GMC Expels Incompetent Doctor for Kicking Autism Patient
The General Medical Council (GMC) had suspended Dr. Robert Bartosik after finding him guilty of kicking an autism patient where the panel ruled that his action was unacceptable. In addition, the council also pinpointed his deficient professional performance at various NHS trusts across the UK.
Along with his employers, the panel had concluded that he had poor clinical as well as communication and language abilities. “As a professional person Dr. Bartosik should have dealt with the situation in a different way and not have retaliated by kicking the patient. The panel is of the view that his actions were out with the boundaries of acceptability and that the public and profession would deem it to be unacceptable”, added the panel.
In 2008, Dr. Bartosik, who came from Poland, had worked as a locum senior house officer at Dykebar Hospital in Paisley, Highbury Hospital in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, and as a locum psychiatry trainee at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
All his employers spoke in loud against his skills and raised major concerns about his ability and professional attitude.
While speaking in self-defense, Dr. Bartosik, who was a support worker, denied all the allegations and accused a witness of lying.
Fears patient records are vulnerable to hacker attack as NHS trials putting data in online ‘cloud’
Patient records are to be stored on the internet for the first time prompting concern confidential data could be vulnerable to attacks by hackers.
The NHS is trialing a new way of storing patient’s medical records which could spell the end of paper records kept at individual GP surgeries. It is hoped the scheme will one day allow doctors to access a patient’s notes from anywhere in the world.
However, it has prompted fears over data security and the whether the information could be targeted by internet hackers. Hacking group LulzSec recently attacked the CIA, FBI, and Sony and have boasted of wreaking havoc across the internet.
In Britain last week, Ryan Cleary, 19, of Wickford, Essex, was arrested at his family home as part of a Scotland Yard and FBI probe into LulzSec. He is charged with conspiring with other people on or before June 20 to create a remotely controlled network of zombie computers, known as a ‘botnet’, to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, where websites are flooded with traffic to make them crash.
He is also alleged to have carried out similar attacks against the British Phonographic Industry’s website and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s website on or before June 20.
Hackers also recently claimed to have obtained NHS administrator passwords.
Earlier this month the International Monetary Fund also fell victim to a cyber attack, which the organisation described as a ‘major breach’ of its systems.
The Government is keen to develop the technology however, as it could help save the NHS money in the long run. The project would cost £11.7billion.
Patients could get to decide who is allowed to access their data. Data would be able to be accessed from devices like mobile phones and computers linked to the internet.
Tony Lucas, the founder of Scottish-based computer firm Flexiant which is developing the scheme, said the technology has “massive implications for the future of patient treatment in the UK.” He insists it is secure and said it could be used to integrate all phases of health-care treatment.
According to the Daily Telegraph he said: ‘For the first time patients can have control over their treatment and their records and that is enormously empowering.’
The Technology Strategy Board and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is funding the project.
It is not the first time that the NHS has tried to find a way to give doctors greater access to patient records. A report out in May 2011 found the project to computerise all patient records has cost billions of pounds without delivering any benefits.
The £11billion NHS IT system was launched under Labour in 2002. The latest report from the National Audit Office revealed the project is running years behind schedule and will probably never happen.
British abortion charities could be banned from advising women on whether to have a termination
Britain’s abortion laws could be tightened to ban providers from also serving as counsellors for women considering whether to have a termination. It would be the first significant change to the law for more than 20 years, following concerns that women are not getting independent advice at a time when they are vulnerable.
Under plans being considered by the Government, charities which provide abortions could be stripped of their automatic right to provide counselling. Instead women would be referred to an ‘independent’ therapist or organisation before they could have a termination.
Dozens of MPs are backing the move led by former Labour minister Frank Field and Conservative Nadine Dorries, a former nurse. Mrs Dorries, Mid Bedfordshire MP, believes it is vital to remove the conflict of financial ‘vested interest’ that exists for abortion providers in the procedure going ahead.
But abortion charities argue the move would delay women getting the help they need and there is no evidence the system is not working. Just a fifth of women seeking advice choose not to have an abortion. At present, charities including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes, offer women counselling before they make a decision on termination. All women must have a consultation.
Under amendments already tabled to the Health and Social Care Bill, counselling would have to be provided by a statutory body or a private organisation that does not itself provide abortions and has no financial interest in the outcome.
However, new legislation may not be necessary as the Department of Health suggested yesterday that existing ‘legal mechanisms’ may be able to achieve the same objective.
Mrs Dorries said she was concerned minor changes would not protect women and there was ‘huge public support’ for a tightening of the law. ‘Legislation is required to prevent abortion providers establishing subsidiary counselling organisation to circumnavigate the new requirement,’ she added.
