Tag Archives: Risk

Warning drinkers of cancer risk could reduce consumption, survey finds

Labels warning drinkers that they risk seven different forms of cancer could make some people re-think their alcohol consumption, according to a survey.

But most people will ignore other warnings on bottles and drinks about the damaging effects of alcohol on health, the survey found.

The annual Global Drugs Survey, which 130,000 people in 44 countries chose to complete online this year, asks about drug and alcohol use, risks and harms. Researchers said that given the success of graphic images on cigarette packets, they wanted to investigate the potential impact of warnings on bottles of wine, beer and spirits among the 3,600 survey responders in England.

They devised seven different health warnings, in collaboration with health experts, from “heart disease is a major cause of death among people with heavy alcohol use” to “a bottle of wine or six bottles of beer contain as many calories as a burger and fries”.

Other warnings concerned liver disease, the increase in violence among drinkers, the increased cancer risk, the recommendation from experts to have at least two alcohol-free days a week and the absence of any health benefits from drinking, even at low levels.

Most people said they believed the messages – nearly 90% believed alcohol could lead to violence and 80% knew there were a lot of calories in alcoholic drinks. And yet most would not rethink the amount they drank if any of those warning labels were on bottles.

The warning that appeared to reach the most people was that “drinking less reduces your risk of seven different sorts of cancer”. Among the 3,600 people in England who responded to the survey, 40% said it would or might affect the amount they drank, 5% said they were unsure and 55% said it would not change anything.

Warnings about calories would or might change the habits of 31% of people and warnings that alcohol increases violent and abusive behaviour would or might make 27% of people cut down.

Drinks manufacturers already have to put the alcohol levels and the chief medical officer’s recommended alcohol limits on their products. A report from the Alcohol Health Alliance in January found that most did not include the up to date guidance of 14 units a week for men and women. They found that none had health warnings featuring specific illnesses or recommending drink-free days.

Professor Adam Winstock, consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist and founder of the Global Drug Survey said it showed that there was much to do about alcohol messaging in the UK. “It is clear that the link between alcohol consumption and increased cancer risk is a message that is still not reaching UK drinkers and where it does, many chose to react to the message with scepticism.

‘’The alcohol industry which makes profits from selling its product will never embrace anything that might lead to people drinking less. A self-regulated industry will always regulate to optimise profits not public health.’’

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “These results on the potential power of health information on alcohol labels are important and compelling. They make it clear that people just do not know about key health issues like the link between alcohol and cancer that might well change their behaviour and improve public health.”

Warning drinkers of cancer risk could reduce consumption, survey finds

Labels warning drinkers that they risk seven different forms of cancer could make some people re-think their alcohol consumption, according to a survey.

But most people will ignore other warnings on bottles and drinks about the damaging effects of alcohol on health, the survey found.

The annual Global Drugs Survey, which 130,000 people in 44 countries chose to complete online this year, asks about drug and alcohol use, risks and harms. Researchers said that given the success of graphic images on cigarette packets, they wanted to investigate the potential impact of warnings on bottles of wine, beer and spirits among the 3,600 survey responders in England.

They devised seven different health warnings, in collaboration with health experts, from “heart disease is a major cause of death among people with heavy alcohol use” to “a bottle of wine or six bottles of beer contain as many calories as a burger and fries”.

Other warnings concerned liver disease, the increase in violence among drinkers, the increased cancer risk, the recommendation from experts to have at least two alcohol-free days a week and the absence of any health benefits from drinking, even at low levels.

Most people said they believed the messages – nearly 90% believed alcohol could lead to violence and 80% knew there were a lot of calories in alcoholic drinks. And yet most would not rethink the amount they drank if any of those warning labels were on bottles.

The warning that appeared to reach the most people was that “drinking less reduces your risk of seven different sorts of cancer”. Among the 3,600 people in England who responded to the survey, 40% said it would or might affect the amount they drank, 5% said they were unsure and 55% said it would not change anything.

Warnings about calories would or might change the habits of 31% of people and warnings that alcohol increases violent and abusive behaviour would or might make 27% of people cut down.

