Help me, I’m starving to death. Six stone woman with paralysed stomach is refused life-saving operation
A young woman who is starving to death after being diagnosed with a paralysed stomach has been told that NHS bosses refuse to fund an operation to save her. Rudi Hargreaves, 22, has shrunk from a healthy 10st to a skeletal 5st 10lb after being diagnosed with the crippling condition last year.
Within weeks of being diagnosed with gastroparesis, Rudi found her size 12 clothes were hanging off her – as her stomach became unable to digest food at a normal rate.
The condition can be treated with a £14,000 operation to fit a gastric pacemaker – although this is still considered to be an experimental treatment. But health chiefs have refused to fund the surgery, saying ‘insufficient supporting information’ has been provided by her GP.
Rudi, who is now so frail she has been forced to give up her job as a teaching assistant, has now appealed against the medics’ decision. Rudi, from Hull, East Yorks, said: ‘This operation would give me my life back. I don’t have a life at the minute. ‘I have so little energy that I pass out all the time. I’m confined to a wheelchair for most of the day. ‘All I want is my old life back and I can’t believe that the NHS is refusing me the operation.
‘I just find it so infuriating when I hear about overweight people being given gastric bands on the NHS. ‘I know they have their problems too, but there’s nothing I can do about my weight. It feels like it’s a case of double standards.’
Rudi was in the final year of a degree in psychology at Liverpool University in April last year when she began feeling nauseous, constantly full and started to lose weight.
After finishing her degree, she returned to Hull, and began working as a teaching assistant. But she was forced to leave her job after just a few weeks as her weight and energy levels continued to plummet.
Her stomach – which takes 10 times longer than normal to digest food – is now incapable of digesting solid food altogether, and Rudi has to survive on milkshakes loaded with vitamins and nutrients she needs to survive.
Rudi added: ‘I had always been a very happy size 12 – but now I have to buy a size six, and the clothes hang off me. ‘It’s awful not being able to eat anything. If I even try to eat food these days, I bring it straight back up again. ‘I’ve lost so much weight everyone I meet thinks I am anorexic. ‘I have no energy – I just want to go back to being my old self.’
Rudi’s mother, Lynn Hargraves, 44, said: ‘She used to be a healthy, happy girl, now she looks like a little old lady.’
A spokesperson for NHS Hull said: ‘To date, the application in question has not been agreed as, crucially, insufficient supporting information has been provided to allow due consideration to take place. ‘Any requested procedures must also fall in line with the provider trust’s priorities for service development and delivery.
‘The patient’s clinician has been invited to provide the necessary clarification, receipt of which should enable the patient’s case to be progressed within the PCT.’ [Disgusting and heartless bureaucracy-speak]
At last, British equality police decide Christians DO have right to follow beliefs
Christians who disagree with gay equality rules should have the freedom to follow their conscience, a watchdog ruled yesterday.
In a major U-turn, the Equality and Human Rights Commission declared that judges should not have backed employers who pursued Christians for wearing crosses or for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.
‘The way existing human rights and equality law has been interpreted by judges is insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief,’ the commission said.
Just seven months ago it had championed the cause of civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy in their successful bid to sue Christian hoteliers who had refused them a double room.
But yesterday the commission, which is led by former Labour politician Trevor Phillips, said the law was confusing. The intervention by the equality quango follows protests at the weekend from Church of England leaders, who said judges had encouraged a legal ‘chill factor’ against Christianity.
It also comes at a time when the EHRC is facing action from Home Secretary Theresa May to curb its £60million a year spending. Mrs May has accused it of wasting money and failing to do its job.
Yesterday the commission said judges had interpreted equality laws too narrowly. Its lawyers have intervened to call for more leeway for Christians to express their beliefs and live by their consciences in four human rights test cases shortly to come before the judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The cases are those of Nadia Eweida, the BA check-in clerk who was told she could not wear a cross with her airline uniform, and of Shirley Chaplin, a nurse removed from the wards of her Exeter hospital because she refused to stop wearing her crucifix.
