Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


Leave a comment

Front door to NHS infested with maggots

This is how Danny Boyle portrayed the NHS - the reality is far different

This is how Danny Boyle portrayed the NHS – the reality is far different

 

This is a true story. The Care Quality Commission (the NHS inspector) visited 1000 doctors surgeries and in one case found the clinic so dirty the treatment rooms were infested with maggots.

At other surgeries, consultation rooms did not have doors, providing no privacy to patients. The usual complaint of not even being able to get an appointment was brought into stark focus when inspectors found patients queuing for hours outside their surgery in Birmingham to book an appointment – some were so prepared for this horrendous “service” they brought their own stool to sit on in the street during the wait to be seen.

The CQC also found some GPs were just not up to the job with some not even able to use basic life saving equipment. Inspectors found that in another West Midlands surgery two doctors had each referred the other to the General Medical Council on grounds of incompetence.

This is a report on the front door to an organisation that costs the British taxpayer £120 billion a year! It comes as no surprise. We’ve all got horror stories to tell about the experience we have had at our GP surgery. I remember a time when you couldn’t get an afternoon appointment if you called in the morning and instead you had to call at 1pm to make the afternoon appointment. This we now know was due to a Labour Government target whereby patients had to receive an appointment within 48 hours. Patients, therefore, were barred from booking an appointment greater than 48 hours in advance so GP surgeries could meet the Government target. My GP surgery in Ipswich went one step further and refused even to book an afternoon appointment during the morning of the same day.  This was also the case for mother Diane Church who famously tackled Tony Blair on the BBC’s Question Time during the 2005 General Election. Blair said he found the interpretation of the target “absurd” and ordered the practice to stop.

But the contempt for patients by doctors continued. They colluded with Labour to take a massive pay rise for doing less work – i.e. refusing to undertake out-of-hours care –  leading to patients being left in pain during the night and in one case a man was killed by a foreign doctor without an adequate grasp of English.

As I’ve said before, the NHS is a flawed institution, which harms rather than helps patients. It, frankly, unnecessarily kills patients by the thousands, as we saw at Stafford Hospital. The NHS removes people’s dignity in their old age as we have seen by the way nurses treat our elderly relatives, left to die to thirst in their own faeces. And now it has been proven GPs hold the same contempt.

Enough is enough. Billions and billions of pounds are being spent on an organisation not fit for purpose. It is a political organisation not a health service and needs to be broken up and privatised. Only then will we stop the pain and suffering it inflicts daily when it is meant to be doing the opposite.

A classic case of the political interference is this quote on the CQC GP surgery inspections by the Tory Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt: “Patients have a right to expect the best care from their GP practice. That’s why we have introduced this new, tougher system of inspection which will root out poor standards and celebrate the best.” (my emphasis).

Why should a Secretary of State be even remotely concerned with “celebrating the best”? A doctor giving a good service to a patient shouldn’t be celebrated. In other parts of the world, it is demanded by default a doctor is good – if they aren’t, they face prosecution. Their very handsome wage is there to say thank you. This encapsulates the political interference which is THE problem. This faux praise – along the lines of how “wonderful” our nurses are – may garner a few votes but it is costing thousands of lives.

I was speaking to a colleague in Belgium the other day and she was recounting her experience of dealing with doctors to treat her cancer. She was able to pick and choose her consultant, her hospital, everything about her care. In the UK, we’d be lucky to even be referred to a specialist by our GP before dropping dead, as has been proven in recent days.

The Envy of the World? What a sick joke.


Leave a comment

NHS in Colchester put government targets before treatment for cancer patients

Colchester Hospital altered cancer patient records

Colchester Hospital altered cancer patient records

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – it does. And this time, the police have been, rightly, called in.

