Killing season' on NHS wards

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Bushmills, Jun 23, 2012.

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  1. 'Killing season' on NHS wards: Patients at risk when junior doctors start new jobs, says health boss
    7,000 medical students start foundation year in August
    Hospital death rates rise 8% during the period
    NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh vows to end 'killing season' scandal

    Thousands of newly qualified medical graduates take up their first hospital jobs as ¿foundation year¿ doctors in the first week of August

    Hospital death rates go up by 8 per cent when junior doctors start their jobs in what a top NHS executive has labelled a ‘killing season’.

    Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the health service, has admitted publicly – for what is believed to be the first time – that patients are at risk during this period.

    Yesterday he pledged to end the scandal under radical training reforms which will see junior doctors shadow senior colleagues for their first week.

    Thousands of newly qualified medical graduates take up their first hospital jobs as ‘foundation year’ doctors in the first week of August.

    Sir Bruce expects that 7,000 junior doctors will begin the new induction scheme voluntarily next month before starting their posts in August.

    From next year it will be compulsory for all junior doctors to shadow senior colleagues for at least four days.

    The death rates and number of mistakes are so notoriously high that the day of the week when junior doctors typically start has been dubbed ‘Black Wednesday’.

    Sir Bruce hopes the scheme will halve the number of errors. He said ‘The intention is to end the so-called killing season. This is good news for patients – we recognise the change-over period in August puts patients at risk.

    ‘Junior doctors are under stress as they change from being a student to a professional and they need help to adapt to a working environment when they’ve never done a job before.’

    The scheme follows a successful trial in Bristol, where it was found to halve the number of mistakes by junior doctors in their first four months.

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    There was also a drop in the numbers of patients left permanently damaged by their errors, down from five cases to just one.

    Dr Dan Poulter, a Conservative MP and hospital doctor, said: ‘This should have been done a long time ago. There’s nothing more important than human life. It’s unacceptable that doctors are thrown in at the deep end and patients’ lives are put at risk.

    ‘The Department of Health needs to be credited for ending the chaos on the wards.’

    Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the health service, has admitted publicly that patients are at risk during this period

    Katherine Murphy, of the Patients’ Association, said: ‘Patient safety should be of paramount concern to the NHS, and it has always been clear that it is, on occasion, compromised during August. Given that everybody knows this to be the case, action should have been taken long ago.’

    Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, welcomed the plan. ‘This is an excellent idea and will be a great relief to patients,’ she said.

    ‘We all know how difficult it is when you start a completely new job – but for a doctor there are lives at risk.’

    One of the problems facing junior doctors is that hospitals are so vast – many are more than a mile wide – so it takes several days for them to find their way round.

    If they are suddenly summoned to a patient who has had a cardiac arrest it may take them precious extra minutes to get there.

    In addition, many go on holiday in the six weeks between leaving medical school and taking up their posts, over which time their newly acquired skills and knowledge become rusty.

    In 2009 a study involving 300,000 patients at 170 hospitals by Imperial College London found that death rates were 6 per cent higher on Black Wednesday.

    When cancer patients or those undergoing surgery were excluded, the rates were 8 per cent higher.
    Such patients are rarely looked after by junior doctors and are instead under the care of more senior, specialist medics.

    Junior doctors change jobs every six months – in August and February – and Sir Bruce admitted the new scheme tackled only one part of the upheaval, adding: ‘We will audit the shadowing and see how different trusts manage it and their results.’

    Read more: NHS wards: Patients at risk when junior doctors start new jobs, says health boss Sir Bruce Keogh | Mail Online

  2. Thanks for that, I wasn't aware of it but it's a bit scarey.

    This week I had a serious operation, no big deal-lots of folk do.

    However, what gave me the greatest angst was the disparity between the competence of different agency nurses.

    The first night, post op, the sole nurse on duty, an African, seemed out of her depth, unfamiliar with the various monitoring devices and appeared to be 'cuffing it' I felt that if I had had problems, I would have been ignored. She probably would have been ok nursing in a care home but not in a surgical ward.

    In contrast, the Fillipina, agency nurse the following night was brilliant, I had a problem (unrelated to my op as it turned out but I didn't know that at the time) She checked my vital signs, decided it merited her proceeding to give me an EGC. and then, based on the results of that, decided to summon the doctor.

    The point of this ramble is that I am left wondering whether the less reputable nursing agencies have a tendency to 'big-up' their temps' qualities in order to get the work, to the possible and potentially serious detriment of the patients.
  3. While it's probably not possible to completely eradicate medical malpractice, a recent CNN News article says patients can do something to minimize their risk of becoming victims of certain types of medical mistakes, including:

    Freaky Friday patient mix-ups - The last thing you need is to be treated for a health care problem you don't have, even if it doesn't end up being harmful. Make certain the staff verifies who you are and checks your wrist band before every procedure.

    Dr. No's surgical instruments left behind - Surgeons and OR staff may have hundreds of details to be mindful of before, during and after a procedure. Don't hesitate to ask if a surgical instrument was left inside you should you experience unexpected pain, fever or swelling after surgery.

    Invasion of the wrong body part snatchers - It may not happen very often, but it does happen every year and always leaves us scratching our heads. Just before a surgical procedure, make sure you confirm which body part and side of your body that the surgeon and his or her team will be operating on.

    Waiting for Dr. Godot in the ER - Emergency rooms are often overfull and understaffed. Unfortunately, the interminably long wait times can cause needless and potentially deadly harm to patients with certain types of conditions. Calling your personal physician and asking him or her to contact the emergency room before you arrive could help minimize your wait.

    Curb the infectious enthusiasm - Health care practitioners are sometimes in such a hurry to get to the next patient on their hectic schedules that they ignore or forget to take basic sanitary precautions and commit medical malpractice by spreading disease to other patients. Whether they're wearing gloves or not, and no matter how awkward it feels to ask -- make certain doctors and nurses wash their hands before they touch you.

    Tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of medical malpractice | West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorneys Blog
  4. Given most people can't get to see their GP during normal working hours, what's the chances of giving him a tinkle at 3am to say "hey Doc, just popping in to A&E with a bit of indigestion, can you give 'em a bell and tell them I don't want to hang about"!!
  5. Seppo article.
  6. The govt I think Labour paid GP's to not do their own out of hours cover.
    Medical and nursing cover can vary tremendously especially if it's a rare condition that's not been seen by whoever is on duty.
    What can be simple can be overlooked easily.
  7. Oh and just to add its the Nurses who keep patients safe from sproggy spotty doctors. If you have poorly trained nurses, watch out.
    • Like Like x 1