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Saturday 20-Monday 22 July

The Daily Mail reports that receptionists, porters and cleaners are being recruited to feed older patients in hospital because there are not enough nurses. Managers at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust are asking non-medical staff to spend two hours of their working week assisting nurses with basic duties on wards. Dr Peter Carter spoke to the Daily Mail and said “I have huge reservations. Asking people employed as porters to work on wards is no substitute for properly trained staff. It will lead to unsatisfactory care and poor patient experience; people will not know what they are meant to be doing. Surely these people are doing relevant experience for the trust so how can they be released to care for the elderly if they are needed in these roles?. It’s not a long term solution especially given the huge rise in numbers of older people”.

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July 2013

Sex education Dr Peter Carter is a signatory to a letter printed today in the Daily Telegraph commending the Government for deciding that the curriculum should teach children about puberty in primary school but calling for more action to make it clear that primary schools should teach the correct names for genitalia and include all the essentials of sex education to safeguard children. Co-signatories include the Sex Education Forum, the Mothers’ Union, and the UK Faculty of Public Health.

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Thursday 18 July

Overhaul of CQC inspections The Care Quality Commission is today launching changes to its inspection regime and introducing Ofsted-style ratings which it claims will better protect patients. Professor Sir Mike Richards, the recently appointed chief inspector of hospitals, has announced plans to recruit hundreds of new inspectors – including hospital patients and their carers – so that future inspections include a wider range of perspectives. It is also reported that inspection teams will include more junior doctors and nurses.

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Wednesday 17 July

Eleven trusts are being placed in special measures because of major failings, according to Professor Sir Keogh’s review of hospitals with high mortality rates. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the trusts, among 14 investigated for high death rates, had problems so entrenched that tough action was needed. Mr Hunt set out a detailed breakdown of the problems identified at the individual trusts including examples of staffing problems, poor care and weak leadership as he announced the details of the report in Parliament yesterday. The other three trusts investigated were also told to make improvements following the review. As part of the process of special measures for the other 11, teams of external experts will be sent into the organisations to work with the senior management team. The investigation has been led by NHS England's medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh and focused on whether the figures indicated sustained failings in the quality of care and treatment at the trusts. The RCN issued a response saying: “We take this review incredibly seriously. We have detailed examples of where we have raised concerns about patient safety in these trusts. There is an undeniable link between nurse staffing levels and patient mortality. We can’t keep failing to address this”.

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Tuesday 16 July

Review into the Liverpool Care Pathway Following the findings of Baroness Neuberger’s inquiry, the Government has announced that it will phase out the Liverpool Care Pathway and replace it with end-of-life care packages tailored to patient’s individual needs. The review found that while the Liverpool Care Pathway could help ease the dying process when used correctly, there were often problems with communication to patients and relatives. The Daily Mail’s report highlights the criticism of nurses made by Baroness Neuberger. Some nurses were found to be shouting at patients and treating them in a “callous” manner.

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