Connor Sparrowhawk: no risk assessments before teenager’s death, tribunal finds

Dr Valerie Murphy faces sanction after tribunal finds further failings over death of 18-year-old who drowned at NHS unit

A senior psychiatrist failed to carry out any risk assessments on an epileptic teenager before he had a seizure and drowned in a bath, a medical tribunal has found.

Dr Valerie Murphy was the lead clinician responsible for treating Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, who died in an NHS care unit in Oxford on 4 July 2013.

Related: ‘We never thought he wouldn’t come home’: why did our son, Connor Sparrowhawk, die?

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Jamie is psychotic and won’t go outside. Mental health services are failing him

21/08/2017 Nuwan Dissanayaka 0

As a psychiatrist, I work hard to support his wish to remain in the community but there are many barriers

We’re standing in front of Jamie’s* door for the second time today. It’s been 10 minutes but at least it’s stopped raining. This could be any one of the hundreds of crumbling red brick terraced houses in Leeds.

It’s not a surprise that there’s no sign of Jamie, beyond the sounds of his dogs barking and the bass music reverberating inside. The door still hasn’t been fixed since it was forced by the police prior to his last admission three months ago. Just as we’re about to leave, Jamie opens the door.

Our focus on therapeutic relationships is often​ ​usurped by a short-term approach to long-term mental illness

Related: Mental health services are in crisis but we NHS bosses can change this

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Jeremy Hunt accuses Stephen Hawking of ‘pernicious falsehood’ in NHS row

19/08/2017 Nicola Slawson 0

Health secretary reacts to physicist’s claim that the Conservatives are trying to implement US-style health insurance system

Jeremy Hunt has accused Stephen Hawking of a “pernicious” lie after the physicist said it seemed the Tories were steering the UK towards a US-style health insurance system.

Hours after the health secretary was criticised for claiming Hawking was wrong in the row about the government’s seven-day NHS plan, he leapt back into the fray with two tweets defending the Conservative party’s record on the health service.

Most pernicious falsehood from Stephen Hawking is idea govt wants US-style insurance system.Is it 2 much to ask him to look at evidence? 1/2

NHS under Cons has seen more money,more docs and more nurses than ever in history.Those with private med insurance DOWN 9.4% since 2009! 2/2

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

Related: The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it | Stephen Hawking

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The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it | Stephen Hawking

18/08/2017 Stephen Hawking 0

The crisis in the health service has been created by politicians who want to privatise it – when public opinion, and the evidence, point in the opposite direction

Like many people, I have personal experience of the NHS. In my case, medical care, personal life and scientific life are all intertwined. I have received a large amount of high-quality NHS treatment and would not be here today if it were not for the service.

The care I have received since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease as a student in 1962 has enabled me to live my life as I want, and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe. In July I celebrated my 75th birthday with an international science conference in Cambridge. I still have a full-time job as director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and, with two colleagues, am soon to publish another scientific paper on quantum black holes.

Related: Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

When public figures abuse scientific argument to justify policies, it debases scientific culture

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Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

Exclusive: Physicist criticises ministers over funding cuts, privatisation and pay caps before address revealing his reliance on health service

Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support.

The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”.

Related: The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it | Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

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Newcastle hospitals chief sacked for gross misconduct

17/08/2017 Press Association 0

Sir Leonard Fenwick, longest-serving NHS chief executive, dismissed after inquiry into claims of inappropriate behaviour

The longest-serving NHS hospital boss has been sacked for gross misconduct and is being investigated by the service’s internal anti-fraud police.

Sir Leonard Fenwick was dismissed by the board of Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals foundation trust after 39 years for misconduct involving “inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues”.

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Severe birth trauma has left me terrified of having another child

17/08/2017 Anonymous 0

Normally associated with soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder affects 20,000 new mothers in the UK each year

I have revisited the day my daughter was born more times than I can remember. Almost every night since it happened, the trauma I experienced creeps back. Yet the medics involved will not have given that day a fleeting thought. It feels like an insulting paradox, that such a life-changing moment for one person is but an everyday event for another.

My labour didn’t go to plan. I experienced a searing white-hot pain when my drug-free water birth ended in an episiotomy without painkillers. I was terrified when dozens of medical staff rushed back and forth with equipment talking in urgent, hushed tones about a falling heart beat. Above all, I felt powerless, a total loss of control, and that I had no value as I lay naked on my back with strangers’ hands and faces around my exposed groin. As a result, I suffered birth trauma and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Now NHS cuts are stripping basic medicines from the poor | Polly Toynbee

17/08/2017 Polly Toynbee 0

The government tries to deny cuts exist. But some hapless GPs are being forced to stop providing everyday medications to those unable to pay for them

The retreat of the health service is stealthy and haphazard, as a creeping postcode lottery of cuts gradually erodes the “national” in NHS. IVF, hip and knee operations are being cut back randomly in some regions. In some places patients can only get one cataract fixed: seeing with one eye is enough.

Related: Leak shows ‘devastating’ impact of planned NHS cuts in London

The ban on all over-the-counter medicines comes with a screed of cant about the importance of promoting ‘self-care’

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The Guardian view on vaginal mesh implants: trust data and patients | Editorial

16/08/2017 Editorial 0

The devices have benefited a large number of women – but thousands have suffered serious adverse effects

The numbers tell their own tale. Thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed after suffering complications. Around one in 15 of those fitted with the most common type of mesh have required operations, according to NHS data obtained by the Guardian. In short, the problems are much more widespread than previously acknowledged. The removal rate was previously estimated at less than 1%.

