Women with advanced breast cancer ‘feel neglected’ by the healthcare system and left suffering extreme pain
Millions of women with advanced breast cancer experience debilitating pain which is ignored by GPs experts warned today.
More than a third of those surveyed said they experience extreme pain and over 50 per cent – who have been living with the disease for more than two years – revealed they feel neglected by the healthcare system.
The national charity Breast Cancer Campaign, which funded the investigation is now calling for health workers to be trained in ‘core competencies’ – including symptom control.
Original cancer in the breast is called the primary cancer, but if the disease develops in another part of the body – such as the bones, liver, lung and brain – it is called a secondary breast cancer or a metastasis.
Medication can help manage symptoms including nausea and shortness of breath while other drugs can control the vast majority of pain.
But the latest findings reveal that many patients aren’t given the necessary treatment and there is ‘little evidence of involvement of general practitioners and palliative care services’.
Researchers from the University of Southampton concluded:’Despite improvements in treatment and survival of women with metastatic breast cancer, this group reports high symptom burden and dissatisfaction with elements of their care, indicating that alternative models of service delivery should be explored.’
A study of 235 British women found 34 per cent were living with high levels of pain and other uncontrolled symptoms, 27 per cent had shortness of breath and 26 per cent experienced nausea.
Women whose breast cancer had spread to their bones were the most likely to experience pain, with 44 per cent reporting significant discomfort.
Elizabeth Reed, from Breast Cancer Care said: ‘This study, which is the first of its kind, shows that women with secondary breast cancer have a range of complex, multidimensional needs that are not being met.
‘No woman should live with controllable pain or without the information and advice they need to make decisions about their own health.
‘It is therefore vital that healthcare professionals are equipped with the knowledge and expertise they need to offer women with secondary breast cancer adequate symptom control and the medical and psychological support they need.’
It is now hoped the findings, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, will prompt the development more effective treatment and up-to-date training initiatives.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, said: ‘Discovering you have incurable breast cancer is devastating for women with secondary breast cancer but new treatments mean they can live for many years.
‘But it is vital that the often debilitating side effects are minimised so that women can experience better quality of life for longer too.’
Thousands of migrants ‘disappear’ in British cities under new official counting system
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have ‘disappeared’ at the stroke of a pen under a new official counting system. The method has led to apparent large falls in the numbers of migrants thought to live in London and other major cities.
The change has provoked fury among council leaders who say the immigrant populations of their districts have been grossly underestimated by government statisticians.
Westminster and Kensington in London, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge are among places thought to have had their estimated populations reduced by many thousands by the Office for National Statistics.
Colin Barrow, Tory leader of Westminster, said: ‘After four years of work supposedly improving migration estimates, the ONS apparently still has little idea how many migrants are in this country or where they live and work.
‘Our incoming migrant population appears to have dropped by 17 per cent over four years; you only have to go out into the bars and restaurants in the West End to see that migrants come to Westminster to live and work in much greater numbers than this.’
More than nine out of ten migrants to the UK live in England, which has become the sixth most crowded major country in the world, the MigrationWatch think-tank said last week. Last year net migration was 239,000.
The new estimates method, to be used from next year onwards, uses the same source of immigration statistics the ONS has always used. This is the International Passenger Survey, a check on intentions of arrivals at air and sea ports and on the Eurostar.
From this researchers use a complex formula, based on other official population databases, to estimate the number of yearly arrivals.
Under the new method, this formula has been tweaked, resulting in changes to the estimated numbers arriving at certain towns and cities. Some have fallen while others have risen, but the total remains unchanged.
Westminster’s migrant population has been reduced by 10,000, and Manchester’s and Bristol’s each by 30,000. According to ONS briefing papers, Kensington and Chelsea, Oxford and Cambridge have had ‘quite large downward revisions’.
Mr Barrow said: ‘We would seriously question the estimate that fewer than 4,000 migrants came to Westminster in the 2009 financial year to seek work. ‘We have seen more people registering with doctors and paying council tax in Westminster, so we fail to understand how the government statisticians can be so wrong.’
