Staffed up like the Chinese army, the Sickness Maintenance Service
We have forgotten what the NHS is for. Most of us, I suspect, are wearied by talk of more reforms. We suspect this will mean a lot of new signboards and more bureaucracy. Various dogma-driven politicians have pushed the health service this way and that for half a century, and I do not think they have done much good.
We mix up sentiment with argument. Of course our hospitals contain plenty of hard-working and competent people. But they are not, mostly, doing their work for nothing. While we should be glad that they help us when we are injured, ill or afraid, this is what we hire them to do.
We don’t condemn the whole NHS because of one bungle (and there are plenty of those). So we shouldn’t canonise it because of one good experience.
The worst thing is that it has become a cult. This is because it is the one lonely success that socialists can point to. They have wrecked the state schools, made a colossal mess of housing, given us one of the worst transport systems in the Western world and corrupted a generation with welfare. But at least medical treatment is free to all at the point of use.
And so it is. And, having actually lived in the USA and experienced the alternative, I am glad of that. But I know from conversations with senior doctors that levels of surgical competence in our hospitals are falling fast, partly because of poorer training and partly because of the effects of EU limits on working time.
Most of us, if we are honest, also know that standards of nursing are far lower than they used to be, because proper nursing relies on virtues of discipline, obedience and conscientiousness that have virtually disappeared from our culture. The people who do the job think that its most necessary tasks are beneath them, a problem in almost every trade and profession these days.
Criticism of this kind never makes any impression. This is partly because of the sacred character of the NHS among the socialist-minded people who rule our culture. But it is also because of its true, unmentionable function in politics.
It exists first of all to employ people, and only after that to tend to the sick. That is why it is now the largest employer in the world after the Chinese army and Indian railways.
But it is not in fact a Health Service. It is a Sickness Maintenance Service. Despite all the billions spent and borrowed, we long ago stopped getting healthier. Much of the original work of the Forties health service involved treating the victims of dangerous, dirty and unhealthy industries, or of slum conditions, which left men and women broken and sick by the time they were in their 60s.
Now, when those industries and such slums have vanished, we are all unhealthy for completely different reasons. We seek ill health in our daily lives, and duly achieve it.
My nearest hospital has to be reached by passing through two concentric rings. The first is that of the smokers, piously barred from the hospital grounds, who are working hard on becoming patients in the cancer and cardiology wards.
And then there are the acres of car park, filled with thousands of the machines which we use to avoid the exercise that would ward off so many of the ills we suffer.
A real health service would reduce the taxes of those who looked after themselves, rather than waiting for people to fall predictably sick and then cutting them up or cramming them with expensive pills. But even to discuss this is to be accused of sacrilege, so it’s probably not worth bothering.
Scandal of 11,000 patients placed in mixed-sex wards in just ONE MONTH
Nearly half of all hospitals in England placed patients in mixed-sex wards in December, official figures revealed today. NHS Trusts admitted that more than eleven thousand patients were placed in mixed sex wards last month without any justification.
The Department of Health data revealed that 92 per cent of the breaches took place in acute hospital trusts, which include centres that offer more specialised care. It is the first time such data has been released and published from every NHS hospital in England.
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley published the data as he announced that hospitals found in breach would be fined £250 per patient per day from April.
The figures did not reveal how long each of the 11,362 patients spent in a mixed-ward, but the policy would have cost at least £2.8m had it been in place in December.
NHS managers said they are committed to the ‘virtual elimination’ of the practice, however while 8,000 cases were reported from April to June in 2010 this had risen to 11,000 for December alone.
Meanwhile a regional breakdown revealed that the NHS North West had the highest number of breaches with 13 patients in every 1,000 being placed in mixed accommodation. NHS Yorkshire and Humber had the lowest rate with 1.2 patients per 1,000.
Mr Lansley said: ‘Today, for the first time we are publishing information that exposes the true state of mixed-sex accommodation in the NHS. The figures show an unacceptable level of breaches in which patient dignity has been compromised.
