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Medico Legal

When ‘never’ in the NHS really means 1,000 times

Your Expert WitnessAnalysis by the Press Association of data on so-called ‘Never Events’ in the NHS was widely reported in February. Never Events are described by the NHS as ‘serious incidents that are wholly preventable, as guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers’.

According to the data, nearly 1,200 such events were reported in the period from April 2012 to the end of December last year – 290 in 2012-13, 338 in 2013/14, 306 in 2014/15 and 254 from April to the end of December 2015.

The NHS says: “Each Never Event type has the potential to cause serious patient harm or death. However, serious harm or death is not required to have happened as a result of a specific incident occurrence for that incident to be categorised as a Never Event.”

Last Updated on Monday, 25 April 2016 10:10


Latest report into perinatal maternal deaths welcomed by professions

Your Expert Witness MBRACE-UK reportOn 8 December the MBRRACE-UK team at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit published its latest report, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care. Based at the University of Oxford, MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK) presented the findings of its maternal mortality surveillance from 2011-2013 in the UK.

The report also carried the lessons learned from the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths of women with mental health-related problems, substance misuse, cancer and blood clots and women who died by homicide.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 February 2016 16:26


South American implants manufacturer has CE Mark suspended

On 25 September the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced it had temporarily suspended the use of South American manufacturer Silimed's silicone implants in the UK after its CE Mark had been suspended following an inspection by a German notified body.

In a statement the MHRA said: "The German medical device regulatory authority informed MHRA on Friday 18 September 2015 that a German notified body had temporarily suspended the marketing and distribution of all medical devices manufactured by Silimed.

"A recent inspection of the manufacturing facility by the notified body identified particles on the surface of some devices.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2015 13:56


Scandals continue over NHS trusts as findings are published

There appears to be a never-ending succession of scandals involving NHS trusts. It began with the Mid Staffs affair, which stunned the nation and led to a traumatic inquiry. Meanwhile, in the North West another scandal was unfolding at Furness General Hospital in Barrow.

The inquiry into the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, the trust in charge at Barrow, has now concluded and its findings published - just as the largest NHS trust in England, Barts Health NHS Trust, has been rated 'Inadequate' by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

Even mental health provision is falling foul of the CQC inspectors, with the BBC reporting on continuing problems at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. The trust was the first in the mental health sector to be placed into special measures, also following a rating of 'Inadequate'.

Things are improving there since the measures were introduced in February, it seems, but slowly.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 13:20


Plastic surgeons call for better informed press reporting

Despite a rise of almost 8,000% in reporting of cosmetic surgery in the mainstream media over the past 20 years, many products and techniques promoted directly to the press and public actually have very few, if any, published scientific articles behind them, according to research presented to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) in September.

The study looked into some of the most popular treatments and found not only that clinical papers on them are scarce, but also that those studies that did take place followed very low numbers of cases (one trial just tracked two patients), usually for a very short amount of time. Moreover, well over a third of the authors involved admitted to conflicts of interest. The BAAPS called for the media and public to use a measuring system similar to those used in surgical journals which 'grades' the levels of evidence behind new procedures and claims.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2015 10:13