Bring your own private nurse if you’re in an NHS hospital
Private nurses are being hired to feed and wash elderly patients in NHS hospitals. The patients, or their relatives, are spending up to £200 a day to ensure they receive basic nursing care that health service staff fail to provide. This includes help to eat their meals, being washed, and being turned in bed to prevent painful sores.
The drafting in of private nurses has been described as a ‘terrible indictment of the NHS’. And campaigners have pointed out that only a minority of patients will be able to afford such a service, meaning others on the same wards have no option but to put up with a sub-standard service.
The revelation comes just a month after a damning report revealed that the care of the elderly in many hospitals is so bad that it is breaking the law.
In one in five hospitals investigated by the Care Quality Commission, the care was so poor that patients were denied help with ‘the basics in life’ – eating, drinking and going to the lavatory.
In another probe highlighted by the Daily Mail’s Dignity for the Elderly campaign, nearly half of hospitals visited by undercover inspectors were failing to meet basic nutrition standards. Elderly patients were routinely left without anything to drink for hours, with some so dehydrated they were put on drips. Now, some feel they have no option but to bring in their own nurse.
One private nurse, who has helped feed, wash and turn a patient in an NHS hospital in London, said ward nurses can seem so busy that patients feel guilty about asking them for help.
Angela Hamlin, founder of Draycott Nursing and Care Agency in central London, and a former deputy matron, said relatives were paying for private help because they were afraid of meals being whisked away before they were eaten.
Miss Hamlin, who has supplied around eight nurses to NHS patients in the past two years, said the private staff from her agency would typically already be helping the patient at home, then continue to assist them if they were admitted to hospital.
She said the nurses on the wards seemed more interested in filling in paperwork than comforting patients: ‘You don’t see nurses just being with someone, which is often what the patient wants, they have always got something else to do.’
Some hospitals have refused to allow patients to engage private nurses, while others have agreed as long as they do not give any medical care, such as injections. The Patients Association says it has been told of eight cases in the past six months alone, describing it as a new phenomenon fuelled by worries about poor nursing care.
Katherine Murphy, the charity’s chief executive and a former nurse, said it was through carrying out basic tasks such as feeding and washing that nurses became aware of changes in a patient’s medical condition. She said: ‘If patients have to go to the extreme of taking their own carers into what is meant to be a caring environment, it shows a total lack of trust in the NHS. ‘It is a terrible indictment of the NHS if people even need to consider that they have to have someone there to provide the level of care which is their right.’
Joyce Robins of campaign group Patient Concern described the situation as ‘pretty horrendous’. She added: ‘It is the way people are going to be forced to go if they want to come out fed and watered.’
Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, called on ministers to ‘get a grip’ on ensuring adequate staffing and making the basics of nursing care a top priority for hospital staff.
The Department of Health said: ‘We expect all hospitals to make sure that they are providing safe, high-quality nursing care because this must be at the heart of the NHS.’
745 youngsters are out of work in a British town, but a craftsman can’t find a British apprentice there
The result of a welfare State
Skilled crafts are dying out in Britain because our failing schools are producing a generation of youngsters ill-equipped for working life. That is the view of one master cabinet-maker, who is struggling to recruit a new apprentice despite the fact there are 745 jobless young people in the small market town where he works.
Piers Hart said British teenagers had a poor work ethic, and blamed the education system for failing to prepare them for employment.
When he advertised for a young trainee three years ago, the only applicant willing to work for apprentice wages while he learnt his craft was an 18-year-old Lithuanian who spoke little English.
Now he is looking for more help – and has hit the same difficulties.
His experiences echo an influential survey, reported in The Mail on Sunday last week, which said firms were being forced to recruit foreign workers – despite one million 16 to 24-year-olds being out of work – because the British education system was not equipping teenagers with basic skills.
Mr Hart, 63, said that when he offered a job to a local youngster in Thetford, Norfolk, he lasted just one week. ‘He did not turn up on the second Monday so I rang his mother to check he had not been hurt in an accident on the way to work,’ he said. ‘She said her son had decided “he did not like it”. That’s typical of the attitude. ‘Young people rarely apply to join us, and when they do they’ve had no preparation for the job and don’t know what a day’s work is.’
Yet the Lithuanian he took on, Paulius Gelezauskas, was delighted with the job, which pays £8 an hour now he is qualified. ‘I would recommend it to anyone,’ he said. ‘We make such beautiful things. If I wasn’t here with my craft, I’d be in a chicken factory.’
