NHS Services Cut in Nottingham After Doctors Quit Rather than Work for Private Firm

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Courtesy of Charlie Cooper @ The Independent:

An NHS hospital has been forced to scrap highly rated services for patients with severe skin conditions including skin cancer after an “exodus” of senior doctors reluctant to work for a private-sector subcontractor.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust said it would no longer be able to provide acute adult dermatology, including emergency care, after losing six of its eight consultants.

Five of those departing are understood to have left rather than transfer to Circle, a private healthcare company which won a contract to provide most of the local dermatology services last year. The closure of the service has raised concerns about the impact of privatisation on the NHS, with doctors worried about job security in the private sector.

The trust lost out to Circle, despite warnings from senior doctors that they would leave rather than be transferred out of the NHS, the Health Service Journal reported.

It is understood that the senior doctors who left were concerned over job stability at a private employer, and also had fears that a profit-driven provider would not offer opportunities for academic research or training.

The trust has said it will stop providing acute dermatology services to new patients from early next year because of a lack of consultants.

While Circle’s outpatient treatment centre will remain open, any patients with severe conditions will no longer be seen by a specialist at the hospital and may have to be referred elsewhere.

Health commissioners said they were working with the trust and Circle to ensure patients get the care they need. Circle said its Nottingham treatment centre was providing a good service, that it had taken on extra staff and would work with local commissioners to “find a solution”. Continue reading

Cuba’s Extraordinary Global Medical Record Shames the US blockade

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Courtesy of Seamus Milne @ The Guardian:

Four months into the internationally declared Ebola emergency that has devastated west Africa, Cuba leads the world in direct medical support to fight the epidemic. The US and Britain have sent thousands of troops and, along with other countries, promised aid – most of which has yet to materialise. But, as the World Health Organisation has insisted, what’s most urgently needed are health workers. The Caribbean island, with a population of just 11m and official per capita income of $6,000 (£3,824), answered that call before it was made. It was first on the Ebola frontline and has sent the largest contingent of doctors and nurses – 256 are already in the field, with another 200 volunteers on their way.

While western media interest has faded with the receding threat of global infection, hundreds of British health service workers have volunteered to join them. The first 30 arrived in Sierra Leone last week, while troops have been building clinics. But the Cuban doctors have been on the ground in force since October and are there for the long haul.

The need could not be greater. More than 6,000 people have already died. So shaming has the Cuban operation been that British and US politicians have felt obliged to offer congratulations. John Kerry described the contribution of the state the US has been trying to overthrow for half a century “impressive”. The first Cuban doctor to contract Ebola has been treated by British medics, and US officials promised they would “collaborate” with Cuba to fight Ebola.

But it’s not the first time that Cuba has provided the lion’s share of medical relief following a humanitarian disaster. Four years ago, after the devastating earthquake in impoverished Haiti, Cuba sent the largest medical contingent and cared for 40% of the victims. In the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake of 2005, Cuba sent 2,400 medical workers to Pakistan and treated more than 70% of those affected; they also left behind 32 field hospitals and donated a thousand medical scholarships. Continue reading