• Drug Justice - pharmaceutical companies should pay for their mistakes
    We are campaigning to make these two pharmaceutical companies compensate the people where their drugs have caused injury and disability. Currently, ordinary British people pick up the whole bill by paying out of taxpayers money for the mistakes made by foreign pharmaceutical companies instead of them paying out of their own profits. Neither of these two pharmaceutical companies have compensated any of the people they have injured. The next medical disaster for the unborn baby, which is still being suppressed, is Sodium Valproate. The drug Epilim (Sodium valproate) - marketed for people with epilepsy and also used for depression, migraine, and pain relief among many other complaints - is sold by a French pharmaceutical company called Sanofi. No warnings were given to pregnant women between 1973 and 2004 that this drug is dangerous to the unborn baby. It is still being prescribed today to pregnant women without warning. What will we do with the petition you are signing? With thousands of signatures on the petition we will: Ask you to write to your MP requesting the UK government intervenes with the German government, as it is the German government which is protecting Grunenthal. Invite you to attend a demonstration outside the German embassy at a specific event – date to be announced. Your signatures will encourage MEPs here in the UK and across Europe to become involved. Why across Europe? 95% of the people affected by thalidomide are in Europe. This is a European problem. What is the point of the EU if it doesn’t assist when European drugs affect everyone? This will be the first time ever in history to get a European solution with all relevant national governments involved. The EU with the back up of all the national governments can find a solution to these disasters. Thalidomide is the name every politician knows. We can do this – we can succeed because we are the brand name. Epilim is the current identical story as thalidomide and is still being prescribed to pregnant women. Thalidomide is believed to have been invented by the Nazis during the Second World War. The drug resurfaced in the fifties and by 1958 was being marketed as a 'wonder drug'. Over the next four years it was responsible for over 20,000 deaths, tens of thousands of miscarriages in pregnant women and 6,000 babies born with gross disfigurements, the likes of which the world had never seen. To this day, it is the biggest medical disaster in history. 467 of those babies are still alive in Britain today. Up until now, 50 years on, Grunenthal has refused to compensate its victims. Epilim received its licence in 1973 and although the drug company Sanofi were aware of its teratogenic affects in pregnancy, the information was never given to the women taking it. Epilim (Sodium Valproate), as with Thalidomide, was named as the ‘Wonder Drug’ for Epilepsy and between 1985 - 1995 was the ‘drug of choice’, however it is now prescribed for a range of conditions, raising the amount of women taking it during pregnancy. By 1995 there were numerous medical papers discussing the affects of the drug on the fetus and was given the name of Fetal Valproate Syndrome, but still the information from the drug company was ambiguous. By January 2013 a medical paper was released explaining that Epilim was responsible for the affected children also having the diagnosis of Neurodevelopmental disorders and Autism. Numerous other papers around this time stated that approx. 48,000 babies had been exposed to Valproate and that 20,000 had been affected by it. For 40 years the burden of care has fallen upon the taxpayer and despite their statement of Corporate Responsibility, Sanofi still refuse to accept their accountability for the devastating effects of their drug. Story My name is Billy Burton. I am a 50 year old victim of the drug thalidomide. I have short arms, clubbed hands with only four fingers on each hand. I also have problems with my ears, nose and throat, respiratory problems, neurological problems which affect my nerve endings, and musculo-skeletal problems, which affect my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, spine, hips, knees, and feet. I am already losing the dexterity I have and in the next 5 to 10 years I will lose the ability to shower, dress, go to the toilet on my own, and feed myself. The reality of losing my independence is frightening and now, as it has started to happen, I have to prepare for the future. I already need to make alterations to my house and must find the financial means to fund carers and medical needs. Grunenthal are worth an estimated 11 billion euros. I would like them to compensate all thalidomide affected people financially, in order that we can live our twilight years in a degree of security and in the comfort that I think we deserve. We don't want your money, just your support. Please put your hand on our wall at www.showyourhand.org
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  • Stop extra NHS training cuts that threaten patient care standards
    According to the British Medical Journal, the severe cuts to health education in the regions will hit the much-vaunted focus on more GPs and their vital ongoing training. In the West Midlands, the training funds that health education planners were depending on to fulfil the Government’s promises on NHS standards have been slashed at the last minute by £15m – around four per cent of its budget for this vital role. In the South West, an extra cut of £15.5 million will also be a body blow to vital workforce planning for the future. Elsewhere in England, the swathe of sudden and agreement-breaking cuts will hit hard. In the East Midlands, training for specialist doctors is to be affected and there are fears about the region being able to attract doctors. Prrofessional health training in the North East, East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber have also been hit hard. This is no way to prepare an NHS for improvement in the future. It is a false economy that could ultimately cost lives. Please don't let vital NHS staff training be cut back or starved of funds. This really is bad for our health.
