are investigating the hospital care of up to 30 elderly patients after
relatives complained that they may have died from overdoses of powerful
painkillers. The families have hired the solicitor who represented many of the
relatives in the Shipman case to put the argument for a full public inquiry
into the deaths. All of the patients who died were admitted to
The Times 05/11/02; p.5
Telegraph, 15 July 2000
for relatives in hospital fight over boy - A judge yesterday jailed three
relatives of a severely disabled boy after violence broke out around the
hospital bed of David Glass, then 12, as an uncle and two aunts fought with two
paediatricians trying to administer diamorphine, which his relatives claimed
would have killed him. After the confrontation at St Mary's Hospital,
Complaints by the family that both doctors should be accused of attempted murder were investigated by Hampshire police but the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to charge them.
Telegraph, 6 June 2000
boy's relatives 'attacked doctors' - A hospital ward erupted into violence when
the family of a seriously ill child turned on doctors who were "trying to
kill" the boy, a court was told yesterday. Alastair Malcolm, for the
prosecution, told the court that the doctors had given David diamorphine as a
painkiller and to help him breathe but the family ordered that the dose be
reduced and accused them of trying to hasten the child's death. Raymond
Davis, 43, Julie Hodgson, 37, and Diane Wild, 42, all of
Times, 5 June 2000
Consultant is suspended over organ disposal - hospital consultant pathologist, Geoffrey Hulman, has been suspended following allegations about the disposal of dead babies' organs.
Mortuary workers at the King's Mill Centre in Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire claimed they were ordered to throw babies' brains and hearts into rubbish sacks for incineration as well as the vital organs of adults. They said that they had been ordered to clear them out soon after guidelines relating to organ disposal were published by the Royal College of Pathologists in March. The guidelines advised hospitals to search records to see if organs had been kept without relatives' permission. They also alleged that in some cases they had been told to destroy evidence of identity. John Watkinson, chief executive of the King's Mill Centre
for Health Care Services, said that following post-mortem examinations the disposal of tissues as clinical waste was "normal practice"
Sunday Telegraph, 30 April 2000
Doctors leaving young disabled to die - Seriously disabled children and young people are being left to die because doctors have deemed there quality of life so poor that they do not merit being kept alive. Hospitals and care homes are increasingly placing secret DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders in their notes which effectively means they are "written off". In recent weeks, concern has grown about the withholding of treatment from the elderly. Now patients' groups are worried that a similar policy is being applied to the young disabled.
demands inquiry into delays at son's death - Although 25-year-old Stephen
Hill had spina bifida and was paralysed from the waist down, he was a keen
football supporter who led an active life and attended college in Bedfordshire
near his residential home. In 1995 he complained of neck pains and headaches
and, when he became breathless, a nurse was called. She arrived 10 minutes
later and felt a faint pulse but agreed, as she later admitted in an inquiry
statement, that she did not resuscitate him for three minutes "because of
his physical disabilities and the suddenness of his death". The nurse was
cleared of negligence in an inquiry by Staffordshire Social Services but
Stephen's mother, Ann Hill, is making an official complaint to the local
authority ombudsman. She cannot discover if a Do Not Resuscitate notice
was added to her son's notes because she has not been allowed access. Mrs Hill
believes that her son could have been saved. She says: "Although Stephen
had spina bifida he enjoyed life and went to college. He should not have been
treated in this way. I believe vulnerable people are in
danger." Mrs Hill, who lives at
Hunt, 22, a mother of two, who suffered a brain stem stroke, had a DNR order
put on her notes at the
Daily Mail, 28 April 2000
Written off by doctors, the 100 elderly patients - Campaigners for the elderly have compiled a shocking dossier of 100 cases where doctors have failed to tell hospital patients that they have been deemed not worth trying to resuscitate. These cases, where 'Do not resuscitate' amounts to 'Do not treat' are believed by leading geriatric care expert, Professor Ebrahim, to be the tip of the iceberg. He went on to say that disrespect of the elderly was rife among hospital doctors. A spokesman for the charity Age Concern said "the Government must launch an immediate, independent public inquiry into the scandal ... given the growing body of evidence we are astonished that the Government is not doing anything to address these concerns". A Department of Health spokesman said "...the NHS is about saving and prolonging life...".
Guardian, 28 April 2000
to outlaw medical ageism - Doctors regularly issue "do not
resuscitate" orders for patients without their or their families'
knowledge, according to a professor of social medicine who is calling for
ageism to be outlawed in the NHS. Professor Shah Ebrahim from
Times, 22 April 2000
Relatives try to halt 'mercy killings' - A group of bereaved relatives claims that the Government has failed to uphold its statutory duty to protect vulnerable elderly patients from doctors who deliberately withhold intravenous fluids to hasten death. This practice, admitted by doctors and nurses to be widespread, is said to have received tacit approval in many hospitals in order to relieve pressure on NHS beds. The group's legal action will use the Human Rights Act 1998 to challenge the BMA's guidelines allowing starvation and dehydration of certain groups of the elderly even when they are not terminally ill.
Sunday Times, 16 April 2000
Paramedic tells of hospital leaving pensioners to die - Ambulance paramedic, David Moore of Nottingham, has described how his team resuscitate and rush elderly patients to hospital, only to find that they are left to die on arrival, without even receiving a full medical assessment. His claim highlights growing concern that hospitals across the country are hastening the deaths of elderly patients by withdrawing food and fluids, mistreating them or leaving them untreated. "Doctors are just writing these people off. Often the patients are not even particularly old. You get people in their sixties and seventies being left on trolleys to die. We try our absolute hardest to revive these people, but when you get them to hospital they are greeted with indifference. It's terrible."
Independent, 16 April 2000
Fifty elderly on NHS dossier of death - Damning evidence that hospitals are routinely designating elderly patients as "not for resuscitation" without consent has emerged as a leading charity prepared to hand over a dossier to a government investigation. Age Concern said that the 50 "do not resuscitate" cases which were reported to them in the course of just two days were the "tip of an iceberg".
A spokesman for Age Concern said "Not for resuscitation" orders rarely become apparent because case notes are not easily available and the orders are often written in coded language known only to hospital staff."
A spokesman for the Department of Health said "We will not tolerate any discrimination on the grounds of age...".
Daily Mail, 14 April 2000
Fury over hospital OAP's left to die by doctors - The Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, has ordered an urgent inquiry into why hospitals are being allowed to 'write off' the lives of elderly patients. Milburn was said to be "appalled to discover" that doctors regularly put 'do not resuscitate' orders in patients' notes without their knowledge or consent. He branded the practice as "unacceptable" following the case of cancer sufferer Jill Baker, 67, whose secret 'do not resuscitate' order was written by a junior doctor who had not even examined her. Mrs Baker is now in remission and at home.
claimed that 'do not resuscitate' orders were only one of a host of methods
used by doctors to ensure the premature death of elderly patients who require
costly, time-consuming treatment. Other methods include withdrawal of
food and fluids and the use of lethal doses of painkillers such as diamorphine
(heroin). Dr Michael Wilkes, chairman of the BMA's ethics committee, said
"Doctors are not deliberately withdrawing care from elderly patients on the
grounds of age or resources". Age Concern said, however, that they
hear of several cases each month of elderly patients being written off this way
because of a doctor's decision. Sam Ahmedzai, professor of palliative
care at the
There are currently five separate inquiries involving the police into involuntary euthanasia in hospitals.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers, 3 Apr 2000
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will initiate an inquiry into age discrimination against elderly patients in the NHS. ( Speaker: Mr. Paul Marsden)
Mr. Hutton: Discrimination on the grounds of age within the National Health Service is completely unacceptable. Action is and will be taken to challenge and correct any such unfair practices. The task now is to get on with ensuring this delivers the improvements we intend, so that eliminating discrimination and promoting fair access are firmly embedded as mainstream business for the NHS.
The provision of first class care on the NHS is our priority and later this year we will be publishing the National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People. This, for the first time, will set national standards for the care of older people, driving up quality and reducing the variations. The NSF will include performance measures for monitoring progress. The development of the NSF has involved many groups, including service users and carers, and has included the issue of access to services.
We have no plans however to set up any inquiry. Equal opportunities and work against discrimination must be embedded in our total way of working, rather than being treated as a separate and one-off activity.
Sunday Times, 2 April 2000
Elderly are helped to die to clear beds, claims doctor - The callous treatment of the elderly in NHS hospitals has been exposed by a doctor who claims elderly patients are denied life-saving treatment, are grossly neglected and are given drugs which hasten death.
Rita Pal, a junior doctor, said: "I have witnessed doctors who want to keep beds clear by withdrawing treatment or actively assisting in death to the point where it becomes involuntary euthanasia." She also spoke of critically ill patients whose lives were cut short after being given ?unnecessary" doses of diamorphine.
In one case she was so convinced a dose of diamorphine she had been ordered to give would be fatal that she injected it into the patient's mattress. When another doctor saw that the patient was alive the next day, he said: "Oh, she is still alive - didn't you start her on diamorphine?" The patient, suffering from pneumonia, later recovered and left hospital.
In another case, a senior doctor ordered the medication to be withdrawn from an 89-year-old stroke victim who was critically ill and could not speak because he had a plastic tube down his throat. "This man was actually conscious and could hear us," said Pal. "The doctor said, 'We need the bed - stop all his medication'. He obviously didn't think he was going to live. I thought: we are killing someone because we want the beds. Pal disobeyed the doctor and gave the patient drugs to help him breathe. He was transferred to another unit, but later died.
Dr Michael Irwin, vice-chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said: "My main concern is that diamorphine is being used without consulting patients or talking to relatives. "That is involuntary euthanasia and although we know it happens, we don't know the extent - there are probably thousands of cases each year."
Pal is now studying to be a barrister. "I have lost faith in medicine," she said. "There is a code of silence and it's the hardest thing to stand up and say something."
