Green Room

NHS scandal: Up to 1,200 patients ‘died needlessly’ at British hospital

posted at 3:26 pm on January 7, 2013 by

Since Ed and I have each written about the latest round of Obamacare-exacerbated premium hikes, let’s check in on Britain’s single-payer system, which many American liberals fetishize:

An official inquiry into failings at [Stafford] hospital, where between 400 and 1,200 patients died needlessly due to a catalogue of failings and appalling standards of care, is due to be published later this month. The report is expected to blame managers who cut costs and reduced staffing levels in an attempt to hit “efficiency” targets and win foundation status. Before taking control of the health service, Sir David ran the health authority responsible for supervising Stafford between August 2005 and April 2006. His tenure came during a four-year period in which between 400 and 1,200 patients died needlessly due to a catalogue of failings and appalling standards of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust. Lawyers for the inquiry have criticised Sir David for his attitude towards the scandal following comments he made which were described as naive and dangerous, according to reports.

He told the inquiry in his role as NHS chief executive that because Stafford hospital was the only one to have been identified with such major failings, it suggested the problem was “singular” rather than a “systematic” problem in the NHS. Tom Kark QC, counsel to the inquiry, reportedly described Sir David’s attitude as “very dangerous” and said his assumption that other failing hospitals would have been identified by demonstrably failing systems was “naive”.  Sir David, a former Communist Party member, was installed as chief executive of the NHS by Labour in 2006 and is due to head the NHS Commissioning Board when it is launched in April.

Former card-carrying Communist?  Check.  Slated for promotion, despite staggering ineptitude?  Check.  What precipitated this systemic neglect and “appalling” medical standards?    Government efficiency targets, also known as rationing:

The report, the result of a two year-long inquiry led by Robert Francis QC, is expected to call for major reforms of the NHS including new controls to identify and remove bad managers and an improved training programme for nurses and health care assistants. It will warn that a “culture of fear” filtering down from Whitehall made managers obsessed with hitting targets, even when to do so would mean putting patients at risk. Doctors at Stafford were called away from critical patients to treat less urgent Accident and Emergency patients because a central target said all patients should be discharged from A&E units within four hours, the inquiry reportedly heard. Patients were left unwashed, unfed and in soiled bedsheets, while nurses were told that “heads would roll” and the A&E department could close if targets were missed. The NHS Commissioning Board, of which Sir David is the new head, could not be reached for comment.

“Whitehall,” incidentally, is a shorthand description of the British government’s central administration.  Fleet Street has been covering NHS’ myriad failures for years; here are just two recent additions to the roster of health care ignominy:  (1) Thousands of Britons’ private healthcare records were posted online without their knowledge or consent, prompting an outcry.  Millions of their fellow countrymen may be surprised to learn that a new government policy requires individuals to opt out of such public exposure.  (2) An increasing number of Brits are resorting to paying out-of-pocket for private care, due to aggressive rationing within the “free” government health apparatus:

More patients are going private because the NHS is increasingly cutting back on providing a range of treatments.  The poll, carried out by ComRes for the firm BMI Healthcare, found that 70 per cent of GPs are now unable to refer a patient for further treatment on the NHS at least once a month because they do not qualify under local criteria. Primary care trusts (PCTs) have increasingly been restricting access to treatments including cataract removals, hernia operations and hip and knee replacements, by raising the threshold of how ill or disabled a patient has to be…Dr Gerada said it was “very sad” that people were having to resort to the private sector. She said: “It’s incontrovertible that rationing has increased. Ophthalmologists are particularly taxed about single cataract operations. There’s also the worry that waiting lists are going up.” She feared the NHS rationing seen so far was the thin end of the wedge and warned more treatments would be restricted “very soon”.

Meanwhile, British Lefties are predictably denouncing the move toward privatization, blaming the shift on — what else? — “greedy” doctors (say, where have I heard that critique before?):

A senior doctor at a leading hospital has claimed consultants are prioritising their private practice work. Dr Rama Krishna Rao Rebbapragada, a consultant anaesthetist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said: “The private practice of the senior managers is putting a huge strain on the system. “Senior consultants do minimal sessions on full salaries and also they get distinction awards at the hospital.” Speaking at a meeting organised by the pressure group Keep Our NHS Public, he said: “I don’t want to see it just falling apart because of greed. I want my children, grandchildren and future generations to have the NHS.”

Behold, the paradise that awaits if our own “progressives” get their way.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask them:

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I’ve always wondered why the NHS doctors tried to blow up Heathrow when they were so obviously getting the job done right there at the hospitals.

JeremiahJohnson on January 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Up to 1,200 patients ‘died needlessly’ at British hospital

“Only 1,200? Why so low?”

-Lib Death Panel Lovers

portlandon on January 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Not death, it’s transitional non-respiratory status

Ted Torgerson on January 7, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Up to 1,200 patients ‘died needlessly’ at British hospital

Nope. No patient in National Health dies needlessly. They needed to go as a drain on health care, so as to free up beds and resources.

A vision of what we can expect with Obamacare.