Mr Hart said the job market had changed substantially in the 37 years he has been in business, with schools turning their backs on vocational training. ‘Twenty years ago I would write to the schools’ careers masters and ask for suitable candidates,’ he said. ‘They identified people and the process was well-handled.
‘We would regularly get 20 applicants for one apprenticeship. We found really good people and in fact my first apprentice came to me at 16 and is still with me – he’s 50 now.’
But now he says he gets no response from schools, adding: ‘Either they have no interest in advertising the jobs or woodworking is of no interest to young people.’
He has also given up on Jobcentres, saying: ‘They have no idea who is a realistic applicant. Jobcentres will send you someone who has once cut a piece of wood with a saw and think that will make a woodworker. ‘Or we get people who apply for jobs just to get their benefits, but have no interest in the job at all.’
Mr Hart is offering £3.50 an hour (the minimum wage for apprentices is £2.60) but said Government red tape was holding him back. His company operates on four ten-hour shifts a week, but health-and-safety laws prevent a 16-year-old from working more than eight hours a day.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg unveiled measures to try to tackle the unemployment crisis among young people, including a £1,500 incentive for small businesses taking on their first apprentices.
But Mr Hart believes the money would be better spent on vocational training, saying his recruitment efforts have been impeded by Suffolk College in Ipswich scrapping the three-year, one-day-a-week NVQ cabinet-making course, due to lack of demand. Woodworking is still on the curriculum, but it is geared towards the building trade and does not teach the craftsmanship that is needed for high- quality goods.
A spokesman for the National Apprenticeship Service said Mr Hart should advertise his position online.
Muslim medical students in Britain boycotting lectures on evolution… because it ‘clashes with the Koran’
Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain’s leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.
Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion.
Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.
Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs. He told the Sunday Times: ‘I had one or two slightly frisky discussions years ago with kids who belonged to fundamentalist Christian churches, now it is Islamic overwhelmingly.
‘They don’t come [to lectures] or they complain about it or they send notes or emails saying they shouldn’t have to learn this stuff. ‘What they object to – and I don’t really understand it, I am not religious – they object to the idea that there is a random process out there which is not directed by God.’
Earlier this year Usama Hasan, iman of the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, received death threats for suggesting that Darwinism and Islam might be compatible.
Sources within the group Muslims4UK partly blame the growing popularity of creationist beliefs within Islam on Turkish author Harun Yahya who, influenced by the success of Christian creationists in America, has written several books denouncing Darwinist theory.
Yahya associates Dawinism with Nazism and his books are and videos are available at many Islamic bookshops in the UK and regularly feature on Islamic television channels. Speakers regularly tour Britain lecturing on Yahya’s beliefs. One such lecture was given at UCL in 2008 and this year’s talks have been given in London, Manchester, Leeds, Dundee and Glasgow.
Evolutionary Biologist and former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins has expressed his concern at the number of students, consisting almost entirely of Muslims, who do not attend or walk out of lectures.
Half of children who passed entry exam are turned away from British selective schools because there are no places for them
Almost 50 percent of youngsters who passed grammar school entrance exams were rejected because there were not enough places for them, it emerged today.
New figures show that of the 29,500 children who took the 11-plus, 13,800 passed, but 6,100 of those youngsters were not offered places. They failed because they did not meet entry criteria as closely as children, for example, who had siblings at the school or lived further away.
The survey by the Grammar Schools Association revealed 30,000 children competed for places at the 56 grammars – out of 164 nationally – that responded to the study.
If a similar number of eligible pupils were ejected from the other 108 grammars, it would mean nearly 20 more establishments would be needed to meet the demand for places.
Figures, seen by the Sunday Telegraph, do not include children who have narrowly missed a place at ‘superselective’ schools, which only take the top performers and do not have a pass mark
Last week education secretary Michael Gove promised to provide children with an ‘unashamedly elitist’ education.
Bob McCartney, the chairman of the Grammar Schools Association, told the paper: ‘These statistics demonstrate the great demand for grammar schools. ‘The Government continues to blatantly ignore parental choice. Its approach is based on political motivation and not the pursuit of education excellence.’
Wallington High School for Girls, in Sutton, received 1,400 applications for 180 places and had to turn away more than 300 pupils who passed the 11- plus.
An extra £600 million to build 100 more free schools will be announced in Tuesday’s autumn statement.
Europe plan to ‘green’ public buildings to cost Britain £50bn
Taxpayers will have to pay billions of pounds a year equipping council houses, town halls, hospitals and other public buildings with the latest green technology, under new proposals by the European Commission.
