March 2014 Archive

NHS complaints’ procedure slammed – again

Healthwatch England, the consumer champion for health and care, has recently brought attention to the "hopelessly complicated” complaints system and has called for wholesale reform. This is not a new campaign: at least six other reviews into the NHS complaints’ procedure have been carried out since 1994, all of which have made recommendations for improvement – and most of which seem to have disappeared into a black hole.

Constructing flood resistant developments

The apocalyptic weather endured by Britain over the last few months has, inevitably, reignited the discussion about building in flood prone areas. A similar debate triggered after the 2007 floods resulted in the independent Pitt Review which concluded that much of the problem was due, among other things, to poor water management infrastructure and excessive surface water run-off. One answer may be greater take up of SuDs

Quality of care missing in Leeds

The recent news about the negative experiences of some families whose children were treated at Leeds General Infirmary comes hot on the heels of the news that the paediatric heart unit has been declared safe after a year-long investigation by NHS England. In March 2013, the unit was closed for a fortnight after the mortality rates were deemed excessive – a decision which was made just after the unit had heard that their challenge against permanent closure (as part of a national reorganisation of services) had been successfully challenged in the High Court.

Government’s cosmetic response to Keogh Review

Last year, Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, was charged with reviewing the cosmetic treatment industry. The government’s recent response to this review, particularly relating to non-surgical interventions such as dermal fillers has, to put it mildly, baffled both the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the British Association of Dermatologists.

Lies, damned lies and mortality statistics

Last year I wrote about hospital mortality statistics which were being used, through a standardised process known as HSMR, to identify failing hospitals. Although the NHS Medical Director, Sir Brian Keogh did not consider them to be a ‘perfect science’, he did believe that they could be constructively used in flagging up potential problems. However, a recent BBC File on Four programme ‘Deadly Hospitals?’ will have reignited public concerns about what they can and cannot believe about the state of the nation’s hospitals.
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