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    Created by Patrick Highton
  • Changes to Blood doning sessions
    Blood stocks need consistent new donors. Daily there are advertisements on TV, radio and papers. By making donors travel a long way blood stocks will be jeopardised. It must be expensive making all these long term employees redundant so how can this be cost efficient? Sometimes a service like this is not just about money. Unfortunately services in the rural areas are expensive. I do it for my mum who regularly receives blood transfusions. How will you feel if you or a relative needed blood and there was none of the correct type! There is no price tag on life!
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    Created by Deborah Harding
  • Better endocrinological service and treatment (B.E.S.T.)
    I am one of the B.E.S.T. petition team. For years, I suffered severe anxiety, poor health and suffered infertility as a result of doctors not diagnosing me with Graves disease. Even after my condition was recognised, I received appalling treatment. I was given unnecessary Radioactive Iodine treatment, which resulted in a range of unpleasant side effects. It took me five years to find an informed GP and Endocrinologist to provide me with the T3 hormone treatment, which now means I can live a normal life in mostly stable health. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Huge numbers of people are being left to suffer severe, debilitating symptoms because thyroid and related autoimmune and adrenal dysfunctions are not being diagnosed or treated. Not enough of our GPs and endocrinologists are versed in these issues. For example, Eric Pritchard MSc has just recently written a paper that estimates 300,000 UK sufferers are on the wrong medication: http://tpauk.com/news/8639-medical-negligence-within-endocrinology-are-you-a-victim-- Tens of thousands of sufferers are being prescribed anti-depressants and other unnecessary drugs. Many are left unable to work and are forced to exist on state benefits. Medical practitioners are not being correctly trained to deal with these disorders which are affecting a huge number of people and costing the state millions as a result of misdiagnosis and incorrect treatments. There are hundreds of websites and support groups throughout the world dedicated to these conditions, with sufferers pouring out their stories of how long it has taken to be diagnosed, or receive the correct diagnosis, or receive the correct treatment: http://tpauk.com/ and http://www.thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/index.html are UK based. A worldwide organisation is http://www.thyroidchange.org/evidence.html Despite the thousands of daily posts and cries for help on these sites, endocrinology seems to neither listen, nor act. The specific reasons for the petition and particulars of the review we require are here http://tinyurl.com/knh5dpp Ultimately, we are calling for the education and training of medical practitioners to be urgently improved so that diagnosis and treatment of these conditions is effective. A timely and radical review would be welcomed by an increasingly knowledgeable and empowered public, as well as by those doctors currently struggling to provide what they know to be the most appropriate treatment for their patients. WE NEED OUR HEALTH BACK.
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    Created by Diane Bamford
  • Halt the closure/downgrading of Trafford General A&E.
    A&Es all over the country are under threat - from Hartlepool in the North to Margate in the South. But the full extent of the impact of closing A&E departments is still unknown. Evidence from Newark showed that when their A&E closed, death rates jumped by more than a third. * When NHS chiefs decided to close Newark A&E they promised that more lives would be saved. However, the opposite to this has happened - more lives have been put at risk and death rates have increased. We can’t let these closures happen across the country. We need a proper investigation into the impact of A&E closures before any more are closed or downgraded. Dr Clare Gerada, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners agrees. ‘The Newark data revealed by The Mail on Sunday points to a close association between A&E closures and mortality. It is clear the provision of emergency care is in crisis across the whole of the NHS. Before any further closures are contemplated, there must be a full, independent assessment of their impact on patients and on the system as a whole.’ * If the recent ‘backdoor’ privatisation of the NHS wasn’t enough, the unjustified closure of our A&E departments is a step too far. * Shocking proof A&E closures cost lives, Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2323141/Shocking-proof-Accident-Emergency-closures-cost-lives-Death-rate-jumps-THIRD-department-closes.html
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  • Save the practice of herbal medicine in the UK
    Without statutory regulation (SR) of herbalists patient choice and safety are at risk. As a result of recent changes to European Medicines law, herbalists must be authorized health professionals (by being statutorily regulated) to continue supplying a range of herbal medicines that have been in use for decades. Now, because of the delay in granting SR, many patients are now without the herbs that they have come to rely on. This is driving some people to purchase herbal medicines from unsafe internet herbal sites without advice from a qualified practitioner. SR will enable the public to consult properly trained practitioners rather than back-street traders. Without SR well-regulated degree level courses are under threat as the future of herbal medicine is uncertain. The loss of a wide range of herbal medicines means many practitioners are struggling to maintain their livelihoods or have been forced to stop practising. In addition, many herbal suppliers are being driven out of business or are making staff redundant. Why the delay? There is no adequate explanation. A promise is a promise! Grant herbalists SR now!