Drinks manufacturers already have to put the alcohol levels and the chief medical officer’s recommended alcohol limits on their products. A report from the Alcohol Health Alliance in January found that most did not include the up to date guidance of 14 units a week for men and women. They found that none had health warnings featuring specific illnesses or recommending drink-free days.

Professor Adam Winstock, consultant psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist and founder of the Global Drug Survey said it showed that there was much to do about alcohol messaging in the UK. “It is clear that the link between alcohol consumption and increased cancer risk is a message that is still not reaching UK drinkers and where it does, many chose to react to the message with scepticism.

‘’The alcohol industry which makes profits from selling its product will never embrace anything that might lead to people drinking less. A self-regulated industry will always regulate to optimise profits not public health.’’

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “These results on the potential power of health information on alcohol labels are important and compelling. They make it clear that people just do not know about key health issues like the link between alcohol and cancer that might well change their behaviour and improve public health.”

Care for 13,000 Britons at risk as provider seeks rescue plan

The care of more than 13,000 elderly and vulnerable Britons could be thrown into turmoil after one of the biggest providers of home care visits in the UK warned it would go bust unless creditors backed a rescue plan.

Allied Healthcare, which has contracts with 150 local authorities and also provides out-of-hours services for the NHS, is asking for breathing space on its finances after cashflow problems that have been triggered in part by an £11m bill for back pay owed to sleep-in care workers.

The loss-making company has 12,000 employees and cares for 13,500 people in their homes via a network of 83 branches around the country. According to the Allied website it is the country’s largest domiciliary care business, twice the size of its nearest competitor.

Its Primecare division provides primary and urgent healthcare services, including NHS 111 telephony services, GP-led medical centres and end-of-life care. It also provides healthcare services in a number of secure settings including prisons, immigration centres and secure training centres.

Allied was bought by the German private equity firm Aurelius in a £19m deal in December 2015 but it has struggled against a backdrop of local authority funding cuts.

In a letter to creditors seen by the Guardian, its chief executive, Luca Warnke, said it had “significant funding pressures on our customers that have impacted on their ability to deliver financially viable health and social care services”. It added that it had taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure that will enable it to agree a payment plan with creditors that include landlords and members of its pension schemes. It expects to file for the procedure on Monday.

Warnke blamed rising agency labour costs for its woes, pointing to the shortage of doctors and nurses since the Brexit vote as well as a potential £11m bill for backdated “sleep in” payments depending on HMRC’s calculation of the pay period.

Last year the government changed its guidance on how sleep-in carers should be paid, advising that they were entitled to earn the national minimum wage for the entirety of the time they were present in a house rather than just a flat rate. At that time some charities warned it could cost the sector £400m and potentially bankrupt many social care charities and providers.

The company said in a statement: “As with many independent providers in the UK health and social care sector, Allied Healthcare has been operating in a highly challenging environment for a sustained period of time, which has placed pressure on the company.

“As a result of these challenges, Allied Healthcare has has taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement as part of a prospective business plan that will ensure safe continuity of care across our UK-wide operations, place the company on a sustainable long-term footing and maximise repayments to creditors.

“The proposed CVA will not impact on the safe continuity of care that Allied Healthcare provides across the UK,” it said. “Allied Healthcare will continue to trade safely and it remains business as usual for Allied Healthcare employees and customers.”

The company insisted there were currently no plans for redundancies or branch closures.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, insisted that councils have “robust” contingency plans in place to manage the care of individuals if necessary if the company were to fail.

“The absolute priority for councils affected is to protect the vital care and support that older and disabled people rely on and ensure it is able to continue without interruption,” a spokesman said. “The LGA is working alongside the Care Quality Commission and the government to support Allied, where possible, as it plans to financially restructure the business and continue to provide high-quality home care.”

Care for 13,000 Britons at risk as provider seeks rescue plan

The care of more than 13,000 elderly and vulnerable Britons could be thrown into turmoil after one of the biggest providers of home care visits in the UK warned it would go bust unless creditors backed a rescue plan.