Councils can lose millions in Treasury grants if Whitehall cuts their population estimates.
The ONS was scheduled to publish papers about the new migration counting system last week, but failed to do so. Some places are said to show a higher count, such as Newham, East London, with a 13 per cent increase. The ONS declined to comment yesterday.
Bosses need to be bribed to employ British youth??
A bandaid solution if ever there was one. Fix the schools and the welfare state instead
Firms should be paid to take on poorly-qualified British teenagers instead of older or migrant workers, a business leader said yesterday. John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the Government should consider offering firms £1,500 subsidies for each young Briton they employ to limit the effects of youth unemployment.
He was speaking days after figures showed that around 500 foreigners landed a job in Britain every day over the past year while the number of UK-born workers plunged. Youth unemployment rocketed to its highest level since records began 20 years ago. It is now more than a million, and one in five of those aged 16 to 24 is out of work.
Bosses say many young Britons are too lazy and unpunctual to be worth hiring, while the British Chambers of Commerce says a lot of graduates have ‘useless’ degrees and are unemployable.
But Mr Cridland said the only way to tackle the problem would be to get British youngsters ‘up the beauty parade’ and into jobs by giving bosses an incentive to take them on. He said: ‘We need a skilled workforce. We don’t want people scarred by unemployment in the early years of their lives. This is as much a moral and social question as an economic one.
‘It has really impressed me that at a time when business has got its back to the wall, at a time it could be forgiven for thinking just about paying the wages of those already in work, it is really worried about teenage unemployment.
‘Think back to the riots in the summer, think back to what happened in the Eighties, and business is saying, “Youth unemployment is something we must not let get out of hand”.
‘If we gave employers £1,500 as a cash subsidy to take on a 16-year-old, they might take on a 16-year-old with lack of work experience and sometimes poor qualifications rather than a migrant worker or a mature worker who has got those skills. ‘So let’s get that young person up the beauty parade, let’s give them a chance to get a job today, not in five years.’
Mr Cridland said he believed the Government should stick to reducing the deficit but it was possible to stimulate growth without spending large sums of public money.
Last week, a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said bosses preferred foreign workers because they had a more positive attitude.
Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, blamed poor education standards and the profusion of ‘Mickey Mouse degrees’. ‘There may be a course in underwater basket weaving, but that does not mean anybody will actually want to employ you at the end of it,’ he said.
Meanwhile, a survey by the CBI found that more than a third of businesses were looking to cut staff as confidence plummeted in the wake of the eurozone crisis. Seventy per cent of business leaders said the country’s economic prospects had grown worse since August.
Last week the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of British-born workers had fallen by 311,000 in a year, equal to more than 850 a day. In the same period, the number of foreign employees jumped by 181,000, or 495 a day.
Bosses said foreign workers tended to have a better work ethic. Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, said Britons would ‘rather be footballers than do an honest day’s work’. He added: ‘We’re increasingly employing foreign workers. ‘They have the right attitude and are prepared to work harder.
‘The younger British generation who come in for interviews are often sent by the benefit people and have no desire for work. ‘They feel as if the country owes them a living.’
Licence to swear: Profanity is so common that it can’t be offensive, British judge rules
Yobs should not be punished for hurling obscenities in public – because swear words are now so common that they no longer cause distress, a High Court judge has ruled. In a landmark judgment, Mr Justice Bean upheld the appeal of a foul-mouthed thug who was convicted for repeatedly using the f-word while being searched by police.
The ruling paves the way for scores of other louts to challenge their convictions for public order offences – and could force police to pay them compensation for wrongful arrest.
The decision, which provoked outrage among police, comes just weeks after the London Mayor Boris Johnson and Britain’s most senior policeman called for a zero-tolerance crackdown on those who abuse officers.