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    Created by Michael McIntyre
  • Save Independent Midwifery in the UK
    Independent midwives are fully registered and regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and choose to practice outside the NHS in order to provide continuity of care during pregnancy, birth and post-natally. They are valued by women who seek their support and better maternity outcomes that continuity of care provides. Independent midwives often care for women who have had traumatic experiences in previous pregnancies. For many women, this is an absolute priority. Women must be able to choose where, how and with whom they give birth. Some women have said that if they cannot choose an independent midwife, they would rather give birth alone. We know this is not safe. We are concerned that midwives may be go underground or that women may seek the services of untrained birth attendants. Our midwives also provide vital support to the NHS. Trusts call on the support of their local Independent Midwives when they do not have the skills available. We also relieve pressure on the system when women opt out of NHS care, saving an estimated £10-13 million per year with just 170 midwives. With 2000 expressions of interest from midwives to become independent we could potentially save the NHS in the region of £100 million pounds per annum. From October 2013 thousands of women could be denied this ‘gold standard’ midwifery care as independent midwives have not been able to obtain the insurance cover required by EU law. The Government has promised to support us in finding a solution and has said that independent Midwives should continue to book women who are due to give birth after October but no action has yet been taken. You can find out more about the current situation regarding independent midwifery in the U.K in this recent R4 ‘Woman’s Hour’ programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s8qxc You can read more about the history and background to this situation here: http://www.birthrights.org.uk/2013/02/the-end-of-independent-midwifery-consultation-launched-into-mandatory-insurance-for-midwives/ Independent midwives Facebook campaign page here: https://www.facebook.com/ChooseYourMidwife
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  • Justice for asbestos victims
    Anyone who is exposed to asbestos at work, and subsequently develops mesothelioma cancer, is entitled to compensation from their employer. However, many people can’t be paid compensation because they can’t track down the company who insured their employer at the time of exposure, which could have been many decades ago. The government is currently legislating to set up a scheme where they will compensate those affected if they can’t find the relevant insurer. However, they’ve imposed a cut-off date of 25th July 2012 so anyone diagnosed before that date can’t claim from the new scheme. This arbitrarily punishes people struggling with life-threatening illnesses. And they’ve capped the compensation someone can claim to 70% of the average compensation paid through the civil court system. This robs people of vital funds they need at a difficult time of their lives. This government is crippling individuals, to save themselves pennies. Sign this petition and demand fair, compassionate treatment for all asbestos-affected people.