Allied Healthcare, which has contracts with 150 local authorities and also provides out-of-hours services for the NHS, is asking for breathing space on its finances after cashflow problems that have been triggered in part by an £11m bill for back pay owed to sleep-in care workers.

The loss-making company has 12,000 employees and cares for 13,500 people in their homes via a network of 83 branches around the country. According to the Allied website it is the country’s largest domiciliary care business, twice the size of its nearest competitor.

Its Primecare division provides primary and urgent healthcare services, including NHS 111 telephony services, GP-led medical centres and end-of-life care. It also provides healthcare services in a number of secure settings including prisons, immigration centres and secure training centres.

Allied was bought by the German private equity firm Aurelius in a £19m deal in December 2015 but it has struggled against a backdrop of local authority funding cuts.

In a letter to creditors seen by the Guardian, its chief executive, Luca Warnke, said it had “significant funding pressures on our customers that have impacted on their ability to deliver financially viable health and social care services”. It added that it had taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure that will enable it to agree a payment plan with creditors that include landlords and members of its pension schemes. It expects to file for the procedure on Monday.

Warnke blamed rising agency labour costs for its woes, pointing to the shortage of doctors and nurses since the Brexit vote as well as a potential £11m bill for backdated “sleep in” payments depending on HMRC’s calculation of the pay period.

Last year the government changed its guidance on how sleep-in carers should be paid, advising that they were entitled to earn the national minimum wage for the entirety of the time they were present in a house rather than just a flat rate. At that time some charities warned it could cost the sector £400m and potentially bankrupt many social care charities and providers.

The company said in a statement: “As with many independent providers in the UK health and social care sector, Allied Healthcare has been operating in a highly challenging environment for a sustained period of time, which has placed pressure on the company.

“As a result of these challenges, Allied Healthcare has has taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement as part of a prospective business plan that will ensure safe continuity of care across our UK-wide operations, place the company on a sustainable long-term footing and maximise repayments to creditors.

“The proposed CVA will not impact on the safe continuity of care that Allied Healthcare provides across the UK,” it said. “Allied Healthcare will continue to trade safely and it remains business as usual for Allied Healthcare employees and customers.”

The company insisted there were currently no plans for redundancies or branch closures.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, insisted that councils have “robust” contingency plans in place to manage the care of individuals if necessary if the company were to fail.

“The absolute priority for councils affected is to protect the vital care and support that older and disabled people rely on and ensure it is able to continue without interruption,” a spokesman said. “The LGA is working alongside the Care Quality Commission and the government to support Allied, where possible, as it plans to financially restructure the business and continue to provide high-quality home care.”

Care for 13,000 Britons at risk as provider seeks rescue plan

The care of more than 13,000 elderly and vulnerable Britons could be thrown into turmoil after one of the biggest providers of home care visits in the UK warned it would go bust unless creditors backed a rescue plan.

Allied Healthcare, which has contracts with 150 local authorities and also provides out-of-hours services for the NHS, is asking for breathing space on its finances after cashflow problems that have been triggered in part by an £11m bill for back pay owed to sleep-in care workers.

The loss-making company has 12,000 employees and cares for 13,500 people in their homes via a network of 83 branches around the country. According to the Allied website it is the country’s largest domiciliary care business, twice the size of its nearest competitor.

Its Primecare division provides primary and urgent healthcare services, including NHS 111 telephony services, GP-led medical centres and end-of-life care. It also provides healthcare services in a number of secure settings including prisons, immigration centres and secure training centres.

Allied was bought by the German private equity firm Aurelius in a £19m deal in December 2015 but it has struggled against a backdrop of local authority funding cuts.

In a letter to creditors seen by the Guardian, its chief executive, Luca Warnke, said it had “significant funding pressures on our customers that have impacted on their ability to deliver financially viable health and social care services”. It added that it had taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure that will enable it to agree a payment plan with creditors that include landlords and members of its pension schemes. It expects to file for the procedure on Monday.

