Rude, arrogant, lazy: Patients’ verdict on NHS staff as two in three tell of poor care
Up to two in three patients are unhappy with the care they are given on the NHS, an alarming report has found. Many of those treated by the Health Service complain that they were dehumanised, humiliated and embarrassed by the doctors and nurses who were supposed to be looking after them.
The survey of almost 12,000 patients found that staff were criticised for being rude, arrogant and lazy – too often refusing to treat their patients with dignity or compassion. And only a third of those polled said they were content with the standard of care that they had received on an NHS ward or at a surgery.
The remainder were unhappy with at least one aspect of their treatment, citing impolite staff, a lack of compassion, poor standards of hygiene and waiting times.
The report comes just a week after an official accused the NHS of an ‘ignominious failure’ to care for the elderly.
A scathing study by the health service ombudsman highlighted examples of inhumane treatment, including patients being left unfed and unwashed, and sent home in urine-soaked clothes.
The latest research comes from Patient Opinion, a website set up for patients to detail their experiences of the NHS. It found that staff attitude was the biggest source of complaint. One new mother, who has withheld her name, described how she was ‘treated like an animal’ when she recently gave birth at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. She claimed that despite her pleas for pain relief she waited six hours before a member of staff gave her some paracetamol.
The woman, a lawyer who works in the City, added: ‘When I asked for help breastfeeding, the midwife shrugged and said, “Try whatever you like”.’
Another told of being forced to stay on a mixed ward despite ‘promises’ from staff this would not happen.
Meanwhile, one patient admitted to Derby City Hospital claimed that the standard of food was so appalling, all they ate over the course of four days were two slices of toast and a sandwich.
Others complained about a lack of communication, saying that staff refused to give them enough information about their treatment and made decisions behind their backs. One said: ‘You’re made to feel that you’re not allowed to ask the doctors any questions to do with yourself.’ Another said: ‘No one is telling my daughter what the problem is and who to talk to.’
Patient Opinion, which was set up in 2005, has collated almost 13,600 patients’ experiences of the NHS. But since many of its contributors are likely to log on because they are unhappy with their care, it is difficult to quantify exactly what proportion of all NHS patients are similarly disgruntled.
Paul Hodgkin, who is chief executive of Patient Opinion, said: ‘This report shows that patients’ main concerns about their care happen at a staff-to-patient level, and these concerns can all be remedied quickly and cheaply. ‘My hope is that this report empowers and inspires staff.
‘Irrespective of political, financial or managerial changes, every NHS staff member has it in their power to improve the experience of their patients – at no extra cost to the NHS.’
How three million migrants came to UK under Labour in biggest population growth in 1,000 years (… that’s nearly one every minute)
Labour’s open-door immigration policy led to the largest population explosion since the Saxon invasion more than 1,000 years ago. An audit of official figures last night revealed that during the party’s 13 years in power Britain’s foreign-born population increased by three million. At the same time, nearly a million British citizens left the country.
The report shows that net immigration, the number of immigrants arriving versus those leaving, had reached almost three million by mid-2009.
Campaign group MigrationWatch said figures to be published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday will show that by mid-2010 that total had reached 3.2million. In recent years, migrants have been arriving at the rate of around ‘one every minute’, the group’s report says. It comes as a poll found, for the first time, that those in the 16-24 age group were more worried about migrant numbers than those in their 30s.
The 3.2million population increase does not include illegal immigrants – of whom there are around one million in the UK.
MigrationWatch says the ‘three million-plus extra people on this island equates to the creation of three cities the size of Birmingham’.
The open-door policy was pursued with no public consultation, the study says. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch, said: ‘This has been a clear failure of democracy due in large part to the Left’s deliberate tactic of stifling reasoned debate with accusations of racism. ‘In the years to come, immigration will be seen as Labour’s great betrayal.’
