No backup when surgery goes wrong

Hospital surgeons battling to save the life of a patient whose heart stopped during an operation were told to dial 999 – because they were unaware their back-up team had been axed.

The drama happened at Rochdale Infirmary when the man went into cardiac arrest during routine surgery.

Medics carrying out the operation pressed a buzzer to summon emergency back-up – known as a ‘crash team’ – to try to help with the resuscitation.

They didn’t know that the team had been moved to other hospitals in the area following the downgrading of Rochdale Infirmary’s A&E unit to an ‘urgent care centre’.

When no one responded to the alarm, the doctors called the security office – and were advised to phone 999 and ask for an ambulance.

The patient survived after the surgery team were able to restart his heart without outside help.

Now hospital bosses have cancelled all operations until Monday while they look at their procedures again. A spokesman for the Pennine Acute Trust, which runs the infirmary, said they did have ‘advanced life savers’ on site at Rochdale trained to act in the place of the crash team. But the surgery team was apparently unaware that they were supposed to summon them by phoning a special internal number.

A memo has since been issued to all staff reminding them of the changes. The trust said the full crash team was no longer necessary because the hospital no longer had in-patients.

But health campaigner Jean Ashworth claimed the situation was putting ‘lives at risk’. She said: ‘It’s just absolutely disgraceful. ‘It’s appalling – not only for the patient but for the staff who are having to deal with a scandalous situation.’

The operation, which took place on Tuesday, was an angioplasty – a routine op in which the vessels around the heart are widened.

The trust spokesman said: ‘It is a known risk that occasionally patients can suffer a cardiac arrest during an angioplasty. ‘One of these occasions happened on Tuesday when a patient had a cardiac arrest during an angioplasty. ‘Specific and separate resuscitation arrangements were available to the catheter lab at Rochdale Infirmary, but we are now taking the opportunity to look at these arrangements again over the next few days. ‘While we are doing this a small number of non-urgent patients will have their procedures postponed.’

The trust which runs the hospital said it had spoken to staff involved and had no record of anyone being told to dial 999 during the procedure. In the end, the patient was resuscitated by the catheter lab team who were performing the operation. They also insisted the removal of the ‘crash’ team was not linked to the closure of the hospital’s A&E unit and said the site now only handled ‘routine’ procedures where patients were unlikely to become critically ill. [And too bad if they do?]


Immigration Row Engulfs U.K. Minister, Ian Duncan Smith

I am afraid that I agree with British business rather than IDS on this. I think most Australians would. Because of the huge and constant flow of people between the two countries, Australians know Britons very well and the slangy Australian verdict on Brits is that “they wouldn’t work in an iron lung”. That expression probably makes sense to Australians only but what it means is that Brits are seen as usually lazy and workshy. And their useless public educational system doesn’t help either. So I would tend to hire a foreigner in preference to a Brit too. I think it’s only immigrants and private school graduates who keep Britain going — JR

U.K. business organizations have fiercely criticized a senior government minister for telling them to employ more British people rather than hiring “labor from abroad.”

In a speech Friday at the Spanish Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies in Madrid, Mr. Duncan Smith said if the immigration system wasn’t more strictly controlled, increasing number of U.K. citizens would be left out of work, in particular young people.

Mr. Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the government is doing its bit to control immigration by placing an overall limit on the number of non-European Union workers allowed into the country each year, but that British businesses also needed to help.

A former leader of the Conservative Party, Mr. Duncan Smith risks inflaming tensions with coalition partners the Liberal Democrats over immigration policy—a subject which has been one of the most contentious areas for the one-year-old government.

He said in his speech: “As we work hard to break welfare dependency and get young people ready for the labor market we need businesses to give them a chance, and not just fall back on labor from abroad. “If Government and business pull together on this, I believe we can finally start to give our young people a chance.”

