Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Blog 83. Hospital deaths were a NICE surprise!

I hope you are sitting down.

I wasn't sitting down when the announcement came on the radio and the shock was awful. I cannot afford for you to injure yourself and sue me when you read this blog so hold on to something.
NICE have announced findings that under-staffing in hospitals can be dangerous.

OK breathe.

Yes, NICE the National Institute for health and Care Excellence (what happened to ‘f’, ‘h’ and ‘a’?) have made an important announcement, after much consideration and looking at information and reports and statistics and especially figures for preventable deaths in hospitals. Apparently under-staffing can harmfully affect numbers of adverse incidents and patient mortality.


Let us only hope they do a parallel and more specific study into whether if you are tired and over worked you become more likely to make mistakes. I wait with bated breath for the outcome of that investigation.
Don’t confuse the NICE mentioned above with that other organisation with the same acronym, the National Institute for Could-have-worked-that-out-for-ourselves Easily.

All I can say, once I get my breath back is, thank god we have clever people getting paid lots of tax-payers’ money to tell us these things.

Being just an ordinary Jo (or Amanda) I can only hazard a guess at some of the mysteries of life and wonder about things like – would drinking tractor engine oil make you poorly?

To be honest there was rather a lot to take in this week in terms of confusing information. Evidently it’s not ok to legally (but immorally) avoid tax if you are a comedian but it is ok to illegally avoid tax if you are a singer and a mate of David Cameron. And it’s not ok to play a record with the ‘N’ word in it if you are an old DJ but it is ok to say the ‘N’ word (and be a misogynistic git) if you present programmes about cars and are a friend of David Cameron. How confusing is life?

So I suppose – if the things that should be straightforward are complicated then it makes a kind of twisted sense if things that are utterly obvious are then presented to us as if they are full of mystery and require stats and reports and serious public statements.

But back to the findings that surprised NICE.

The weird thing was that just a couple of days before this stunning announcement, a friend of mine  told me about her elderly mother who died in hospital after being given the wrong dose of one of her medications. The lady in question was old and poorly but the mis-medication possibly hastened her death and in an unpleasant way. While I felt huge sympathy for my friend and her family, I have to admit, my gut reaction was to also wonder at the plight of the nurse. How many elderly patients was she caring for? How qualified was she? How much support did she have? Was there a senior clinician available at the relevant time? Because one thing I do know from contacts in the medical field is that when these things blow up it is usually the person at the coal face who gets it in the neck. It is rarely the more senior medic, almost never the hospital manager and it is never EVER the politicians who landed the NHS with the targets and PFI contracts that led to much of the present misery and a funding crisis.

SO take a deep breath before you listen to the news or read tomorrow’s papers – they may announce that crossing the M25 without looking increases your risk of getting run over.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives is

No.32 NHS & the Condom of Common Sense.


  1. I think I know what happened to the 'f' 'h' & 'a' Is it because they stand for 'fuck the hell aff?'

    You are so right about understaffing hurting the staff Amanda.

  2. All of that aside (not that I'd leave it aside, it being so vitally critical information and all), I want to thank you for correctly using the phrase "bated breath". I don't know how many (alleged) writers I know who have turned themselves into fish with "baited" breath.

    I have to go now & read more of your stuff. You may have become one of my new favorites.