NHS board facing budget cuts to spend £70,000 on tea trolleys

I like a cup of tea as much as anyone but £70,000 on tea trolleys?? The mind boggles. Countless numbers of simple wooden trolleys are used to serve tea in British and Australian offices and I personally have had plenty of perfectly good cups of tea off them. The arrival of the tea lady with her trolley has been greeted with a gladsome heart in countless offices for many years — JR

An NHS board is to spend tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on top of the range tea and coffee trolleys for its hospital wards despite claiming it needs to cut hundreds of jobs. NHS Grampian has agreed a contract worth almost £70,000 to “enhance the beverage and breakfast experience for patients”.

But the Scottish health board has to cut £100million from its building budget over the next five years because of the squeeze on public spending and is set to cut hundreds of jobs.

Politicians criticised the decision to proceed with the contract but health bosses said the trolleys were essential to keep drinks, breakfast cereal and toast warm and fresh. It has ordered 27 Ultrakarts – which cost about £2,500 each – to be used at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Mike Rumbles, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, described the spending as “excessive”. He said: “I am sure the health board needs tea and breakfast trolleys – but £75,000 worth? I don’t think this spending is necessary at a time of austerity.”

Alex Johnstone, North East Conservative MP, said: “Every single piece of expenditure that NHS Grampian makes from now on must be justified by proving how it delivers better healthcare. “I am prepared to concede that this will sometimes require interesting decisions, but I find it hard to believe trolleys of this price can provide a matching level of improvements.”

NHS Grampian had hoped to offer 350 workers voluntary redundancy to help make £34million of savings, but the plan has been dropped.

The board launched a severance scheme earlier this year and it attracted more than 600 expressions of interest from doctors, nurses and administration workers. It had planned to save £16million through the voluntary severances and the rest by not replacing a further 227 staff due to leave this year. The board will now go back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, proposed medical centres at Banchory, Braemar, Cullen, Ellon, Inverurie, Insch, Kintore, Keith and Rothes have been placed on a ‘hit list’ of schemes that could be scaled down or abandoned to save £100million.

The company selling the Ultrakart, Bridge Valley Beverages, refused to say how much the trolleys cost.

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “These beverage trolleys represent a major service improvement for patients at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. “They are equipped with hot-water boilers which enable staff to safely provide freshly-made beverages to each patient, therefore improving fluid intake.

“Additionally, these trolleys will be used for the daily breakfast service, which will ensure that patients receive appropriate food and beverages to suit their changing clinical need and individual preference. “These trolleys help to ensure that we provide a safe, effective and efficient service to patients at optimum temperatures.

“NHS Grampian is continuing to work towards savings of £34million but we also remain committed to providing the best level of person-centred care to our patients. “The request to purchase these trolleys was subject to rigorous scrutiny before the contract was put out to tender, including a pilot project which encompassed direct feedback from service users and staff.”

The health board was criticised earlier this year after figures showed it had spent £42,000 on tea, coffee and biscuits for visitors and meetings.


James Lee is Al Gore is Prince Charles is the Unabomber

Al Gore’s Church of Climatism has claimed a new glorious martyr. His name is James Lee – the Discovery channel attempted eco-suicide-bomber – and if he’d had his way he wouldn’t have been the only one who ended up in the great recycling bin in the sky. That’s because, as far as the late James Lee was concerned, humans like the innocent Discovery channel employees he held hostage are the scum of the earth.

Just read some of the manifesto he posted on the internet and see for yourself:

The humans? The planet does not need humans.

You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!

Does this sound like the ravings of a sad, deranged loner on the wilder fringes of eco-fascist lunacy? Not to me it doesn’t. Strip away the block capitals and what you have, word for word, is the core manifesto of the entire global green movement.

Some greens, such as Al Gore, the Prince of Wales, the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt or that nice David Attenborough try to express their philosophy more diplomatically. Others, such as James Lee and his kindred spirit the Unabomber, are more forthright. Ideologically, however, there is not a cigarette paper’s difference between them. All cleave to the same fundamental tenet of the Church of Climatism: that humans are the problem not the solution.

It was for just this same strain of dodgy thinking that I castigated Boris Johnson yesterday. And the fact that people like Boris express their concerns about “overpopulation” jovially doesn’t make their stance any less reprehensible. In fact it probably makes it more so.

