Investigation after two patients die waiting in Glasgow A&E



Two patients have died while waiting for treatment in an A&E department of a Glasgow hospital. 

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) confirmed there are processes underway to review the care provided and an investigation has been launched. 

It is understood the two patients suffered cardiac arrests while waiting to be assessed at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. 

Health boards across Scotland have struggled to meet waiting time targets, with a record low of 63.5 per cent of patients seen within the official four-hour target in the week ending September 11.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf told ‘we can’t go on like this’ with A&E waits

The official A&E target, which has not been met nationally since July 2020, is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned Scotland-wide long delays are harming or killing more than 30 patients a week across the country. 

Lack of social care places is one of the key factors resulting in delayed discharges of patients, which in turn has prompted a shortage of beds. 

A statement from NHSGGC cited “considerable pressure” on the staff. 

A spokeperson for the health board said: “Our staff are working extremely hard at a time of considerable pressure and they are doing their very best to prioritise care to patients most in need.

“While we cannot comment on individual patients, we have clear and robust processes for reviewing the care that we provide, and where issues are identified we work closely with the relevant services to implement required changes.

“We would like to extend our sympathy to families who have lost a loved one.”





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Letters: We must get back to empowering the young so that they can help themselves and others



I AM greatly concerned about the scandal of the high rate of suicide among the under-25s. In my 60 years in youth work, I saw that the power of listening to, supporting and empowering young people to find their solutions to their problems is a powerful tool for mental health. I was chosen by the youth membership of the biggest youth centre in Scotland to be their manager. Together we built the membership up from 100 to 1,400 in my first year.

Later, I managed the Strathclyde-wide youth empowerment project called, YES, the Youth Enquiry Service, for 15 years. More than 50,000 teenagers came to us for help. They raised issues that were important to them; how to leave a toxic home, how to access a recording studio, how to work abroad, how to work with deaf people, mental health, sexuality, Aids and addictions. The young people published award-winning booklets on alcohol and drugs, and won two UK health education awards. Teenagers designed and ran hundreds of health education workshops for teens, providing drugs information uncensored by adults. That is the power of good youth work.

Sadly, we have all but abandoned supporting teenagers today, with relentless cuts in youth work, leaving it to the private sector to profit from children in expensive sports centres and gyms, night clubs, selling them alcohol, vapes and worse. Teenagers are viewing daily very dangerous information on drugs and sexual health.The mental health of our children and young people is being damaged every day by what they see on their phones, on social media platforms, leading to the horrendous rise in their suicide rate – witness the tragic case of 14-year-old Molly Russell (“Coroner rules social media was a factor in Molly taking her own life?”, The Herald, October 1).

I wrote (Letters, September 23) about the wealth of royalty and how they could spend their money more wisely. If King Charles III or the Prince of Wales were to launch a new initiative on children’s mental health, by finding the best way to listening to them and work with them, I know they will find the right solutions, which we adults have failed to do. We only need to look at Greta Thunberg and Marcus Rashford to see how the power of empowering the young works.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.

RENT FREEZE MUST GO THROUGH

WHILE their tenants struggle with the cost of living crisis many of Scotland’s registered social landlords argue that they require a rent increase to continue to provide services and maintain investment (“Warning as rent freeze legislation to be rushed through Holyrood”, The Herald, September 30).

This is predicated on an outdated business model which insists on Scotland’s social housing providing a business plan over a 30- year period.

The only point to this historical approach is that the lenders (banks mostly) require evidence that loan repayments can be afforded over their term and that no covenants will be breached. In reality bankers will tell you that, particularly in current circumstances, all their focus is on years one to three, five at most.

Checking publicly available information on the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) website you will see the full scale of reserves held by registered social landlords (RSLs) in Scotland, millions in cash at banks and reaching billions in revenue reserves at year end 31/03/22.

Scotland’s social rented sector can, in economic terms, afford to play its part in helping tenants on the edge by freezing rents for financial year 2023/ 24 (the next available time any change can now be made).

It’s a fallacy to claim that investment by or existence of RSLs is threatened by a one-year rent freeze given the cash balances and revenue reserves held and also it is entirely feasible if we are to remain slavish to the outdated 30-year model to simply raise the rents by an extra one or two per cent in future years as the economic circumstances of our fellow mostly working-class citizens improve.

If you were to go back a number of years a typical RSL would have had circa 80/85 per cent of tenants on full Housing Benefit, and only around 20% in work. Today that has changed and many of us have circa 30/40% in work, but low-paid, often on zero-hour contracts and paying rent themselves in full or at least part.

