NHS pays for one-to-one surfing therapy for mental health patients
While cancer patients are denied drugs and other treatments. And where is the evidence of permanent benefit to mental patients of this “therapy”?
Patients suffering from depression are being given free surfing lessons paid for by the NHS. The pilot project is offering one-to-one tutorials by professional surfers to young people who have been diagnosed with mental health issues. Health chiefs hope [This is quackery] the ‘therapy’ will help them build confidence while learning a new skill.
The patients aged between 12 and 25 were referred to the scheme by mental health charities and it is being paid for by the Cornwall Primary Care Trust.
They decided to spend £5,000 on the project after watching a similar surfing session run by the same company in Polzeath for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But critics say the activity is a waste of the NHS’s money and it would be better spent on medicine and staff during the economic downturn. It comes as health trusts have been ordered to tighten their belts to make the NHS more efficient.
Conservative MP Philip Davies said: ‘This PCT seems to have far too much money if it can afford to provide jollies like this. ‘It’s ridiculous that at a time when some drugs are being restricted from patients because of the cost that this can go on. They are not accountable and do not need permission to hold these activities and just do it. That seems wrong.’
TaxPayer’s Alliance spokesman Fiona McEvoy said: ‘This is a highly questionable use of NHS funds at a time when doctors are having to deny cancer patients drugs. ‘It’s important that the NHS uses its funds for medicine and equipment rather than watersports.’
Depression and anxiety cost the national economy £17billion a year. Forty per cent of those claiming disability allowance do so as a result of mental illness. Joe McEvoy, who commissioned the service for the PCT, said: ‘I think it will offer excellent value.
‘It’s a long-established body of evidence which shows that when you organise therapeutic activities around particular tasks, people benefit not just from social interaction but also build confidence. “That’s been one of the tenets of occupational therapy which has been an established therapeutic discipline in all sections of health care for many decades.’
‘The coast is one of our greatest assets and it makes sense to use it to improve the health and well-being of our patients. ‘There are many positive health benefits that flow from physical activity and people who are suffering from poor mental health can also gain from improved self-esteem and doing things which are enjoyable.’
A spokesman for Era Adventuresm which is providing the lessons, said: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity and a great way of using surfing in the community.’
A NHS coverup in full swing
‘Inexcusable’ failures left rogue technician free to go from hospital to hospital sexually assaulting women under anaesthetic
A judge condemned health chiefs yesterday for failing to stop a hospital technician who sexually assaulted a string of women across the country. David Foster, 56, carried out one sex attack while the patient was undergoing an operation and others were done immediately after surgery while the women were highly vulnerable and groggy from the general anaesthetic.
Bosses at two hospitals failed to inform police about the serious allegations despite complaints being made by the victims.
Foster, an operating department practitioner, was able to get work as a locum at a third hospital while on police bail for an earlier assault. He worked just one day there and carried out another brazen attack which left the women traumatised, Hull Crown Court was told.
Today Foster, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, was jailed for five years after admitting six charges of sexually assaulting patients. The offences spanned two years and were carried out on four women at three hospitals.
But detectives fear the married pervert may have commited further offences during his career. He is known to have worked in hospitals in Wales, Kent, Nottingham and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Passing sentence, Judge Simon Jack told him: ’What you did strikes at the very heart of the relationship patients have with staff in hospital. It is the stuff of nightmares. ‘Patients going into hospital for surgical procedures have to place themselves in the hands of medical staff. They have no option but to trust and submit their bodies to them.’
The judge said the failure by hospital authorities to immediately report allegations to police was ‘inexplicable and inexcusable.’
The offences began in July 2008 when Foster was working at Pinewood Hospital in Hitchin, Hertforshire. He had got the temporary job as a theatre assistant through an employment agency.
The victim was having a minor operation on her face, with the surgeon and assistant present in the room, when the assault took place, the court heard. He told the woman to keep her eyes closed, took her arm and placed it on his private parts. The woman reported the incident and a matron quizzed Foster about the allegation.
Foster denied doing anything wrong and said she must have imagined it. He was only reprimanded and told he would be monitored. The judge said this was ‘an error of judgement,’ commenting: ’They should have at least reported it to the police.’
Despite the warning Foster carried out another sex assault just four days later.
A 38-year-old woman had a lump removed from her breast and was taken into the recovery room after surgery. When two other people left the room Foster struck again. The woman, who said she felt ‘vulnerable and scared’, reported the assault. Again Foster was questioned by the matron and denied anything happened, but this time he was sacked.
