Hospitals offering 'assisted self-harming' to patients

The Observer reports on care plans in mental health units which outline the circumstances in which patients can self-harm. Under the care plans, patients must agree to get help from a nurse if their wounds require professional dressing. It is reported that some health professionals say that helping patients self-harm goes against their code of ethics, whilst other say that those who self-harm should be helped to avoid infection from dirty blades.
Royal College of Nursing Mental Health adviser Ian Hulatt said: "It is a very complex and confusing issue, but then, so is the phenomenon of someone hurting themselves to feel better."

Rise in patients choosing private hospitals for their NHS treatment

According to Department of Health figures, the number of patients choosing private hospitals for their NHS treatment has substantially increased in the last twelve months. Under the Government's 'choice agenda' around 100,000 patients have chosen private sector providers for diagnosis and waiting-list operations that are paid for by the NHS. The number of patients choosing these services has increased from 2,100 patients a month in April 2008 to 8,400 in August 2009, with the business now worth around £200 million a year for private hospitals. These numbers are said to not take into account NHS patients being treated in ISTCs and those treated where PCTs buy operations from the private sector in order to meet waiting-list targets.

Call for alcohol minimum-pricing

A column by Libby Purves in The Sunday Telegraph has called upon the Government to help combat alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour by introducing minimum pricing for a unit of alcohol. The article notes that the Royal College of Nursing has recently been calling for alcohol minimum pricing.

Report: majority of women denied choice of where to give birth

A report from the National Childbirth Trust has found that over 90% of women in the UK are not being given a choice of where they give birth. Figures show that 4.7% of pregnant women in England can choose whether to have their baby at hospital, in a birth centre or at home, with this figure decreasing to 4.2% across the UK. The Government pledged in April 2007 to give all mothers-to-be the right to choose where to give birth by the end of 2009.

NHS manager sacked for altering A&E waiting time figures

The Sunday Express reports that Maria Jeffrey, the A&E manager at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside has been sacked after she was found guilty of altering waiting times figures. Lib Dem health spokesman said: "There are enormous pressures on NHS staff to deliver waiting times within Government targets."

Mid-Staffs nursing boss given new role

The Daily Mirror reports that Dr Helen Moss, the head of nursing and governance at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust is leaving the Trust to move into a 'senior development role' in another part of the NHS. Earlier this year the Trust was heavily criticised after it was found that poor patient care led to the deaths of up to 1,200 patients, with managers being blamed for cutting frontline staff and prioritising financial targets before patient care.

Parliamentary Update

House of Lords

Parliamentary Questions on: raising awareness of tuberculosis.

Other business

Written Ministerial statements expected today:
Annual Report of the Standing Commission on Carers;
Direct payments for health care—consultation.