News

In brief

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1791 (Published 20 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1791

More hospitals are meeting patients’ nutritional needs: The NHS and social care inspector in England, the Care Quality Commission, has found that 88% of hospitals it visited in 2012 made sure that patients had help to eat and drink, up from 83% in 2011.1 However, the number of hospitals found to be respecting people’s privacy and dignity fell from 88% in 2011 to 82% in 2012, with, for example, call bells being left unanswered. Care homes were inspected for the first time: 84% were found to respect people’s privacy and dignity and 83% met their nutritional needs.2

Doctor struck off for failing to examine homeless man properly: A former police doctor has been struck off the UK medical register for failing to properly examine a homeless man before advising police that he was fit to be detained. Hisham El-Baroudy spent only one minute in the cell with Andrzej Rymarzak, who died three hours later. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard that Rymarzak had epilepsy and schizophrenia, had hit his head, and was unconscious as a result of alcohol and opiate intoxication, but the doctor thought he was sleeping. El-Baroudy stood trial for gross negligence manslaughter last year but was acquitted.3

Review of complaints system is under way: A review into how complaints against the NHS in England can be better handled is being led by Ann Clwyd, MP for Cynon Valley, and Tricia Hart, chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and adviser to Robert Francis QC during his two inquiries into the Mid Staffordshire failings. It aims to identify existing best practices for handling complaints and to recommend a set of common standards by which all NHS hospitals would be assessed and held to account. Evidence can be submitted to ComplaintsReview{at}dh.gsi.gov.uk.

Sudan defends judicial amputations: Sudan’s government has reacted angrily to concerns that doctors’ participation in judicial amputations breaks medical ethics.4 The deputy chief justice, Abdul Rahman Sharfi, threatened to prosecute doctors who refused to perform judicially ordered amputations, saying, “We cherish the book of Allah and not the Hippocratic oath.” A UK government spokesman condemned “this cruel and inhumane punishment” and insisted that “no doctor should be made a criminal for refusing to carry it out.”

Body for industry doctors backs openness on trials: The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (www.fpm.org.uk), which represents 1400 doctors working in the drug industry, has signed up to the AllTrials campaign for all trial results to be published (www.alltrials.net).5 It said that its own “guiding principles” were closely aligned to those of the campaign. These state, “Study findings need to be communicated, whatever the outcome, for the benefit of the community at large.”

Not enough is being done to tackle road deaths, says WHO: Only 28 countries, covering 7% of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on all five major risk factors for road injuries: drinking and driving, speeding, and failure to use motorcycle helmets, seat belts, and child restraints, says the World Health Organization’s 2013 global road safety report.6 In 2010 there were 1.24 million deaths worldwide from road traffic crashes, roughly the same as in 2007. The report shows that although 88 member states had reduced the number of road traffic deaths, that number rose in 87 countries.

Experts to advise NHS on keeping patients safe: A global team of 12 safety experts is to advise the NHS in England on improving patients’ safety at the end of July. Donald Berwick, president emeritus and senior fellow at the US Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an organisation that he co-founded and led for 18 years, was asked by the prime minister, David Cameron, to head the group in the wake of the report by Robert Francis QC into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. Berwick said that he hoped to set out “clear, practical advice and leave a legacy of safer care in the NHS.”

More patients to get help to get online: The NHS Commissioning Board in England is joining forces with the Online Centres Foundation and providing funding to turn 50 of the foundation’s existing centres, set up in places such as libraries, cafes, and pubs, into digital health hubs to help more people use the internet to improve their health. Besides helping people get health information, the hubs will assist them in feeding back to the NHS on services and in ordering repeat prescriptions online.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1791

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