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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Death results in £100,000 NHS fine
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined £100,000 for failing to adequately supervise two doctors during the treatment of Sean Phillips, who died after routine knee surgery in 2000. The trust was charged under the Health and Safety Act with failing to manage doctors Amit Misra and Rajeev Srivastava, who were working in Southampton General Hospital when Mr Phillips died from toxic shock syndrome - both doctors failed to diagnose the condition. In 2003, both were convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. The trust pleaded guilty of failing to supervise doctors in the trauma and orthopaedic department.

NHS job cuts to `quadruple'
Hospital jobs cuts could reach 24,000, according to the Liberal Democrats - they claim that the 6,000 already announced account for just a quarter of the total NHS deficit. Lib Dem spokesman, Steve Webb, said the government had refused to ìcome cleanî about the NHS crisis. Webb said: ìStaff morale and public confidence in the NHS will continue to crumble until ministers take action to reverse the trendÖ What is needed is long-term planning in the NHS, not a series of short-term initiatives and sudden policy shifts which make sensible planning impossible.î However, the Department of Health (DoH) told the Daily Telegraph that the Lib Dem calculations were ìvery much like a back-of-the-envelope calculation.î

Herceptin `postcode lottery' worse for the English
Breast cancer patients living in Wales are getting Herceptin for free at the same hospital where women living in England have to pay. Treatment at the Royal Shrewsbury is free for women in Wales because, since February, Welsh local health boards have agreed to pay for the drug for patients living in Wales, even if they are treated in England. The £30,000 annual costs are not being offered to English patients, however, as their local primary care trust (PCT) will not foot the bill. Most trusts refuse to pay for Herceptin as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has not approved it for use in early stage cancer. A spokeswoman for Shropshire and Staffordshire strategic health authority said: ìThe routine use of Herceptin will be introduced when and if NICE guidance is published.î

30th September 2008

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