16th December, 2002
THUMBS DOWN TO BRITISH HEALTH CARE BY EU
doctor quits NHS in disgust" - The Sunday Times 3rd
Everything we have been saying is true: SIN has been vindicated,
as have all the other brave patients who have been protesting about
the dangerously low standards of medical care in the NHS. Now European
doctors are exposing these poor standards which are caused more by entrenched
arrogance, unprofessional attitudes and a blatant disregard for
the needs and safety of patients - rather than by a lack of
Alain Sanouiller, 42, a senior French doctor
who has studied at Harvard and has been a doctor in the Foreign Legion,
was brought in to shake up GP services in Central London and he also
worked in several Outpatient Clinics, has resigned in disgust after
only a few months. He was based at Westminster Primary Care
Trust which covers staff working at Buckingham Palace as well as
Whitehall and the Palace of Westminster, St Mary's Hospital etc.
- hardly the poorest parts of London! Managers of the Westminster
Trust have blamed his departure on a 'personality clash'. He
plans to reveal his experiences in the French media.
What did Dr. Sanouiller discover?
What did a Dr. Ingo von Lucken from Germany discover?
- he immediately identified 110 people who were receiving sub-standard
treatment and 12 who had to be recalled urgently!
- he claimed that 90% of patients treated at Outpatients
Clinics were receiving inadequate care, with up to 15% being 'put
- he found his efforts to cut four-hour waiting times at outpatients
clinics at St. Mary's Hospital were resisted
- none of his recommendations were implemented
- not enough staff to monitor chronic conditions of kidney function,
diabetes, cardiac or even for basic eye tests
- he wanted to put the patient first, which is the dictum in France,
but the system here did not allow him to do that
- he found that the current difficulties of the NHS are
not just about funding, there is also a problem of behaviour, lack of
co-operation and resistance to facing new challenges.
- doctors in Britain are paid up to 50% more than their French counterparts
( and this is before the new deal which has been refused)
- he runs a medical recruitment company and can no longer
hire doctors from France and Germany to work in the UK, because
they will not be able to do the job right - obviously the motivation
is not money for these doctors!
Dr. von Lucken is a German orthopaedic specialist who worked in
an NHS hospital. In one week he halved the waiting lists, examining
87 patients with hip, knee and ankle problems out of a queue of 200
who had been waiting up to six months. Dr von Lucken from Hanover
said he was treated with open hostility at the Royal
Hospital Haslar in Gosport, Hampshire, particularly by senior consultants.
German Medicine Net, another firm that has brought doctors to
Britain to tackle NHS waiting lists, have found that efforts have been repeatedly
thwarted by resistance from local hospital specialists.
A study by the Paris based organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development earlier this year found that the British health care
system was one of the least effective in Europe in terms of the amount
of work carried out by doctors. The NHS was ranked alongside the health
service of Hungary, one of the poorest nations on the Continent.
HALF PAGE STATEMENT IN HOUSE OF COMMONS MAGAZINE
ACCESS TO POLICY MAKERS
in the Labour Party Conference Issue dated 30th September, 2002. SIN
was informed that this magazine would have a readership of 15000,
because it was given out to all the delegates at the Party Conference.
In addition it is sent to all the Ministers, civil servants, Chief Executives
and to the Welsh Assembly the Scottish Parliament and to the European Parliament.
STATEMENT IN HOUSE OF COMMONS MAGAZINE
appeared just after the SIN Demonstration ( 15th April 2002) and was
published in the 30 th April 'Health Issue' and also in the House
of Lord's Colour Magazine, which has a shelf life of one year.
Mr ALAN MILBURN - REFORM AT LAST
After 50 years
the NHS faces reform at last - new consultants'
contracts, which took two years of hard negotiating with the BMA,
the doctors' Trade Union, have been drawn up together with more
money. It was Aneuryn Bevan who had the hard task of getting the fledgling
NHS off the ground in 1948, and he made the memorable statement that he
was only able to achieve this by "stuffing the mouths of the consultants
BMA 'Consultant's Committee had arranged a series of meetings
around the country to explain the new reforms to groups of consultants.
The Consultant's Committee, under the Chair of Dr. Peter Hawker,
recommended acceptance. A vote was taken. Northern
Ireland and Scotland accepted the reforms - the consultants of
England rejected the Reforms by a 2 to 1 majority. The Chair of
the BMA Consultants' Committee resigned.
Why the discrepancy?
One theory is that England, being more populated and wealthier has more
private practice and so the English consultants disliked the fact
that the new NHS contracts would restrict the time available for
lucrative private practice.
It is very difficult
to ascertain the exact nature of the proposed Reforms, but from various
media outlets it would appear that the Reforms give a great deal
more money for more contracted NHS:
DOCTORS ARE ALREADY PAID 50% MORE THAN FRENCH DOCTORS
- The is a new
fund of £300 million earmarked for the Reforms
- Salaries could
increase by 15% to 24%. For example a Consultant Radiologist, now getting
£71,000 would get an increase of 18% taking the salary to £83,780.
- for this money
consultants would have to do more hours in the NHS. Taking the above
example, the Consultant Radiologist would have to work for 40 hours per
week rather than for the present 38 and a half hours. On the surface
this would seem to be a very good deal.
- extra time
'on call' - would give an automatic increase of another 10% taking
the salary up to £92,158 ( if our calculations are correct) This
example taken from Financial Times 2nd November,2002
In the NHS Plan
2000 the Secretary fo State for Health had warned that; " new
contracts would ensure that the right to undertake private practice
will depend ,,,,,on fulfilling NHS service requirements."
