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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.

Hospital trust contacts 1,200 cancer patients over fears they were mistreated

East Surrey Hospital

More than 1,200 cancer patients at a Surrey hospital are being written to over fears they may have been mistreated.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS trust is contacting patients treated at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill.

Based upon each patient’s clinical history, an external panel of consultant urologists found that 27 patients came to harm because of the treatment they received under the former Trust Urologist’s care.

In addition, the care of a small number of patients fell below the standards expected, however these same experts felt they have not been harmed as

In total, 1,200 bladder and prostate cancer patients may have been treated wrongly.

It's believed 27 bladder and prostate cancer patients came to harm because of the treatment they received.

An external panel of Urologists conducted the review of 1,200 people treated between 2006 and 2013.

Following suspension and an internal investigation, the Consultant Urologist is no longer employed at the Trust.

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.

"I would encourage patients and their families to telephone the helpline if it would be of benefit.”

A helpline has been established for concerned patients and their next of kin 0808 168 7754.

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Fewer deaths in hospital, thanks to nurses' computers

The Queen Alexandra Hospital Credit: Meridian

Death rates at a Hampshire hospital have fallen - since nurses began using handheld computers instead of paper charts to record patients' vital signs.

There were 400 fewer deaths at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth in one year following the introduction of the new devices. That's a drop of around 15 per cent.

Cancer patients' anger that pioneering drug won't be funded

There's condemnation from Cancer Charities that a drug which can extend the lives of some women with advanced breast cancer has been rejected for NHS use because it is too expensive.

Kadcyla has shown remarkable success in trials at The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, and a woman from Reading says it's extended her life by three years.

But it costs 90 thousand pounds for a course of treatment, too much for the NHS financial watchdog, NICE, which made the decision. It has criticised the manufacturers for the high cost.

Rachel Hepworth speaks to cancer survivors Manjinder Coulter and Kimberly Mawby, Chief Exec of NICE, Andrew Dillon, Sarah Rawlings from the charity Breakthrough Cancer, and Jennifer Cozzone from pharmaceutical company Roche.

Breast cancer drug 'too expensive' for NHS

A drug that can extend the lives of some women with an advanced form of breast cancer has been rejected for NHS use because it is too expensive.

The high price of Kadcyla makes it "impossible" to recommend for widespread use in the health service, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

The drug, also known as trastuzumab emtansine, is used to treat breast cancer patients with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used when the cancer cannot be surgically removed and the patient has stopped responding to initial treatments.

It can offer these women a last hope, extending the lives of patients by around six months.

But final draft guidance from Nice says that the drug, which costs around £90,000 per patient at its full price, it too expensive to recommend for widespread use in the health service.

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Breast cancer patient: £90,000 drug changed my life

A patient using the breast cancer drug Kadcyla, which could be blocked from routine NHS access because it is too expensive, told ITV News the treatment had improved her quality of life.

"I was in quite a bad state, and within about two cycles my life felt like it had turned a corner. I was able to do things I wasn't able to do prior to being on this treatment," Mani said of the drug, which currently costs around £90,000 per patient.

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Breast cancer drug that can prolong lives turned down

A drug that was trialled in Portsmouth and can prolong the lives of breast cancer sufferers by nearly six months has been refused by the NHS because of costs.The Herceptin type drug was trialled in Portsmouth but can cost up to £90,000 per patient.

We speak to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's Andrew Dillion about the new drug and what he thinks about the NHS' decision to refuse the expensive treatment.

The watchdog, which decides which new medicines are cost effective, said its guidance for Kadcyla, manufactured by Roche, or trastuzumab emtansine, was in draft form and is now up for public consultation.

Meanwhile patients will be able to apply to their local NHS and to the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Speech therapists turn their advice into a book

The Spires Speech and Language Therapy Team who have put together the handbook Credit: NHS

The speech therapy team from Salisbury District Hospital have written up their years of experience and knowledge into a handbook for families across the country.

The book draws on expert knowledge and provides advice for families and teachers on how to help their child with cleft lip and palate speech disorders.

Speech therapist Ginette Phippen, the brainchild behind the book, said: “The regional Spires Cleft Centre based in Salisbury and Oxford is one of 10 specialist centres in the country.

"The centre provides specialist treatment to around 100 new babies a year and overtime we’ve built up a wide range of knowledge which has informed clinical practice across the country.

"The aim of the book was to pool all our experience and expertise with best practice from other centres across the country and collate this in one easy-to-use handbook.”

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