Medics and managers at Colchester General Hospital in Essex doctored patient records about when they received cancer treatment to meet arbitrary Whitehall government targets. Patients were left waiting longer than the government target for treatment but the hospital altered their record to say they had been seen by a specialist earlier than they had been. People may have died as a result of delayed treatment. Inspectors found that out of 61 records viewed, 22 had been altered. The Care Quality Commission found the deliberate altering of records showed people had been “placed at risk of receiving care that was unsafe or not effective, due to delays in receiving appointments or treatment”.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the newly appointed chief inspector of hospitals, has moved to recommend the hospital should be put into special measures whilst Essex Police investigate if doctors, nurses and managers have committed a criminal offence. If you caused harm to someone in the street, you’d be in the back of police van before you could say “I want to see my brief” but if the “wonderful” NHS kills patients, which it did in the thousands at Stafford Hospital between 2005-2008, it’s a different matter. We even have the man who was in charge of the NHS killing machine when it was in full flow at Stafford, Labour MP Andy Burnham, still denying responsibility and his current job is, sickeningly, Shadow Health Secretary.

Frankly, when news broke yesterday about Colchester Hospital fiddling the cancer treatment waiting times, I wasn’t surprised. When government targets were not imposed prior to 1997 it didn’t help; when the Labour Party imposed hundreds of targets – dropped from Whitehall –  it hasn’t helped either. In fact having top-down targets from Westminster seems to have unleashed the inner evil (and I use that word deliberately) in people. Nurses at Stafford Hospital displayed the behaviour of concentration camp guards rather than caring health professionals, leaving elderly women soiled in their beds and forced to drink water from dirty vases because they were so dehydrated. Oh, let’s recap: has anyone been prosecuted for these barbarous acts? Err, no!

The NHS is fundamentally flawed as an organisation. I can’t understand why when we now know State-run coal mining, State-run airlines, State-run telephone companies are not efficient and do not give a good service to customers must we continue to kid ourselves State-run healthcare is any different. Considering the NHS has the ability to kill or keep alive its ‘consumers’, more focus should be placed on providing a healthcare system which uses the most efficient working model. The State has been proven time and time again as useless at running organisations: how more people need to die before we look around the world for a better system of healthcare, such as in the Netherlands?


1 Comment

NHS death rate 45% higher than in United States

NHS is a death trap

NHS is a death trap

So are you going into hospital in the UK’s “wonderful” NHS soon? You might wish you were being treated in America.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman who pioneered the use of hospital standardised mortality ratios (HSMRs) to measure higher (or lower) than expected death rates last week released previously unpublished data showing horrific death rates in NHS hospitals during 2004. Sir Brian was so shocked he thought his data must be wrong and has spent months having his data scrutinised by other academics to look for a flaw in his methodology. They couldn’t find one. Sir Brian then felt compelled to publish and the alarming results were broadcast by Channel 4 News last week.

Sir Brian calculated if you are treated in an NHS hospital you are five times more likely to die from pneumonia and twice as likely to be killed by blood poisoning than if you had the SAME procedure in the United States. Death rates in NHS hospitals in 2004 were also 22.5 per cent higher than six other western countries including Canada and France. Once the figures were adjusted the NHS death rate was 58% higher in England than the average in the best performing of the seven countries.

The data of course is nearly 10 years old and death rates in recent years are not yet available.

The NHS is clearly not the “envy of the world”, as the Left love to call the bloated state provider of healthcare. Once you push past the grinning politicians who extol our “wonderful” doctors and nurses the experience hundreds of thousands of people have when treated by the NHS is far from wonderful. In thousands of cases, families found the NHS needlessly killed their loved one.

So why is the United States far better at keeping people alive when they go into hospital for a routine operation? Professor Sir Brian Jarman believes – rightly in my opinion – that the US has a more transparent health care system that has a culture of flagging up failings so they can be dealt with quickly and subsequently improving the health care service for the patient. In the UK, if a manager or nurse voices a concern about resources on a ward or a drop in safety standards in an operating theatre they can expect to receive the cold shoulder at best, or be sacked (through vexatious performance management procedures) at worse.

The culture in the NHS is the same as the rest of the public sector and summed up best by Sharon Shoesmith, who oversaw the children’s services department at Haringey Council that allowed Baby Peter to die, when in response to that tragedy she said: “I don’t do blame“.

No one in the NHS is held accountable for mistakes. It’s always the disembodied “system” that is at fault. Managers can’t (of course!) blame individuals despite it being an individual nurse who leaves food out of reach of elderly patients or spends so much time stuck in the nurses pod that they don’t realise an elderly woman is being forced to drink water from a dirty vase to stay alive because she has not been provided a drink by our “wonderful” nurses. 