The case was brought by Denzel Harvey, who was fined £50 at Thames Youth Court for repeatedly swearing at officers while he was being searched for cannabis in 2009. The High Court heard that the 20-year-old launched into a tirade of abuse when he was stopped by two police officers in the street in Hackney, east London, telling them: ‘***k this, man. I ain’t been smoking nothing.’
When no drugs were found following a search, he continued: ‘Told you you wouldn’t find ***k all.’ After being asked whether he had a middle name, the surly yob replied: ‘No – I’ve already ****ing told you so.’
Mr Harvey was arrested for the outburst, and magistrates found him guilty of a public order offence after hearing that the expletives were uttered in a public area while a group of teenage bystanders gathered round.
But the conviction was quashed at the High Court, with Mr Justice Bean saying the ‘rather commonplace’ expletive is heard ‘all too frequently’. He claimed it was ‘quite impossible to infer that the group of young people who were in the vicinity were likely to have experienced alarm or distress at hearing these rather commonplace swear words used’.
Simon Reed, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said yesterday: ‘It’s astounding that you can use every swear word to abuse a police officer and they have got to accept it just because it is common. ‘This gives the green light for everyone to swear and use disorderly behaviour with police.’
The ruling is likely to reignite the row between Mr Johnson and the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, over swearing at police.
Mr Harvey was charged under section five of the Public Order Act 1986, which makes it an offence to ‘use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby’.
But in June it emerged that officers had been advised not to arrest those who verbally abuse police, with guidance stating that courts ‘do not accept’ that swearing at officers results in ‘harassment, alarm or distress’.
Last month Mr Johnson said he agreed with the new Metropolitan Police commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, that that guidance should be scrapped. ‘Public servants are not there to be abused,’ Mr Johnson said. ‘They are there to serve society and society must respect them. ‘How can a copper cope with the job if the public are allowed to insult them with impunity?’
Mr Johnson wants a new offence of ‘swearing at or abusing a police officer acting in the execution of his or her duty’. He told the Conservative Party conference: ‘If people swear at the police, they must expect to be arrested. ‘Not just because it’s wrong to expect officers to endure profanities, but also because of the experience of the culprits. ‘If people feel there are no boundaries and no retribution, then I’m afraid they will go on to commit worse crimes.’
British universities axe 5,000 ‘soft degree courses’ as the funding cuts sink in
Universities have axed 5,000 degree courses in preparation for cuts in state funding and the trebling of tuition fees, due to take effect in 2012. Figures show there are 38,147 courses on offer through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for entry in 2012, down a staggering 12 per cent, from 43,360.
Vice-chancellors have targeted their least popular non-academic courses – ‘soft subjects’ that offer poor employment prospects such as Caribbean Studies – because they are loss-making.
Some universities, such as London Metropolitan, have slashed more than 60 per cent of their courses, including philosophy, performing arts and history.
The University of East Anglia has announced the closure of its music school, which was opened in the 1960s with the help of Benjamin Britten. The figures, from Supporting Professionalism in Admissions, come as universities fear applications for so-called ‘Mickey Mouse courses’ will reduce to a trickle when students face the prospect of £9,000 a year fees.
Official Ucas figures released last month show overall applications are down 9 per cent on last year. The deadline for applications is January 15.
From 2012, the value-for-money of courses is to be put under the spotlight. Universities will have to publish a raft of statistics about each course they offer to ensure students, facing the prospect of huge debts, can make better informed decisions.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that ailing universities will not be propped up and will be allowed to go bust. They all face losing about 10 per cent of state funding.
The University and College Union, said: ‘This government reforms have been a complete mess. It’s particularly going to hit students planning to live at home to minimise expenses.
‘It’ll be a real tragedy if they suddenly find cuts at their local university mean they can no longer study the subject they have always wanted.’
Fire Britain’s criminally negligent teachers
A teachers’ union official has claimed absurdly that the Government’s education reforms are a ‘crime against humanity’.
Patrick Roach, deputy general secretary of the NASUWT, attacked plans which allow parents to set up schools free of local government control.