There is also the impact of Universal Credit with the benefit paid directly to tenants who then face a stark choice: eat/heat/ pay rent?

I am hoping this modest contribution from an experienced front-line housing professional based in one of Scotland’s most deprived communities may assist the Scottish Government in remaining focused on delivering help via a rent freeze in the financial year 2023 to 2024.

Graeme Aitken, Parkhead Housing Association, Glasgow.

LET’S INVEST IN LOCAL RECYCLING

FIGURES published by Sepa last week showed an overall household recycling rate of 42.7% in Scotland. Increasing this disappointing figure is presumably the over-arching aim of the Scottish Government’s bottle and can deposit return scheme.

The scheme is superficially simple. Retailers charge a 20p deposit when an individual buys a drink in a single-use bottle or can and that deposit is returned when the empty container is deposited at a return point. But the practical arrangements and bureaucracy around this make it a convoluted project.

Retailers are required to introduce a surcharge which the Government must recover from the retailers. Consumers must take their empty bottles and cans to a return point. A contractor operates the return points and transports the material for recycling.

The complexity has delayed it and, despite being announced in 2017, the latest date for it to be fully operational is 2024.

This is not a cost-neutral scheme; government meets the set-up and operational costs.

Would it not be much simpler to invest in the recycling schemes operated by local authorities? The extent to which individual households recycle could be recorded using bar codes on bins which are scanned by the refuse collection teams while the weight of individual bins is automatically recorded as the vehicle lifts them for emptying. A cash payment or a discount on council tax linked to the weight of recycling recorded could then be introduced as an incentive to householders to recycle more of their waste

George Rennie, Inverness.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

GRANT McKechnie’s taking light relief in matters of punctuation (Letters, September 30) reminds me of the lady who took inspiration from cooking, her family, and her dog.

Omission of the commas would suggest cannibalistic tendencies.

David Miller, Milngavie.





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Seneca Medical Group’s hair transplant expert Dr Georgios Gounnaris takes centre stage at FUE EUROPE


The 10th Annual Meeting of the FUE Europe Society was held on September 15-17 in Athens, where speakers from all over the world participated and discussed all the new trends, methods and techniques to treat hair loss.

Seneca Medical Group was at the core of the conference’s interest, both from its role as a sponsor but also as a speaker.

The thematic discussions of FUE EUROPE gave the opportunity to the participants for further deepening, evaluation, to get to know the latest technologies on regenerative medicine and to create an expanded network of experts around the methods of treating hair loss.

Throughout the conference, the latest and latest on FUE technology, which since 2002 has been the most popular hair implantation technique, were discussed.

Dr. Georgios Gounnaris of Seneca Medical GroupThe FUE EUROPE conference

Speakers from every corner of the world conveyed their approaches to choosing the best approach for each case, including all FUE methods.

A number of experts, talked about the challenges around hair implantation by presenting a wide variety of surgeries, while at the same time introducing their concerns about the challenges they face for each method they adopt.

At the same time, the focus of interest was on the interactive presentations of the speakers of the conference, who transmitted audiovisual material from interventions they carried out in the past, analyzing the individual difficulties they faced at all stages of the process.

Special mention was made of the wide range of cases that cause hair loss, using, among other things, examples of serious diseases as well as accidents.

The conference was attended by experts from the field of hair transplantation such as Dr. John Cole, Dr. Christian Bisanga and Ron Shapiro. The Greek presence was also important, as experienced Greek hair transplant doctors participated in the event.

Dr. Georgios Gounnaris of Seneca Medical GroupThe FUE EUROPE conference

Dr. Georgios Gounnaris, taking the baton to the podium of the speakers, made a historical review of the development of hair repair surgery, focusing on the presentation of the leaps that have been made in recent years in this field, culminating in the highlighting of the importance of the FUE technique.

Mr. Gounnaris then presented the great work of Seneca Medical Group, the No. 1 hair transplant organization in Europe that, as he explained, provides high quality hair transplant services and innovative systems for the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss.

He introduced the high-level standards of procedures followed, explained that the implantation process from the beginning to the end is carried out by 100% trained medical staff, who strictly follow the protocol.

As he pointed out, in the last five years manual tools have been replaced with motorized ones, with particularly important advantages, such as greater accuracy in extracting hair follicles, less injury and faster healing.

Dr Gounnaris pointed out that Direct Fue Technique ensures 100% natural result and full control of the direction and depth of the hair according to the required standards. Seneca is a pioneer in the treatment of hair loss

Seneca Medical Group’s clinics have stood the test of time and keep thriving with 35 years of experience.

