During the first few days of this week, MPs debated whether or not Trust Special Administrators (TSAs) should be granted powers that would allow them to take over NHS Trusts in financial difficulties. A new clause in the Care Bill would see these TSAs able to make any ‘changes they felt were necessary’ to the hospital in question as well as to surrounding services.
Last year Jeremy Hunt approved the closure of services at Lewisham Hospital in order to save the failing Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, a move that was later ruled as illegal. It was this ruling that sparked the debate, with Ministers who believe that patient care between local hospitals is interlinked, wanting to give TSAs more power for making changes to neighbouring health services in what they call ‘consideration of the wider local health economy’.
Yesterday a controversial decision to go ahead with ‘Clause 119’ of the Care Bill, which would see these Health Secretary appointed TSAs given hospital closure powers, was voted through despite vehement opposition from Hospital Unions and Patient Groups. The Labour Party has also spoken out in opposition to the change, fearing that services at financially stable hospitals could be put at risk. The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said that clause 119 creates ‘an entirely new route for hospital reconfiguration – top-down, finance-led’. Jeremy Hunt today continued to defend the measure, insisting that it will help to ensure patient safety where Trusts are failing.
Will a hospital in the hands of government appointed ‘managers’ as opposed to health professionals ensure that patient care is put at the top of the agenda over financial targets? We are not convinced but only time will tell.
New Study Reveals Shocking State of Breast Cancer Aftercare
It has been reported that thousands of women recovering from breast cancer are being let down by doctors who are failing to provide essential aftercare information and support to them.
A new study found that aftercare guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence were not being followed closely enough with many women being left ill equipped to spot warning signs that the disease may have come back. Only 1 in every 5 women surveyed reported being given a ‘care plan’ containing details of symptoms to watch out for following treatment. The report, which was carried out by the charity Breast Cancer Campaign, found that in some hospitals only 8% of women were being given a care plan at all. The report also highlighted the fact that breast cancer aftercare standards were not being adequately monitored by the appropriate NHS Bodies. Baroness Delyth Morgan who is the Chief Executive of the charity said: “Attempts to monitor the breast cancer quality standards are virtually non-existent. It’s not enough to pay lip-service to standards of care and consider that job done.” Based on these findings 16 recommendations to improve care have been made by Breast Cancer Campaign.
It is our view that if the recommendations are not acted upon, and if patients are not given the appropriate after care management, then this will again leave women who have suffered in a vulnerable position.