Tag Archives: force

‘We are a force to be reckoned with’: voices of newly qualified nurses

‘I finish most shifts feeling guilty and remember things I didn’t have time to do’

Nursing isn’t what I expected it to be, there’s never enough time for patient contact which really saddens me. Nurses are now mainly office-based and have to delegate the patient contact to healthcare workers. I often class a good shift as one where I have managed to sit down and talk to someone who needed me. I finish most shifts feeling guilty and wake up in the middle of the night and remember things I didn’t have time to do. The stress of the job is unbelievable.

The pay conditions really anger me. Working in mental health can be a risky job where staff are assaulted and have to face quite a lot of abuse. I do not think it is fair that I only get paid around £10 an hour, which is a lot less than my friends who do low-level administration work in offices where they get paid to answer the phone. The government is relying on the good nature of nurses to continue doing their job because they care.
Kate Clayton, 15 months post-qualified, mental health nurse, Staffordshire

‘Nurses are a force to be reckoned with – I think that has become more prominent in recent years’

Before I began nursing I didn’t really see nurses as specialists or professors. It was only during my nursing studies and hospital placements that I began to realise the breadth of opportunities within nursing and the new found confidence nurses have. Nowadays we all work as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and nurses work more closely with doctors and allied healthcare professionals. We, as nurses, are encouraged to speak up, ask questions and play a bigger part in the MDT and in our patients’ care plans. We also now have so many different opportunities for nurses like specialist roles, research and education. I think in the future we will see a lot more nurses going on to do the likes of PhDs and more specialist training. We are a force to be reckoned with and I think that has definitely become more prominent in recent years.
Bebhinn O’Dowd, 12 months post-qualified, critical care research nurse (specialising in major trauma), London

‘We are constantly working more hours than we should because it’s so short-staffed’

There is so much responsibility in modern nursing. You literally have people’s lives in your hands. It’s a big burden for a 22-year-old. Some older nurses have told me that in the past we would have been slowly fed into the system instead of being thrown in and immediately pushed to the limits. We are constantly working more hours than we ever should because it’s so short-staffed.


It seems more of an uphill battle to get what is deserved and to get the kind of respect nurses used to get

Liv Webster

Pay is of course something my friends and I rant about and some people who I studied nursing with have already changed their career path – we’re not even 18 months qualified. A lot are being pushed into private sectors and agency work so the NHS is losing valuable members of the team who can’t deal with the pay when they have families to support. Having said that I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t do anything else.
Ella Clarke-Billings, 14 months post qualified, surgical nurse, London

‘I didn’t realise the monumental amount of paperwork that nursing incorporated’

I went straight into the private sector due to more opportunity. I would have preferred to work for the NHS at the time but in my specialism I found it very hard to get into. I wanted to be a liaison nurse, which is a role to support people with a learning disability while they are in hospital, but people don’t seem to leave those jobs once they’re in them as they are so good to have. There is definitely more room for climbing the ladder in the NHS but that’s not what interests me. For me, getting the right healthcare for my service users and supporting them to have the best quality life they can is what’s most important. It’s why I wanted to become a nurse – to be the voice for those that couldn’t be heard and that’s what I can do in the company I work for.

I didn’t realise the monumental amount of paperwork that nursing incorporated. I definitely thought it would be more hands-on than it is. It seems more of an uphill battle to get what is deserved and to get the kind of respect nurses used to get, especially in my specialty which other health professionals seem to deem as useless. People don’t view learning disability nurses as proper nurses as we deal a lot with the social side and not just the medical side of care. I have even had family members joke that I’m not a proper nurse; when you aren’t given that level of respect it can really deflate you.
Liv Webster, 15 months post-qualified, learning disabilities nurse, Lichfield

‘Coming into nursing is different but it’s important to see it as a vocation rather than a job’

Nursing has certainly changed since I started in the early 1970s. The introduction of technology has had a big impact. I’ve seen the introduction of electronic health records, email and e-learning, and this kind of innovation has helped improve the practice of learning for the benefit of patients and carers. Many nurses had to adapt to the change and for some it was a difficult time as they did not have the computer skills required. For new nurses this will never be a problem as the way they study is academic and they have been brought up with technology.