The MigrationWatch document says: ‘Immigration under Labour is certainly the largest ever in numerical terms and the largest in relation to population since the Saxon invasions over a thousand years ago. ‘The only two subsequent immigrations – the Huguenots in the 17th century and the Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries were minor by comparison with recent inflows. ‘Net foreign immigration over the past five years has averaged 24,000 a month.’
The report also says that of the 3.2million immigrants, 80 per cent came from outside the EU, and that, since 1997, 75 per cent of extra jobs created went to foreign-born workers. It states that more than a third of new households will be a result of immigration – requiring 330 new homes every working day for 23 years.
And it points out that the percentage of children born to a foreign mother almost doubled under Labour to 25 per cent. This comes as an extra 500,000 children arrived in our primary schools and a similar number do not have English as their first language.
The report says even New Labour’s favourite think-tank, the Institute of Public Policy Research, acknowledged last year ‘that immigration under New Labour has changed the face of the country’.
Sir Andrew said: ‘We would agree, the sheer scale of what has occurred is changing Britain fundamentally and irrevocably and in ways the majority of the population did not ask for, were not consulted about and did not wish to see.’
The MigrationWatch report estimates that 5.5million foreign migrants arrived in 13 years of Labour government, not accounting for those who left. That is the equivalent of 423,000 a year – or 48 an hour. In recent years, the figure rose to around 470,000 per annum – close to one every minute.
Last night, Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Unlimited migration has placed unacceptable pressure on our public services over the years. ‘That is why we are currently carrying out major reform of the system to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.
‘We have already introduced an annual limit to the number of economic visas from outside the UK alongside new proposals to reform other routes of entry including student, marriage and settlement visas, which have in the past been subject to widespread abuse.’
Critics have insisted Labour adopted a deliberate policy of mass immigration to create a ‘multicultural’ country.
Last night, Labour’s immigration spokesman Gerry Sutcliffe said: ‘This is an unbalanced, misleading and highly political report. Migration levels increased initially because of the strength of the British economy over many years. ‘The most recent figures show net migration from outside the EU was coming down as a result of the points-based system and over a third of “long-term migrants” were in fact students, the vast majority of whom study, pay their fees, and then return home.’
Another legal attack on an innocent British family
On the basis of a bruised ear! While grievous harm to other children goes unchecked. It should never have gone to court but is typical of the biased practices of British social workers
A judge broke up a family in just 15 minutes, it was revealed yesterday. Judge James Orrell ordered that three children should be taken from their parents after doctors gave evidence in his court about bruising to the ear of one young child. The doctors said it was their opinion that the bruising could have been caused by pinching.
The ruling made at a family court in Derby was exposed after an Appeal Court judge overturned Judge Orrell’s decision and condemned the way a family was nearly destroyed in a quarter of an hour. Appeal Judge Lord Justice Thorpe said he was ‘aghast’ at the handling of the case.
The incident came to light amid continued controversy over the secrecy in which the family courts deal with cases despite repeated scandals over misjudgements or high-handed behaviour by social workers and wrong evidence by expert witnesses.
Last year Labour Lord Chancellor Jack Straw ordered the family courts to open their proceedings to outside scrutiny. But judges have been deeply reluctant to let anyone but lawyers, social workers and expert witnesses into the courts, and have effectively kept them closed to all outsiders.
Judges and lawyers say the risk of the plight of vulnerable children becoming known to the public by name is too great and that such publicity would be greatly damaging to children.
As a result the public can know nothing of what happens, and must rely on regular assurances from judges and insiders that all is well and standards are maintained in cases that decide the future of parents and children.
Details often only become public if a family case comes to a criminal court – as happened when the circumstances of the killing of Peter Connelly, Baby P, were revealed when his mother, her boyfriend and his brother were tried at the Old Bailey in 2008.
In the Derby case social workers sent the evidence of the doctors to the court before Judge Orrell held his hearing. Their lawyers expected a preliminary hearing, but the judge heard the doctors and then ordered the social workers to remove the children from their home.
Lord Justice Thorpe said today: ‘I am completely aghast at this case. There is nothing more serious than a removal hearing, because the parents are so prejudiced in proceedings thereafter. ‘Once you have lost a child, it is very difficult to get a child back.’
