New mothers ‘at risk’ due to shortage of NHS midwives
The safety of women giving birth may be at risk because of a growing shortage of midwives, the Government was warned last night. Britain’s most senior midwife said maternity services were under huge strain and labour wards were struggling to provide quality care as the birth rate grew and staff numbers fell.
Royal College of Midwives General Secretary Cathy Warwick said midwives increasingly believed the safety of women and babies was too often compromised. She said David Cameron had backtracked on a pre-Election promise to hire 3,000 more staff. Ms Warwick said: ‘The service is teetering on the brink – the cracks are beginning to appear.’
Writing in today’s Observer newspaper she said midwives ‘are deeply anxious about the care being delivered. They believe that the service they are giving to women and babies is deteriorating and that safety is too often being compromised.’
Ms Warwick added: ‘Large maternity units have always experienced days that are extremely busy, and when the number of midwives on duty is lower than the numbers of women needing care, but these used to be the exception.
‘Our members are telling us that these very busy days are the norm. Midwives cannot carry on working like this day in and day out and continue to practise safely.’
Although new funding was given by the Labour Government, it wasn’t enough and while birthrates have increased by 19 per cent the number of midwives has gone up by just 12 per cent – 3,500 short of the number needed.
The Tories made a pledge to employ 3,000 more midwives to relieve staff – Ms Warwick said David Cameron has backtracked on this promise.
She told the newspaper: ‘Despite repeated and persistent requests from us for his (David Cameron) government to honour this pledge, they will not.’
NHS watchdog, The Care Quality Commission, found that almost a quarter of mothers were left alone during labour – leaving them frightened.
She added that staff shortages were so acute that those who should be assisting at home births were being required to help out in hard-pressed hospital wards.
It’s official: Britain’s December WAS the chilliest in 120 years
The benchmark Central England Temperature plunged to an average of -0.6c (30.9f) over the month, making it the second harshest December since records began in 1659.
It was beaten only by the -0.8c (30.5f) average for December 1890, weather historian Philip Eden said last night. It was also the chilliest individual calendar month since February 1986.
As snow, ice and frost brought chaos to roads, airports and homes, there were ten nights in December 2010 when the temperature fell below -18c (-0.4f) somewhere in the UK. Altnaharra in Sutherland, Scotland, experienced the coldest conditions, with the mercury plummeting to -21.1c (-6f) early on December 1.
This bitter end to this year was the result of an unusually large area of high pressure squatting over Greenland – combined with low pressure over the UK. Normally, westerly winds from the Atlantic keep the British Isles mild during the winter.
Wind farms becalmed just when needed the most
Wind farms in Britain generated practically no electricity during the recent cold spell, raising fresh concerns about whether they could be relied upon to meet the country’s energy needs.
Despite high demand for electricity as people shivered at home over Christmas, most of the 3,000 wind turbines around Britain stood still due to a lack of wind.
Even yesterday , when conditions were slightly breezier, wind farms generated just 1.8 per cent of the nation’s electricity — less than a third of usual levels.
The failure of wind farms to function at full tilt during December forced energy suppliers to rely on coal-fired power stations to keep the lights on — meaning more greenhouse gases were produced.
Experts feared that as the Government moved towards a target of generating 30 per cent of electricity from wind — while closing gas and coal-fired power stations — cold, still winters could cause a problem in the future.
The wind turbines may even use up electricity during a calm period, as they were rotated in order to keep the mechanical parts working. There are more than 3,000 turbines in Britain and the Department of Energy and Climate Change planned to have up to 6,000 onshore and 4,000 at sea by 2020.
Charles Anglin, of Renewable UK, which represented the wind energy industry, said that over a normal year wind turbines were working about a third of the time. He said future energy plans took into account periods when wind turbines were still, just as current models had backup available for when nuclear or coal plants were down. “There are periods, of course, when it is not windy but year on year we are seeing growth,” he said.
Britain had 2 per cent of electricity from renewables in 2002, but that figure was now almost 10 per cent, with wind providing about half.
BBC ARE IN VIOLATION OF THEIR CONTRACT
Following on from the complaint about 1 particular programme where the BBC do not dispute lying, though their assertion that having broadcast 10s of thousands of hours pushing catastrophic warming alarmism & zero hours devoted to scepticism they had maintained the “due balance” required in their guidelines we come to their “Charter & Agreement.”