But ultimately a good new nurse will have the same core skills and qualities, such as empathy and compassion, as when I trained. Coming into nursing now is different but it is even more important now that those entering see it as a vocation rather than a job. It is a hard career albeit rewarding.
Helen Smith, 41 years post qualified, mental health matron and ward manager, West Midlands

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs.

‘We are a force to be reckoned with’: voices of newly qualified nurses

‘I finish most shifts feeling guilty and remember things I didn’t have time to do’

Nursing isn’t what I expected it to be, there’s never enough time for patient contact which really saddens me. Nurses are now mainly office-based and have to delegate the patient contact to healthcare workers. I often class a good shift as one where I have managed to sit down and talk to someone who needed me. I finish most shifts feeling guilty and wake up in the middle of the night and remember things I didn’t have time to do. The stress of the job is unbelievable.

The pay conditions really anger me. Working in mental health can be a risky job where staff are assaulted and have to face quite a lot of abuse. I do not think it is fair that I only get paid around £10 an hour, which is a lot less than my friends who do low-level administration work in offices where they get paid to answer the phone. The government is relying on the good nature of nurses to continue doing their job because they care.
Kate Clayton, 15 months post-qualified, mental health nurse, Staffordshire

‘Nurses are a force to be reckoned with – I think that has become more prominent in recent years’

Before I began nursing I didn’t really see nurses as specialists or professors. It was only during my nursing studies and hospital placements that I began to realise the breadth of opportunities within nursing and the new found confidence nurses have. Nowadays we all work as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and nurses work more closely with doctors and allied healthcare professionals. We, as nurses, are encouraged to speak up, ask questions and play a bigger part in the MDT and in our patients’ care plans. We also now have so many different opportunities for nurses like specialist roles, research and education. I think in the future we will see a lot more nurses going on to do the likes of PhDs and more specialist training. We are a force to be reckoned with and I think that has definitely become more prominent in recent years.
Bebhinn O’Dowd, 12 months post-qualified, critical care research nurse (specialising in major trauma), London

‘We are constantly working more hours than we should because it’s so short-staffed’

There is so much responsibility in modern nursing. You literally have people’s lives in your hands. It’s a big burden for a 22-year-old. Some older nurses have told me that in the past we would have been slowly fed into the system instead of being thrown in and immediately pushed to the limits. We are constantly working more hours than we ever should because it’s so short-staffed.


It seems more of an uphill battle to get what is deserved and to get the kind of respect nurses used to get

Liv Webster

Pay is of course something my friends and I rant about and some people who I studied nursing with have already changed their career path – we’re not even 18 months qualified. A lot are being pushed into private sectors and agency work so the NHS is losing valuable members of the team who can’t deal with the pay when they have families to support. Having said that I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t do anything else.
Ella Clarke-Billings, 14 months post qualified, surgical nurse, London

‘I didn’t realise the monumental amount of paperwork that nursing incorporated’

I went straight into the private sector due to more opportunity. I would have preferred to work for the NHS at the time but in my specialism I found it very hard to get into. I wanted to be a liaison nurse, which is a role to support people with a learning disability while they are in hospital, but people don’t seem to leave those jobs once they’re in them as they are so good to have. There is definitely more room for climbing the ladder in the NHS but that’s not what interests me. For me, getting the right healthcare for my service users and supporting them to have the best quality life they can is what’s most important. It’s why I wanted to become a nurse – to be the voice for those that couldn’t be heard and that’s what I can do in the company I work for.

I didn’t realise the monumental amount of paperwork that nursing incorporated. I definitely thought it would be more hands-on than it is. It seems more of an uphill battle to get what is deserved and to get the kind of respect nurses used to get, especially in my specialty which other health professionals seem to deem as useless. People don’t view learning disability nurses as proper nurses as we deal a lot with the social side and not just the medical side of care. I have even had family members joke that I’m not a proper nurse; when you aren’t given that level of respect it can really deflate you.
Liv Webster, 15 months post-qualified, learning disabilities nurse, Lichfield

‘Coming into nursing is different but it’s important to see it as a vocation rather than a job’

Nursing has certainly changed since I started in the early 1970s. The introduction of technology has had a big impact. I’ve seen the introduction of electronic health records, email and e-learning, and this kind of innovation has helped improve the practice of learning for the benefit of patients and carers. Many nurses had to adapt to the change and for some it was a difficult time as they did not have the computer skills required. For new nurses this will never be a problem as the way they study is academic and they have been brought up with technology.

