Monday, January 21, 2008

NHS kills thousands -- increased funding no help

Over 17,000 deaths a year could be saved if NHS performance improved, a new study claims today. The Taxpayers' Alliance claims the 34 billion pounds of extra spending on the NHS by Labour has made no difference to mortality rates. Its claims are based on an analysis of World Health Organisation data, comparing NHS performance to its European counterparts since 1981. This took into account how many deaths could plausibly have been averted by the NHS - a measure known as mortality amenable to healthcare. The calculations compare the UK performance to that of Germany, France, the Netherlands and Spain.

The Taxpayers' Alliance says if the UK were to achieve the same level of mortality amenable to healthcare as the average of the other European countries studied, there would have been 17,157 fewer deaths in 2004. This is over five times the total number of deaths in road accidents.

The campaigning group argues its findings show the government's extra NHS spending has failed to deliver results. Report author Matthew Sinclair said: "Thousands are dying every year thanks to Britain's health service not delivering the standards people expect and receive in other European countries. "Billions of pounds have been thrown at the NHS but the additional spending has made no discernable difference to the long-term pattern of falling mortality. This is a colossal waste of lives and money. "We need to learn lessons from European countries with healthcare systems that don't suffer from political management, monopolistic provision and centralisation."


How a superbug cost the NHS 5 million pounds

There is talk of a ski chalet in Verbier and they are drawing up plans to build a holiday home in Ibiza. A plot of land on the Mediterranean island has, it emerges, already been chosen. Leslie Ash and her husband Lee Chapman are certainly in a position to afford such luxuries now - even if they might not have been before.

Ever since the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital accepted liability - back in 2006 - for "shortcomings" in care that left Miss Ash, 47, battling a near-fatal superbug, the only question remaining was just how many "noughts" would be printed on her compensation cheque. The answer was finally made public on Wednesday: 5million. That's six "noughts", incidentally - and equal to the total of every payout made to every MRSA victim in Britain since 2002.

The award would pay for 250 specialist intensive care unit nurses for a year, or 70 consultants; or, indeed, any number of second homes in Switzerland or Spain, where the couple are thought to be about to buy land for their proposed new property. "We can then combine the peace and quiet over there, with the hustle and bustle of London," Miss Ash is quoted as saying.

Now, no one can begrudge former patients like Miss Ash, a mother of two teenage boys, and still best known for her role as Deborah in the 1990s sitcom Men Behaving Badly, some form of compensation, or her luxurious place in the sun. For a time she was left almost completely paralysed from the waist down. Offers of work dried up. Today, she cannot walk without a stick and is in considerable pain ("I'll always be in pain . . . my painkillers only take 50 per cent of it away," she has said.) ....

The deal signed by her lawyers is ten times the 500,000 pounds she was initially reported to have been awarded as a victim of a hospital superbug. Her injuries meant it was "unlikely she would ever be able to return to an active role as an actress", the writ stated. "The size of the payout is large because it takes into account her loss of earnings and future loss of earnings." Miss Ash has said holding the Health Service accountable - rather than making money - was the motivation behind her compensation claim. But we have learned that more than one offer to settle was made during the legal negotiations, including a substantial one in late November last year. Miss Ash insists she was at the "height of my career" when she became ill - hence the record damages. Even her most ardent fans might dispute this....


Bungling BritGov again: "A laptop containing the details of 600,000 people has been stolen, Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced today, in another staggering loss of personal data in the UK. The MoD said the laptop, containing the details of potential recruits, was stolen from a Royal Navy officer in Birmingham, Britain's second city, on the night of January 9. The bank details of 3500 people were on the laptop's database. The MoD said nothing until now for fear of hampering an investigation were the theft to become public knowledge. It comes less than two months after the personal details of 25 million people, approaching half the British population, got lost in the post in a spectacular blunder by a junior official. "The stolen laptop contained personal information relating to some 600,000 people who have either expressed an interest in, or have joined, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force," the MoD said in a statement. In some cases of casual enquiries, just the name was on record. However, for those who submitted applications to join the military, "extensive personal data" could be held. Such details could include passport and National Insurance numbers, driving licence details, family details, doctors' addresses and National Health Service numbers."

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