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A culture of bullying at one of England’s biggest NHS trusts could put the care of patients at risk, a report has found.

An independent review of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust (UHB) has found the number of patient deaths at the trust is higher than would be expected and has warned that “if the cultural environment at UHB has not already affected mortality it is likely to be affecting the patient experience and morbidity”.

The report revealed “extensive complaints” had been made by staff about the organisation’s conduct and that “many were concerned about the ‘toxic atmosphere and bullying at all levels of management'”.

It said the report team “heard many examples of concerning comments following a range of topics, including issues over promotion processes, bullying of staff (including junior doctors), and a fear of retribution if concerns were raised”.

It also highlights concerns around staffing levels. In November 2022, 13.35% of nursing posts at the trust were vacant, compared with an England average of 10%.

It warns that “any continuance of a culture that is corrosively affecting morale and in particular threatens long-term staff recruitment and retention will put at risk the care of patients”.

The report chaired by Professor Mike Bewick, a former deputy medical director at NHS England, who is now an independent consultant, was commissioned last year after a number of complaints were raised about the trust which employs 22,400 people across several sites and operates four major hospitals in the West Midlands.

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Father of junior doctor: ‘Our lives stopped on 22 June’

It followed the death by suicide of Dr Vaishnavi Kumar, 35, who was working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham when she took a fatal overdose in June of last year.

“She wrote a letter,” her father, Dr Ravi Kumar, told Sky News. “She very clearly mentioned that she was doing this because of the QE hospital.”

After taking the overdose she waited three hours to call an ambulance. Her father says that when paramedics arrived “she said under no circumstances was she going to the QE hospital”.

Dr Kumar says his daughter was “bright, fun-loving and compassionate” but things changed soon after she began working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Dr Vaishnavi Kumar took her own life in June 2022
Dr Vaishnavi Kumar took her own life in June 2022

“She started facing this toxic environment and she started getting a bit more worried and tearful,” he said, adding sometimes when she returned from work she would say “people are belittling her and demeaning her”.

The report found there was “considerable unrest and anger at the trust’s response” to Dr Kumar’s death, both from her family and “the wider junior doctor community”.

It also found that “this was not the first death by suicide of a doctor at UHB”.

It revealed there was “disappointment and anger” from staff at a lack of senior representation by the trust at Dr Kumar’s funeral, and that the trust only formally wrote to her family two months after her death.

Shockingly, the report found a senior member of staff within medical staffing was unaware of Dr Kumar’s death and emailed the medic personally 26 days after her death to ask why she had been removed from her post and if she was still being paid.

The report concluded the case showed a need for “a fundamental shift in the way an organisation demonstrably cares about its staff as people”.

Dr Kumar’s father said: “It makes me angry and at the same time worried about other junior doctors who are going to follow her.

“Our lives stopped on the 22 June and it’s very hard. Each day is a struggle.

“Now my main worry is to stop it happening to others and that is why I want to bring this forward so people realise that there is a toxic atmosphere.”

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham said: “Dr Vaishnavi Kumar was a much loved and respected doctor, who was popular with colleagues and patients alike. Her unexpected death was a tragedy and our heartfelt condolences remain with Vaishnavi’s family.

“We have reflected on our response to Vaishnavi’s death, have learnt lessons from this, and are acting on them.

“Dr Kumar wants his daughter’s death to result in improvements in the support offered to all doctors in training and to see a change in the culture of the trust. We are pleased that he has agreed to work with the trust on this.”

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Jonathan Brotherton, chief executive at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) said in response to the report’s findings: “Patients can continue to be confident that the care and treatment provided at our hospitals is safe. We are pleased that Professor Bewick’s overall view ‘is that the trust is a safe place to receive care’.

“We fully accept his recommendations and welcome the additional assurance that has been asked for through further independent oversight.

“There are a number of significant concerns that we need to, and have started to, address; we will continue to learn from the past, as we move forward.

“We want to develop a positive, inclusive work environment where people want to come to work, in a place that they are proud to work in, to do their very best for our patients. While we will not be able to fix things as quickly as I would like, we do need to do it as quickly as possible, for the benefit of patients and staff; I am committed to ensuring this happens.

“We must now focus on continuing to provide the best possible patient care, building a values-led culture and supporting our incredible colleagues.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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Teenage neo-Nazi who planned suicide bomb attack on synagogue jailed for eight years




Teenage neo-Nazi who planned suicide bomb attack on synagogue jailed for eight years

A sixth form student from Brighton who drew up plans for a suicide bomb attack on a local synagogue has been jailed for eight years for terrorism offences.