The commission also wants to raise the case of Lilian Ladele, a registrar removed from her job after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies, and Gary McFarlane, a Relate counsellor who declined to give sex therapy to gay couples.
Miss Ladele was refused permission to take her case to the Supreme Court because judges said no important legal principles were at stake.
Mr McFarlane’s case was brushed aside by Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Laws, who said: ‘Law for the protection of a position held purely on religious grounds cannot therefore be justified. It is irrational … it is also divisive, capricious and arbitrary.’
Yesterday the commission said: ‘Judges have interpreted the law too narrowly in religion or belief discrimination claims.The way existing human rights and equality law has been interpreted by judges is insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief.
‘The courts have set the bar too high for someone to prove that they have been discriminated against because of their religion or belief; it is possible to accommodate expression of religion alongside the rights of people who are not religious and the needs of businesses.’
The commission said it wanted to see a new legal principle of ‘reasonable accommodations’ to allow a religious believer and their employer to reach a compromise. It said that under this principle, a Jew who did not wish to work on Saturdays could be given his or her wish simply by a change to work rotas. This would give religious believers similar legal status to disabled people.
Commission legal director John Wadham said: ‘Our intervention in these cases would encourage judges to interpret the law more broadly and more clearly to the benefit of people who are religious and those who are not.
‘The idea of making reasonable adjustments to accommodate a person’s needs has served disability discrimination law well for decades. ‘It seems reasonable that a similar concept could be adopted to allow someone to manifest their religious beliefs.’
The commission said there should be an end to legal confusion which has stopped some people from wearing crosses while others are allowed to do so, and which has led some employers into ‘unnecessarily restricting people’s rights’.
It added that because of the confusion in the law, ‘it is difficult for employers or service providers to know what they should be doing to protect people from religion or belief-based discrimination’.
When backing Mr Hall and Mr Preddy against the hotel, Mr Wadham had said: ‘The right of an individual to practise their religion and live out their beliefs is one of the most fundamental rights a person can have, but so is the right not to be turned away by a hotel just because you are gay.’
“Regional racism” in Britain
There is an underlying reality to this. Regional Britain IS looked down on by South-Easteners
Northern versions set in Liverpool of The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea will fuel ‘regional racism’, an MP has claimed. TV programmes Desperate Scousewives and Mersey Shore will reinforce the negative stereotype cast on Liverpool life, Labour MP Steve Rotheram claimed.
Wannabe contestants queued round the block for the chance to star in MTV’s Liverpool version of Geordie Shore, while auditions for the Merseyside twist on American mega-hit Desperate Housewives are yet to take place. TV insiders said the Liverpool shows would give Southern rivals The Only Way Is Essex and Made In Chelsea a run for their money.
But Mr Rotheram, a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool, said the programmes will do more harm than good with fame-hungry contestants putting themselves in the firing line.
Mr Rotheram said: ‘TV programmes about our great city seldom portray the positive side of Liverpool life. I think often simply reinforce the stereotype so I’m not looking forward to it. ‘We’ve got to break this cycle. For some people down in London, Bread and Brookside were documentaries.
‘You don’t get the same suspended belief in Manchester about Shameless or Coronation Street or with cockneys about Eastenders for Only Fools and Horses. ‘Why they think that something being made in Liverpool portrays ordinary Liverpool life I don’t know, I don’t understand. ‘I don’t think there is any doubt. It’s one of the last great isms that needs to be tackled and it’s regional racism. I’ll definitely be switching off.’
The former bricklayer added that he too sometimes feels victimised by the prejudice aimed at his Liverpool roots. He said: ‘No doubt about it, I get it all the time.It’s so tired.
‘This year Liverpool is hosting the Labour Party Conference and even people on my own side they are saying listen: ”If I come down in my car my hubcaps will be alright won’t they”.’
A spokeswoman for E4 confirmed that Lime Pictures was developing Desperate Scousewives for the channel, but said nothing had been confirmed yet. Mersey Shore is already in production.
‘Bosses are reportedly keen to sign up Wayne Rooney’s cousins glamour model Natalie. They said there had been a ‘massive’ amount of interest from young people hoping to follow in the footsteps of stars such as The Only Way Is Essex cast member Amy Childs.