Under EU law it is illegal for the government or employers to discriminate against workers from EU countries.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said businesses in the U.K. need to have a highly skilled workforce, and for many firms that means employing migrants. “Highly skilled foreign workers are important to our economy, and it is vital that they are allowed to enter the country so businesses can hire the workers they need.”

He said many young Britons lack the basic skills needed in the workplace—such as reading, writing and communication. “Getting more young people into work in this country doesn’t rely upon stemming the flow of skilled migrants coming to the U.K.,” he added.

Neil Carberry, director for employment at the Confederation of British Industry, said employers should be able to choose the best person for the job, and that the challenge for the government was to ensure more young Britons were in a position to be the best candidate.

The pro-business Conservatives have to balance private sector demands for open markets with party promises to clamp down on immigration after a decade of record new arrivals caused increased complaints by voters.

Mr. Duncan Smith, who is considered on the right wing of the party, said that coming out of the last economic down turn in the early 1990s, employers looked abroad as they struggled to fill jobs at home and have yet to get out of the habit.

Youth unemployment is an issue that has dogged successive U.K. government. However, the problem has become acute since the recession with one-in- five people in the 16-to-24 age group unemployed. In comparison, the overall unemployment rate in the U.K. is 7.7%.

The government has attempted to tackle the problem by promoting apprenticeships and internships for young people but to date its policies have had limited impact.

Further fueling the immigration debate are figures from Labour lawmaker Frank Field showing that 87% of the 400,000 new jobs created during the coalition government’s first year in office went to immigrants.

Liberal Democrat lawmakers, in particular Business Secretary Vince Cable, have previously sided with business groups to argue that changes to immigration policy could hurt British competitiveness.

A row over immigration policy erupted within the coalition in April after Cable publicly criticized Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments about mass immigration as being “very unwise”.


Make this monster-in-law a minister!

By Amanda Platell (A prominent Conservative journalist in her mid-50s)

Carolyn Bourne has been branded as a snooty, toxic mother-in-law from hell after the venomous email she sent her future daughter-in-law, castigating her for a catalogue of social misdemeanours during a recent visit, was circulated on the internet.

Mrs Bourne’s supporters claim she has been unfairly vilified and that Heidi Withers, the object of her derision, is a spoilt, ill-mannered ladette who thoroughly deserved the opprobrium.

That didn’t stop Miss Withers’s father blasting back, calling Mrs Bourne a ‘snotty Miss Fancy Pants’.

In truth, neither side emerges from the unedifying spectacle with much dignity, but one thing is clear: no matter whose side you take, this very public spat is indicative of the gradual erosion of good manners and respect for others right across society.

Carolyn Bourne highlighted the fact that Heidi Withers didn’t know how to conduct herself as a guest in someone’s home. That’s just the tip if the iceberg. Today people also don’t know how to conduct themselves on the street, in supermarkets, restaurants or on public transport.

You don’t have to search hard for the evidence. Each morning, my day begins collecting the coffee cups, cigarette packs and food wrappings thrown into my garden by passers-by too lazy and ill-mannered to put their detritus in a bin.

After the weekend, the heath near my home resembles a landfill site, strewn with the empty beer cans, plastic cups and even used nappies left by visitors for someone else to clear up.

That’s just one small symptom of a wider malaise: the total lack of care or consideration for others that is endemic right across Britain.

When I arrived in this country from Australia, 26 years ago, one of the most striking things was the courtesy of all those I encountered.

The ‘pleases’ and the ‘thank yous’; the way people quietly queued for their turn; the thoughtfulness towards the elderly, even if they were total strangers.

Back then, no pregnant woman would ever be found standing on a crowded train, just as no house guest would ever dream of failing to write a thank-you note.

Look at Britain now.

However insensitive her email to her daughter-in-law may have been, you’ve got to admit Mrs Bourne had a point. And she wasn’t afraid to make a stand for the values she believed in. We could do with people like her in government.


