Category Archives: Public services
MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds – Birmingham Mail – 17 December 2014
MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds
Liam Byrne speaks out as grim new figures show some hospitals at 96 per cent bed capacity
A BIRMINGHAM MP has warned the city could run out of hospital beds after a shock investigation showed wards are nearing full capacity.
Former health minister Liam Byrne said health chiefs face an ‘NHS emergency’ after latest grim statistics revealed some hospitals are using 96 per cent of available beds.
Infection control experts advise occupancy rates should not be higher than 85 per cent because of an increased risk of infections if there is not enough time to clean properly between patients.
Most of the seven biggest hospital trusts in the West Midlands have action plans in place to cope with rising demand over the winter, with some opening new temporary wards.
Yet they are still struggling.
But Mr Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) said: “These shocking figures now prove our hospitals are packed to the rafters. No wonder care standards are under terrible pressure.
“It’s now clear this is an NHS emergency and fresh resources are needed fast. If we have a bad winter there’s a real chance the city could run out of hospital beds – and that will put lives at risk.”
Higher bed capacity figures also mean it is much more difficult for hospitals to cope with sudden “spikes” in admissions, caused by a surge in flu or norovirus infections.
Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency medicine, said he was fearful the region was now heading towards a winter crisis. “The signs do not bode well, I cannot see how we can turn this round in a matter of weeks,’’ he said.
“We need more staff and more beds to cope with the pressures winter will bring.”
He said many wards had more patients than beds for much of the day, only falling to less than 100 per cent occupancy when the midnight recordings are taken.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Coun John Cotton, said cuts to social care were also contributing to the problem.
He said: “Despite the mild weather, it’s very clear hospitals in all parts of England are already struggling to cope, so I shudder to think what will happen once winter kicks in.
“Earlier this month Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted pressures on the NHS were ‘higher than they have ever been’ and the demands are sure to increase this winter.
“Government cuts have taken social care support away from older people and made it harder for others to get a GP appointment. That means more people are turning to A&E and hospitals are struggling to deal with the extra pressure.”
Recent figures recorded up to September show that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, recorded a 96.4 per cent bed capacity.
It is believed this figure could rise further as the colder weather kicks in.
In January to March this year, bed capacity was recorded at 98 per cent.
The Queen Elizabeth, dubbed a “super hospital” after it opened a huge new site four years ago, resorted to reopening part of its old building to create a new ward last year. It was a temporary measure but it remains in place and has 170 extra beds.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital is also struggling to cope, with data showing a 93.7 per cent bed capacity in September, with the number rising rapidly this month.
A spokeswoman said: “Our busiest time of year is always the end of November and early December due to this peaking emergency demand for children – so at present our bed occupancy is fluctuating between 90 and 100 per cent.
“We open more beds at this time of year, and we increase the numbers of staff working to support the increased demand.”
Whilst Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust aims to have a capacity level of 93 per cent at midday, they still have two wards of adult beds used by patients who no longer need to be in hospital.
A spokeswoman added: “These delays put pressure on the bed capacity and have doubled in comparison to last year for patients from the Birmingham area, whereas we are seeing significant reductions in these delays of discharge for patients from the Sandwell areas.”
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has invested in more than 100 extra staff and are currently looking at ways to provide additional support services such as frailty units, increased medical cover for seven day services and care management for elderly patients.
Officials at New Cross Hospital, in Wolverhampton, admitted they are operating at near full capacity on most days but will open 27 additional beds after Christmas.
The Dudley Group NHS Trust, which operates Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, said there were no plans to put additional beds in place to cope with any potential winter crisis. This was despite admitting that it experienced unprecedented pressure on its emergency services and asked patients to think twice before attending in January this year.
Walsall Manor Hospital has introduced 40 new beds within the community to provide a step-down facility for patients who are well enough to leave hospital, but not quite well enough to go home.
It will free up more beds at the hospital for acutely ill patients. A spokeswoman added: “We are also opening a new £4.7 million ward at the Manor Hospital in January 2015 which will give us an additional 30 beds for acutely ill patients.”
Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – Birmingham Mail – 16 December 2014
Please find below more concerning news on our local NHS A&E. I gave a statement to the Birmingham Mail on the story – see below.
We have got to get a plan in place to sort out the crisis in our local NHS.
Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
New figures show six out of seven Trusts missing four hour emergency admissions target
Accident and Emergency departments are ‘spiralling’ out of control with six out of the seven major West Midlands hospital trusts failing to hit the Government’s four-hour waiting target.
Latest figures showed Birmingham Children’s Hospital was the worst performer, with just 81 per cent of patients being seen within the time limit during the week ending December 12.
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) followed closely at 86.7 per cent, with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust recording an A&E waiting time target of 87.2 per cent.
The Government’s national target is 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours.
Birmingham mum Nora Stevenson, 37, of Bartley Green, told how she waited SIX HOURS for her daughter to be seen at the Children’s Hospital after her daughter Maggie, aged three, began coughing up blood on December 7.
Her mother had called NHS 111 at 5pm and it took two hours for someone to call her back. She was given an appointment at Katie Road Walk-in Centre at 9.50pm where a doctor told her to take the youngster to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s A&E department.
Nora said: “It was horrendous. I really can’t fault the staff as they were trying their best, but there weren’t enough of them there.
“Children were lying across the chairs because of the time of night and being sick. Parents were getting annoyed and having a go at the receptionist.”
The mum and daughter had arrived at 11pm and Maggie was finally seen by a triage at 1am – but it took another four hours for a doctor to examine her.
Nora, a part-time bank worker, said: “They checked on her every 90 minutes after that until she saw a doctor at 5am. She was discharged 20 minutes later with a minor stomach illness.“We followed all the correct channels but it took a total of 12 hours from when we called 111, to her being seen by a doctor.
“Next time I will go straight to the hospital.”
Other mums have taken to social media to flag up their experiences at the hospital.
Emma Donoghue wrote on Facebook: “My son was admitted with glandular fever and a secondary bacterial infection. There was a six hour wait in A&E although we only waited an hour as he was prioritised as an emergency.
“There was nowhere to sit and at one point I sat on the floor. There was far too many children there that shouldn’t have been there, running around and playing whilst my son slept through all the commotion.”
Yet while Natalie Hodgkins experienced delays, she also praised medics at the hospital and urged more people to use their GPs and walk-in centres.
She added: “My daughter had just been let home after a week and a half in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The day before we went doctors at our surgery diagnosed a chest infection.
“The next day she had gotten worse and come out in a patch on her arm. It was rammed full of children running around with coughs. The wait time was four hours but we put straight through. She had sepsis. Doctors at the hospital acted very quickly and thanks to them my baby is still with us.
“Definitely people need to use GP and walk in more.”
The Children’s Hospital reported its busiest day EVER on December 1, when medics saw 223 patients in one day. Numbers have been hitting around 205 a day on average, whereas last year’s figure was in the 180s.
Dr Ben Stanhope, a consultant in paediatric in Emergency Medicine, said: “We have seen this problem in the last three to four weeks. There are an unprecedented number of children presenting in our department and we are seeing 20 to 30 more patients a day than we normally would.
“This is a massive increase. And it means that everyone is waiting longer.
“There are a huge number of children coming in with the influenza virus and we know that the national uptake of the vaccine is very poor.
“Many of these children would not be here if they had been given the nasal spray that protects them against the virus. It gives them better coverage than the old style needle.”
MP Liam Byrne (Hodge Hill Lab) said: “These shocking figures show A&E queues are spiralling. Our NHS staff do a great job but they’re being overwhelmed.
“The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care service mean it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.”
At HEFT, which runs Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, medics are also seeing a rise in admissions for the flu virus. Restrictions are in place at Heartlands because of flu and the winter bug norovirus.