But ultimately a good new nurse will have the same core skills and qualities, such as empathy and compassion, as when I trained. Coming into nursing now is different but it is even more important now that those entering see it as a vocation rather than a job. It is a hard career albeit rewarding.
Helen Smith, 41 years post qualified, mental health matron and ward manager, West Midlands

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs.

‘We are a force to be reckoned with’: voices of newly qualified nurses

‘I finish most shifts feeling guilty and remember things I didn’t have time to do’

Nursing isn’t what I expected it to be, there’s never enough time for patient contact which really saddens me. Nurses are now mainly office-based and have to delegate the patient contact to healthcare workers. I often class a good shift as one where I have managed to sit down and talk to someone who needed me. I finish most shifts feeling guilty and wake up in the middle of the night and remember things I didn’t have time to do. The stress of the job is unbelievable.

The pay conditions really anger me. Working in mental health can be a risky job where staff are assaulted and have to face quite a lot of abuse. I do not think it is fair that I only get paid around £10 an hour, which is a lot less than my friends who do low-level administration work in offices where they get paid to answer the phone. The government is relying on the good nature of nurses to continue doing their job because they care.
Kate Clayton, 15 months post-qualified, mental health nurse, Staffordshire

‘Nurses are a force to be reckoned with – I think that has become more prominent in recent years’

Before I began nursing I didn’t really see nurses as specialists or professors. It was only during my nursing studies and hospital placements that I began to realise the breadth of opportunities within nursing and the new found confidence nurses have. Nowadays we all work as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and nurses work more closely with doctors and allied healthcare professionals. We, as nurses, are encouraged to speak up, ask questions and play a bigger part in the MDT and in our patients’ care plans. We also now have so many different opportunities for nurses like specialist roles, research and education. I think in the future we will see a lot more nurses going on to do the likes of PhDs and more specialist training. We are a force to be reckoned with and I think that has definitely become more prominent in recent years.
Bebhinn O’Dowd, 12 months post-qualified, critical care research nurse (specialising in major trauma), London

‘We are constantly working more hours than we should because it’s so short-staffed’

There is so much responsibility in modern nursing. You literally have people’s lives in your hands. It’s a big burden for a 22-year-old. Some older nurses have told me that in the past we would have been slowly fed into the system instead of being thrown in and immediately pushed to the limits. We are constantly working more hours than we ever should because it’s so short-staffed.


It seems more of an uphill battle to get what is deserved and to get the kind of respect nurses used to get

Liv Webster

Pay is of course something my friends and I rant about and some people who I studied nursing with have already changed their career path – we’re not even 18 months qualified. A lot are being pushed into private sectors and agency work so the NHS is losing valuable members of the team who can’t deal with the pay when they have families to support. Having said that I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t do anything else.
Ella Clarke-Billings, 14 months post qualified, surgical nurse, London

‘I didn’t realise the monumental amount of paperwork that nursing incorporated’

I went straight into the private sector due to more opportunity. I would have preferred to work for the NHS at the time but in my specialism I found it very hard to get into. I wanted to be a liaison nurse, which is a role to support people with a learning disability while they are in hospital, but people don’t seem to leave those jobs once they’re in them as they are so good to have. There is definitely more room for climbing the ladder in the NHS but that’s not what interests me. For me, getting the right healthcare for my service users and supporting them to have the best quality life they can is what’s most important. It’s why I wanted to become a nurse – to be the voice for those that couldn’t be heard and that’s what I can do in the company I work for.