/sarc

hawkeye54 on January 7, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Well at least those dead won’t be a drain on their pension funds.

rbj on January 7, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Politifact better check this out. I’m sure these people are still alive. Sounds like material for a Lie of the Year award.

forest on January 7, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Well at least those dead won’t be a drain on their pension funds.

rbj on January 7, 2013 at 4:31 PM

I have leftist tell me that anything above 250,000 per is luxury therefore taxable at very high rates. I call it stealing.

What happens when they apply this same logic to age? Anything about 80 years old is luxury and therefore you don’t medical treatment (you should die).

Oil Can on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Oil Can on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

That is SOP in Australia.

OldEnglish on January 7, 2013 at 5:01 PM

What happens when they apply this same logic to age? Anything about 80 years old is luxury and therefore you don’t medical treatment (you should die).

Oil Can on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Soylent green…..

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2013 at 5:21 PM

It wasn’t needless. It is the only way the system stays viable.

GWB on January 7, 2013 at 5:22 PM

What happens when they apply this same logic to age? Anything about 80 years old is luxury and therefore you don’t medical treatment (you should die).

Oil Can on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Soylent green…..

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2013 at 5:21 PM

AND we solve 2 problems at once – cut healthcare costs by killing the people – and turn them into soylent GREEN to feed the remaining people so we can use our corn to make GREEN ethanol.
A double win for the GREEN machine….

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM

They did not die “needlessly’.
They died as predicted.

NeoKong on January 7, 2013 at 6:48 PM

This is how my mother died….. in Canada!

ultracon on January 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Eh at least I know as I am on that hospital bed bleeding or with a bad infection because I am too “old” or there is not enough “money” I can point and laugh at the stupid liberal who is also in the same boat.

watertown on January 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM

They needed a death tax.

tomas on January 7, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Nope. No patient in National Health dies needlessly. They needed to go as a drain on health care, so as to free up beds and resources.

A vision of what we can expect with Obamacare.

/sarc

hawkeye54 on January 7, 2013 at 4:17 PM

You didn’t need a sarc tag there. Everything you said is 100% factually true.

Shump on January 7, 2013 at 7:59 PM

As the saying goes: you can’t make build an omelette utopia without breaking snuffing a few eggs grandmas.

Left Coast Right Mind on January 7, 2013 at 9:19 PM

You obviously haven’t heard yet about The Liverpool Care Pathway

The Thin Man Returns on January 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Politifact better check this out. I’m sure these people are still alive. Sounds like material for a Lie of the Year award.

forest on January 7, 2013 at 4:46 PM

death panels? nooo these aren’t death panels, they are just end-of-life care panels. totally completely different, yep.

Sachiko on January 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM

What happens when they apply this same logic to age? Anything about 80 years old is luxury and therefore you don’t medical treatment (you should die).

Oil Can on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Oil Can on January 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

That is SOP in Australia.

OldEnglish on January 7, 2013 at 5:01 PM

I live in Australia which has a reasonably functional blend of public and private care (although the various Labor govts would wreck that if they could). I’m not sure I understand what you’re suggesting is SOP here. That over-80s are just allowed to die? Perhaps it varies state to state but I’ve not encountered it.

The Thin Man Returns on January 7, 2013 at 9:42 PM

I guess we can, uh, forward to the daily Obamacare disaster and death stories.

Moesart on January 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM

So, will there be any revenge killings at Stafford hospital by outraged relatives? One can only hope. Pass the popcorn.

woodNfish on January 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Yeah well…Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Bush, and Lady Parts is all I have to say to this nothingburger of a story.

CorporatePiggy on January 8, 2013 at 6:31 AM

It’s very difficult to say for sure, but it’s already happening here in the USA especially in Florida. When younger relatives aren’t there to monitor the situation it is a perfect time to just ignore these sorts of problems. Both my husband and I noticed several things as both sets of parents died in Florida hospitals. There are 4 stories of dubious situtations when each of them died. This was over 20 years ago and now that I am in the same age group, staying away from hospitals is my main goal in life.

So far I am not impressed with how the system treats elderly patients.

BetseyRoss on January 8, 2013 at 9:43 AM

So, will there be any revenge killings at Stafford hospital by outraged relatives? One can only hope. Pass the popcorn.

woodNfish on January 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM

With what, their bare hands? They haven’t just surrendered their GUNS, they’re being encouraged to turn in their KNIVES.

TL;DR – the 2nd Amendment wasn’t just about making sure we could point a musket at the incestuous sons of harlots in Clowngress if they went too far, it was to provide ‘professionals’ with some incentive not to rip off the people.

That incentive being one of your victims, or a family member of same, being angry enough to show up at your doorstep with a loaded gun and d@mn the potential consequences.

MelonCollie on January 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

“You know, everyone dies eventually… who really wants to live to be 115? It sure doesn’t look like fun. So what’s the big deal if some people die accidentally in the prime of life? Spock said the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. You trust Spock, don’t you?”

- NHS

Marcola on January 8, 2013 at 11:56 AM

My dad is 87 and a veteran. He injured his shoulder last year and was told the VA will NOT pay for fixing it because of his age.

Death panels here we come.

itsspideyman on January 8, 2013 at 5:50 PM