Mason Reynolds, 19, from Moulscoomb was a student studying bricklaying and roofing and doing part-time labouring work on the side.

He lived with his parents and was described as leading “in many ways, a not untypical existence of a young man in his late teens”.

However, Naomi Parsons, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that Reynolds was a neo-Nazi who believed the white race was “destined to dominate the rest of mankind”.

She said Reynolds “does not find himself here because he has political, racial or ideological views that some may find distasteful or indeed abhorrent”.

“He is here because he has not just held those political, racial and ideological views, he has acted on them.”

When Reynolds was arrested, police found a note on his phone created on 7 May 2023 entitled “Enough Larping” – a call to action that referred to ending his “live action role play”.

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The note included a 13-second video from Google Maps showing the exterior of Hove Synagogue, and Reynolds had listed its address and the CCTV cameras and fire exits.

He added: “Possible buzzer to get into the building, 1 camera on left side (side entrance locked by gate).”

On another image he had marked “quickest and efficient way in”, adding: “Could be good for surprise attack.”

Hove Hebrew Congregation Synagogue in Holland Road.
Pic: Wikimedia
Hove Hebrew Congregation Synagogue. Pic: Wikimedia

Reynolds had attached images of synagogues in Missouri and Washington in the US and in Edinburgh as “examples of what to expect inside”.

Underneath he had written: “The Jewish holidays that tend to have the most people in synagogues are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover.”

In June, Reynolds produced an image on a video app called CapCut with the words “Make Jews Afraid Again”.

Later on the same day, a discussion took place on Telegram with another teenager using the sign-on AR15 – a reference to an assault rifle.

Reynolds told him: “I wanna strap multiple pipe [bombs] to my chest and blow myself up inside a synagogue… I have a plan.”

Without identifying his target, he told the other user: “They won’t let me through the buzzer door if suspicious, like Stephan Balliet” – a reference to a German-born neo-Nazi who used homemade weapons to kill two people, after failing to get into a synagogue in Halle, Germany, in October 2019.

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Police also discovered Reynolds had copies of the Mujahideen’s Explosives Handbook, the Terrorist’s Handbook, and the Anarchist Cookbook on his computer, along with files used to make a 3D printed assault rifle called the FGC-9.

Reynolds was one of two administrators for the “Far-Right Sigmas” channel on the Telegram app, a neo-Nazi propaganda channel which was set up in late November 2022 by “AR15” in Poland.

The channel promoted the view that society was in decay and the fault lay with Jewish people who controlled the financial institutions, the media and encouraged immigration, resulting in the “dilution” of the white race.

The channel had nearly 350 subscribers and produced content that glorified Nazis including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, leader of the Waffen SS, as well as far-right killers including Anders Breivik, Brenton Tarrant, and Dylann Roof, who killed nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“It hoped, it seems, to create neo-Nazis of the future,” Ms Parsons said.

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One of the clips circulated by Reynolds featured Stephan Balliet, who livestreamed his attempted attack with homemade rifles and bombs.

Speaking of Tarrant, who livestreamed an attack that killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Reynolds commented: “It’d be 10x better seeing Jews get killed.”

In the channel’s chatroom, Reynolds also distributed videos of the Christchurch attack, and Breivik’s attack in Norway in 2011, which killed 67 people.

Much of the material on the channel was edited from propaganda produced by an organisation called Atomwaffen Division, a US based terrorist organisation banned by the UK government in July 2021.

Reynolds pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing material useful for terrorism and five offences of distributing material likely to encourage terrorism. He was found guilty of possessing an article for terrorist purposes.

After his arrest, Reynolds told police he was hurt that his friends viewed him as someone who was “all talk and no action” and wanted them to stop calling him a “LARP” – live action role player.

He had written the note in 15 minutes, forgot to delete it and thought no more about it, he said.

Jailing Reynolds for eight years with an extended licence of five years, Mrs Justice May accepted that he did nothing to carry his plan and that his “secret life” was now out in the open.

But she said she considered him “dangerous” and added: “These ideas are immensely attractive, to young men in particular, and while only a small fraction of those who hold these beliefs act on them, the consequences are catastrophic as history has shown.”

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Anglesey: Plane crash-landed in back garden after ‘engine failure’




Anglesey: Plane crash-landed in back garden after 'engine failure'

A plane was “destroyed” in a crash-landing in a back garden after it suffered “engine failure”, according to a report into the accident.

The 50-year-old pilot was taken to hospital by air ambulance following the incident where the aircraft ended up on a housing estate in Anglesey.

The Aerosport Scamp had recently undergone a major restoration and it was the pilot’s fourth journey in the aircraft, the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) said.