He added of Judge Orrell: ‘I know he is a very experienced judge and I know he has done wonderful work in Derby for many years. ‘But there is a point where a judge’s brisk conduct of business in his search for protection of a child is just not acceptable. ‘This does not seem to me like acceptable process or natural justice.’
Lord Justice Thorpe sent the case back to the county court in Derby, which handles the most serious local family cases, but he said any further decisions on the children’s future should be taken by a different judge. He added: ‘Judge Orrell is a pillar of the family justice system, but I do believe it is important that the parents have confidence in the tribunal.’
Lawyers for the parents said the judge listened to evidence from the doctors but failed to hear what the parents had to say. He had also failed to listen to the bruised child, who is said to be ‘of sufficient age and maturity’ to speak for himself.
‘British justice has lost the plot’: Now businessman forced to pay £5,000 damages to thieving employee he frogmarched to police faces court costs that could ruin him
Ask flooring company boss Simon Cremer if he regrets the day he took the law into his own hands, and it’s clear he is rather torn: he gives a yes-but-no answer. Not for a second, though, does he regret humiliating sub-contractor Mark Gilbert, whom he paraded through the streets of Witham, Essex, in September 2008 with a crude cardboard sign around his neck pronouncing him a thief.
He’d discovered that Mr Gilbert had written a company cheque for £845 to himself, forging his boss’s signature — and maintains that the walk of shame he subjected Mr Gilbert to, as he frogmarched him to the police station, was deserved.
‘I didn’t feel sorry for him then, and I still don’t today,’ says 46-year-old Mr Cremer, who became the talk of Britain after inviting the local papers to record his ‘citizen’s arrest’ for posterity. ‘Yes, it was humiliating for him, but I felt he deserved it.
‘He humiliated me, in my eyes, by betraying my trust and stealing from me. It made my blood boil to think he’d probably get nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the police.’
But would he do it again? Well, that’s a completely different matter. He hesitates to say ‘Yes’, for it’s obvious he very much regrets how much his actions will cost him.
And who could blame him for wondering if he was a little too swift to act. For the high price this small businessman must pay for his stand emerged this week. He could even end up being forced to sell his home.
Mr Gilbert, 41, a self-employed carpet fitter who has moved from Colchester to Bristol following the incident, sued Mr Cremer for £40,000, claiming the embarrassment of being paraded through the streets had left him too traumatised to work for two years.
He claimed he’d feared for his life after he was allegedly set upon, punched, tied up, and forced to read the thief sign aloud three times before being bundled into a back of a van to drive him to the High Street to be publicly shamed. ‘It was almost a relief,’ he said, ‘when I saw the police station in sight rather than a remote field.’
Last week in an out-of-court settlement, Mr Cremer — who vehemently denies Mr Gilbert’s allegations of violence — reluctantly agreed to pay him £5,000 in compensation for the ‘humiliation’ he suffered, rather than risk the crippling legal costs of fighting the case through the civil courts.
It was reported that Mr Cremer would be out of pocket to the tune of £13,000 after taking the legal costs into account. In fact, the bill he faces could be far higher than that. Later in the week, Mr Cremer says, the bill from Mr Gilbert’s lawyers arrived. The sum was, he says, an eye-watering £25,000. So that walk of shame could cost Simon Cremer a staggering £30,000.
‘I don’t want to pay Mark Gilbert a penny, because I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,’ says Mr Cremer in an exclusive interview. ‘I would have preferred to fight his claim in the civil courts, but I couldn’t afford to.
‘When my solicitor phoned me after we settled, she said: “I hope you’re sitting down.” Then she told me what Mark Gilbert’s lawyers were charging. It sounded like telephone numbers to me — a heart-stopping amount. ‘With the recession, business is very tight, and I can’t lay my hands on that kind of money.
‘So, basically, Mr Gilbert can steal a cheque off me and get a couple of months’ holiday in Australia at my expense, while I may be forced to sell my home to settle his enormous legal costs. How can that be justice?