The wind turbine backlash: Growing public opposition thwarts Britain’s green energy drive
Plans to cover Britain with wind farms are being thwarted by a growing tide of public opposition. Nearly half of all onshore wind farms in England and Wales are being refused planning permission, figures reveal. The percentage of such developments being refused planning permission has risen sharply over the last five years.
According to data obtained by law firm McGrigors, in 2005 29 per cent were turned down by planners – rising to 33 per cent in 2009 and 48 per cent last year.
The increase in objections is partly the result of the volume of wind turbine applications being proposed by energy companies. Under European climate change targets, around a third of all Britain’s electricity will have to be generated by renewable energy sources by 2020. The majority of that green power will come from 10,000 new wind turbines at sea and on land.
But according to McGrigors, 32 out of 66 applications for onshore wind farms were rejected in 2010. Britain has 305 onshore wind farms and 3,360 turbines.
McGrigors, a leading commercial law firm which represents wind farm developers, claims energy companies will become increasingly frustrated with local planners refusing to give the go-ahead to money-spinning turbines.
However, Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is sceptical of the Government’s climate change policy, including its plans for building wind farms, said: ‘The public backlash against wind farms is not surprising.
‘It is the inevitable and inexorable consequence of a costly, unpopular and completely pointless policy that is butchering Britain’s green and pleasant landscape without having any effect on the climate. ‘These green projects are only viable because of multi-million subsidies supporting a few hundred wealthy landowners and a handful of energy companies.
‘By opposing wind farms, a growing number of neighbourhoods and communities are protecting both their local environments and their purses from blind exploitation.’
Jacqueline Harris, a partner at McGrigors, said wind farm developers believe they are not getting a ‘balanced hearing’ at local level. She said: ‘The feeling is that local authorities are too often prioritising local concerns. ‘There is little willingness to consider the benefits of renewable energy generation in context.’
She added: ‘Objections based around the visual impact of wind turbines are overriding the wider need to deliver energy security and mitigate the impact of climate change. The visual impact of wind turbines is a common complaint and often successful grounds for objection.
‘This applies even where the benefits of the development greatly outweigh the downsides to a small but vocal minority. ‘Even single turbines, which can generate enough electricity for a few thousand houses, are being rejected because of the visual impact on a handful of properties.’
The Government’s Localism Bill – which gives more power to local communities over planning decisions – could make it even more difficult for the wind farm developers to push through planning permission. According to Mr Peiser, the Bill has ‘helped to empower individuals, councils and communities to oppose and halt wind farms’.
A spokesman for Renewables UK, which represents the wind farm industry, claimed: ‘Wind farms bring real economic benefits to local communities. ‘Every refused wind farm planning application is a missed opportunity to secure employment and business benefits at a local level, and further deliver on our energy security and climate change targets.’
Huge failure: Why are 60% of children from Britain’s poorest homes arriving at secondary school without the three Rs?
Lack of discipline hits kids from feral homes the most
Three in five youngsters from poor homes in failing primary schools do not master educational basics before starting secondary school, a new report has revealed.
New research set to be published today shows growing numbers of children receiving free school meals are unable to read, write or do sums before leaving primaries.
And it is white British pupils who ‘seem to pose the biggest challenge’, with educational attainment lagging behind youngsters from other ethnic groups.
The findings, published to mark the launch of the Sutton Trust’s Education Endowment Fund (EEF), show that the gap between poor and better-off youngsters is widening dramatically.
Quoted by the BBC, Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the EEF and the Sutton Trust, said the research was ‘a stark reminder of the inequalities facing poor pupils in this country’.
He added: ‘Too little is known about what works in raising the achievement of the poorest pupils and it is incumbent on us… to help address this.’
The research looked at performance among children on free school meals at schools which had failed to meet Government targets for 11-year-olds and GCSE results. It showed the numbers of them reaching minimum standards in SAT exams at age 11 had dropped 13 per cent – from 45 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2010. This compared to a success rate of 81 per cent among youngsters not eligible for free school meals who attended primaries which were up to Government standards.