The Direct FUE hair transplantation is performed entirely by doctors, who have been certified by the Training & Research Centre of SENECA, complied with the strict standardized protocols of Seneca Medical Group.

The company currently operates three clinics in Athens, Thessaloniki, Glasgow, a diagnostic centre in Edinburgh and a diagnostic centre in Aberdeen.

The clinic in Athens is the largest and most modern clinic for the treatment of hair loss in Europe.





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NHS staff in Scotland to be balloted over strike action



MORE than 50,000 health workers are being balloted on strike action in a dispute over pay for NHS staff.

Unison is balloting health workers in Scotland after the 5 per cent increase offered by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf was rejected.

The union said it is the first time since devolution that health workers have been balloted for strike action over pay.

Unison’s recent consultative ballot saw a rejection of the Scottish Government’s 5 per cent pay offer with more than 80 per cent voting in favour of industrial action.

Unison Scotland’s health committee said the pay offer is a “real-terms pay cut” and is recommending that members vote for strikes.

Wilma Brown, chairwoman of Unison Scotland’s health committee, said: “These are unprecedented times and NHS staff are struggling to make ends meet.

“The Scottish Government’s pay offer is nowhere near enough and leaves everyone in the NHS worse off. It’s a real-terms pay cut across every single NHS salary band.

“We’re in the biggest cost-of-living and NHS staffing crisis in history and yet the Scottish Government want hard-working health workers to accept a real-terms pay cut.”

The ballot opened today and runs until October 31.

Matt McLaughlin, Unison Scotland’s head of health, said: “Ministers need to understand the anger of health staff who are working in an underfunded, understaffed NHS.

“It’s already an extremely stressful environment without having to worry about how you will pay your bills and feed your family.

“Nobody wants to take strike action but without an improved pay offer, our members will be left with no choice.”

Mr Yousaf said: “Any ballot for industrial action is disappointing.

“We are engaged with health unions and I hope we can come to an agreement on pay in the near future.

“This work continues in the context of our Emergency Budget Review following the UK Government’s fiscal event.”

Ballots on possible strike action are being held in 21 health boards but this does not include the Western Isles.





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Cost-of-living report lays bare struggles of Scots families


Going without essentials like food and heating is now “endemic”, a leading charity has warned, as the biggest study of its kind laid bare the “heartbreaking” struggles Scots on lower incomes are facing.

The cost-of-living crisis has left one in ten families cold and hungry before winter hits, a situation that was described as “shameful” by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)

The charity welcomed the decision to cap energy bills at £2,500 but said the UK Prime Minister and Chancellor had then “wilfully ignored” the needs of low-income families in last month’s mini-budget while “providing significant tax cuts for the wealthiest”.

It described the decision to scrap the uprating of benefits in line with inflation as “morally indefensible”.

The survey, involving 4,196 people, found that almost one in five low-income households (a monthly net income of less than £2,063) have sold household belongings to deal with rising costs – compared to 5% for higher income households (an income of more than £4000).

Net income factors in number of adults and children in the household. 

Debt is my lifeline; debt should not be a lifeline

Two in three (65%) have skipped meals or heated their home less often while three quarters have cut back on basics such as taking children out of nursery or stopped socialising.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng <i>(Image: PA Media)</i>Charity

One mother, from Glasgow, said: “My 14 year old is growing and is hungry all the time. We cannot afford the extra food so we have to bulk up his portions so my other children get less.”

READ MORE: Shoppers hit by record rise in milk, margarine and pasta 

Another respondent, a woman in Fife, said she broke down in tears when her child asked why they couldn’t get more food. 

She said: “I just left the room because I just couldn’t answer her. To have to explain to your five-year-old why you can’t buy more food is actually horrendous.”

During the summer over two in five (44%) households heated their home less than they needed to or less often, to reduce cost. 

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng <i>(Image: PA Media)</i>Charity

Although the charity noted that it has been a warm summer across the UK generally, many areas of Scotland experienced cold and/or wet spells. 

In late July, Tyndrum experienced a low temperature of 2.3 degrees overnight.

Everyone’s energy bill will be cut by £400, applied over six months, with a reduction of £66 in October and November, and £67 every month between December and March 2023. 

One mother said: “I’ve had to reduce food intake, we make one meal for everyone. You take what you need and no more. We cannot waste one drop. I check the bin, and plates to make sure no one is leaving any food.”