I didn’t realise the monumental amount of paperwork that nursing incorporated. I definitely thought it would be more hands-on than it is. It seems more of an uphill battle to get what is deserved and to get the kind of respect nurses used to get, especially in my specialty which other health professionals seem to deem as useless. People don’t view learning disability nurses as proper nurses as we deal a lot with the social side and not just the medical side of care. I have even had family members joke that I’m not a proper nurse; when you aren’t given that level of respect it can really deflate you.
Liv Webster, 15 months post-qualified, learning disabilities nurse, Lichfield

‘Coming into nursing is different but it’s important to see it as a vocation rather than a job’

Nursing has certainly changed since I started in the early 1970s. The introduction of technology has had a big impact. I’ve seen the introduction of electronic health records, email and e-learning, and this kind of innovation has helped improve the practice of learning for the benefit of patients and carers. Many nurses had to adapt to the change and for some it was a difficult time as they did not have the computer skills required. For new nurses this will never be a problem as the way they study is academic and they have been brought up with technology.

But ultimately a good new nurse will have the same core skills and qualities, such as empathy and compassion, as when I trained. Coming into nursing now is different but it is even more important now that those entering see it as a vocation rather than a job. It is a hard career albeit rewarding.
Helen Smith, 41 years post qualified, mental health matron and ward manager, West Midlands

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views.

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs.

Force all gambling firms to pay levy for addiction treatment, says charity

Gambling firms are failing to honour a pledge to donate part of their income to fund addiction treatment and should be forced to do so by law, the UK’s leading problem-gambling charity has said.

GambleAware told the Guardian it had lost patience after companies’ failure to pay left it facing a funding shortfall that risked undermining its efforts to help addicts.

The charity’s intervention comes before Tuesday’s publication of a long-awaited government review into the regulation of gambling machines and advertising.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport review is expected to recommend that the maximum £100 stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) be reduced due to concerns about their links to addiction.

But GambleAware said that, regardless of the review’s outcome, firms should be made to pay a statutory levy devoted to helping problem gamblers.

The call was partly spurred by a cashflow crisis that forced it to notify the industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, in August that it might not be able to pay for its work, which includes funding the UK’s only specialist problem-gambling clinic.

The chief executive, Marc Etches, said this showed that the industry had yet to demonstrate that it was “sufficiently willing to meet the current [funding] target, much less that it [was] minded to voluntarily meet the increased funding that will be necessary to improve research, education and treatment services”.

“On this basis, GambleAware has determined that it would wish to see the introduction of a statutory levy.”

All bookmakers, bingo halls and online betting companies agreed to give 0.1% of their revenues to charity voluntarily, as part of a deal struck with the last Labour government when it deregulated gambling in 2007.

GambleAware, which regulators, MPs and the industry have since agreed should administer the donations, said firms were falling short, despite the recent spotlight on their commitment to tackling addiction.

While the suggested 0.1% donation would have yielded £13.8m last year, GambleAware asked for a more modest £10m to fund its nationwide activities but received only £8m. It warned that the industry was falling even further behind, having given only £4m so far this year, triggering the charity’s cashflow concerns.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said this was “simply not acceptable”, backing GambleAware’s calls for a mandatory levy. “Bookies pay lip service to responsible gambling but they aren’t doing enough to address the UK’s hidden gambling epidemic,” he said. “It is now clear that legislation is needed to force them to pay their fair share. Words are no longer enough.”

GambleAware believes treatment costs are likely to rise after the number of problem gamblers hit 430,000, less than 2% of whom are getting help.

As part of its tougher stance, the charity will reveal companies’ donations from next year and ask them to self-certify their contribution by publishing a figure.

The charity has previously accused companies of making “nominal” donations – as little, even, as £1.

Earlier this year, the Guardian asked gambling companies to reveal how much they had donated in the previous financial year.

Most leading high-street bookmakers matched or exceeded the 0.1% figure, with William Hill giving £1m, Mecca Bingo owner Rank donating £753,000 and Ladbrokes and Gala Coral, which have since merged, giving a combined £1.4m.

Several well-known gambling brands, including Paddy Power, Betfair and 888, said they donated but would not say how much, while several other companies did not return requests for comment.

