Socialist Worker

Health round-up

Issue No. 2065

Hospital closures put lives at risk

Thousands of patients could die as a result of the closure and downgrading of local hospitals, new research has revealed.

Government policy to reorganise health services is behind is behind the drive to “rationalise” services. Accident and emergency services are currently threatened at 29 hospitals.

But research commissioned by the Emergency Medicine Journal says that mortality rates increase by 1 percent for every extra 10 kilometres travelled, with those suffering from severe respiratory problems being most at risk.

The report concludes that it is often safer for emergency patients to be seen at their local hospital, rather than at a specialist trauma centre.

The Tories are cynically attempting to make political capital out of the downgrading of local hospitals. But they are not telling the public that they have always agreed with New Labour’s philosophy of health service “rationalisation”.

Poor cancer care in Britain

Cancer survival rates in Britain are among the lowest in Europe, according to the most comprehensive research undertaken on the issue.

Researcher Professor Ian Kunler found that late diagnosis and long waiting lists for specialist care and radiotherapy mean that, for women, England was the fifth worst place to be treated, and Scotland the worst.

Survival rates for lung cancer in England were particularly poor, with only 8.4 percent of patients surviving for more than five years – half the rate of Iceland.

Other research published in the Lancet Oncology medical journal shows that countries that spend the most on health per person, per year, had the best cancer survival rates.

Why no jobs for new nurses?

Thousands of newly qualified students nurses are unable to find jobs in the health service because of the government’s cutbacks.

Currently 5,000 nurses are left searching for work, or contemplating other careers.

Most will have run up large personal debt in the process of training, and are now desperate to start paying some of it off.

While waiting lists soar, the NHS is turning away those workers who could help clear the backlog.

Patients with back problems are regularly told to expect a long wait for treatment, yet only half of 2,413 newly qualified physiotherapists have found permanent jobs.

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Tue 21 Aug 2007, 19:11 BST
Issue No. 2065
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