The Scottish Government was praised for increasing child payments to £25 and introducing a rent freeze until March 2023.

READ MORE: Budget supermarket profits tumble amid rising costs 

However, while Westminster faces the harshest judgement, the charity said decisions by the Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, could give the SNP a “crucial opportunity” to do more to help.

It said: “One quirk of the Fiscal Framework that dictates the Scottish Government’s spending power, however, is that if the UK Government cuts taxes and, broadly speaking, Scottish economic performance is around the same as the wider UK, these tax cuts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will lead to significant additional finance for the Scottish Government.”

The Scottish Government was urged to fund a one-off payment of £260 to all Scottish Child Payment recipients and those who quality for council tax reductions.

The report calls on the UK Government to immediately uprate all means-tested benefits by the current rate of inflation, rather than waiting until April. 

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng <i>(Image: PA Media)</i>Joseph Rowntree Foundation

JRF associate director for Scotland Chris Birt said: “While the UK Government’s immoral abandonment of those who need the support most is indefensible, people are now looking to the Scottish Government for support and they deserve no less. 

“As part of that, the Scottish Government must not copy the UK Government’s approach to cuts to income tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and use the additional revenues to ease the cost of living pressures on low-income families.”

One third of households reported having little or no savings (that is, less than £250) and three-quarters of those households have no savings at all. 

In Scotland, 7% of households have three or more debts and two in five (41%) households with debt have more than £2,500 of debt.

One participant said: “Debt is my lifeline; debt should not be a lifeline. I got told my credit card limit could be increased, I did a happy dance due to having more money. So, if the car goes, we have an option and I’m glad it will be there.’

During the Summer almost one in five households (18%) were already behind on one or more bills or payments and 7% of households had failed to pay an energy bill.





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Issue of the day: Our love for tea endures 70 years after rationing ended



BRITS often regard it as the balm to soothe all that ails us. Now, on the 70th anniversary of tea rationing ending in the United Kingdom, the benefits of a simple cuppa are still emerging decades on.

What exactly happened 70 years ago today?

The end of tea rationing was announced. Rationing has been in force since January 1940, a few months after the start of the Second World War, but during a speech in Newcastle, the Minister of Food, Major Lloyd-George, said that for the first time in 12 years, Brits would be able to enjoy their favourite drink whenever they wished, confirming rationing and price controls on tea would be lifted almost immediately.

 

It was a massive moment?

It came on the heels of Britain joining the international tea trading arena, seeing tea auctions take place in London again, and also followed a prior rise in weekly tea rations to 3oz per head, so there was not a stampede, but it was a marker moment overall and came ahead of the end of rationing of foodstuffs entirely in 1954, when meat became freely available again.

 

Tea has always been a favourite tipple?

The UK Tea & Infusions Association say that while something like 70 million cups of coffee are drunk a day in Britain, around 100 million cuppas a day are enjoyed, working out at almost 36 billion per year.

 

It’s historic?

Invented in China 5,000 years ago, the first dated reference to tea in the UK featured in an advert in a London newspaper, Mercurius Politicus, in 1658, announcing that the “China Drink, called by the Chinese, Tcha” was on sale at a coffee house in the city. 

 

Queen Victoria…

…was a huge fan of tea – the word itself occurs 7,587 times in her diary. She also introduced tea to her garden parties from the 1860s onwards and the late Queen Elizabeth II was also an ardent fan. According to former royal chef, Darren McGrady, the Queen enjoyed a boiling hot cup of Earl Grey. Just before the Platinum Jubilee, he said: “There would be small cake, anything from a mini chocolate eclair to a Queen’s cake, and large cakes too which we would call a cut of cake, where the Queen could cut a slice of cake. They were served with Earl Grey tea and that was afternoon tea for the Queen every day.” The Queen famously enjoyed tea with Paddington at Buckingham Palace as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in the summer.

 

So what are the latest findings?

According to analysis presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting in Sweden last month, researchers investigated the effects of drinking different types of tea—such as green tea, oolong tea, and black tea – on diabetes risk and found that drinking one to three cups of tea lowered type 2 diabetes risk slightly, but that drinking four or more cups of tea daily was linked to a 17 per cent lower risk.

 

For the tea lover in your life?

You can now snap up tea advent calendars from a wide variety on sale, including Whittard’s offering featuring 94 individually wrapped tea bags – so four per day for 23 days, along with a surprise gift – for £70; or the Bird & Blend Matcha tea advent calendar which offers, behind each door, a resealable tin containing 5g of matcha, which works out at enough for around two cups, retailing at £52.





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