Instead of informing the police the hospital authorities did nothing. Foster registered with another agency and got a similar job at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
His next sex assault took place in October last year. A 25-year-old woman underwent hip surgery under general anaesthetic and was in a screened cubicle in the recovery room when Foster assaulted her.
Prosecutor Jharna Jobes said: ’She started to scream for help. She started to pull the drip out of her arm and was trying to leave. She wanted to call the police immediately on her mobile telephone. Hospital staff prevented her. The manager was called.’
The woman called her brother after she got back to the ward and he then contacted police. The judge criticised the hospital for leaving it to the patient to alert police. The judge said: ’I find the lack of action taken by the hospital difficult to understand.’
The woman said in a victim impact statement: ’Prior to this I was a strong person, but have lost my self confidence. It annoys me that he did what he did to me. I am scared of being vulnerable again.’
Foster was arrested and released on police bail. Despite being under investigation he found work on 11 January this year at Bridlington Hospital in East Yorkshire.
This time a 30-year-old woman came round from a minor operation to realise Foster was talking to her and using his hands and mouth to sexually assault her. She said:’I could not scream or move. It was one of the two most traumatising moments of my life. The other was the death of my father. I feel dirty, used and abused.’
Outside court Detective Constable Dean Smith of Humberside Police said he was concerned Foster had continued to work despite the ‘professional bodies knowing of the allegations.’
He urged any other victims not known to police to come forward. DC Smith added: ’These were horrendous offences against vulnerable women. It was a massive breach of trust. It beggars belief that while his victims found themselves drugged or unconscious he chose to treat them in this way. In 30 years as a police officer I have never come across a case like this before.’
A spokeswoman for the Health Professional Council said Foster was registered with them and he was suspended after the final offence in January. She refused to comment further.
British taxpayers fund council ‘adventures in Sindia and Lesbianandgayland’ as part of sessions on equality and diversity
Council bosses are being asked to imagine they are English economic migrants in the fictitious region of Sindia, or go on an `adventure in Lesbian-andgayland’ as part of publicly-funded training sessions on equality and diversity. More than 30 managers from Brighton and Hove City Council have been on the two-day `Leading on Diversity’ course in the past year – at a cost of several thousand pounds.
In the session entitled Adventures in Sindia, the English Exodus, staff are asked to imagine that it is 2030 and the `world is a very different place’. In this scenario, much of the South-East of England and East Anglia is under water.
Millions of English families desperate for work have been forced to uproot to Sindia, an economic federation which is made up of China and India. All the participants are asked to imagine that they are a seven-year-old child called Sarah Hardy, whose family has just moved to Delhi.
They are also warned that the English are largely despised in India because they have a reputation for `illegality, criminality, cultural conservatism and an inability to learn the host language’.
The course material states: `Your seventh birthday was a miserable occasion. Your parents invited all the children in your class to a party. All but one failed to turn up and none sent an RSVP. `The only child who came was a Jewish girl from Hungary. Somehow you felt that she understood what you were going through, even though you never talked about it.’
The course attendees are told that while in Sindia they can expect to hear comments such as: `Why do you insist on eating that bland food? What you need is a good masala’, `Do your parents really force you to drink alcohol at the age of ten?’, and `What do you call an English virgin? A contradiction in terms’.
In the other session, staff are asked to imagine that `while asleep one night they have slipped through a wormhole in space’ and woken up in a parallel world where it is
normal to be lesbian or gay.
They are told that they are now in a country where `heterosexual teachers are very reluctant to come out’, `the ideal family consists of a lesbian or gay male couple’, and `that conceiving a child by heterosexual intercourse is viewed with distaste’.
They are then asked to consider how they would respond if people asked them: `What do you actually do in bed?’, `Don’t you think heterosexuality may be a phase you are going through?’, and `Is it possible that what you need is a good gay lover?’
The course for staff at Brighton and Hove Council was organised and run by Aziz Associates, a training consultancy founded in 1996. The company is run by Razia Aziz, 45, a politics graduate, and clients include health trusts, local councils and Government departments. Its website describes Ms Aziz as a `coach, facilitator, and performance and workshop artist’ with a `holistic style that embraces the intellect, body and heart’.