Dr Ola Erinfolami, clinical director of the Emergency Department at Heartlands, said: “As with the rest of the region we are seeing increased attendance at our A&E departments and the addition of patients suffering from flu and norovirus not only exacerbates that situation but also increases the risk of those viruses being spread within the hospital.”
She added the best remedy for patients was to rest at home.
The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, in Brierley Hill is the only trust to hit the national target, seeing 98.2 per cent of patients in less than four hours.
WHAT THE HOSPITALS SAY: *Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has a “detailed plan in place” to improve its ability to see people within four hours.
*University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said it has seen an unprecedented year-on-year in emergency admissions in the last two years.
*The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust said pressures had been building for some months. A spokesman added: “Additional resource via the winter pressures money has been made available, which includes additional doctors, nurses, technicians and porters for example.”
*Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust advised patients to also explore other alternatives than A&E.
*Dudley Group NHS Trust said: “We have a dedicated ‘capacity hub’ that acts as a command centre and is aware of current waits, patient volumes in our Emergency Department, how many patients are being discharged from the wards etc.”
#InclusiveGrowth14 – No Place Left Behind: A debate on the future for regional growth with Lord Heseltine and Lord Adonis, chaired by Katja Hall of the CBI – 2 December 2014
I am delighted to share news of this afternoon’s inaugral conference of the APPG on Inclusive Growth.
The day before an Autumn Statement expected to be full of announcements on regional development and growth Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis, the two leading advocates of regional and local devolution, regional growth and business engagement discussed the topic of regional growth – chaired by the brilliant Katja Hall, Deputy Director of the CBI.
The debate continued on twitter at #inclusivegrowth14
You can still view a video of the debate here: www.policyreview.tv/video/1000/7715
It’s well worth a watch!
After the debate we were joined by Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Civil Service for a number of private seminars on a range of topics.
Today was the inaugural event of the APPG on Inclusive Growth.
The All Party Group on Inclusive Growth brings together senior politicians from across the main parties to discuss Britain’s economic future.
In July 2014 a cross-party group was set up to establish the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth. The APPG is now working with business, finance, trade unions, faith groups and civil society with the aim of forging a new consensus on reform of markets.
For more information about the APPG on Inclusive Growth please visit our website here: www.inclusivegrowth.co.uk
I have enclosed some photos of today’s event below.
With all best wishes
Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK – Birmingham Mail – 2 December 2014
You may have seen my press release on Friday about the concerns that I and local Councillors have around the strain which our local NHS Trust (including Heartlands Hospital) is under.
The Birmingham Mail have today published a story about Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which proves many of the concerns we’ve been hearing in the community recently.
Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK
Three serious complaints made to health ombudsman EACH DAY about NHS Trust, watchdog reveals
A troubled Birmingham hospital trust has been named and shamed as one of the worst in the country for patient complaints.
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) received 958 complaints to the Health Ombudsman in 2013/14 – almost three a day.
The shocking figures which places the trust as 13th on the league of shame, come just a month after it was revealed that thousands of patients were waiting more than four hours in A&E. Health watchdog Monitor slammed the leadership at HEFT and just a few days later chief executive Mark Newbold resigned.
New data has also showed that in 2013/14 the trust received 404,697 clinical incidents ranking it the fourth busiest out of 440 NHS Trusts and CCGs across the country.
The figures were released earlier this week by Dame Julie Mellor, the health ombudsman.
Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne (Lab) said: “This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched.
“The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS health centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle.
“More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.”
Latest figures show 5,518 patients waited more than the four hour target at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, all run by the Trust, compared to 1,619 in 2009/10 – an increase of 240 per cent.
Action is being taken to improve services and strengthen leadership so patients receive better care. Conditions have been imposed on HEFT’s licence so that Monitor can take further action if it does not perform better.
Waiting times are also said to be too long for routine operations and cancer care patients and there were additional concerns regarding mortality rates.
Heartlands NHS Trust was unavailable for comment.
News from Liam Byrne MP – Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust receiving high level of complaints as burden on A&E increases – 28 November 2014
I wanted to share with you some concerning fresh evidence around the crisis of care standards we’re experiencing in Birmingham. New data shows that Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) was the 13th most complained about NHS body in the country in 2013/14.
