First aid basics – what to do immediately after an incident

The first few moments after an accident takes place or someone falls suddenly ill can be very frightening and confusing. It is natural to panic in these kinds of situations, but it is important to stay as calm as you can. This is why regular first aid training is a good idea, because it drills the important information into your brain so that you start using it without even thinking, even if you start to panic.

Following an accident or sudden illness, you need to:

Check that you are not in danger before helping anyone – your safety is just as important as the casualty’s and you also cannot help them if you also fall ill or get injured

Check that the casualty is not in any danger – only once they are in a safe place, out of harm’s way, can you start to provide assistance

Call the emergency services – if the person is seriously ill or injured, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. It is often a good idea to do this anyway, just in case someone is in a more serious condition than they appear.

Use your first aid skills – again, this is why first aid training is vital, so you can put a casualty into the recovery position, perform CPR and provide other assistance which could help to save a person’s life.

Consumers told to abandon businesses which fail food safety checks

borough council in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, has told residents in the area to steer clear of food businesses with low food hygiene standards and choose higher rating firms instead.

Carrickfergus Borough Council runs a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which awards businesses with ratings from zero to five following food safety inspections. The ratings are displayed online, and businesses can also display a green and black food hygiene rating scheme sticker with their rating within their own premises.

Whilst an impressive 87 per cent of food businesses in the area have been awarded a three-star rating or more this year, the rest are falling below the standards required by food hygiene regulations. Consumers are being advised to check the rating of a business before using it, and to avoid those that have been awarded a zero, one or two star rating.

The council, and other local authorities in Northern Ireland, believe that this will encourage businesses to make improvements to standards, such as improving food hygiene training for staff and implementing better cleaning systems in their premises, in a bid to win or keep customers.

Food hygiene fine for Ballymoney farmer

A farmer from the Northern Irish town of Ballymoney, in County Antrim, has been issued a fine of over £1,000 for breaching food hygiene regulations.

Thomas Taylor was prosecuted at Coleraine Court for breaching Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006. Inspectors carrying out a routine check at his farm found a number of structural issues with some parts of his premises, including the bulk tank storage area and milking parlour. The farmer was fined £1,500 for the breaches.

Commenting on the outcome of the case, the FSA in Northern Ireland’s head of food safety, Michael Jackson, said:

“The FSA gives high priority to the safe and hygienic production of food and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements. Despite repeated requests and warnings, Mr Taylor failed to take action and maintain appropriate standards at the milking parlour.”

Mr Jackson also said that the FSA sees failures to comply with food hygiene regulations, including lapses in food hygiene training standards, as a very serious matter indeed. He added that offending businesses which repeatedly fail to comply with improvement notices may even be prosecuted.

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CQC issues warning over ‘at risk’ patients at Crumpsall care home

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a care home in Crumpsall, in Greater Manchester, with a formal warning to improve its standards or it could face further action.

A CQC inspection report included that the residents of the Homeleigh facility are potentially being put “at risk” by lapses in the standards of care provided to them. Of particular concern to inspectors was the management of medicine, as multiple errors were uncovered in the way staff recorded the medicine administered to residents in the space of a month.

In the report, CQC inspectors explain their findings:

“We found there was an inconsistent approach by staff as to whether to give medicines late or not at all and when to record medicines as being ‘refused’.

“This meant people were at risk because medicines were not being administered consistently and in line with GP advice.”

A formal improvement notice has been issued to the Southfield Care Homes group which runs Homeleigh. This requires improvements to be made to the systems for dispensing and recording medicine, as well as care training for staff on medicine management. If the home fails to improve, it could be prosecuted and possibly even closed.

Hidden cameras could be used to check care home standards

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the care home watchdog for England and Wales, is reportedly considering using hidden cameras and other unconventional surveillance methods to monitor care homes.

A consultation will take place next year on proposals which include the use of hidden cameras and mystery shoppers to check up on standards at care homes.

The CQC’s chief inspector for adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe believes that these covert surveillance methods can help to uncover poor standards of care, including issues with neglect, insufficient care training and even abuse. However, she also said that the CQC is going to very carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of the proposals, making sure to consider whether they will breach the privacy and dignity of residents or not.

However, the director of, Davina Ludlow, has concerns. She said:

“We urge full and meaningful consultation before ‘digital spies’ infiltrate the care sector. Not only will covert surveillance impact on residents’ freedom, it may also have a knock on effect on the motivation of staff.

“We need to train, support and inspire the next generation of carers; not create a Big Brother culture where people are afraid to do this vital job.”

Other proposed changes which will be discussed in next year’s consultation include an Ofsted-style rating system for care homes.

