Patients at risk as health trusts trim out-of-hours care. One in four NHS trusts has cut spending on out-of-hours care, new figures disclose
At least 20 trusts have reduced their budgets for doctors to visit patients in the evenings and at weekends by a total of £4million. The cuts in after-hours budgets led to warnings of a repeat of the case of Daniel Ubani, the incompetent German locum who killed a Cambridgeshire man with a morphine overdose in 2008.
About 78 of England’s 152 primary care trusts released information on their out-of-hours spending after Freedom of Information Act requests by the magazine GP. Twenty said they had cut their budgets. The cuts, made in the trusts’ 2010-11 budgets, come before the start of the next four-year spending round, which will require the NHS to find efficiency savings worth £20 billion.
Across the remaining trusts that released information, total spending on out-of-hours care rose by only £3.6 million.
Health experts said some trusts might have been able to make savings without affecting services, by renegotiating inflated contracts. However, doctors and patients’ groups said that in many cases lower spending would add to concern about the quality of care.
A study commissioned by the Department of Health last year found wide variations in the quality of care provided by out-of-hours contractors, including GP groups and private health care firms.
Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients’ Association, said the latest cuts would reduce the quality of care, risking “a repeat of the case of Dr Ubani”. She said: “By pressuring providers to look for ever cheaper options, the Government is forcing them to enter a race to the bottom. “Out-of-hours services need to be staffed by doctors who are as trained and experienced as their colleagues who work during the day. Cutting funds to pay for them will mean fewer and possibly less able doctors.”
Dr Fay Wilson, who chairs an out-of-hours group in Birmingham, said cutting out-of-hours care was a “false economy” for trusts because more patients would be forced to seek care from accident and emergency wards. “If you are going to reduce the cost, then you will be reducing the number of clinicians you have on,” she said. “That leaves gaps. You also don’t get the same level of supervision and support.”
Richard Vautrey, of the British Medical Association, said cutting costs could harm services. “There is a concern that you can pare a service down to such a level and reduce funding to such a level that you put patient safety issues at a higher risk,” he said.
The Department of Health said the Coalition was improving out-of-hours care. A spokesman said: “This is not about cutting costs – we are investing an extra £10.7 billion in the NHS – it’s about ensuring GPs, not bureaucrats, are responsible for securing safe and appropriate out-of-hours care.”
The BMA also published a poll which it said showed that most GPs opposed government plans to give them control over £80 billion of NHS budgets. About 65 per cent of family doctors believe competition between providers, including NHS and private companies, will reduce the quality of patient care, while 61 per cent said the Government’s reforms mean they will spend less time with patients.
The Department of Health said the survey showed some doctors had “misconceptions” of the planned reforms. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said there was no alternative to his reforms to make the health service more efficient. “Unless we modernise, every year the relative costs of running the NHS will go up,” he said. “Demand will grow, the bureaucracy will expand and inefficiencies will become entrenched. “There is no easy option. Sticking with the status quo and hoping that a bit more money will be enough to meet the challenges ahead is a complete fiction.”
John Healey, Labour’s health spokesman, said: “The Government’s wasteful and reckless reorganisation of the NHS is piling pressure and uncertainty on health managers. “With many seeking short-term savings rather than making long-term improvements, this will damage patient care. “So much for David Cameron’s pledge to protect the NHS — the reality is that it’s his biggest broken promise to date.”
British Green Movement Backed Murderous Libyan Regime
New evidence raises growing concerns that environmentalism is the sinister tool of fascist politics. Revelations from a crumbling Libyan dictatorship show an enforced green agenda propped up by a discredited UK establishment.
Latest news highlighted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (March 3, 2011) strengthens claims by global warming skeptics that not only are extreme political radicals controlling the green movement but that there exists an increasing popular rising against this sinister trend.
What will come as a shock to most citizens not fully engaged in the long running climate debate is that there has been a new twist in the controversy revealing a dark and dangerous undertone to the once innocent and non-political green movement. No longer are the rank and file of the environmentalist movement comprised of animal-loving, kind natured innocents that we remember from our childhood. No, quite the contrary as the misguided support of zealots such as Britain’s Lord Stern and Prince Charles have backed Libyan ogre, Colonel Gaddafi.
