We wouldn’t want family treated at OUR hospital say a third of NHS staff
One in three NHS staff would be unhappy to have their relatives treated in the hospital where they work, a survey reveals. Only 64 per cent said they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their health trust if their relative needed treatment.
Experts believe that asking staff if they would be happy for themselves or relatives to be treated at their own hospital is an important way of assessing standards.
Doctors, nurses, radiographers and administrators were among the 165,000 staff questioned in England by the Care Quality Commission, the regulatory watchdog, in 388 trusts between October and December last year.
Around four out of ten employees claimed that low staffing levels prevented them doing their job properly.
Thirty-two per cent had seen at least one error, ‘near miss’ or incident that could have hurt staff or patients in the last month, similar to the one-third witnessing a serious problem during the last survey in 2009.
Of frontline staff, 42 per cent said they saw at least one such incident in the last month, down from 43 per cent in 2009.
Overall, 90 per cent of staff believe their role ultimately makes a difference to patients, and 62 per cent are able to do their job to a standard they are pleased with.
But 45 per cent said low staffing levels affected their ability to do the job and 42 per cent said they ‘cannot meet all the conflicting demands’ on their time.
Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: ‘This is an important survey because it provides a snapshot of how those who work within the NHS feel about what they do and the experiences they have at work.’
Joyce Robbins, of the pressure group Patient Concern, said: ‘The feedback we get is that too many staff and patients think it’s a conveyor belt system where there isn’t enough time to treat people as individuals.’
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘Nurses and healthcare assistants are telling us staffing levels are compromising their ability to provide high-quality care. ‘We urge employers and the Government to listen to staff concerns as they embark on a massive overhaul of the way the NHS is run.’
Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, said: ‘It’s very worrying when people working in the NHS cannot recommend the service to family or friends.’
The survey comes only three months after the Daily Mail launched a campaign that raised £100,000 for the Patients Association to go towards a helpline to deal with complaints about poor care.
Health Minister Simon Burns said: ‘More staff are happy with the standard of care at their hospital. Our plans will allow frontline staff to improve on this further.’
UK immigration concession for New Zealand, Australian shearers
I was wondering how this would work out. Britain has millions of sheep and not all of them walk on two legs. Experienced and highly skilled antipodean shearers have become essential to getting the flock shorn in recent years. That the seasons occur at opposite times of the year in Britain and Australia makes it a logical arrangement
Sheep shearers from New Zealand and Australia should have no problems coming to the UK for the season due to an transitional scheme put in place by the UK Border Agency.
A UK immigration concession has been arranged for overseas skilled shearers to stop a UK skills shortage.
Each year hundreds of skilled shearers are recruited from the southern hemisphere for the shearing season in the UK, however efforts to tighten up Britain’s immigration laws meant sheep shearing was removed from a list of approved occupations for a UK Visa.
Chief Executive of the National Association of Agricultural Contractors, Jill Hewitt, said her organisation had been working with government to put the scheme in place which will allow shearers to come on a seasonal temporary basis.
“The NAAC has been actively involved in the process and is confident the UK will not suffer from a shortage of shearers this year,” she said. “We are working closely with shearing contractors in the UK, and shearing associations in New Zealand and Australia, to try and ensure the smooth passage of shearers to the UK.”
British High Commission communication manager, Chris Harrington, said shearers will be allowed to enter the United Kingdom on a concessionary basis, which means they do not have to get a visa but must prove to a British immigration officer that they are genuine shearers.
Pathetic British police again
Thirty police officers, an arsenal of guns and a lion expert… all to catch two dangerous dogs. Dogs must not be shot, apparently. But they killed them all the same
More than 30 police officers in riot gear surround a suburban house. Some are carrying rifles. But this was not a deadly stand-off with an armed gang or a lone gunman. Instead the huge police operation was aimed at two dogs. It went on for 30 hours and is estimated to have cost £30,000.
It only ended when a vet more used to tranquillising lions finally went into the house with two officers and subdued the dogs. They were later put down.
The animals had turned on a teenage friend of their owner while he was looking after them. Daniel Boardman, 19, was badly bitten on the legs, arms and bottom but somehow managed to dial 999.
Two armed officers arrived to find Mr Boardman being pulled in opposite directions by each dog. They broke down the door and shot the dogs with Taser stun guns to free him and drag him to safety.
But then, because of the danger they posed, the dogs were left in the boarded-up house in Rishton, Blackburn, for 24 hours with a guard outside.
The next morning, police in riot gear, armed officers, the RSPCA, and a zoo vet arrived. The team began trying to lure the dogs out of the open back door into the rear yard. The dogs were called by their names – Coco and Dekker – whistled for and, at one point, food was thrown into the yard.
Perhaps the dogs had some idea what was waiting for them if they did emerge – two marksmen on ladders – so the siege dragged on and shifts changed. Finally an officer climbed a ladder and banged on an upstairs bedroom window to attract the dogs’ attention.
While they were in the bedroom, officers in padded ‘dog suits’ entered the house and shut them in. A panel in the bedroom door was removed and the vet shot each animals with a tranquilliser dart. They were then both given a lethal injection and their bodies finally brought out on Tuesday – 30 hours after the incident began.
Mr Boardman has been left with what police have described as ‘life-changing’ injuries which will require major surgery.
