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NHS : Privatisation Issues And Related News : Failings / Scandals / Rip Offs / Continuing Meltdown - Page 13 - Carers UK Forum

NHS : Privatisation Issues And Related News : Failings / Scandals / Rip Offs / Continuing Meltdown

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
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More than 1,000 A&E patients " Gave up " before being assessed at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals last year.

A leading expert has expressed concern that hundreds of thousands of patients across England may be coming to harm as a result of leaving hospital prematurely.

Patients who attend A&E are assigned an outcome based on how their visit ended – for instance, whether they were admitted, referred to a specific clinic, or died.

NHS Digital figures show that 1,255 patients were recorded as having left A&E without being seen by medical staff at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the 12 months to May .

They joined 307,700 others across England who also left hospital before being assessed or treated.

A spokesman from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said: "All patients who come to the Trust's Emergency Department check-in upon arrival.

"They are seen by a Registered Nurse or doctor who performs a number of assessments.

"Based on this clinical experience, they are then triaged upon their need - those who are seriously ill are seen immediately, while those with less need, and potentially could have been seen by an alternative service such as a GP, are asked to wait, within view of a nurse, and are usually seen within four hours. This rate has been above 90 per cent for the past number of years at the Trust.

"While we would prefer that everyone remained within the service until they are seen, only 1,255 patients did so out of 170,689 registered attendances, a rate of about 0.73 per cent.

"The team is always looking to improve and has recently developed a new, five-year Emergency Department strategy, as well as routinely hosting Quality Improvement (Qi) events within the service, reviewing patient feedback and national best practice to ensure patients receive the best care and treatment within appropriate time-frames.

The rate for people leaving without being seen has worsened in Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Last May, it stood at 2.7 per cent, up from 0.9 per cent in 2017.

The average across 2018-19 was 0.7 per cent.

However, the figures exclude patients who have an unknown outcome, because staff did not record it.

Rebecca Joyce, chief operating officer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: "All patients who come to our Emergency Departments are assessed and triaged upon arrival by a nurse or doctor.

"Dependent on their conditions, visitors are streamed to the most appropriate service, with those with the most urgent need sent for treatment immediately.

“To ensure the safety of those waiting, a Registered Nurse has a full view of the waiting area at all times. If patients wish to discharge early, they are asked to consult with a clinician first, who, if it is safe, will advise them to see a GP or similar health service or to return if their illness or injury becomes worse.

“Each year, our Emergency Department sees more and more attendances, with July and August being the busiest on record for the Trust. In order to address this challenge, we have recently reviewed and enhanced the service we provide, ensuring patients receive the best care as quickly as possible. As such our services remains one of the best performing in the country.”

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said it was a "major concern to see so many people essentially giving up and leaving".

He added: "The optimistic version is that these people probably did not need emergency care and, when faced with the reality of a long wait, reconsidered.

"The alternative is that they were in need but potentially could have come to harm by leaving unseen."

The number of people who leave without being seen is one of five quality measures used to monitor the performance of A&E departments each month.

During May, the latest month with available data, 1.9 per cent of patients across England left without being seen.

This was an improvement on the same month two years ago, when it was 3.3 per cent.

Of the 1.7 million people who attended an A&E department in England in May, 13 per cent had an unknown outcome – up from just one per cent in 2017.

Dr Scriven said it was concerning to not know what outcomes so many patients had faced.

An NHS spokesman said the proportion of patients leaving without being seen had improved in recent years, despite an increase in an increase in visits to A&E.

He added: "This improvement comes as more people than ever are making use of the NHS 111 phone and online service, which has prevented more than 12 million unnecessary trips to A&E since 2011, by providing people with fast and free advice on more appropriate and convenient options."

" Crumbling " hospitals putting lives at risk, say NHS chiefs.

Four in five NHS trust bosses in England fear Tory squeeze on capital funding poses safety threat.

Hospital patients’ safety is being put at risk by fires, floods and crumbling, overcrowded buildings caused by a £4bn government squeeze on capital funding, NHS bosses are warning.

