This article is a frightening portent of what is to come if we allow the Democrats to ram their socialized medicine Bill through Congress to satisfy one of Obama’s campaign promises!
The true scandal of NHS hospitals failing to comply with basic safety standards is revealed in today’s Observer. Research that ranks every general hospital in England against a range of safety measures has named 12 NHS hospital trusts judged to be “significantly underperforming”.
This is despite the fact that last month the Care Quality Commission, the health service regulator, judged overall care at eight of the trusts to be good or excellent. Today’s study by Dr Foster, an NHS partner organisation that collates and analyses healthcare data, also highlights 27 trusts with unusually high death rates. Almost 5,000 more patients in their care died in the past year than was expected.
Revelations of such widespread safety failings will send shockwaves through the NHS, already reeling from scandals at two trusts last week. Poor nursing care, filthy wards and hundreds of unnecessary deaths were exposed at Basildon and Thurrock University NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust, and the chair of the NHS trust in Colchester was fired.
Now the new data proves that key safety failings are occurring in 11 more hospital trusts across England. They include Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare Trust, South London Healthcare Trust, Weston Area Health Trust, Hereford Hospitals Trust, Lewisham Hospital Trust and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust. Eighteen were found to have death rates the same or higher than at Colchester. Ministers want to know why seven in particular have had persistently high death rates over five years.
The Department of Health yesterday ordered the CQC to investigate if any other trusts needed urgent attention. The CQC said it was “monitoring closely a number of other trusts”, but had no evidence there was another case in England where it would take action of the kind taken at Basildon.
John Black, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, last night told the Observer that patient safety had been neglected by hospitals too busy meeting NHS-imposed financial targets: “Too many hospitals are too concerned with meeting financial targets at the expense of clinical standards, and we are seeing patients suffering as a consequence.”
Today’s research exposes systemic failures in large parts of the NHS during the last financial year and finds:
¦ 39% of trusts failing to investigate unexpected deaths or cases of serious harm on their wards.
¦ At least 209 incidents in which “foreign objects”, such as swabs and drill-bits, were left inside patients after surgery.
* At least 82 cases in which medical staff operated on the wrong part of the patient’s body.
It finds that 5,024 people died after being admitted for “low-risk” conditions such as asthma or appendicitis, of whom 848 were under 65. A proportion of those deaths will be linked to safety errors.
The Conservatives reacted by promising a complete overhaul of the regulation system, which rated Basildon “good” only weeks ago. Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said: “Labour’s failed health inspection regime is more interested in targets than patients.” He also questioned the timing of the Basildon announcement. Officials knew of the hospital’s failings weeks ago but decided to publicise them last Thursday, just days before the Dr Foster research was due to be published in the Observer”.
The NHS in London defines Health Trusts thusly: “Hospitals are managed by acute trusts, which make sure that hospitals provide high-quality healthcare, and that they spend their money efficiently. They also decide on a strategy for how the hospital will develop, so that services improve.
Acute trusts employ a large part of the NHS workforce, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, midwives and health visitors, as well as people doing jobs related to medicine – physiotherapists, radiographers, podiatrists, speech and language therapists, counsellors, occupational therapists, psychologists and healthcare scientists. There are many other non-medical staff employed by acute trusts, including receptionists, porters, cleaners, specialists in information technology, managers, engineers, caterers and domestic and security staff.
Some acute trusts are regional or national centres for more specialised care. Others are attached to universities and help to train health professionals. Acute trusts can also provide services in the community, for example through health centres, clinics or in people’s homes. All the above are run by bureaucrats!
Americans wake up before we trash the best health care in the World and turn the doctor patient relationship into a patient/ bureaucrat relationship!