‘My intention is for vulnerable women to have access to the best possible care as quickly as possible, for counselling to be optional, independent and to present no delay whatsoever to the abortion process.
Official figures show there were 189,100 abortions in 2009, slightly down on the previous year. In 1990, the Abortion Act was amended to lower the time limit from 28 to 24 weeks. Attempts last year by MPs to shorten the 24-week limit failed.
Ann Furedi, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: ‘We are extremely concerned to learn that the Department of Health is reviewing care pathways for women considering abortion and looking into a ban on counselling by abortion providers.
‘In recent years, delays for women in need of abortion care have been reduced significantly, and last year nearly 80 per cent of procedures took place within the first ten weeks of pregnancy.
‘Pregnancy Advisory Bureaux run by charities like BPAS that offer abortion are already licensed and regulated by the Secretary of State, and must conform to a core set of principles regarding the information and counselling.’
In May, the Government appointed pro-life charity Life to a new sexual health advisory forum, but prevented BPAS from taking part. BPAS said it had been ‘disinvited’.
The Department of Health said it ‘wants women who are thinking about having an abortion to be able to have independent counselling’. ‘We do not believe it is necessary to set out this requirement in primary legislation as the necessary legal mechanisms already exist.’
Tax break call for married couples: Tory MPs urge £1,500 reform on British PM
Conservative backbenchers yesterday tried to push David Cameron into giving tax breaks to married couples. At least ten MPs backed a Commons amendment which would allow husbands and wives to share income tax allowances – a reform that would benefit the couples by up to nearly £1,500.
Their aim was to lever the Prime Minister into making good his longstanding pledge to shore up marriage. Mr Cameron repeated his promise in his speech on feckless fathers earlier this month when he declared: ‘I want us to recognise marriage in the tax system so, as a country, we show we value commitment.’
Among the Conservatives backing the amendment were senior backbenchers Edward Leigh and David Amess, Congleton MP Fiona Bruce, and Witham MP Priti Patel.
A supporter said: ‘David Cameron and other senior Conservatives repeatedly expressed their commitment to recognising marriage in the tax system during the last Parliament. ‘This was a key policy response to the challenge of social breakdown – the Broken Britain phenomenon – and became an important manifesto pledge. ‘The commitment got into the Coalition agreement, but no action has yet been taken.’
Critics say the decline of marriage is a central factor behind rising social disruption and family break-up. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has warned that this costs the country £100billion a year.
The rebel backbenchers yesterday put down an amendment to the Finance Bill which is setting Chancellor George Osborne’s March Budget into law.
A transferable income tax allowance would mean that a working husband could take over the tax-free allowance of a wife who stayed at home to bring up children, or vice versa. It would be worth up to £1,495 to a one-earner couple.
The backbench initiative, which is unlikely to become law, was attacked by Labour. During Labour’s years in power the last tax break for husbands and wives, married couples allowance, was removed, and the importance of marriage eroded to the point where officials were told to remove the word from public documents.
Labour Treasury spokesman David Hanson said: ‘It is astonishing that at a time when millions of families and pensioners are being hit hard by deep spending cuts and tax rises, the first priority of David Cameron’s restless Tory backbenchers is unfair tax cuts only for a few.
‘And the proposed multi-billion pound marriage tax break would penalise those who are separated, widowed or divorced – many of whom are already being hit hard by cuts to tax credits and childcare support.’
Mr Cameron is thought to be holding back on a firm promise of tax breaks for married couples on the grounds that the country cannot afford it. Calculations by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank suggest it would cost £600million to give a transferable tax allowance to married parents of young children, and £3.2billion to extend it to all married couples.
In the run-up to last year’s election, Mr Cameron said: ‘I just think as a society, saying that marriage is a good thing and celebrating it and encouraging it, including through the tax system, is something that most societies do in Europe. It’s very sensible for us to do as well.’
The idea also appeared in the the Coalition agreement which says that a transferable allowance for married couples will be introduced. But it gives no details or timetables, and it allows the Lib Dems to abstain on any vote to bring it in.
The Lib Dems have threatened to oppose the measure, and have successfully insisted that their own policy of raising the personal allowance to £10,000 must take priority.
Saving the planet will destroy the economy
MARGARET Thatcher’s one time right-hand man Nigel Lawson is not so much a climate sceptic as sceptical of the necessity for action, let alone the ways we are tackling climate change.
Lawson will be in Sydney in six weeks to expound his views at a public debate on the proposition: “We need a carbon tax to help stop global warming.”
The combatants themselves should raise temperatures. The former British chancellor of the exchequer and energy secretary will lead a negative team comprising former Keating government minister Gary Johns and University of Adelaide geologist and author of the sceptic’s bible Heaven and Earth, Ian Plimer.
