Cautious doctors to be forced out of NHS
Doctors who practice American-style conservative medicine (e.g. ordering lots of scans and diagnostic tests) could be tossed out on their ear under the NHS reforms. Caution costs money! Too bad if it also saves lives
Doctors who prescribe too many drugs or needlessly send patients to hospital could be pushed out of new organisations by their peers, in an attempt to keep their costs down and receive higher bonuses.
But because anyone who wants to practice on the NHS under the new regime must belong to a local consortium, those who are cast out could be left be unable to work.
Since those remaining would take on their former patients, the little-noticed consequence of the Government’s controversial health reforms may be seen as a good thing by driving out costly and poorly performing GPs.
Forcing doctors to join consortia, which will replace Primary Care Trusts in buying £60billion of treatment a year from NHS hospitals or private providers, is a key element of the Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently on “pause” over fears it will lead to the backdoor privatisation of the health service.
The prospect was raised by Christian Dingwall, a partner at the law firm Hempsons, who told a Westminster Health Forum conference recently that it has been suggested that up to a fifth of GPs under-performing because they “over prescribe or they over refer”. “In other words, they seem to be costing the NHS an undue amount of money.”
He said it is “unlikely” that better-performing GPs will want to share their consortium with underperforming GPs and might look to exclude them. This is because they will be eligible for extra money if a new body that oversees them, the NHS Commissioning Board, thinks it has done well. A proportion of practice income will also come in the form of a “quality premium”.
Mr Dingwall went on: “Now this is critically important for a GP because if you are not going to be a member of a consortium you cannot hold a primary care contract.
“So, it seems that the GP consortium is going to be absolutely critical as to who will be able to hold a primary care contract and can be a player at all within primary care, let alone the wider health care market.”
Mr Hempson added to The Daily Telegraph that consortia would not be able to expel doctors arbitrarily, or simply in order to acquire their patient lists or profits, as any decisions to change their membership would have to be approved by the NHS Commissioning Board.
Another health expert said: “I think peer group pressure on GPs is going to be a powerful lever. Whether this gets to the stage of GPs being driven out of consortia I don’t know but, certainly from the work I have been doing with some consortia, it is clear that they are going to be very hot on what they consider to be bad practice.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We have set out plans that will make services more responsive to patients and consistently drive up quality. However we want to get this right. That is why we are pausing, listening and reflecting so we can improve our NHS for everyone.”
Nasty British bureaucrats
Give ANY power to a British bureaucrat and it will be used to hurt people. It was perfectly proper to catch a wandering dog but there was NO need to put it down immediately. They would have done so only because they KNEW it was a fully registered family pet
A family was left devastated after their pet dog escaped from their home during a burglary – and was then put down by the council just two hours later.
It is thought four-year-old Lennox was startled by the intruder and ran out of the house in Weymouth, Dorset. Members of the public reported the Rottweiler-cross to police after he was spotted wandering the streets of Weymouth, Dorset.
Lennox was subsequently captured by officers and a council dog warden, who used a pole and noose to trap him before assessing him as ‘vicious’. Despite the fact he had a microchip implant which would have identified him and his owners to vets, he was put to sleep.
The dog, described as a ‘big softie’ by its owners, was put down by a vet at 6pm – just two hours after the break-in. His worried family arrived home at 8pm and reported both the burglary and Lennox missing to the police. At first they were wrongly told Lennox was being held in council kennels but were later informed he had been put down.
Owner Sophie Johnston, 24, is livid that Lennox, who was micro-chipped, was put down so quickly without receiving so much as a phone call from the authorities.
Miss Johnston said the dog had been brought up with her two children Freya, six, and Khan, four, and added: ‘He was a big softie. ‘He was scared of the hoover and even our kittens used to bully him and throw him off his bed. ‘He has got out before and we have called the dog warden as a precaution, so they have our number. ‘He was micro-chipped. They should have at least called us. ‘I could understand the decision if he had got out and hurt someone, but he didn’t.’
Her family is now considering taking legal action against Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
Miss Johnston had left Lennox at home while she and partner James Maskery, 21, went out for a few hours. While they were away family friend Andy James, 23, received a call from a neighbour to say Lennox was on the loose. He went to investigate and found the couple had been burgled.
Mr James said: “The front door was closed when I got there. I went round the back and called Lennox and tried to see if he was inside but he wasn’t. ‘I walked back round to the front and the front door was open. I think I must have disturbed whoever was in there.’
Over the next two hours Lennox was seen running through neighbouring streets, prompting residents to report a ‘big dog’ was on the loose. Lennox was eventually cornered by police and the council’s dog warden Ian Lewis, who said the animal was ‘having a go’ at anything that went past him.