NHS England chief: Sir David Nicholson

NHS England chief: Sir David Nicholson

It’s not just nurses and doctors at fault. Managers in the NHS are also guilty individuals when it comes to preventing needless deaths. Sir David Nicholson, the outgoing boss of NHS England, was a classic case of who gets rewarded and promoted in the NHS. Sir David presided over the deaths of thousands in his previous job as head of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS trust where 3000 died but he “played the game” and ensured no fuss was made and that Stafford Hospital’s goal to achieve the coveted Foundation status was kept on track by meeting Labour’s Whitehall-imposed targets. So what was Sir David’s reward to adhering to the “I don’t do blame” NHS culture? Why, promotion to chief executive of NHS England of course! For good measure, Sir David even went to Parliament when the Mid-Staffordshire killing field was uncovered and lied misled MPs when he said Gary Walker, former head of United Lincolnshire NHS Trust, had not identified himself as a whistleblower when he raised patient safety concerns to Nicholson in a 2009 letter to him. 

Is it any wonder NHS patients are almost 60 per cent more likely to die in hospital compared with patients in the country with the best mortality rates?


1 Comment

BREAKING: Two Stafford Hospital nurses struck off

Struck Off: Tracey Ann-White and Sharon Turner

Struck Off: Tracey Ann-White and Sharon Turner

The fight back against the NHS killing machine has begun. Two nurses who were working at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009 when 1,200 patients unnecessarily died have been struck off.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council today found Tracey Ann-White and Sharon Turner guilty of falsifying A&E discharge time records (to meet the Labour Government centrally imposed targets).  During the Council’s ruling, they also judged Turner had used abusive language towards patients.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of doctors and nurses are likely to have committed malpractice, considering 13,000 patients needlessly died during the same time period.

More to follow…


2 Comments

UK state-sponsored death plan to be scrapped

nhs deaths

A story at the weekend which was eclipsed by Prof Sir Bob Keogh’s report (to be published later today) into 13,000 unnecessary deaths in 14 NHS Trusts was the Government’s decision to scrap the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), dubbed the death plan for its sole aim of killing off patients at the end of their lives to free up NHS hospital beds.

The LCP was promoted by doctors and nurses as a programme to give terminally ill patients a dignified death. It was nothing of the sort. NHS Trusts were incentivised with money to put people on the death plan and the more who were killed off through its use the more dosh the NHS Trust got their bloodied hands on.

The Department for Health ordered an inquiry into the LCP, it’s practices and the experiences of patients placed on the plan and their relatives. Liberal Democrat health minister, Norman Lamb (who I’ve always had a lot of time for, especially his work on the credit card industry), branded the LCP “a national disgrace”, which is an understatement considering the evidence collected from patients’ relatives.

People placed on the LCP were refused water to the extent some were seen desperately sucking at wet sponges. Nurses (yep, those “wonderful” nurses again) involved in the implementation of the death plan were described in the LCP review report as “uncaring, rushed and ignorant” and of using “brutal or callous language” with the word ‘futile’ scrawled in big letters in one patient’s notes who had been placed on the death plan. There were several reports of doctors and nurses passing the end of patients’ beds saying loudly “Oh, is X still with us?

Once patients were placed on the LCP, there was no course of appeal. That was it. The only exit was death. Some patients, desperate for water, were heavily sedated to shut them up. Where relatives could, they gave them the water they were crying out for only for nurses to scream at them from across the ward to not given them a drink because they were on the LCP. There were multiple accounts of this behaviour from nurses.

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was basically a doctor’s order to starve a patient to death with even junior doctors in the middle of the night giving the order the patient should die. This is the UK in the 21st Century not Hitler’s Germany but it might as well be.

Thankfully, the LCP is being scrapped and to be replaced with a system (yet to be explained by ministers) whereby patients who are at end of their lives are treated as individuals with their own tailored care plan. I could have told them that before the LCP was implemented nationwide by the state health care system (which even those who can go private have to use). This is what socialism looks like in the raw: a killing machine.

Today Jeremy Hunt, the current Health Secretary, will address Parliament on the Keogh Report into the 13,000 needless deaths, which are on top of the LCP deaths where it was deemed “legal” to kill.

