English: NHS logo

English: NHS logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wilful neglect of patients is to be made a criminal offence under NHS reforms being introduced in the wake of unnecessary hospital deaths. British Prime Minister David Cameron said health workers who mistreated and abused patients would face “the full force of the law”. The offence will be modelled on laws against the wilful neglect of adults under the Mental Capacity Act, punishable by fines or up to five years in prison. Cameron said, “Never again will we allow substandard care, cruelty or neglect to go unnoticed and unpunished. This is not about a hospital worker who makes a mistake, but specific cases where a patient has been neglected or ill-treated.”

Meanwhile, father-of-three, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, brain tumour patient, Steve Taylor, 40, has had to wear a hard hat to protect his brain since part of his skull was removed in January after three operations to repair his skull were cancelled. The third op was cancelled, again at the last minute because there was no hospital bed available. Mr Taylor’s operation has now been rescheduled for a fourth time and is due to take place on November 25. Let’s hope it goes ahead!

A disgraced NHS heart surgeon John Chen Lui Lu, who caused infections which led to the deaths of five patients has been allowed back to work. Mr Lu who had a habit of constantly changing his gloves in the middle of heart surgery between December 2008 and July 2010 caused 11 out of 28 heart value patients to contract staphylococcus. Dennis Mills, 82, Michael Smithers, 67, Bernard Heald, 83, Alan Daniels, 73 and Albert Rigley, 63, all from Nottinghamshire, died as a result of contracting the epidermidis bacteria.

Lillian Baddeley, 81, died within eight months of contracting four separate superbugs on four separate occasions at a brand new £400 million ‘super-hospital’, the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. The patient allegedly caught E-coli twice, ESBL and Enterobacter.

Almost 1,100 women in the west Midlands are caught up in a breast cancer scandal after their treatment was botched by a surgeon working for the NHS. Many have been forced to undergo additional operations because of failures to remove cancerous tissue. The NHS now faces a multimillion compensation bill while the suspended surgeon at the centre of the scandal is under investigation by the police and the medical authorities. He was found to have used an experimental technique called “cleavage sparing” when carrying out breast removal, which left a small amount of tissue for cosmetic reasons. The procedure breached national guidelines which state that leaving tissue after a mastectomy increases the likelihood of cancer recurring.

While ten medics and nurses were gathered around the anaesthetised patient who was undergoing an undisclosed procedure at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, the patient slid off an operating table and fell onto the floor! As the surgeon tilted the operating table to get better access, apparently nobody had the foresight to stop the patient slipping to the floor. Restraints meant to secure the patient had not been tied and a sheet was covering the gel pads which are designed to help grip the body. Benny Hill’s legacy of ineptitude is everywhere!

According to research done by Professor Sir Brian Jarman of Imperial College London, vast numbers of ‘excess deaths’ at 15 hospital trusts went undetected during the last Labour government. 5o,000 more patients died in NHS hospitals than was expected. Ah, no wonder you can’t get into a cemetery…they’re all full!

*I wonder whether David Cameron will insist on the new criminal offence of ‘wilful neglect of patients’ be applied...retrospectively?