This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched. The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS Health Centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle. More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.
You can see the full press release below and some photos of myself and Councillors Ansar Ali Khan and Majid Mahmood on our early morning inspection of Health Centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill.
All the best
28 November 2014 – News from Liam Byrne MP
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust receiving high level of complaints as burden on A&E increases
Fresh evidence released this week shows that Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) was the 13th most complained about NHS body in the country in 2013/14.
Data from the Health Ombudsman showed that HEFT had received 958 complaints in 2013/14; the vast majority of these were dealt with effectively at a local level. The data also showed that in 2013/14 HEFT received 404,697 clinical incidents ranking it the 4th busiest for clinical incidents out of 440 NHS Trusts and CCGs across the country.
The data was released earlier this week by Dame Julie Mellor, the health ombudsman.
Earlier today Liam Byrne MP and local councillors Ansar Ali Khan and Majid Mahmood carried out snap inspections at the under-used NHS health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill.
Liam Byrne said: “This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched. The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS Health Centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle. More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.”
Notes to editors:
Liam Byrne MP and Cllr Ansar Ali Khan at Washwood Heath Health Centre – 28 November
I have just returned from the West Midlands Labour Annual Conference at Warwick University in Coventry.
It was an excellent couple of days with great opportunities to engage with fellow MPs, members and regional staff.
One of the most important things to come out of the conference was the final draft of Labour’s West Midland’s Economic Plan which I helped work on.
You can download a full PDF version of the plan using the link below.
All the best
Following my meeting with DfE officials and the trustees for Park View Educational Trust I have written to those attending the meeting. You can read a copy of my letter below:
With all best wishes
***Embargoed until 09:30 23 October 2014***
Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite
Please find below a press release from Liam Byrne MP including House of Commons statistics on severe increases in waiting times in A&E at Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a statement on Monitor’s report into the Trust this due for release this morning.
23 October 2014 – News from Liam Byrne MP
Embargoed until 09:30 on 23 October 2014
Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite
A&E waiting times at HEFT increase by 240% since this Tory-led coalition took over
This morning Monitor is releasing its report into Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The report is deeply concerning – highlighting a severe increase in waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, as well as mortality rates.
In response to the report Liam Byrne MP said:
‘Residents all over Hodge Hill are telling me pressure on our NHS is hitting breaking point. And this reports shows why. The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care means it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.’
Notes to editors:
1) Figures released by the House of Commons Library (below) show an increase in those waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Between Q3 of 2009/10 and Q3 of 2014/15 the number has gone from 1,619 to 5,518; an increase of over 240%.
|Patients waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust|
|As at Quarter 3:||
Number waiting over 4 hours
% waiting over 4 hours
|Sources: 2011/12 -2014/15 NHS England Weekly Sit Rep reports, pre 2011/12 DH Total Time Spent in A&E quarterly data series|
2) Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.
3) Monitor’s press release attached.
Monitor Press Release:
Under strict embargo until: 09.30am Thursday 23rd October 2014
New action taken at Heart of England to improve services and strengthen leadership
Monitor is taking action to improve services and strengthen the leadership of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), so that patients receive better care.
The health sector regulator has imposed a further condition on HEFT’s licence enabling it to take further action if the trust’s leadership does not perform better.
Monitor is acting after HEFT failed to reduce long waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, together with additional concerns regarding mortality rates. The regulator has decided that the range and seriousness of these issues demonstrate a clear failure in leadership and the trust’s organisational systems.
The trust and Monitor have also agreed new legally binding enforcement undertakings aimed at improving these care services on a sustainable basis.
HEFT provides services across the West Midlands at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Community Services at the Birmingham Chest Clinic.
Monitor first found HEFT in suspected breach of its licence to provide healthcare in December 2013, after it failed to meet national targets at two of its hospitals, for treating patients in A&E within four hours.