Sunday Times, 12 March 2000
Revealed: cruelty of staff in NHS hospitals - Shocking inhumanity, negligence and criminality are everyday features of the National Health Service, an undercover investigation at Whipps Cross and Colindale Hospitals has revealed. Members of the parliamentary all-party select committee on health expressed dismay at the revelations.
The physical condition of some patients and the lack of care was striking. One man on Bracken ward at Whipps Cross had fluid seeping from open sores on his lower leg. His toenails were gnarled and overgrown and clearly had not been clipped in months. On the same ward an elderly woman pleaded to be taken home. She had soiled herself, but her cries of "please clean me up" were ignored.
Another patient on Peace ward was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak or communicate because of her condition, she had soiled herself. However, when nurses transferred her to a bedside chair, they made no effort to clean her and she was left in her own excrement for more than an hour.
It was clear that nurses struggled to cope in the face of severe staff shortages. But there was also a culture of neglect. Some had open contempt for their patients.
One old lady in Colindale complained of abusive treatment by nurses and said: "I've been here for weeks now and the treatment is terrible. But nobody knows what goes on here and I doubt people ever will. Who is there to hear us?"
Sunday Times, 12 March 2000
Hospitals that sicken- Hospitals are stressful places at the best of times.
Patients require constant attention and medical emergencies are part of the
daily routine. Staff shortages and the growing demand for hospital beds have
increased over the years and ministers face a recurring crisis. The
latest figures show that nearly 1.2m people are waiting for what they hope will
be the best possible treatment in a caring environment. Tragically, that can no
longer be taken for granted, as the incidents witnessed by our reporter at two
They point to an appalling degree of indifference and disregard for the basic rights of patients and confirm our worst fears about declining standards in the National Health Service. We are entitled to expect, however, that no hospital allows its standards of care to fall below an acceptable minimum, that patients are not humiliated and that staff do not exploit the vulnerability of those they are committed to serve. Once the culture of neglect takes over, the nightmare of abuse is not far behind.
lack of respect for the elderly is especially worrying. More people than
ever are living into their seventies and beyond in reasonably good health. But
The government has made great play of its determination to make the NHS fit for the world's fifth-largest economy. No amount of extra cash will achieve that without better hospital management, a caring staff and respect for patients.
The Times, 3 February 2000
Casualty bosses ordered 'cover-up' - Hospitals rigged the results of a nation-wide survey of casualty waiting times by pressuring nurses to "hide" patients, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
Following an annual survey organised by the Association of Community Health Councils, the RCN had reports that many hospitals were covering up their problems. The RCN received phone calls from nurses in more than 18 casualty units complaining that they had been asked to move patients for the purposes of the inspection. "A couple of them were in tears, they were so distressed," Mrs Wilkinson said. "They have been struggling with long waits for patients for so long, but all of a sudden on Monday the senior management arrived to tell them they could not be made to look bad." Nurses, speaking in confidence, reported being forced to move patients to the wrong ward or rushing patients home, while one hospital opened an empty ward over the weekend to provide temporary relief to casualty.
Donna Covey, the director of the Association of Community Health Councils, said that she was very disappointed. "This is yet another example of the cover-up culture that exists in parts of the health service," she said.
Sunday Times, 19 December 1999
by doctors kill 40,000 a year - Medical error is the third most frequent cause
of death in
study shows that one in 14 patients suffers some kind of adverse event such as diagnostic
error, operation mistake or drug reaction. Charles Vincent, head of the
clinical risk unit at University College London, who is leading the study, has
pioneered efforts to examine the extent of clinical errors in
Rogers is the victim of one of these mistakes in
Twist, 42, from
Neale, former professor of clinical medicine at Trinity College Dublin, who is
a leading expert on medical risk management, said: "In
year in Britain 156,000 people die from cancer and 140,000 from heart disease.
Somebody suffering a full cardiac arrest has a 30% chance of survival in the
American city of
Telegraph, 10 December 1999
Doctors angered by Tory's anti-euthanasia Bill - The row over allegations that elderly patients were left to die in NHS hospitals continued yesterday as Ann Winterton, the Tory MP, unveiled plans to introduce an all-party Private Member's Bill next month that would prevent doctors intentionally bringing about the death of patients, either by deliberate acts or their failure to take steps to keep people alive.
Mrs Winterton's Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill stands a good chance of making progress. However, her allegation that "euthanasia by another name" was being practised by some doctors infuriated the British Medical Association.
Mrs Winterton said the law had been undermined by guidance drawn up by the BMA this year on withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatment in special cases, such as patients in a persistent vegetative state. However, the BMA insisted that its guidance was intended to help doctors make compassionate decisions about treatment at the end of life, for patients with no prospect of recovery.
Telegraph, 6 December 1999
Patients 'left starving to death in NHS' - Elderly patients are dying because
of an unspoken policy of "involuntary euthanasia" designed to relieve
pressure on the National Health Service, said Dr Adrian Treloar, consultant and
senior lecturer in geriatrics at Greenwich Hospital. Sir John Grimley
Evans, professor of clinical geratology at
'People are just being written off by the system' - The testimony of powerless adults who have watched their parents die in hospital wards in pain, discomfort and without dignity is compelling evidence of age discrimination in the NHS. These shocking accounts could be dismissed as anecdote, or exceptional cases, were it not for the experiences reported by doctors. These are backed by research carried out by physicians and various relevant charities. Dr. Mike Pearson, spokesman of the British Thoracic Society, said "People are just being written off. There is a difference between a person's biological age and their chronological age. If you are young biologically, you will do just as well from intensive care whether you are 60 or 80".
are the forgotten patients, treated as subhuman - Gillian Rooney describes the
geriatric ward at the
Sunday Times, 5 December 1999
'forced' to take child organs - Dick Van Velzen, the pathologist at the
centre of the row over the removal of organs from dead children has claimed
that he was pressured into taking hundreds of hearts and lungs out to augment
collections at Liverpool's Alder Hey hospital. "They had body parts that
had been there for decades. I repeatedly expressed concerns about it, but they
were brushed aside by the management." He went on to say "I
knew it was ethically improper and I told them so. I told them they should get
specific parental consent for what they were doing, but the hospital ethics
committee decided that wasn't necessary ." Van Velzen has kept a
7in-high pile of documents detailing numerous requests to hospital managers for
action to end the organ scandal. He insisted: "I will come to
Times, 4 December 1999
'outrage' triggers inquiry. Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, ordered
an inquiry yesterday into complaints from parents that Alder Hey Children's
Times, 23 November 1999
'put at risk to protect health funding - Stephen Bolsin, the whistle-blower who
Woman's Hour, BBC Radio, 22 November 1999
of S.I.N.( Sufferers of Iatrogenic Neglect ), Mrs. Gillian Bean, took part in a
discussion with Mr. Alan Bedford, Chief Executive of East Sussex, Brighton
& Hove Health Authority on the subject of the present NHS Complaints
Procedure. Mr. Bedford, who is on the Committee set up in January 1999 by the
Secretary of State for Health to review the NHS Complaints System, seemed
unaware of the inadequacies of the NHS Complaints System, despite the fact that
Mr. Frank Dobson, former Secretary for Health, after oral evidence was heard at
the Health Service Select Committee said publicly: "The present system of
protecting patients is a bit of a shambles". For more details please
read the open letter recently sent by SIN to Mr. Stephen Thornton, Chief
Executive, Confederation of NHS
Times, 19 November 1999
Family to sue over fatal operation - A mother of two who died when a routine operation went wrong at the Kings Mill Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire which has been the subject of a number of allegations of poor standards of treatment in recent years. Mrs Herbert's husband and daughters said yesterday that they would sue for compensation after the coroner said he was satisfied that the cause of death was related to the original operation.
Times, 18 November 1999
Hospital staff shortages 'are killing the old' - The National Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths (Cepod) has found that elderly people are dying after operations because of hospital staff shortages, poor training, and dangerous negligence. A fifth of those who died were put at risk because emergency surgery was delayed by hospital mismanagement. Despite the vulnerability of the patients, they were mostly operated on by inexperienced doctors." An increasingly elderly population does require urgent improvement of skills in this area," said John Williams, chairman of Cepod "At present there is a grave shortage of trained staff who can provide the best care." The report focused on the 1,428 people aged over 90 who died within a month after operations last year, although Dr Williams said the same dangers were likely to apply to those over 70.
Times, 16 November 1999
Stressed doctors 'hate' their patients - Research at the University of Northumbria has found that stress causes two fifths of doctors to become aggressive or violent towards their patients, with 2 per cent admitting to killing someone through negligent care and 8 per cent to making "serious mistakes", although they did not lead to death. Doctors blamed the failings on the levels of pressure they faced in order to pay for the economies that they say have been made by the Government in the health service. Two thirds of doctors report using alcohol to cope with stress and one third of junior doctors suffered from serious stress-related disorders, such as depression or alcoholism.
Sunday Times, 7 November 1999
GPs caught in £80m 'ghost' patient fraud - some doctors' lists have up to 5% bogus patients (about 3 million nationally). Ghost patients can be created either when people move to other GPs' practices or die and their names are not removed, or by doctors who intentionally invent names.
This is just part of the fraud and mismanagement that is costing the health service up to £2 billion a year, and diverting resources away from necessary treatments in hospitals. Other scams include:
Top hospital trust executives fraudulently awarding themselves extra salary and bonuses worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Hospital consultants claiming full or nearly full NHS salaries while much of their time is spent working in the private sector, some earning £1m a year on top of their NHS pay.
Doctors' leaders confirmed last week the problem of "inflated" GPs' lists, but the health department said last week that it could not comment on the problem because it had not yet "formally received" the report compiled by the Audit Commission.