Libyan Evidence Proves Existence of Secret Eco-fascism
The shabby British-Libyan partnership of extremism first became apparent back in 2007. But only now does the BBC finally pay some attention as the Libyan dictator slaughters his own people in a desperate attempt cling to power. Finally, we get an insight into the relationship between the Gaddafi family and various British institutions and politicians.
At the time Lord Stern trumpeted the Gaddafi plan boasting it, “will show how environmental and cultural objectives can help to build a thriving and sustainable local economy in a crucial part of the world.”
However, not is all as it seems while the BBC are still keeping tight-lipped over the link between Saif Gaddafi, London School of Economics Professor David Held and Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband.
Also prominent amongst UK greens praising the crumbling Libyan government is mendacious big mouth Prince Charles who is currently tight-lipped about his favored “world’s first sustainable region” – now revolting after forty-one years under the evil boot of Colonel Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam.
Despite local Libyan people long opposing Gaddafi’s plan it was enforced on them with the connivance and support of UNESCO, WWF and the Prince of Wales School of Traditional Arts.
Ultra-green London School of Economics in Secret Libyan Cash Deal
But the story gets worse as Greg Hurst and Dominic Kennedy, reporting in the Times (March 3, 2011), reveal that the ultra green London School of Economics (LSE) secured a secret £1 million deal to train hundreds of members of the Libyan dictator’s future green elite.
Hurst and Kennedy explain that LSE’s underhanded dealings with the Gaddafi regime were revealed after whistleblowing website WikiLeaks uncovered secret diplomatic cables.
The Times reports:
“The NEDB [Libyan National Economic Development Board] is co-operating with the UK Government and the London School of Economics (Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi’s alma mater), among other UK institutions, on an exchange programme to send 400 ‘future leaders’ of Libya for leadership and management training. Eventually, [an official of NEDB] explained, 250 additional Libyan ‘future leaders’ would also be trained in Libya.”
LSE staff are financed by Gaddafi money and recently argued that Libya was less likely to have a revolution because it had “more pronounced tribalism” giving Libyans a fair stake in society.
An embarrassed LSE has tried to pass off the despicable collaboration as a “purely education endeavour”. This nonsensical statement is hardly surprising being that Lord Giddens, the former LSE director, regards Gaddafi as “impressive” and “genuinely popular.”
Although evidence is yet to be uncovered that proves their claim some skeptics insist Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi’s PhD from the LSE was bought as part of the disreputable deal.
Huge and unlawful British police operation celebrated
The tone of the report below is laudatory but much is omitted. Note for a start this excerpt from an earlier report: “Of the 6,717 boxes targeted by detectives in the biggest raid in the Met’s history, just over half were occupied. And of those that were full, 2,838 boxes were now handed back, a figure that represents 80 per cent of the number of boxes seized. Eight out of ten box owners were provably innocent. Taylor said: ‘Of the £53 million in cash that the police took, £20 million has also been given back and £33 million is now being referred to as “under investigation”, of which only £2.83 million has been confiscated or forfeited by the courts.”
In other words most of the people targeted were innocent and were subjected to great harassment in order to prove their innocence and recover their property. And police pocketed some of it in a few cases.
Of greater concern is that the right to privacy enshrined in Britain’s human rights act was totally ignored. And now the proprietors of the safe deposit facilities who DID respect the right to privacy of their depositors are being treated as criminals.
For the dubious legality and police duplicity involved — and much more beside — see here
The directors of a ‘cash and carry for crooks’ will be sentenced today for running a £50million ‘treasure trove’ for criminals.
Milton Woolf and Jacqueline Swan funded wealthy lifestyles by charging criminal gangs tens of thousands of pounds each to store more than £50million in cash, along with firearms and child pornography linked with contract killers, drug dealers and human traffickers.