The findings come despite billions of pounds being handed to schemes intended to raise educational standards in deprived areas.
The gap widens at secondary school, the report found. Better off youngsters were found to be three times more likely to reach minimum educational standards at GCSE than their poorer peers (61 per cent, compared with 18 per cent).
The majority of the 165,000 pupils covered by the research were white Britons. It found that, as an ethnic group, these pupils were more likely to perform badly.
The report pointed out that poor white British pupils were only half as likely to reach the minimum GCSE target of five passes at grades A-C as Bangladeshi children, and also lagged behind Pakistani, Black African, Caribbean and Asian pupils.
The EEF, launched by educational charity the Sutton Trust tomorrow, will use £215million of government money and and income from other sources to help youngsters in deprived areas. The central aim of the fund is to raise the attainment of individual disadvantaged pupils in underperforming schools.
Organisations including schools, charities and local authorities will be able to apply for funds for projects to help educational achievement of the poorest children in the worst schools.
The Independent quoted Sir Peter as saying: ‘The children and young people the EEF aims to benefit deserve better. ‘We hope that, by identifying, developing and evaluating projects which are cost-effective and scalable, we can start to have a lasting impact on their lives as well as influencing the way schools spend their billions.’
Bias against whites in British school
White Schoolboy can’t have beard but Muslims can
A schoolboy has been banned from class and put into isolation after he refused to shave off his beard. Harrison Cerami’s mum Kerry claims the 15-year-old is unable to shave regularly because of a skin complaint.
But the head teacher at his school in Clitheroe, Lancs, has refused to back down – despite Mrs Cerami’s claim that Asian males are allowed beards on religious grounds.
Mrs Cerami, 41, who runs an online children’s clothes boutique, is furious about the school’s treatment of 6ft 2in Harrison – known as Harry. She said: ‘There are children at that school with earrings, nose rings, eyebrow piercings, yet Harry’s being singled out for having a beard. He’s hit puberty and is a big lad who looks like a man. He is being penalised for growing up.
‘Before he went back to school after a week’s work experience, we took him to a proper barbers to get his beard trimmed and shaped so he looked really smart.
‘There are Asian lads at the school with beards, but Harry is not allowed one because this is not a religion issue. He’s just a good looking, hairy lad that wants to have a nice, trimmed beard. ‘He would have to shave every day and it would cause him real problems because he suffers from acne.’
She added: ‘I could perhaps understand the isolation punishment for something more serious, but to be put into a small room for a whole day is disgraceful’ ‘Harry feels like he’s in prison. If this carries on, we’ll just keep him off school for the last two weeks. ‘Harry was furious. It was such an overreaction.’
Ribblesdale School, in Clitheroe, has told Kerry that Harry must obtain a doctor’s note if there is a genuine medical reason preventing him from shaving.
Harry was told to shave on Wednesday and after he attended school with the beard the next day, he was put into isolation. Head teacher Simon Smith said the policy for boys was that they attend clean shaven.
The school’s uniform policy does not specifically mention beards but states: ‘Hairstyles must be neat and tidy and avoid extremes of colour and style.’
Kerry received a letter from the head which said: ‘I’m writing to let you know that last week I asked Harrison to come back to school after his week’s work experience placement clean shaven.
‘Our policy for boys is that they attend school clean shaven.’ And in an earlier letter to parents sent out in April, Mr Smith outlined his stance on uniform and appearance – and frustration with those who did not abide by the rules. ‘I believe that a smart school uniform sets high standards and expectations for the pupils and is also a very public statement about us, as a school, within the community,’ he explained. ‘It is often the ‘small things’ which make the biggest impression: make up; jewellery; hairstyle/colour…
‘For pupils who persistently challenge the uniform standards, we will use the full range of sanctions available to us which may also involve parents coming into school to discuss any issues I, or other staff, may have.’
Ribble Valley Council leader Michael Ranson backed the school and said: ‘As far as I am concerned if the school has a rule and that rule is quite clear, then pupils should abide by them.’