But numbers are not enough. Each case is a woman with a disturbing story; and listening is as important as tallying them. Carolyn Churchill had to give up work after she was left in agony, with persistent bleeding. Yet she said she was made to feel like a baby for complaining. Others describe being left unable to walk or have sex – and of being assured that the implant was not responsible. So even this data under-represents the problem. Women may not be referred for removal, or may decide against it given the risks.

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How has the nursing profession changed your life?

16/08/2017 Emma Sheppard 0

We want to hear why you love being a nurse, or how a nurse helped your recovery as a patientThe pressure on NHS nurses is well documented. There are more nurses leaving the profession than joining it, with 40,000 unfilled vacancies, a 96% drop in the n…

Sexual health shake-up in south-west London unsafe, experts say

Cost-cutting plans in three boroughs will lead to more STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies, senior doctors warn

Senior doctors have warned that a major shake-up of sexual health services in three London boroughs will lead to more unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

As concerns grow about the funding of sexual health services across England, 14 experts in the field at St George’s hospital in south-west London have written to NHS and local council leaders branding the money-saving changes “unsafe, unworkable and unsustainable”.

Related: Government cuts ‘leave sexual health services at tipping point’

Related: Cases of syphilis hit highest level in England since 1949

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Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

Carolyn Churchill was in agony after mesh surgery, but doctors were reluctant to blame her implant, even suggesting the pain might be a mental health issue

Six years ago, Carolyn Churchill, 57, from near Pontypridd in Wales, was in a long-term relationship, worked as a chef, and spent hours each week walking with her dogs and looking after her granddaughter’s pony. She was busy and content, but was bothered by stress incontinence, which affects roughly 10% of women.

“Never knowing when you’re going out if you’re going to wee yourself. It really got to the stage where it was embarrassing,” she recalls.

Related: ‘Scandal’ of vaginal mesh removal rates revealed by NHS records

Related: Vaginal mesh left me in agony. When will women’s health be taken seriously? | Kath Sansom

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Gender dysphoria patients deserve better treatment than I can give them | Zara Aziz

15/08/2017 Zara Aziz 0

GPs don’t have the time or the expertise to provide the holistic treatment that transgender patients require. Proper services are required urgently

Gender identity clinics have seen a huge demand for services in recent years. Waits can vary from 12 to 18 months in most cases, but can extend to three years in some parts of the country. It is estimated that about 1% of the population is transgender, although some believe this figure to be higher. Many have a higher incidence of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

Those waiting months for their first appointment can resort to buying unverified hormonal treatments on the black market, seeing private specialists (often online) or looking for support and prescriptions from their GP. Private specialists can reassure them that their GP will prescribe and monitor their treatments. This leads to some difficult conversations with patients.

Patients are faced with conflicting messages. The profession, too, remains uneasy and unsupported

Related: The Tories are on the right side of the transgender debate | Matthew d’Ancona

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From burgers to breaded mackerel: how Croydon is fighting the fat

15/08/2017 Nicola Slawson 0

On one of London’s unhealthiest high streets one in four children is obese, but now the council has stepped in

The high street in New Addington, south Croydon is one of the unhealthiest in London. Dotted between a launderette and a betting agent on a small curved parade are 10 fast food takeaways. There will soon be 11.

In the borough of Croydon there are 424 fast food shops, which predominantly sell calorific and unhealthy food such as fried chicken and burgers, according to data released by Public Health England last year. It has the second highest amount in London, after Westminster.

Related: The game improving a community’s health without them noticing

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It’s too late for my son, but the end of the campaign for ‘normal birth’ is welcome | James Titcombe

14/08/2017 James Titcombe 0

The Royal College of Midwives has abandoned the ideology that over the years may have contributed to many deaths, including that of my son

The decision by the Royal College of Midwives to withdraw its decade-long campaign for “normal birth” has come much too late for my own son, Joshua, who sadly died nine days after being born, but is a welcome step. The approach for too long influenced a style of care in maternity wards that put lives at risk.

These were the words spoken by Cumbria coroner Ian Smith, as he began summing up the inquest into the death of Joshua, on 6 June 2011: “With advances in medical science and techniques, childbirth has become safer and safer, to the point where we now expect children to be delivered safely. Now, I will have to say in truth, the process is a highly dangerous event, and you could make a glib remark that the most dangerous day of anybody’s life is their first day of life.”

Related: The Observer view on best medical practice for pregnant women | Observer editorial

Coroner Ian Smith was right in the comments he made in 2011; the most dangerous day of our lives is the day we are born

Related: More nurses and midwives leaving UK profession than joining, figures reveal

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Health inequality gap ‘is still growing’ in England, new Department of Health data shows

Poor people face years of failing health and earlier death compared to the rich, despite government pledges to reduce inequality

The health gap between rich and poor is growing in England, according to shocking figures compiled by the Department of Health.

Despite government pledges to reduce inequalities in areas such as life expectancy and susceptibility to disability and disease, those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case. Differing health outcomes for the rich and the poor were identified by Theresa May last year as a “burning injustice”.

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