Tag Archives: hospital

NHS reforms: what do they mean for patients?

It is difficult to gauge what effects the Health and Social Care Act will have, and potential gains are mostly unreliable


The top request of National Voices members was for the integration of health and social care.

It is difficult to predict what effect the new Health and Social Care Act will have on patients, service users and carers. The bill was like a giant treatment decision, with the benefits uncertain and the risks considerable.

National Voices, a coalition of health and social care charities, has found it impossible, during the last year, to gauge accurately how the act’s provisions would affect direct patient care and treatment. Hence there could be no simple “for or against” position on the bill – but there was a lot of pushing to improve it.

Among members of National Voices, the strongest concerns have been that: localisation will exacerbate inequalities and social exclusion; gains from successful national strategies and frameworks will be at risk; and the needs of patients with less common conditions will not be identified and responded to by GP commissioners with low awareness.

The doctor and nurses putting lives at risk because they can’t speak English

Growing numbers of the NHS’s medical and nursing staff come from overseas, and their English is so poor they cannot communicate effectively with patients


By John Naish

When Jan Middleton woke in her hospital bed at 2am, she feared immediately that her life was in grave danger.

She had already undergone an operation to remove a brain tumour but had been readmitted after developing a serious post-surgical infection.

So when she woke in the middle of the night to discover the infection had spread, causing new lesions to open up on her face, Ms Middleton, 54, realised she needed help quickly.

‘It was terrifying, and made worse by the fact that I had been told the brain infection put me at a high risk of meningitis and stroke,’ she says.

‘I told the nurse, an Asian lady, that she needed to call the on-duty doctor straight away.

‘But her English was extremely poor. She kept repeating, “What you saying to me? I don’t understand. Your English not good.” ’

After trying for half an hour to get through to the nurse, Ms Middleton was exhausted — and very scared.

In desperation, she pulled out her mobile phone to dial 999 for help.

‘I was on the tenth floor of the hospital. I couldn’t get down to A&E on the ground floor on my own,’ she explained.

Social care service users feel excluded from reform debate

New research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation asked about the state of the social care system and government reform plans

Social care service users have not got the ear of government, says Peter Beresford.

As the government finalises the social care white paper it plans to publish this spring, service users in a national consultation commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have expressed major concerns both about the present state of social care and government proposals for the future.

There are growing fears among older and disabled people and other service users that their voices are not being heard at a time when major reforms in social policy that affect them in particular are taking place. While it is important not to overstate the case from the relatively small number of people consulted, they do represent a diverse range of adult social care service users from different areas in England.