Britain has censorship by elites

Recent coverage of celebrities’ sexual antics has been puerile, but it should not be judges who decide what we read — but there is a certain inevitability about the son of a Fascist leader (Mosley) arguing for censorship

Speaking last night at a packed-to-the-rafters Index on Censorship event, ‘Injunctions are a necessary evil – privacy, free speech and a feral press’, Max Mosley, former head of Formula 1 motor racing, clearly did not think that his sex life, picturesque though it might be, was something the public needed to know about. Sat next to Mosley, Hugh Tomlinson QC was only too keen to agree. And well he might: Tomlinson’s most famous recent case involved the forlorn attempts of Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs to keep his lusty liaisons out of public view. ‘Private infidelities’, Tomlinson concurred, ‘should only be disclosed when there is some justification for the disclosure’.

And for Mosley and Tomlinson, that is the problem. Too frequently there is too little justification for the privacy-flaunting revelations that constitute – to use one of last night’s laziest tropes – ‘tabloid’ news. It is a familiar argument. Stories of steamy bedroom romps, usually involving more than two people and complete with ghost-written ‘in their own words’ blow-by-blow accounts, do not enlighten us or expose some incredibly important wrongdoing. Such tales are merely titillation for the rest of us. That is why, as Mosley put it, both he and Tomlinson have ‘no problem with injunctions’. They are simply ‘necessary evils’ to stop the press from turning the private, perfectly legal behaviour of individuals into public entertainment. Mosley even violated polite liberal etiquette and defended the right to privacy of evil-banker-in-chief, Sir Fred Goodwin, whose adultery was outed in parliament earlier this year: ‘[A disclosure that was] no more in the public interest than if Fred Goodwin played a round of golf’, said Mosley.

Of course, this defence of injunctions, this defence of the judiciary’s right to stop certain stories from being published, always goes hand in hand with a nominal defence of the freedom of the press. It’s just that the ‘press must not abuse their power’ as Mosley puts it. Or, as Tomlinson argues, it is about ‘boundaries’, about knowing where the freedom to speak about an individual’s behaviour ends and the freedom to have a private life begins. This is not an easy thing to judge when it comes to specific cases, they argue, which is why we need the judiciary to do the judging for us.

And here we come to the legal thicket that only the most perspicacious among us, ie, judges, can cut through. It’s an onerous task and no mistake. You see, our bewigged betters have to balance what are two contradictory principles, two principles that, since the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law in 1998, are seemingly equally compelling: freedom of speech and the right to privacy.

Weighing up the merits of both sides, the press on one, the privacy-shielding individual on the other, is no doubt difficult, especially when the law protects both. It might even vex those who are apparently the wisest members of society: judges.

But looked at in a different way, this public-vaulting, comprehension-defying contradiction is easily resolved. For the difficulty only exists from the perspective of the state and its judicial institutions. That is, one needs to stop seeing freedom in terms of the state. One needs to stop seeing freedom, reified in the form of human right – be it freedom of speech or a right to privacy – as things that the state provides and withdraws as it sees fit. Instead one needs to adopt the perspective of our freedom versus the state – our freedom to speak our minds, our freedom to speak truth to power. And we also need to have a bit more faith in our own powers of judgement, our ability, for example, to decide among ourselves whether so-and-so’s sex life is any of our business.

But that faith in our ability to exercise our freedom was in such short supply last night, with one exception: David Price QC, a lawyer whose most high-profile client is Imogen Thomas, the former beauty queen and Big Brother contestant who alleges she had an affair with Giggs. As he put it, the problem is that ‘Judges decide what you can and what you cannot read – that is censorship’. It is absurd, he continued, to have judges who ‘are unlikely to read the Daily Mail determining what the masses can and cannot read’. The people that should be making the judgments rather ‘are those buying the papers’.