Sunday Telegraph, 7 November 1999
will be sacked in NHS standards drive - Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary,
will be setting doctors national standards, with regular inspections backed up
by the threat of the sack for the first time in NHS history. Health
authorities will get powers to suspend poor performers following scandals such
as the deaths of the
Observer, 24 October 1999
Doctors 'blacklist' dissatisfied patients- NHS closes ranks against sick who dare to complain about their treatment. Patients are being blacklisted by doctors and sometimes struck off by their GPs for daring to complain about their treatment under the NHS. Many believe that it is pointless and perhaps even dangerous to use the medical complaints system, described by the former Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, as 'a shambles', because it is so heavily weighted against them. This is set to change when a forthcoming report from the Health Select Committee condemns the NHS complaints system and recommends reforms that would make the procedure independent, and seen to be so. 'It is certainly true that patients are blacklisted by consultants and GPs,' said David Hinchcliffe, chairman of the Select Committee. Now a group of patients have formed a campaign group to fight back. They are called SIN: Sufferers of Iatrogenic Neglect. 'Iatrogenic means being damaged by medical intervention,' explains co-founder Gillian Bean. 'It is not snappy, but then neither is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and people know what that means.' SIN knows of 40 cases where patients claim they have suffered on two counts: through human error and because they have complained and now are blacklisted. 'There is a "not in my back yard" attitude because doctors are frightened of being brought in to a case that often involves very senior members of their specialist discipline,' alleged Bean.
Times, 24 October 1999
breasts removed in cancer diagnosis error - A sample 2,000 out of 75,000 people
originally tested for suspected cancerous growths revealed at least half a
dozen women may have had breasts removed or been given toxic drug treatment
after being wrongly diagnosed. A male patient appears to have undergone
treatment for non-existent bowel cancer. The cases were discovered during
a review of screening results made between 1990 and 1995 at the
Times, 21 October 1999
of 70 dead patients sought- Northallerton Community Health Council acted,
following complaints of injury by over 100 former patients of consultant
gynaecologist Richard Neale. Police are also investigating the deaths of
three of Neale's patients following his departure from The Friarage Hospital,
Telegraph, 13 October 1999
Patients unhappy at handling of cases against GPs- The Consumers' Association found that most patients who complain about their doctors to the General Medical Council are dissatisfied, feel that they have been treated unfairly and feel the GMC acts more in the interests of doctors than patients.
Which? found that 82 per cent were dissatisfied with the process, 79 per cent with the way their complaint was handled, 77 per cent with the support they received and 63 per cent with the way they were kept informed. Patients usually complained about standards of care, rudeness and poor attitude among doctors, and found it unfair that they were not allowed to see the doctor's response to their complaint.
Charlotte Gann, editor of Health Which?, said yesterday: "We are left asking the question whether self-regulation of the medical profession is working in the interests of patients". Complaints to the GMC have trebled since 1993 to 3,000 a year, but the GMC rejected 88 per cent of all cases.
British Medical Journal, Editorial, 9 October 1999
Stumbling into rationing - A national debate on values is needed to sustain the NHS. While some countries tackle a problem like the rationing of health care head on - admitting the problem at the highest level, analysing it, declaring their values, and beginning to work on a just, transparent solution - the British deny the problem and nibble at its edges. Surely we can do better. This government, like the last, avoids the word rationing, but it knows that not everything can be done for everybody. So it has constructed machinery with Orwellian names - health improvement plans and the National Centre for Clinical Excellence (NICE) - to do some of the inevitable job of denying access to effective interventions... If the government wants to sustain the NHS then it needs to engage the public... That engagement might also lead to more resources being put into the NHS.
Times, 30 September 1999
The bereaved daughter of a woman admitted to hospital with a leg ulcer wants her body to be exhumed after a leading expert concluded that she was the victim of involuntary euthanasia. Aged 86, Olwen Gibbings had been heavily dosed with a heroin-based painkiller that can hasten death, and her medical notes were marked "not for resuscitation". "We were told by an independent medical expert that she could have been treated, but no treatment was given. She was not terminally ill. She died from respiratory failure, the result of an opiate overdose. I want her body to be exhumed so hair-shaft tests can be carried out to determine the level of diamorphine in her." The medical expert who assessed the case for the police was a colleague of the doctor at the centre of the allegations; the Crown Prosecution Service then ruled that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute. Within hours of admission, Mrs Gibbings slipped into unconsciousness and was gasping for breath. Her death, on November 6, 1996, was analysed by Michael Irwin, vice-chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and chairman of Doctors for Assisted Dying, after her daughter, Olwyn Bowen, sent him the papers. Dr Irwin, who supports euthanasia by consent only, said: "I believe that involuntary euthanasia was performed on Mrs Gibbings. Involuntary euthanasia can be defined as ending someone's life who could consent but does not. Such an action is indistinguishable from criminal homicide. Cardiff Royal Infirmary issued a death certificate listing septicaemia as the principal cause of death. Mr Bowen said: "The only thing my mother-in-law was guilty of was being 86. She was written off."
Sunday Mirror, 26 September 1999
couple who have spent 10 years and almost all their money fighting to find out
the truth about their son's tragic death have finally won a review of the case.
Detectives have re-opened inquiries and the new Welsh Assembly is under
pressure to hold a full inquiry. A parliamentary committee already taking
evidence has heard that doctors failed to carry out proper tests, or find out
what was wrong, and later resorted to falsifying medical records. In a note to
police in April, 1996, Prof Charles Brook of the
Guardian, 22 September 1999
Researchers at the Public Law Project heavily criticised the NHS complaints procedure, saying that there was a lack of impartiality, complainants did not get a fair hearing, and complaints against GPs disappeared into "a black hole”. Researchers were most concerned over cases that raised serious questions about doctors' or nurses' performance, conduct or competence.
A copy of this Public Law Project report may be obtained by sending an A4 size envelope (stamps = £1.05p) to:
Public Law Project
Times, 19 September 1999
nurses at Tolworth hospital in Surbiton,
Times, 2 September 1999
are investigating deaths of over 30 elderly patients at the
BMA 16 Jan 1999
and health officials are investigating at least 50 deaths of patients around
inquiries centre on hospitals in
former nurse triggered the investigation in
could also follow the death of an 81 year old woman in a
Doctor and Hospital Doctor, 7 January 1999
Patients are suffering and some have died as a result of rationing and being denied hospital care in the NHS, doctors have claimed. Of 3,000 doctors surveyed, 20% know patients who have suffered harm and over 5% know of patients who had died as a result of rationing. Ministers claim rationing is not necessary in the NHS but doctors claim rationing is inevitable.
Sunday Telegraph, 6 July 1997
Doctor's Right to Lie - In an astonishing Judgement last week, the
House of Commons Health Select Committee and Legislation
The Committee heard evidence on Elder Abuse in January 2004. The uncorrected minutes include evidence from CHI on elder abuse within the NHS.
The Committee sat during the summer of 1999 and considered the subject of Procedures related to Adverse Clinical Incidents and Outcomes in Medical Care (i.e. Complaints). Minutes of these meetings are available online at the following address:
A response by the Department of Health to the Report of the Health Select Committee (1998-99 session) on Procedures Related to Adverse Clinical Incidents and Outcomes in Medical Care was published sometime in April 2000. No fanfare, and it was not easy to find (surprise surprise).
SIN have written a critique of the NHS Complaints Procedure entitled " The Emperor Has No Clothes" which can be found on the Bristol Inquiry website at: http://www.bristol-inquiry.org.uk/brisphase2_Responses.htm.
Will Powell, of the Bereaved Parents Group, has prepared a press release covering self regulation and its problems, and issued a press release concerning the DOH response
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
The most far-reaching whistleblower protection law in the world is now on the statute book. For information on how this new law offers protection to Whistleblowers, please see an extract from the resource pack produced by Public Concern at Work, which includes a summary of the Act. Public Concern at Work are an independent charity and leading authority on public interest whistleblowing and was closely involved in setting the scope and detail of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Act is still regarded by many, however, as being unacceptably weak. Please check the website at Freedom to Care for further details.
The listing of events and meetings maintained by the King's Fund is excellent, and is at the following address:
If there are any other events you would like to announce, please let me know by email at email@example.com and I will include them here.
Newspapers on the Web
Several newspapers are archived and accessible through the web. Registration is sometimes required, but this is usually free, and needs to be done the first time you visit. There is a lot of variation in what can be done. For example, the Times allows you to retrieve back issues by date (so you have to know the date of the piece you are looking for); the Telegraph allows you to search its database for key words. I have found the following addresses useful - if you know of any more, please let me know:
Listed here are organisations you are likely to come across. They range from the excellent to the completely useless.
Action on Elder Abuse
APROP (Action for the Proper Regulation of Private Hospitals)
AVMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accidents)
Bereaved Parents Group
British Geriatrics Society
British Medical Association
Campaign Against Hysterectomy and Unnecessary Operations on Women
Constructive Dialogue for Clinical Accountability
CROP (Citizens' Rights for Older People)
David Glass Home Page
First Do No Harm
Freedom to Care
General Medical Council
Health Service Commissioner, (The Ombudsman)
Help the Aged
The Informed Parent (support/info for vaccination)
Ledward Victims Group
NHS Codes of Practice
Patient Information Leaflets
Public Concern at Work
SIN (Sufferers of Iatrogenic Neglect)
UKCC (... for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting)
VES (Voluntary Euthanasia Society)
Action on Elder Abuse
Tel: 0181 6792628
Fax: 0181 6794074
0808 8088141 (response line 10.00h -16.30h, weekdays)
Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) exists to raise awareness of elder abuse by promoting research, collecting and disseminating information and encouraging widespread education about the prevention of harm to older. We run a confidential helpline, Elder Abuse Response, which provides information and emotional support for those involved when an older person is abused. Anyone can telephone 0808 8088141 each weekday between 10am and 4.30pm. There is a response in English, Welsh, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
We define elder abuse as: A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
Concern (The National Council on Ageing, Age Concern
Tel: 0181 6798000
Fax: 0181 6796069
The ALERT Carers' Group
Tel: 0171 7302800
Fax: 0171 7300710
The ALERT Carers' Group was started by six women who are or have been carers for family members with a long term illness or disability, and who believe it is inhumane to end patients' lives by starvation and dehydration. Members of the group met in hospitals with their relatives, or came together through ALERT, which is opposed to any actions which are intended to end the lives of patients. They are campaigning for a new law to protect patients who cannot speak for themselves, and to prevent families being put under pressure to agree to withdrawal of food and fluids for financial reasons.