Hospitals say they do not have the funding to replace outdated scanners, fix leaking roofs and boilers, or remove ligature points that suicidal patients may attempt to use to try to end their lives.

Four out of five (82%) chief executives and chief finance officers at NHS trusts in England fear the lack of capital funding poses a medium or high risk to patient safety.

Almost all (97%) of the 161 bosses surveyed by NHS Providers, which represents NHS hospital and ambulance services, are worried by how much money their trust needs to undertake urgent repairs. Almost as many (94%) are concerned their inability to tackle problems is affecting patients’ experiences of care.

Separately, Kettering general hospital said increasing demand meant its A&E unit was often so overcrowded that staff could not clearly see some of the sickest patients, making proper monitoring of their conditions difficult.

The unit was built in 1994 to handle 110 patients a day but now treats as many as 300 during busy periods. That mismatch has led to significant overcrowding, delays in treatment, children having to wait in corridors and ambulances having to queue outside A&E before handing patients over, which in turn hits 999 response times.

NHS chiefs’ concern over the mounting disruption, linked to a lack of capital funding, comes after ministers diverted more than £4bn of those funds into the NHS’s revenue budget in recent years to help pay for day-to-day running costs.

It emerged this week Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS trust has had to close four wards, a total of 120 beds, in the Sir Robert Hadfield wing of the Northern general hospital, since last November because the fire brigade deemed the facilities a fire risk and issued a prohibition order.

The Health Service Journal also said a 52-bed major trauma unit at Oxford University Hospitals trust has been closed since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, over concerns the building’s cladding is inadequate.

This month, Boris Johnson promised £1.8bn in extra capital funding for the NHS to fund upgrades at 20 trusts and build new facilities. However, NHS Providers said this could “only be considered a first down payment of the NHS’s needs”. It has a £6bn maintenance backlog, of which £1bn is needed to urgently tackle problems threatening patient safety.

Before next week’s spending review, NHS Providers wants ministers to bring forward a multiyear capital funding settlement and commit to increasing the proportion of GDP spent on health infrastructure from 0.3% to the 0.6%, as is the case in comparable countries.

Since 2017 St Mary’s hospital in London has been affected by floods, electrical issues and drainage problems. It has included a ceiling collapsing in an elderly care ward and maternity services being relocated because of a fault with a lift. In addition, 20 surgical beds and two operating theatres had to close for two weeks owing to flooding and it has been unable to use the 32 beds in its Grafton ward since May 2018 because the floor is too weak to support them.

The archaic nature of much of the estate at Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust, which runs St Mary’s and four other hospitals, means its maintenance backlog would cost £1.3bn to clear.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recently gave the NHS an extra £1.8bn of new funding to invest in frontline facilities, including 20 new hospital upgrades across the country.

“We’re also going to be taking a more strategic approach with a new health infrastructure plan that will set the priorities for the NHS over the long term.”
Waste collection costs hit £15 million after HES collapse.

Nearly £15m has been spent on collecting medical waste in Scotland since the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services, figures show.

The Lanarkshire-based company went to the wall last December after becoming embroiled in a waste stockpiling scandal.

Contingency measures were put in place to remove waste from every hospital, GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy.

But NHS figures released to BBC Scotland show these costs have soared.

Between December last year and July this year, a total of £14.8m was spent on contingency waste measures by NHS National Services Scotland.

By contrast the deal with the firm taking over the waste collection contract for the next ten years, Spanish-owned Tradebe Healthcare, will be worth £10m a year.

Tradebe was meant to take over the contract in April but delays over planning permissions mean the firm is now not expected to be fully operational until October.


The Scottish government said the higher costs for the contingency measures come as a result of the additional measures required to be put in place at short notice following the collapse of HES.

But Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman, said: "By the health secretary's own admission, the NHS in Scotland was put at risk by the clinical waste scandal and it is continuing to cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

"No one has taken responsibility for the crisis and despite no lessons being learned the Scottish government have handed a new contract to another private firm.

