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Emergency care ‘out of control’, PIP scandal continues and the man with ‘nine lives’

NHS emergency care is ‘out of control’ across large swathes of the country, reports The Telegraph this morning. Too many patients — especially the elderly — are arriving in hospital as an emergency, when they should have received help much earlier, said David Prior, head of the CQC.

As a result, he added, the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse and regulators cannot promise to prevent further scandals like Mid-Staffordshire.

In his first major speech since being appointed to lead the regulator earlier this year, Mr Prior called for large-scale closures of hospital beds and investment in community care.

He said that almost half of hospitals are providing care which was either poor, or ‘not terribly’ good. The CQC has identified 45 hospitals which have had problems which date back five years. And he criticised the decision to allow GPs to opt out of out-of-hours care, saying that they should be available to patients around the clock.

In a forthright speech to a conference held by health think tank the King’s Fund, Mr Prior said: ‘If we don’t start closing acute beds, the system is going to fall over.’

Meanwhile, The Guardian warns that the faulty PIP breast implants could be more harmful than the initial review had concluded. Two environmental scientists and campaigners dispute the findings of the independent inquiry into the scandal, which concluded there was no significant risk to patients from the PIP breast implants that were fraudulently filled with industrial-grade silicone.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the pair say they are particularly concerned about a chemical in the silicone filling that has been identified as an endocrine-disruptor – a substance that could potentially have an effect on the development of a foetus in the womb.

To conclude with (really) some good news, The Daily Mail reports of the ‘man with nine lives’, who cheated death eight times surviving a broken neck, four heart attacks, bouts of MRSA and pneumonia - and then cancer.

Matthew Hawksley first escaped death in June 2011 when he dived into rocks. The trauma triggered multiple heart attacks, a coma and a broken neck. While in hospital he caught deadly MRSA virus and then pneumonia, he then found a lump and doctors diagnosed him with testicular cancer.

Now fully recovered, he said: ‘In lots of ways I feel like the unluckiest man I know - but I suppose I’m the luckiest man in Britain.

‘I have never really been down or upset. You just have to carry on.’