Re: Ministers Strip Councils Authority on Elderly Care/NHS Computers Don't Work Right/ MRSA Under-reported

On Aug 10, 4:01 am, Burkie <Burki...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I'm really sorry to have to put this up on UKBA, but you folks have
some very, very serious problems. You don't need to chastise me for
putting this and the links up, 'cause it's your money that's been
wasted and not mine. Not only that, it's your health and your
families that are being affected negatively by your own people. If
you want to complain, do so in a right and proper way to get positive
changes made for the benefit of yourselves. Please note: the
reference made to the MRSA problems in your own hospitals.

I realize that you've also had to contend with IT problems with your
SFP scheme, too.

Burkie in Kansas

Ministers to strip councils of power to run care homes

By Brian Brady, Whitehall Editor
Sunday, 10 August 2008

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Care for elderly, infirm and disabled people could be stripped from
local authority control under radical new government plans in an
effort to end the so-called "postcode lottery" that sees wildly
different standards of care across the country.

Social services chiefs have been warned they will lose their
responsibility for care unless they step up improvements in their
performance over the next three years.

More than 370 nursing and care homes have been given "no star" ratings
after the independent Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI)
assessed their services as "poor". A further 31 have been sent legal
notices stating the CSCI plans to cancel their registration and move
their residents elsewhere.

Last week it obtained a court order to cancel the registration of a
residential nursing home in Brackley, Northamptonshire, after a random
check found the safety and welfare of its elderly residents were "at
serious risk". Several residents of the home were taken to hospital
for treatment. Two subsequently died after inspectors shut the home.

The reputation of the sector has also been damaged by repeated
revelations of abuse and neglect of residents in some of the 10,000-
plus private homes across the country. Some 150 local authorities
across England spent £14.2bn on social care for all adults last year
including elderly people, residents with dementia and young people
with learning difficulties. Their role is already under threat,
however, from reforms designed to give individuals "personalised"
control over their own care, including control of a personal budget
under the Government's Putting People First programme.

The health minister Ivan Lewis has warned that the Government is
prepared to go further, and remove local councils from the system if
their performance does not improve. He said: "If at the end of three
years, local government has not delivered on those building blocks, I
think there will be some really big questions to be asked about its
capacity to commission these services in the future."

Department of Health insiders said the warning could mean the worst-
performing councils being stripped of their powers – or, in extreme
circumstances, the power over commissioning care being handed to a new
body altogether. In an interview with Community Care magazine, Mr
Lewis said the postcode lottery was one of the "big, big concerns".

Age Concern gave a cautious welcome to the Government's proposals. A
spokesman said: "We have been concerned about councils being in charge
of assessing people's needs and then deciding how much should be spent
on them. There have been concerns about the quality of care offered to
older people, in particular. At least threatening local authorities
with sanctions if they do not improve can be of benefit."

But the Local Government Association (LGA), a cross-party organisation
representing councils in England, insisted that local authorities
still had a vital contribution to make. "Councils are best placed to
make decisions on providing care and support to local people, thanks
to their knowledge of what's available in each area and how best it
can be managed," a spokeswoman said.


Chaos as £13bn NHS computer system falters

* Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
* The Observer,
* Sunday August 10 2008
* Article history

A £13bn overhaul of the NHS records system has suffered so many
problems that hospitals have struggled to keep track of people
requiring operations, patients with suspected MRSA and potential
cancer sufferers needing urgent consultations.

Glitches in the roll-out of the Connecting for Health computer
system have also resulted in delays at accident and emergency
departments, soaring complaints and failures to identify child-abuse

The revelations are just the latest setback for what the
government has pledged will be a key factor in improving NHS services.
According to the board minutes of the first London NHS trusts to
install the new system, obtained by The Observer and Computer Weekly,
it has had a serious effect on patient care, a problem that raises
questions about its introduction to hundreds of other hospitals and

A report to the Enfield Primary Care Trust in March reveals that
difficulties with the system last year meant it did not have vital
data identifying patients awaiting operations. As a result 63 patients
of the Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS trust had their operations

In April, the trust found that the system had failed to flag up
possible child-abuse victims entering hospital to key staff, 'leaving
the responsibility to the receptionist'.

The same trust noted the following month that 272 elective
operations were cancelled at the last minute for 'non-clinical
reasons' and that 20 patients were not readmitted for treatment within
28 days at the end of last year because the 'surveillance system for
tracking' them 'was not operational in the new ... system'.

The board's minutes show 14,000 people contacted the trust last
year with concerns about their treatment, compared with 5,500 in 2006.

A report to the board of another NHS trust, Barts and the London,
says that for six months to May this year the trust failed to meet
targets for treating emergency patients within four hours, chiefly
because staff were unfamiliar with the new computer system. The same
report reveals that in May there were 'breaches of the two-week urgent
cancer access guarantee' for the same reasons. As a result 11 patients
who were suspected of having cancer did not receive consultations on

According to minutes presented to the Buckinghamshire Hospitals
NHS Trust, problems with the new system last year meant potentially
infectious patients with MRSA were not isolated for up to 17 days. The
problem had to be rectified manually by staff who updated the patient
records themselves. 'This took approximately six weeks to do, during
which time there was a possibility that some MRSA-positive patients
may have slipped through undetected if medical notes had not been
available,' according to the report.

The revelations have prompted claims that the government is losing
control of the flagship project. 'IT projects well implemented can be
a huge benefit,' said Stephen O'Brien, the Conservatives' health
spokesman. 'Clearly from the problems being encountered by many
trusts, the benefits are not being achieved and all the risks are
falling on patients.'

Many trusts have delayed implementing the new system as a result
of the problems and the chief executive of Connecting for Health,
Richard Granger, resigned last year. Those trusts that have
implemented the system complain it diverts staff from key duties. A
report last month to the board of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust
said 12,000 patient records had to be manually amended over a three-
week period.

'The outpatient appointment centre has experienced a significant
increase in the time taken to process individual patient appointment
bookings. This has had a consequent and negative effect on call-answer
performance,' the report states. The trusts said the problems had been
or were being fixed. 'We are aware that during initials stages of
implementation there were some difficulties,' said a spokesman for NHS

A spokeswoman for Connecting for Health said patients would be
better off under the new system. 'Patients can expect faster diagnosis
and treatment because vital information will be available wherever and
whenever care is required.'
In the interests of's an update: Fines to be
imposed on NHS hospitals for violations.