Warnke blamed rising agency labour costs for its woes, pointing to the shortage of doctors and nurses since the Brexit vote as well as a potential £11m bill for backdated “sleep in” payments depending on HMRC’s calculation of the pay period.

Last year the government changed its guidance on how sleep-in carers should be paid, advising that they were entitled to earn the national minimum wage for the entirety of the time they were present in a house rather than just a flat rate. At that time some charities warned it could cost the sector £400m and potentially bankrupt many social care charities and providers.

The company said in a statement: “As with many independent providers in the UK health and social care sector, Allied Healthcare has been operating in a highly challenging environment for a sustained period of time, which has placed pressure on the company.

“As a result of these challenges, Allied Healthcare has has taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement as part of a prospective business plan that will ensure safe continuity of care across our UK-wide operations, place the company on a sustainable long-term footing and maximise repayments to creditors.

“The proposed CVA will not impact on the safe continuity of care that Allied Healthcare provides across the UK,” it said. “Allied Healthcare will continue to trade safely and it remains business as usual for Allied Healthcare employees and customers.”

The company insisted there were currently no plans for redundancies or branch closures.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, insisted that councils have “robust” contingency plans in place to manage the care of individuals if necessary if the company were to fail.

“The absolute priority for councils affected is to protect the vital care and support that older and disabled people rely on and ensure it is able to continue without interruption,” a spokesman said. “The LGA is working alongside the Care Quality Commission and the government to support Allied, where possible, as it plans to financially restructure the business and continue to provide high-quality home care.”

Care for 13,000 Britons at risk as provider seeks rescue plan

The care of more than 13,000 elderly and vulnerable Britons could be thrown into turmoil after one of the biggest providers of home care visits in the UK warned it would go bust unless creditors backed a rescue plan.

Allied Healthcare, which has contracts with 150 local authorities and also provides out-of-hours services for the NHS, is asking for breathing space on its finances after cashflow problems that have been triggered in part by an £11m bill for back pay owed to sleep-in care workers.

The loss-making company has 12,000 employees and cares for 13,500 people in their homes via a network of 83 branches around the country. According to the Allied website it is the country’s largest domiciliary care business, twice the size of its nearest competitor.

Its Primecare division provides primary and urgent healthcare services, including NHS 111 telephony services, GP-led medical centres and end-of-life care. It also provides healthcare services in a number of secure settings including prisons, immigration centres and secure training centres.

Allied was bought by the German private equity firm Aurelius in a £19m deal in December 2015 but it has struggled against a backdrop of local authority funding cuts.

In a letter to creditors seen by the Guardian, its chief executive, Luca Warnke, said it had “significant funding pressures on our customers that have impacted on their ability to deliver financially viable health and social care services”. It added that it had taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure that will enable it to agree a payment plan with creditors that include landlords and members of its pension schemes. It expects to file for the procedure on Monday.

Warnke blamed rising agency labour costs for its woes, pointing to the shortage of doctors and nurses since the Brexit vote as well as a potential £11m bill for backdated “sleep in” payments depending on HMRC’s calculation of the pay period.

Last year the government changed its guidance on how sleep-in carers should be paid, advising that they were entitled to earn the national minimum wage for the entirety of the time they were present in a house rather than just a flat rate. At that time some charities warned it could cost the sector £400m and potentially bankrupt many social care charities and providers.

The company said in a statement: “As with many independent providers in the UK health and social care sector, Allied Healthcare has been operating in a highly challenging environment for a sustained period of time, which has placed pressure on the company.

“As a result of these challenges, Allied Healthcare has has taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement as part of a prospective business plan that will ensure safe continuity of care across our UK-wide operations, place the company on a sustainable long-term footing and maximise repayments to creditors.

“The proposed CVA will not impact on the safe continuity of care that Allied Healthcare provides across the UK,” it said. “Allied Healthcare will continue to trade safely and it remains business as usual for Allied Healthcare employees and customers.”

The company insisted there were currently no plans for redundancies or branch closures.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, insisted that councils have “robust” contingency plans in place to manage the care of individuals if necessary if the company were to fail.