Local authorities and other public bodies, already struggling with spending cuts, will be obliged to fit schools, swimming pools and libraries, with state-of-the-art insulation, boilers, generators and windows.
Councils say the plan as it affects them alone would cost taxpayers up to £50bn.
The draft Energy Efficiency Directive states public bodies should “lead by example” and “purchase only products, services and buildings with high energy efficiency performance”.
Public bodies will also be obliged to refurbish 3% of their properties to the high energy-efficient specification each year, under the plans.
Local authorities say the proposals – set to take effect in just over two years – may force them to make even deeper cuts to core services, such as rubbish collection and care for the elderly. It is understood ministers also strongly oppose the directive.
Disquiet in government over more EU regulations come just weeks after David Cameron, talked openly of repatriating power back from Europe. The prime minister is facing a wave of anti-Brussels from a new wave of eurosceptic MPs.
The Local Government Association (LGA) believes that complying with the legislation will cost councils nearly £50 billion over the next 33 years.
But the full annual cost to the taxpayer could run into billions when properties owned by the NHS, Ministry of Defence and other parts of the public sector are included.
David Parsons, chairman of the Improvement Programme Board at the LGA, this weekend wrote to ministers at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and two other Whitehall departments to raise his concerns about the directive.
“If realised as intended in the European Commission proposal, local authorities would be required to meet very significant costs which could not be funded via local taxation,” the letter reads.
Member state governments would be obliged to ensure the new rules were strictly enforced.
There should be “legal and regulatory provisions, and administrative practices, regarding public purchasing and annual budgeting and accounting, with a view to ensuring that individual public bodies are not deterred from making efficiency-improving investments” the draft directive reads.
Many public buildings are more than 100 years old and would be expensive to equip to state-of-the-art energy efficient standards.
“The cost of refitting a Victorian town hall, Whitehall department or older council housing – it could be enormous,” said a local government official who has examined the draft legislation.
“These plans will only put councils under even more financial pressure at a time that they really don’t need it.”
The directive is also opposed by the National Housing Federation (NHF), which represents 1,200 housing associations. The NHF fears that the directive could worsen the shortage of homes for Britain’s poorest people.
“A sector that has little room in its investment capacity might lead to the sale of housing association stock in order to pay for the refurbishment obligation,” the NHF said in a document sent to the government.
The directive has already had one reading in the European Parliament and is set to be discussed by the EU’s energy council within the next few days.
A government spokesman said: “Better energy efficiency in the public sector can reduce expensive energy bills and help the environment. But any new rules should be proportionate and sensible. The overall goal should be to save taxpayers’ money.”
Eurosceptic Tory MPs are calling for “repatriation” of immigration, human rights and employment laws back from Brussels. Cameron said last month: “We do not agree about every aspect of European policy by any means.”
However, there is deep division within the coalition over the government’s stance towards to Europe. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has called Tories who want to claw back powers from Brussels as “extremists”.
“Being shoved to the margins [of Europe], or retreating there voluntarily, would be economic suicide – a sure-fire way to hurt British businesses and lose jobs.”
BBC sought advice from global warming scientists on economy, drama, music… and even game shows
Britain’s leading green activist research centre spent £15,000 on seminars for top BBC executives in an apparent bid to block climate change sceptics from the airwaves, a vast new cache of leaked ‘Climategate’ emails has revealed.
The emails – part of a trove of more than 5,200 messages that appear to have been stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia – shed light for the first time on an incestuous web of interlocking relationships between BBC journalists and the university’s scientists, which goes back more than a decade.
They show that University staff vetted BBC scripts, used their contacts at the Corporation to stop sceptics being interviewed and were consulted about how the broadcaster should alter its programme output.
Like the first ‘Climategate’ leaks two years ago, they were placed last week on a Russian server by an anonymous source.
Again like their predecessors, they have emerged just before a United Nations climate summit, which is to start this week in Durban.
BBC insiders say the close links between the Corporation and the UEA’s two climate science departments, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, have had a significant impact on its coverage.
‘Following their lead has meant the whole thrust and tone of BBC reporting has been that the science is settled, and that there is no need for debate,’ one journalist said. ‘If you disagree, you’re branded a loony.’
In 2007, the BBC issued a formal editorial policy document, stating that ‘the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’ – the view that the world faces catastrophe because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
The document says the policy was decided after ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts’ – including those from UEA.
The ‘Climategate 2’ emails disclose that in private some of those same scientists have had doubts about aspects of the global warming case.
For example, Professor Phil Jones, the head of the CRU, admitted there was no evidence that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of climate change, and he and his colleagues agreed there were serious problems with the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph – the depiction of global temperatures that suggests they were broadly level for 1,000 years until they started to rise with industrialisation.
