Mothers wrongly told their healthy unborn babies had died by NHS horror Hospital
The NHS doctors were ready to kill the little girl above
Two women were told that their unborn babies were dead after a hospital missed their healthy heartbeats in routine scans. Joanna Barro, 25, was devastated when doctors said they were ‘100 per cent sure’ her baby was dead at eight weeks.
She was preparing to go through a miscarriage procedure a week later when a shocked nurse found a heartbeat and told her the pregnancy was fine. Miss Barro went on to give birth to a healthy baby girl, Ruby.
Earlier this week, Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital was forced to apologise to Sofia Taylor after it advised her she had lost her child at nine weeks. Mrs Taylor, 22, told how she refused to accept her baby was dead and demanded a second scan which showed her pregnancy progressing normally.
She said: ‘The minute they told me the baby was dead I didn’t believe them. It was mother’s intuition. I insisted on having another test. They weren’t happy about it and said I really should have a termination. ‘If I had listened to them I would have lost my baby. It doesn’t bear thinking about.’
Her husband Chris, 27, said: ‘The second doctor said about 45 per cent of women told their baby has no heartbeat opt to have an immediate termination. ‘What if they have also been victims of a terrible mistake?’
The Brighton hospital trust’s chief executive Duncan Selbie wrote to the couple to apologise, saying Mrs Taylor should have been offered a second scan before she was told of any potential problem with her pregnancy. He said: ‘Human errors of this sort are extremely unusual within the service.’
But Miss Barro, a single mother, says she is still suffering nightmares about losing her baby three years after the same department put her through an almost identical ordeal.
She said: ‘I was told my baby was dead and had been for a while. I was absolutely devastated. I kept asking, are you sure, are you sure? But two doctors said they were 100 per cent sure, gave me a miscarriage leaflet and told me to go home and wait for nature to take its course. ‘I remember my partner Dan and I just cried and cried. ‘I did not think it was the kind of thing doctors could make a mistake about – when they told me my baby was dead I believed them.’
When she returned to the hospital for the miscarriage procedure she demanded a further scan. She said: ‘I remember the nurse just looked really shocked and said: “I wouldn’t have the procedure if I was you – your baby has a heartbeat.” I was so happy. But I was also angry at the hell they had put me through.’
Ruby, now three, was born seven months later weighing a healthy 7lb 4oz. Cuddling her yesterday, Miss Barro said: ‘I call her my miracle baby because I really did think I had lost her.’
Royal Sussex County Hospital chief executive Duncan Selbie confirmed Miss Barro had been told she had lost her baby but said she was invited back for a repeat scan a week later. He said: ‘I am extremely sorry for the distress this must have caused Miss Barro in the early stages of her pregnancy.’
Mothers-to-be usually have a first antenatal check-up between six to eight weeks to confirm a pregnancy and to check if the foetus is alive by looking for a heartbeat.
Another scan takes place at about ten to 14 weeks to assess the risk of Down’s syndrome and other conditions. A further check will be made at 20 to 23 weeks to look in detail at the baby’s development.
The Royal Sussex County Hospital was the subject of a damning Panorama undercover expose in July 2005, when senior nurse Margaret Haywood secretly filmed appalling conditions in acute wards where she was working. At the time, the hospital had the lowest rating of zero stars. The hospital said it had reviewed its procedures after the programme and put new care standards in place.
Last year the Patient Environment Action Teams rated it as good after assessing cleanliness, control of infection rates and dignity afforded to patients. But in March, the hospital was forced to make an apology when two patients died after staff ignored warnings over their conditions.
The British bureaucrat who still refuses to say sorry: Chief of NICE won’t accept drug stance was wrong
The chief executive of the rationing body which overturned its own ban on Alzheimer’s drugs refused yesterday to apologise for denying the treatment to patients. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) performed a U-turn earlier this week after a three-year campaign by the Daily Mail to make three drugs available to hundreds of thousands with early stages of the disease.
But its chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon insisted yesterday that the original decision could not have been changed in any event. He said that clinical trial findings over the last three years had ‘subtly’ changed the evidence in favour of using drugs earlier in the course of the disease.
