Wednesday, 30 July 2008

331 one to blame

The hospital trust at the centre of Britain's worst recorded hospital superbug outbreak which led to the death of 331 patients has escaped prosecution.

Clostridium difficile contributed to the deaths of the patients over two-and-a-half years at three Kent hospitals a health watchdog report found.

Appalling standards of care, crowded wards, financial problems, a shortage of nurses and poor hygiene all led to the outbreak the Healthcare Commission found in a highly critical report in October.

However after studying that report, Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive said there would be no charges over the deaths at hospitals run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospital Trust.

Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas said: "Whilst the report makes for grim and at times distressing reading, our review has not identified any information that would indicate a need or duty to conduct a criminal investigation into the Trust at this time."

Relatives of those who died in the outbreak reacted angrily to the announcement.

Steve Stroud, whose 77-year-old stepmother Doreen Ford died in Maidstone Hospital said he was "disgusted" by the decision.

Mr Stroud, husband of former Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker, said: "This is disgusting. Someone has got to be held to account over all these deaths and if it is not the hospital trust, then who the hell can it be?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A bunch of chimpanzees

It is of course with a sense of enormous irony that we view a situation where the NewLabour party members are as undecided as their dithering leader.

We have reached a pretty passe when a party so far behind in the opinion polls can't even pluck up the courage to ask Gordon Brown to go.

There are some clear reasons for this dithering by his underlings; first they have no clear idea what they want to say that is different to Gordon Brown. Second there is no public appetite for any of them more than there is for Gordon Brown. Third nobody would actually believe in anyhting being delivered by this NewLabour NewBoy as they have failed to deliver on so much else.

So for all those calling for what David Cameron and the tories stand for the answer is simple - not a bunch of failed promises to the poor, a wholesale wasting of public resources and multiple quangos.

I'd sooner a chimpanzee ran the country than NewLabour; it would be more sincere, it wouldn't need to be told to eat its leftovers and they don't chew their fingernails.

Sunday, 27 July 2008


Sir Liam Donaldson has announced, with considerable fanfare, his proposals for revalidation of doctors.

This is how one consultant (a radiologist) has responded:

I am a hospital consultant who, in common with other consultants, has been undergoing annual 'assessment' in the form of appraisal since 1993. The overwhelming majority of doctors will have nothing to fear from this but let us not delude ourselves that this, or any other, system of assessment would have stopped Shipman. Shipman was a murderer who simply happened to be a doctor.

On a different note, the medical profession will not take kindly to Donaldson lecturing them on accountability. He is the senior doctor in the country and so far has demonstrated no accountability for his key role in the fiasco that saw hundreds of young doctors lose out on getting jobs last year. Nor has he demonstrated any accountability to those senior members of the medical profession who passed not one, but two, votes of no confidence in him as CMO last year. It appears that accountability only applies to those doctors who have not decided to become career politicians

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


This is from the Guido Fawkes website:

As they slip off this afternoon to face a tough 12-weeks holiday in the real world without subsidised drink, Guido wonders how will MPs cope?

The House of Commons Refreshment Department operated on a subsidy of £5.5 million of taxpayers’ money in the 2007/08 financial year, which is equivalent to the total annual tax receipts from 35 pubs. The subsidy is equivalent to £8,500 per MP - that is approximately £50 per diem on top of the £30 per diem they voted to award themselves every working day in cash.

The subsidy, which for some inexplicable reason was not published in the House of Commons’ Annual Accounts, was £693,000 higher than in 2006/07 - a 15% increase. No belt tightening for MPs despite the Chancellor's warnings.

It accounted for 43% of the operating costs, meaning that the taxpayer coughs up £4.30 for every £10 spent refreshing our politicians: even before they claim back their outgoings without receipts through the expenses system. These figures don't include the multi-million pound re-fit of the wine cellar

Sunday, 20 July 2008

How stupid can they get?

Thousands of people undergoing laser treatment could be left with burns and scars as a result of government plans to end inspections of clinics, the Department of Health has admitted.

Up to 3,400 more patients could be harmed by cosmetic procedures to remove a mole, tattoo or unwanted hair, according to a consultation paper on the move drawn up by Whitehall officials themselves. The change, which critics claim will allow cowboy operators to open premises that have poor safety standards because they would no longer need to apply for a licence, comes into effect on 1 October.

A two-page appendix to the paper, headed 'Deregulation of lasers and lights - possible effect on the number of adverse incidents', said that harmful outcomes may double. It reads: 'Laser and light treatments ... are potentially harmful and they will generate adverse incidents ... Deregulation would generate an extra 1,700-3,400 adverse incidents per year.' There are already an estimated 3,400 each year.

'It's shocking that the government is prepared to countenance thousands more people being injured as a result of this deregulation - and it's an astonishing thing to admit,' said David Gault, a consultant plastic surgeon who specialises in laser treatments. 'While some of these "adverse incidents" involve only minor scarring or pigmentation, people's sight can also be damaged by a powerful laser being shone into their eyes. The psychological harm from these things happening is, in my view, harsher than the physical damage people suffer,' added Gault, the British Associ

Now there's a surprise

People labelled "idiots" and "lunatics" under archaic mental health laws could soon be allowed to stand for Parliament.

Ministers are considering scrapping ancient rules after complaints from mental health campaigners that they are discriminatory.

Laws created in Elizabethan times define idiots as "incapable of gaining reason" and lunatics as capable of only periods of lucidity.

They are banned from becoming MPs "in their non lucid intervals".

Some of us had assumed that the House of Commons was stuffed full of lunatics and idiots already.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Putting the knife in

The stories of lethal stabbings of young people have been ghastly. No doubt their underlying causes are complex, deep-rooted, and long-standing.

Now Gordon Brown is going to "take action". If he does take measures which end a sub-culture of alienation, then he is to be congratulated. But please don't let him just produce the usual meaningless politician's waffle. The public deserve better.