At least with the Unabomber or James Lee you know that you’re dealing with a nutcase. But when an apparently reasonable, decent, pukka fellow like Boris or the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt or the Prince of Wales or that nice David Attenborough off the TV expresses a similar opinion, there’s a strong risk that what is au fond exactly the kind of poisonous, misanthropy the Nazis took to its logical extreme begins to look moderate and sensible and considered.

What’s really depressing is that the philosophy expressed in James Lee’s (and the Unabomber’s) manifesto – which is also, incidentally, the philosophy expressed in Al Gore’s The Earth In Balance – is also the philosophy that is taught every day to our children in their schools: the world is fragile; human beings are a blot on the landscape; through our greed and selfishness we make everything worse; really it would be better if we vanished altogether and let all the lovely pure noble animals take over.

Or, as James Lee put it:

Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.

Not only do our schools teach our children this misanthropic – and deeply ahistoric – rot, but so also do broadcasters like the Discovery Channel. Their sister station, Animal Planet, for example, broadcasts a series called Whale Wars celebrating the real-life adventures of animal rights extremist Paul Watson.

It’s time we woke up to the threat posed by this mass brainwashing of the younger generation. We worry, rightly, about those Muslim children who are being indoctrinated with the extreme Wahaabist version of their faith. Yet we seem astonishingly complacent that every day, in schools of every kind throughout the Western world, our children are being taught by well-meaning teachers to view their world and culture through exactly the same anti-capitalist, anti-human, anti-growth eyes as James Lee and the Unabomber.

The modern environmental movement is not kind, caring or gentle. It is a series of ticking time bombs waiting to blow up in our face.


Yes, BBC was biased: Director General Mark Thompson admits a ‘massive’ lean to Left

BBC Director General Mark Thompson has admitted the corporation was guilty of a ‘massive’ Left-wing bias in the past. The TV chief also admitted there had been a ‘struggle’ to achieve impartiality and that staff were ‘ mystified’ by the early years of Margaret Thatcher’s government.

But he claimed there was now ‘much less overt tribalism’ among the current crop of young journalists, and said in recent times the corporation was a ‘broader church’. He claimed there was now an ‘honourable tradition of journalists from the right’ working for the corporation.

His comments, made in the New Statesman magazine, are one of the clearest admissions of political bias from such a senior member of its staff. The BBC has long been accused of being institutionally biased towards the Left, and an internal report from 2007 said it had to make greater efforts to avoid liberal bias.

That report criticised the BBC for coming late to several important stories including euroscepticism and immigration, which it described as ‘off limits in terms of a liberal-minded comfort zone’.

Speaking of the time when he joined the BBC, Mr Thompson told the magazine: ‘In the BBC I joined 30 years ago [as a production trainee, in 1979] there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the Left. ‘The organisation did struggle then with impartiality. And journalistically, staff were quite mystified by the early years of Thatcher.

‘Now it is a completely different generation. ‘There is much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC.’

He told the New Statesman: ‘The BBC is not a campaigning organisation and can’t be, and actually the truth is that sometimes our dispassionate flavour of broadcasting frustrates people who have got very, very strong views, because they want more red meat.’

Mr Thompson also connected his religious faith as a Catholic with working at the corporation. He said people joined the BBC because it is an organisation moved by a sense of values. He added: ‘I do think the BBC is very much – sometimes frankly, almost frighteningly so – a values driven organisation.’

‘People’s sense of what’s right and wrong, and their sense of justice, are incredible parts of what motivates people to join. ‘I’m part of that. For me, that’s connected with my religious faith but the key thing is: you don’t have to be Catholic.’

Mr Thompson described relations between the BBC and the recently ousted Labour government in its last few years as ‘quite tetchy’. But he said he was optimistic about a good settlement in forthcoming licence fee discussions with the Coalition.

He denied the organisation was one of ‘glorious freeloading’ but conceded: ‘We had our moments in the past’.

The interview came after Mr Thompson gave the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival last month where he said millionaire stars face the axe or having their salaries slashed.

Yesterday it also emerged the BBC is facing the threat of strikes after thousands of journalists, technicians and other staff voted massively in favour of industrial action in a row over pensions.

Members of the National Union of Journalists and the technicians’ union Bectu backed walkouts by more than 9-1 in protest at ‘punitive’ changes to the staff pension scheme. Unions held back from naming strike dates so that talks can be held over the next two weeks in the hope of resolving the dispute.


Tony Blair speaks highly of GWB in his memoirs

I have always had a similar view of GWB so it is rather pleasing to have it confirmed by someone who came to know him well — JR

Former U.S. President George W. Bush was a “true idealist” who displayed “genuine integrity and political courage,” former British prime minister Tony Blair reveals in his memoirs.