"NHS services are struggling to cope and patients can't afford for money to be wasted like this."

After HES collapsed, the Scottish government provided £1.4m towards initial contingency planning and a string of temporary contractors took over the HES work to ensure clinical waste continued to be disposed of safely.

The Scottish government has insisted the contingency measures are working well but there have been reports of a backlog of waste at some NHS sites.

In Inverness, four porters at Raigmore Hospital were injured carrying out work involving clinical waste, and photographs showing bags of clinical waste piled at three health centres in North Lanarkshire were posted on social media in January.

Some hospital waste from Scotland is to be sent to Wales for disposal under the new collection deal with Tradebe.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "National Services Scotland continues to work closely with NHS health boards, contractors, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Scottish government to deliver robust contingency plans to ensure NHS Scotland services to the public are maintained and patient services are not impacted.

"The current arrangements ensure clinical waste is appropriately stored, collected and disposed of in line with industry regulations.

"As we have said before, the cost of contingency - and ultimately maintaining NHS services - comes at a higher cost due to the additional measures required to be put in place at short notice following withdrawal of services by HES.

"We will know the final net cost of contingency at the end of current arrangements, when costs can be set against the unpaid contracted costs which would have been due to HES if they had not arbitrarily withdrawn from the contract."

Cancer patients in England " Diagnosed too late " due to staff shortages.

Cancer Research UK estimates 115,000 people diagnosed at stage 3 or 4, hampered by chronic lack of skilled diagnostic staff.

At least 115,000 cancer patients in England are diagnosed at an advanced stage each year, too late to have the best chance of survival, say experts.

Efforts to improve people’s chances, by spotting tumours early on when they can be more easily treated, are being hampered by a chronic lack of skilled diagnostic staff, says Cancer Research UK.

The charity’s experts estimate that about 115,000 people who get cancer are already at stage 3 when it is detected, where the cancer may have started to spread, or stage 4, where it has reached other organs and is known as secondary or metastatic cancer. About 67,000 are diagnosed with stage 4 each year and their treatment options are much fewer.

CRUK says the numbers may be even higher because there is no record made of the stage at which 19% of more than 300,000 new cancer patients a year are diagnosed in England.

The government’s long-term plan for the NHS sets an ambitious target of three quarters of cancers to be picked up early by 2028 – at stages 1 and 2 when a cure is more likely. By that time, there will be an estimated 320,000 cancers, so at least 100,000 more will have to be caught early to hit the target.

But, says CRUK, that is impossible without more staff. One in 10 diagnostic posts are vacant. “It’s unacceptable that so many people are diagnosed late. Although survival has improved, it’s not happening fast enough,” said Emma Greenwood, director of policy.

“More referrals to hospital means we urgently need more staff. The government’s inaction on staff shortages is crippling the NHS, failing cancer patients and the doctors and nurses who are working tirelessly to diagnose and treat them.

“By 2035, one person every minute will be diagnosed with cancer but there’s no plan to increase the number of NHS staff to cope with demand now or the growing numbers in the future. Saving lives from cancer needs to be top of the agenda for the new government and it must commit to investing in vital NHS staff now to ensure no one dies from cancer unnecessarily.”

There are a number of reasons why cancers are advanced by the time people are diagnosed. Many people in the UK ignore their symptoms. “When we looked at international studies, they showed the British are somewhat peculiar compared with other populations in similar countries around the world in that we don’t want to bother the doctor. In great part it has to do with not wanting to waste the doctor’s time,” said Sara Hiom of CRUK.

But that reluctance, responsible for up to one in four delays according to an audit last year, is fed by an awareness that the NHS is struggling to cope and does not have enough staff, she said.

Innovations in testing and treatment which have been introduced in other countries are being held up in the UK by staff shortages, she added. These include scans for lung cancer and diagnostic tests for bowel cancer.

