Early Mid-Life Crisis at Ealing Hospital
It’s becoming apparent that the now disgraced 2012 NHS North West London (NWL) ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’(SaHF) plan caused lasting financial, clinical, morale and identity problems for Ealing Hospital. To make matters worse it’s now clear that the 2014 ‘merger’ of Ealing Hospital with Northwick Park Hospital (along with Central Middlesex and St Mark’s Hospital) has delivered no real benefits of any kind to Ealing Hospital.
Even though SaHF was abandoned in March 2019, there is still no sign whatsoever of a recovery or strategic plan going forward for the hospital. No on-site Hospital Director, low morale, allegations of poor management, bullying and harassment make for a toxic mixture.
The latest doom and gloom ‘deficit’ financials for NHS NWL as a whole are such that cost cutting will be savage – especially at Ealing Hospital.
The Chief Executive of the overall NHS Trust responsible for the hospital (LNWUHT) has announced she will be formally retiring on 31 March 2020. However I understand that the search to find her successor is underway. Let’s hope the new Trust boss takes a positive view of Ealing Hospital and creates a viable sustainable strategy and identity for it.
Grants for Building Work announced for Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Hillingdon and St Mary’s Hospitals – But Not Till 2025 to 2030
Prime Minister Johnson is proposing no capital grants for building work for NHS North West London (NWL) till at least 2025 and at worst 2030. The London North West University Healthcare Trust (which runs Central Middlesex, Ealing, Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospitals) has failed to secure any of Johnson’s promised cash and will have to wait till at least 2031 for any financial help with hospital maintenance backlogs.
NHS West London NHS Trust is named as One of 12 ‘Pilot Areas’ for additional Staff and a Share of £70 million Funds for Mental Health Services.
Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries MP specifically identified eating, alcohol addiction, psychosis and bipolar disorder treatment for which these additional resources would be deployed.
Ken Loach ‘Lights Up’ Mental Health Crisis Summit
Over 200 people attended the HCT/KONP Mental Health Crisis Summit held at the Royal Free Hospital in London on 28 September 2019. Poignant and harrowing mental health case studies were shared by victims of our mental health service both in the plenary and workshop sessions.
For me there were three mesmeric speakers. First up was Ian Hodson of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union. He outlined research results from investigating workers’ conditions and mental health profiles of people working in fast and slow food outlets in Scarborough. He found bullying, low pay/zero hours, insecure accommodation, sexual harassment and personal and social pressures. This led to depression and anxiety and tragically to two suicides. He powerfully laid the blame for these pressures at the door of current and previous Governments’ welfare, benefits, employment and housing policies. Employers must also must shoulder much of the blame, along with local healthcare and mental social care services.
Rachel Bannister of Mental Health-Time for Action brought much of the audience close to tears with her 13 years of tragic experiences with her Anorexic daughter and the totally inadequate litany of failed and inappropriate mental health treatments. Failure to diagnose, no continuity of care, young and inexperienced staff, multiple hospitalisations and admittance/discharge/relapse cycles were all painfully related. Descriptions of 50 mile, 100 mile and then an incredible 300 mile ‘Out of Area’ treatment sojourns were almost too cruel to comprehend. Enormous distress for her daughter and feelings day-in day-out of shame, guilt, helplessness and anxiety by Rachel herself.
Finally film maker Ken Loach lit up the audience with his passion for reversing years of failing healthcare, social care, welfare, benefits, education and housing policies. He described how a bike courier had got some parking fines, failed to pay them and got into Payday loans debt. Bailiffs turned up and took away his bike (and by so doing, his livelihood). Suicide tragically was the outcome. Loach boldly proposed the only way to get these Neoliberal policies changed was by voting in a Labour Government. He quite rightly stated that the country’s major problems were not Brexit at all. Mental health, education, poverty, inequality and climate change are all bigger than Brexit. In or out of Europe austerity needs to be buried and a return to social justice, housing and welfare for all, and care services free at the point of use.
Common themes throughout the day included a review and reform of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, increased funding for mental health services prioritising early intervention and continuity of care, adoption of the social model of disability, and increased access to trauma resolution therapies.