These are the legal basis of their claim to the right to our money. The Agreement pdf sits alongside the Charter providing detail of what the Charter means. In it we find that the previously discussed Editorial Guidelines ate not merely guidelines but written into their legal duties.
44. Accuracy and impartiality
(1) The BBC must do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output.
(2) In applying paragraph (1), a series of programmes may be considered as a whole.
(3) The UK Public Services must not contain any output which expresses the opinion of the BBC or of its Trust or Executive Board on current affairs or matters of public policy other than broadcasting or the provision of online services.
This is essentially the wording used in the “guidelines” and if they are in breach of it they have no legal validity.
Beyond the simple issue of breach of contract lets look at the European Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
So if the BBC have failed to show due balance, across their broadcasting they have also interfered with the human rights of all those whose views have been suppressed. If, for example, they have had UKIP spokesmen on significantly less than 4 times as often and BNP ones significantly less than twice as often as Green ones they clearly not only defrauded supporters of the former but interfered with their human rights.
If the evidence that we are experiencing catastrophic global warming is less than 10s of thousands of times greater than the evidence of severe snow then their claim to have maintained “due balance” is false & they have defrauded all their licence payers for over a decade & not only have no right to demand money from them, until they have proven themselves honest, but I suspect, have a legal duty to refund that money.
If they have and are totally censoring reporting of racial genocide, something which Damian Whyte of “BBC Information” promised to deny & when presented with the facts specifically then found himself unable to do, then they have clearly breached the duty of “due balance” (they have also made themselves complicit in crimes against humanity but that is meat for another time). and are not entitled to demand payment from the public, indeed they owe money.
That they have censored to promote warming alarmism, one particular [political party & racial genocide appears to me to be indubitable. I believe that there are many other subjects on which such accusations could be made with a degree of credibility greatly exceeding the “balance of probability” standard used in civil courts. It seems easily provable that, even by the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” they have censored & lied in these instances.
If somebody not only defends a licence fee prosecution of the BBC but counter sues for previous year’s payments they would also be able to call a number of top executives & Trust members & make them testify, under oath, how the decisions to censor everything from the weather to NATO police’s Crimes Against Humanity were taken. That opens whole new cans of worms. I suspect it would go viral online, though unmentioned by the MSM.
Labels: British politics, Government parasitism, Media
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Dumbing down of British university grades revealed
By David Barrett
The full extent to which British universities have inflated degree grades and are awarding far more firsts and upper seconds than in previous decades have been revealed.
At my graduation ceremony in 1992 there was only one graduate who was awarded a first in my subject. It made an impression on me because the young woman concerned was rewarded with far greater applause — in volume and duration — plus a few words with the vice-chancellor.
Degree results obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show six out of 10 students were handed either a first or an upper second in 2010, compared with just one in three graduates in 1970.
The results for last summer’s graduates, due to be published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency later this month, will increase pressure for reform of the degree grading system in Britain, which an official inquiry has already condemned as “not fit for purpose”.
The latest data shows that the criteria for awarding degrees has changed dramatically – despite complaints from many universities that grade inflation at A-level has made it hard for them to select candidates.
Traditionally, first class honours have been awarded sparingly to students who show exceptional depth of knowledge and originality.
But the new figures add further weight to a report by MPs last year which found that “inconsistency in standards is rife” and accused vice-chancellors of “defensive complacency”.
Prof Alan Smithers, director of Buckingham University’s centre for education and employment research, and a long-standing critic of falling standards, said: “There has been the most extraordinary grade inflation. “As the system has expanded and a wider ability range has taken degree courses, the universities have altered their standards. “Institutions are under pressure to improve their place in league tables and also need good results to compete for research grants.
“Giving university status to the polytechnics, some of which are very good, freed them to award their own degrees and they have exercised that freedom to award high degrees to relatively poorly-qualified entrants.”
The university which awarded the highest proportion of firsts in 2010 was Imperial, with 29 per cent compared with the 20 per cent it granted in 1970, although these higher-than-average figures may be partly explained by the fact that science and engineering, the subjects in which Imperial specialises, generally award more first class honours – and that the institution sets very high entry requirements.
