Thursday, March 01, 2007

Children 'are being let down badly by many NHS hospitals'

Children are being let down by the care they receive in hospitals across England, a critical report by the health watchdog says today. Nearly one in five hospitals is failing to provide sufficient emergency life-support care for children at night, while in many others child protection and training staff to treat children are still largely overlooked. In the review, carried out by the Healthcare Commission, three quarters of the hospitals examined scored only "fair" or "weak" for the overall service provided for children.

Surgeons in 8 per cent of hospital trusts did not operate on enough children to keep their skill levels up, while 16 per cent of paediatric inpatient units did not carry out enough work to reach the minimum recommended professional level.

The findings, described by child health experts as horrifying, suggest that many hospitals have failed to comply with national guidelines published by the Government four years ago. The commission said its report showed cause for serious concern and constituted a "wake-up call" for those hospital trusts that did not put the health of children first. It pledged to put pressure on the worst hospitals to improve. The report found that 1.8 million children attended mixed adult-child A&E departments last year and that 2.5 million children went to mixed adult-child out-patients, while 62,000 children were classed as day cases.

The commission praised the work of the majority of dedicated paediatric inpatient departments, with 70 per cent ranked either good or excellent, but it said that the overall service was less impressive. It also looked at out-patient wards, accident and emergency departments and day-surgery cases in 157 hospital trusts.

Among the best hospitals included Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, the Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust and Sheffield Children's NHS Trust. The list of the weakest included hospitals in Brighton, Co Durham and Scarborough. Of those found to have insufficient life-support care last year, eight had failed to assure the commission that the situation had since been remedied.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said that the review had been carried out after recommendations from reports such as the Victoria Climbie inquiry, which listed a catalogue of failures in care. The eight-year-old died from abuse and neglect seven years ago, despite having been seen by dozens of healthcare and social workers who could have raised the alarm. As part of its response to the case the Government set up the National Service Framework for Children and Young People in 2003, but Ms Walker said that some hospitals were still neglecting the guidelines. "This is a wake-up call to the trust's boards," she said. "Do not let another Victoria Climbie take place.

"We have found areas that are positive - the results from the paediatric inpatient wards are good. But we are very concerned about the overall results - the 75 per cent fair and weak results. Children's healthcare is not one of the main services like cancer, hips, stroke or heart disease. It is a specialist area and can tend to get overlooked."

Maggie Kemmner, the report's author, suggested that rota problems and a lack of suitable trained staff had caused 12 per cent of hospitals to report a lack of life support for children during the day, a figure that rose to 18 per cent at night Patricia Hamilton, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said that she was horrified and dismayed by the report. "Seventy-five per cent of hospitals were rated as fair or weak. This is unacceptable, but not surprising, as children's services have long been underresourced and have not been given the priority they deserve," she said. It confirmed the view of the royal college that the current level of paediatric units could not be sustained. Ivan Lewis, Minister for Care Services, said last night that he would consider any action to make a positive difference.


Tuberculosis and illegal immigration

The article below is from a nationalist site but makes a good point. Why is London a world headquarters of TB? The demographics give a clear answer: Immigrants are only a small proportion of the overall British population but are a massive proportion of the TB sufferers. And since the immigrants concerned undoubtedly live at close quarters with others of similar ethnic origins, that some of those others become infected in no way detracts from the immigrant origin of the problem. Many of the "British born" TB sufferers mentioned would no doubt be relatives of immigrants. The fact that many sufferers lived in Britain for 2 years before presenting to a doctor is also of course meaningless, given the slow progress of TB. I presume that Britain, like any other advanced country, has some health screening for legal immigrants so the problem undoubtedly is a direct consequence of Britain's large illegal immigration problem

"Lazy hacks at the Labour supporting Daily Mirror have made some very strange claims concerning TB (Tuberculosis)!

Apparently, despite all the reports from various health agencies and trusts, TB has little to do with immigration and everything to do with poverty! That's why, presumably, it is at sky-high levels in places such as Leicester, Slough, Bradford, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney - but not in Liverpool, Newcastle, Swansea and Plymouth!