Flawed PIP Medical Assessments On The Rise
‘Private Eye’ recently reported an increase in flawed medical assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). These flawed assessments carried out on disabled people by outsourcers Atos and Capita rose by 40% over the last two years.
Claimants wanting their assessments to be recorded can no longer use their own recording equipment. Capita and Atos demand that their equipment is used – but few assessment centres have such has recording equipment. Claimants who have failed an assessment often wait months for a Benefits Tribunal Appeals Hearing to be convened. During this wait no PIP payments are made. There is a 72% success rate on Appeals.
Suicide Rates Amongst Young People and Men Reaches a Four Year High
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there were 6,507 suicides registered in Britain last year compared with 5,821 in 2017. This is a rise of 11.8%. 75% of all suicides were by men. Suicides by men aged 20 to 24 rose by 30%. Scotland has the highest suicide rate. ONS analysis of the 2017 figures show that men in the lowest-skilled jobs had a 44% higher risk of suicide.
Some clinicians and mental health charities have linked these rises to pressures on mental health services and have called for more co-ordinated action across government.
In a separate announcement, King’s College London launched an £8 million mental health research centre. The college said it would be the first centre in Britain to investigate the impact on mental health of rapid social change, including the effect of social media and precarious employment on young people.
And even more recently, another research centre has been established in Cardiff focusing on children’s mental health. The first of its kind, it’s being funded to the tune of £10 million by the Wolfson Foundation charity. Targeted conditions include eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
Police Still Heavily Involved in Mental Health Incidents and Custody ‘Waiting For Doctors’
Data obtained from 36 of the 46 Police forces in the UK, shows a rise of 28% over four years in Police dealing with mental health incidents. In 2014 just over 385,200 mental health incidents were recorded. In 2018 that figure had risen to 494,159. In some cases Police Officers were supporting a mental health patient for up to 12 hours waiting for a doctor to take over. It does not take a genius to conclude that a shortage of mental health staff at all levels and an inadequate number of ‘places of safety’ is tying up Police resources. The Police themselves are the first to admit that they are ill equipped to support mental health patients and insist that it’s the NHS’s job not theirs.
In 2018 Dementia Patients and Their Families Paid £15 Billion in Care Home Fees
‘The Times’ of 4 September 2019 quoted this astronomic £15 billion figure paid out by Dementia suffers and their loved ones to private care homes last year. Although Dementia is now classified as a mental illness (DSM-IV) the State will not pick up the treatment bills as it will for cancer or a heart attack. The only ‘get out’ is if you can demonstrate you have assets of less than £23,250. Care for Dementia patients is not only expensive. It’s also a diminishing resource. Between 2012 and 2018, 1,600 Care Homes closed. Since the 2016 referendum on EU membership many Polish and Rumanian nurses have gone home. At the end of 2018 there were 110,000 vacancies in adult care.
FREE Screening of ‘Under The Knife’ Film at Ealing Green Church at 7:30pm on Friday 18 October 2019
Narrated by Alison Steadman, ‘Under the Knife’ is a positive historical documentary of the NHS from 1947 to date. The Director is Susan Steinberg an Emmy award winner. The film was made by Pam K Productions in partnership with Keep Our NHS Public and the Daily Mirror.
To book your FREE ticket, go to:
Venue details at:
Ealing Hospital 40th Birthday Party Music Hall on 5th November 2019 at The Viaduct Pub Hanwell
Ealing Hospital formally opened its doors to patients on Bonfire Night 5th November 1979. Exactly 40 years to the day, local activists are throwing a birthday party for the hospital in the form of a ‘Music Hall’. In the best Victorian tradition, there will be popular Music Hall songs, comedy, verse, specialist acts and variety entertainment. All the artists are appearing for free and they include NHS staff and local professional and amateur performers. The local theatre company ‘A Wonderful Adventure’ (www.wonderfuladventure) is an active partner in mounting the event.
It’s £10/ticket which includes some finger food.
To book tickets go here:
Venue details at:
For more information text Eric Leach on 07836 275278 or email [email protected]
Any profit will be given to Ealing Save Our NHS