He fractured his wrist and suffered some minor injuries, including a minor head injury, despite wearing a helmet for protection.

No one else was injured in the incident earlier this year.

The plane crash-landed in the back garden of a property on the Cae Bach Aur Estate in Bodffordd, near Llangefni, on Saturday 10 February and was “destroyed”.

North Wales Fire and Rescue was called to the scene at 1.44pm as well as North Wales Police.

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Steve Davies, who lives next door to the house, said at the time he heard a noise “like an engine misfiring and cutting out”.

The report into the incident found there had been a partial loss of power shortly after the plane took off from RAF Mona in Anglesey.

Full power was briefly regained before the aircraft stalled and then the engine stopped, with the cause of the power loss not identified.

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The pilot, unable to reach the airfield or a field he could land in, carried out a forced landing into some trees at the back of a housing estate.

The plane slid down from the trees and came to rest on its right side in a garden.

The pilot’s “prompt recognition and response to the aircraft’s stall” meant there was a “less severe outcome”.

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In its conclusion, the report could not determine the cause of the engine failure.

Contributory factors to the accident were given as “a challenging decision-making process” and “the pilot’s inexperience” with the type of aircraft.

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Dr Michael Mosley’s last interview before his death released




Dr Michael Mosley's last interview before his death released

Dr Michael Mosley’s last interview before his death in a mountainous area of the Greek island of Symi last week has been released.

The interview was recorded less than two weeks before the TV doctor went missing while on holiday with his wife Clare on 5 June.

His body was found five days later in a rocky area of the island.

Doctor and broadcaster Chris van Tulleken described Dr Mosley as “one of the most important broadcasters of recent decades” as he introduced the last interview conducted by the late TV doctor.

Dr Van Tulleken said he wanted audiences “to reflect on his style, dryly witty, modest, humble”.

In the interview, recorded at Hay Festival in Wales on 25 May, Dr Mosley asked psychology professor Paul Bloom for his top tips to be happy.

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The mayor of Symi told Sky News that the body showed no signs of injury

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Dr Mosley, known for appearing on programmes like This Morning and The One Show, talked about the benefits of doing uncomfortable things such as taking cold showers.

“I cannot say it is a moment of bliss,” the presenter said in the interview, broadcast in “There’s Only One Michael Mosley”, a special episode of his regular BBC Radio 4 programme.

“It’s normally followed by a lot of screaming… actually what I do is I sing really loudly which my wife really hates but it gets me through it and then afterwards I sort of feel good about it.

Dr Michael Mosley with wife Clare. Pic: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Dr Mosley with wife Clare. Pic: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

“But despite the fact that I know I’m going to feel better afterwards, it is still every time a challenge to turn it on to full cold because I know it’s going to hurt.”

Dr Mosley is credited with popularising the 5:2 diet, a form of intermittent fasting, through his book The Fast Diet which he co-authored with journalist Mimi Spencer, and later advocating for The Fast 800 diet, which follows a “moderately low-carb, Mediterranean-style diet”.

In 2002, he was nominated for an Emmy for his executive producer role on BBC science documentary The Human Face, and he also ingested tapeworms for six weeks for a 2014 documentary called Infested! Living With Parasites on BBC Four.

In the interview, Dr Mosley also discussed with Professor Bloom the benefits of finding “some way where you’re not constantly thinking about the past, present and future”.

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The mayor of Symi told Sky News that the body showed no signs of injury

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Dr Mosley also discussed how he once filled in a personality test which involved both self-reporting and a brain scan.

Once the results of the scan came in, he said he was told he was “a bit of a psychopath. Is that a good insight, is that going to help me in any way to lead a richer and fuller life?,” Dr Mosley asked.

The professor replied quoting author Jon Ronson as saying “if you’re worried that you’re a psychopath, you’re not a psychopath”.

Dr Mosley first trained as a doctor before moving into the world of broadcasting, presenting a host of science programmes and films on the BBC including the series Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, which looked at healthcare in Britain.

A second special will look at how he transformed people’s lives and was an executive producer following him working on the shows Pompeii – The Last Day; Krakatoa Revealed; Life Before Birth, and Supervolcano.

It will air on BBC One on Friday at 8pm.

Dr Mosley’s wife, Dr Clare Bailey Mosley, paid tribute to her husband last week, describing him as a “wonderful, funny, kind and brilliant husband” and saying it was a comfort to the family he “very nearly made it” to safety.

She said he appeared to have undertaken an “incredible climb, took the wrong route, and collapsed where he couldn’t be easily seen” by search and rescue teams.

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