“The absolute priority for councils affected is to protect the vital care and support that older and disabled people rely on and ensure it is able to continue without interruption,” a spokesman said. “The LGA is working alongside the Care Quality Commission and the government to support Allied, where possible, as it plans to financially restructure the business and continue to provide high-quality home care.”

Care for 13,000 Britons at risk as provider seeks rescue plan

The care of more than 13,000 elderly and vulnerable Britons could be thrown into turmoil after one of the biggest providers of home care visits in the UK warned it would go bust unless creditors backed a rescue plan.

Allied Healthcare, which has contracts with 150 local authorities and also provides out-of-hours services for the NHS, is asking for breathing space on its finances after cashflow problems that have been triggered in part by an £11m bill for back pay owed to sleep-in care workers.

The loss-making company has 12,000 employees and cares for 13,500 people in their homes via a network of 83 branches around the country. According to the Allied website it is the country’s largest domiciliary care business, twice the size of its nearest competitor.

Its Primecare division provides primary and urgent healthcare services, including NHS 111 telephony services, GP-led medical centres and end-of-life care. It also provides healthcare services in a number of secure settings including prisons, immigration centres and secure training centres.

Allied was bought by the German private equity firm Aurelius in a £19m deal in December 2015 but it has struggled against a backdrop of local authority funding cuts.

In a letter to creditors seen by the Guardian, its chief executive, Luca Warnke, said it had “significant funding pressures on our customers that have impacted on their ability to deliver financially viable health and social care services”. It added that it had taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary agreement (CVA), an insolvency procedure that will enable it to agree a payment plan with creditors that include landlords and members of its pension schemes. It expects to file for the procedure on Monday.

Warnke blamed rising agency labour costs for its woes, pointing to the shortage of doctors and nurses since the Brexit vote as well as a potential £11m bill for backdated “sleep in” payments depending on HMRC’s calculation of the pay period.

Last year the government changed its guidance on how sleep-in carers should be paid, advising that they were entitled to earn the national minimum wage for the entirety of the time they were present in a house rather than just a flat rate. At that time some charities warned it could cost the sector £400m and potentially bankrupt many social care charities and providers.

The company said in a statement: “As with many independent providers in the UK health and social care sector, Allied Healthcare has been operating in a highly challenging environment for a sustained period of time, which has placed pressure on the company.

“As a result of these challenges, Allied Healthcare has has taken the decision to pursue a company voluntary arrangement as part of a prospective business plan that will ensure safe continuity of care across our UK-wide operations, place the company on a sustainable long-term footing and maximise repayments to creditors.

“The proposed CVA will not impact on the safe continuity of care that Allied Healthcare provides across the UK,” it said. “Allied Healthcare will continue to trade safely and it remains business as usual for Allied Healthcare employees and customers.”

The company insisted there were currently no plans for redundancies or branch closures.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, insisted that councils have “robust” contingency plans in place to manage the care of individuals if necessary if the company were to fail.

“The absolute priority for councils affected is to protect the vital care and support that older and disabled people rely on and ensure it is able to continue without interruption,” a spokesman said. “The LGA is working alongside the Care Quality Commission and the government to support Allied, where possible, as it plans to financially restructure the business and continue to provide high-quality home care.”


Patients put at risk by ‘aggressive’ treatment at Great Ormond Street

Great Ormond Street children’s hospital unnecessarily gave patients potentially dangerous drugs, subjected them to invasive tests and wrongly diagnosed them with a rare allergy, it can be revealed.

An inquiry into the world-renowned London hospital’s care of children with gut conditions found it was putting patients’ physical and mental health at risk, previously unpublished documents show. Misdiagnosis and over-treatment also saw patients put on very strict “exclusion diets” which brought no benefit.

The hospital’s own top doctor said that its gastroenterology department was managing eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGID) in a clinically “aggressive” and risky way that was at odds with usual medical practice.

EGID is an inflammation of the gut which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain, sometimes described as a complex food allergy as children cannot eat some foods.