A spokesman for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said they sympathised with Lennox’s owners but they had acted in the interest of public safety. He said: ‘We were left with no alternative given the actual and reported behaviour of the dog.
The untouchables: How violence and drugs go unpunished in Britain’s care homes where all that matters are children’s rights
When Winston Smith became a youth worker after leaving university, he was an idealistic liberal. But after ten depressing years of seeing disruptive children in care being indulged rather than disciplined, he’s written a devastating book exposing the truth about the anarchy in this country’s care homes
Well past midnight, a thuggish teenager called Liam is playing music in his bedroom at full volume. Three adults have spent 20 minutes cajoling him to ‘make the right choice’: in other words, to turn it down and let everyone get some sleep.
As they’ve been trained to do, they’ve praised him for those few hours in the past week when he wasn’t causing mayhem. But none of this works. It rarely does.
Liam has an angry, vacant look in his eye. Even threats don’t work. When I tell him he risks not going to Alton Towers this weekend, as planned, he roars: ‘B******s! I’ll be f***ing going. I’d like to see you try and stop me.’
If I dare to come into his room, he adds, ‘I’ll f***ing smash you right up!’
Everyone in the care home is awake now. Suddenly, a semi-feral 15-year-old appears at Liam’s door and hurls a 4kg dumb-bell at him, narrowly missing.
Provoking Liam — who, at just 15, is 6ft 2in and weighs 15st — can be unwise. In the past, he’s assaulted staff and gone on a wrecking spree simply for being asked politely to go to school.
What follows now is a hellish chase down a corridor. Fortunately, the dumb-bell thrower manages to barricade himself in a bedroom, along with two care-home workers and a pregnant teenager.
Liam starts furiously kicking the door down with his steel-toed boots. He’s also grabbed a frying pan from somewhere and is clearly intending to clobber the people cowering inside.
The door’s splintering and nearly off its hinges, but there’s nothing I can do except call the police. If I try to intervene physically, one of us will probably end up unconscious — and if it’s Liam, I know I’ll never work in social services again, regardless of the mitigating circumstances.
Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of care homes, where boys like Liam regularly get away with everything short of murder. During the many shifts I’ve worked at Charrington Place care home, he’s spat on me, threatened me with a home-made flame-thrower, thrown a clock at me and pelted me with eggs. He’s done variations of the same to pretty much everyone else.
On this particular night, the police arrive just in time to prevent a bloodbath, but conclude that there aren’t sufficient grounds for arrest.
The next day, Liam refuses to go to school. Instead, he’s taken for a walk in the countryside and then a row round a lake in the grounds of a stately home.
You might think this a highly inappropriate reward for attempted murder, and you’d be right. But the care system prefers always to look on the positive side. In the paperwork we have to fill out, Liam’s relaxing day is magically transformed into an ‘educational outing’.
On his return, he announces that he wants to go into town. ‘I don’t want to f***ing walk,’ he tells the care home manager. ‘Get me a car.’ The car isn’t available, so Liam begins rampaging around the house. He tears several paintings off the wall, throws a plate at me, slaps the manager, spits in my face, grabs me by the throat and spends a good hour trying to kick the office door down.
Later, he threatens to ‘mash’ me up while I’m asleep.
At the end of all this, he’s solemnly informed that he’s lost his £1 good behaviour incentive money for that day. Beyond that, though, he escapes censure; indeed, he’s told that if he behaves until Saturday, he’ll be taken to a nearby leisure centre.
Madness? Of course it is. Right across the country, the residential care system has been infected with an institutional and ideological form of insanity. As many as 90,000 children and young people pass through the care system in England every year, and 28 per cent are looked after in dedicated children’s homes. The average care home is small, with ten children or fewer, but I’ve seen some trying to keep tabs on more than 60 teenagers.
Much more HERE
The black headmistress who saw lynch mob in a British parent’s poster and called police
For a poster advertising a primary school parents’ meeting, it is certainly unusual. Using models, it depicts scientist Charles Darwin surrounded by an angry mob wielding flaming torches and makeshift weapons. According to the school governor who created it, City executive David Moyle, it is a satirical joke about pushy middle-class parents demanding higher standards.
Yet when black headmistress Shirley Patterson saw it, she believed it represented her surrounded by white parents. She reportedly compared it to a scene from Mississippi Burning, a film about the Ku Klux Klan’s racist lynchings, saying it left her ‘fearing for her and her family’s safety’.
