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Friday, November 27, 2009

Preview Of Obamacare? Hundreds of People Needlessly Die In British Government-Controlled Hospital

Ladies and Gentlemen. May I present the Obamacare version of the future of America:
Poor nursing care, filthy wards and lack of leadership at Basildon and Thurrock University NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust led to the deaths of up to 400 patients a year.

Figures compiled by a health watchdog showed death rates at the Essex trust were a third higher than they should have been...
At first glance you might think that this is a scenario from an episode of the Twilight Zone, but for thousands of British Citizens, this is all too real and caused by understaffed, filthy hospitals. As the Democratic Party tries to cripple our health care at the same time they cripple our economy, there is a ominous message in this story---Government-Controlled Medicine KILLS:
Hundreds of patients may have died needlessly at an NHS hospital due to appalling standards of care, a damning report has found.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

Among the worst failings discovered by the Care Quality Commission were a lack of basic nursing skills, curtains spattered with blood on wards, mould in vital equipment and patients being left in A&E for up to ten hours.

Concerns about death rates at the foundation hospital trust were first raised a year ago, but an internal investigation failed to find anything wrong and managers dismissed the concerns.

But the new report found "systematic failings" in the trust's management, all of whom are still in their jobs. The CQC said its confidence in the management's ability had been 'severely dented'.

The watchdog report comes just months after an investigation into Mid-Staffordshire NHS foundation trust found similar problems, with up to 1,200 avoidable deaths.

Ministers assured patients at the time that it was an isolated incident, but the similarities with the failures at Basildon will raise concerns that there are widespread problems in the NHS.

The key findings of the report were:

- appalling hygiene and cleanliness in A&E

- patients left in A&E for ten hours and treated in full view of others

- four deaths among patients with learning disabilties

- a lack of children's nurses and doctors in A&E

- blood splattered on curtains and mould in vital equipment

- lack of basic nursing skills with failure to feed patients or give medication correctly

- elderly patients frequently developing bed sores, prompting concerns from nearby care homes.

Concerns about standards at Basildon were raised as long ago as 2001, when the Royal College of Nursing described conditions there as "third world" because of a shortage of beds. Since then the hospital has been hit by a string of health scares and accusations of negligence.

The CQC report has now been passed on to Monitor, the organisation in charge of foundation hospital trusts.

Monitor has the power to replace the management at the trust but it is understood none of the board members have yet been threatened with losing their jobs.

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association said: “Yet again patients are being neglected. Lack of monitoring, lack of help with feeding, lack of dignity, avoidable pressure sores. How many times do the public need to keep hearing about this before the Government is embarrassed enough to do something about it?

"We’re sick and tired of NHS managers and senior staff walking away unscathed when families are left with a life sentence of grief.”

Basildon was one of the country's first foundation trusts, meaning it was given special status in 2004 to have more freedom over its spending and did not have to answer to ministers. Mid-Staffordshire was also a foundation trust, raising questions that the system is allowing failures to slip through.

It has also emerged that Basildon became the first foundation trust to be issued with a warning notice over poor infection control earlier this month over hygiene in the A&E department and contamination of medical equipment.

The trust, which has a budget of £250 million and more than 700 beds at its main hospital in Basildon, has repeatedly pledged to improve but failed to do so, the CQC's report said.

Andrew Lansley, Shadow Health Secretary, said: “I am extremely disturbed by this news and the effect that these shocking conditions may have had on patients. It is unforgiveable if any lives have been needlessly lost.

“When the appalling standards of care at Stafford Hospital were revealed we were assured by Labour Ministers that it was 'an isolated case', that sort of complacency is simply not good enough.

“We need to know what happened after the Government found out about the tragedy at Stafford Hospital. Other hospitals with high mortality rates, such as Basildon and Thurrock, should have been looked at rapidly and effectively by regulators and Ministers to ensure that patients were being treated safely.”

Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, has proposed a change in the law to allow these trusts to be stripped of foundation status when they have clearly failed patients.

The CQC has been aware of figures suggesting high mortality rates at the trust for over a year and has been in contact with managers to correct the situation but over the summer, repeat inspections found no improvement.

From next April the CQC can take drastic action including fines, and if necessary closures of departments or the whole hospital.

Cynthia Bower, CQC chief executive, said: “We want to act swiftly at Basildon to nip problems in the bud, working closely with other regulators.

"Our work has uncovered serious failings. The trust has high mortality rates for emergency admissions and we have found evidence of significant problems in different parts of the organisation.

"The trust has taken our concerns seriously but improvements are simply not happening fast enough.

"Our confidence in the management’s ability to deliver on commitments and to turn the situation around has been severely dented."

From next April the CQC can take drastic action including fines, and if necessary closures of departments or the whole hospital.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman said: “If these reports are accurate then it appears there has been a shocking failure in the standards of care at this hospital.

“This Government has set up a labyrinth of bodies and inspectors which are meant to ensure high quality standards in our hospitals but it simply isn’t working. This is yet another case where a hospital has passed the test on paper but where real patient safety has clearly been compromised.”

Mike O'Brien, Health Minister,said: "Patient safety must be a top priority for the NHS and all patients deserve the highest quality of care.

"Monitor, the Foundation Trust regulator, together with the Care Quality Commission has today used its formal powers of intervention at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Foundation Trust to drive rapid improvements in patient care including sending in an expert taskforce to oversee and support this.

"We expect these issues to be dealt with quickly and effectively to ensure high quality, safe care for patients. Their progress will be closely and rigorously overseen by Monitor."

A statement by Monitor said there was a 'significant breach' by Basildon and a taskforce of experts would be sent into the trust.

Dr William Moyes, Monitor’s Executive Chairman, said: “Our concerns about Board effectiveness, together with the concerns that the CQC has raised about quality of care, mean that we are placing a requirement on the Trust to take action with immediate effect to resolve these issues.

"We will be reviewing the Trust’s performance regularly and in detail - if we don’t see measurable results quickly, we’ll take further action.”

Michael Large, the chairman of the trust said: “That Monitor has found us to be in breach of our terms of authorisation as a Foundation Trust is an extremely serious matter and we do not seek to underestimate its gravity.

“I want to reassure our local community that the safety and well-being of our patients is our highest priority."

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