Force all gambling firms to pay levy for addiction treatment, says charity

Gambling firms are failing to honour a pledge to donate part of their income to fund addiction treatment and should be forced to do so by law, the UK’s leading problem-gambling charity has said.

GambleAware told the Guardian it had lost patience after companies’ failure to pay left it facing a funding shortfall that risked undermining its efforts to help addicts.

The charity’s intervention comes before Tuesday’s publication of a long-awaited government review into the regulation of gambling machines and advertising.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport review is expected to recommend that the maximum £100 stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) be reduced due to concerns about their links to addiction.

But GambleAware said that, regardless of the review’s outcome, firms should be made to pay a statutory levy devoted to helping problem gamblers.

The call was partly spurred by a cashflow crisis that forced it to notify the industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, in August that it might not be able to pay for its work, which includes funding the UK’s only specialist problem-gambling clinic.

The chief executive, Marc Etches, said this showed that the industry had yet to demonstrate that it was “sufficiently willing to meet the current [funding] target, much less that it [was] minded to voluntarily meet the increased funding that will be necessary to improve research, education and treatment services”.

“On this basis, GambleAware has determined that it would wish to see the introduction of a statutory levy.”

All bookmakers, bingo halls and online betting companies agreed to give 0.1% of their revenues to charity voluntarily, as part of a deal struck with the last Labour government when it deregulated gambling in 2007.

GambleAware, which regulators, MPs and the industry have since agreed should administer the donations, said firms were falling short, despite the recent spotlight on their commitment to tackling addiction.

While the suggested 0.1% donation would have yielded £13.8m last year, GambleAware asked for a more modest £10m to fund its nationwide activities but received only £8m. It warned that the industry was falling even further behind, having given only £4m so far this year, triggering the charity’s cashflow concerns.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said this was “simply not acceptable”, backing GambleAware’s calls for a mandatory levy. “Bookies pay lip service to responsible gambling but they aren’t doing enough to address the UK’s hidden gambling epidemic,” he said. “It is now clear that legislation is needed to force them to pay their fair share. Words are no longer enough.”

GambleAware believes treatment costs are likely to rise after the number of problem gamblers hit 430,000, less than 2% of whom are getting help.

As part of its tougher stance, the charity will reveal companies’ donations from next year and ask them to self-certify their contribution by publishing a figure.

The charity has previously accused companies of making “nominal” donations – as little, even, as £1.

Earlier this year, the Guardian asked gambling companies to reveal how much they had donated in the previous financial year.

Most leading high-street bookmakers matched or exceeded the 0.1% figure, with William Hill giving £1m, Mecca Bingo owner Rank donating £753,000 and Ladbrokes and Gala Coral, which have since merged, giving a combined £1.4m.

Several well-known gambling brands, including Paddy Power, Betfair and 888, said they donated but would not say how much, while several other companies did not return requests for comment.

Force all gambling firms to pay levy for addiction treatment, says charity

Gambling firms are failing to honour a pledge to donate part of their income to fund addiction treatment and should be forced to do so by law, the UK’s leading problem-gambling charity has said.

GambleAware told the Guardian it had lost patience after companies’ failure to pay left it facing a funding shortfall that risked undermining its efforts to help addicts.

The charity’s intervention comes before Tuesday’s publication of a long-awaited government review into the regulation of gambling machines and advertising.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport review is expected to recommend that the maximum £100 stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) be reduced due to concerns about their links to addiction.

But GambleAware said that, regardless of the review’s outcome, firms should be made to pay a statutory levy devoted to helping problem gamblers.

The call was partly spurred by a cashflow crisis that forced it to notify the industry regulator, the Gambling Commission, in August that it might not be able to pay for its work, which includes funding the UK’s only specialist problem-gambling clinic.

The chief executive, Marc Etches, said this showed that the industry had yet to demonstrate that it was “sufficiently willing to meet the current [funding] target, much less that it [was] minded to voluntarily meet the increased funding that will be necessary to improve research, education and treatment services”.

“On this basis, GambleAware has determined that it would wish to see the introduction of a statutory levy.”