APROP (Action for the Proper Regulation of Private Hospitals)
APROP is a campaigning group. Dissatisfied patients and relatives should contact APROP at the above address. A website on private hospitals is planned.
AVMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accidents)
Action for Victims of Medical Accidents (registered charity 299123)
Phone: 020 8686 8333
Bereaved Parents Group
c/o Chris and Lyn Askew
Tel: 0181 5050117
Marilyn Haslewood and Geoffrey Nichol Tel: 0132 2410006
Chris Treleaven Tel: 0191 4880540
Art and Vicky McConnell Tel: 01235 523484
"A doctor has no legal duty under the law to tell parents the truth when a child dies".
This group was set up in 1997 when bereaved parents amalgamated to campaign for accountability within the health service. Our aim is to obtain changes in the NHS Complaints System which ensure that when a child dies as a result of neglect or of negligent action there will be a mechanism which ensures a full and independent enquiry.
British Geriatrics Society
Tel: 0171 9354004
Fax: 0171 2240454
British Medical Association
Campaign Against Hysterectomy and Unnecessary Operations on Women
c/o Sandra Simkin
Tel: 01483 715435
Fax: 01483 722446
The Campaign was founded in 1995 to focus attention on unnecessary hysterectomies, caesarean sections and breast surgery performed on women in this country, and with the aim of achieving a Women's Medical Protection Act in Parliament to protect women's sexual organs from unnecessary removal.
believe that the medical profession is out of control and has hidden behind
'clinical judgement' for years to prevent the outright abuse which has been the
standard of treatment. Women are literally being robbed of their wombs and
ovaries for no reason at all, unless simply to justify the funding and
existence of doctors. Ninety percent too many hysterectomies are being
performed in the
hysterectomy in the
National Childbirth Trust and AIMS (Action for the Improvement of Maternity
Services) has been campaigning for years against the high and unnecessary
incidence of caesarean sections in the
Through all of these procedures women are being frightened into having major surgery on a 'what if' basis. The vast majority of these women are not ill in the true sense of the word - they are simply suffering the temporary effects of hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately there is no such thing as INFORMED CONSENT in this country. Doctors tell you lies and give you false statistics in
order to encourage you to accept their desired course for you. Many of the operations are procured to provided training opportunities for junior doctors - the President of the RCOG admitted as much to me at a private meeting.
Tel: 020 8880 6088
Fax: 020 8880 6089
Charter88 supports no political party. It is an independent organisation that has over 80,000 supporters that believe there is a better way to run this country. Charter88 believes that people should have as much say as possible about how they are governed and the choices made for them.
Constructive Dialogue for Clinical Accountability
Tel: 0117 9732925
Fax: 0117 9149025
has arisen out of the four years constructive research and investigation
undertaken into the state of paediatric cardiac surgery at the Bristol Royal
Infirmary and the
CDCA has been set up as a national lobbying group.
Its aims are simple and straightforward as follows:-
1) To lobby for an independent medical inspectorate
2) To debate the use of clinical audit as a tool of patient safety and clinical excellence
3) To call for a review of the clinical complaints procedure of the NHS
far CDCA has attracted world-wide interest from both doctors and patient groups.
It was clear that the situation In Bristol was not unique. Doctors have had
clinical freedom to act as they please without regard for patient safety and
without fear of being made accountable for their clinical decisions.
of families have seen their children suffer and die or sustain serious brain
damage. The cost in human terms to these families is incalculable. The cost to
the state in terms of unresolved grief, benefit payments, sick benefit and
drugs administration is not known. In the wake of
What will it take to make the NHS accountable and open? How many more patients must suffer Incompetent medical intervention before the medical profession imposes on itself an independent statutory body designed to pick up doctors mistakes and deal with them efficiently to ensure the safety of the next patient? When a patient goes into hospital three basic questions need to be asked. Does this patient require medical intervention? Has the medical intervention resulted in patient benefit? Has the medical intervention made the patient worse?
the GMC Inquiry Sir Donald Irvine asked Dr Stephen Bolsin how could they ensure
What is the way forward?
There must be constructive ways forward to ensure patient benefit which at the same time reflects clinical excellence.
Clinical audit could be a powerful tool of change within the medical profession if it is used to keep sight of the patient. Conversely it can be used as a tool that appears to inspect standards of clinical care but in fact hides mistakes through statistical analysis, and is designed to do so in order to protect the status quo.
The wounds and scars, inflicted on the medical profession by its own members involved in these various tragedies, need time to heal. But how do we keep sight of the patient whilst this healing of the medical profession is taking place?
How do doctors learn to respect the patients they are dealing with when they are trained to intellectualise the condition or the disease and isolate it from the real person sitting in front of them?
I think doctors today need to be trained to engage with their own humanity and that of the patient. Positive change will only come about if the medical profession chooses to change its own unthinking patterns of behaviour and to step back and reflect. The age of paternalism is over, the age of partnership based on respect and equality is ready to take its place.
If you wish to contribute ideas to CDCA which would help the organisation to engender change based on patient benefit I would be only too happy to hear from you.
CROP (Citizens' Rights for Older People)
Ground Floor, East Wing
Tel: 01622 812228
Citizens' Rights for Older People, better known as CROP, is a free confidential advisory service for older people in the Mid Kent Health Area. We help older people to challenge decisions they do not agree with which have been bade on their behalf. We enable older people to make informed choices by seeking out all the options and presenting them to the client. The client is then able to decide on key decisions or issues that affect their lives.
Jan Price, Project Co-ordinator.
David Glass Home Page
Fax: 01483 740100
This site documents a mother's ongoing struggle with doctors who believe that her son should be killed with diamorphine.
It is a year ago that Carol Glass and members of her family took positive action to resuscitate her son David following the decision of the doctors and chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust to administer diamorphine to David against his mother's wishes and without the sanction of the court. Although not terminally ill the doctors said it would be in David's 'best interests to allow him to die.........' .
As a result of the family's actions in saving David, the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust sought an injunction against them which bars them from being on hospital premises except in the case of individual emergency treatment. They are not allowed to visit any relatives or friends who may be treated at the Trusts hospitals. Carol can visit David only (if he is ever taken there again). David's sisters can only visit David but no more than two of the very immediate family can be present at any time.
First Do No Harm - Doctors Who Respect Human Life
Tel: +44 (020) 7730 3059
Fax: +44 (020) 7730 0818
'FIRST DO NO HARM' is a doctors' action group, formed to oppose the current campaign for euthanasia and to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the World Medical Association’s “Declaration of Geneva" of 1948, the reformulation of the Hippocratic Oath. In this a doctor promises:
"The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration."
Freedom to Care - Liberating the Professional Conscience
FtC, c/o Porter-Williams,
Promotes the expression of social conscience in the workplace, public accountability, ethics at work and supports whistleblowers and whistleblowing.
Provides free information on professional ethics, bullying at work, corporate responsibility, social and ethical accounting and auditing - especially in health care, nursing, social work, police, financial services, education, science and environment.
General Medical Council
Tel: 0171 5807642
Fax: 0171 9153641
of the ) Health Service Commissioner for
Tel: 0171 217
Fax: 0171 2174000
Box BM HealthWatch
Tel/Fax: 020 8789 7813
* The assessment and testing of treatments, whether 'orthodox' or 'alternative';
* Consumer protection of all forms of health care, both by thorough testing of all products and procedures, and better regulation of all practitioners;
* Better understanding by the public and the media that valid clinical trials are the best way of ensuring protection
Help the Aged
St James's Walk
Tel: 0171 2530253
Fax: 0171 4903463
The Informed Parent
Tel/Fax: 0181 8611022
Shouldn't the after-effects of childhood vaccination be discussed before?
It'd make sense wouldn't it? Yet sadly, there's a lot that parents aren't told.
For instance, you might think that it was vaccination that eradicated many of the ailments, like whooping cough and measles, that used to plague us in the early years of this century. However, it's an established fact that improvements in nutrition, housing and public sanitation were chiefly responsible for bringing these diseases under control.
You might think, that apart from a few tragic cases, side effects from vaccinations are minor and short lived. Again, this isn't the case. A growing number of health professionals now believe that vaccination could be linked to a host of maladies including cot deaths, leukaemia, debilitating neurological illnesses and a drastic weakening of a child's immune system.
You probably think that the one person you feel you can trust in this debate is your family doctor. While no one is suggesting that he or she would deliberately mislead you over vaccinations, doctors are under a lot of pressure to toe the official line. History has shown that the medical establishment is far from immune to making mistakes. Yet doctors who raise doubts about the effects of vaccination face official censure, or worse, from their professional bodies.
Then there's the money. Doctors who achieve between 70% and 90% take-up rate for vaccinations qualify for a financial bonus. Below that and they get nothing. Of course, big drug companies have an even bigger interest in vaccination. They make millions of pounds a year from it.
Vaccination, in short, is big business.
At The Informed Parent we think you are entitled to the independent information that will help you to make up your own mind, and that vaccination should be no one's business but you own.
Please contact The Informed Parent for more information or details about becoming a member.
Alexandra National House
Tel: 0181 8027430
Fax: 0181 8027450
The King's Fund
Tel: 0171 3072400
Fax: 0171 3072801
King's Fund is an independent health charity whose goal is to support the
health and health care of the people of
King's Fund has a wide remit in the health and social care field. Although its
primary concern is
For more information about any of the activities of the King's Fund, please
call Andrew Bell on 0171 3072585, or e-mail at A.Bell@kingsfund.org.uk
The King's Fund website has a large list of related organisations at
Ledward Victims Group
c/o Mrs Janet St Pier
85 Church Meadows
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Ledward Victims Group is hoping to achieve the following:
* To establish why an incompetent surgeon was allowed to carry out surgery for 16 years.
