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Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Surgeons don’t have to sign their names… in us | Barbara Ellen

Surgeon Simon Bramhall, who burned his initials on to the livers of two transplant patients while working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Birmingham, has been fined £10,000 and given a 12-month community order.

Bramhall (now working for the NHS in Herefordshire) was fortunate not to have been struck off. It’s disturbing enough to think of your body being opened up for surgery, but to have somebody leave their mark there (“SB”) is grotesque; as the court found, it was “an abuse of power, and a betrayal of trust”. Bramhall’s defence argued that it was to lighten the mood in theatre. Really? In that case, put on some quiet background music – don’t sign a human organ, as if you’re some kind of rock star in scrubs being pestered for an autograph.

It seems that there was no lasting harm done – the marks wouldn’t have affected the performance of the liver and they would disappear in time. However, there’s always harm done; if nothing else, such incidents bolster the widespread public perception of surgeons being arrogant and superior.

Too many cases such as this and patient-surgeon trust would be in grave danger of breaking down.

Giving Toby Young this job shows that the Tories care only for their own | Faiza Shaheen

The curtains open on 2018 with a reminder of not just how much but who needs to change. Former journalist and free school campaigner Toby Young’s appointment to the newly created Office for Students shocked many, but is really just the tip of the iceberg. Yes we may rage that Young – anti-inclusion and teacher deriding – has been given a job on a university watchdog, but we also have a health secretary who co-wrote a book on how the NHS should be privatised; a foreign secretary who thinks it’s OK to make a joke about dead Libyans; a Conservative MP having the whip restored despite having used the N-word; a Brexit secretary who can blatantly contradict himself with no consequences. Look wider and you see that the public inquiry on the Grenfell Tower fire is being led by an unrepresentative panel, and a leader has been appointed to Kensington and Chelsea council who had never been inside one of the borough’s tower blocks. This is beyond irony; it’s corruption and it stinks.


The Tories are using the few friends they have left – no matter how unqualified or sullied – to rig the system

When it comes to policy we can only understand what is being done by looking at who is doing it. Those who have experienced hardship, for example by overcoming huge hurdles to get into institutions such as Oxford University, rather than being let in because their dad called the tutor, are more likely to understand and empathise, to introduce policies that don’t punish people for being poor. And it matters because of trust. In a country knee deep in class, gender and race prejudice, many don’t trust bodies and institutions to do the right thing when they do not see and hear people like themselves being represented on them.

Young’s appointment remind us of the Conservatives’ ultimate loyalties and priorities. Gone are those who disagree or criticise – Alan Milburn and his whole social mobility team and infrastructure adviser Andrew Adonis – instead our government and bodies are increasingly led by Tory caricatures. And they’re everywhere – just look at the new appointment of Elisabeth Murdoch to the Arts Council. The Conservatives are using the few friends they have left – no matter how unqualified or sullied – to rig the system and ensure their interests are paramount, with little regard to how it hurts the integrity of our institutions.

Young’s CV doesn’t scream higher education regulator – in fact his appointment has made the organisation an affront to the teachers he told don’t work that hard, and to those pushing to increase representation, such as David Lammy, whom he criticised for talking about the ludicrously small number of black students at Oxbridge. Free schools have been found lacking, especially in terms of value for money. How is it possible that he has been given this honour, especially when we know more qualified people applied? Is universities minister Jo Johnson that keen to find someone to squash those snowflake millennials? The new Office for Students is already doomed to fail – as are most organisations that make chummy appointments on criteria other than talent.

What message does this all send? It tells teachers and lecturers – we know your pay and rights are dwindling but here’s someone to lead you who doesn’t value you. To students, your growing debt is not a priority, and to those seeking genuine representation in our education institutions – put a lid on it. Yes, black people we care about tackling racial prejudice but the use of the N-word isn’t really a big deal. Grenfell victims – we know you’re hurting and lost loved ones, but we’ve got friends who we think would do a great job at getting you justice. The message is: we don’t care. We don’t hear you. Two fingers up to all of you.

