Displaying items by tag: NHS
An undercover reporter worked inside the Edenfield Centre caring for people held under the Mental Health Act who are at serious risk of harming themselves or others. With a hidden camera, he filmed staff swearing at patients, taunting and mocking them in vulnerable situations - when they were undressing - and joking about their self-harm. Patients were being unnecessarily restrained as well as being slapped or pinched by staff on some occasions. Some female staff acted in a sexualised way towards male patients. Ten patients were being held in small seclusion rooms, designed for short-term isolation to prevent immediate harm, for days, weeks or even months, with only brief breaks. Patient observations, a crucial safety measure, were being regularly missed, and records falsified. Seven members of staff were seen sleeping on shift. A consultant psychiatrist said the footage showed a ‘toxic culture’ among staff of ‘corruption, perversion, aggression, hostility, and lack of boundaries’, which were undermining patient recovery.
During lockdown newspapers reported thousands dying weekly. But last week 1,082 more people died than would be expected. These ‘excess deaths’ have averaged 1,000 for 15 weeks this year: they are not Covid deaths, so not newsworthy. Most deaths occur in private homes. This year there were 6,000 fewer deaths than expected in hospitals and care homes but over 17,000 more in people’s homes in England and Wales alone. Doctors are concerned about the unexpectedness of these deaths. 30- to 59-year-olds have excessively high death rates with heart attacks and diabetes. Symptoms were untreated during lockdown. People who need treatment now are struggling to get it. Waiting lists are larger than ever and getting a GP appointment is a lottery. Unless these issues are addressed, these diseases will continue to go untreated.
The BBC have discovered that Scots with learning disabilities and autism have been locked in secure hospitals and psychiatric wards for decades, unable to get out despite ministers saying 22 years ago they should be living independently in the community. One person with a learning disability had been behind locked doors for 25 years. Another was cleared for release eight years ago but is still in hospital. Families said their relatives had been left to rot. The Scottish government said the findings were unacceptable and that local services must do more to get people into their own homes. Freedom of Information requests revealed that 15 Scots with learning disabilities and autism had been living for twenty years or more in hospital, 40 for over ten years and 129 for over a year. Nine autistic people with learning disabilities who had never committed a crime were in a high-security psychiatric hospital which houses Scotland's most serious criminals.
Nine in ten NHS dental practices across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment. In a third of 200 council areas, no dentists were taking on adult NHS patients and eight in ten NHS practices were not taking on children. The Department of Health said it had made an extra £50m available ‘to help bust the Covid backlogs’ and that improving NHS access was a priority. While NHS dental treatment is not free for most adults, it is subsidised. There are people across the UK who canot afford private fees, and the subsidised rates are crucial to getting care. The lack of NHS appointments means people drive hundreds of miles in search of treatment, pull out their own teeth, resort to making their own improvised dentures. and restrict their long-term diets to little more than soup.
When Archie Battersbee’s accident left him unconscious, he was put on life support treatment, but months later he had not regained consciousness and doctors said he was brain-stem dead. They planned to stop treatment. Archie's mother disagreed, wanting a ‘realistic time’ for her child to recover saying, ‘Planned death is euthanasia, which is illegal in this country. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when and how he should die.’ On 22 July we highlighted Archie’s situation and the need for law changes so that the vulnerable and their families are protected in end-of-life matters. His parents began legal proceedings to keep Archie on life support treatment, but finally on 4 August the European Court of Human Rights refused their application to delay any changes to his treatment. Continue to pray for changes to be made around hospitals' power to make life or death decisions for the vulnerable.
An MP social care report said the large number of NHS job vacancies is a serious risk to staff and patient safety. England needs 12,000 more hospital doctors (it takes six years to train one) and 50,000+ nurses and midwives, in the worst-ever NHS workforce crisis. Current projections estimate a million new jobs will need to be filled in health and social care by the early part of the next decade. Extra staff will be needed to keep up with rising demands as the population gets older and healthcare becomes more complex and technologically advanced. The situation is compounded by the absence of a long-term plan by the Government to tackle it. 28% of staff experienced at least one incident of bullying or abuse in the past year. Sajid Javid said the Government was not on track to deliver its manifesto commitment to increase GPs in England by 6,000, and NHS pensions arrangements allow senior doctors to retire or reduce their hours and become better-off.
Archie Battersbee’s parents, Hollie and Paul from Southend-On-Sea, have been fighting a legal battle since their son was found unconscious with a ligature around his neck in a tragic accident in April. On 15 July, Mr Justice Hayden ruled ‘it is in Archie's best interests for life-support to be removed as it is futile, compromises Archie’s dignity and serves only to protract his death rather than prolong his life.’ Archie's family appealed the decision. At the time of writing, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are considering arguments at a Court of Appeal. Pray for Archies’ parents who said, ‘Planned death is another name for euthanasia, which is illegal in this country. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when and how he should die’.
Female doctors have launched an online campaign that exposes shocking gender-based discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault in healthcare. Surviving in Scrubs is an issue for all healthcare workers, say the campaign’s founders, Becky Cox and Chelcie Jewitt, who are encouraging women to share stories of harassment and abuse to ‘push for change and to reach the people in power’. The campaign has called for the GMC, which regulates doctors, to explicitly denounce sexist and misogynistic behaviour towards female colleagues and ‘treat them with respect’. Over 40 stories have been shared on the campaign’s website, ranging from sexual harassment by patients to inappropriate remarks and sexual advances from supervisors. The report stopped short of detailing where racism and classism overlap, but they wrote on Twitter: ‘Sexism in the healthcare workforce is intersectional. Race, disability, sexuality, ethnicity, class, gender all interlink to create a multitude of experiences. Sexism doesn’t exist in a vacuum.’
Ritchie Herron lived as a woman for five years and is suing the NHS for pressuring him into the ‘biggest mistake’ of his life. While battling mental health issues, strangers on the internet said he was trans. The NHS clinic he visited didn’t take his mental health crisis into account or counsel him about the impact of ‘sex swap’ surgery. The gender clinic diagnosed ‘transsexualism’ after two 30-minute appointments and prescribed testosterone-suppressing drugs. They ignored family concerns when they warned doctors ‘Ritchie was on strong antidepressants and had many complex issues’. Ritchie was then asked if he wanted genital surgery. Although uncertain, he said yes because ‘having surgery would make therapy available to him.’ The following year he had irreversible surgery and immediately regretted his decision saying, ‘Transition is being sold on a mass scale. It’s sinister. I’m proof the whole system must become far more robust. How many more people are there out there like me?’
Some medical students need to work multiple part-time jobs to afford to complete their degrees. Final year students have stopped training because they don't have enough money to survive.
For that year, they get a bursary to live on (maximum £6,458). It is not enough - especially for those from low-income backgrounds. They are campaigning for better NHS bursaries. Penny Sucharitkul hopes to be a vascular surgeon, but the money does not even cover her rent. She is from a single-parent family, and relying on Universal Credit after her father lost his job during the pandemic. On top of studying full-time, she works as a martial arts instructor and a clinical research assistant. She says working-class students are treated unfairly. ‘We're getting up at 6 am, training all day, then going to work again. It’s incredibly taxing on our mental health. We're burning people out before they've even started in the NHS.’