The problem for Price was that so pervasive was the gentle contempt for the so-called masses at last night’s event, that many of his sorties against the power of the judiciary over our freedom were met by sniggers and guffaws. This contempt was rarely explicitly articulated; it operated by stealth and association. So when Mosley said that ‘if we don’t have the courts [making the decisions]’ then such judgements will be left to ‘tabloid enterprises’ – organisations that have carried out ‘systematic criminality’ – there was massive applause. Yet when people attack the tabloids, or, to use another favourite refrain from last night, ‘The Murdoch Empire’, what they are really attacking are tabloid readers and the willing dupes of The Murdoch Empire. Every round of applause for a dig at the tabloids and Murdoch was implicitly a self-congratulatory dig at the tabloid-consuming, Murdoch-seduced masses.

So popular was masses-bashing, that Mosley – a man far removed from the people – was coming across as an incredibly entertaining raconteur by the end of the night. ‘People that buy the News of the World do so because they have an inadequate sex life. I can’t think of any other reason for it’, he harrumphed to gales of laughter. But in that laughter, in the enjoyment of Mosley, there was a depressing dismissal of the freedom and judgment of those who don’t read the Guardian. That is, the people that read tabloids. The people don’t see The Murdoch Empire For The Evil That It Is. The people whose lives are so mundane, whose sex lives are so bland, that they can’t get enough of others’ peccadilloes on a Sunday morning.

If you don’t have faith in the powers of judgement of the wider population – the People – and trust only judges, you will never make a cogent case for freedom of speech.


British youth can’t read or write, business leader claims in immigrants jobs row

Too many young people are unable to read, write or communicate properly and do not work hard, a business leader claimed, as mass immigration is named by the Government as the biggest threat to challenging the benefits culture.

The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, said business leaders knew there was a problem with youth unemployment but they could not afford to ignore cheaper skilled foreign workers.

Mr Frost said employers needed the “best people” and identified what he said were the problems with too many of Britain’s youth, in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said businesses expected “young people to come forward to them who are able to read, write, communicate and have a strong work ethic and too often that’s not the case”.

He added: “There’s a stream of highly able eastern European migrants who are able to take those jobs and that’s why they’re taking them on. “They are skilled, they speak good English and, more importantly, they want to work.”

His comments were in response to disclosures ahead of a speech by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, which is expected to urge business leaders to take on young people coming off welfare and “not just fall back on labour from abroad”.

Mr Duncan Smith will say the Coalition’s attempts to get millions of people off benefits are being undermined by immigrant employment. He will add that tighter immigration controls are vital if Britain is to avoid “losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness”.

He says only immigrants with “something to offer” should be allowed into the country and that too often foreign workers purporting to be skilled take low-skilled jobs that could be occupied by British school leavers.

He warns David Cameron that a “slack” attitude to immigration will result in the Coalition repeating the mistakes made under Labour, when the vast majority of new jobs generated before the recession were taken by immigrants.

His comments represent the strongest criticism of immigration since Downing Street strategists advised that the Government should be tougher on the issue. They will be seen as a warning to Mr Cameron not to allow the Liberal Democrats to dictate a softer policy on the issue.

Mr Duncan Smith, who is in charge of a shake-up of the welfare system, will make his comments in a speech in Spain and they come as official figures show that the UK population is growing at its fastest rate for 50 years, driven by immigration.

“Even as our economy starts to pick up, and new jobs are created, there is a risk that young people in Britain won’t get the chances they deserve because businesses will continue to look elsewhere,” he will say.

The Work and Pensions Secretary will tell his audience that, before the recession, foreign nationals accounted for a “significant portion” of the rise in employment in Britain.

He will add: “And as we come out the other side we are seeing the situation repeat itself, with more than half of the rise in employment in the past year accounted for by foreign nationals. As a result of the last government’s slack attitude to immigration, it has become easy for businesses to look abroad for workers.” Mr Duncan Smith believes that some companies are using immigration as “an excuse to import labour to take up posts which could be filled by people already in Britain”.