She called the police, claiming harassment. Then a council inquiry spent weeks determining the race of the Charles Darwin figure. Now Mr Moyle has been suspended from the governing body of Goodrich primary school in fashionable East Dulwich, south-east London, and is considering withdrawing his two younger children.
Although the police realised Darwin was white, and said no crime had been committed, Southwark council insisted it had ‘appropriately’ investigated the ‘deeply disturbing’ poster. The Labour authority refused to reveal details of its inquiry – which involved half a dozen officers at a time when 500 jobs are set to be cut.
And it will not discuss how a model of a white, bearded, Victorian scientist could be confused with a black 21st century headmistress.
But a friend of Mr Moyle said: ‘Southwark council summoned David for a meeting and told him the posters amounted to harassment. ‘A two-week investigation was carried out into the toy Charles Darwin’s ethnicity, before it was ruled “indeterminable”.
‘But the council inquiry, carried out by a whole team of officers including the assistant director of access, inclusion and education, Pauline Armour, ruled the poster was “an image of violence and intimidation”, and “deeply disturbing and damaging to children”.’
Last night Mr Moyle, who is also a volunteer cricket coach at the school, said: ‘The poster and subsequent events have taken up way too much of my time this year. I was very surprised and disappointed that the school executive tried to criminalise me over it, especially in light of the amount of time my wife and I have given to Goodrich over the last eight years.
‘If there was a perceived problem with the image I would have thought they could have spoken directly to me about it. ‘And as an ardent supporter of local government, I was taken aback by the reaction of the council, who not only fully endorsed the disproportionate reaction of the school management, but also contrived additional charges about the poster that had no relation at all to the original complaint.
‘The only people involved who have applied common sense to this incident are the police and the parents of the school, and to them I am grateful.’
The friend added: ‘David is really angry. He feels he can’t have his children in a school where the headmistress tried to have him arrested. The posters were supposed to be poking fun at parents, representing them as a peasants’ revolt. ‘And the parents, teachers and police saw nothing racist about it. But once the council got involved it escalated.’
Mrs Patterson, 53, replaced a popular long-term headmaster of Goodrich school when he retired in 2007. Ofsted inspectors rated the school, which has around 700 pupils aged three to 11, a lowly ‘satisfactory’ in 2008.
In January, newly-elected parent governor Mr Moyle, who lives nearby in a £650,000 Victorian house with wife Lisa, a former treasurer of the parents’ association, and their sons aged 12 and ten and daughter of eight, was asked to advertise a meeting. He found the image on a website mocking ‘creationists’ angered by Darwin’s theory of evolution, and stuck posters around the school.
The next week he was told Mrs Patterson had complained to the National Union of Teachers.
The friend said: ‘Mrs Patterson was previously at a school where lots of children come from migrant families and English is not their first language. ‘But East Dulwich is quite gentrified, and a lot of middle-class parents here want schools that rival prep schools. ‘They want academic excellence.
‘She feels everyone is against her and has over-reacted to a poster she thought symbolised her.’
Mrs Patterson, who lives with her daughter in a £250,000 flat in Camberwell two miles from the school, refused to comment.
Another Greenie reveals his dislike of people
His arguments are as hollow as they are old. We have hardly begun on the amount of food we could grow. An example: Sugar is a major nutrient and yet sugar supplies are almost continuously in glut (oversupply). Australia’s sugar lands could double their production at the drop of a hat if it were profitable.
And consider this: China — yes China — is now a major food exporter. Capitalism works its wonders even in crowded China. Where do you think your supermarket gets its garlic these days? And, sacrilege of sacrileges, there are even Chinese truffles on the market now. And the list goes on….
And if Sir David likes less crowded places, let him move to the stunningly beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Instead he lives in crowded London. What does that tell you?
And if you then consider that it is only in poor countries where the birthrate is above replacement, you might arrive at yet another even more telling conclusion. Wouldn’t it be simpler and more honest of him to say: “Keep Third World immigrants out of Britain”?
Sir David Attenborough has warned that population growth must be stopped in order to offer a ‘decent life’ for all. The wildlife broadcaster said people were shying away from accepting that the world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth. ‘There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed,’ he writes in the New Statesman.
‘The sooner we stabilise our numbers, the sooner we stop running up the down escalator – and we have some chance of reaching the top; that is to say, a decent life for all.’
Sir David, 84, said the global population is over six billion and will hit nine billion in 30 years, but ‘there seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject’. He warned of a ‘perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil production’, leading to ‘insecurity in the supply of food, water and energy’.
‘We now realise that the disasters that continue increasingly to afflict the natural world have one element that connects them all – the unprecedented increase in the number of human beings on the planet,’ he added.