The NHS is not fit for purpose and in many cases doctors and nurses are acting like guards in Auschwitz rather than caring health professionals in the seventh richest country on Earth. We need words from the Health Secretary today explaining what he is going to do about this catastrophe in our hospitals but we also need visual action: nurses and doctors taken from hospitals in handcuffs might be a good start.


1 Comment

Police investigate up to 300 deaths at Stafford Hospital

mid staff nhs trust

I was glad to see this morning that, despite politicians from all hues wishing the slight matter of 1,200 patients dying needlessly at the hands of our “wonderful” NHS doctors and nurses would just go away, the police take a different view and have narrowed down the most serious cases to 200-300, which are being “thoroughly reviewed“.

From chief executioner executive Sir David Nicholson (being paid off to the tune of a £1.9 Million pension pot – although he’s not going until March next year) through the multiple management layers to the doctors and nurses who let elderly patients suffer horrific thirst (to the extent they were forced to drink from vases) and made them wallow in their own faeces, it would be a travesty of justice on a monumental scale if no one from the “wonderful” NHS doesn’t go to clink for this.

Some of the NHS scenes described in the Francis Report were straight out of a Nazi concentration camp and we know what happened to some of those who were “just following targets orders” when they got to Nuremberg. Of course, our justice system is a lot more civilised than the wards of Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009, so right-minded people only expect the guilty managers, doctors and nurses to go to jail.


Leave a comment

NHS death rate soars the later in the week you have your operation

NHS logo

Don’t have an emergency at the weekend – if you don’t mind?

A study has found that the later in the week you have an operation in an NHS hospital, the greater the chance you will die.

Researchers from the health analyst group Dr Foster Intelligence found if you have elective – i.e. planned – surgery on a Friday you are 44% more likely to die than those who have their operation on a Monday.

So why is this the case? Surely, the “wonderful” NHS is ready and waiting to provide your every need 24 hours a day, as the BBC NHS documentary Keeping Britain Alive tells us week in, week out, at the moment? Well, this is not actually true.

You see, the NHS only exists because the Consultants (the doctors who have reached the pinnacle of current knowledge in their specialism as opposed to everyone else who is still learning or not competent enough), who were against the formation of the NHS back in the 1940s, were bribed to get on-board by being allowed to continue their private practice on NHS premises. This ‘bribe’ is still in place today. And without Consultants, you have no NHS. Period. So Consultants have a lot of leverage on how the NHS functions and, as any human being would, they take the easier option and have dictated their normal working hours are 9-5, Monday to Friday.

So if you have an operation on Friday afternoon, Mr Expert Consultant ain’t going to be around on Saturday and Sunday during the critical 48 hours post-op recovery phase.  You’ll just have a stroppy nurse and a junior doctor who can’t even draw blood without hacking your arm to pieces (I know – because this happened to me after I was taken to A&E on a Friday night after a car accident some years ago). Therefore, if you develop post-op complications, you can see why your chance of making it through the night are somewhat reduced.

Despite the rhetoric of “patient-centred care”, it is nothing of the sort. If you want some carpentry done at your house, can you provide a date to the carpenter when you want the work done? Yes, of course. If you need your hip replaced, can you provide a date to the NHS when you want the operation done? No, an NHS clerk does and then tells you when they expect you. So with these study results on mortality risk released to the public today in the British Medical Journal, you can’t even take action to mitigate your risk of dying: it’s all decided by the NHS faceless machine. Isn’t the NHS just “wonderful”

It made me laugh when a doctor said on Sky News this morning that a solution to this high death risk later in the week was to have a “7-day hospital”, as if this was some incredible blue-sky thinking idea. This is why big Government is bad: they are completely incapable of delivering anything resembling a quality product.

This latest story on the NHS demonstrates how woefully out of date it is as an institution. We found State-control of our car manufacturing, and services such as telephone, water, electricity, gas, planes and even your travel agency did not work and frankly led this country into bankruptcy in the 1970s but still our greatest need of all – healthcare – remains controlled and delivered by the State.

In the 1970s, the lights went out because of State-controlled monopolies; in 2013, your lights literally go out and you die because of a State-controlled monopoly.

Isn’t it time we also brought our healthcare into the 21st century too?