But although there is now more scientific debate than ever about influences on climate other than CO2, prompted by the fact that the world has not warmed for 15 years, a report from the BBC Trust this year compared climate change sceptics to the conspiracy theorists who blame America for 9/11, and said Britain’s main sceptic think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, should be given no air time.
The man at the centre of the BBC-UEA web is Roger Harrabin, the Corporation’s ‘environment analyst’, who reports for a range of programmes on radio and TV.
Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed that in 1996, he and his friend, Professor Joe Smith of the Open University, set up an informal two-man band to organise environment seminars for BBC executives.
Known as the Cambridge Media Environment Programme (CMEP), it operated until 2009, and over three years (2002 to 2005) received £15,000 from the Tyndall Centre. Mr Harrabin did not derive personal financial benefit, although Prof Smith was paid.
Yesterday Mike Hulme, UEA’s Professor of Climate Change, who set up the centre in 2000 and was its director until 2007, said he planned to fund CMEP from Tyndall’s outset, as an ‘integral part of our outreach and communication strategy’.
Mr Harrabin was also appointed to the Tyndall advisory board – an unpaid position he held for five years until 2005.
The Climategate 2 emails suggest Prof Hulme expected something in return – the slanting of BBC coverage to exclude global warming sceptics.
On February 25, 2002, the climate change sceptic Philip Stott, a London University professor, debated the subject with John Houghton of the Met Office on the Today programme.
This prompted an angry email to colleagues from Prof Hulme. ‘Did anyone hear Stott vs Houghton on Today, Radio 4, this morning?’ he wrote. ‘Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media Environment Programme, to starve this type of reporting at source.’
Last night Prof Hulme denied he was trying to deny space to sceptics, saying: ‘What I wanted to “starve” at source was “this type of reporting” – in which the important and complex issues raised by climate change are reduced to an argument between two voices representing different positions on climate science, as though there is one right and one wrong answer to climate change.’
Far from wanting to narrow it, he said, he had tried to widen debate about the issue for years.
This was not the only time there was talk of sceptics being shut out. On December 7, 2004, the BBC’s then-environment correspondent Alex Kirby wrote to Prof Jones.
He had, he said, succeeded in blocking one sceptic from the BBC, claiming his work was ‘pure stream of consciousness rubbish’. But to his regret, he had been unable to stop a group of scientists who said there were flaws in the hockey-stick graph being featured.
‘I can well understand your unhappiness at our running the other piece,’ he wrote. ‘But we are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all… and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats.’
Prof Jones commented: ‘I thought you exercised some caution with crackpots.’ Mr Kirby replied: ‘Oh Phil, what can I say…I hope you’ll still talk to me despite this.’
Yesterday Mr Kirby explained his joke, saying that editors often asked him to include sceptic views in his stories, in order to provide balance. ‘I felt then and I feel now that it’s not our job to inject artificial balance into an unbalanced reality,’ he said.
He believed scientists such as Prof Jones had got the subject ‘mainly right’, while those who rejected their conclusions were often not worth hearing.
In November 2008, in an email to his UEA colleague Claire Reeves, Prof Jones expressed his satisfaction that ‘the reporting of climate stories within the media (especially the BBC) is generally one-sided, ie the counter argument is rarely made’.
But alas, there was ‘still a vociferous and small majority [sic] of climate change sceptics… who engage the public/govt/media through web sites’.
He suggested UEA should set up a project to curb their influence, writing: ‘Issues to be addressed include: should a vociferous minority be able to bully mainstream scientists? Should mainstream climate scientists have to change the way they have worked for generations?’
Mr Harrabin shared his UEA contacts throughout the BBC. For example, in October 2003 Vicki Barker, a presenter on the World Service, wrote asking to visit Prof Hulme, saying: ‘My colleague Roger Harrabin suggested I contact you. I am about to spend several months attempting to answer the following question for senior BBC managers: If we were to reinvent economics coverage from scratch, TODAY, incorporating what we now know (or think we know) about global environmental and economic trends, what would it look like?’
She said she had noticed ‘environmental undertow’ that was ‘beginning to tug at economies around the world… I have wondered if current newsgathering practices and priorities are conveying these phenomena as effectively as they could be. Is this a question you and some of your colleagues feel like pondering?’