The ban that was controversially imposed in 2007 meant three drugs – Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl – could be used only by patients with moderate disease. But new draft guidance will allow doctors to prescribe these drugs to patients with mild symptoms, rather than waiting for them to deteriorate.
For the first time the drug Ebixa is also approved for severely ill patients which could save thousands from taking anti-psychotic medication – dubbed the ‘chemical cosh’.
Thousands of campaigners marched on the streets against the controversial decision, condemned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Geriatrics Society.
A legal challenge was mounted by the Alzheimer’s Society, partly funded by £230,000 raised in a week by Daily Mail readers, incensed over the ban on drugs costing just £2.50 a day. The action eventually resulted in the computer model for the restrictions being released, which campaigners believe helped overturn the ban.
However, Sir Andrew told interviewers yesterday that the only thing Nice could do in 2007 was impose restrictions. He said it would ‘be lovely’ if Nice had ‘perfect knowledge’ of all the drugs it assessed from the start, but insisted the original decision was based on the knowledge available then. In the last three years, he said, there had been more clinical trial data and information about the benefits and costs of the drugs. ‘In 2007 we were not confident, and now we are,’ he said.
Sir Andrew said evidence can ‘move subtly’ and clinical studies had ‘reinforced’ the case for using drugs at an early stage in the disease.
When asked if Nice had got it wrong, Sir Andrew said ‘No’ and refused to apologise for the ‘tragedy’ of many newly diagnosed sufferers going without drugs for the last three years.
Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said ‘no substantive new evidence’ had emerged in that time. He claimed the case was as strong then for using drugs in early disease as it is now. ‘We are glad that common sense has prevailed and they have looked at the evidence in a more sensible way,’ he added.
Although the drugs are not a cure, up to half of patients respond with ‘life-changing’ improvements.
Subject to an appeal, the change in policy could be confirmed early next year in England and Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have not been bound by the restrictions.
British police are ordered to protect ‘Doggers’ — homosexuals engaging in public sex
Britain sure has lost it
Police have been ordered to stop anyone taking in part in illegal outdoor sex being abused or verbally taunted as it can cause them to suffer post traumatic stress.
An extraordinary new Hate Crime Guidance Manual has been handed to officers telling them to arrest anyone suspected of committing a hate crime against those engaged in ‘dogging’.
Although it notes that outdoor sex can have an ‘impact on the quality of life of people using these locations for leisure pursuits’ – for example dog walkers and tourists – the rights of those cottaging, cruising or dogging must be taken into account by officers.
It states that even though ‘outdoor sex is unlawful’, people who take part in it still have rights which protect them from becoming victims of hate crime.
The manual, issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland last week, states that people who take part in open-air sex are ‘more susceptible to hate crime’ and can suffer ‘post traumatic stress and depression’ if they are abused, Police Review revealed.
The 60-page guide states: ‘The issues surrounding public sex environments can be complex and consequently provide a challenge for the police. ‘Whilst complaints regarding consensual public sex must be considered and responded to, it must also be noted that people engaging in such activity are potential targets for hate crime perpetrators.’
It states that doggers can be ‘reluctant to report victimisation in outdoor sex environments’ and says this is ‘due to a misconception that the police will primarily be interested in why they were there, as opposed to tackling hate or prejudice motivated crime’.
It goes on to say that hate crime can have a ‘lasting impact on individual victims’, adding that ‘crime targeted at an individual’s core identity also has the potential to undermine entire communities and damage community confidence in the police’.
The guide adds: ‘Research has shown that any victim of crime can suffer symptoms of depression, anger, anxiety and post traumatic stress. ‘Victims of non-biased crime can experience a decrease in these symptoms within two years (but) victims of bias, or hate crime, may need as long as five years to overcome their ordeal.’
In 2008, the then deputy chief constable of Lancashire Police Michael Cunningham – now the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police – issued guidance cautioning officers against ‘knee-jerk’ reactions when dealing with doggers and saying they should only be prosecuted as a ‘last resort’.