All bookmakers, bingo halls and online betting companies agreed to give 0.1% of their revenues to charity voluntarily, as part of a deal struck with the last Labour government when it deregulated gambling in 2007.

GambleAware, which regulators, MPs and the industry have since agreed should administer the donations, said firms were falling short, despite the recent spotlight on their commitment to tackling addiction.

While the suggested 0.1% donation would have yielded £13.8m last year, GambleAware asked for a more modest £10m to fund its nationwide activities but received only £8m. It warned that the industry was falling even further behind, having given only £4m so far this year, triggering the charity’s cashflow concerns.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said this was “simply not acceptable”, backing GambleAware’s calls for a mandatory levy. “Bookies pay lip service to responsible gambling but they aren’t doing enough to address the UK’s hidden gambling epidemic,” he said. “It is now clear that legislation is needed to force them to pay their fair share. Words are no longer enough.”

GambleAware believes treatment costs are likely to rise after the number of problem gamblers hit 430,000, less than 2% of whom are getting help.

As part of its tougher stance, the charity will reveal companies’ donations from next year and ask them to self-certify their contribution by publishing a figure.

The charity has previously accused companies of making “nominal” donations – as little, even, as £1.

Earlier this year, the Guardian asked gambling companies to reveal how much they had donated in the previous financial year.

Most leading high-street bookmakers matched or exceeded the 0.1% figure, with William Hill giving £1m, Mecca Bingo owner Rank donating £753,000 and Ladbrokes and Gala Coral, which have since merged, giving a combined £1.4m.

Several well-known gambling brands, including Paddy Power, Betfair and 888, said they donated but would not say how much, while several other companies did not return requests for comment.

Rules allowing upfront charges for foreign users of NHS come into force

Migrants and visitors to the UK not eligible for free healthcare will from now on be charged upfront for the cost of their treatment, as rules come into force that also extend charging to community health services and charities that receive NHS funding.

The system, designed to counter “health tourism”, requires medical staff to establish whether patients are eligible for state-funded healthcare before providing treatment. If they are not, patients must pay an upfront charge that is currently set at 150% of the cost to providers.

But critics – including a former chief executive of the NHS, a range of civil society groups and hundreds of doctors who recently signed a letter to the health secretary – say the new rules, in force from Monday, will deter ill people from seeking life-saving treatment, and patients with infectious diseases could pass undetected.

There is also confusion over how the rules should be applied, with a survey of NHS professionals showing that eight in 10 were unable to make the crucial distinction between the eligibility of refugees, asylum seekers and those whose application for asylum had been rejected.

There are fears that an identification-checking scheme currently under pilot at 20 NHS trusts will be extended across the country, raising the prospect of a future where patients must attend hospital with their passports and driving licences to guarantee receiving treatment they are entitled to.

While hospitals have had a charging regime in place for some time, patients not covered by the NHS have, until now, been sent a bill for the cost of their care after treatment. The Department of Health says many such bills have gone unpaid after trusts lost touch with patients who had left the country or otherwise disappeared.

According to the rules laid out in the National Health Service (charges to overseas visitors) (amendment) regulations 2017, a piece of secondary legislation that passed parliament with no debate, all organisations receiving NHS funding must now charge ineligible patients before they are treated. The charging regime will also be extended to services such as health visiting, school nursing, community midwifery, community mental health services, termination of pregnancy services, district nursing, support groups, advocacy services, and specialist services for homeless people and asylum seekers, according to Doctors of the World.

The DoH stressed that upfront charges would only apply for planned, elective treatments, and that no one would be denied accident and emergency care or maternity services – although some of these can be charged for retrospectively.

However, campaigners against the change have collected many anecdotal accounts of patients being wrongly charged for care, in one case because a patient had a foreign-sounding name, or charged for treatments that are supposedly exempt from the regime.

A survey of NHS staff by Medact found almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents thought failed asylum seekers were ineligible for free primary care, with another third (30%) believing failed asylum seekers were not entitled to free emergency NHS care.

“It is clear that NHS staff do not have the training and support they need to correctly identify who is and isn’t entitled to healthcare,” Dr Ruth Wiggans, co-chair of Medact, said. “What we’ll see as a result is people who should be receiving NHS care being wrongly turned away or simply being too worried to seek help themselves.”