By 2027, the NHS in England needs an extra 1,700 radiologists – people who report on imaging scans – increasing the total number to nearly 4,800; to triple oncologists who treat cancer from 1,155 to 3,000; and to recruit 2,000 more therapeutic radiographers, says CRUK.

The radiology expert Dr Giles Maskell said they could feel the bottleneck tightening as the number of patients diagnosed with cancer mounted in line with the ageing population. “Extra scanners are welcome, but they will achieve nothing without staff to run them and experts to interpret the scans. It’s like buying a fleet of planes with no pilots to fly them,” he said.

Trusts are working hard to meet cancer waiting time targets, said NHS Providers which represents them, but rising numbers of cancer patients, inability to invest in new machines and severe workforce shortages, particularly for endoscopists and radiologists, were all contributing to delays.

The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, blamed the government. “The stress and anxiety a patient facing cancer goes through is immense and these figures are a reminder that years of Tory cutbacks and understaffing has left patients not being seen on time, or waiting longer increasingly worried for test results,” he said.

“Early diagnosis leads to better outcomes and so the government must urgently bring forward a fully funded staffing plan for our NHS.”

Breast cancer charities said the delays were deeply concerning. “While more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before, there is unfortunately a stark difference in survival rates when women are diagnosed at a later stage, and we need to act now,” said Gunes Kalkan of Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Cancer is a priority for this government. Survival rates are at a record high and, in the NHS long-term plan, we committed to detecting three quarters of all cancers at an early stage by 2028.

“We now have over 900 more diagnostic radiographers working in the NHS when compared with 2017, and the record £33.9bn extra we’re investing in our NHS every year will ensure we can support the health service with the staff it needs for the future.”
Seven in 10 hospital trusts failing to meet safety standards.

Staff shortages put patients put at risk, say Care Quality Commission inspection reports.

Patient safety is frequently at risk in NHS hospital trusts in England, with 70% of them failing to meet national safety standards, according to an Observer analysis of inspection reports, with staff shortages the biggest problem.

Reports by the regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveal that managers at one trust failed to act on staff reports of abuse and violence, while a shortage of critical beds at another trust led to three serious incidents resulting in patient harm.

Of 148 acute and general hospital trusts, safety standards at 96 are rated as “requires improvement” by the CQC; six are rated inadequate, the lowest category. The others are rated good, with none outstanding.

Of the 14 inspection reports published since the start of June, half raised concerns over inadequate staffing levels. One trust, Imperial College Healthcare in London, “did not always have enough staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep people safe from avoidable harm and abuse and to provide the right care and treatment”.

Shrewsbury and Telford hospital trust was rated inadequate for safety last year.

The number of nurses in its urgent and emergency services was “not sufficient to manage the department safely”, and the inspectors “saw these low staffing levels directly impact on patients’ safe care and treatment”. Nurses who had not received the right support or training had to co-ordinate the department for two months before the inspection because of staff shortages. A trust spokesman told the Observer improvements were being made.

Rob Harwood, chair of the consultants committee at the British Medical Association, said: “With the NHS chronically underfunded and understaffed for many years, those working there are increasingly expected to deliver care in an unsafe, unsupportive environment, putting the safety of our patients at risk.

“As well as delivering the urgent investment needed on the frontline, the government must get a grip on the workforce crisis to ensure safe staffing levels in the NHS and change the current pension rules in order to retain and motivate its workers rather than pushing them to vote with their feet.”

Helga Pile, deputy head of health at the trade union Unison, said: “One in every 10 posts in the NHS is vacant because of a shameful failure of workforce planning, and it’s staff and patients who are paying the price.

“Patients aren’t getting the care they deserve while exhausted health staff are routinely being asked to do more with fewer resources.

“Sustained government investment is needed across the NHS and health professions need to become more attractive career options. Funding for large-scale degree apprenticeship programmes would be a game changer.”

Imperial College Healthcare did not respond to a request for comment.

