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Southern Health NHS Trust boss's new role causes anger

2 September 2016

Southern Health NHS Trust boss's new role causes anger

Southern Health NHS Trust boss Katrina Percy's new role causes anger

An NHS trust's decision to move its boss to a new role with the same salary is a "scandal", according to the mother of a teenager who died under its watch.

Chief executive Katrina Percy resigned on Tuesday following pressure over the way Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust investigated patient deaths.

Ms Percy's salary is quoted in the trust's annual report as between £180,000 and £190,000.

Sara Ryan said: "It is a scandal... it doesn't happen in the real world."

An NHS England-commissioned probe found 272 of the 722 deaths over the last four years at the trust were dealt with properly.

In June, the trust accepted responsibility for the death of Ms Ryan's 18-year-old son Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in a bath at Slade House in Oxford.

Southern admitted it caused the death of Connor, who had suffered an epileptic seizure before he died in July 2013, and offered his family £80,000 compensation.

Talking about Ms Percy's new job, Ms Ryan said: "This is public money that is paying for this ridiculously over-inflated salary.

"She failed as a chief executive. How she could possibly keep the same salary?"

'Patients at risk' from length of GP consultations

Patients are being put at risk by GPs being forced to carry out complex consultations in 10 minutes or under, the British Medical Association says.

The doctors' union said patient care was undermined when GPs were forced to see as many as 60 patients a day.

It called for more funding to allow GPs to spend at least 15 minutes with each patient.

NHS England said consultation lengths were up to doctors and there were no national limits suggesting 10 minutes.

However, the NHS Choices website does state that "GPs spend an average of 8-10 minutes with each patient" and advises patients to "plan ahead to make sure you cover everything you want to discuss".

The BMA, which published a report on "safe working in general practice" earlier this month, called for a reorganisation and warned that GPs faced "unsustainable pressure" from increasing workload and staff shortages.

The report said it was intended to "stimulate discussion" and put forward a model that could be used across the UK.

Dr Nicola Hulme, a GP in Cheshire, said she found NHS England's comment about there being no national limit on appointment times "insulting".

"With the high levels of demand, we have to run 10-minute appointments," she said.

"To offer longer with the same number of appointments would extend our day to beyond the 12 hours we currently routinely work.

"I often run late so I can deal thoroughly with my patients' issues.

"Paperwork gets started routinely after 7pm. I rarely get home before 8pm, having started generally at 7.30am.

"Nobody goes into medicine for an easy ride, we are all hard workers, but the intensity and the demand are now at unsafe levels."

Google DeepMind targets NHS head and neck cancer treatment

Anonymised CT and MRI scans from 700 former University College London Hospital radiotherapy patients will be analysed by Google's artificial intelligence division, DeepMind.

The aim is to develop an algorithm that can automatically differentiate between healthy and cancerous tissues.

This "segmentation" is necessary in patients with head and neck cancers.

And it is hoped the time it takes to design targeted radiotherapy treatments could be cut from four hours to one.

"Clinicians will remain responsible for deciding radiotherapy treatment plans,"UCLH said.

"From my perspective, one of the challenges that we have in the treatment of all tumours, but particularly brain and neck [tumours], is their complexity," said Dr Kieran Breen, of Brain Tumour Research, who is not involved in the work.

"One way we can really improve this is by using the knowledge we already have," he told the BBC.

"This is essentially what this project is doing."

More precise radiotherapy helps reduce side effects of such treatment, according to Dr Justine Alford, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK.

"Using computers to help plan radiotherapy could help deliver better treatment for patients by speeding up the process and improving accuracy," she said.

"But we won't know until results from this innovative new project are produced."

The former patients have consented to their anonymised scans being used for medical research.

What do you think? Is this really a “scandal”? Should there be timed GP appointments? Are you impressed with Google??

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