Displaying items by tag: NHS
Nursing strike cut short by High Court
A judge has ruled that a planned strike at NHS workplaces across England must be shortened by a day. It will now end at midnight on 1 May, not 8pm on Tuesday 2 May. The Government had asked the High Court to assess if the last day of the planned action by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) fell outside their six-month mandate for strikes. The RCN general secretary said, ‘The full weight of government gave ministers this victory over nursing staff in the darkest day of this dispute. The government is taking its own nurses through the courts because of their simple expectation of a better pay deal. Nurses will be angered but not crushed by today’s order. It could make them more determined to vote in May’s re-ballot for another six months of strikes. Nobody wants strikes until Christmas. Today we should be in the negotiating room, not in the courtroom.’
Child gender clinic changes
Tavistock Gender Clinic has significant failings and will be replaced, but former health secretary Sajid Javid is concerned that two staff involved in past failings will have key roles in the replacement service. A senior Tavistock clinician has been given a training job in the new service. Sajid said that appointment processes should be urgently reviewed. The Gender Identity and Development Service is the only NHS gender clinic for children and youths in England and Wales, providing assessments and referrals for puberty blockers or hormones when they are old enough. Currently young people identifying as trans do not have issues such as autism and mental health problems investigated. Sajid Javid said, ‘Individuals who oversaw significant failings at the Tavistock should clearly not be managing the set-up of the new system.’ Current health secretary Steve Barclay said the Government would ensure the new service was run according to the recommendations of the independent review.
Junior doctors strike
‘If we keep going like this, we'll have no doctors left.’ This is the message from junior doctors on the picket line of a four-day industrial strike. Speaking outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital, they said the NHS is facing an exodus of doctors unless conditions are improved: ‘It’s about improving the NHS and improving patients’ safety, improving worker retention and making workers feel valued again.’. Their comments were repeated outside hospitals everywhere by junior doctors claiming wage cuts of over 25% since 2008/9. They want a 35% pay rise. Downing Street said the proposed increase was ‘unreasonable and not affordable for the British taxpayer’. A London junior doctor, who is not striking, said the 25% cuts are based on questionable assumptions. The Nuffield Trust calculates the 8% pay cuts up to 2021-22 based on actual earnings. Also, many junior doctors opt to work part-time, then pick up additional shifts at high locum rates. A junior doctor in London earns in the region of £55,000, and that’s before locum shifts.
Deal to avert NHS strikes
A 5% pay rise from April has been offered to NHS staff in England, including nurses and ambulance workers. In addition, staff have been offered a one-off payment of at least £1,655 to top up the past year's pay award. Unions are recommending members back the deal, after nearly two weeks of talks with ministers, raising hopes the bitter dispute may be coming to an end. The offer covers all NHS staff except doctors, who are on a different contract. Fourteen unions were represented at the talks, covering: nurses, ambulance staff, physiotherapists, midwives, support staff, including cleaners and porters. The biggest three - the Royal College of Nursing, Unison and the GMB - are all backing the deal, while Unite the Union has said it cannot recommend it to members but will put it to a vote.
NHS staff cried in interviews
An NHS watchdog said doctors, ambulance dispatchers and other NHS staff have faced ‘significant distress’ and harm over the past year due to long delays in urgent and emergency care. Many staff interviewed for a national investigation ‘cried or displayed other extreme emotions’ when asked about their working environment. One paramedic said, ‘The bad sides of my job give me nightmares, flashbacks and fear, making me hyperactive, sleepless and sometimes not caring about the danger I put myself in.’ One ambulance service worker describes the last year as the most difficult in the decade she has worked there. Staff say pressure affects them outside work. Many struggled to interact normally with friends and family. Others, living alone, reported feelings of isolation and despair after difficult days. The watchdog found significant waiting lists for employee assistance schemes, occupational health and other services. The NHS promises an emergency recovery plan to reduce pressures.
Archbishops’ National Care Covenant
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling for a radical redesign of England's social care system. They said their National Care Covenant will hold the government, communities and individuals responsible for caring for the elderly and disabled to account. It would include investment for communities and a new deal for unpaid carers. Rt Rev James Newcombe said, ‘We're aware that this is not going to be cheap. Our primary view is payment for it has to come out of taxation. We would like to see a covenant rather like the military covenant that currently exists in this country. It sets out clearly who's responsible for what, what we can expect, and helps us to recognise that whether it's from a financial point of view, or in terms of actually doing what’s necessary, we all have a part to play.’
Pray for our young people
A Christian mental health group urges believers to pray for children and teenagers, after NHS data revealed a 39% increase of referrals of under 18s for serious mental health issues such as eating disorders. The youth and student co-ordinator at a Christian charity supporting people's mental wellbeing said the lockdowns are one of the contributors for the rise in referrals and ‘What we're seeing now is the result of what we went through two years ago. If you put yourself in a young person's shoes, that was not the normal stage of life. There are stories already coming out of young people not eating as much and lying to their parents about how much they've eaten.” Also pray for young people as they attend school. This year is a massive stress for those doing GCSEs having already missed two years of education.
Hospital patient’s experience
One patient’s time in A & E: ‘I witnessed the devastation of thirteen years of government underfunding of emergency care. After I phoned 111 they told me to travel immediately to my local hospital’s emergency department. They booked me in for a 9pm arrival time. I imagined I would be seen then but there were sixteen ambulances waiting to offload their patients. The waiting room was a vision of hell. Every chair was occupied. Sick people looking dangerously unwell leaned against walls; the wait went on and on for all of us. I was seen by a doctor at 3am. During those six hours, I witnessed a man with what appeared to be cardiac symptoms collapsed onto the floor, possibly from a heart attack. A toddler was screaming “It hurts, it hurts!” for almost three hours without a break. It was devastating to hear. When I asked a nurse if this was an especially busy night, she said, “This is a quiet one”.’
Potential new offer to health workers
Health secretary Steve Barclay will hold another round of talks with union leaders ahead of planned strikes by nurses. Whitehall said ministers were working on options for resolving the strikes, which could include a one-off payment to reflect cost of living pressures. They recognised that union leaders ‘have to get something for this year’ before they will consider calling off the current wave of industrial action. What level of payment might be offered, and how it could be funded, is not yet clear. There are also concerns that any payment to resolve the health dispute would set a precedent for other sectors facing industrial strife, including education and transport, potentially landing the taxpayer with a bill running into billions of pounds. The moves came as 25,000 ambulance workers staged a second day of walkouts and unions warned they could boycott talks on the next pay round in April.
Over two million British people have long Covid, yet almost three years into the pandemic there is still a struggle for them to be seen by specialist clinics, hampered by a lack of resources and research. Long Covid has symptoms that continue for over 12 weeks and are not explained by alternative diagnosis. Over a third of people with long Covid acquired it during the first Omicron wave. They suffer weakness, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, muscle aches, pain, fatigue, brain fog, muscle twitching, sleep problems, and more. The British Medical Association has asked the Government to increase funding for long Covid clinics to deal with the ever-increasing patient numbers. NHS England's 2022 strategy, set out in July, failed to announce any new funding.