‘Publishing these figures in itself revolutionises accountability to patients but that’s just the start. By April, we expect every hospital to be capable of meeting the single sex accommodation standard.’
The Health Secretary’s announcement marks a victory for the Daily Mail’s campaign to abolish the wards, which repeatedly highlighted Labour’s failure to tackle the problem.
The Department of Health said the majority of hospitals had committed to eliminating mixed sex accommodation, and the remainder would be expected to follow suit by April 1. ‘We are introducing £250 fines for every time a hospital has concerns that a patient’s dignity is not respected in this way,’ Mr Lansley said. ‘And we are increasing the number of single rooms in the NHS to ensure no patient suffers this indignity when it is unjustified.’
However, Chief executive of the Patients’ Association Katherine Murphy said: ‘Each incoming secretary of state has made exactly this same pledge since 1997, and with the NHS facing financial restrictions as part of the Government’s austerity drive, we remain sceptical that this rhetoric will become reality. ‘We do not see how penalising NHS trusts is going to help end mixed-sex wards.’
Australian expat suing UK employer over ‘racist’ comments
I can well imagine that the comments would be tiresome but any reaction beyond that seems excessive. He must be unaware that the English are bigoted towards one-another too. Just ask a Yorkshire man about Lancastrians if you doubt that. I would tend to hit back with derogatory remarks like: “Well at least I haven’t got a working-class accent”. That would cause ire but would also stop the aspersions. The English are deeply embarrassed by any mention of social class and would not risk further mention of it
An AUSTRALIAN working in the UK is suing his employer over his colleagues’ allegedly racist comments mocking his nationality, the Daily Mail reported.
Geoff Stephens, a community warden, has lived in Britain for 26 years, yet the 48-year-old claimed his colleagues regularly make jokes about kangaroos, greet him with “G’day, sport” and ask, “Is your girlfriend called Sheila?”
The Adelaide native said he has been taking a “cocktail of antidepressants” to deal with the constant abuse from his coworkers in Dymchurch, a Kent County village about 112 km southeast of London.
“I’ve only been able to sleep for three hours a night since August, and the physical and mental exhaustion will eventually kill me,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“I feel like my life has been ripped apart. I loved my job with a passion and I did a lot of good work in Dymchurch,” he added. Wardens work closely with police in the UK, alerting them of anti-social behavior, littering and graffiti as well as helping them organize community outreach programs.
Dymchurch locals said they were aware of the teasing, but did not realize how upset Stephens was.
“He’s got an Australian accent and people rib him about it, but nobody knew quite how much it was affecting him,” one resident reportedly said, asking not to be named.
“I think he doesn’t mind the kids having a laugh about ‘putting another shrimp on the barbie’ or saying ‘G’day, sport,’ but it’s the constant references to Australia from his colleagues that is obviously getting him down.”
Stephens is suing the Kent County Council, which refused to comment on personnel issues.
UK can’t deport asylum seekers back to Greece as they will be subjected to ‘inhumane or degrading treatment’
Britain was stripped of the power to deport hundreds of asylum seekers yesterday in a far-reaching ruling by European human rights judges. The judgment condemned the treatment of refugees by Greece and effectively forbade countries from returning asylum seekers there as they are subjected to ‘inhumane or degrading treatment’.
It means that for the first time human rights rules stop Britain from sending deportees to a fellow European Union country.
Greece is visited by nearly two million British tourists each year – and also enjoys the power under EU law to demand extradition of British citizens it suspects of crime within its borders.
An immigration watchdog warned the ruling is likely to mean thousands of asylum seekers will make their way to Britain from Greece, or will say they have come from Greece, because authorities will have no power to return them.
The judgment, by the European Court of Human Rights, will also act as a fresh constraint on Britain’s right to remove individuals considered undesirable.
Under a 15-year-old ruling by the Strasbourg-based court, terrorists and other criminals cannot be sent back to their own countries if the courts consider torture may be used against them.