‘He was never threatened with violence. If he had, don’t you think we would have been arrested for assault? We only tied him up because I was worried about how he might react when confronted, and feared for our safety.’ He adds that they even put carpet down in the back of the van so Mr Gilbert wouldn’t get hurt.
‘I’m not a violent person. I spoke calmly to him at all times, and explained everything that was going to happen. Obviously he didn’t want to be embarrassed. Perhaps that was a stupid thing for me to do, but I stand by it and accept the consequences.
‘This will be the most painful cheque I’ve ever had to write, and the worst part is I’d never have been put in this position if he hadn’t stolen from me in the first place.
‘People have accused me of being judge, jury and executioner, but I had the evidence in my hands — the company cheque with my forged signature. He admitted it.
British pupils from poorest backgrounds stand one in 100 chance of top university
This wail will go on to the end of time. Smart people tend to get rich and also tend to pass on their brains to their kids. So, on average, the children of the rich will always be smarter and have higher educational achievement
Pupils from the poorest backgrounds stand just a one in a hundred chance of going to one of the country’s top universities. Their peers are seven times more likely to attend a university such as Oxford or Cambridge, figures released to MPs show.
The trend will be seized on by Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, who wants institutions to make it easier for students from poorer backgrounds to gain entry. Last week he accused elite colleges of “social segregation” and told them to do more to bring in students from low-income families.
From next year, all universities will be allowed to charge annual fees of up to £6,000. Those who want to charge more, up to £9,000, will have to sign agreements with the Government promising to admit more children from poorer homes.
Universities will submit their own proposals on how to widen access, but will be monitored by the Director of Fair Access, an independent regulator. And the Government can specify how much of a university’s additional tuition income should be invested in access projects. Those who fail to comply could be fined up to £500,000 or have their right to charge more than £6,000 a year revoked.
In 2007/08 just one per cent of pupils who had been on free school meals were at one of the Russell Group universities, which include Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, Manchester and the London School of Economics. Only 15 per cent of them went to any university at all. In contrast, some seven per cent of pupils not on free meals were at a top university and a third were at any.
The figures were obtained by Charlotte Leslie, the Tory MP for Bristol North West and a member of the Education Select Committee. She said: “These statistics show the shocking reality beneath the last government’s complacency about the welfare of our poorest pupils.
“In far too many cases, our schools system is failing our most disadvantaged children. “No child should be denied the chance to go to a top university purely because of their background, but tragically this is what is happening to our children today.”
However, other Tories are concerned about the access proposals.
A Commons motion published last week and signed by 25 Tory MPs said they “would view with concern any attempt to put political pressure on universities to discriminate between applicants on the basis of their school, family income, background or any other factor unrelated to their academic merit”. “Any such policy would be to the detriment of standards in universities and highly unlikely to lead to any improvement in standards in schools,” they said.
Warmists and homophobes are birds of a feather
Let me elaborate on my heading above. For a start, I am using “homophobe” in the Leftist sense — meaning anyone who dislikes homosexuality for whatever reason. Such sentiments are of course not in fact true phobias. Secondly, there may be some tolerant Warmists but they are few and far between so my heading applies to most, though not all of them. What follows is by Frank Furedi, who points out that their intolerance of dissent exposes their beliefs as religious rather than scientific
What do John Beddington, Britain’s chief scientific adviser, and Ryszard Legutko, leader of Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party, have in common? Both believe that intolerance is a virtue, and that it should be celebrated.
Legutko, a vociferous critic of the gay rights movement, has written a book called Why I Am Not Tolerant. And Beddington boasts about his intolerance, too. Earlier this month, at the annual conference of Britain’s scientific civil servants, he called upon his audience to be ‘grossly intolerant’ of the misuse of science by religious and political groups.
Beddington said: ‘We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of racism. We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of people who [are] anti-homosexuality… We are not – and I genuinely think we should think about how we do this – grossly intolerant of pseudoscience.’