Aside from staff shortages and inadequate training, other failings identified in recent CQC reports include:

• Three serious incidents resulted in patient harm as a consequence of critical care beds not being available at South Tees hospital trust

• Managers at Walsall Healthcare trust failed to act on staff reports of abuse and violence

• Overcrowding at the Princess Royal University Hospital in London, with patients cared for on trolleys in corridors and at times two patients being nursed in single-person cubicles

• Significant handover delays for patients arriving by ambulance, also at Princess Royal

• The design and use of facilities in the emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn did not always keep patients with mental health concerns safe, while patients did not always receive medication at the right time.

A spokesperson for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Princess Royal, said: “We are fully committed to improving the safety, quality and experience of patient care within the urgent and emergency care services at the Princess Royal University Hospital. Since before the publication of the CQC’s report, the trust had begun to implement a programme of improvements within the department to address the concerns that were raised.”

Despite the dire national picture, safety standards are slowly improving over time - around 85% of NHS acute and general hospital trusts have been rated substandard for safety at some point during the last five years, and the number rated Inadequate has fallen sharply.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trust’s safety rating was upgraded from Inadequate to Good in January after inspectors found numerous improvements had been made, with the trust maintaining adequate staffing levels - though even then, the lack of registered nurses remained a “significant challenge”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The safety of patients is paramount and all hospitals are required by law to have the right staff in the right place at the right time.

“There are 16,800 more nurses on our wards than in 2010 with 52,000 more in training and to help retain our dedicated staff we are providing more flexibility and career development alongside multi-year pay rises for junior doctors and over a million other NHS workers, including nurses.”
UK hospice forced to turn away dying patients.

Staff shortage leads St Mary’s in Cumbria to take drastic measures.

A hospice has been forced to close its doors to people wishing to spend their final days there because it cannot find a doctor to oversee its service.

It is the first time one of the UK’s 220 hospices has had to turn away those needing end of life care as a result of the shortage of medical staff.

St Mary’s hospice in Ulverston, Cumbria, took the decision reluctantly after spending months trying but failing to recruit a replacement for its departing senior doctor.

Dying patients who would have been admitted to the hospice from mid-October will have to be cared for elsewhere and some inpatients may even have to be moved.

Terminally ill patients from Ulverston and nearby who require round-the-clock medical attention in a hospice may have to go instead to St John’s hospice, 39 miles – and an hour’s drive – away in Lancaster, in north Lancashire.

Val Stangoe, St Mary’s chief executive, said the hospice’s rural location helped explain its inability to recruit a new doctor and avoid what she hoped was a temporary three-month closure to inpatients.

“People who live rurally have as much right to a good death as people who are in cities. That is what our purpose is and it is frustrating not to be able to do that.

“At the end of their lives we really want to make sure this bit goes right, and for us not to be able to have our beds open just feels like a massive failure of the community,” she said.

St Mary’s cares for 1,350 people a year. About 170 of those become inpatients while the others receive care from a “hospice at home” team. The departing doctor is the most senior of its three medics who, alongside 23 nurses and two local GPs who help out at weekends, provide 24/7 care.

Stangoe added: “Despite repeated efforts over a number of months, both alone and working in partnership with local health organisations, we have as yet been unable to fill specialist doctor vacancies or find sufficient cover.

“As a specialist unit there are strict rules about the level of doctor who is able to take responsibility for our patients. And while we have some fantastic doctors at the hospice they do not have the required length of experience to take this central role at this time, when our more experienced doctor leaves,” she added.

Its efforts to find a palliative care specialist with at least five years’ experience have drawn a blank despite advertising in the BMJ and on the NHS Jobs and Hospice UK websites.

The decision highlights how both NHS and charitably run hospices are being affected by the UK’s lack of medical staff. “Nationwide there is a shortage of experienced palliative care doctors. There is no quick fix to address this, but it makes it even more important to support the key clinical staff that we have,” said Carole Walford, the chief clinical officer for Hospice UK.