Britain’s Border Agency stopped deporting asylum seekers who came into Europe through Greece last September in anticipation of the ruling. There are currently 1,300 asylum seekers thought to have come to Britain through Greece who could, under EU rules, be sent back to Athens.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said yesterday: ‘We are disappointed with the judgment. ‘The United Kingdom does not, however, currently return asylum seekers to Greece, although we will continue to keep the situation under review.’
Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘This opens a gateway into Europe and Britain for asylum seekers. ‘Future asylum seekers will enter the EU through Greece safe in the knowledge we cannot send them back. ‘Their cases will have to be settled here at the expense of the British taxpayer.’
Equality madness: British government spends £30m to discover whether preserving fish stocks harms ethnic Chinese, or hovercraft discriminate against gays
Home Secretary Theresa May has drawn fire from her own party over the implementation of the new Equality Act
The Government has been accused of wasting tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to comply with controversial new equality laws that force organisations to prove they are not discriminating against minority groups.
Whitehall departments have already issued a string of bizarre reports to meet the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) paid £100,000 to consultants who produced a report investigating how efforts to boost Britain’s coastal fish stocks would affect minority communities including the Chinese, homosexuals and Welsh speakers.
And the Department for Transport issued a study this month looking at harassment and discrimination on ships and hovercraft. The report covered a range of groups, including transsexuals.
The Government has admitted that the cost of implementing the legislation will be about £100 million over the next 12 months. But critics say the figure is likely to rise far higher as lawyers and consultants seek to exploit the new law, which came into force only three months ago. The cost to the public sector alone will be £30 million this year.
Conservative MP Dominic Raab said: ‘The Coalition should scale back the Equality Act. The last thing hard-pressed public bodies need is this blizzard of extra bureaucracy – wasting their time and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. It’s not just political correctness. It’s also bitterly divisive to carve up our society into artificial social categories.’
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has uncovered a string of extraordinary initiatives by Government departments and other public bodies surrounding the Equality Act. These include:
* Officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport carrying out a so-called ‘equality impact assessment’ to ensure minority groups are able to take a full part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next summer.
* The Department of Energy and Climate Change issuing a report last month assessing whether a range of groups, including people in civil partnerships, had been unfairly treated when it suspended its £300 million scheme to help people insulate their homes.
* Government officials undertaking a study into India’s traditional caste system and its implications for discrimination in the UK.
* The promotion of the first leadership course specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual National Health Service managers.
* The Department for Work and Pensions publishing a report into whether proposed changes to its scheme to help disabled people find jobs would have implications on a range of issues from religion to gender reassignment.
* Kent Police issuing fresh equality guidance earlier this month, to comply with the Act, saying that transsexual staff are protected as soon as they start to dress, behave or live ‘in the gender they identify with’.
The Equality Act was championed by Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, who fought for the legislation to be introduced just before Labour left government last year.
Although it faced criticism over the extra burdens it would place on business and the public sector, it has been kept by the Coalition and backed by Home Secretary Theresa May.
In Opposition, Mrs May, who is also Minister for Women and Equality, said many of the legislation’s clauses would be too bureaucratic and expensive.
She scrapped some requirements but introduced much of the Act, including a much-derided provision creating the concept of ‘third-party harassment’. Under this, workers can sue over banter they find offensive, even if it is aimed at someone else. Critics say it signals the end of the office joke.
There are also fears that employers will ask staff intrusive questions about sexuality or beliefs in an effort to prove they are not discriminating.
Public bodies are already required to promote equality on grounds of gender, race and disability and the new Act extends the protection to ‘age, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, and religion or belief’. From April, 27,000 state bodies with more than 150 staff will have to publish annual updates on the diversity of their workforce.
Many Whitehall departments have equality schemes in place, such as the Home Office’s Here Come The Girls to raise the visibility of lesbian and bisexual women among its staff. Another Home Office initiative, Blow The Whistle On Gay Hate, encourages victims of homophobia to go to the police.
The Department of Health last year spent £100,000 on an Equality and Diversity Council comprising officials, union representatives and experts.
And a number of Government departments have paid £2,000 to sign up to a Diversity Champions scheme run by the gay rights organisation Stonewall.