Police later seized nearly 7,000 safety deposit boxes in a £10million sting, described as one of Scotland Yard’s most ambitious investigations in its 180-year history and the largest operation against organised crime.
Paintings, gold ingots, gold dust, jewellery, drugs, fraudulent passports, paedophile material and fake documents were found stashed in boxes at the fraudsters’ London headquarters.
Meanwhile, directors Woolf and Swan turned a blind eye to the illicit goods and even advised customers how to store goods in such a way that would not arouse suspicion, Southwark Crown Court was told.
Michael Holland QC, prosecuting, said: ‘The directors, we say, wanted to try to adopt the “three wise monkeys” approach – hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, rather than be vigilant to report suspicious activity as they were obliged to do.’
Police launched Operation Rize, involving more than 500 officers, after detectives worked on a host of tip-offs that Safe Deposit Centres Limited was corrupt.
As a result of the operation, police made 146 arrests, 30 of them leading to convictions. Several depositors are now serving jail terms for paedophile offences, money-laundering, drug-dealing and firearms.
‘It’s been extremely successful, unprecedented and the largest operation against organised crime,’ he said.
Woolf, 55, of West Heath Drive, Barnet, north west London, will be sentenced for 14 offences, including money-laundering and possession of a firearm, while Swan, 47, of Hexham Road, Barnet, will be sentenced for seven counts of money-laundering.
A third director, Leslie Sieff, 63, from Cricklewood, north west London, has already been fined £1,000 for possessing counterfeit 60,000 US dollars (£36,855) last December.
They were caught in June 2008 when police seized thousands of deposit boxes, ranging from small book-sized boxes to large walk-in safes in a string of west London raids.
This followed 18 months of surveillance and preparation and raids on three safe depositories, two offices and three homes.
The boxes were taken from Park Lane Safe Depository in Park Street, Hampstead Safe Depository in Finchley Road, and Edgware Safe Depository in High Street, Edgware, to a secure location in a heavily-armed convoy.
‘Already around £13 million has been returned to public coffers, with many more investigations outstanding,’ Mr Ponting said. ‘Eventually more than £50 million will be returned to public coffers, while around 900 investigations have been referred to Revenue and Customs.
Fire the parasites in Britain’s local government, not cops and soldiers
No one denies that there are some outrageous Old Spanish Practices still to be tackled when it comes to police pay. Or that there are savings to be made in the defence budget, which was woefully mismanaged under Labour. But the Coalition should tread warily before alienating police officers and frontline soldiers. They are going to need these people in the coming years.
Two of the basic duties of any government are keeping the streets safe and defence of the realm. How is that going to be achieved adequately by sacking trained military personnel and slashing police numbers and pay?
OK, so we’re all in this together, etc, and the private sector has absorbed its share of the pain. The military and the constabulary accept that they should not be exempt from the austerity drive. But you can’t maintain Army morale when you’re sending P45s to soldiers in Afghanistan.
The police, in particular, have done well from successive governments over the past couple of decades and have little to complain about. This time, though, the Home Secretary Theresa May has a real chance to overhaul the salary structure sensibly, while scrapping the bonus culture, senior officers’ dubious perks and the overtime racket. My understanding is that most cops are more concerned about security of employment and keeping their pensions intact than defending the ‘grab-a-grand’ scam.
Slashing bureaucracy can put more bobbies on the street and still ensure that police officers are both fairly paid and can spend more time with their families, instead of being forced into working overtime.
It also needs a rethink of police priorities. For instance, it was reported this week that Essex Police are setting up roadblocks to assist council officers in catching employees smoking in company cars. So-called ‘sniffer wardens’ and uniformed cops will check inside vehicles for evidence of cigarette smoke.
Company cars and lorry cabs count as ‘workplaces’ and anyone discovered smoking in them faces a £50 fixed penalty or a full court appearance and a £200 fine.
Firms which allow it can be fined £2,500.But is this really how we want our police to spend their shifts — stopping commercial travellers going about their lawful business, just so some jobsworth can sniff their ashtray?