Dr David Wrigley, the deputy chair and Cumbria representative of the British Medical Association, said: “For patients to be denied the right and proper care at the end of their lives because of staff shortages is untenable.

“Palliative care is absolutely vital for many terminally ill people. It is wholly unacceptable that at a time when patients and their families need the most comfort and care, the recruitment crisis in the NHS means they are being denied it, or at best being forced to receive alternative care further from home.”

Official figures show that the NHS in England has about 100,000 vacancies for staff, including 9,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses.
NHS hospital trusts to pay out further £55 BILLION under PFI scheme.

Some spending one-sixth of entire budget on repaying debts from Blair-era policy.

NHS hospital trusts are being crippled by the private finance initiative and will have to make another £55bn in payments by the time the last contract ends in 2050, a report reveals.

An initial £13bn of private sector-funded investment in new hospitals will end up costing the NHS in England a staggering £80bn by the time all contracts come to an end, the IPPR thinktank has found.

Some trusts are having to spend as much as one-sixth of their entire budget on repaying debts due as a result of the PFI scheme, introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour government.

The findings raised concerns that the diversion of such large sums at a time when many trusts are in the red and coping with the fast-rising demand for care. There are fears it could damage the quality of care and risk patient safety because trusts do not have funds to hire enough staff.

“Toxic PFI contracts are still driving billions away from patients and into private bank accounts,” said Chris Thomas, an IPPR health fellow, who carried out the research.

The PFI contract for Barts Health trust in London, involving an outlay of almost £1.2bn, is the largest by value in the English NHS. It paid for the building of the Royal London hospital, which opened in 2012 and has 845 beds spread across 110 wards.

However, the entire project will have cost the trust £6.2bn by the time it ends, according to Treasury estimates. Barts spends £116m a year servicing its debt, which is 7.66% of its income, according to the IPPR report.

The 109 contracts still active will cost the trusts involved a combined £2.15bn to service in 2020-21, rising to £2.5bn in 2030, it said.

Sherwood Forest trust in Nottinghamshire has a £326m PFI deal that costs it £50.3m a year in repayments and eats up the largest proportion of its budget of any trust – 16.51%.

University Hospitals Coventry trust spends £89.3m a year on its PFI debt while Manchester University trust’s contract costs it £77.2m.

“This timely and shocking IPPR report highlights the huge waste of taxpayers’ money from paying off PFI debts that are crippling the NHS and could be much better spent on patient care,” said Dr John Puntis, a retired paediatrician who is co-chair of the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public.

“All trust debts should be wiped clean by the Treasury, and contracts renegotiated and brought back into public ownership on grounds of poor value. The premise of PFI that the private sector is more efficient in delivering and managing infrastructure projects has repeatedly been shown to be false,” he added.

Ministers have banned the NHS from using PFI for any future building projects after criticism that many of the contracts still active represent poor value for money.

The IPPR is urging the government to legislate to let trusts buy out such contracts and bring them into public ownership and boost the NHS’s capital budget by £5.5bn so it can afford to undertake projects without PFI.

In 2013 Northumbria Healthcare trust used money it had borrowed from Northumberland county council to buy out its PFI contract, which reduced its repayments by £3m a year. Other trusts have tried to do the same but none has yet done so.

Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents trusts, urged ministers to urgently set out how trusts can access enough capital funding to repair dilapidated buildings, build new facilities and buy the equipment they need in order to make the NHS fit for the 21st century. The Department of Health has raided £4.1bn of NHS capital funding over the last five years to help pay for the service’s day-to-day running costs.

“There are many trusts with well-designed PFIs that have benefited their patients and that are good value, but equally it is undoubtedly true that some deals were badly designed and have left trusts with repayment bills that they cannot afford,” she said.
NHS trust calls for police probe into deaths.

NHS governors have called for a police investigation into the urology department of a health service trust following accusations that patients died and were harmed after a string of clinical errors and malpractice.

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has now agreed to an external review after dozens of patients, relatives and staff have came forward following the publication of a book by whistleblower surgeon Peter Duffy, which exposed poor care in the unit.