Faiza Shaheen is the director of the Centre of Labour and Social Studies. She specialises in economic and spatial inequalities, employment, regeneration and child poverty

Patients missing their appointments cost the NHS £1bn last year

As the NHS struggles with budget cuts, soaring demand and staff shortages, almost £1bn is being wasted annually by patients missing appointments, figures reveal.

In response, England’s chief nurse has urged patients to cancel their NHS appointments in good time if they are not able to attend, in order to free up resources for those who need them.

The money wasted could fund 1m more cataract operations or 250,000 hip replacements, said Prof Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.

Data released by NHS Digital revealed that in 2016/17 almost 8m hospital outpatient appointments were missed due to patients not attending, compared with 7.5m in 2015/16.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.


Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

With each hospital outpatient appointment costing the NHS approximately £120 in 2016/17, it means almost £1bn worth of appointments were missed.

In addition, more than 9 million people were sent home from A&E in 2016/17 with just guidance and advice, which could have been obtained more conveniently from a pharmacist or by calling 111.

As the NHS celebrates its 70th year, Cummings is urging the public to rethink how they use it in the face of a growing funding crisis. Honouring appointments was a “small but effective way” to help, she said.

“With the NHS coming under pressure as never before, we are asking patients and the public to use the health service responsibly to help ensure that care is readily available for everyone who needs it,” she said.

“There are now more doctors, nurses and other clinicians available at the end of a phone to give advice and guidance to users of the 111 service.”

Some in the NHS believe that patients should be charged for missed appointments and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, hinted this was a possibility in 2015 before David Cameron, then prime minister, ruled it out.

However, steps were taken to inform patients of the cost to the NHS of missing their appointments after a study by Imperial College London showed that fewer appointments would be missed if people were given this information.

Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, recently said its £110bn budget is not enough and called for an increase in funding.

His comments were backed up by the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, who – following a joint analysis of NHS finances in England – calculated that the NHS needs £4bn more in 2018 to prevent patient care from deteriorating.

Patients missing their appointments cost the NHS £1bn last year

As the NHS struggles with budget cuts, soaring demand and staff shortages, almost £1bn is being wasted annually by patients missing appointments, figures reveal.

In response, England’s chief nurse has urged patients to cancel their NHS appointments in good time if they are not able to attend, in order to free up resources for those who need them.

The money wasted could fund 1m more cataract operations or 250,000 hip replacements, said Prof Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.

Data released by NHS Digital revealed that in 2016/17 almost 8m hospital outpatient appointments were missed due to patients not attending, compared with 7.5m in 2015/16.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.


Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

With each hospital outpatient appointment costing the NHS approximately £120 in 2016/17, it means almost £1bn worth of appointments were missed.

In addition, more than 9 million people were sent home from A&E in 2016/17 with just guidance and advice, which could have been obtained more conveniently from a pharmacist or by calling 111.

As the NHS celebrates its 70th year, Cummings is urging the public to rethink how they use it in the face of a growing funding crisis. Honouring appointments was a “small but effective way” to help, she said.

“With the NHS coming under pressure as never before, we are asking patients and the public to use the health service responsibly to help ensure that care is readily available for everyone who needs it,” she said.

“There are now more doctors, nurses and other clinicians available at the end of a phone to give advice and guidance to users of the 111 service.”

Some in the NHS believe that patients should be charged for missed appointments and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, hinted this was a possibility in 2015 before David Cameron, then prime minister, ruled it out.

However, steps were taken to inform patients of the cost to the NHS of missing their appointments after a study by Imperial College London showed that fewer appointments would be missed if people were given this information.

Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, recently said its £110bn budget is not enough and called for an increase in funding.

His comments were backed up by the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, who – following a joint analysis of NHS finances in England – calculated that the NHS needs £4bn more in 2018 to prevent patient care from deteriorating.