Daily Mirror claim: "Half of all TB diagnosed is in British People that were born in the UK!" and "It's a disease of the poor rather than a disease of immigrants"

Government's Health Protection Agency says: "As in previous years the London region accounted for a substantial proportion of cases in 2005 (43%) and had the highest rate of disease (46.3 per 100,000). Most tuberculosis cases continue to occur in young adults (61% were aged 15-44 years) and in the non-UK born population (72%)."

Daily Mirror claim: "Most immigrants with TB tend to have already lived here for two years and contract it due to stress and poor living conditions".

NHS says: "It is true that over half of the people diagnosed with TB in this country were born abroad but immigration alone does not explain the recent rise in TB cases. Around 40% of people born overseas who develop TB in this country have lived here for more than 10 years (but - presumably - have maintained physical contact with their home countries and with people from those countries - Ed.)

If the Mirror tells lies about TB what other subjects does this Labour supporting rag lie about?

And according to the World Socialist Web Site:

"Medical experts are warning about the developing threat of tuberculosis (TB) in Britain, and especially in London. The Annual Public Health Report 2000/2001 produced by the East London & The City Health Authority highlights some of the conditions that have enabled TB to take a hold."

"Districts in East London have been particularly affected: Newham with 108 cases per 100,000 of its population has made London "tuberculosis capital of the affluent Western world". The figures even put it ahead of Russia, where the collapse of the public health system has led to 91 cases per 100,000, whereas in India the figure is 41 per 100,000."

In other words your average Londoner has a higher chance of contracting TB in, say, Barking - than he ever has in, say, Turkey!"


The woman is always right: Not this time. There ARE some bitches

British fireman wins 100,000 pounds in sex-bias case

A fire-service controller whose career was destroyed by a string of spurious complaints by a female colleague was awarded more than 100,000 pounds in compensation yesterday. The complaints made against John Owers, a controller with Devon Fire and Rescue Service, over a period of three years led to him being banned from his own control room, even though investigations found that he had done nothing wrong.

Sarah Kelly, a fellow controller, made 16 formal complaints, including one that Mr Owers should not have taken a holiday in August and another that he had failed to attend a colleague's leaving party. Last year an employment tribunal upheld Mr Owers's claim that he had been the victim of sexual discrimination. It was told that Devon fire brigade had treated him as the wrongdoer even though Miss Kelly's complaints were consistently found to be spurious.

No action was taken against Miss Kelly even though she continued to complain about Mr Owers. Of the 16 complaints, 10 were rejected as too trivial to investigate. The other inquiries found no evidence that Mr Owers had done anything wrong. Among the complaints was one that Mr Owers had stared at her and another that he had addressed her boyfriend, a fire-fighter, as "mate". [Which is a normal form of address in many parts of England]

Miss Kelly, 37, eventually left her job and now lives abroad. The tribunal was told that when Mr Owers complained about the false accusations, he was ignored. A personnel officer told him: "If you had been a woman the whole thing would have been handled differently."

Devon fire brigade agreed a settlement at the start of a remedy hearing. Mr Owers, 53, agreed to accept an undisclosed settlement, understood to be about 100,000. He was claiming for loss of earnings and pensions after being forced out of his job, as well as damages for hurt feelings and compensation for the stress that he suffered during the case. The settlement was approved by John Hollow, the tribunal chairman, who had found the fire service guilty of sex discrimination.

He said: "As time progressed the claimant began to feel increasingly abandoned and unsupported. No action was being taken by his employers, as far as he could judge, to bring the situation to a conclusion. "It is sufficient for us to note that the respondents have concluded that Mr Owers was not at fault and have never instituted any disciplinary action against him as a result of Ms Kelly's allegations. "We are satisfied that the treatment afforded to Mr Owers was less favourable than that afforded to Ms Kelly. Whenever there was a perceived infringement of the restrictions and a complaint was made by Miss Kelly this was investigated. "By contrast, when he complained no investigation was undertaken. We found the respondent's conduct less than impressive. Firm and effective management should have been brought to bear at a very early stage."

Mr Owers, from Exmouth, told the original hearing: "I had done nothing wrong. She has a right to make an accusation but when she had done it six times I wanted to know when they were going to turn round to her and say, `Enough is enough'." Devon fire brigade said that it had done everything it could to be evenhanded and insisted that it gave Mr Owers the same support as Miss Kelly. After the case, Mr Owers said: "I am pleased and relieved this matter has been resolved and I look forward to building a new life."


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