Only a fanatic could equate freeing schools from political interference with genocide and torture.
But this is the type of deranged hyperbole we have come to expect from the Left-wing rabble which runs Britain’s teaching unions.
I’ll tell you what’s a crime against humanity. It’s teachers and education professionals like you, Trotsky, who have betrayed a generation of children, now leaving school semi-literate, innumerate and ill-disciplined, utterly unsuited for the adult world of work.
Trendy teaching methods and ‘child-centred’ learning are what lie behind the fact that more than one million young people in Britain are not only unemployed, many of them are unemployable.
It’s also a crime to shut every school in Britain by staging a politically-motivated, self-indulgent strike, which is what Wolfie Roach and his fellow ‘professionals’ intend to do next week.
The strike is going ahead, even though only a third of NASUWT members voted in favour.
It is to be hoped that the majority of staff who opposed industrial action will report for work as usual, even if that means crossing hostile picket lines.
Any teacher who walks out on November 30 should be sacked. Our children deserve better than this criminal neglect.
British wind turbines turned off when it’s windy … because high winds make them too noisy for nearby residents
You can’t make stuff like this up
Wind turbines are being turned off during high winds because they are too noisy. Documents from local authorities show that 269 complaints were received about noise from the rotating blades in the past three years. Some came from residents living up to three miles away.
In nearly half of these cases, operators switched turbines off or reduced their speed. The owner of one wind farm in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was served with a noise abatement notice.
At Askam wind farm near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, a control system was installed to turn the seven turbines off at high wind speeds.
Council officers found 12 turbines on a former RAF base in Lissett, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, had exceeded noise limits after complaints from residents. They arranged with the operators for some to turn more slowly. Similar action was taken following complaints about turbines in Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire and Skelmonae in Aberdeenshire.
A quarter of the complaints were related to small wind turbines which can be fitted on to homes, schools and hospitals. But the rest involved large turbines which can be more than 400ft high.
One in six large wind farms built since 2008 have attracted noise complaints, with residents reporting that humming sounds disrupt their sleep. Locals near a 22-turbine farm in Fullabrook, Devon, said the noise was like a tumble dryer.
A 2009 study of people living close to wind farms in Britain, the U.S., Italy, Ireland and Canada found they caused stress and could increase the risk of heart disease, panic attacks and migraines.
A spokesman for Renewables UK, which represents the industry, said: ‘Wind farm operators strive to be good neighbours and are conscientious in responding to local concerns.’
The Duke of Edinburgh has said just what we’re all thinking about Britain’s disgraceful wind farms
By Clive Aslet (Clive Aslet is Editor at Large of ‘Country Life’)
You have to hand it to the Duke of Edinburgh. At 90, he is still as incisive as ever. Once again, the Royal family has articulated what ordinary people, without the ear of the media, have long felt. His son might have called the wind farms that are besmirching our mountains and waving their giant arms inanely out at sea “a monstrous carbuncle”. Prince Philip chose “disgrace”. So they are. The politicians who foisted them upon us should be put in the stocks.
Wind farms are Blairism incarnate. Wanting to look big on the international stage, he committed Britain to some preposterously over-ambitious targets for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. As ever, this was glittering, shop-window stuff, the bill for which would somehow be obfuscated by the dour Scot in accounts. After due nail-biting, Brown came up with a system so convoluted that most people have only just realised that the person who ultimately pays is the consumer.
We are all generously subsidising the wind farms which many of us hate through our electricity bills. Why? Because unlike other forms of renewable energy, which would have required the Treasury to build huge civil engineering projects, the cost could be met through a trade in Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs). It works like this. Power companies are required by law to provide a proportion of green energy and if they don’t meet the target, they are fined. But they can avoid the fine if they buy-in green energy credits, which are traded in the shape of ROCs.