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    Created by Paul Worrall
  • Halt the Closure of Accident and Emergency at Chase Farm hospital
    A&Es all over the country are under threat - from Hartlepool in the North to Margate in the South. But the full extent of the impact of closing A&E departments is still unknown. Evidence from Newark showed that when their A&E closed, death rates jumped by more than a third. * When NHS chiefs decided to close Newark A&E they promised that more lives would be saved. However, the opposite to this has happened - more lives have been put at risk and death rates have increased. We can’t let these closures happen across the country. We need a proper investigation into the impact of A&E closures before any more are closed or downgraded. Dr Clare Gerada, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners agrees. The Newark data revealed by The Mail on Sunday points to a close association between A&E closures and mortality. It is clear the provision of emergency care is in crisis across the whole of the NHS. Before any further closures are contemplated, there must be a full, independent assessment of their impact on patients and on the system as a whole.’ * If the recent ‘backdoor’ privatisation of the NHS wasn’t enough, the unjustified closure of our A&E departments * Shocking proof A&E closures cost lives, Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2323141/Shocking-proof-Accident-Emergency-closures-cost-lives-Death-rate-jumps-THIRD-department-closes.html
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  • Create respite facilities to support disabled adults with life-shortening conditions aged 21-45
    Throughout the United Kingdom there is a forgotten group of people. A group of people, many thousands of them, with severe, life-shortening conditions who, because of medical advances are living well into adulthood when in the past they may not have been expected to, find themselves lost in limbo in a position when they are too old to use children's respite services and yet too young for the available adult respite services. Currently, all adult hospice services are set up largely to cater for much older adults suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses, they are just as unsuitable a place for this age group of people to go to as children's respite services are. They find themselves stuck in the middle with nowhere to go. These respite breaks are vitally important to the young adults and their families, especially for the majority who still live at home with their parents, because it is the only time when the young adults get a break from their parents and for some they can be quite isolated at home so these breaks may be their only opportunity to socialise with others of a similar age. Equally as important if not more so is the break it gives families; the parents get a chance to relax and recharge their batteries, safe in the knowledge that their son/daughter is being well cared for and enjoying themselves. However, without any respite services the parents will have to provide constant care 24 hours a day 365 days a year without a break which will lead to high stress levels for the parents, carer burnout and many other health problems, because caring for a disabled adult with a life-shortening condition is a full-time job. Its not acceptable in any other job to be expected to work all year round without even a single day of rest, so why should it be acceptable in this case? The following articles were printed in The Glasgow Herald newspaper dated 10 May 2013, and they highlight the problems facing young disabled adults with life-shortening conditions. The links to these articles are as follows:- http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/young-adults-are-being-left-in-limbo-by-hospice-decision.21041635 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/health/hospice-charity-sets-age-limit-on-services-for-young-people.21041823
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  • Scrap the cut-price NHS 111 helplines and bring back NHS Direct
    Lives may already have been lost in the West Midlands as the performance of the Government’s privatised NHS 111 telephone helpline falls far short of the NHS Direct service it is replacing. Instead of receiving expert clinical advice fast, callers to the new cut-to-the-bone NHS 111 centres have reportedly been ignored or misinformed by inexperienced and non-clinical call handlers. Unwell people and their helpers have suffered delays and unanswered calls and at least one death in the West Midlands has been linked to NHS 111 shortcomings. In all, The GP magazine Pulse reports that three deaths are being investigated in connection to NHS 111. Two of the fatalities occurred in the East Midlands, while the other happened in the West Midlands. In several areas including Greater Manchester and the West Midlands some NHS 111 services have been suspended and emergency alternatives put in place. A further 19 possible "serious untoward incidents" have also been recorded since last month, it is claimed by GPs in Pulse magazine.. According to the Daily Telegraph on May 4, 2013, doctors and paramedics have warned that call handlers are dispatching ambulances to deal with trivial cases like hiccups, making them too busy to attend real emergencies. Healthcare is no place for well-meaning but non-professional call-takers with tick-box scripts; it demands real experience and expertise provided by real nurses and medical specialists. More lives are at risk every day there is delay. NHS England talk of ‘teething troubles’. But the situation is so fraught is that the NHS 111 pilot service in Dudley has itself been put on hold. We call on NHS England to restore and rebuild the real NHS Direct NOW. This is urgent. NOTES and links: The Independent 'New NHS helpline is putting people's lives at risk, say doctors' http://ind.pn/13b1h9b; BBC news website 'Seven 'potentially serious' NHS 111 helpline incidents' http://bbc.in/107eTx5; Daily Telegraph 'Three deaths investigated in relation to NHS 111' http://bit.ly/13TAPjs
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    Created by Kenneth Band
  • Saving Bath's Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases
    Because patients from all over the country who suffer with rare and complex rheumatological conditions rely on the unique reservoir of knowledge, skills and practice which only this hospital offers. The ambiance of the historic hospital buildings in the centre of the city of Bath creates a family atmosphere for both staff and patients from which both benefit. It is also part of Bath's special heritage and has an important place in medical history. This is all clearly affirmed by the latest CQC inspections showing that the country's smallest Foundation Trust operates an excellent service for patients. For more details: www.savethemin.org.uk
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