The most recent changes were made to the ‘Managing Public Sex Environments’ policy last month, and top brass say the policy has been ‘completely re-written’ following consultation with relevant groups and ‘new Association of Chief Police Officer guidance’.
It states that the new policy applies to all cops dealing with ‘public sex environments’, adding that the policy aims to ‘improve our effectiveness and the quality of service provided by the police service when policing public sex environments’ to ensure a ‘consistent, well managed, proportionate and professional approach to public sex environments’ is taken by officers.
The manual says that ‘human rights of all citizens’ must be protected and that the policy covers ‘any open space, public or private that is habitually used for the purpose of engaging in consensual same sex and opposite sex, sexual activity’, including public toilets.
It states that previous policing methods had ‘adversely affected’ the relationship between cops and people having outdoor sex and that the old methods ‘discouraged users from reporting crime to police’, leading to many unreported robberies, assaults and verbal abuse of doggers.
Les Gray, the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, told Police Review magazine today: ‘I do not believe that our officers require a 60-page booklet to tell them that we should carry out our duties without fear, favour, malice or ill will. ‘No matter what the circumstances our officers will always do their upmost to prevent crime in the first instance and where a crime has been committed assist the victim and endeavour to detect the culprit.
‘Just because someone engages in unusual or different activities it does not preclude them from the protection of the law. ‘By the same token it doesn’t mean that they will get more protection by doing so.’
One Kent officer, who did not want to be named, said: ‘So now we are being told not just to turn a blind eye to public indecency, we are being told to arrest anyone who has anything bad to say against people taking part in outdoor sex.
‘It’s getting to the stage that people who break the law have more rights than the normal man or woman on the street, and as for them suffering from post traumatic stress, what about the people who witness these exhibitions and are shocked by it? What about their rights.’
Hugh McKinney, of the National Family Campaign, said: ‘There is a good reason that we have laws against these types of sexual behaviour in public, namely that they are deemed to be beyond what is acceptable to most reasonable people. ‘Is it too much for us to expect the police to enforce the law? After all, they’re the only ones who can.’
Chief Constable Ian Latimer, of Scotland’s Northern Constabulary – which patrols the Scottish Highlands – said: ‘Hate crime divides our communities and has a devastating effect on victims, their family members and the wider community.
‘The manual, developed in consultation with partner agencies and victim support charities gathers best practice and provides officers with guidance on how recognise and investigate hate crime to secure the desired outcome and results for all parties involved.’
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 those who take part in ‘dogging’, where couples meet up for exhibitionist outdoor sex, and cottaging, where men meet for sex in public lavatories, face arrest for outraging public decency, voyeurism and exposure.
Cosseted British bureaucrats to lose some of their privileges
Millions of public sector staff face working until they are in their 70s to fund gold-plated pension schemes branded ‘inherently unfair’ by a hard-hitting report, it was claimed last night.
Labour former minister Lord Hutton said state workers – who can currently retire as young as 55 – will be forced to pay more and receive less on retirement. He gave ministers the green light to demand extra pension contributions from staff from as early as April. And his interim report also pronounced the end of final salary schemes – sparking threats of strikes from the unions.
Public sector pensioners could suffer some of the pain that their counterparts in the private sector are already facing. Critics say there is pensions apartheid between the public and private sectors.
Lord Hutton was asked to investigate the public sector pensions crisis by the Coalition. Taxpayers are currently liable for between £770billion and £1trillion in payouts and the gap between annual employee contributions and the promised rewards is running at £10billion a year.
Lord Hutton said that when he published his final recommendations next spring it is his ‘intention’ to suggest that the retirement age should rise in line with life expectancy projections. He said it was ‘logical’ to bring the public sector retirement age into line with the state pension age, which the Government has already said will rise to 68.
Lord Hutton will publish a formula linking public sector retirement age and longevity to ensure civil servants don’t spend nearly 30 years living on pensions.
He said he was ‘nervous’ about fixing a new retirement date for Britain’s six million public sector workers ‘to a definite age because longevity is marching ahead’. He added: ‘I think we’ve got to look at this as a matter of urgency.’