Imperial was followed by Warwick, Bath and Cambridge, which all awarded firsts to 23 per cent of graduates. In comparison, in 1970 Warwick awarded firsts to just 6 per cent of graduates, Bath 8 per cent and Cambridge 13 per cent.
Among 20 institutions which provided their figures for 1970, the average proportion awarded firsts was just 7 per cent. By 1997, the year Labour took power, it was 8 per cent but in the last 13 years the proportion of firsts at the institutions has risen to 14 per cent.
Lord Willis of Knaresborough, the Lib Dem peer who criticised degree grade inflation when he chaired the Commons science and technology select committee, said: “The rise in tuition fees is a huge gamble and if we are going to award degrees that are not at the same academic standards as they were 20 or even 10 years ago then we will be short-changing the individual students and short-changing the nation. “I was disappointed when my committee made its report that we received a snooty response from the university sector, which amounted to ‘Keep your nose out of our business.'”
Some of the most consistent universities in terms of degree gradings have been Portsmouth, where the proportion of firsts and 2:1 was actually slightly lower last year than in 1997, and Royal Holloway, where the proportion remained at 69 per cent.
Professor Smithers said universities had been awarding more firsts and upper seconds because of competition for research grants, places for which are only awarded to students with higher grades. He said: “There has been compromise across the system and employers no longer fully trust degree results, and tend to look back to A-level results as a more reliable indicator. “A first is no longer a first. I think that just as we have A-star grades at A-level we now need to introduce a starred first class honours.”
In February last year an archaeology professor who took a stand against “dumbing down” the quality of university degrees won a legal battle when the Court of Appeal accepted that he was forced out of his job. Dr Paul Buckland accused Bournemouth University of cheapening degrees and making “a complete mockery of the examination process”.
He failed 18 out of 60 papers he marked in 2006 but when the university later regraded the papers the professor complained he was being undermined. Yesterday Dr Buckland said: “These figures show that even in the top institutions there has clearly been dumbing down. They are not explained by a sudden burst of intellectual evolution, but by a devalued system.”
The Burgess Group, commissioned by higher education umbrella group Universities UK, concluded in 2007 that the current honours degree classification system was “no longer fit for purpose”.
A spokesperson for Universities UK said: “The proportion of firsts and 2:1s awarded has increased marginally in recent years, reflecting increases in entry levels. “A-level performance has improved, so it is unsurprising that degree results would also show an improvement.
“However, the sector has recognised for some time that the current degree classification system is a blunt instrument, hence the current trialling of the Higher Education Achievement Report.
“The aim of the HEAR is to provide a more detailed account of what a student has actually achieved during their studies, rather than just a one-off degree classification.”
Must not call homosexuals “gay”??
“Jobcentre bosses are investigating claims that staff taunted a couple with homophobic abuse during weeks of discrimination – calling them ‘gay boys’.
Steve Mellor, 23, and Roy Pearson, 28, say they were victimised for being homosexual whenever they went to claim their benefits.
Mr Mellor, who had to start claiming benefits because of a long-term illness made worse by stress, wrote to the centre last week. He said: ‘When we went in on Wednesday to find out about Christmas payments, we got no help whatsoever, so we started walking away.
The Department for Work and Pensions is looking into claims that Jobcentre staff taunted them
‘Comments then came from staff such as “those two gay boys always come in for information” while they pointed and laughed at us.’
British police banned from saying ‘eggs is eggs’ in case it offended infertile women
“Police have been banned from using the phrase “sure as eggs is eggs” in case it offends women with fertility problems, a senior officer has claimed.
Writing on a popular online blog, the anonymous whistelblower, said that colleagues in his force had been ordered not to use the expression on “diversity” grounds.
The blogger, who writes under the pseudonym Inspector Gadget, after the cartoon character, is understood to be a serving inspector in a county force in southern England, which he refers to only as “Ruralshire” – “a county in England, not too far from Metrocity”.
In his latest posting, he dismissed the alleged ban on the phrase as “another nonsensical, empire-building, silly, frothy, pathetic and downright insulting example of political correctness gone mad”.