No doubt Beddington also feels intolerant towards Legutko’s views on homosexuality. Yet what is truly fascinating about these two crusaders against tolerance is that although they have diametrically opposed viewpoints on gay rights, they are at one in their affirmation of the ethos of intolerance. The targets of their intolerance might be different, but they share the worldview of the bigot. Legutko is offended by the sight of gay and lesbian people dressed up as nuns and priests, while Beddington objects to people he disagrees with masquerading as scientists. The casual manner with which European public figures celebrate intolerance is testimony to the censorious and illiberal spirit that now dominates political life across the continent.
In the current era, public figures only praise tolerance when they are giving Sunday school-style speeches. Political mission statements and EU declarations still contain exhortations to be tolerant. But increasingly, such tolerance-rhetoric is little more than a perfunctory gesture, which often serves as a prelude to narrow-minded bigotry. It is bad enough to hear a leading scientist brag about his contempt for tolerance. It is even worse when one scientist after another agrees with him and piles in to demand the silencing of views they disagree with. So following Beddington’s comments, we had Edzard Ernst, professor of the study of complementary medicine at Exeter University, exclaim that ‘for too long we have been tolerant of these postmodern ideas that more than one truth is valid’.
The idea that we should not be tolerant of problematic ideas, or indeed of any beliefs other than our own, dominated the political culture of pre-Enlightenment Europe. It is important to note that until the seventeenth century, it was intolerance rather than tolerance that was upheld as a virtue. So when Beddington declares that ‘we should not tolerate what is potentially something that can seriously undermine our ability to address important problems’, he is adopting the dominant narrative of late medieval Europe. In that medieval outlook, heretical beliefs represented such a danger to society that the only virtuous response was to silence them. Intolerance was seen as a marker of moral virtue. As late as 1691, the French theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet boasted that Catholicism was the least tolerant of all religions, stating: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’
Today, it is not only the casual manner in which tolerance is once again condemned as a sign of moral weakness that speaks to the re-emergence of the attitude of the Inquisition – it is also the way in which some views are implicitly labelled evil or destructive. Bossuet and his fellow moral crusaders did not simply call for muscular intolerance. They also invented an ideology of evil. They presented their opponents as morally corrupt. In pre-Enlightenment times, such moral condemnation of heretics usually involved linking their behaviour to some kind of Satanic plot. In today’s secular era, a new ideology of evil justifies demands for intolerance by attacking people for their ‘outrageous behaviour’.
So it is not surprising that Beddington did not merely say that pseudoscience is wrong or unscientific or even a source of misfortune. He also characterised it as ‘pernicious’, as the moral equivalent of racism and homophobia. His equation of dissent from his scientific opinions with the stigmatised categories of racism and homophobia was an arbitrary one. He could have achieved the same effect by depicting pseudoscience as something akin to Holocaust denial or support for slavery. The ideology of evil takes many forms. Edzard Ernst justified silencing dissent by arguing that journalists would not finish an article by ‘quoting the Ku Klux Klan’, and so they shouldn’t quote pseudoscientists either. Science columnist Ben Goldacre opted for an old-fashioned conspiracy theory in his expression of support for Beddington’s campaign for gross intolerance. ‘Society has been far too tolerant of politicians, lobbyists and journalists wilfully misusing science, distorting evidence by cherry-picking data that suits their view, giving bogus authority to people who misrepresent the absolute basics of science, and worse’, he stated.
The attempt to legitimise intolerance by constructing an ideology of evil has become a regular feature of the twenty-first-century debate on science. Time and again, dissent from conventional wisdom is dismissed as yet another example of ‘AIDS denialism’ or racism or some other modern evil. One consequence of this pathologisation of dissent is that it trivialises fundamental problems such as racism. The significance of the KKK’s lynching of black people or acts of anti-gay violence are judged to be comparable to the ‘pernicious arguments’ of those who distort science. Instead of racism being treated as a serious problem, it is denuded of its content and used simply as a rhetorical device for embarrassing an opponent. Such cavalier deployment of historically significant symbols is testimony to the morally impoverished state of public debate today.