Conservative MP Philip Davies said: ‘This is the kind of politically corrupt drivel that we had come to expect from Harriet Harman and the previous Government, but it is the type of thing that makes the public’s blood boil and it is a complete waste of everyone’s time and money. These Government assessments are ludicrous and pointless. ‘I hope this Government will show some common sense and scrap much of this legislation. In many respects, Theresa May is as bad as Harriet Harman.’
Some of the Government assessments inspired by the Equality Act were begun under Labour, but a number have been carried out since the Coalition came to power.
British photography phobia again
Schoolgirl threatened with arrest for filming teachers end-of-term show
A schoolgirl who filmed her teachers performing an “embarrassing” end-of-term show had her iPod confiscated and was threatened with prosecution. Jessica Cocks, 13, had the device taken away by teachers and was told that police were investigating whether she had committed a crime.
The pupil had secretly filmed an X Factor-style show which teachers put on as a treat at the end of the autumn term. She captured several minutes’ footage of staff attempting to sing and dance, which pupils had paid 50p to watch. She was spotted filming by one of the teachers and told that her iPod Touch would be confiscated until the start of the new term.
On learning of the incident, Jessica’s mother, Sharon, went to see Mark Parry, the head teacher at St Peter’s Church of England School in Exeter. He told her that the device could not be returned because police were investigating whether her daughter had committed a crime by filming staff. He refused to reveal why he thought it could be a police matter.
Mrs Cocks said Jessica spent the Christmas holidays terrified about the prospect of prosecution. But when Mrs Cocks and her husband Graham, 52, a taxi driver, contacted Devon and Cornwall Police they were told that the incident was not a police matter and no crime had been reported at the school.
Yesterday, Mrs Cocks, 47, said: “I’m very angry about the inappropriate way my child was disciplined. I have no idea why they did it, perhaps they were embarrassed by their performance in the show. “To threaten a child with police action when they have committed no crime is a disgrace. She was so worried it ruined her Christmas. “I know she needed to be punished, but I would have preferred if she had been excluded.’’
Jessica had the phone confiscated during the show on Dec 19 and was allowed to collect it on Jan 4. Footage from the performance, which was not deleted from the device, shows six teachers taking to the stage to sing and dance.
The family is seeking an apology from the school. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that no complaint had been made by the school in relation to the incident. The school declined to comment.
Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn on the claim that 2010 was unusually warm
“The Claim 2010 is ‘2nd warmest year on record’ – is delusional, irrelevant & disingenuous – the last gasp of the failed global warming cult”
“The latest claims about World average temperatures by Government Weather organizations around the World such as UK MetOffice, apart from being contrary to the actual experience of the majority of the world population – notably USA, Europe, IndoChina and South America, raise four points.
1. “The originators of this data are the same people and organizations who were caught fiddling data in the ‘ClimateGate’ affair,” said Piers. “The various whitewash enquiries arranged to cover-up their vandalisation of the scientific method cannot dodge the question:
WHY is there a statistically highly significant systematic inverse relationship between the number of stations they selected for ‘official’ use and the average temperatures resulting? What average temperature would result from the 62% of stations they removed since around the 1960s – which had the coldest temperature averages and the highest number of stations – up to the present decade – which is officially the warmest and has the least number of stations?
Anyone with a brain can see that this systematic connection means that either temperature is magically determined by the number of stations or there has been systematic selecting of data which is best described as data fraud”, said Piers.
2. “The experience of EXTREME cold for prolonged periods this year in a number of parts of the world – such as Britain, West Europe, most of the USA and much of South America (to name just a few) and the inane ‘cold is warm’ incantations, show the world average supposed extra warmth (which only exceeds the coldest year of the decade under their figures by 0.12 degree C – less than one quarter of a degree F) – is of no consequence or forecasting value whatsoever to man or beast.
A one quarter of a degree F increase in world average temperatures whether real or fraudulent has no bearing on whether or not a blizzard will hit Connecticut; any more than a world population rise CAUSES more babies to be born in Birmingham” said Piers.
