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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories

Better care despite fewer beds
The health service is providing better care despite the number of beds falling by a third in the last 20 years, according to the NHS Confederation. In a briefing paper, the organisation said better community care and advances in technology meant that patients were spending less time in hospital. NHS Confederation chief executive, Gill Morgan, said the public should move away from concentrating on bed numbers. ìWe need to move away from this fixation with bricks and mortar,î she commented. ìThe world is changing, patients' needs are changing and the NHS is adapting to meet those needs.î However, Paul Miller, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultant's committee, said there were still cases where too many beds had been lost due to cost pressures.

NHS 'wasted' £15m on PFI project
A ìfatally flawedî plan to rebuild hospitals in north-west London cost the NHS £15m before it was scrapped, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). The private finance initative (PFI) scheme to build a teaching and research centre by merging the activities of St Mary's teaching hospital, the Brompton and Harefield heart hospitals and heart and lung research undertaken by Imperial College collapsed in 2005. Initial estimated costs rose from £300m in 2000 to a projected cost of £894m by the time the plan was abandoned. The NAO said that although the project was unique in ambition and complexity, it had failed to learn lessons from failed PFI projects.

1 in 4 NHS workers bullied
One in four NHS staff have been bullied or harassed by patients and their relatives, while nearly one in seven report similar experiences from other members of staff, says a British Medical Association (BMA) report. ìThe cycle of bullying in medicine has to stop,î said BMA deputy chairman, Dr Sam Everington. ìIt's not good enough for a senior doctor to think that he or she had a hard time and was humiliated as a medical student so it's justified for them to dole out the same treatment.î The BMA is now calling for a culture of `zero tolerance' to be implemented from the top down in all workplaces in the health service.

30th September 2008


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