When disagreement about some scientific claim is held up as the moral equivalent of racism, it seems pretty clear that the sole objective is to shut down dissent.
Tolerance is not for intellectual cowards
Science has always been the subject of bitter disputes. In modern times, scientists have rightly been concerned about the potentially confusing and destructive effects of pseudoscience. In the nineteenth century, numerous British liberal thinkers wrote essays expressing concern about the influence of pseudoscience on public opinion. In 1849, Sir George Cornwall Lewis noted that the popularity of science led to what he described as ‘mock science’, including ‘mesmerism, homeopathy and phrenology’. He feared that through mimicking the ‘phraseology of science’, charlatans might succeed in misleading the public.
John Stuart Mill shared these concerns. In 1836, he wrote about a ‘flowering of quackery and ephemeral literature’, all manipulated by the new ‘arts for attracting public attention’. Mill was no less hostile to the confusions sown by quacks and by ‘mock science’ than genuine scientists are today. But what distinguished Mill from someone like Beddington was his view on how to deal with erroneous ‘science’.
Mill adopted a consistent and courageous orientation towards tolerance, for many reasons. One reason was his sensitivity to the fact that uncertainty had become a condition of life in the modern world. Mill believed that, aside from the need to uphold freedom of speech and belief, uncertainty demanded tolerance. It is precisely because we cannot be certain of truth that we must allow for great openness and give people the right to express their beliefs and opinions. Uncertainty demands that people should be free to pursue their quest for truth. For Mill, the tolerance of all beliefs, even false ones, was not a matter of being soft or polite. Rather, openness towards the expression of any opinion was seen as essential to the flourishing of human creativity and a healthy public life. Mill believed that the ‘evil of silencing the expression of opinion’ is that it robs society, and future generations, of the potential insights that can emerge from a clash of views. He said: ‘If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.’
In his essay On Liberty, Mill argued that in an uncertain world refusal to tolerate what Beddington describes as ‘pernicious’ views means assuming that one possesses the authority of ‘infallibility’: ‘To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.’
Mill went even further and insisted that intolerance of a false belief is itself an evil. ‘We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion’, he said, before adding that even ‘if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still’. Mill took the view that society actually learns about itself through confronting ‘false opinion’. That is why On Liberty sometimes reads like a celebration of the heretic. Mill defends heretics because he recognises that, through their questioning of received wisdom, they ensure that society is forced to account for its views, and if necessary rectify them.
There is a chasm separating the outlook of someone like Mill from today’s celebrators of intolerance. If Mill were alive now, he would be horrified by the censorious attitude of men of science. When Beddington argues that since ‘there are enough difficult and important problems out there’ tolerance towards ‘what is politically or morally or religiously motivated nonsense’ becomes a luxury, he communicates a nonsensical idea of tolerance. Mill would not understand why someone’s nonsense should not be tolerated. After all, tolerance only really gains meaning through our refusal to silence views that we strongly disagree with; that is the real test. Beddington’s belief that tolerance means only putting up with sensible views is bizarre.
The great, and tragic, irony in all this is that science was one of the principal beneficiaries of the emergence of the ethos of tolerance. Science by its very nature thrives on open debate, which is why scientists were often in the forefront of advocating tolerance of dissident and despised views. The nineteenth-century biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who was known as Darwin’s bulldog, said ‘scepticism is the highest of duties’. Many scientists believed that no ideas or views should be beyond discussion. The motto of the Royal Society was: ‘On the word of no one.’ Sadly, science has become politicised and has become prey to dogmatism. There is now a tendency to devalue debate and to replace argument with moral condemnation.
There are many reasons for this defensive moralistic turn in sections of the scientific community. The principal driver of the re-emergence of intolerance as a moral virtue is Western culture’s aversion to engaging with uncertainty. This is best captured by that unattractive term ‘zero tolerance’ – a concept which presents the world in the language of black-and-white and either/or. It spares the intolerant the trouble of having to fight for their views. It is far easier to resolve disagreement and confusion through shutting down discussion than to practise true tolerance. Tolerance demands courage – intolerance, the outlook of the intellectual coward, merely requires a censor’s pen.