Health minister James O’Shaughnessy said: “The NHS is a cherished national institution that is paid for by British taxpayers.

“We have no problem with overseas visitors using our NHS as long as they make a fair financial contribution, just as the British taxpayer does. The new regulations simply require NHS bodies to make inquiries about, and then charge, those who aren’t entitled to free NHS care. All the money raised goes back into funding and improving care for NHS patients.”

Lord O’Shaughnessy added: “We are clear that some vulnerable groups are exempt from charging and the NHS will never withhold urgent and immediately necessary treatment.”

Olaseni Lewis died in part from ‘disproportionate use of force’

The death of a man after prolonged restraint by police on a mental health ward was caused in part by “disproportionate and unreasonable” use of force, pain compliance techniques and multiple mechanical restraints, an inquest has found.

The narrative conclusion, which came after the coroner ruled out a verdict of unlawful killing, found fault with both police officers and medics involved in the death of Olaseni Lewis at Bethlem Royal hospital in south London in 2010.

Lewis, 23, an IT graduate with no prior history of mental illness, collapsed at the hospital after being taken there by relatives on 31 August 2010. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at Croydon University hospital on 4 September.

A postmortem examination found he had suffered a hypoxic brain injury, which occurs when the brain is starved of oxygen, jurors heard on the second day of the inquest.

Early in the inquest, Lewis’s mother, Ajibola Lewis, recalled how a nurse at the Maudsley hospital in south London, had warned her not to allow him to be transferred to Bethlem, where the incident occurred.

“She said to me, ‘Look, don’t let him go to the Bethlem, don’t let him go there,’” Ajibola Lewis said. However, she took the decision, on the advice of doctors, that her son should attend the mental health hospital as a voluntary patient.

The case only came to inquest after years of investigations into who should be held responsible for Lewis’s death. In 2015, following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Crown Prosecution Service determined that the officers involved had no criminal case to answer.

Last year, it was decided that no charges of corporate homicide would be brought against the South London and Maudsley NHS foundation trust, which manages Bethlem, after it was investigated by Devon and Cornwall police.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation into Lewis’s death is pending following the conclusion of the inquest.

The government must not force me and other disabled people out of our homes | Tessa Bolt

I have Down’s syndrome and I live in supported housing. Today a parliamentary select committee has put out a report on the government’s planned changes for supported housing that could force people such as me with a learning disability out of our homes.

Last year the government said it wanted to make changes to funding for supported housing that would limit payments to the local housing allowance rate and let local councils have control over the extra money needed to give people supported housing. This would mean people such as me could lose our right to have our housing paid for and that there could be a lot less supported housing available.

Both these changes would obviously be really bad. Thankfully today’s report agrees, which is good to hear as it is what me and other people in supported housing have been saying for a long time. But I’m still very scared the changes could happen.

In March I gave evidence for this report. It was a historic event as I was the first person with Down’s syndrome ever to give evidence to a select committee. I was very proud to be taking such a big step for people with a learning disability, especially as I know these changes could mean that thousands of people like me lose their homes and independence. As a society, we’d be going backwards.

Before supported housing, people with a learning disability had to live with their families or live in institutions. Most care professionals think institutions are not the best place for people with a learning disability; in some cases people end up having to live far away from everyone they know, and sometimes too, without proper support, people can even be in danger of abuse and neglect. I don’t think that’s a life anyone would choose.

I moved into supported housing when I was 30. Before then I had lived with my parents. I love them but I wanted to be independent. Nobody wants to still be living with their parents at 30! After a lot of talking, my parents agreed and I now live in a house run by Golden Lane Housing, with Elizabeth and Katie, two other ladies who have a learning disability. I love living with them – we’re like family.

I couldn’t live on my own without support, but I don’t want full-time care, because I’m not a child. Supported housing means I can be independent but have day-to-day support from Mencap. My support worker Jeanette helps me get out and do the things I love, which include volunteering at Oxfam, my local bookshop and the Cancer Trust. I make my own choices and I get to live the life I want, something everyone has the right to do.

