Each week Telecare Choice will bring you an NHS news round-up article, to help keep you up-to-date with all the latest from our national health service.
In this week’s news:
Costs of negligence claims set to double
According to a study by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) the annual cost to the NHS in England of settling clinical negligence claims is set to double by 2023. The bill is already substantial, at around £1.5 billion, and is the equivalent of training 6500 new doctors.
The MPS warn that these payments are unsustainable and take significant amounts of funding away from patient care. In the news article provided on The Guardian’s website, the director of claims at the MPS says:
It is important that there is reasonable compensation for patients harmed following clinical negligence, but a balance must be struck against society’s ability to pay. If the current trend continues the balance will tip too far and the cost risks becoming unsustainable for the NHS and ultimately for society.” – Emma Hallinan
The MPS have suggested nine legal reforms which could reduce the increasing costs. Examples include:
- A cap on the number of experts in each claimant’s case.
- A 10-year limit on claims.
- Fixed recoverable costs scheme for claims up to £250,000.
For more information surrounding this story please visit The Guardian.
The First Proton Beam Machine arrives
A machine which will allow cancer patients to receive high-energy proton beam therapy will be installed at Manchester’s Christie Hospital this week. Currently this type of cancer treatment is only available abroad, with 210 patients being sent to Switzerland and the US last year.
Proton beam therapy uses charged particles instead of x-rays to deliver radiotherapy for cancer patients. The high-energy protons are targeted directly at the tumour, whilst reducing the dose to surrounding organs and tissue.
With this treatment patients will suffer fewer side effects compared to the standard x-ray procedures. Proton beam therapy can be used to treat:
- Lung cancer.
- Prostate cancer.
- Liver cancer.
- Spinal cord tumours.
- Sarcomas near the spine or brain
- Some children’s cancers.
A 300ft crane will be used to lower the 90-tonne machine, known as the Cyclotron, into position at the hospital. The building where the machine will sit had to be reinforced with 270 separate steel, timber or concrete posts in order to support the heavy structure.
The Cyclotron is due to open in August 2018 and is expected to treat around 750 patients a year. For more details please read the BBC news article.
NHS employee could face disciplinary action after rolling up trousers
It has been reported by the Daily Mirror that an NHS hospital worker at Watford General Hospital could face disciplinary action after rolling up his trousers to try and ‘cool off’ during this week’s heat wave.
The incident is said to have taken place on Wednesday, as temperatures rose to a record-high 34C in the London area. Staff members at the hospital had asked managers for permission to wear three-quarter length trousers but this was rejected according to the GMB Union.
In the article, a local representative for the GMB said:
The porters, who are paid minimum wage, are expected to continue working as normal in the searing heat whilst managers sit in air conditioned offices. Because of the unusually high temperatures, the NHS managers in Watford General have adopted a reasonable approach towards their workforce. However, Medirest consider suspending safety reps is the preferred option, this of course may intimidate other workers into submission to ensure compliance. The spirit of good will and cooperation seems to have died in Watford General hospital.” – Michael Dooley
For more on this incident please see the Daily Mirror Article.