The same year, BBC1 broadcast a series on the British countryside presented by Alan Titchmarsh. The last programme presented a deeply pessimistic view of future global warming and before it was transmitted its producer, Dan Tapster, asked Prof Hulme to vet the script. ‘I’d be grateful if you could send me your hourly/daily rate as a script consultant so that I can budget your time,’ he wrote. Prof Hulme said he remembered going through the script, adding that he was not being paid, and was ‘certainly not an official adviser’.
Mr Harrabin knew that if he was seen to be too closely associated with green campaigners – in earlier years CMEP had accepted funding from activist organisation WWF – the impartiality he was supposed to demonstrate as a BBC reporter could be jeopardised.
In July 2004, in an email to Prof Hulme that asked him to continue funding CMEP seminars, Prof Smith explained: ‘The only change I anticipate is that we won’t be asking WWF to support the seminars: Roger particularly feels the association could be compromising to the “neutral” reputation should anyone look at it closely.’
Prof Smith told Prof Hulme that the seminars’ purpose was to influence BBC output.
He spoke of finding ways of getting environmental issues into ‘mainstream’ stories ‘by stealth’, adding: ‘It’s very important in my view that research feeds directly back into decision-maker conversations (policy and above all media). I hope and think that the seminars have laid the ground for this within the BBC… There is senior BBC buy in-for the approach I want to pursue.’
Yesterday he said he had always ensured there was a range of views at the seminar, while by using the phrase ‘by stealth’ he simply meant that ‘sustainability stories are elements of mainstream stories, but the complexity and uncertainty inherent in them make them difficult to report in isolation’.
In September 2001, another email reveals, Mr Harrabin and Prof Smith wrote to Prof Hulme, asking what the BBC should do to mark a climate summit the following year.
They said his suggestions would be ‘circulated among relevant BBC decision-makers’, while instead of confining himself to news and current affairs, he should also feel free to recommend ideas for ‘drama, music, game shows’.
Labour MP Graham Stringer last night said he would be writing this week to BBC director-general Mark Thompson to demand an investigation into the Corporation’s relationship with UEA. ‘The new leaked emails show that the UEA scientists at the Tyndall Centre and the CRU acted more like campaigners than academics, and that they succeeded in an attempt to influence the output of the BBC,’ Mr Stringer said.
Conservative MP David Davis said: ‘Using research money to evangelise one point of view and suppress another defies everything I ever learnt about the scientific method. These emails go to the heart of the BBC’s professed impartiality… its actions must be investigated.’
But the BBC insisted its relationship with UEA had never been ‘unhealthily close’, saying it was always impartial. A BBC spokesman said: ‘We would reject the claim that the Tyndall Centre influenced BBC editorial policy.’
As for Mr Harrabin’s place on the Tyndall board and the advice he gave, he said: ‘The idea was for him to look out for potential stories for the BBC and to offer academics a media perspective on climate change and policy. We do not believe that com-promised impartiality.’
Mr Harrabin added: ‘It was right that the BBC decided not to give sceptics parity on climate change,’ saying there was a ‘cross-party consensus.’ But he said he had maintained they should still be given some air time.
British PM’s green guru reveals his doubts over global warming
Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy and ‘green guru’, is the latest person to admit to doubts about climate change. ‘I’m not sure I believe in it,’ he announced at a meeting of the Energy Department, prompting one aide to blurt out: ‘Did I just hear that correctly?’
According to one witness, Hilton, 41, the man who coined the slogan ‘Vote Blue and Go Green’ and changed the Tory symbol from a Stalinist style torch to an eco friendly tree, said: ‘Climate change arguments are highly complex. ‘My focus has always been more on using green issues to improve the quality of life.’
Hilton famously persuaded David Cameron to go to the Arctic with a pack of huskies to prove that he was determined to combat global warming in his early days as Tory leader. Now, however, Hilton as become a big fan of former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, a vocal critic of the global warming lobby.
Hilton’s new doubts chime with the Prime Minister’s decision to tone down his previous emphasis on environmental measures to concentrate on stimulating economic growth.
Earlier this year Hilton was said to be secretly plotting with London Mayor Boris Johnson to force the Prime Minister to drop his opposition to plans for a £40 billion airport in the Thames estuary.
The provocative move followed reports that Hilton was on the brink of walking out of No 10 because he thinks Mr Cameron was ‘losing his nerve’.
Mr Cameron believes Tory rival Mr Johnson’s plan for the airport, dubbed ‘Boris Island’, is a non-starter. The disclosure that Hilton had thrown his weight behind the idea was a big boost to Mr Johnson – and a snub to Mr Cameron.
Friends of Mr Cameron were convinced Mr Johnson was trying to exploit policy differences in a campaign to succeed him as Tory leader.