A Mail on Sunday investigation also found that other councils which ran equality and diversity projects last year included Preston, which spent œ1,500 sending staff on three Journeys of Faith sessions, Kensington and Chelsea, and Test Valley Borough Council in Hampshire, which spent œ2,800.
Meanwhile, Hertfordshire County Council has produced a Making Our Mark On Equality And Diversity guide that says references to `girls in the office’ is inappropriate because it implies `dependence and immaturity’. The same council also has problems with `lady’ which has `over-tones of decorum and conformity’ and even woman `which has overtones of sexuality’.
Officials at East Devon District Council have banned `little old lady, pensioner, youth and youngster’ and guidance to staff states: `White European people are also subjected to prejudice and stereotyping – Swedish (“porn and nudity”), Germans (“Hitlers who want to rule the world”), Irish (“thick”), Scottish (“mean, tight with money”).’
A spokesman for Brighton & Hove City Council said: `At a cost that is low by any comparison, our training role-plays are proven to do what they are supposed to do, which is to reduce inappropriate discrimination based on race, faith, disability,
gender, sexuality or age.’
Arrogant British bureaucrat
But I repeat myself
Britain’s chief tax collector was accused of astonishing arrogance last night after appearing to complain about having to ‘serve’ every taxpayer. As she was quizzed by MPs about the tax fiasco affecting millions of people, HM Revenue & Customs chief executive Dame Lesley Strathie insisted ‘no mistakes’ had been made by her staff.
And she suggested it was unfair to compare the shambolic performance of HMRC with top businesses because they have the privilege of choosing which customers they want.
Tax chiefs hauled to give evidence to the Treasury Select Committee admitted that a staggering 24 million people could have had their tax bills miscalculated over recent years. Six million will get letters before Christmas either demanding an average of £1,400 or offering a refund by cheque after a new computer system identified errors in their PAYE accounts.
But MPs heard there is a backlog of a further 17.9million ‘unresolved’ tax cases dating back to 2005, which HMRC is hoping to process by 2012. Many of those could now face demands for underpaid tax.
Ministers have ordered HMRC to make another climbdown to try to appease public anger. Yesterday they agreed that those facing tax demands of £2,000 or more as a result of errors will not be charged interest on the money they owe. Mr Hartnett said: ‘Only those who will not engage with us will be charged interest’
The Revenue has already agreed to waive bills of £300 or less, meaning 900,000 taxpayers will be spared paying any money back – at a cost of £160million to the Exchequer.
Dame Lesley Strathie is a career civil servant who has worked in the public sector for almost 40 years. She joined the civil service in 1971, and worked as a clerical assistant. In her role as HM Revenue & Customs chief executive she receives an annual salary of up to £175,000 – £30,000 a year more than Prime Minister David Cameron.
Dame Lesley, who was born in 1955, was appointed permanent secretary and chief executive of HMRC in November 2008. One of her predecessors quit in 2007 with a pay-off worth £2.3 million when HMRC managed to lose discs containing the personal details of 25 million people. Since Dame Lesley’s appointment, she has struggled to tackle a number of problems.
The Commons Treasury committee criticised the performance of the organisation earlier this year and revealed that morale among its staff was low.
Despite questions over the success of her management, in June she was named a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Defending her performance amid a barrage of hostile questioning from MPs from all parties, Dame Lesley pointed out that if she were head of a large business she would be able to pick and choose her customers. ‘In any commercial business, you will have a customer strategy. You will decide which customers you want to acquire and which customers you want to divest yourself of,’ she said. ‘We serve everybody. We don’t have a choice about who we serve.’
She also insisted the fiasco was not all bad news, since while 1.4million people will have to pay an extra £1,400 in tax, 4.5million people will get refunds of £400 on average.
Labour MP George Mudie, a member of the Treasury committee, accused Dame Lesley of ‘arrogance’. ‘I thought her remark about businesses being able to pick and choose their customers told you everything you need to know about HMRC. ‘They seem to regret the fact that as public servants they have to serve all the public.
‘[She] appeared to suggest she would cheerfully drop people and not bother with them if they act in a way that gives the Inland Revenue the slightest trouble. ‘The question we should be asking is whether she and her colleagues would still b e in their positions if they … were running a company like Marks & Spencer. ‘What on earth do senior civil servants have to do to get sacked?’
