Sunday 11 April 2010


Organs have been removed from dead bodies after a blunder affecting Britain’s donor register.

The records of 800,000 people were affected by an error, and their wishes were not properly recorded.

45 of them have since died, and around 20 have had organs taken where consent had not been given.

From what I read in the Telegraph, this is a Britain-wide service which is run by the English Health Service. It is therefore the responsibility of Andy Burnham, the English Health Secretary.

He has said that he “deeply regretted the distress” caused to bereaved families following the blunder.

He said: "I want to assure the millions of people on the organ donor register that they can have full confidence that only their accurate information will be discussed with their families, and that their wishes will be respected.
Yes, we believe you Mr Burnham. We have total confidence in the fact that you run a superb service in this delicate matter entrusted to you.

Professor Duff of Sheffield University is to carry out a review to find out how this came about from which doubtless “lessons will be learned” as usual. Not.

Apparently donors can give permission for all or some of their organs to be taken and some people feel strongly about certain parts of their body being recycled. I’ve donated my body in its entirety to the Scottish Health Service to do with it as they please, but I can understand other people's strong feelings about what should be done with their parts.

NHS Blood and Transplant has, since the error was discovered, been able to correct 400,000 of the records. 400,000 people are still to be contacted to asked to provide consent again. Until fresh consent is obtained, organs will not be taken from any of those people in the event of death.

The error apparently happened in 1999. Data held by the DVLA, which includes a request for organ donation consent in applications for a driving licence, was transferred over to the organ registry and only came to light when NHS Blood and Transplant wrote to new donors to thank them for joining, and confirming their wishes regarding their donations. People replied pointing out that the information was wrong.

A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We are taking it very seriously and are urgently investigating the situation."
Well so they bloody well should be. It’s serious!

A Department of Health spokesman said: "NHSBT has made the Department of Health aware that 'a very small number' of donor families and a small proportion of records may have been affected by a coding error on the Organ Donor Register.”
Well from what I can see it’s around 400,000, which by any manner or means couldn’t be called a small number, except by some weasels trying to small down the size of their cock up.

Who is going to lose their job?

Pictured: Andy Burnham, English Health Secretary


  1. Fiasco is the name of the game. I wonder how many more of these time bombs of Labour "efficency" are waiting to come out of the woodwork.

  2. This is the weasel who signed off Staffs Health Authority as being fit for purpose while 1200 patients died. And authorised trawling the NHS computer for voters with breast cancer in order to scare them into voting labour. He can't be sacked unfortunately as he's no longer an MP.

  3. Same one Anon... It's scary how badly he runs stuff!

  4. Munguin and Anon:

    Efficiency is spinspeak for cuts.

    Cuts = fewer staff (never feer managers)

    Fewer staff = corners cut and stressed staff

    stressed staff cutting corners = stuff like this.

    Maybe they do need fewer staff, but for heavnes sake if the managers would get off thier fat lazy arses and do some managing instead of going to interminable meetings and doing never ending power point presentations to people who sleep through them, the maybe the efficencies/cuts would result in fewer deaths!

  5. And what makes ye think the Tory health minister would manage this any better? Or the SNP?

    If aw we expect fae oor representatives is better management, then we'll aye be disappointit.

    Ah'm no even gaun tae pass comment on the body-pairts. Me? Ah'm jist gettin' dumped oan the midden when ah go. If onybody wants a bit, they'll hae tae hurry, afore the craws get aw the best bits. Seems tae me if ye're gaunnae be funny aboot yer body after ye've done wi' it, get a lead kist and some big nails. Dinnae come botherin' me wi' yer 'No the een, onythin' but ma een!' shite.

    So ah'm chillaxed aboot ma body. Whit ah'm no sae keen oan is wastin' time oan these whipped-up rammies at election time. We're supposed tae be steerin' this country's future. We're tasked wi' weighin' up aw' the myriads o' winds blawin' at us fae aw' airts an' pairts, takin' guid account o' how oor ship o' state's sittin', whit like are aw' the puir weans beneath deck an' how many hauns we've got above.

    We've aw' got tae work thegither, pu'in' oan the same ropes, heavin' oan the tiller, while washin' the decks, cookin' the tea, and gettin' the messages in.

    Noo where are we gaunnae get oor messages when we're aw' at sea an' fightin' ower somebody's arse-up at the DVLC when Andy Burnham was still in short troosers?

  6. Tris...I was all ready to use this NHS horror story as a springboard for a comment of how.....for all its MANY and grievous faults.....the American private, profit-driven system is far better than a government-operated system in delivering health care. (At least when the new health law is fully in effect, and even poor people can actually get ACCESS to the American system.)

    So I went to Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge, to learn enough about the structure and management of the NHS to actually comment on it knowledgeably. Sadly, it was so complicated, my eyes quickly glazed over and I had to abandon my search for knowledge. Therefore, I must fall back on pure prejudice and mindless, uniformed conjecture.

    So from my exalted position of fundamental ignorance on the subject, I will just say that the idea that health authorities who are responsible for the NHS are actually Labour and Tory POLITICIANS, ultimately answerable to Parliaments in Westminster and Edinburgh, sends shivers up my spine.

    Even styling myself as an American liberal Democrat, I agree with the Republican Tea Pots (to use Sophia's term) that dealing directly with Washington politicians and federal government bureaucracies is something akin to being in the ninth circle of hell. And I simply cannot imagine how much more dreadful it would be if those dealings were in a doctor's office (surgery), or a hospital, ultimately answerable to the national government.