* That a "vetting" procedure is put in place for all doctors/surgeons, and that there is a governing body set to review doctors/surgeons on a regular basis.
* There should be "freedom" to all medical staff to speak of any concerns or observations they have about senior colleagues without fear of reprisal.
* There should be an easier way for a patient to complain without being fobbed off.
Our aim is -
To support all patients and to work with you to reduce medical accidents through
information sharing and education
Support is a 2-way process
We want to help you, but we need you to help us with
information, and pinpointing our priorities
We believe that all patients have the right to:
Be listened to
Have a say in their own treatment
Be kept informed of all options
Be treated by healthy, competent medical personnel
Be treated in hygienic conditions
Be treated in well-managed organisations
We are a patient-led group; we apply business-accepted processes, standards and solutions
to medical concerns
Our approach is caring and supportive. Our aim is to fund our services to patients at minimal
/ no cost to the patient
We have been successful in business through our approach, and wish to help others have a
better quality of life
This initiative was launched by Yolande Lindridge; her intervention and approach to medical
issues affecting her and her family led to:
Her son having the best quality of life available to him
Containing her own breast cancer over 7 years without the intervention of drugs
Improving dramatically her osteo-arthritis over 11 years without the intervention of
drugs / surgery
Her mother having a better quality death than that which was on offer to her
Saving her own life in hospital
She must be doing something right!
WE WANT TO USE OUR EXPERIENCE AND APPROACH TO HELP YOU.
WE NEED YOU TO TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES, GOOD AND BAD.
Please feel free to E-mail us if you have any queries or if you would like further
All information received will be dealt with confidentially.
Together reducing the risks for patients
Copyright (c) IFBQ, 2000
Fax : +44 1902 340100
Medical Ethics Alliance is a non-profit making organisation and has been established to promote pro-life policies
http://www.medneg.com/, is subscriber based and the annual fee is £120 plus vat (£141). Our case database, and all other data bases as described below are only available to subscribers.
Established in 1998, is now used by most clinical negligence practitioners, including the NHS Litigation Authority, who enjoy the following unique benefits:
· a Confidential Index of over 1,000 experts under specialities who have testified in open court with relevant judicial comment - updated monthly;
· fast law reports, based on official transcripts, with full analytical headnotes, tables of cases and indexes prepared by experienced members of the Bar.
· authorities considered, applied, distinguished, overruled and otherwise judicially considered;
· indexes of over 1,200 practising lawyers with direct links to reported cases in which they have appeared - and the results;
Tel: 0121 476 6583
The number of cases of MRSA is likely to rise to more than 100,000 over the next 12 months. To date, around 7,000 patients have contracted MRSA each year in hospital and 5,000 die each year as a direct cause.
* Formed to provide practical and moral support to all involved.
* Most patients don't know that they have been infected and then when informed don't know what to do!
* Most hospitals call MRSA an "infection" without telling the whole truth.
* As well as offering immediate help, in conjunction with HAIR (Hospital Acquired Infection Register) we shall campaign for a cleaner approach to hospital hygiene.
Members of MRSA SUPPORT have published a booklet aimed at helping hospital patients and visitors to defend themselves from picking up the MRSA bug. Compiled by their chairman Tony Field, the booklet entitled "MRSA - A PATIENT'S DEFENCE!" outlines practical steps which can be taken to help prevent the spread of the deadly infection.
The booklets cost £1.00 (including postage).
To join the group; the annual subscription is £7.50 (this includes the booklet and 10 newsletters).
Please make cheques payable to MRSA SUPPORT (Please remember to include your name and address. Thank you.)
For further information and assistance, please contact :
Dr. Rita Pal,
Racial Equality 2000,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The truth behind the white coat - a campaign for individual rights within the NHS.
Extract from the website: To experience the working environment of the NHS today means having to compromise on the ideal healthcare and to throw away personal altruistic beliefs about human life. Financial constraints hits the workforce on every side. The nursing staff are the main casualties of the NHS today - bed crisis means nurse crisis.
Nursing workload is far greater during shifts oncall - having to do the work of three individuals on a shift because of cutbacks. No replacements for long term absent or retired staff ; no incentives and paid badly for the high standard of work that is required for every patient. Excessive work schedules unfit for any person by European working standards.
As a junior doctor I was forced to work extra hours without extra pay or gratitude; ordered by management to clerk additional patients that had been on waiting lists for many years (without contractual job obligations) ; forced to watch treatment being withdrawn on the elderly because "we are short of beds" and having to stay ? silent ? for fear that your career maybe ruined. I have worked under conditions where there were no intravenous lines available to provide basic fluids , no drip sets on the wards , an inadequate number of nursing staff ratio so that daily observations could not be done and patients left to die.
This Website Is One Individual's Attempt To At Last Tell The Truth About The "Real NHS" And The "Silent Pressure" That Exists Within The Service Which Prevents People From Revealing The Facts About Today's NHS.
Name Is Ian Perkin And I Told The Truth About The Fiddling Of Cancelled
NHS Code of Practice on 'Openness in the NHS'
This NHS Executive website outlines the Codes of Practice and provides information on what information NHS Trusts are obliged to provide.
Patient Information Leaflets
PILs has a huge self help database
(choose text only version if you have problems accessing the self help database)
Public Concern at Work
Tel: 0171 404 6609
Fax: 0171 404 6576
Public Concern at Work promotes accountability and good practice in
the workplace. We do this by helping ensure concerns about serious
malpractice are properly raised and addressed before the public interest
harmed. Recognised by the
organisation in this field, we are a completely independent charity.
Tel: 0171 9166055
Self Help UK provides a searchable database of over 1,000 self help organisations and support groups across the UK that offer support, guidance and advice to patients, carers and their relatives
SIN (Sufferers of Iatrogenic Neglect)
SUFFERERS of IATROGENIC NEGLECT
Iatrogenic = Medically Induced Damage
For information please contact either Co-Director:
Tel/Fax: 0115 9431320
Tel/Fax: 0192 4407195
SIN is a pressure and support group for victims of poor medical care and their relatives who wish to improve standards in the NHS.
Tel: 0171 6377181
Fax: 0171 4362924
Voluntary Euthanasia Society
13 Prince of Wales Terrace
Phone: 0171 937 7770
Fax: 0171 376 2648
The Voluntary Euthanasia Society campaigns for wider choice at the end of life. As well as our political campaign to legalise assisted dying, we also supply living will forms for the advance refusal of medical treatment.
Your Turn – Campaigning to prevent pressure sores
One in five patients in
Fact: Up to 4% (£4 billion) of the NHS budget is absorbed by pressure sore related events.
If you visit the website you can register and receive details of how you can help prevent the preventable.
Books and other publications.
(Most recent first)
* Don't Tell The Patient - Behind the Drug Safety Net
* Death by HMO: The Jennifer Gigliello Story
* Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics?
* Problem Doctors: A Conspiracy of Silence.
* Trust me (I'm a doctor).
* Who cares about the health victim?
* Medical Litigation
* Regulating Medical Work.
* "Trust me - I'm a Doctor" Understanding and Surviving Modern Health Care
* Death, Dying and the Law.
* Whistleblowing in the Health Service.
* Setting Limits. Medical Goals in an Aging Society.
* The Treatment You Deserve.
* Law and Medical Ethics.
* Rationing in Action.
* Whose Standards? Consumer... Standards in Health Care.
* Hospitals in Trouble.
Title: Don't Tell The Patient - Behind the Drug Safety Net.
Author: Bill Inman
Extract from sleeve notes:
A controversial account by an 'insider' who has been involved with drug development for more than forty years. It is a book for patients (most of us) though some doctors may get the message.
The climax of the story is Bill Inman's ten-year campaign against the exploitation of patients' trust in doctors who are bribed by drug companies to take part in 'safety assessment' studies which are nothing more than promotional exercises. Thousands of patients continue to have their drugs changed unnecessarily without their informed consent. The Department of Health condones this practice because of its commitment to support the drug industry
Title: Death by HMO: The Jennifer Gigliello Story
Author: Dorothy Cancilla
Publisher: Dedicated Press
are the American equivalent of NHS Trusts in the
Extract of review by Kismet Oz:
Perhaps there is no greater regret than when you choose one direction over another, then at the end of a long and difficult journey you realize you've made the wrong decision and paid the ultimate price. This is precisely what happened to Jennifer Gigliello and her family, when Jennifer was only twenty-two years old and experienced medical problems during her pregnancy. She relied on a medical system that was supposed to deliver appropriate care and have the right answers, but instead caused her to become chronically ill and then abandoned her because she was no longer cost effective. In Death by HMO: The Jennifer Gigliello Story, a powerful story is shared which serves as a lesson to all who read it. Unfortunately, this story could happen to anyone or their loved ones.
Death by HMO was not written for vindication. The author, Dorothy Cancilla (Jennifer's mother), writes with strong conviction that their family story should never have to be repeated. She advises readers to take full responsibility for their own care and for the care of loved ones at a time when it is more profitable for HMOs to allow chronically ill patients to die rather than to care for them properly.
The full review is available at: http://www.deathbyhmo.com/KismetOz.html
There is also a Death by HMO web site at:
by HMO is available in hardcover for US$24.45 (includes shipping &
handling. Order from: Dedicated Press,
For more information about Death by HMO, or to schedule an interview with Mrs Cancilla, the Email address is: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cathy Thornsberry at + 1 650 7383697.
Orders may be placed at http://www.deathbyhmo.com/orderform.html
Title: Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics?
Author: Paul deParrie
Dark Cures deals, from a Christian viewpoint, with the deterioration of the value of human life within the medical community -- and how that deterioration can affect you and your loved ones. In fact, the most dangerous place you can be is in a hospital at a time when you are "non-responsive", comatose or deeply unconscious. The information in Dark Cures will help you to prevent you or your loved ones from being "non-treated" to death by the doctors whose ethics have been subverted by a "cost/benefit" paradigm.