Former British Civil Service Chief Calls For Climate Shakeup
The former head of the civil service has called for a new approach from scientists and policy makers to restore waning trust in climate scientists. Speaking to The Register, Lord Andrew Turnbull, former cabinet secretary and head of the Home Civil Service between 2002 and 2005, says the University of East Anglia’s internal enquiries into the Climategate affair were hasty and superficial, and called for Parliament to sponsor two wide-ranging investigations.
One study should examine the “ethos and governance” of climate science. The other should conduct “a fundamental review of the science itself”. He thinks policy makers are getting skewed and self-centered advice.
Was he speaking out because of the damage to Britain’s academic reputation, or the implications for policy? Both, he told us. “The so-called guardians have bought into a particular narrative. I’m not a skeptic, I can compare what my childhood was like, and I can see climate change going on,” said Turnbull. Nor does he contest the radiative properties of CO2. But the hypothesis depends on positive feedbacks that are far from certain, and these haven’t been explained to the public, with confidence wrongly assumed.
“We get fed a Janet and John version – a simplified story, and the world’s politicians use this to persuade the world’s electorates to take action, and action soon.”
Now we’re in the internet age, he thinks is untenable. “This is backfiring because people are intelligent enough, and well-armed enough with information.
“The deference is no longer there. We don’t live in that kind of world any more. People in the blogosphere don’t have to accept these and other statements from the authorities, and they will challenge them. We have seen that they can challenge them quite effectively.”
Trouble in Watermouth (Watermouth is a quiet and peaceful holiday resort –JR)
Did he think the inadequacy of the Climategate enquiries would leave lasting damage to the British reputation?
“I see some damage to British academia, and lasting damage to the [University of East Anglia] Climatic Research Unit which is possibly terminal, really. I don’t see how it can now recover.
“The Russell Report talks about the ‘rough and tumble’ of academic argument. But all this is publicly funded research programs. They’re not arguing about whether Dickens is better than Jane Austen – their work goes to the basis of public policy.”
Wouldn’t academics resent the intrusion, and defend the principle of academic freedom?
“Does academic freedom include the freedom to stop other people being published at all?” he asks.
“There’s an observation in Muir Russell’s report that’s very good, you can’t fault it, and I’ll quote it. The report points out that ‘It is important to recognise that science progresses by substantive challenges based on rigorously logical, published arguments that present a different view of reality from that which they challenge’. This is absolutely correct.
“But then you get the CRU scientists saying the opposite. They were engaging in groupthink. And having set out the principles the enquiries haven’t used them to make judgement about what they found.”
Parliament probably doesn’t have the resources to conduct the two studies by itself, Turnbull says, and staffing them with people who haven’t bought into the ‘Janet and John’ version might be tricky – but not impossible.
“There are some people in the Royal Society who think it’s gone too hard over onto the simplified consensus. There are climate changers who believe in the most sophisticated version and who are prepared to be more admitting of doubt – but they all fear they get branded as ‘deniers’
What do civil servants really think?
What about the civil service itself, we wondered. How deeply wedded is it to an increasingly unpopular position?
“It’s almost totally embedded. Ministers don’t get a range of views presented to them.
“The public is under pressure. If you take a family or small business, they’re facing ten rather austere years. But they’re also being asked to incur major costs and make significant changes to your lifestyle. So people ask ‘do I really have to?’
“So three things happen. They begin to worry about the science. They see that the scientific consensus isn’t as solid as they were led to believe. And they don’t see other countries doing the same things – the prospects for another Kyoto are worse than ever.
“So if we decarbonise by 2050 there’s a risk we’ll suffer double jeopardy. We’ll incur a cost to moving to higher-priced energy and others won’t follow.”
Turnbull adds that decarbonisation policies are now hugely unpopular with electorates, and led to the collapse of the Rudd government in Australia.
What’s going to give, then? Not a lot, he thinks. “Initially I would predict there won’t be very much change in attitudes. The scepticism isn’t there. Ministers and civil servants still believe what the scientists tell them.
“We’ll still pay lip service to all these obligations but the urgency will fade. It will be like the [Minimum Development Goals] commitment to devote 0.7 per cent of GDP to overseas aid – it will rest there. We will just fall further behind the schedule. Then, eventually, there’ll be the dawning that we’re doing this when nobody else is.”