One would have thought that this was a reasonable proviso.
senior D.o.H. sources: "This is not about going to war with the BMA
( Trade Union) or with the consultants. It was about
finding a system which rewards the productivity of those doctors who do
most for NHS patients." FT 2nd. Nov. 2002.
Who could disagree with this?
Another D.o.H. quote :"Consultants elsewhere in the world
and in the private sector here get paid for work done, not just for
turning up". " From now on, consultants who get results will be paid
for delivering that better service. We will consult on this, but ultimately
we intend to impose changes and get rid of Spanish practices like consultants counting travelling time to their private work
as NHS time."
Another quote from D.o.H.: "We do not intend to discuss this
new plan with the BMA. First we do not know who to discuss it with and
second, the national contract is dead".
The 'merit award' system is seen
by critics as a covert old boys'/girls'club that has no
- Mr Milburn is to force through hospital consultant reform
- no more negotiations
- the £300 million will be used for this purpose +
- Mr Milburn also plans to seize the £130 million used
as "merit awards". This is money (from the D.o.H / taxpayer). which is
under the control of the Royal Colleges to distribute as "merit
awards" to which ever consultant is deemed suitable. Some of highest
'merit awards' are worth more than £65,000 a year!
transparent criteria for making such awards but depends on 'status' within
the profession .
On a Channel 4
News programme shortly after the Bristol Scandal broke, the 'merit wards'
described as being used to promote masonic favours. Only recently
have lists of those consultants
receiving these awards been published.
ACTIONS HAVE THE CONSULTANTS THREATENED?
Milburn is reviving a scheme to introduce a new specialist doctor's
grade, equivalent to a 'junior' consultant. This tier will be eligible
for the pay rise rejected by consultants and also for 'merit' payments.
Mr Milburn will have a total of £430 mill. at his disposal.( Source:
Sunday Times 3rd. Nov. 2002)
- To take industrial
action and to withdraw their labour. The last time the consultants
went on strike, except for emergencies, was in the early seventies when
Barbara Castle tried to bring in reforms. Anecdotal evidence is that the
death rate fell!!
- To withdraw
from the NHS altogether and to set up 'chambers' and behave as barristers thereby ensuring that the
NHS would have to buy in their services on private contracts. The disadvantages
of this route are at least twofold: (i) The very high cost of setting
up private 'chambers' and (ii) the loss of the very generous State run
NHS pension scheme. Source: FT 2nd.
+ super bugs : Epidemic Now Official
"Revealed: the bug epidemic in
hospitals" Source: The Sunday Times Dec. 15th . 2002
More than 5000 patients are
killed by MRSA + super bugs each year in UK hospitals
Sunday Times reporters took 25 swabs from hospital wards and waiting
rooms and A & E Units. Tests on samples done by an independent
consultant commented that swabs taken from a busy urban road would have
picked up fewer germs.
with pathogenic bacteria that can be harmful to the human body...
samples had 'heavy growth' of these bacteria
- A swab
in a hopsital ward which had bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus ( SA) the
precurser to the dreaded MRSA
Everyone, including the young
are at risk
Troy Eames, a healthy football
playing 23year old, went into hospital, Frimley Park, Surrey, for a straight
forward operation to have an ingrowing toenail removed. Yet less than
a fortnight after surgery this 23 year old died after his body succombed
to the MRSA infection. A spokesman from the hospital claim that staff
believed they had cleared him of MRSA and had been unable to identify what
had killed him.
Tripling of MRSA victims in a decade
The Sunday Times' investigation
suggests that the situation is far from under control (Jill Baker has been asserting this for some time - see
section describing how Jill believes that MRSA figures are being
fudged by the Trusts) These lethal bugs are
found on ward floors, door handles, windows, and showers.
Staff are failing to clean wards and to follow basic
are being treated by too few staff on several wards over a few days -
infected staff & infected patietns causing easy spread of bacteria.
key factor is 'hot bedding' - where two or three patients occupy the same
bed each day.
doctors and nurses are not washing their hands between patients depsite
campaigns to improve infection control. Dr. Geoff Scott, consultant microbilogist
at University Hosptial Londond, said hardly any doctors washed their hands
between treating patients.
standards are disgusting in some hospitals - heavy growth indicates poor
in the environment can be passed on by staff or visitors who fail to
wash their hands. There is then the risk of a wound or intravenous device
being colonised and infected.
has spread so widely that one in 6 patietns in intensive care contracts
infections are killing someone every two hours and costing more
that £1billion a year" - Sharon Holder of the GMB Union.
that lack of money is not the main problem - it is the the fact that
staff over the years have become too reliant on antibiotics to kill the
bugs and have become lax over basic hygiene standards. A health professional
has informed us that MRSA can live quite happily in the nostrils of
medical staff. This means that all staff inspecting open wounds
Patients are reporting that exposed wounds
are being dressed by staff who not only breathe , but also cough over
them. Masks are esential. Staff who use gloves which
are not sterile mean that the gloves are more to protect the nurse than
the patient. It is horrifying to think that nurses don the same pair of
gloves whilst attending to several patients in succession. No wonder
the infection spreads. Jill Baker suggests that the £275 K spent
on the Staff amentities at the Portsmouth Hospital from the Charity Trust
Fund, could have been used to build an isolation ward for MRSA infected
- wear a mask.
- wear sterile disposable gloves, discarded
after each patient.
- frequent hand washing bteween patients
- stringent cleaning of wards should
help to decrease the dangerous bug.
- isolation and barrier nursing of MRSA patients
- more cleaning staff and fewer 'managers'
- rigorous inspections.
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