The affirmative will be put by two former opposition leaders, John Hewson and Mark Latham, backed by University of NSW climatologist Benjamin McNeil.
Lawson says it is scientifically established that increased carbon dioxide emissions will warm the planet, but adds, “it is uncertain how great any such warming would be and how much harm, if any, it would do”. He urges governments “to consider the damaging economic impact of blindly following the climate change agenda”.
He dismisses as “complete nonsense” the argument that Australia has a special responsibility as a carbon-intensive economy and big coal producer to show global policy leadership.
“If China wants to develop and wants to increase productivity through, among other things, increasing electricity output rapidly and has been building coal-fired power stations and wants to import the coal to fuel them from Australia, I think you would be mad if you didn’t supply it,” he tells The Weekend Australian.
Lawson sees continuing strong demand for Australian coal despite promises by China and India to reduce their energy intensity, calling the pledges “cover”. “Economic development happens because of increased economic efficiency,” he says. “That means increasing labour productivity and that also means increasing the productivity of the other factors of production of which energy is one of the most important.”
Lawson adds the development of a less energy-intensive services sector is one of the characteristics of economic development. But he adds: “That doesn’t mean energy consumption will decline. Energy consumption will rise. Carbon consumption will rise because economic growth will trump the lesser amount of energy used for each particular unit of output.”
He calls energy intensity promises by China and India “convenient cover for their saying, quite rightly, ‘no way are we going to impede or in any way slow down our economic development by having restrictions on the use of carbon energy’. They go for carbon intensity rather than carbon emissions, which they can be perfectly confident is bound to decline through a process of development as it has in every country in the world.”
Lawson warns our politicians not to hold up his own party’s policies as exemplars.
Julia Gillard regularly points to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s environmental plans to embarrass the Coalition, but Lawson says Tory backbenchers “are increasingly uncomfortable and indeed hostile to policies [that] are being proposed on the climate change front, which mean higher energy costs, which are bad for consumers … and bad for British industry”.
He points out Cameron and his ministers have a plan B. “The government has said it will review the matter in January 2014 in the light of what other European countries are doing and this is clearly a get-out clause, this is clearly new, and it was clearly put in at the behest of the Treasury as both the Treasury and Treasury ministers are very concerned at the cost of going it alone.”
Economics and energy security are at the core of Lawson’s critique of the climate policy debate. “The world relies on carbon-based energy simply because it is by far the cheapest available source of energy and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future,” he says. “The major developing countries, in particular, are understandably unwilling to hold back their development and condemn their people to avoidable poverty by moving from relatively cheap energy to relatively expensive energy.”
Lawson heralds new developments that permit extraction of gas from shale in an economic way as “one of the most remarkable technological developments there has been”, saying the shift from coal to gas that is set to follow will cut emissions.
“This is carbon energy but the amount of carbon dioxide produced per terawatt of energy generated from gas is half that from coal,” he says. “You don’t eliminate carbon emissions but you reduce them quite considerably by moving from coal to gas. Of course the environmentalists are appalled by this because they believe that carbon energy has to be eliminated altogether but that’s not going to happen.”
Lawson returns once again to the cost of renewable energy. “If renewable energy is cheaper than carbon energy, then that’s fine,” he says, “but for the present time and in the foreseeable future most forms of renewable energy are massively more expensive.”
Lawson dismisses as economic illiteracy claims of a green jobs boom powered by renewables that will mop up unemployment from the structural adjustment to a low-carbon economy, recruiting one of the great classical liberals to back his case.
“The French 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat said you might as well go round breaking windows saying you’re creating jobs for glaziers. The fact is you can’t look at just one sector. The government can create jobs by employing large numbers of people to build statues of prominent politicians. You can always create jobs in a particular area.
“What you’ve got to be concerned about are jobs in the economy as a whole and you don’t create jobs in the economy as a whole by promoting something [that] is wholly uneconomic and has to be subsidised.”
Lawson has strong views about what decarbonisation means. “The plain fact is the total economy will be harmed. A lot of these green jobs will be in China. The Chinese can see there is a market in the West for solar panels and other things so they are producing them very much more cheaply. In so far as there are jobs they will be there, not in the consuming countries.”
Striking teachers’ unions betray staff, pupils – and British education
By Katharine Birbalsingh
One day during my teacher training, we were all herded into a large hall where union representatives sat smiling behind their stalls. We dutifully queued up and signed on the dotted line, not least because the option of not belonging was, in essence, hidden.
Everyone agreed to allow £150 to leave their bank accounts every year because that’s what teachers do: we belong to unions. Except for me, that is. I had to use the loo, was bored of queuing and left with the intention of signing up later. But by September I was busy working and couldn’t see the point of paying money to a union for nothing.
