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NHS Trust 'requires improvement' after inspection

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth Credit: ITV

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust as ''requires improvement' following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A team of 56 inspectors has found that the trust provided services that were effective and outstanding for being caring. But the Trust required improvement for providing safe, responsive and well-led services.

The team of inspectors and specialists including doctors, nurses, managers and experts by experience visited Queen Alexandra Hospital over seven days during February and March 2015.

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Emergency hours extended at St Mary's Hospital

Opening hours are being extended at the St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre in Portsmouth for the next few days to ease pressure on the Emergency Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The centre, which is run by Care UK for the NHS, has a Minor Injuries Service (MIS) and Illnesses Unit which normally closes at 10pm.

Opening hours for the next few days would be:

Tuesday Dec 30: 7.30am – 11pm Wednesday Dec 31: 7.30am through until 2am Thursday Thursday Jan 1: 8am until 11pm Friday Jan 2: 7.30am until 11pm Saturday Jan 3: 8am until 11pm.

Patients arriving at ED will be seen by medical staff in the usual way, assessed, and the less serious cases will be asked if they would consider going to the treatment centre instead.

There is always extra pressure on the NHS at this time of year and this year is proving no exception.

“We are continually putting out messages asking people to consider the various options available to them if they feel unwell, which obviously include the walk-in facilities at St Mary’s.

“Some patients who go to ED will be asked to consider going to St Mary’s. This will be entirely voluntary. But they could be seen much faster and if they do go they will be freeing up valuable staffing resources at ED for the most serious cases.

“If patients do decide to remain at ED, they will still be seen in the normal way – but the most urgent cases will be prioritised."

– Richard Samuel, Chief Officer for both Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups

Think pharmacist before A&E for winter colds

Ae you or your loved ones suffering from a cold? Then your pharmacist might be the best person to help.

Kent GPs are urging people to think of their pharmacy first for help with common minor ailments such as New Year colds and sniffles.

Sneezes, coughs and colds are all part of the common cold Credit: Candybox Images/Press Association Images

Pharmacists are highly-trained professionals who can provide much more than just medicine for a prescription. At this time of year, many people get colds and flu and visit their GP when, in reality, a quick trip to the pharmacy is what they need.

Many pharmacies are open for longer hours than GP surgeries, and you don’t need an appointment. Pharmacists can give advice and guidance about common problems such as headache and coughs and colds and tummy bugs.

"They can also advise people about buying over-the-counter medicine and give advice on prescribed medication."

– Dr Pete Green

The push to use pharmacists comes as the winter season of coughs and colds begins. T he best treatment for a cold is to drink fluids, take paracetamol and rest. Antibiotics don’t work against viral infections such as colds and will not be prescribed by your doctor.

If you already take regular prescribed medication for a long-term illness, remember to continue to take it as advised, to help manage your condition.

To find your nearest pharmacist, and check opening hours, visit: www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net

Ambulance service to reduce fuel costs

The dynamic control will mean a vehicle's speed is restricted when it's not on an emergency. The fleet covers around 17 million miles across Surrey and Sussex each year. It's using a new system which limits a vehicle to sixty two miles an hour.

South East Coast Ambulance Service Credit: ITV News Meridian

"The decision to install this system on our operational vehicles will significantly reduce their fuel consumption and save public money.

In addition, given the huge number of miles our vehicles cover, we know we have a duty to take our responsibility to the environment very seriously.

This move is just one way which we can, to an extent, limit our impact as an organisation on the environment at the same time as making savings, which can be reinvested into patient care."

– Justin Wand - Head of Fleet

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Royal College of Surgeons monitor cancer scandal trust

The Royal College of Surgeons has said it is continuing to monitor Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust following revelations that one of the trust's doctors may have been mistreated cancer patients.

The RCS reviewed the care of patients who had been treated for prostate and bladder cancer at East Surrey Hospital in April 2014 after consultant urologist Paul Miller was suspended.

A RCS spokeswoman said: "At the end of our visit we provided immediate feedback that confirmed serious patient safety concerns for the trust's medical director to address and that the surgeon should remain excluded from practice while the trust's investigations continued."

Solicitor reacts to claims against hospital consultant

Clinical negligence solicitor Christian Beadell, from law firm Slater & Gordon, which is representing a number of patients, said: "While it is good to see that Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is taking positive steps to notify patients, I would have some concern that Mr Miller was first suspended in December and it has taken 10 months to make these concerns more widely known.

"During that time, some patients may have suffered a worsening of their condition."

Cancer row doctor speaks out over dismissal

Paul Miller, the consultant in the East Surrey Hospital cancer row, has spoken out over the claims against him.

He said: “I am extremely disappointed that the trust has decided to dismiss me.

"I strongly do not believe that this is justified. I welcome the opportunity to co-operate with any investigation into my practice.

"My priority as a consultant for the last 21 years has always been to protect patients’ best interests and safety.

"I cannot comment further due to my duty of patient confidentiality.”

Hospital apology over care of cancer patients

More than 1,000 cancer patients have been contacted by a hospital trust over concerns they may have been mistreated.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said letters had been sent to 1,200 prostate and bladder cancer patients after a review found 27 people were harmed following treatment by a consultant urologist between 2006 and 2013.

Paul Miller was suspended in December last year and no longer works at the trust.

The General Medical Council (GMC) confirmed he is currently unable to treat urological cancer patients pending an investigation.

In a statement, the trust - who have not publicly named Mr Miller - said a panel of experts found 27 patients "came to harm because of the treatment they received under the former trust urologist's care", including five who have since died.

A further "small number of patients" were also given treatment below hospital standards - but the panel found they were not harmed as a consequence, it added.

There were no concerns about the care received by the remaining patients, the NHS trust said.

Des Holden, the trust's medical director, said: "On behalf of the trust, I apologise unreservedly for the errors in these patients' treatment.

"I acknowledge and appreciate that the outcome of the clinical review and the content of the letters will be deeply distressing to our patients and their families and I am very sorry."

Mr Holden told BBC Surrey Radio that the NHS trust was alerted after concerns were raised by a doctor and a group of nurses and it had been an "upsetting experience" for both patients and staff.

He said: "There have been five deaths in the 27 patients. It wouldn't be correct to say they died as a consequence of the progression of their disease.

"This is a cancer that predominantly affects very elderly people.

"It's a factor, but it wouldn't be correct to say they died as a consequence of the mismanagement."

The Royal College of Surgeons was invited into the NHS trust to conduct the clinical review.

Mr Miller also worked at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital in Horley, Surrey.

Its director, John Crisp, said: "Spire suspended Mr Miller in December 2013 as soon as the trust notified us of their investigation into Mr Miller and he has not undertaken any surgery or held clinics at our hospital since.

"We are sorry for any distress this may be causing our patients."

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has set up a hotline for patients and their families to talk with a consultant or specialist nurse about their concerns of aspects of their care.

The lines are open Monday to Friday, between 11am-7pm, and the number is 0808 168 7754.

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