Patients’ families, hospital staff and senior doctors in other hospitals began raising concerns about the gastroenterology department as far back as 2011. However, they have still not been completely resolved, despite several inquiries and major improvements having been made.

The controversy has been uncovered in a year-long investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Amazing Productions, whose documentary airs on ITV on Wednesday. Secret hospital documents obtained by the BIJ show it called in outside experts in 2011, 2012 and 2015 to inquire into practices within the department after receiving unusually high numbers of complaints from families and after doctors both internally and externally expressed alarm. It is unclear how many patients were wrongly treated, although one document from 2015 saysGOSH’s gastroenterology team was treating “around 400 children” who had been diagnosed with the disorder. The full findings of the last of those three probes, an “invited review” by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, have never been disclosed – until today.

The Royal College panel of four leading experts wrote to the hospital before starting the inquiry, saying they had “specific patient safety concerns … which leads us to believe the way the service is currently delivered may be causing avoidable harm to children”. Hospital staff and other NHS medics believed “the gastroenterology team ‘over-investigates’ and ‘over-diagnoses’. This, they felt, results in children undergoing invasive procedures and treatments which could unnecessarily compromise their physical or psychological wellbeing”, the letter added.

The hospital has admitted failings and apologised to patients affected. It has identified an unspecifiednumber of patients to the Care Quality Commission, the NHS watchdog, who, it admitted, had come to harm.

The Royal College also highlighted how some patients being treated for EGID had undergone “initial or multiple … gastroscopies and other invasive or lengthy procedures” before their symptoms had been properly considered, referring to a potentially unpleasant procedure in which a tiny camera is put down the throat to let doctors assess someone’s gullet and stomach.

GOSH staff had also diagnosed gastrointestinal conditions, including EGID, “excessively”, the panel found. In an extraordinary move, doctors in other hospitals were so concerned that they had stopped sending patients to Great Ormond Street .


In a 2016 briefing, Great Ormond Street had admitted that some approaches had been ‘at the aggressive end of the spectrum’

“Several clinical leads in secondary and tertiary trusts told us that they will no longer send patients to [GOSH] for second opinions because they are worried that they will return with an unexpected rare condition diagnosis and consequent treatment plan”, the experts wrote in July 2015 to Dr Vinod Diwakar, GOSH’s then medical director.

Great Ormond Street then brought in more external doctors to review the care given to more than 300 patients.

In a briefing to NHS England and the Care Quality Commission in December 2016, the hospital admitted that some approaches had been “at the aggressive end of the spectrum” and “some patients were exposed to the risks of unnecessary invasive investigations, difficult food-exclusion diets and drugs with potentially serious side effects”.

It also said some children had in fact been suffering from reflux or constipation, reviewers believed some endoscopies were unnecessary and some children should have been observed before being put on strong anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anxiety about the gastroenterology service forced the hospital to stop accepting most new referrals in 2015. The restriction is still in place. A recent follow-up report from the RCPCH found that that suspension had created “utter chaos” for other hospitals, which then had to look after an influx of medically complex patients who would normally have gone to GOSH.

The Royal College report found that the hospital was making “good progress” towards changes experts recommended in 2015, but some children still had diagnostic tests after too few checks and some of the gastroenterology consultants had not accepted the need to change their practices.

In a statement, the hospital said: “This is an incredibly complex area of medicine where there are no agreed clinical guidelines. Within this context while we always strive to provide the best possible care, we have acknowledged that we haven’t always got this right. For that we are very sorry.”

It added that experts believe the vast majority of care was good and there was no evidence of long-term consequences for any patients.

Patients put at risk by ‘aggressive’ treatment at Great Ormond Street

Great Ormond Street children’s hospital unnecessarily gave patients potentially dangerous drugs, subjected them to invasive tests and wrongly diagnosed them with a rare allergy, it can be revealed.

An inquiry into the world-renowned London hospital’s care of children with gut conditions found it was putting patients’ physical and mental health at risk, previously unpublished documents show. Misdiagnosis and over-treatment also saw patients put on very strict “exclusion diets” which brought no benefit.

