Personal injury

Hazards in the workplace – keeping your team safe

Whether you work in a warehouse, in a shop, in a restaurant or behind a desk, every workplace presents its own hazards. Being aware of these hazards is the first step in ensuring you and your team are safe. Please be aware that this list is by no means comprehensive, and it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for other potential hazards which are not listed in this blog.

CQC levels its sights at GP practices

GPs around the country woke to two lots of news last week: first that the CQC risk register of GP practices (whereby their practices had been risk-assessed by the CQC and given a rating indicating whether they were good, bad or indifferent)has been made public; and second, that NICE has issued guidelines to help them decide whether or not a patient needs to be referred for possible cancer treatment. Although not immediately obvious, there is a connection between the two: the CQC risk register was arrived at using a list of indicators against which each practice was rated, including diagnosis and referral rates for various conditions including cancer. Both initiatives are designed to improve the effectiveness of practices and, in doing so, head off potential accusations of negligent treatment and inefficiency as GPs come under greater pressure to offer more for less. Needless to say, the NICE guidelines have received a warmer welcome than the risk register.

Maternity services under pressure

A case in which I advised the parents of a four-day old baby who died in 2012 after being deprived of oxygen has recently been in the news as the family has only just received a five-figure settlement and an apology from Warwick Hospital. An inquest, held in June 2013, heard how failings in Daniel’s care during labour had led to his death. These included three different midwives failing to read his mother’s antenatal notes which would have revealed her as a medium risk patient; one of the midwives having a history of making mistakes; and a failure by staff to monitor the foetal heart properly.

Health and social care integration – can it be done?

When the new Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, made his inaugural speech in May to the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, setting out what he saw as the priorities for a reformed NHS, concerns about the future affordability of the NHS in its current guise continued to pepper the front pages. The most pressing worry is the impact of an aging population on health and social care resources. A solution to the difficulty of coordinating medical and social care provided by two different entities on different charging bases is the creation of the Better Care Fund, due to be launched in 2015.

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.

Concerns grow over medical records’ database

Healthwatch England, the consumer’s champion in health and care, has called for the implementation of the Care.data programme, a centralised database designed to allow sharing of medical records to be delayed as there appears to be low awareness of the plans among the majority of the public. The idea behind the database is to collate all hospital and community care medical records so that NHS researchers can build a picture of the state of the nation’s health which will help to map disease, control infection, research the efficacy of various drugs and monitor the standard of care across the country.

Sir Ian Kennedy reports on failure to suspend Ian Paterson

At the end of 2012 I wrote about the scandal of Ian Paterson’s ‘cleavage sparing’ mastectomy (an operation which leaves some breast tissue for cosmetic reasons) which, despite concerns being raised about the technique ten years ago, he continued to perform until 2011. A recent report published by Sir Ian Kennedy reveals the reasons why so many women continued to be harmed for so long. His main criticism was reserved for the ‘weak, indecisive leadership’ at Heart of England NHS Trust which employed him.
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