Turnbull makes his call for new enquiries in the foreword to analysis of the Climategate enquires published today. The review of the two internal University enquires – Sir Muir Russell’s Climate Change Emails Review and Lord Oxburgh’s Scientific Assessment Panel was conducted for the Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank by Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey-Stick Illusion. More from the Foundation website later today. ®
A Tory government that panders to the Left
Britain has RINO types too
Middle-class families could go to the back of the queue under explosive plans to tear up the schools admissions code.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is proposing to allow academies and a new generation of ‘free schools’ to select pupils on the basis of their family finances, with the poorest being given priority.
They would be allowed to discriminate in favour of pupils who qualify for free school meals – those whose household income, including benefits, is below £16,000 per year.
It is hoped that this would bring a halt to ‘selection by mortgage’ in areas where admissions are determined chiefly by the distance between home and school, meaning parents who can afford to buy a home nearby gain an advantage.
But it is likely to trigger a backlash from Right-wing conservative MPs and the party’s traditional middle-class supporters, who are already angry that the coalition Government has ruled out any return to selection by ability.
Academies already take a higher proportion of children on free school meals than the national average, partly because under the previous Labour government they were set up in areas of social disadvantage.
However, charities including Barnardo’s argue that fewer pupils from poor homes get into England’s best schools because their parents are often less able to navigate the admission system.
Mr Gove’s proposal will be seen as an attempt to appease Liberal Democrat members of the coalition, who have pushed existing plans to boost funding for underprivileged children. The Education Secretary believes the change, which will require legislation, will provide a vital boost for social mobility.
Sources close to Mr Gove stressed that any change would not be ‘prescriptive’, and schools would simply be permitted to admit children entitled to free school meals in preference to others if they wished to do so.
Mr Gove envisages the introduction of new ‘free schools’, run by charities, business, or even groups of parents, which specialise in admitting disadvantaged children and get more taxpayers’ cash for doing so.
A source close to the Education Secretary said: ‘This could actually help middle-class families, because at the moment there are parts of the country where the schools are totally useless and children who are struggling are causing discipline issues and other problems.
‘The central aim of the Government’s education policy is making opportunity more equal. We have one of the most segregated and stratified education systems in the world and social mobility went backwards under Labour. ‘We want to emulate the success of charter schools in America which explicitly target their attention on poorer children.’
But Margaret Morrissey, founder of the parents’ lobby group Parents Outloud, warned that the rule change smacked of social engineering and would be seen as ‘unacceptable’ by many. She said it was becoming ever more difficult for children to get into their preferred schools, even if they had siblings already there.
‘Parents who work hard and do everything they should do will get shunted to the bottom of the list,’ she said. ‘If the Government thinks this is the fair and decent thing to do, it isn’t. This assumes every family on free school meals needs help and support, which is patronising. Not many people can pay tens of thousands of pounds to buy houses in catchment areas, and fewer and fewer people are in a position to do so.’
Some grammar schools have already indicated they wish to see the admissions code relaxed to allow them to take into account the social background of applicants. But Robert Mccartney, chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, warned such a move would lead to more discrimination.
He called on the coalition to allow more schools to select pupils by ability as the fairest admissions method, saying: ‘I fervently believe that a working-class child in Britain in 2010 should have exactly the same opportunity I had in 1948 to go to grammar school. Everyone accepts selection was the greatest engine of social mobility.
‘The conservatives are rowing back on education. They are playing the socio-economic card which is disguising the real defects in our system. ‘This policy would be discrimination of a kind. Children from whatever background with a good result on a selective test would be discriminated against.’
But Dr Lee Elliot Major, director of research at the Sutton Trust, an education charity set up to promote social mobility, said: ‘We think this is a good idea. It’s good for social mobility if you can have balanced intakes. ‘All of our studies show the top-performing schools are unrepresentative of their local communities.’
Must not insult the sacred Obama
Leftists all over the world used the most gross insults about George Bush and that was OK. But Obama is “different”, somehow — a sacred person apparently
“A British teenager who sent an e-mail to the White House calling President Obama a “pr*ck” was banned from the U.S. for life, The Sun reported Monday.
The FBI asked local cops to tell college student Luke Angel, 17, that his drunken insult was “unacceptable.”
Angel claims he fired off a single e-mail criticizing the U.S. government after seeing a television program about the 9/11 attacks. He said, “I don’t remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk. But I think I called Barack Obama a pr*ck. It was silly — the sort of thing you do when you’re a teenager and have had a few.”
Angel, of Bedford, in central England, said it was “a bit extreme” for the FBI to act. “The police came and took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever. I don’t really care but my parents aren’t very happy,” he said.