In 1841, someone who reached the age of 60 could expect to live to 74. Today, they will typically die at the age of 84. By 2055, a 65-year-old female public sector worker is predicted to live until she is nearly 95. A man will typically get to 92.
John Prior, of pensions firm Punter Southall, said he predicts the normal retirement age will get to ‘70 at least’. He said: ‘Just because a policeman can’t be on the beat at 55 does not mean that they cannot be doing some other job.’
In a further blow for state workers, they will be forced to start paying more of their salary into a pension scheme, which many currently get virtually for free.
Lord Hutton said the low-paid, understood to be those earning around £21,000, should be protected from higher payments. The Armed Forces, who do not pay a penny into their pension, will also be ring-fenced in the short-term.
But Lord Hutton said there is ‘a strong case’ to increase other contributions for a pension scheme which he yesterday branded as totally unaffordable – and getting more expensive every day.
In his 170-page report, he said that Britain has no choice but to change State workers’ pension schemes, or leave future taxpayers with an unaffordable burden.
He said: ‘It is my clear view that the figures in this report make it plain that the status quo is not tenable.’
That decision gives Chancellor George Osborne political cover to demand higher payments from state workers during the public spending review later this month. He could raise £1billion for every 1 per cent he adds to the payments. Mr Osborne said the report was ‘impressive’ and called for a ‘consensus’ on how to solve the crisis.
In a third blow, the report spells the end for lucrative final salary pensions, which promise to pay workers a percentage of their earnings on retirement. Lord Hutton said they are ‘inherently unfair’ and must be scrapped and replaced with cheaper alternatives, such as a ‘career average’ scheme or one which abandons the link to earnings entirely.
The report lays bare the bleak facts about public sector pensions in a country where less than a third of private sector workers get a company pension. Public sector workers are able to look forward to an average workplace pension of £7,841 – but the majority of private sector workers get nothing.
The report also lifts the lid on the gold-plated retirements of an exclusive bunch of State workers. Nearly 3,000 get a pension of ‘at least £67,000’ a year, with eight in ten of them working for the Health Service. A further 34,252 receive a pension worth ‘at least £37,000’.
By comparison, the majority of single pensioners in Britain, mostly retired private sector workers and stay-at-home mothers, are being forced to survive on pension income of ‘less than £27’ a day.
Lord Hutton’s plans triggered outrage among unions and are likely to lead to strikes. Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said: ‘This attack on the people who make this country tick will spark a furious backlash and will drive millions on to the streets in French-style protests to stop the great pensions robbery.’
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said the report represents a ‘grossly unfair’ attack on State workers ‘drawn up on behalf of a Cabinet of millionaires’.
Deputy head who dared attack the British government school system is sent home from school
A teacher who laid bare the chaos in the state education system has been ordered out of the classroom by her school. Katharine Birbalsingh is facing disciplinary action for daring to speak out at the Conservative Party conference this week about the shambles in state secondaries.
The Daily Mail understands that Miss Birbalsingh, 37, was made to work from home after other senior staff at her London academy feared her speech on Tuesday created too much negative publicity. Miss Birbalsingh said she was ‘devastated’ at being kept out of the classroom while she waits to hear if she is formally suspended or sacked.
The former Marxist – who was state-educated before going to Oxford University – voted Tory for the first time in this year’s general election.
A French teacher and deputy head at St Michael and All Angels Church of England Academy in Camberwell, South London, she was the surprise star at the Tory conference. She revealed how bad behaviour and lack of discipline in schools ‘blinded by Leftist ideology’ stopped staff from teaching children.
Her intervention against a ‘broken’ system which ‘keeps poor children poor’ earned her a standing ovation. She took up her latest job a month ago and said last night that her criticisms were not aimed at her new school. But staff felt that she had damaged the school’s reputation – an accusation that she denies.
Miss Birbalsingh said yesterday: ‘I’m devastated by this. ‘My whole life is about helping children fulfil their potential, particularly those in less privileged areas, and I love my school. ‘All I wanted to do was to highlight the barriers that stand in the way of improving education in Britain. ‘I just want this issue to be resolved and to get back to teaching again.’