More to the point, at a time when cops and soldiers are facing pay cuts and job losses, why are we employing people to strip-search cars for fag ash?
While councils are closing OAP day centres, libraries and nursery schools, the stormtroopers of the nanny state are escaping unscathed.
There’s talk of losing 5,000 police officers and 11,000 members of the Armed Forces. But I’ll bet you could easily find ten times as many smoking cessation officers, five-a-day advisers, diversity enforcers, ‘real nappy’ campaigners and ‘climate change’ co-ordinators ripe for the culling. Under Gordon Brown, the public sector added another million staff, most of them in non-jobs.
We should be sacking the parasites in local government, not cops and soldiers. Unlike every other worker in Britain, the police and Armed Forces can’t strike, by law. So they are entitled to special treatment and consideration.
In a couple of weeks, we are once again going to ask some of these coppers to put themselves in the way of rioters intent on smashing up central London to protest about the ‘cuts’. The Old Bill must ask themselves why they’re bothering when they’re for the chop, too.
No wonder the Police Federation is talking about staging its own protest rally. Who’s going to police that, then — redundant paratroopers?
10-hour school day on the way to boost grades in Britain (and Saturday mornings too!)
Children could go to school for ten hours a day and on Saturday mornings under a radical shake-up of secondary education. Education Minister Michael Gove wants school days to run from 7.30am to 5.30pm to improve pupils’ performance and enable them to study vocational courses alongside core academic subjects. He also wants sites to open on Saturdays and to increase terms by two weeks, to a total of 40 weeks a year.
It would mean youngsters gaining more than an extra year of teaching over a five-year period. Longer days in the state system would bring them in line with many private schools, giving disadvantaged youngsters more time in class to catch up with more privileged peers. They would also be popular with working parents who struggle to fit 3pm school finishing times in with their jobs.
Mr Gove said the measures – which would mirror exemplary Far Eastern schools such as in Singapore – would not be compulsory but strongly advised.
The teachers’ union criticised the plans, arguing that staff already have a punishing workload and that children need time to rest.
Mr Gove unveiled the plans yesterday alongside the findings of an independent review into vocational education. Led by Professor Alison Wolf, it found a third of non-academic GCSE-equivalent courses are pointless or even harm career prospects. One, the certificate in Personal Effectiveness, taught pupils, among other things, how to claim benefits.
Mr Gove said youngsters aged 14 to 16 should focus on core subjects of his English Baccalaureate – English, maths, a science, a humanity and a foreign language. He said vocational courses should be taught alongside the core and occupy up to 20 per cent of the school timetable.
If schools can manage to get all their pupils up to scratch during a short school day then they should stick to it, he said. But if pupils are failing to pass maths and English GCSEs, as more than half do, they must lengthen the school day.
Mr Gove said it was up to individual schools to decide whether to adopt the measures, but added: ‘I personally believe that people should be learning for longer. ‘Lots of schools have found having an extended school day – sometimes weekend education, or longer terms – helps.’
Mr Gove said he would not prescribe the longer hours, but has ‘lifted the bureaucratic requirement on schools to give us notice about varying the school day’. ‘The opportunity is now there for schools to offer students more,’ he said.
Academies, ‘free’ schools and faith schools are able to vary their hours, provided they teach for a minimum of 190 days a year. Comprehensives must seek permission from their local authority.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of education union ATL, criticised the plans. She said: ‘Longer hours in school do not neatly equate into higher achievement by pupils. ‘The reasons why some fail to achieve as well as they could are complex and varied. Being born into a disadvantaged family is the most significant. ‘Young people need to spend time with families and friends and to organise their own activities, or rest.
‘Teachers in the English state schools already work an average of 50 hours a week – 18 of them teaching and the rest marking and preparing students’ work, in parents’ meetings, staff meetings, and training. They need a life outside school too.’
Professor Wolf’s review attacked as ‘immoral’ the pressures of school league tables which have caused a move away from a core curriculum. She said it was ‘absolutely scandalous’ that half of all 16-year-olds are leaving school without good GCSEs – a C grade or higher – in English and maths.