Derry businesses scoring well for food safety

According to the latest food hygiene ratings, nearly all the food businesses in the Northern Irish city of Derry are performing very well when it comes to food safety.

Derry City Council’s rating scheme found that a total of 97 per cent of all food-serving businesses in the area achieved a rating of three stars or more. Ratings range from five stars, meaning ‘very good’ standards are being upheld, to zero, which means that ‘urgent improvements’ are necessary.

A three-star rating means that food hygiene in a business is satisfactory. However, businesses with three stars are being encouraged to take steps to improve food hygiene training and other measures so that next year, they can attain four or even five stars.

Encouraging customers in Derry to do their research before dining out or using a particular food business, the council’s senior environmental health officer Genevieve McWilliams said:

“The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a fantastic tool for all consumers in Derry to find out the hygiene standards of the food businesses in the area.

“The stickers make it easy for everyone to check a rating and if it is below three you should consider switching your choice rather than eat somewhere with a low hygiene rating. Our aim is to drive up standards so that all food businesses in the area have a rating of three or above.”

First aid training could be life-saving for athletes

Premier League football clubs and other professional sports teams usually have whole teams of medical experts on hand in case of injury or illness during training sessions and matches. However, smaller teams and youth clubs don’t have the money to spend on a full-time medic. This is why these teams should consider first aid training instead.

Everyone from coaches and support staff to sports participants, players and athletes should consider taking a first aid course. A medical emergency can happen at any time, not just on the pitch. Someone could fall ill on the way to a match, in the dressing room or even during post-game celebrations (or commiserations), as well as hurting themselves quite badly during the match.

With the skills and knowledge to act fast and deliver crucial first aid in a medical emergency, lives could potentially be saved. A full first aid course only needs to be taken every few years, with a refresher needed every now and again, but the skills learnt on such a course are for life. What’s more, they can be used to save lives in virtually any part of life, not just on the sports field.

66 premises in the West of England get zero food hygiene ratings

Following a recent round of inspections, a total of 66 food businesses in the West of England have been given a zero food hygiene rating – the very worst rating it is possible to get.

The shocking results of the inspections were uncovered by the BBC Inside Out programme, but the ratings of all food businesses in the UK are available to view online. It is currently optional for businesses to display their rating on their premises.

The worst offenders were found to be in Bath and north-east Somerset, as well as in Wiltshire, as 11 premises in each received the zero rating. This rating means that “urgent improvement” is needed in areas such as cleanliness of equipment and premises, food hygiene training for staff, food storage methods and equipment, temperature control and the food safety management system in general.

Businesses with zero ratings can remain open to the public, but they must work closely with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and their local council to make the required improvements or they will face further action. This could include prosecution, fines or the closing down of the business completely.

Health and social care review to be carried out in Wales

A review into health and social care services is to be carried out in Wales, with unannounced visits to take place at around 100 care homes this year.

The review is being spearheaded by Sarah Rochira, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, who wants to use the upcoming visits to hear directly from care home residents and their families about the quality and standards of care they receive from care providers.

Discussing her aims for the review, Ms Rochira said:

“The voices of older people, as well as those who care for and care about them, are at the heart of my work as commissioner, which is why I want to hear about their experiences of residential care,”

“By giving a voice to older people and their families, my review and recommendations will ensure that those who are accountable for and run our services understand the day-to-day realities of living in residential care in Wales and the action required to deliver the change needed to ensure that that older people living in residential care have the best quality of life,”

The evidence gathered from the review will be put to a very good purpose, as it will be used to develop recommendations for public bodies and care providers. It may be used to develop new care training schemes, change policies and practices and perhaps even underpin new regulation.

Croydon takeaway guilty of breaching fire safety laws

The owner of a takeaway restaurant in Croydon has been prosecuted and given a suspended prison sentence for breaching fire safety laws and potentially putting his customers and staff in danger.

Munawar Ahmed, the owner of the Chicken Inn and Takeaway, was given a prohibition notice following an inspection by Croydon Council’s housing enforcement team back in January 2011. The notice prohibited the rooms upstairs from the chicken shop being used as accommodation, as they did not have any of the required safety measures such as fire doors, smoke alarms and emergency lighting in place.

The two floors over the restaurant were also littered with dangerous combustibles, and no fire risk assessment – a vital part of fire safety training courses – had been carried out on the ground floor area.

However, on a follow-up visit, inspectors found that the prohibition notice had been breached and that the two floors were still being used as accommodation. Mr Ahmed was prosecuted and found guilty of breaching fire safety regulations. He was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence.

Commenting on the outcome of the case, the London Fire Brigade’s Steve Turek said:

“This verdict should serve as a stark warning to landlords and business owners that they have a responsibility under fire safety laws to ensure that people living and working in their premises are safe from the risk of fire,”