However, Miss Birbalsingh did not blame the school for over-reacting. ‘It is not the school or the head’s fault,’ she added. ‘They are shackled by the system which bans teachers from having freedom of speech.
‘In my conference speech, I was not attacking my school directly – I have only been there for a few weeks. ‘I was emphasising my ten years plus of experience in classrooms.’ She added: ‘I feel awful. I have been forced to choose between keeping my school happy on the one hand and my principles on the other. ‘I shouldn’t be torn in that kind of way.’
Miss Birbalsingh was asked to ‘work from home’ for the rest of the week when she arrived at school on her return from the conference in Birmingham.
Her fate will be decided by executive head Irene Bishop and the school’s board of governors and sponsors. Last night no one from the school could be reached for comment. As an academy, the school is free from local authority or government control. But Miss Birbalsingh has the backing of education secretary, Michael Gove, who asked her to speak at the conference.
A source close to Mr Gove said: ‘Katharine gave an inspiring speech which was one of the highlights of the conference. She’s clearly passionate about raising standards for all, committed to her school and just wants to do the best by the children. ‘Let’s hope the situation will be resolved as soon as possible.’
In her rousing speech, Miss Birbalsingh said many of the changes necessary to improve schools required ‘Right-wing thinking’.
One in six pupils are behind in three Rs when they leave British grade schools
One in six children are effectively going backwards at primary school, new figures revealed today. Almost 100,000 youngsters achieved worse results in the three Rs at 11 than in comparable tests at age seven.
The figures suggest many pupils are simply left ‘coasting’ in large numbers of primary schools. Boys are more likely to fall behind in English and girls in maths.
Today’s Department of Education statistics are, however, an improvement on last year’s figures.
However ministers admitted it was a ‘very real concern’ that one in six youngsters was failing to make the expected progress in the basics between the ages of seven and 11.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: ‘We need to ensure that those who are doing well when they are seven are stretched to their full potential’
They said six-year-olds would sit a short reading test to identify problems earlier under Coalition plans to boost English standards.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: ‘Thousands of children are condemned to struggle at secondary school and beyond unless they get the fundamentals of reading, writing and maths right at an early age. ‘We also need to ensure that those who are doing well when they are seven are stretched to their full potential.’
The figures chart the progress made by tens of thousands of pupils after sitting SATs tests in English and maths at age seven. Youngsters who achieve ‘level two’ at age seven are considered to have made satisfactory progress at primary school if they go on to gain a ‘level four’ grade in SATs at 11. ‘Level four’ signifies that by the time they start secondary school, they can grasp the point of a story, write extended sentences using commas and add, subtract, multiply and divide in their heads.
Today’s figures show that 16 per cent of youngsters failed to make the expected two levels of progress in English and 17 per cent in maths. This was an improvement on last year’s 18 per cent in English and 19 per cent in maths. But the stats suggest that nearly 100,000 youngsters are still failing to fulfil the potential they showed at seven.
Usually nearly 600,000 youngsters take SATs but this year just 385,000 did so because two teaching unions boycotted the tests in May.
In English, 18 per cent of boys failed to progress at the rate expected, against 14 per cent of girls. Last year the gender gap was just three percentage points. Meanwhile, 18 per cent of girls failed to fulfil the potential they showed at seven in maths, against 17 per cent of boys. However girls, who were two points behind last year, appear to be catching up.
Coalition measures aimed at boosting attainment include greater prominence in the curriculum for synthetic phonics, the back-to-basics reading scheme that first involves learning the letter sounds of the alphabet and then blending them together.
Mr Gibb added: ‘Getting the basics right at the start of primary school is vital which is why we are putting synthetic phonics at the heart of teaching children to read. ‘We are introducing a short reading test for six-year-olds and we are committed to driving up standards of numeracy at primary school, and doubling the number of highly skilled graduate teachers in our schools, including in primary schools for the first time.’
But Vernon Coaker, shadow schools minister, said: ‘I cannot understand why the government is trying to spin these figures by doing down the achievements of children and the hard work of their teachers.’