Duffy won an employment tribunal against UHMBT last November after he was forced out of his job as a consultant urologist when he raised concerns about fellow doctors Ashotush Jain, Saleem Naseem and Kavinda Madhra.

He worked at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria between 2015 and 2016, and in July published a book detailing alarming incidents he witnessed at the trust that went back to the early 2000s.

Since the tribunal and publication, a further 35 former patients and colleagues have come forward to make similar disclosures about appalling care. They include:

The family of a 70-year-old woman under the care of Mr Jain and Mr Madhra who died after doctors failed to drain a kidney abscess.

Two daughters of an elderly man from Morecambe who died when Mr Jain and Mr Naseem failed to implant a stent.

A man who was left unable to have sex or properly urinate after a botched circumcision carried out by Mr Madhra.

A 43-year-old father-of-one with recurrent bladder cancer who was sent a letter of apology in July after hospital bosses admitted his treatment by Mr Naseem “fell far short” of the standard expected.

A woman and a man, both with one kidney each, who both went into renal failure after Mr Jain failed to implant in a stent.

One patient who recently underwent a private operation carried out by Mr Jain to stretch a tube connected to the bladder was left needing a permanent catheter, after the consultant vanished for eight hours after surgery. Private nurses were eventually forced to call for an NHS ambulance.

“After I woke up I was in agony and bleeding,” she said. “The catheter was blocked with blood clots - the nurses kept trying to clear it.

“The following morning Mr Jain came to see me. When I asked him where he’d been, he said: ‘I can't be everywhere at once.’

“I've now been told I'll have to have this catheter in for life. He's destroyed my life. I can't walk without a stick, I can't drive, I can't sit down without being in pain.”

Richard Wilson, a retired urological surgeon who worked at UHMBT until 2009, said: “Not being available in the immediate hours after the operation breaks one of the fundamental rules of medicine.

“Something has gone radically wrong here.”

The call for a police investigation came at a meeting of the council of governors of the trust earlier this month. Governor Dave Welton told the meeting that the council had “very serious concerns about the shocking revelations.”

Independent local MP John Woodcock has also called on Health Secretary Matt Hancock to investigate the alleged failings and three further MPs from the surrounding area, including former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, have written to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) urging the government to set up a public inquiry.

A former theatre nurse has also come forward claiming to have witnessed countless errors made by surgeons, while another healthcare worker said she was now speaking out to prevent further harm to patients

Following the recent allegations, Mr Jain told journalist Amy Fenton of The Mail, based in Barrow-on-Furness: “Doctors work very hard. However, mistakes occur and we’re only human”.

The other two surgeons did not respond to comments.

One senior NHS manager within UHMBT said failings in the urology department at Furness General Hospital have the potential to “match the maternity scandal” in which 11 babies and one mother died between 2004 and 2013.

And Mr Duffy called for a 15-year retrospective inquiry into the failings.

“My guess is that many dozens of patients suffered poor outcomes, serious incidents, delayed treatment and avoidable harm, possibly getting up towards or into three figures, despite the efforts of myself and others.

“But we'll never know, short of a full 15-year retrospective enquiry”.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has received numerous reports over recent weeks relating to Mr Naseem and Mr Jain.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We take the allegations raised by Mr Duffy extremely seriously, the safety of our patients remains our priority and we thank Peter for doing so.

“Which is why we've asked NHS Improvement to commission an independent external Review of our Urology services and the claims made by Mr Duffy.

“Whilst a lot of actions have already taken place in our Urology Services, we are aware of some current patients with complaints, or concerns about the care they have raised, and we would not want to give the impression that all issues are in the past."

Nurse numbers rise " Eclipsed by jump in patients. "

The Royal College of Nursing research points to data showing the nurse workforce has increased by 4.6% in five years.

But hospital admissions have jumped by 12.3% - nearly three times the rate.