Title: Problem Doctors: A Conspiracy of Silence
Authors: P Lens, G van der Wal.
Publisher: IOS Press
ISBN 90 5199 287 4
About understanding problem doctors and helping the profession find better ways to help them and protect the public, the patients. How can we select better doctors in the future. And if everything fails, is outplacement possible?
Hardback: 284 pages - Price: £45.
Van Diemenstraat 94,
Tel: + 31 20 6382189
Fax: + 31 20 6203419
Title: Trust me (I'm a doctor).
Author: Dr Phil Hammond
Publisher: Metro Books
ISBN: 1 900512 60 0
Remaining Constructively Sceptical
Phil Hammond is unashamedly open about his profession. He provides a rare
insight into the dark side of medical culture and training. As patients we can
sometimes experience an overwhelming pressure to keep quiet and hand over our
health care lock, stock and barrel to the doctor sitting in front of us.
Doctors may want to do their best for every patient they meet, but in this book
in a hospital as a patient make sure you have access to this book. It will act as a powerful advocate of your well-being and give you a measure of autonomy.
Title: Who cares about the health victim?
Author: John Elder
Publisher: Klaxon Books
ISBN: 0 9534604 0 1
Book release information:
An uncomplicated, comparative 'inside' into health service complaints procedures, compensation schemes, patients' rights and disciplinary mechanisms in the developed world, with a critical yet objective focus on the UK systems.
in December 1998, this book is the first and only publication - and that
includes the press and broadcasting as well - to disclose the undiluted facts
about the NHS Complaints Procedure and how it works in practice, and describes
the complaints mechanisms in another ten advanced countries. Equally
unique, is the detailed information provided about patients' rights policies,
compensation mechanisms and medical disciplinary practices, not only in the
emerging picture is intensely revealing and suggests that our citizens are
missing out in justice in these areas concerning health care compared with some
nations. Exposed is the congenital flaw of internal investigation and
self regulation regarding the complaints process and medical disciplinary
bodies, respectively, and the immensely difficult route for compensation claims
What is more, Who cares about the health victim? is the result of the first independent research into the subject of health complaints and associated health issues. Its publication has been especially timely, coming at a point when focus on these aspects relating to the health service has been particularly acute, to the extent that the Government is presently looking at the question as a matter of some urgency.
The book takes an uncomplicated look at the 'big picture', the detailed procedures as they currently stand, why they are in need of vital change and where significant lessons can be learned from the advances made in other developed societies.
cares about the health victim? and its author featured in the series of
broadcasts by BBC Radio 4's 'You and Yours' programme earlier this year which focussed
on the NHS Complaints Procedure, medical negligence and connected areas.
The revelations in the book were introduced strongly in this latest Radio 4
review of these issues concerning the health service. It comes as no
surprise, therefore, that this unique book is already successful and in
ESSENTIAL READING FOR THE PUBLIC, HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND PRACTITIONERS, PATIENTS' GROUPS, LEGAL PROFESSIONALS, AND A MUST FOR REFERENCE AND COMMUNITY LIBRARIES.
To Order: Send GBP6.95 (+ GBP1.50 if overseas) to:
Title: Medical Litigation
Editors: Geoffrey Hall and Charles Lewis
"A concise and comprehensive review of medical negligence cases and issues, with practical analysis and comment"
Annual subscription: £75
Tel: 01494 772275
Fax: 01494 793098
Also, for £120 (+ VAT) annually, you can have access to their databases which include full text law reports with headnotes and unlimited downloads. Good for finding solicitors, experts and what your local hospital has been getting up to. Check out the site free (minus the full text bits) at http://www.medneg.com
Title: Regulating Medical Work
Author: Judith Allsop and Linda Mulcahy
Publisher: Open University Press
ISBN: 0 335 19404 4
This book examines the formal and informal regulation of medical work in the British health service. It asks what regulation is for, what systems of rules control medical work and how they are used in practice.
"Trust me, I'm a Doctor" Understanding and Surviving Modern Health Care
Author: Thomas L Minogue
Publisher: Medical Communications
Like other caregivers, physicians enter into a collective and unconscious pact with society. Doctors want the power and prestige of their elite profession, laying claim with some validity to a task that they propose only their select members can perform. Society wants care which will be virtually perfect, yet not be too significant a drain on its financial resources or personal energy. People want protection from their vulnerabilities. Even if our society realises all this isn't possible to the desired degree, it will settle for a covenant that doctors will maintain the fantasy.
Society fulfils its part of the bargain by setting physicians apart with only minimal hassle - a little regulation, an occasional malpractice suit, a few spurts of bad press. Physicians promise what they can't deliver - an aura of availability, essentially limitless expertise, and consistent curing. The deal is struck. The doctors are satisfied and society gets a poor facsimile of the care it bargained for - or perhaps, deserves.
Extract from sleeve notes:
Now, more than ever, understanding our changing health care system can literally mean the difference between life and death.
An experienced knowledgeable physician explains in straightforward language:
o How hospital and doctor services are really delivered
o What doctors are like beneath their "god-like" image
o A method for evaluating your care
o What answers you'll want during a doctor's appointment
o A dozen practical steps you can take today towards better care
Title: Death, Dying and the Law
Author: Sheila McLean
Publisher: Dartmouth Publishing Company
ISBN: 1 85521 657 4
surrounding the end of life, and in particular questions of patient choice,
have seldom been so high on the legal, ethical and political agenda. This
interest has both a
Part I; Law and Ethics at the End of Life:
The Practitioner's View, Nicholas Pace
Patients in a
Are Advance Directives Really the Answer? And What was the Question? Ann Sommerville
Law at the End of Life: What Next? Sheila McLean
Part II; Safeguards for Physician-assisted Suicide:
Physician Assisted Suicide: A Social Science Perspective on International Trends, Barbara Logue
The Way Forward? Christopher Docker
Death and Dying: One Step at a Time? JK Mason
To order: http://www.euthanasia.org/ddl.html
Title: Whistleblowing in the Health Service. Accountability, Law & Professional Practice.
Author: Geoffrey Hunt
Publisher: Edward Arnold
Title: Setting Limits. Medical Goals in an Aging Society, with "a response to my critics".
Author: Daniel Callahan
Title: The Treatment You Deserve.
Author: Dr Iain Robertson-Steel
Title: Law and Medical Ethics.
Author: Mason and McCall Smith
Date/Ed: 1994, 4th Ed.
Title: Rationing in Action
Author: Richard Smith, Editor, BMJ
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Title: Whose Standards? Consumer and Professional Standards in Health Care.
Author: Charlotte Williamson
Publisher: Open University Press
Title: Hospitals in Trouble
Publisher: Basil Blackwell Publishers Ltd
Extract from the introduction:
This is a book about failures of caring in hospitals. It seeks to illuminate the problem posed by the question, How is it that institutions established to care for the sick and helpless can have allowed them to be neglected, treated with callousness and even deliberate cruelty?
There is no simple explanation for this paradox. Individual psychopathology may have a part, but the issues are both broader and deeper. They are broader in that much turns on the attitudes of society to its weakest members, and the resources assigned to their care; they are deeper in that what may occur is a perversion both of individual motives and of social institutions.
The past 15 years [written in 1983] have seen both a series of major scandals, with at least ten inquiries of national significance, and a whole string of lesser ones involving local inquiries, TV programmes and press campaigns of various kinds....Even as this book was being finished in early 1983, The Times carried on its front page a story of neglect and inadequate care in several hospitals for the mentally handicapped, and its long term reader might wonder how much has changed since 10 November, 1965 when it published the Letter to the Editor which led directly to the publication of Sans Everything and the ensuing revelations which have continued to the present day.
COMMENT? BACK TO CONTENTS
disputes and discussions drag on longer than they should because basic terms
are not clearly understood and agreed at the outset. Some administrators
actually use this as a way to avoid giving a clear response to your
questions. Please note that the simple definitions below aim to be free
of moral content - so for example the actual definition of the term
'euthanasia' should work whether you are pro- or anti- euthanasia; the real
debate should be about whether it is right that terminal care is so appallingly
bad in the UK, that some individuals choose euthanasia as their best
option. Legal terms are based on the
Consent: with consent (either express or implied) medical staff can do things to patients which if done by a lay person could result in a criminal charge for doing very serious bodily harm. This exception is based on the assumption that the treatment has therapeutic value for the patient. Consent is implied where the patient quietly accepts treatment without complaint.
Do Not Resuscitate: often entered in patients' medical records to indicate that a decision has been taken that if a life threatening emergency occurs, no action to reverse the situation should be taken. In theory, this decision should never be taken without consultation with the patient and/or relatives. Often coded as:
* 'DNR' do not resuscitate,
* 'not for CPR' (cardiopulmonary resuscitation),
* 'NFR' (not for resuscitation),
* 'for blue card'
* 'not for xxx' (where xxx is the internal telephone number for calling the resuscitation team).
Self adhesive stickers or pencil may be used in order to facilitate easy removal of the DNR decision from the permanent records.
Euthanasia: is the intentional killing of one human being by another (see Murder) where the motive for the killing is claimed to be for the benefit of the person killed (note there is a very big difference between intention and motive in the legal sense; intention – intending to do what you actually did - is usually an essential ingredient of an offence, whereas motive – the reason why you did what you did - only affects the level of sentencing).
Futile Treatment: One definition of futile treatment is treatment that cannot end unconsciousness or end dependence on intensive care.
Another definition of futile treatment is treatment that fails to improve a patient's prognosis, comfort, well being or general state of health.
Homicide: the killing of a human being by another human being.
Manslaughter: unlawful homicide which for some reason does not amount to murder.
Voluntary manslaughter results where the finding would be murder but for mitigating circumstances, e.g. provocation or diminished responsibility.