‘All these people, in this country and worldwide, rich or poor, need and deserve food, water, energy and space. Will they be able to get it? I don’t know.’
Sir David said there was a ‘taboo’ tackling the subject and that people shied away from stating the fact that a world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth.
He said: ‘There seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject. This taboo doesn’t just inhibit politicians and civil servants who attend the big conferences.
‘It even affects the environmental and developmental non-governmental organisations, the people who claim to care most passionately about a sustainable and prosperous future for our children.’
The 84-year-old praised controversial 18th century demographer Thomas Malthus, who argued that populations increase until they are halted by ‘misery and vice’.
He added: ‘The population of the world is now growing by 80 million a year. One and a half million a week. A quarter of a million a day.
‘The government’s chief scientist and the last president of the Royal Society have both referred to the ‘perfect storm’ of population growth, climate change, and peak oil production, leading inexorably to more and more insecurity in the supply of food, water and energy.’
The global population is now in excess of six billion and is predicted to hit nine billion within 30 years.
Experts have predicted that the British population – which is currently around 62million – will increase to 70million by 2029.
A report by the sustainable development group Forum For The Future said Britain would struggle to handle such growth. The increase in population would be ‘catastrophic’ and put unsustainable pressure on housing, schools and hospitals as well as natural resources.
Current trends will see a city the size of Bristol added to the population of the UK every year for the next two decades.
Sir David’s comments follow a similar warning from BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham. The Springwatch presenter suggested offering Britons tax breaks to encourage them to have smaller families. He effectively endorsed China’s controversial one-child policy, which sees couples who adhere to the rule given a lump sum on retirement.
But he stopped short of suggesting people should be penalised for having too many children.
Packham, 49, who has no children of his own, told Radio Times: ‘By 2020, there are going to be 70million people in Britain. Let’s face it, that’s too many.’
He added: ‘There’s no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we’re not addressing the one single factor that’s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other – namely the ever-increasing size of the world’s population.’
Packham suggested offering couples a financial incentive as ‘a carrot’ to persuade them to have fewer – or no – children.
He said: ‘I would offer them tax breaks for having small families: say, 10 per cent off your tax bill if you decide to stick with just one child. And an even bigger financial incentive if you choose not to have a family at all.’
‘I question the way, for example, people have two children with one partner, then split up and have two with their next partner, just to even up the score.
‘Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.’
Crazy Greenie logic in Britain
Major energy companies have been given free carbon allowances worth more than £100m this year for closed or mothballed power stations – despite the fact that the plants are producing little or no emissions.
Centrica, GDF Suez/International Power and Scottish & Southern Energy are among the UK companies to have reduced or switched off capacity at older plants.
And despite ceasing to produce electricity, the energy companies still receive the carbon credits which they can trade on international markets – giving substantial windfalls.
All the named companies announced temporary or permanent shut-downs in recent weeks – just after this year’s carbon allowances were handed out by February 28.
Centrica has put four plants – Barry, Brigg, Peterborough and Kings Lynn – into “preservation mode”, which means they are not producing but ready to be switched on.
Meanwhile, GDF Suez has reduced output at its Teesside plant to almost nothing – with the station expected to produce just 45 megawatts out of its 1875 megawatt capacity.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “If an installation permanently closes then it will retain the full allocation for the year in which it closed down. “It will receive no further allowances for future years of the European Union emissions trading scheme.
For temporary and partial closure the installation carries on as normal. “There are no adjustments to its allocation. It will be the decision of the regulator to decide if a closure is temporary or partial. However, installations can appeal a regulator decision.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said if there is operating activity during the year, companies are entitled to retain their allocation of free allowances. “The rules do not allow us to take allocations away,” he said.
It is understood that officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change are not happy about the situation and are trying to work out a way for them to be reclaimed.
Centrica declined to comment, while Scottish & Southern and International Power confirmed they had received its allowances for their non-producing stations. A source close to one of the companies said: “We don’t yet know the answer to [whether we’ll be able to keep allowances]. The arbiter of this decision will be the European Union emissions trading group at the Environment Agency and we have been told that they will issue guidance on this later in the year.”
It is not the first time that partial closure of plants has caused controversy in relation to unused carbon credits.
Last year, Ian Swales, now the Lib Dem MP for Redcar, called for clarification over what would happen to the 7m carbon allowances awarded for the year to Corus, before the plant was mothballed.
A Corus spokesman at the time insisted: “Any allegation that Corus has been motivated by the desire to profit from the mothballing via the emissions trading scheme is totally without foundation and insults the efforts of all those who have spent the past eight months desperately searching for a long-term viable future for the plant.”