In those first couple of years, every teacher who heard of my lack of protection from the big, bad bosses (whom I have never met) rushed to warn me I was putting my life in danger. Even if I didn’t worry about being fired for incompetence, what if a child were to accuse me of something? Who would defend me? Eventually, I capitulated and signed up.
In state education, there is social obligation to belong to a union. The most ardent union supporters belong to the National Union of Teachers (NUT): they are the driving force behind tomorrow’s teachers’ national strike. They tend to be loud in the staff room, forcing others to toe the line. They push the mantra of evil senior management exploiting staff, and bully younger teachers to buy into it.
The idea of holding colleagues to account or requiring high standards of teaching is not on their agenda. Good teachers keep their heads down, ignore the fact they are paid the same or considerably less than the worst teachers, and get on with the job.
Interestingly, it is not just bad teachers who are vocal in support of union power. The union grip on schools, psychologically and socially, is more pernicious than that. Some young teachers, good and bad, are radicalised by senior ones. The veterans seek out the more vulnerable and awkward young teachers, who may want to be part of a club or simply be looking for approval and to feel valued.
Most teachers believe fervently in their union. If you ask them why, they will say something about being protected from evil management. If you’re a bad teacher, there is some sense in this, for unions are powerful and will stand in the way of a headteacher trying to get rid of you. Heads know firing a teacher is practically impossible in a school beholden to the local authority. It is estimated that in the past 40 years, only 18 teachers — out of the 500,000 in the UK at any one time — have lost their jobs because of incompetence.
In academies or free schools, which are independent of the local authority, unions do not have the same kind of power. Instead of taxpayers’ money going to the local authority, where bureaucrats decide how to use it, the money is given directly to schools and heads decide how it should be spent.
Academies and free schools can set their own pay and conditions (thereby giving heads the option of rewarding good staff financially) and employ non-qualified teachers who haven’t been forced to sign up to a union. Thus, if the centralised state education system is broken up — which will increasingly be the case if Education Secretary Michael Gove’s free schools revolution succeeds — unions will no longer be able to call for national strikes with ease.
More importantly, they will no longer be able to protect bad teachers. A more open system will reduce union power. So it should come as no surprise unions are pumping huge amounts of their members’ money into an anti-academy, anti-free school campaign.
They pay members’ travel expenses to attend anti-academy rallies, spread propaganda about free schools selecting pupils (simply not true and not allowed) and spend thousands on flyers to go up in every staff room.
After all, if unions become redundant and lose members, who will pay the union bosses, who earn more than £100,000 a year?
Naturally, unions can’t say this out loud. Instead, they pretend they are defending teachers and children. They argue that Mr Gove is destroying our education system and values.
They deny simple facts that prove our education system is failing: that nearly half of our children are unable to get at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths. Even worse, a staggering 84 per cent fail to achieve five C grades at GCSE in the academic subjects specified by Mr Gove’s proposed English Baccalaureate: English, maths, science, a foreign language and either history or geography.
These are the core subjects we take for granted that our children are learning at school, yet the majority are leaving school without what is considered to be a pass by employers.
Before I am vilified, let me say the basic concept of a union is admirable. They are meant to protect workers against exploitation.
But if only this were what modern teaching unions are doing. Teachers sign up to them because we believe they will help us when in need and ensure our profession is highly regarded. But they keep poor teachers in their posts and give us all a bad name by lowering standards.
Degrading our profession, as teaching unions are doing, helps neither teachers nor children. Children are left to rot in chaos, the public believes teachers are inadequate and lazy, and the profession is considered unsavoury by many talented graduates.
But persuading teachers their union may not be acting in their interest could be difficult. The culture in schools is such that rejecting the role of the NUT representative or questioning the union mantra is considered to be letting the side down.
At the free school I am setting up, I would be happy for teachers to belong to any union they may choose, because I believe in freedom and encourage people to debate ideas. I only wish unions could do the same.
If they did, they would also be doing a marvellous job for our children: staff would be held to account, bad teachers would be weeded out, the public would respect us and teachers and children would fare better in the classroom.
The concept of a union defending the worker is one we should seek to reshape, instead of allowing political ideology to consume everything in its wake.
I am not alone in thinking this: according to a survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research, only 21 per cent of teachers think schools have enough freedom to sack incompetent colleagues.
That would tally with what I used to hear teachers say behind closed doors. They hate the fact children are let down by less competent staff. But as with everything in our broken education system, they have to shut up.
Wake up, teachers of Britain — you are being duped. Deep down, I know you know it, just as we all know standards have dropped, behaviour is out of control and our children are being failed, year after year.
Unions don’t care about teachers. Neither do they care about children. If they did, they wouldn’t be going on strike. When you look carefully at what they’re doing, it’s clear they care only about themselves.