The hospital’s own top doctor said that its gastroenterology department was managing eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGID) in a clinically “aggressive” and risky way that was at odds with usual medical practice.

EGID is an inflammation of the gut which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain, sometimes described as a complex food allergy as children cannot eat some foods.

Patients’ families, hospital staff and senior doctors in other hospitals began raising concerns about the gastroenterology department as far back as 2011. However, they have still not been completely resolved, despite several inquiries and major improvements having been made.

The controversy has been uncovered in a year-long investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Amazing Productions, whose documentary airs on ITV on Wednesday. Secret hospital documents obtained by the BIJ show it called in outside experts in 2011, 2012 and 2015 to inquire into practices within the department after receiving unusually high numbers of complaints from families and after doctors both internally and externally expressed alarm. It is unclear how many patients were wrongly treated, although one document from 2015 saysGOSH’s gastroenterology team was treating “around 400 children” who had been diagnosed with the disorder. The full findings of the last of those three probes, an “invited review” by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, have never been disclosed – until today.

The Royal College panel of four leading experts wrote to the hospital before starting the inquiry, saying they had “specific patient safety concerns … which leads us to believe the way the service is currently delivered may be causing avoidable harm to children”. Hospital staff and other NHS medics believed “the gastroenterology team ‘over-investigates’ and ‘over-diagnoses’. This, they felt, results in children undergoing invasive procedures and treatments which could unnecessarily compromise their physical or psychological wellbeing”, the letter added.

The hospital has admitted failings and apologised to patients affected. It has identified an unspecifiednumber of patients to the Care Quality Commission, the NHS watchdog, who, it admitted, had come to harm.

The Royal College also highlighted how some patients being treated for EGID had undergone “initial or multiple … gastroscopies and other invasive or lengthy procedures” before their symptoms had been properly considered, referring to a potentially unpleasant procedure in which a tiny camera is put down the throat to let doctors assess someone’s gullet and stomach.

GOSH staff had also diagnosed gastrointestinal conditions, including EGID, “excessively”, the panel found. In an extraordinary move, doctors in other hospitals were so concerned that they had stopped sending patients to Great Ormond Street .


In a 2016 briefing, Great Ormond Street had admitted that some approaches had been ‘at the aggressive end of the spectrum’

“Several clinical leads in secondary and tertiary trusts told us that they will no longer send patients to [GOSH] for second opinions because they are worried that they will return with an unexpected rare condition diagnosis and consequent treatment plan”, the experts wrote in July 2015 to Dr Vinod Diwakar, GOSH’s then medical director.

Great Ormond Street then brought in more external doctors to review the care given to more than 300 patients.

In a briefing to NHS England and the Care Quality Commission in December 2016, the hospital admitted that some approaches had been “at the aggressive end of the spectrum” and “some patients were exposed to the risks of unnecessary invasive investigations, difficult food-exclusion diets and drugs with potentially serious side effects”.

It also said some children had in fact been suffering from reflux or constipation, reviewers believed some endoscopies were unnecessary and some children should have been observed before being put on strong anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anxiety about the gastroenterology service forced the hospital to stop accepting most new referrals in 2015. The restriction is still in place. A recent follow-up report from the RCPCH found that that suspension had created “utter chaos” for other hospitals, which then had to look after an influx of medically complex patients who would normally have gone to GOSH.

The Royal College report found that the hospital was making “good progress” towards changes experts recommended in 2015, but some children still had diagnostic tests after too few checks and some of the gastroenterology consultants had not accepted the need to change their practices.

In a statement, the hospital said: “This is an incredibly complex area of medicine where there are no agreed clinical guidelines. Within this context while we always strive to provide the best possible care, we have acknowledged that we haven’t always got this right. For that we are very sorry.”

It added that experts believe the vast majority of care was good and there was no evidence of long-term consequences for any patients.

Patients put at risk by ‘aggressive’ treatment at Great Ormond Street

Great Ormond Street children’s hospital unnecessarily gave patients potentially dangerous drugs, subjected them to invasive tests and wrongly diagnosed them with a rare allergy, it can be revealed.

