poor service

Goverment apology over NHS care

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has apologised to the families and patients who suffered appalling care at Stafford Hospital.


"He announced a review of current A&E services and a second inquiry to look at how long problems had been going on for at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: "On behalf of the Government and the NHS I would like to apologise to the patients and families of patients who have suffered because of the poor standards of care at Stafford Hospital. There was a complete failure of management to address serious problems and monitor performance. This led to a totally unacceptable failure to treat emergency patients safely and with dignity."

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over three years, a report said.

Although it is not clear how many of these deaths could have been avoided, the Healthcare Commission said patients undoubtedly suffered as a result of lapses in the standard of care.

Its investigation, based on more than 300 interviews and an examination of over 1,000 documents, found inadequately trained staff who were too few in number, junior doctors left alone in charge at night and patients left without food, drink or medication as their operations were repeatedly canceled.

Some patients were left in pain or needing the toilet, sat in soiled bedding for several hours at a time and were not given their regular medication, the Commission heard.

Receptionists with no medical training were expected to assess patients coming in to A&E, some of whom needed urgent care."

A service disaster.

Comment of the day

This insight into an airport experience tells us about yet another flawed system.


"Like most of air travelers, I have become used to strict security, but last week at Bristol Airport it was taken to ludicrous lengths. I obtained a clear plastic bag from Edinburgh airport staff for my toiletries on the flight south. But on my way back, at Bristol Airport, I was pulled over to the search area and told to wait along with perhaps another 15 people.

Our crime? Our plastic bags were too large and we had to buy Bristol airport- approved bags for £1.

When I questioned the need for this and pointed out my original bag was issued at Edinburgh Airport, I was told that I was not in Scotland now, and I should accept it and move on unless I wanted to stand there for longer."

John Cullen, East Lothian.

Have you have been a victim of poor service recently?

Who will help the unemployed?

Job Centre It seems fitting to express my views on a service that is on all of our minds: The Job Centre.

A family friend, who has been a financial manager for over twenty years, has recently had to "sign on". For my friend, this can only be described as a demoralizing experience. Like many people, he has found himself abruptly faced with the reality of being unemployed and in the current economic climate, could be for some time. The problem is, this has been such a struggle for a tax-paying citizen,  because he has been working for over thirty five years.

When my friend was first made redundant he was informed he was not eligible to 'sign on' because of the nature of his redundancy package. Since then, we have discovered that he should infact have been registered immediately. After several phone calls he eventually got an appointment. He has now had to deal with over six misinformed individuals who each (reluctantly) give contradictory advice and information. For example, he was given the wrong phone number, and after several failed attempts eventually managed to speak to a human-being. The employee he then spoke to then stated he did not qualify because his wife works less than sixteen hours a week.

My friend has visited the Job Centre every single week to show evidence of jobs applications. During these visits he has received no help or advice from any of the employees. In the time before his appointment he waits in a waiting room with individuals who have never worked and qualify for more money than him as they are not married to their partners.

I wanted to share this personal story, as I am sure it will resonate with many readers. This is a service our government provides and from where I am standing it is in a diabolical state.  Is this excuse for a service what our government is doing to help the unemployed?