Organic produce ‘not as good for your health’: Vegetables grown with pesticides contain MORE vitamins
The organic approach to gardening which avoids chemicals will not deliver healthier or more tasty produce, it is claimed.
A controversial study from Which? Gardening suggests produce grown using modern artificial methods may well be better for you.
The claims, which will alarm producers and consumers who put their faith in natural food, follow a two-year study.
Non-organic broccoli was found to have significantly higher levels of antioxidants than organically grown samples. Antioxidants are beneficial chemicals that are said to improve general health and help prevent cancer.
The research found that non-organic potatoes contained more Vitamin C than the organic crop, and expert tasters found that non-organically grown tomatoes had a stronger flavour than the organic samples.
Organic bodies have rejected the claims, insisting the trial was too small to offer meaningful results.
Using mobile phones ‘does not increase the risk of cancer’
The only reason this is still an issue is that a lot of conceited people hate anything that is popular and need to feel that they know better
Using a mobile phone does not increase the risk of getting brain cancer, claim British scientists. There has been virtually no change in rates of the disease – despite around 70 million mobile phones being used in the UK.
A study by scientists at the University of Manchester looked at data from the Office of National Statistics on rates of newly diagnosed brain cancers in England between 1998 and 2007. It found no statistically significant change in the incidence of brain cancers in men or women during the nine-year period.
The study, published in the journal Bioelectromagnetics, suggests radio frequency exposure from mobile phone use has not led to a ‘noticeable increase’ in the risk of developing brain cancers.
Lead researcher Dr Frank de Vocht, an expert in occupational and environmental health in the University of Manchester’s School of Community-Based Medicine, said it was ‘unlikely we are at the forefront of a cancer epidemic’.
He said ‘Mobile phone use in the United Kingdom and other countries has risen steeply since the early 1990s when the first digital mobile phones were introduced.
‘There is an ongoing controversy about whether radio frequency exposure from mobile phones increases the risk of brain cancer. ‘Our findings indicate that a causal link between mobile phone use and cancer is unlikely because there is no evidence of any significant increase in the disease since their introduction and rapid proliferation.’
The study says there is no ‘plausible biological mechanism’ for radio waves to directly damage genes, resulting in cells becoming cancerous. If they are related to cancer, they are more likely to promote growth in an existing brain tumour.
The researchers said they would expect an increase in the number of diagnosed cases of brain cancer to appear within five to 10 years of the introduction of mobile phones and for this to continue as mobile use became more widespread.
The time period studied, between 1998 and 2007, would relate to exposure from 1990 to 2002 when mobile phone use in the UK increased from zero to 65 per cent of households.
The team, which included researchers from the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh and Drexel University, Philadelphia, found a small increase in the incidence of cancers in the temporal lobe of 0.6 cases per 100,000 people or 31 extra cases per year in a population of 52 million.
Brain cancers of the parietal lobe, cerebrum and cerebellum in men actually fell slightly between 1998 and 2007. ‘Our research suggests that the increased and widespread use of mobile phones, which in some studies was associated to increased brain cancer risk, has not led to a noticeable increase in the incidence of brain cancer in England between 1998 and 2007’ said Dr de Vocht.
‘It is very unlikely that we are at the forefront of a brain cancer epidemic related to mobile phones, as some have suggested, although we did observe a small increased rate of brain cancers in the temporal lobe.
‘However, to put this into perspective, if this specific rise in tumour incidence was caused by mobile phone use, it would contribute to less than one additional case per 100,000 population in a decade.
‘We cannot exclude the possibility that there are people who are susceptible to radio-frequency exposure or that some rare brain cancers are associated with it but we interpret our data as not indicating a pressing need to implement public health measures to reduce radio-frequency exposure from mobile phones.’