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Scandals continue over NHS trusts as findings are published

There appears to be a never-ending succession of scandals involving NHS trusts. It began with the Mid Staffs affair, which stunned the nation and led to a traumatic inquiry. Meanwhile, in the North West another scandal was unfolding at Furness General Hospital in Barrow.

The inquiry into the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, the trust in charge at Barrow, has now concluded and its findings published - just as the largest NHS trust in England, Barts Health NHS Trust, has been rated 'Inadequate' by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

Even mental health provision is falling foul of the CQC inspectors, with the BBC reporting on continuing problems at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. The trust was the first in the mental health sector to be placed into special measures, also following a rating of 'Inadequate'.

Things are improving there since the measures were introduced in February, it seems, but slowly.

• One issue in medicine that has been in the news a lot recently is the danger posed by the rise of so-called 'superbugs' - bacteria and other pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. The problem has been around for a long time; the first example to hit the public eye being MRSA. Nowadays the issue is becoming even more pressing with the growth in internet prescribing and the ubiquitous use of antibiotics in farming, leading to increasing resistance.

Now the British Dental Association has joined the fray in no uncertain terms, joining with other branches of medicine to address the issue internationally. We can only hope they are successful.

• Pain is a complex subject and one that gives rise to much debate - particularly in the medicolegal sphere - and a condition that is debated more than most is complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. CRPS generally occurs in a limb after there has been an injury and is usually out of all proportion to the original damage. Its cause has yet to be established but it is thought to be neurological.

The fact that CRPS is difficult to pin down has led to many claims being disputed, with accusations of malingering even being bandied about. Many successful claims have been made, however, including the instance covered in this issue.

• For many decades the killer substance asbestos has been in the dock. Thousands have died as a result of inhaling its fibres - many during the course of their work - and the death rate for mesothelioma is not thought to have peaked even yet.

Despite all the attention, there are still contractors and builders who put the lives of themselves and their workers at risk by hacking at the substance without proper precautions. Indeed, only accredited contractors should be tasked with tackling the substance and building owners who suspect the presence of the mineral on their premises must take steps to identify it.

What is most dumbfounding, however, is that local authorities, hospitals and even schools continue to ignore asbestos in their own buildings. The latest before the courts was Waltham Forest Council.

• Another killer that has been in the news more than anyone would like is sudden cardiac death among young people. The condition appears to affect athletes and sportspeople disproportionately - exactly the kind of people intuition would place at least risk. Nevertheless, three instances of promising sports stars succumbing happened in the space of three weeks earlier this year.

Football clubs in particular have screening programmes in place, but they don't always work. A lucky few survive and recover, Fabrice Muamba being a heartwarming example. Some, however, survive but are left with awful damage, as in the case of Radwan Hamed, whose case took nearly a decade to settle.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 13:20