    For all the evils of the corporate controlled profit system, one's personal experience in a private sector office of whatever nature, compared with a government office, is always better.....from the attitude of the clerk at the reception desk to the taste of the french fries in the cafeteria. Surely this would apply to the medical office in spades.

    As I said, this is based on relatively uninformed opinion, and a general distaste for politicians of almost every political stripe.

  7. The postcards to cancer sufferers is a new low even by NuLabour standards.

    More NHS dodgy dealings by NuLabour.

    Just how low can they go?

  8. Good points Sophia. Of course this has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with the dodgy bloke Birnham (not that he's blameless elsewhere). It's probably the transport secretary as much as anyone else, but from 10 years ago..... and yes, of course it could have happened under the Liberals or the Tories and even under the SNP! (There, I’ve said it) :¬)

    The point is... how could this have happened? How could, in the transfer of information from one department to another, could people that we were paying to do a job, have made such a royal mess of it? How did ‘Mrs McGinty's’ liver become her kidneys?

    I doubt if any politician would have such an intricate involvement as to be able to say why, but these people who usually know nothing about any of what they are in charge of, are, none the less, in charge.

    The buck, as it were, stops there.

    They need to get their top civil servants to run a tighter ship. If they don't they have to be sacked.

    Of course the people in charge of this will have retired, moved on or died themselves by now, but whether it was cheap and faulty computer systems, or sloppy input of data, someone somewhere was at fault.

    Like you Sophia, I don't give a damn what happens to my body after I stop having a use for it (although I suppose I have to respect the wishes of those who are bothered). The trouble is that this is the same health service that millions of people rely on for looking after their bodies when it DOES still matter: when they are still alive.

    It seems that the staff and management aren’t too trustworthy.....

  9. Danny: As ever, for someone who proclaims ignorance, prejudice and mindless, uniformed conjecture, you put together an altogether cogent argument. [In Edinburgh, however, it is an SNP government to which the medics report (a small but maybe significant, at least for us, point)].

    In actual fact the system of government run health care need not be the nightmare that it is in all parts of the UK. (It only varies by degree in the constituent countries)

    In France, the publicly owned and run health care service is acknowledged by the WHO to be the best in the world.

    Of course, although I have be treated there, and it was excellent, clean, efficient, fast, caring and all the things that it regularly is not in the UK, I honestly can't hope to make a valued comparison. After all, I have no idea what the service is like in Bulgaria, Cambodia, Belize, Finland, Canada, etc, etc.....

    When trying to put down a national health service to scupper the President’s Bill, the American Republican (and Democrat) politicians concentrated, from my limited knowledge, on disparaging the BRITISH system. They did not talk about the other systems in Europe. I can only imagine because that wouldn't have provided a particularly good example of inefficiency and bad practice. It might have made Americans want that system. (Incidentally, for all that our taxes pay for a health system in Europe, it seems to me that we don’t pay any more in tax that Americans do!)

    You either have a system which depends on YOUR ability to pay, or on YOUR COUNTRY'S ability to pay... and as a poor relatively person I'd prefer my country's wealth behind me (well, I would if my country didn't have to subsidise another country).

    I guess perhaps it is like railways. In France the SNCF (railways) is modern, clean, efficient and fast. It is state run.

    In some other European countries the rail system in privately owned, in some, notably Switzerland, there is a mixture. The trains are clean, efficient, and provide the kind of service that is required (not always fast in Switzerland for example, but it’s hard to go fast up the side of a mountain, in 1 meter of snow!). It's not who owns and runs them; it's the way they are run that counts!

  10. Dubbieside: Thanks for the heads up on this.

    The truth is that no one knows what will happen after the election. We have absolutely no guarantee what any of the parties will do. After all they lie through their teeth at us about so much.

    One thing that bothers me is that the BBC and the newspapers and soon the Presidential addresses will have no problem in telling us ALL about domestic affairs which relate only to England.

    There will be plenty of people in the Celtic countries who will be listening to or reading about what teh Tories or Labour are going to be doing about education, planning, health, local government, law and order....etc. and making a decision based on that, when the parties have nothing whatsoever to do with these things in their country.

    What a mess; what a pile of liars; how low can they go, right enough ....

  11. Tris....I do shiver at the thought of allowing a politician to run a hospital. But I definitely take your point that it has more to do with HOW things are run than WHO runs them. Surely privatization of formerly public enterprises has often proven disastrous in its effect.

    I was actually pretty sure that ignorance and prejudice would just take one so far in an analysis of complex issues....LOL.

  12. PS Tris....OOPS....I do know, but failed to mention, that a SNP government runs the system in Scotland. I'm ignorant, but not THAT ignorant. :-)

  13. You're right, although it seems that, if you take the railways for example, they were a mess when they were run for profit; they were an even bigger mess when they were taken into public hands under British Railways, and would you ever believe it, they were a yet bigger mess when they were privatized by the Tories in the '90s... and one line has had to be renationalized because of.... well, incompetence and alleged corruption, and guess how good that is?

    It’s often the people, and how they operate, rather than the system under which they operate.

  14. LOL Danny, you of all people would find it hard to be ignorant of the SNP Government given the number of times I mention it!