Detailing the close professional and personal relationship which developed between the two leaders in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S. and during the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003, Blair writes that Bush was “very smart” while having “immense simplicity in how he saw the world.”

“Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership… he sincerely believed in spreading freedom and democracy,” he writes in “A Journey;” which hit book stores in the UK on Wednesday….

Blair said the key to Bush’s political success was his “appeal as a normal guy.” “You might not agree with him, but if you’re a voter, you would never think you would be uncomfortable or feel inadequate if you met him socially; you would think he’d be nice and easy with you,” he writes.

Bush had also displayed the most integrity of almost anyone he had met in politics, Blair says. “I was asked recently which of the political leaders I had met had most integrity. I listed George near the top. He had genuine integrity and as much political courage as any leader I ever met,” he writes.


Quarter of British primary schools have no male teachers: Fears over vanishing role models as trend worsens

More than a quarter of primary schools do not have a single male teacher, following a long- term decline in their numbers, official figures reveal today. Staff rooms at 4,700 primaries are solely populated by women – 150 more than last year.

And just one man under the age of 25 works in a state-run nursery anywhere in England, the statistics show. The trend has triggered warnings that rising numbers of boys are having little or no contact with an adult male before they reach secondary school.

And with the number of male secondary school teachers also dwindling, some could go through their entire education without being taught by a man. The figures also fuel fears of rising misbehaviour among disaffected teenage boys whose lives lack male authority figures.

Statistics released today by the General Teaching Council show that only 125,361 of 502,562 registered teachers are men – just 25 per cent – with the vast majority working in secondary schools and further education.

Two decades ago, men made up four in ten teachers. In primary schools, in 2009/10, male teachers made up just 12.5 per cent of staff, compared with 13 per cent the previous year. Some 4,700 primaries in England – 28 per cent – have no male teacher or head teacher, up from 27 per cent in 2008/09. Six secondaries have no male teachers.

The decline is thought to be linked to the attractions of other graduate jobs as well as fears over allegations of inappropriate behaviour and society’s ‘paranoia’ concerning paedophiles.

The recession is eventually expected to lead to an increase in the number of men applying to become teachers. But experts warned that men also faced barriers to being accepted on teacher training courses – possibly because most recruiters are women.

Professor John Howson, a recruitment expert and director of Education Data Surveys, warned: ‘Colleges are converting fewer male applicants into people on courses than for women.’ He added that there are still elements in society which do not ‘fully appreciate that men can look after younger children’.

‘We probably hit a level of paranoia about four or five years ago – the question is whether we are doing enough to overcome it. ‘I’m even more concerned that we are haemorrhaging men in secondary schools. We are losing men at a faster rate at secondary level than primary. ‘Where do the boys’ male role models come from?’ he asked.

The GTC figures also show that only 44 men work in state nurseries, with just one – Jamie Wilson, 23, of Merseyside – in the under-25 age bracket.


Genetic excuse for obesity ‘is a myth’?

There’s actually nothing new in the research below. That you can work off fat by exercising hard and regularly is no news at all. There is no denial below that some people are genetically predisposed to fat

Obesity researchers have dismissed as a “myth” the excuse that we are “slaves” to our genes. Academics found that people could work off around 40 per cent of the extra weight that “fat genes” laid on them by exercising.

Although some people do have a predisposition to be overweight or even obese, scientists at the Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge discovered that having an active lifestyle could go a long way to countering a person’s genetic inheritance.

The researchers made their conclusions after analysing the genes of over 20,000 men and women aged 39 to 79, looking for 12 genetic markers known to increase body mass index (BMI) and the risk of obesity.

With this, they calculated a “genetic predisposition score” for each person. They then asked them to fill out questionnaires about their physical activity levels at work and elsewhere.

They concluded: “The findings challenge the popular myth that obesity is unavoidable if it runs in the family and could guide future treatments to combat the obesity crisis.”

Dr Ruth Loos from the MRC, who led the study, said: “Our research proves that even those who have the highest risk of obesity from their genes can improve their health by taking some form of daily physical activity.”

She added: “People don’t have to run marathons to make a difference either – walking the dog or working in the garden all counts. It goes to show we’re not complete slaves to our genetic make-up and really can make a big difference to our future health by changing our behaviour. “It goes to show we’re not complete slaves to our genetic make-up and really can make a big difference to our future health by changing our behaviour.”

The research is published in the journal PLoS Medicine.


About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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