Involuntary manslaughter results where the intention required for murder is lacking, but where there is intention either to do something unlawful and dangerous, or to do something lawful but do it with a high degree of negligence.
Murder: intentional unlawful killing of a human being. An intention to cause really serious bodily harm can also satisfy the 'intention' requirement for murder.
Negligence: simply means lacking the proper degree of care. From a legal point of view, negligence is not so simple.
The criminal courts only get involved with negligence if it causes death (see involuntary manslaughter), and only then if the level of negligence is so high as to go beyond mere compensation between parties, and deserves punishment.
For the civil courts to consider negligence there must be some resulting loss which can be compensated in money terms. A defendant would only be liable for negligence where:
a) there was some duty to take care
b) there was a negligent breach of this duty
c) the negligent breach of duty directly caused a loss
d) the loss was foreseeable
e) the negligent breach of duty causing the loss must be the most likely cause of the loss where there is more than one cause.
Ordinary Treatment: all medicines, treatments and operations which offer a reasonable hope of benefit to the patient and which can be obtained and used without excessive expense, pain or other inconvenience.
Suicide: occurs when a person kills themselves. This is not an offence; neither is an unsuccessful attempt. Helping someone to commit suicide (in legal terms, 'aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring') is an offence, and may amount to murder.
Supply Driven Demand: a situation where staff do not ask for things which they know are not easily available.
Terminal Illness: an illness which, regardless of the use of life sustaining procedures, would produce death and where the use of these procedures only serves to postpone the moment of death.
If you wish to add your own account , please email it in a similar format to those appearing below to email@example.com
Patient: Margaret Green, Aged 81, died January 1996.
Green was an active pensioner, who had travelled by bus on the morning of her
admission to hospital to do voluntary work for Oxfam. She died in a
The hospital claims that this was an isolated case resulting from an unfortunate series of communication failures resulting in nobody noticing the gross dehydration, the increasingly swollen abdomen and the failure of the surgeons to show up.
An Isolated Case? The way the hospital treated my mother was slick, economical (three litres of saline, no antibiotics, no analgesics over a five day period is cheap!) and involved a lot of looking the other way. I now know this was not the first (or last) case of its kind at this hospital. The hospital's response to my complaint took nine months. It was skilfully worded and evaded the real issues. Again, I feel that this was a tried and tested response. The same applied to the independent review and the Ombudsman. Twelve years on and I am no closer to finding out why these failures in my mother's treatment occurred or who was responsible. The complaints process was a complete waste of time.
Patient: Neil Askew, Aged 11½, died 31 December 1996.
Neil was taken to see his G.P. following headache, vomiting and the appearance of an unusual rash on his foot. The G.P. suspected meningitis and telephoned the hospital to arrange Neil's admission and clearly referred to the headache, vomiting and rash. The doctor did not tell Neil or his mother of his provisional diagnosis, neither did he administer any antibiotics. He gave them a referral letter and told them to make their own way to the hospital.
At the hospital, Neil waited 1 hour 40 minutes to be assessed by the triage nurse, although she had read the referral letter upon Neil's arrival. She expressed no concern when shown the rash, and instead asked for a urine sample (useless for confirmation of meningitis). A further 1 hour 40 minutes were spent in the paediatric waiting room. Medical staff were unhelpful and unconcerned as has condition worsened. Neil's parents finally succeeded in getting a nurse to take his condition seriously, but he lost consciousness before a doctor could examine him and died 8 hours later.
Throughout the investigations which followed, staff lied and hospital investigators dragged their feet. The green "Applications for Admission" form which clearly stated "Headache/Rash" was intentionally suppressed by clinical staff and administrators, although Neil's parents were repeatedly told that nobody was aware of Neil's rash. The Ombudsman declined to take any robust action despite being shown proof of this intentional and gross maladministration.
One local 'resolution', two 'independent' reviews and an Ombudsman's report have revealed little and achieved even less. The investigations surrounding Neil's death have taken three years and cost approximately £25,000, but have failed to reveal why things went wrong or who was responsible.
Patient: Kathleen Stenson, Aged 81 years
has come to our attention that Mrs Kathleen Stenson and her son William are
being subject to abuse at The Court Nursing Home, West Felton, Oswestry in
William is in a lone struggle right now, against Shropshire Social Services and The Court Nursing Home who appear to be acting beyond their powers in denying him freedom to visit with his mother in privacy and by fabricating innuendos and false accusations against William with the result that he is supervised during visits to his mother, that conversations between them are being listened to including censorship and interfering with the private mail of Mrs Stenson, all being perpetrated by the management of the nursing home.
William on all his visits to his mother finds her parched and requesting water. He complains to management who, instead of wanting to quench Mrs Stenson's thirst, call the cops and social services. Please visit http://www.southerncrossnursinghomes.com/ and see how you can help.
Patient: Robert Powell, Aged 10 years, died 17 April 1990.
Powell died of a treatable condition called Addison’s disease which, unknown to
his parents, had been suspected four months before Robbie’s death, when he had
been an inpatient at
The Powells were refused an Inquest. The senior partner at the health centre refused Mr Powell's request for an investigation into Robert's death. The Powells had no other option but to complain to the appropriate Family Practitioners Committee. A subsequent appeal hearing at the Welsh Office collapsed because of maladministration which the Welsh Office vigorously denied for three years. However, even when the Powells were vindicated, and the Welsh Office were forced to admit the maladministration, the Powells were still refused their statutory right to a fair and honest investigation into Robert's death. The Powells were forced into a civil action for negligence hoping that the truth would be established. However, that wasn't to be. In 1996 West Glamorgan Health Authority admitted liability for Robert's death with the same information that was available on the night the child died - £80,000 was paid into court. The Powells did not receive any compensation as they challenged the Judgement that GPs had no legal duty to tell parents the truth following a child's negligent death. The case is currently in the European Court of Human Rights. The police investigated the case between 1994 and 1996 but the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] said that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any of the doctors. Mr Powell challenged the CPS's decision and was informed that no stone had been left unturned by the police and it was a matter for conjecture as to whether any enquiries by the police would reveal further material and significant evidence. It later came to light that the GPs under investigation had been providing a service as police surgeons for the past 20 years, to the very police force that had inadequately investigated Robert's death. Following a formal complaint in 1998 the police investigation was reopened and there are now at least 16 lines of inquiry notwithstanding the same factual information was available in 1996. In Mr Powell's view, this highlights the inadequacies of the initial police investigation and also the failure of the CPS to properly assess the case. The outcome is anxiously awaited.
It is the view of the Powells, and that of many others, that the NHS complaint procedures are conveniently structured to protect the medical profession. There is no current mechanism to address impropriety and the abuse of power by individuals within the NHS investigating authorities and government. The absence of a deterrent not only breeds complacency but encourages individuals, with a conflict of interest, to cover up medical mistakes. The Powells have taken their complaints to the Prime Minister on several occasions. However, the complaints are referred straight back to the individuals complained against and the complaints are again brushed under the carpet of deceit. It is the failure of the government to address public concern that leads to such atrocities as the Bristol Heart Babies and many others.
We owe respect to the living - to the dead we owe only truth. Voltaire
Patient: David Glass, Aged 17 years.
Hospital: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Glass was born prematurely at 30 weeks gestation on 23 July 1986 in
Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, she met a consultant, Mr Forest
steroids in preparation for an endoscopy. On his way to the operating theatre, his mother was asked to sign a consent form for tonsillectomy. Following the operation he had four convulsions and was treated with a tranquilliser, called diazepam. He was placed on a life support machine, and suffered from pneumonia and blood poisoning caused by three types of bacteria. He was tube-fed with pre-digested food, which gave him severe diarrhoea, and was given oral antibiotics. He was discharged, but had to be re-admitted as his pneumonia had not cleared. The medical team wanted to give him diamorphine and allow him to die, but his
mother refused, with the support of a solicitor. Over the next month or two he spent a lot of time in and out of hospital, and in October 1998 diamorphine was again suggested and the mother refused, but the Chief Executive of the hospital endorsed the treatment, and the police advised against his mother taking him
home. David was treated with a subcutaneous diamorphine drip and was given no food or fluids. When he deteriorated, turned blue and virtually stopped breathing, his mother and relatives removed the drip and stimulated him by rubbing, and smelling salts, and he improved. He was sent home under police escort. The GP gave him a morphine antagonist, intravenous antibiotics and oxygen, and changed the liquid food. By March 1999 he was feeding again without the tube. Carol went to Court to establish the right to an assurance that, should David be re-admitted, he would not be given diamorphine. She was told it was "not in David's interest" to keep him alive.
(Details withheld at author's request)
Vaccine Damage is only the Beginning
The effects of vaccine damage on an infant are not just a simple life-long single tragedy. The repercussions of that initial event will often stimulate other tragedies that, taken together, exacerbate the epitonic aspects of that
person’s life. It may be appropriate therefore to give you a snapshot of some of these events that have darkened my daughter’s life. I am sure that these sorts of events are not uncommon and are probably mirrored in the lives of others who have been similarly damaged. L was born a healthy child to loving parents in 1960. We were told that it was in her best interests to have her vaccinated at six-months of age [DPT]. So we did just that. Almost immediately after the first vaccination L went into a paroxysm of convulsion, but seemingly recovered after a few days. This was reported to the doctor at the time of the next appointment for phase two of the programme. The doctor said that she would give only a
reduced dose (thereby acknowledging there was some contraindication to subsequent doses). Again within a very short time (the same day), further and more complicated convulsions occurred and L was seriously ill for almost a fortnight. The doctor then decided that no more vaccinations should be given.
Subsequently after neurological investigation L was pronounced to be brain-damaged.