He will say: “That’s why we must take tough action on this to tighten the rules on immigration across the major entry routes — work, student visas and family settlement — so that only those who have something clear to offer to the UK are able to come in.” The Coalition is placing a limit on the number of non-EU workers allowed into the country each year, but Mr Duncan Smith believes that companies and immigrants are still abusing the system

He will say: “I think there’s been a red herring in this debate around skills. A good proportion of foreign nationals in jobs in the UK are in semi or low-skilled occupations.

“And we know that a significant proportion of those coming into the UK purporting to be high-skilled workers have actually been doing low-skilled jobs once in the UK.”

He says Britain needs an immigration system that gives the unemployed “a level playing field”. “If we do not get this right then we risk leaving more British citizens out of work, and the most vulnerable group who will be the most affected are young people,” he will say.

“Controlling immigration is critical or we will risk losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness.”

The warning from Mr Duncan Smith is timely. Recent polling by No10 indicates that immigration, welfare benefits and crime are key concerns for voters.

Frank Field, the Labour MP and a government adviser on poverty, recently uncovered figures indicating that, in the first year of the Coalition, 87 per cent of the 400,000 newly created jobs went to immigrants.

Mr Duncan Smith had already unveiled plans to simplify the benefits system with a single universal credit designed to ensure that those in work were better off. He also introduced a work programme under which private firms were paid to train and return the long-term unemployed to the workplace.

In a rare speech on immigration earlier this year, Mr Cameron said he wanted to bring annual net migration down to just “tens of thousands” by 2015.

In 2009, Sir Terry Leahy, then the chief executive of Tesco, said the standards of too many schools were “woefully low”, leaving employers to “pick up the pieces”.


Children risking ill health and shorter life by eating 50% too much salt every day

But only if you believe official guidelines are scientifically based. They are not. They are just a poorly-founded guess

Children are routinely eating too much salt, risking ill health and a shorter life. Typical amounts are at least 50 per cent more than the recommended daily maximum but some consume almost double.

Health experts warn that the processed foods and sauces at the heart of the nation’s diet are fuelling a dangerous daily overdose. High salt consumption pushes up blood pressure, which in the long term can lead to strokes and heart attacks. These are the country’s biggest causes of death and disability.

Health campaigners took two typical daily menus enjoyed by many children and calculated the salt content to be 9.3g to 9.6g. However, for a child aged seven to ten, the recommended maximum is just 5g. Eating 9.6g of salt in a day would be 92 per cent above this amount – nearly double.

The menu which contained this much salt started with a bowl of cereal for breakfast, followed by a muffin for a mid-morning snack. Lunch included a ham and cheese sandwich, a pack of crisps, cheese dip snack and a biscuit, which had a combined salt content of 3.7g. Dinner included potato croquettes, chicken nuggets, baked beans and ketchup

Safe daily amounts of salt vary depending on age and size, starting at 1g or less for babies. If the entire nation cut down to these levels, doctors estimate that 70,000 heart attacks and strokes would be prevented in just one year.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health has been campaigning for food manufacturers and supermarkets to remove hidden salt. Campaign director Katharine Jenner said: ‘Popular foods like bread, cereal, baked beans, cheese, tomato sauce and processed meats are some of the biggest culprits. So try not to feed your child them every day. ‘Also, throw away the salt cellar. If you eat food which tastes less salty, your taste buds adapt really quickly.’

She warned: ‘The higher the blood pressure in childhood, the higher the blood pressure will be in adulthood. ‘By getting your child used to less salt, you are protecting their health in the long term.’

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has set up a voluntary scheme, the Responsibility Deal, to encourage firms to meet salt reduction targets. The major supermarkets and leading brands such as Heinz, Kellogg’s, Subway and Mars have signed up.

Miss Jenner said: ‘It is in their best interests if they want to prolong the lives of their customers.’



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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