3. “The innuendo that this supposed ‘warmest year’ is somehow the driver of extreme events is baseless anti-science. It is no accident that the Met Office, BBC and New York Times / Guardian / Independent etc put forward various descriptions of circulation patterns such as La Nina as a cause of the things these phenomena describe and then pop-in that 2010 was the warmest year as if there were a connection.
Why not tell us there is a Royal wedding this year, that would be more interesting. The only connection is their desperation to save their failed cult ideology.
ALL the global warmist predictions since 2000 have failed and the OPPOSITE types of extremes (floods, supercold and blizzards) to their predictions (droughts, warm winters and the end-of-snow) have occurred, so their warmist (or warm is cold) explanations for extreme events are as useless as saying “Wet days cause rain”.
If weather were just entertainment this would not matter but their refusal to accept their total failure forces up energy and food prices through low carbon cult measures and holds back real science which directly prevents governments and authorities from applying useful forecasts which can reduce suffering and save lives.
People have died on UK and Europe’s roads through lack of winter salting due to Met Office failed warmist winter forecasts and Australian floods are worse because the Govt cut dam projects under Green ‘expect droughts’ advice. The Global warming cult ideology is reducing living standards and causing needless suffering and death, and must be stopped.”
4. The real causes of extreme weather were known and their results predicted: The very extreme weather events around the world last year and this year are caused by solar-lunar DRIVEN ‘sticking’ of the normal motions of the jet streams in the North and South hemisphere and of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
(i) Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction warned in June 2010 that such sticking and consequent SEVERE EXTREMES would be consequent to PREDICTABLE solar-lunar effects in periods to follow which we now expect will be years and he specifically correctly predicted:
(ii) The West Russian heatwave and when it would end to the day (along with the ending of the associated superfloods in Pakistan) driven by events on the sun – See link of the double sunspot solar explosion (video) and subsequent thunderstorms in St Petersburg Aug 15th 2010 – Will the warmists tell us that solar flares are caused by CO2 on Earth?!
(iii) That Britain (Central England) would have the coldest December for 100 years. NB The UK Met Office had said on their web in October that winter would be mild and then when it was cold claimed they had actually said it would be cold while their website still carried the chart published in October which stated it would be mild Yet THESE same people expect us to believe their world temperature data is worth a dime!
BBC laughs at man being atom bombed
That good ol’ Leftist “sensitivity” again, obviously
“The BBC is at the centre of a diplomatic row after the Japanese Embassy protested about an episode of comedy quiz show QI. Tokyo says the show, hosted by Stephen Fry, insulted a man who survived both of the atomic bomb strikes that ended the Second World War.
Panellists and the studio audience were seen laughing and joking about the experience of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who was described on the programme as ‘The Unluckiest Man in the World’.
The businessman was the only person who has been recognised by the Japanese government as having survived both the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and that of Nagasaki three days later. As many as 200,000 Japanese are said to have died in the bombings.
Mr Yamaguchi, who died last year at 93, was badly burned in the first attack but got on a train the next day to go home to Nagasaki.
On the episode of QI, which was first broadcast shortly before Christmas, comedians such as Alan Davies and Rob Brydon were seen joking about his story. Davies, when asked to work out what the man’s link to the nuclear attack was, suggested the ‘bomb landed on him and bounced off’.
When Fry asked whether the man had been lucky or unlucky, Brydon said: ‘Is the glass half-empty, is it half-full? Either way it’s radioactive. So don’t drink it.’ Davies chipped in: ‘He never got the train again, I tell you.’
But the jokes were too much for some Japanese viewers. One contacted diplomatic staff in London while others are understood to have emailed the show. Embassy officials reviewed the footage and sent a protest letter to both the BBC and producers Talkback Thames.
A QI producer said ‘we greatly regret it when we cause offence’ and admitted he ‘underestimated the potential sensitivity of this issue to Japanese viewers’. The BBC apologised for ‘any offence caused’ and said it would be writing to the Japanese Embassy.