But this will all change if the government’s planned changes happen. A cut could mean that I couldn’t afford to pay my rent any more. I wouldn’t be able to live with Katie and Elizabeth and I might lose my day-to-day support. It makes me scared for my future because I’d have to move away from my home, my friends and my voluntary jobs and go and live with family. It could change my whole life in a way that I don’t want.

But I’m lucky. A lot of people with a learning disability don’t have family who can support them, so they could be forced to live in an institution, where the support and accommodation might not be right for them. They could away from everything they know and they would lose all their independence. This would be a huge step back for everyone with a learning disability.


I make my own choices and I get to live the life I want, something everyone has the right to do

It is a scary thought and I think it’s clear the government isn’t thinking about all the people who use supported housing. So I’m glad that the select committee report has said that these changes could lead to a really bad situation. This is also what a lot of supported housing providers and Mencap have said and it’s what I think as well. But I don’t know if the government will listen to this new report.

I think things would be very different if people such as me had more of a voice, more power. I don’t think changes like this would be happening. That’s why it’s important that the government listens to us.

I would say to the government: “Stop and think about what you are doing!” It’s good to save money; I am not against changes. But things have to be fair for everyone, and until you can guarantee that changes won’t take away people’s homes, independence and happiness, then these are changes that the government can’t afford to make.

Record number of GP closures force 265,000 to find new doctors

A record number of GP practices closed last year, forcing thousands of patients to find a new surgery, in spite of government attempts to stop local doctors shutting their doors.

NHS England data showed nearly a hundred practices closed in 2016, a 114% increase in GP closures compared with figures from 2014. Of the 92 practices that shut, 58 did so completely, while 34 merged with other local surgeries in order to pool resources.

The drop in GP numbers meant 265,000 patients – an increase of 150% from 2014 – had to change their practice last year, often travelling further for care. Brighton was particularly badly affected with 9,000 patients displaced when four practices closed. There have been a total of seven closures in the city over the past two years.

The new data, obtained by the GP website Pulse, has renewed fears that family doctors are not coping with increased demand and need an urgent cash injection to survive. Senior doctors also expressed concern that government funding was not being targeted correctly.

patients displaced
gp practices close

It comes despite the NHS announcing its GP forward view plan last year, promising to invest an annual £2.4bn into services by 2020. The government also announced £500m investment as a rescue package, which included £16m to support vulnerable practices.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, told Pulse: “We know the money, targeted in the right way, for the most severely affected practices, can make a difference.

“The tragedy is clinical commissioning groups have not delivered their part in making the resources available. Many practices that should have received support have had none to date. That’s been a failing of local delivery.”

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Too many practices are being forced to close because GPs and their teams can no longer cope with ever-growing patient demand without the necessary funding and workforce to deal with it. This has serious consequences for patient safety and the wellbeing of hard-working family doctors and their practice teams.”

The findings are likely to put more pressure on the government to address a growing NHS crisis, with hospitals and family doctors under increasing pressure.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, the shadow health secretary, said: “These are startling revelations and really bring home the extent to which Theresa May’s NHS funding squeeze is impacting on people every day in communities across the country.”

He added: “Given the crisis in hospitals we’ve seen we need to be taking the pressure off hospitals. That means doing much more to protect GP services. With Labour, general practice will be at the heart of making the English NHS more focused on care closer to home.”

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: “There is a pressing need for a national, cross-party discussion about how we can afford a modern, efficient, and effective health and care system. I once again urge the prime minister to begin such a process. We must face up to the scale of this challenge, and to the possibility that we might have to pay a little more in tax to ensure that everyone gets the high-quality healthcare they should expect.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “All NHS patients wanting to register with a GP practice are guaranteed to be able to do so and we have increased investment in general practice by £1bn in two years in order to improve services and boost GP numbers.

“These figures as presented don’t reflect the full picture as they include patients whose records automatically transfer after a merger and therefore don’t have to change practice. As part of our plans to improve general practice services and boost the workforce, many practices are choosing to merge in order to offer patients a much greater range of services.”