The union says this shows more needs to be done to ensure safe staffing, but the government says the rising NHS budget will ensure high-quality care.

What has the RCN found ?

The fact there are shortages of nurses is already well established - latest figures suggest one in nine posts.

But the government often counters that by pointing out the number of nurses working in the NHS is increasing.

Official data shows there were 224,000 hospital nurses on average during last year - up by 4.6% in five years.

But to put this in context, the RCN also looked at how much the number of admissions to hospital had gone up by.

Last year there were 14.2m, which is 12.3% higher than it was five years ago.

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said the data should act as a "stark warning".

"Staffing shortfalls are never simply numbers on a spreadsheet - they affect real patients in real communities."

She said there needed to be a new law to ensure safe staffing, as has been introduced in Wales and Scotland.

She also said she wanted a national body to be created to properly plan the nursing numbers needed in the future.

What is the government doing ?

The government says ensuring there are enough staff available for the NHS is a key priority.

The number of training places for nurses is in the process of being increased by 25%, and there are campaigns under way to attract nurses who have left the profession back to the NHS.

New roles to support nurses - called nursing associates - are also being created.

This drive is being supported by the increased investment in the health service, the government said.

One of the initiatives being funded with that money in the coming years is a £1,000 personal development budget over three years for all nurses, while a detailed workforce plan is also expected to be published soon.

"The safety of patients is paramount" a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman added.
The harsh reality of underfunding at my hospital ? Swept away for Johnson visit.

Doctor gives anonymous account of chronic understaffing and lack of resources at Whipps Cross, the hospital visited by the PM.

I was one of the doctors who met Boris Johnson today.

This was a highly staged press event in a newly refurbished hospital ward at Whipps Cross hospital where the prime minister met a few select members of staff and patients. This event completely brushed over the harsh realities of this chronically underfunded, understaffed and poorly resourced hospital.

The hospital is held together only by the hard work and dedication of its healthcare workers but it cannot be sustained for much longer under these pressures.

I’m so glad that Omar Salem [the man who confronted the prime minister on Wednesday about the hospital’s care of his daughter] said the things he did. He was just telling the truth about what it is like to be on the receiving end of poor staffing levels and under-resourcing.

It was a shame some of the senior executives were trying to shut Salem up. But he got his point across effectively.

It just wasn’t true that there were no press there. It was all being filmed. It was very staged.

We were told yesterday that there was a special guest coming and nobody knew until this morning that it was Johnson. All the staff were lined up in a row in front of a team of camera crew and photographers. When I saw it was him I wanted to say something, but I didn’t want to lose my job.

I’ve been thinking about it all day and felt I had to say something because NHS hospitals today can be unsafe places. Whipps Cross [in Leytonstone, north-east London] is particularly understaffed and under-resourced so people don’t get the care that they need as promptly as they need.

And this visit was not reflective of the realities of working at this hospital. Johnson was taken to the nicest ward in the hospital; there were flowers on display and classical music was playing in the background. I wish the prime minister could have seen some of the other wards, which are nothing like what he saw today. He should come on a night shift and see how everything doesn’t function at two in the morning.

I’m disappointed with the care I can give patients. I work in acute adult medicine and I constantly feel that I am doing a disservice to patients and their families.

There aren’t enough computers and the ones we have got are very slow. So if you have a sick patient in the night you can often spend 20 minutes logging on to a computer. And then it can can take another 20 minutes trying to access the equipment and organise basic investigations.

Discharges and diagnosis are often delayed by people waiting for scans. Patients who are medically fit to discharge are waiting in the hospital for social services to kick in. They end up being there for weeks. And then they can get hospital-acquired pneumonia.

There are not enough staff on any level – nursing, physiotherapy, doctors. It is just chronically understaffed. The building is falling to pieces. It is either too cold or too hot. I could go on and on.

I love medicine, but you just can’t do your job properly. You don’t have time to talk to patients or families. Everybody is really demoralised. There’s no point in complaining because you know nothing will be done.

This is just what the NHS is like now.
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