L was lovingly cared for by her parents, but at the age of ten months, whilst still being breast-fed, she had an accident that required hospitalisation. The hospital told my wife and me that we could only visit her once a day at 6 p.m.; and further my wife was given 36 hours to wean L from the breast. L was in hospital for three weeks and returned home a devastated child. As parents we were left to cope with our child, without any adequate advice on what we might expect, and when she developed some behavioural problems through her lack of ability to understand the corner of the world into which she had been so violently thrown, she was put into a drug regime (at the age of eight) that has
continued more or less continuously until the present day. When L was about 20 we moved to another part of the UK and she was put into a respite care situation, on the advice of her then GP, so that we could make the transition and at the same time gain a little time to recover from the years of caring for our damaged child. The private Home that took L, registered by social services, found that she did not sleep very well. The care staff, rather than feel sympathetic and be understanding of her temporary separation from her parents, told the
manager that if L was not removed from the Home by the time they came on duty the following night, they would not remain on duty. The manager therefore had L admitted to a local mental handicap hospital, where she was put on a ward of teenagers who were there mainly for disruptive behaviour. L was terrorised and
received serious injuries when she was struck with something like a paling from a fence that still had the nail embedded in it. Her foot and hand were affected by acute cellulitis for about six weeks. She was so affected by this terrorism that she often fainted with alarm and had to be admitted several times to the hospital infirmary. By the time she was discharged some fourteen months later she was doubly incontinent and so drugged that she was incoherent and uncoordinated. By this time her mother was ill and the hospital in the new area was asked for assistance. This was refused, and the same week L’s mother died. I was then her sole carer, and was left to cope as best I could. Eventually
the hospital took in L, first as a day patient, and then admitted her full-time because I was working.
L was a patient there for about ten years, and during that time she was assaulted by being bitten by another resident on four occasions, on two of those, suturing was necessary to her hand and face. The hospital promised to separate the two women but did not do so until after the third occasion. The fourth biting incident was by another resident. When I started to take legal action against the health authority for lack of care, L was seen by a plastic
surgeon who assessed her injuries that had by then healed to scars. His view was that as she was ‘mentally handicapped’ she would not be aware of the disfigurement and that damages would be little or none. So I took-up the matter as a complaint with the health authority that promised to look after her better in the future. Following that she was placed in a locked ward, where a further attack took place. Finally as a sop, so to speak, the first attacker had all of her bottom teeth removed. [A ploy that was mistakenly determined to avoid
her causing harm to anyone else.]
L was rehabilitated from hospital in 1992 into a community living situation where she was placed with one other handicapped person and a team of carers on 24-hour duty. By this time she had (unknowingly to her carers) developed PTSD as a result of the trauma she had experienced in hospital. Her long experience of being faced with situations from which she could not escape or defend, had brought about reactions that when triggered would put her into an anxiety state. A state that was not understood, because her history had not been explained nor had her initial neurological impairment ever been investigated. So once more she was drugged, and again she became doubly incontinent, didn’t sleep properly, lost weight, dribbled constantly, etc. She lost all of her acquired social activities: swimming, riding, music and walking.
The money that financed this community living situation for L was ring-fenced until last year, now it is at the mercy of local government politicians. Due to the need for cuts in expenditure the social services department is taking steps to pass the scheme over to the private sector on an agency basis, and amalgamate schemes so that there would be a minimum of four people to each house.
For forty years L has been misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mistreated and abused, all because her innocent parents believed that they were doing what they had been told was right. I feel that the NHS and social services has a duty to be called on to respond with an acknowledgement of their errors and some substantial contribution to an adequate future welfare of L.
By Mal Bowen.
I welcome the recent news of an increase in the state pension, but have misgivings as to whether it will be good news for all pensioners. The reason for my scepticism is that for the past four years my wife and I have been campaigning for justice for my late mother-in-law, who was a victim of involuntary euthanasia.
Throughout our campaign we have encountered all forms of rule bending by every authority that we have approached, including NHS trusts, the GMC, the Police Force, the CPS and the Police Complaints Authority. Whenever we appealed to the government concerning this blatant rule bending, we were told that they could not intervene in the decisions reached by any of the authorities involved. Since 1996, I have spoken with the relatives of hundreds of victims, who suffered the same fate as my late mother-in-law, only to discover that they had encountered the same problems with the various authorities, including the government.
I believe that my late mother-in-law and many other elderly and vulnerable people have died as a direct result of decisions taken by unethical senior members of the medical profession, for purely economic reasons. It is my opinion that successive governments have been well aware of this practice, but have chosen not to intervene and act against these despicable people. I believe the reason for their inaction is that although these medical professionals are clearly breaking the law, as well as the Hippocratic oath, they are also boosting the economy, with significant savings to the government on medical treatment, long term care and pensions etc.
In my opinion, a suitable analogy of the government's attitude to these unethical medical professionals would be that of a poultry farmer (the Government) who employs a guard dog (senior medical professional) to protect and care for his flock. The dog is unable to protect all of the birds, as there are far too many for one guard dog, so the dog reduces his workload by killing off the odd old non-productive bird (elderly or vulnerable patient).
The poultry farmer is fully aware that the guard dog is killing birds. But refuses to punish the dog in any way, because of (a) The savings he is making, by only having to feed one dog and (b) The substantial savings he makes from no longer having to house, feed and care for old non-productive members of the flock.
I believe that some unethical members of the medical profession may regard an increase in pension as raising the bounty on our elderly and vulnerable citizens, within the safe sanctuary of the government's blind eye!
Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01227 713661 or fax 01227 711426,or write to:
15 Water Meadows
Extract from the Patients’ Charter. (Page 5, 1995 edition)
“Rights and standards throughout the NHS
Access to services
You have the right to:
receive health care on the basis of your clinical need, not on your ability to pay, your lifestyle or any other factor;”
Mrs Jill Baker
Tel: 023 9226 1009
Fax: 023 9226 1009
12th July 2000.
The trial of Diane Wilde, Raymond Davis and Julie Hodgkins at Portsmouth Crown Court.
These three defendants will be sentenced on Friday 14th July 2000, for saving their nephew's life by thwarting the doctors attempts to end it!
These caring people are not criminals, They are heroes. The justice system has completely failed them. The taxpayer paid for a Queens Council for St Mary's Hospital (the prosecution) but would not provide the same level of service for the defendants.
They were only provided with mediocre barristers, who in my opinion made a disgraceful job of their defence. This was not a level playing field.
1. The defending barristers failed to point out that it was the doctors who initiated the attack, not Diane Wilde; How could she when she was completely occupied trying to resuscitate her nephew?
2. When the defendants went to complain to the police they gave a statement totally unaware that it would later be used against them in court. They were not issued with a caution. In my opinion this is totally illegal and should have resulted in a mistrial! But the Judge would not allow this!
3. The Judge stated that he would not allow any emphasis on the administration of Diamorphine to David Glass? As this was the sole reason why the struggle took place when David's relatives rescued him from the continued administration of Diamorphine and resuscitated him, how can this then be seen as a fair trial?
4. Carol Glass, David's mother has asked the police to investigate the case against the doctor's perjury in the witness box and their attempts to murder David. She, quite rightly in my opinion, feels that the police have no intention of doing any such thing! Is this British Justice, I think not!!!
In my opinion this trial was completely unfair to the defendants and the Home Secretary must call for a retrial!
(The "Do not resuscitate" patient at St Mary's Hospital Portsmouth)
Graham Pink was a charge nurse who was fired when he stood up for decent
patient care in his hospital in
Bullying is common in NHS trust
Bullying at work is associated with job dissatisfaction, absence, poor performance, and turnover. In a survey of staff of an NHS community trust, it was found that over a third reported being subjected to one or more forms of bullying in the previous year and 42% had witnessed the bullying of others. Staff who had been bullied had lower job satisfaction and higher job induced stress, depression, anxiety, and intention to leave the job.
Extracted from: BMJ 1999; 318: 228-232.
"Techniques of neutralization: a theory of delinquency" was published over 50 years ago in American Sociological Review. The authors, Sykes and Matza, proposed the theory that, following deviant behaviour, individuals can protect themselves from self-blame (flowing from internalised norms) and the blame of others by justifying or rationalising their deviant behaviour. This theory remains accepted by criminologists today.
Journal: American Sociological Review
Letter to the Editor of The Times, published 10 November, 1965
We, the undersigned, have been shocked by the treatment of geriatric patients in certain mental hospitals...
The attitude of the Ministry of Health to complaints has reinforced our anxieties. In consequence, we have decided to collect evidence of ill-treatment of geriatric patients throughout the country, to demonstrate the need for a national investigation. We hope this will lead to the securing of effective and humane control over these hospitals by the Ministry, which seems at present to be lacking.
We shall be grateful if those who have encountered malpractices in this sphere will supply us with detailed information, which would of course be treated as confidential.
Strabolgi, Beaumont, Heytesbury, Brian Abel-Smith, Edward Ardizzone, Audrey Harvey, John Hewetson, Barbara Robb, Bill Sargent, Daniel Woolgar O.P.
10, Hampstead Grove, NW3. November 9th.
Sans Everything: a Case to Answer
The letter to The Times (above), with its authorship of Peers, a distinguished academic, a celebrated artist, social workers and clergymen had what Barbara Robb (1967) described as 'astonishing results' in the form of 'hundreds of letters releasing a pent-up rage and misery...including...many from nurses and social workers'.
In due course a selection of this and other material formed the basis of a book edited by Mrs Robb, with a title drawn from Shakespeare referring to the last of the seven ages of man, Sans Everything: a Case to Answer. The heart of the book was a passionate cry of distress at the undignified suffering of so many elderly people in hospitals up and down the country, but in addition there were a number of chapters by experts suggesting reforms which might alleviate this sort of suffering. (extracted from Chapter 1, Hospitals in Trouble)
Louis Dembitz Brandeis, 1856-1941
American jurist who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1916-1939). His opposition to monopolies and defense of individual human rights formed the basis of many of his high court decisions.
The address of this website is: http://www.patientprotect.org
The site is authored and maintained by Roger Green, in memory of his mother.
Roger Green has the following contact details:
Tel: 01227 713661
Fax: 01227 711426
15 Water Meadows, Fordwich,