Adam Cayley, Regional Director at Monitor, said:
“We want all patients of this trust to receive quality and timely care, which means all parts of the organisation must operate effectively.
“This action should ensure that the trust’s leadership takes appropriate and swift action to address our concerns around how it is led and run.
“We will continue to monitor the trust rigorously and take further regulatory action if we consider it necessary.”
Notes to editors
- For further information please contact, Nick Burke Media Relations Manager, on Nicholas.firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3747 0800.
- Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) was authorised as an foundation trust on 1 April 2005.
- Details on Monitor’s previous regulatory action at HEFT can be found here.
- Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.
- Information about Monitor’s role can be found here.
- Follow Monitor on twitter @MonitorUpdate
Statement on Birmingham City Council announcement on the financial situation facing the City – 17 September 2014
A number of people have been in touch seeking my views in response to the City Council’s announcement yesterday on the dire consequences of the financial situation which the City Council is facing.
My statement is below:
“This government is trying to destroy our city, the safety of our parents’ social care and the strength of our children’s’ services. While leafy Surrey gets more help, we get smashed. We will never forget or forgive the Tories and their Lib Dem friends for what they’ve done to us, our city and our families.”
You can read the City Council announcement here:
18 July 2014
News from Liam Byrne MP
Statement on today’s reports into Birmingham Schools
‘Today’s report confirms the challenge is not violent extremism, its delivering excellent education.
‘We cannot and will not settle for second best for our children. We must strive for excellence.’
‘I’m glad Sir Albert Bore has apologised to my constituents for let-downs by the Council. The new Education secretary, Nicky Morgan must now do the same. Half the schools where Ian Kershaw found serious problems were academies – and Peter Clarke has revealed a culture of ‘benign neglect’.
In other words, Michael Gove was asleep at the wheel while standards slipped.
‘Crucially, the DfE must now back up Birmingham in a bold plan to boost school standards, with a full time, independent Director of School Standards, a helpline for whistle-blowers and a new scorecard for parents so they can see better what’s going on at their children’s’ school.
Letter from Liam Byrne MP to Nick Morgan MP dated 18 July 2014
Congratulations on your new role.
As you will know, I have been working hard with your department to rebuild a new team and new trust around Park View School, which became an academy in 2012.
Today, Birmingham City Council published the independent Kershaw Review and in today’s Guardian I see your predecessor has leaked a copy of the Clarke review, despite assurances to the Commons that Parliament would see the report first.
I was deeply disturbed to read Peter Clarke’s conclusion that the DfE’s ‘benign neglect’ of its responsibilities towards academies like Park View, contributed to a serious deterioration of standards.
Today, Sir Albert Bore has apologised to the citizens of our city for the council’s role in failing to confront earlier the problems set out in the Kershaw report.
As the Member of Parliament who asked Ofsted to investigate Park View when problems were first reported to me in February, can I ask you to now extend the same apology to my constituents for DfE’s failure to provide adequate oversight of our academies?
Second, will you now commit to a five point action plan to put things right, including;
1. The creation of an independent director of school standards to take responsibility across the school system in Birmingham
2. The creation of an independent hotline for whistle-blowers, parents, teachers and governors, to report problems backed by a team of professionals skilled in investigating such complaints
3. New ways of keeping parents informed about school standards AND the quality of school leadership, governance and financial probity
4. Support for a new annual conference to bring together education leaders from across the school system, colleges, universities, faith groups and business, to discuss education ambitions and priorities
5. Introduce compulsory sex and relationship education in all schools and consider reviewing the guidance for schools on religious education.
The key to safeguarding against extremism is an excellent education.
We are a beautiful and diverse city; but we want to be an integrated city. Together we have failed to head off a threat to that integration in our education system. Birmingham and the DfE must now come together to change this for the years to come.
Today, Birmingham City Council has accepted its responsibilities. Today, I would urge the DfE to do the same, so we can move on, make up the lost ground and ensure world class schools are open and ready for our children in September.
Liam Byrne MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill