G4S ambulance staff left message saying they could beat up patient

From The Guardian: Two G4S ambulance crew members have been suspended after leaving a voicemail message for a vulnerable patient in which they suggested they could “beat the fuck” out of him and then claim self-defence.

The driver of the two-man non-emergency ambulance crew could be heard telling his colleague that “beating a patient to a pulp” was preferable to “being beaten to a pulp”, even if they were prosecuted. His colleague suggested that to do so would simply result in a six-month suspension while they were investigated.

The patient, who does not want to be named, told the Guardian he was sent the ambulance on 8 May to take him for an MRI scan on his lower abdomen after a stomach rupture. He has mental health problems and had been rehoused in temporary emergency council accommodation in Kent the previous week.

The driver of the G4S vehicle left a message saying the crew would be a few minutes late to take him to William Harvey hospital in Ashford, Kent. “He’s homeless, he’s aggressive, he’s suicidal, so he ain’t gonna be the best, is he?” the driver can be heard to say. “You don’t need to take him if you don’t feel safe with him. That’s why we’ve got the fire extinguisher. Take it off the hook now and you’ve got something to hit him with. You’d rather be prosecuted, wouldn’t you, for beating a patient to a pulp than that patient beating you to a pulp, wouldn’t you, as a choice of the two?”

After his colleague agrees, the driver continues: “D’you want a broken arm, a broken jaw, black eyes, or do you want to beat the fuck out of someone and then get prosecuted? You could still say it was self-defence.” His colleague then adds: “And get suspended for six months while they check up on it.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Austerity and NHS cuts: wrecking our mental health

Dr Mona Kamal writes on Keep Our NHS Public: “Despite all the rhetoric by this government on prioritising resources for mental health and commitment to parity of esteem, the reality is that time and again they have been very willing to use mental health as an easy target for funding cuts with very little regard to the human cost this has on arguably one of the most vulnerable patient groups.

“We’ve come to expect the periodic announcements of ‘record funding’ from this government, but mental health trusts in England have in fact suffered budget cuts in real terms of just over 8% year on year since 2011. They have lost almost a third of all NHS mental health beds over the past decade and 6800 (15%) mental health nurse posts have gone.

“This means a frequent struggle for staff to find beds to admit patients into and has extremely serious consequences for those in crisis and whose illness carries a risk to themselves or others. It means patients, including young children having to be moved hundreds of miles away from their homes and families to get to the nearest empty bed and it forces unacceptable practices where acutely unwell patients who are detained on section are having to wait for days or even weeks in busy A&E departments while a mental health bed becomes available.

“Nowhere is this crisis more evident than in Child and Adolescent Mental Health where there have been years of negligent underfunding – most notably during the early years of the coalition government. By 2017 one third of children’s mental health services faced either downsizing or closure. This is causing completely needless suffering for young people who are not able to access care when they need it. Figures from the NSPCC indicate that an average of 150 children a day are denied access to mental health treatment.”

[Read full column on Keep Our NHS Public website…]

Anger as NHS hospitals scrap free parking for the sick and disabled

From Welfare Weekly: Union bosses and the Labour Party has responded angrily to news that hospitals are abolishing free parking for sick patients and people with disabilities.

The Mirror reports that Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust introduced the controversial policy just days before Christmas, with dialysis patients and carers among those will be affected by the cruel decision.

And Nottinghamshire University Hospitals Trust, which the Mirror claims made £3.6million from parking charges last year, are scrapping free parking for Blue Badge holders from January next year (2019).

[Read full article on Welfare Weekly…]

Meet Ben Baddeley: facing a life of pain due to Tory NHS cuts

Amy Rose Baddeley writes… “My son Ben is 14 & sufferers from cerebral palsy. He needs crucial treatment that unfortunately is NOT funded on the NHS due to [Tory] funding cuts, leaving us to pick up medical bills of between £1,000 & £2,000 every month.

