Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coming to an Operating Room Near You

A cash crisis in the NHS has left patients lying on the operating table before doctors realized vital equipment had not been ordered, according to a leaked report.

Women in labour have been forced to wait while epidural equipment was borrowed from other hospitals, while other patients have been denied chest drains and radiology supplies, according to doctors at South London Healthcare Trust.

Minutes of a meeting between medical staff and the trust’s chief executive say “cash flow” problems at the trust which has a £50 million deficit, mean vital equipment is regularly not ordered.

A separate letter sent to managers of the trust, one of the largest in the country, says consultants have been misled into carrying out operations when it was not safe to go ahead because of bed shortages.

NHS watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been asked to investigate the concerns, after eight doctors contacted their local MP.
How many years will it be before our doctors go begging for the equipment they need to take care of their patients in this country? You simply cannot cover an entire population unless you a) have an unlimited supply of money, which no country does or b) you cut corners-the kind of corners that cost people their lives.

Yet this is the system that Ronald Berwick, the new head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is “romantic” for. Berwick has been called a one man death panel. With the system that awaits us we won’t need a death panel, the lack of adequate care will make one unnecessary.

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