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Private Eye

October 27, 2010

NHS Trust tries (and finally fails) to ‘divert’ £1 million of a cancer charity’s assets
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 2:27 pm

Breast cancer centre can open its doors as battling charity worker beats NHS

A charity worker’s seven year long fight to open a centre to provide therapy for breast cancer survivors and their families will finally be won next week, despite a hospital trust’s bid to misappropriate almost £1M of the charity’s assets.

The Primrose Centre in Bromley, Kent will open its doors for the first time on November 11, bringing to an end veteran charity fundraiser Mary Spinks’ long struggle against the bureaucrats of the NHS and Department of Health.

Whilst Mary Spinks, 63, fought to provide a support service helping up to 80 people a week when fully operational, the NHS sought to appropriate the charity’s assets to help balance the books of Bromley’s ailing hospital trust.

The saga began in 2003 when the then Bromley Hospital NHS Trust sold redundant hospital land to a developer. The land included a former hospital chapel built in 1864 which Mary Spinks persuaded the developer to donate as the future home for the breast cancer centre.

A charitable foundation created by Mary Spinks under the umbrella of Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Funds became the chapel owner and she began

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October 26, 2010

Should people in Warwickshire move to Birmingham for a new hip? The Health Service Journal picks up on my NHS Warwickshire post
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 5:35 pm

Good to see the HSJ picking up my story. And the comments are interesting too. Is it legal? Is it ethical? What happens if the money still runs out? What would Bevan do?

PCT halts funding for over 30 procedures to ‘remain sustainable’
26 October, 2010 | By Steve Ford

A Midlands primary care trust has halted funding for a raft of routine procedures, including cataract removal and hip replacements, in order to remain financially viable over the winter.

Until now PCTs have largely made small scale attempts to cut back on actual services offered, for example NHS Warrington ceased funding most IVF treatment last month. However, NHS Warwickshire has written to provider organisation chief executives outlining two lists of non life threatening procedures that it says will either no longer be funded permanently or temporarily – following discussion with its clinical executive committee.

The list of nine permanently banned procedures includes acupuncture, epidurals for back pain and oral vaccination against hay fever. The second list – of more than 20 procedures halted until the end of the financial year – includes new IVF treatment cycles, all routine elective orthopaedic operations, and secondary care back pain management.


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October 25, 2010

NHS Rationing in Warwickshire
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 8:39 am

Explicit rationing in the NHS is no bad thing. When he was shadow health secretary, I made Andrew Lansley stand on stage at the NICE conference and say: ‘There is and has to be rationing in the NHS.’ He’s now hoping GP Consortia will do it for him, but NHS Warwickshire is ahead of the game, announcing a list of treatment restictions ‘to manage demand in the acute sector.’ However, there’s no mention of any patient consultation in drawing up this list. Whatever happened to no decision about me without me?

Westgate House
Market Street
CV34 4DE

Tel: 01926 493491

Fax: 01926 495074
8th October 2010

Birmingham & West Birmingham NHST
Management Centre
Dudley Road
B18 7QH

Dear Chief Executive

As you know, throughout this year we have seen continual and significant increases in the demand
for acute services across Warwickshire. In response we have taken action to refresh treatment
policies, remind clinicians of their content and extend the range of services in the community. This
has not had a significant enough impact to reduce the capacity problems that your Trust

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October 18, 2010

Dr Phil’s Private Eye Column, Issue 1273 October 13
Filed under: Private Eye — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Phil @ 10:23 am

Preventing another Mid Staffs?

Who can say with any confidence that a similar disaster to Mid Staffs isn’t happening now in the NHS? When MD asked for a show of hands at a Tory Fringe meeting that included the Health Secretary, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, the chief execs of the GMC and the NMC and a host of senior NHS managers and clinicians, not one arm was raised. A decade after the Bristol Inquiry and with thirty bodies supposedly scrutinising the quality and safety of NHS care, we still can’t spot and stop avoidable, repeated harm to patients occurring over a prolonged period.

Anyone doubting the scale of harm to patients at Mid Staffs between January 2005 and March 2009 needs to read the Francis Inquiry report. The debate about how useful and accurate Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios continues, but the fact is that just about every early warning light flashed brightly in Mid Staffs for months, and yet nothing was done. The Inquiry has thus far has looked at failures within the hospital but now sets its sights on the plethora of regulatory and commissioning bodies that also failed to act. It’s likely to

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September 29, 2010

Dr Phil’s Private Eye Column, Issue 1272 September 29
Filed under: Private Eye — Tags: — Dr. Phil @ 3:58 pm

The European Working Time Directive again.

Is it possible to train doctors properly in a 48-hour working week? The European Working Time Directive (EWTD), which enforced its final hours’ restriction last year, was agreed in 1999, giving the NHS ten years to prepare. The rationale was sound – there is overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation and unnatural sleep cycles contribute to thought and movement impairments, injuries and error – but there were obvious dangers too. Halving the working hours of junior doctors could – unless cleverly executed – have a disastrous effect on both training and patient care.

The widespread training failures and alarming drop-out rates publicised in The Times suggests that the NHS, and the Labour government, buried its collective head in the sand over the EWTD. This was hardly new to Eye readers. Back in 2002, MD argued that specialties such as heart surgery needed to merge into fewer units, with a minimum of 4 surgeons, to allow proper training and supervision of those whose hours were restricted. Labour was ‘not persuaded’ by centralisation and we ended up with Oxford heart scandal, where an inexperienced consultant had no senior support or supervision in the hospital when

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