The dogs’ owner, Mark Rowland, 24, from Accrington, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a banned dog and has been bailed pending further inquires. Last night he insisted: ‘They are not dangerous dogs, they are bull mastiffs. They are insured, registered and have never fought in their life. This has just been an accident.’
Mr Rowland said he had visited his friend in hospital and added: ‘He told me the dogs were fighting and he’s gone to pull them apart.’
First they came for the faux fascists
Left-wing groups now cheering on the state as it restricts the freedom of an EDL member could well be next
Last week, a man was hauled up before Doncaster Crown Court for using ‘offensive’ language. As punishment, he was banned from attending or helping to organise any demonstration, meeting or gathering held by his political organisation or even visiting its website for 10 years. In addition, he was banned from travelling by train anywhere in the UK and from entering a mosque, meeting room, school or cultural centre.
Leaving aside the specifics of the case for a minute, it’s worth reflecting upon what this means: there are certain words that you can utter that, if they offend someone, can mean that a Crown Court can slap a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order – ‘Crasbo’ – on you and place hefty restrictions on your freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and freedom of expression to the extent that you’re not really free at all.
So for unemployed 38-year-old Shane Overton, the UK has effectively become an open prison for the next 10 years, one in which he can no longer play any role in the (perfectly legal) activities he was previously engaged in with his political organisation, the English Defence League (EDL).
Overton does not appear to be a sympathetic character. His actions, which led to his criminal ASBO, are indeed reprehensible. On his way home following an EDL demo in Newcastle, he came across an Asian family at Doncaster rail station. Taking ‘exception to them speaking in Urdu’, he ‘used racist abuse and told them to “get out of our country”’.
Overton certainly deserves to be challenged and chastised for his disgusting language and contemptible treatment of the family. But while he reportedly scared the family’s children, there is no suggestion he used violence in the attack. He didn’t throw punches at these individuals; only words. If we hope to live in an open and free society, feeling free to say what we think – even if it causes offence to some – is of primary importance. When the state has the power to deprive you of democratic freedoms because it disapproves of the ‘offensive’ words you use, this can have disastrous consequences upon the ability of all of us to speak freely.
This is not the first time such legislation has been used against EDL members to restrict their freedom of expression. In Birmingham, last December, two individuals pleading guilty to ‘disorderly conduct’ at an EDL march were given bans preventing them from engaging in EDL activities (including on the internet) and restricting them from attending any protests anywhere in the UK that weren’t within a 10-mile radius of Birmingham. So even if they attended the – completely unrelated – anti-cuts demo in London on 26 March, they could face arrest or imprisonment. The judge reportedly didn’t consider this to be a free-speech issue because he deemed EDL events to have ‘no purpose’, claiming: ‘You each have a right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly’, but ‘I am persuaded that the only reason for [going on the protest] was to provoke, encourage and enjoy public disorder’.
Of course, the fact we’re talking about ‘fascist’ EDL members – as many leftie organisations will tell you – seems to mean that they shouldn’t be granted the democratic freedoms of right-thinking, middle-class liberals steeped in New Labour’s multiculturalist agenda. The members of this largely white working-class group are regarded as relics from a bygone era, Neanderthals needing to be re-educated or kept isolated from the rest of society, by force of law if necessary.
Despite the severe, illiberal punishment inflicted upon him by the courts, Shane Overton’s case has hardly registered as a blip on the radar of the national press. Perhaps if Overton had been a member of Unite Against Fascism, Hope Not Hate, or another such group there would have been outcry from people defending his civil liberties and trying to get his case noticed.
But there has been no outcry. Because left-leaning groups disagree with what Overton said, then not a word is spoken in his defence. Working-class ‘thugs’, it seems, don’t deserve a right to free speech. Indeed the ‘anti-Fascist’ publication Searchlight has (ironically) shown just what an authoritarian bent it has, by claiming that it will snitch to the state if it sees him breach his ASBO: ‘Searchlight will be watching closely to make sure Overton stays away from future EDL events.’
So blinded by their faux war against Fascism that they actively encourage the use of the state’s illiberal legislation, left-wing groups miss the fact that they could well be next. Police have made it clear they will be indiscriminate in also slapping similar restrictions on left-wing ‘extremists’. As DC Andy Haworth from the National Domestic Extremism Unit puts it: ‘We are working to support all police forces with Crasbo applications against any individual who persistently commits criminal acts at (or travelling to and from) Defence League demonstrations, regardless of whether they profess to support the Defence League or oppose it, in order to ensure future demonstrations are peaceful and lawful.’
As has been argued previously on spiked, much of what the EDL says may be unpleasant, but they are not a fascist organisation. In the name of tackling ‘right-wing’ extremism, both left-wing groups and the state are actually advocating and implementing far more authoritarian measures than the EDL has so far suggested.
The unsavoury language and appearance of some EDL members is obscuring the fact that fundamental democratic freedoms that affect us all are being eroded in the name of countering extremism. With the rise of criminal ASBOs, anyone who says something the state deems to be offensive, or engages in a protest that some judge believes has ‘no purpose’, could be prevented from being members of political organisations, protesting, moving across the country freely or associating with colleagues.
In short, for those the state disagrees with and finds offensive, Britain could soon start to resemble an open prison. This is a far greater threat than anything posed by so-called extremist groups like the EDL.