“My husband & i are trying everything we can to fundraise, work overtime & find the funds to pay for Ben’s crucial treatment because without it his muscles & nerves can’t develop correctly as he grows leaving him in pain on a daily basis.

[Donate to crowdfunder] [Ben’s Facebook page]

#ToryBritain #ToryNHSCHRISTMAS APPEAL from Amy Rose Baddeley…"My son Ben is 14 & sufferers from cerebral palsy. He…

Posted by Stop The Tories Channel on Sunday, December 2, 2018

Drug companies are ripping the NHS off of billions of pounds, new stats reveal

From the Morning Star: Drug companies are ripping off the NHS to the tune of tens of billions pounds a year, statistics from management body NHS England have revealed.

They showed that companies supplying medications charged the NHS £20.2 billion last year — an increase of 10.9 per cent.

The increase far outstrips inflation and is around three times higher than extra cash given to the NHS by taxpayers.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Women over 34 are being refused IVF treatment

From BBC News: Women over 34 are being automatically refused IVF treatment on the NHS in 12 areas of England.

IVF should be offered to women until age 42, guidelines say, but new figures show around 80% of areas are failing to do this.

Campaign group Fertility Fairness said it “penalises women who take longer to find a partner”.

Couples in Wales and Scotland are offered IVF until they are 42, as long as certain criteria are met.

One 38-year-old woman, Charlotte, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she was considering moving house to a different area, having been told she was too old to qualify for the procedure in Southampton.

Tory underfunding has just forced an NHS trust to privatise surgeries to free up bed space for impending winter crisis

From Evolve Politics: The University Hospitals Plymouth Trust has been forced to move its entire elective orthopaedic service to the private provider, Care UK, in a desperate attempt to free up extra bed space in time for the now routine underfunding-induced winter NHS crisis.

[Read article on Evolve Politics…]

NHS £20bn boost risks being spent to pay off debts, experts warn

From The Guardian: Theresa May is being urged to write off almost £12bn in overspending by hospitals or risk her £20bn NHS boost being spent on debt repayment rather than improving healthcare.

NHS experts are warning that promised expansions of cancer and mental healthcare will prove impossible because a large amount of the £20bn that the prime minister pledged this year will go to the NHS by 2023-24 will be used servicing historic debts.

The debts “are a millstone which has to be removed from around the neck of the NHS”, said Peter Carter, an ex-chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing. “Having to service the debt will significantly compromise the impact of the 3.4% [annual NHS budget rises May has pledged until 2023] to such an extent that new money will not enable the NHS to modernise; it will in effect help the NHS to stand still.”

“The impact of writing off the debt will have minimal effect on the national debt but will have a major impact on the ability of the NHS to maximise the new investment the government is promising”, added Carter. The NHS in England overspent by £4.3bn last year, while the 240 NHS trusts owe the Department of Health and Social Care £7.4bn in outstanding historic loans. NHS finance experts from the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust thinktanks blamed the debt pile on persistent NHS underfunding of the NHS.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Mental health patients sent 300 miles from home due to lack of beds

From The Guardian: Patients with serious mental health problems are being sent more than 300 miles away from their home areas because of widespread bed shortages across the NHS, figures show.

Adults in mental health crises were sent as far as 307 miles from home last year, where they were denied easy access to family and friends for many months – a situation NHS chiefs have admitted reduces chances of recovery.

Dorset Healthcare University mental health trust sent patients to a Priory mental health hospital in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, 246 miles from the south coast, because of a lack of beds. The year before it had sent patients even further afield to a Priory unit in Durham, 325 miles away.

Last year, Lancashire Care NHS foundation trust had to place patients 299 miles away in a mental health unit in the village of Ticehurst in East Sussex, while people from Norfolk ended up being cared for at Arbury Court in Warrington, 239 miles away. Oxleas mental health trust, based in Dartford, Kent, sent patients for care – including in a psychiatric intensive care unit for those whose lives were at risk – up to 232 miles away in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

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