The money from selling ROCs is far more attractive to the wind farm speculators than the value of the energy itself. The power companies simply pass on the cost to the poor sap who buys their electricity. It’s Machiavellian. Worse, it’s Brownian — and, as the Duke says, a disgrace. But from the Blairite shallows, it was much better than having to confront a decision that might have incurred short-term unpopularity, but is all but inevitable for our future energy security: the building of more nuclear power stations.
Of course, in the boom times, when the economy was growing, this green indulgence might have been like that extra chocolate you shouldn’t have; nobody would notice it when the suit had been let out. We have now found that the waist band isn’t infinitely elastic. But just as belts are being tightened, green energy has bloated our bills by, as Lord Marland from the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed in the House of Lords last month, a whopping £7.1 billion. Think how many libraries that would keep open. It is due to get worse. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, whose sums have so far proved accurate, that figure will have risen to some £40 billion by 2020 — that’s between £6 billion and £8 billion a year; nearly all of it taken by wind.
I’m not the first person to have noticed that wind farms only generate electricity when the wind is blowing. On a freezing day, when the country turns up its electric blanket, the ear hearkens to what Robert Bridges called “the stillness of the solemn air”. No wind. However many turbines bristle on Welsh mountain tops or pylons stride through the Great Glen, we’ll only be tickling the nose of our energy crisis. We’re missing those targets to reduce emissions by a country mile. Yet as the winter progresses, life for some of the poorest members of society will become more difficult because of it. Food and fuel are going up in price, fuel by more than it need do because of those wretched wind farms.
We all know about David Cameron’s green instincts: he paraded them before the election as part of the campaign to convince voters that the Tories weren’t simply driven by the bottom line. He even put a windmill on his London chimney, even though there is not enough wind in cities. Now he should go and see that Meryl Streep film, and remind himself of the great lesson that Mrs Thatcher taught us: subsidies for industry don’t work.
We need more research into renewables, to find technologies that will work. But no form of green energy except nuclear is ready to take over from present sources of production. As fossil fuel prices rise, entrepreneurs will find ways of producing energy more cheaply. Wind farms are the modern British Leyland; the Government tried to pick a winner, but picked wrong.
Throw them out. Throw out the windmonger in chief, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, and leave it to the money men. Green MP Caroline Lucas may instinctively defend the interests of people rich enough to put solar panels on their roofs against those of the lowly consumers who have to pay to subsidise them, but the Treasury is, quite rightly, reducing the feed-in tariff for solar panels.
Less attention has been attracted by the intention to reduce subsidies for wind. Not by very much, mind you, and not by enough; but sufficient to send a signal to would-be investors that this rash, fierce blaze of riot cannot last. We can’t go on wrecking the landscape and spending money we don’t have. As the Admiral would have said in Mary Poppins, heavy weather is brewing for wind farms. It can’t arrive a moment too soon.
Must not joke about rape
Certainly bad taste but is it any more than that? It WAS just satire, after all
“Two male university students have been driven into hiding after writing a sick newspaper column about the violent rape of women. The ‘Agony Uncles’ at The Beaver, the student journal for the London School of Economics, write a regular satirical problem page.
In response to an imaginary reader’s fears about the fidelity of his girlfriend, they suggested he subdue her by subjecting her to a vicious sex attack.
They recommended hitting women in the back of the head during sex – known as ‘donkey punching’ – to keep them in check.
And they listed a series of illegal sex acts, concluding: ‘It’s not rape if you shout “surprise”.’ The shocking column, which appeared in print and online, has caused outrage at the world-leading university.
Among the most vocal have been the university’s Woman’s Society and the Feminist Society, which has petitioned for the resignation of the paper’s executive editor, Nicola Alexander.
The strength of anger is so extreme the paper has refused to reveal the writers’ names over ‘concerns about their safety’. And the university has been criticised for refusing to discipline the students.
Miss Alexander has resisted calls for her resignation, despite a 229-signature petition against her on Facebook. She admitted the article was ‘distasteful at best’ and has published a front-page apology.
A spokesman for LSE defended the university’s decision not to discipline the students.