An inquiry into the world-renowned London hospital’s care of children with gut conditions found it was putting patients’ physical and mental health at risk, previously unpublished documents show. Misdiagnosis and over-treatment also saw patients put on very strict “exclusion diets” which brought no benefit.

The hospital’s own top doctor said that its gastroenterology department was managing eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGID) in a clinically “aggressive” and risky way that was at odds with usual medical practice.

EGID is an inflammation of the gut which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain, sometimes described as a complex food allergy as children cannot eat some foods.

Patients’ families, hospital staff and senior doctors in other hospitals began raising concerns about the gastroenterology department as far back as 2011. However, they have still not been completely resolved, despite several inquiries and major improvements having been made.

The controversy has been uncovered in a year-long investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Amazing Productions, whose documentary airs on ITV on Wednesday. Secret hospital documents obtained by the BIJ show it called in outside experts in 2011, 2012 and 2015 to inquire into practices within the department after receiving unusually high numbers of complaints from families and after doctors both internally and externally expressed alarm. It is unclear how many patients were wrongly treated, although one document from 2015 saysGOSH’s gastroenterology team was treating “around 400 children” who had been diagnosed with the disorder. The full findings of the last of those three probes, an “invited review” by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, have never been disclosed – until today.

The Royal College panel of four leading experts wrote to the hospital before starting the inquiry, saying they had “specific patient safety concerns … which leads us to believe the way the service is currently delivered may be causing avoidable harm to children”. Hospital staff and other NHS medics believed “the gastroenterology team ‘over-investigates’ and ‘over-diagnoses’. This, they felt, results in children undergoing invasive procedures and treatments which could unnecessarily compromise their physical or psychological wellbeing”, the letter added.

The hospital has admitted failings and apologised to patients affected. It has identified an unspecifiednumber of patients to the Care Quality Commission, the NHS watchdog, who, it admitted, had come to harm.

The Royal College also highlighted how some patients being treated for EGID had undergone “initial or multiple … gastroscopies and other invasive or lengthy procedures” before their symptoms had been properly considered, referring to a potentially unpleasant procedure in which a tiny camera is put down the throat to let doctors assess someone’s gullet and stomach.

GOSH staff had also diagnosed gastrointestinal conditions, including EGID, “excessively”, the panel found. In an extraordinary move, doctors in other hospitals were so concerned that they had stopped sending patients to Great Ormond Street .


In a 2016 briefing, Great Ormond Street had admitted that some approaches had been ‘at the aggressive end of the spectrum’

“Several clinical leads in secondary and tertiary trusts told us that they will no longer send patients to [GOSH] for second opinions because they are worried that they will return with an unexpected rare condition diagnosis and consequent treatment plan”, the experts wrote in July 2015 to Dr Vinod Diwakar, GOSH’s then medical director.

Great Ormond Street then brought in more external doctors to review the care given to more than 300 patients.

In a briefing to NHS England and the Care Quality Commission in December 2016, the hospital admitted that some approaches had been “at the aggressive end of the spectrum” and “some patients were exposed to the risks of unnecessary invasive investigations, difficult food-exclusion diets and drugs with potentially serious side effects”.

It also said some children had in fact been suffering from reflux or constipation, reviewers believed some endoscopies were unnecessary and some children should have been observed before being put on strong anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anxiety about the gastroenterology service forced the hospital to stop accepting most new referrals in 2015. The restriction is still in place. A recent follow-up report from the RCPCH found that that suspension had created “utter chaos” for other hospitals, which then had to look after an influx of medically complex patients who would normally have gone to GOSH.

The Royal College report found that the hospital was making “good progress” towards changes experts recommended in 2015, but some children still had diagnostic tests after too few checks and some of the gastroenterology consultants had not accepted the need to change their practices.

In a statement, the hospital said: “This is an incredibly complex area of medicine where there are no agreed clinical guidelines. Within this context while we always strive to provide the best possible care, we have acknowledged that we haven’t always got this right. For that we are very sorry.”

It added that experts believe the vast majority of care was good and there was no evidence of long-term consequences for any patients.