New doctors feel unable to treat seriously ill patients
They know all about “cultural sensitivity” but other things are neglected. Previous reports have said that they are not even good on anatomy any more
New doctors feel unable to look after seriously ill patients because of greater emphasis on communication and teamwork over the basics during their training, research has found.
Junior doctors reported that they did not feel equipped to care for seriously ill patients in hospital and this may have got worse, it was found.
Changes to the medical school curricula that put a greater emphasis on communication and teamwork may have been to the detriment of the basics such as treatment, prescribing and managing emergencies, the study suggested.
An analysis of research papers looking at the perceptions of newly qualified doctors published between 1993 and 2011 found in most areas junior doctors felt better prepared for the job. However in prescribing and acute care, the picture appears to have deteriorated, the researchers said.
There has been heavy criticism over the last few years of the fact junior doctors are often left dealing with very sick patients at weekends and bank holidays.
Last month, the Hospital Guide, from Dr Foster Intelligence, found patients needing emergency care are almost ten per cent more likely to die if they are admitted to hospitals on weekends when there is little senior cover.
There has also been criticism of the European Working Time Directive which has restricted junior doctors’ hours to 48 per week meaning they have little ‘hands-on’ experience, some experts have said.
Co-author Dr Sam Smith, said: “Junior doctors feel prepared in communication but don’t feel prepared in acute care. There has been a lot of emphasis in training on communication lately. “One of the reasons that junior doctors might feel more prepared in some of the other domains is the emphasis on communication and teamworking . It is very difficult to keep the same level of emphasis on other things when new things are added in.”
The findings were published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.
Ten studies on the views of newly qualified doctors, consultants and education supervisors about junior doctor preparedness were analysed. The research found that junior doctors felt poorly prepared for dealing with acutely sick patients compared with other aspects of care. More senior doctors also agreed with this assessment.
Furthermore, those studies which enabled people to expand on their responses found that acute care consistently showed up as an area of concern.
The papers also suggest the problem has got worse since the introduction of new standards for medical training introduced by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2003.
Dr Smith and co-authors from University of Edinburgh, said in the research paper: “The assimilation of evidence in this review suggests that recent changes in UK undergraduate training, while improving preparedness in some areas, may have neglected acute care.” They added that the results “may be of little surprise” to those involved in either undergraduate or postgraduate medical training.
“The care of acutely unwell patients is complex, involving a myriad of technical and non-technical skills in time-pressured situations and increasingly litigious environments.
“It is therefore unlikely that new graduates will ever feel completely at ease with acute care; perhaps it is preferable from a patient safety perspective that they do not, prompting them to call for senior help more readily.
“It is, however, of concern that graduate preparedness in acute care, as perceived by their professional colleagues, compares so unfavourably with preparedness in other outcomes and appears to be trending downwards.
“All UK medical schools would claim that their graduates can assess acutely unwell patients and instigate generic resuscitative measures, but senior doctors and other healthcare professionals have rated (foundation year 1 junior doctors) as unprepared to do so in several recent studies.”
Dr Smith said a newly qualified doctor should always seek more senior help if a patient on the ward was suddenly short of breath or if someone developed crushing pain in their chest, both of which can signal a serious medical emergency.
Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “These findings about low confidence of new doctors in coping with acutely ill patients do not come as a surprise. “Current restrictions to working hours mean thin rotas that leave these doctors exposed and make it hard for them to build experience.
“In recent years we have seen increasing divergence in the curricula of medical schools in the UK meaning that new doctors often have very different skills depending on where they graduate from.
“The RCS would like to see a core national medical school curriculum and greater time spent in hospitals and other clinical care environments. The RCS recently highlighted how hospitals need to reorganise to put more consultant time at the frontline directly supporting new doctors and also run several practical courses specifically designed to build confidence in treating critically ill patients.”
Marion Matheson, co-chairman of the British Medical Association’s medical student committee, said: “All medical students undergo a rigorous and intensive five-to-six-year medical degree that prepares them to work in our NHS.
“It is not surprising that some medical graduates see acute medicine as a challenge, given how complicated and intensive it can be, but all doctors have the support of other colleagues when practising in this field as well as the skills to treat patients effectively.”
Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: “Our role is to protect patients by making sure doctors have the right knowledge, skills and experience to provide safe high quality care. Moving from medical student to doctor is a big step – that is why new doctors are closely supervised by experienced colleagues in their first years of practice.
“Tomorrow’s Doctors 2009 has an increased emphasis on clinical skills for medical students, however some skills, like those needed in acute care, require further experience which doctors develop during the next stage of their training.”
Illegals immigrants can exploit ‘Lille loophole’ to get in to UK on Eurostar
Illegal immigrants could be slipping in to Britain on the Eurostar because of a rule, known as the Lille loophole, that allows them to travel without any passport check.
Free movement rules between Belgium and France mean passengers travelling from Brussels to the Eurostar destination Lille [In Northern France] do not go through passport control.
But there is nothing to stop them staying on the train to London. Some 300 people were caught trying to do just that in the last year alone.
Full passport checks could now be introduced at St Pancras station in London, where the Eurostar service terminates.
The prospect was raised after Damian Green, the immigration minister, admitted the Government was powerless to close the so-called “Lille loophole” in Brussels without agreement with Belgium.
In an added farce, immigration officers in Brussels have reportedly been threatened with arrest after challenging suspect passengers to Lille.
It comes as the Home Office is still reeling from the scandal that some border checks had been scrapped at airports and ports against the wishes of ministers.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he was “astonished” by the “most unsatisfactory” situation, adding: “If a simple railway ticket can give you entry into the UK, this is a cause for real concern.”
The loophole centres on the Schengen agreement signed between a number of European countries, including France and Belgium, which allows people to cross borders without passport checks.
The UK is not in the agreement can therefore check the passports of passengers travelling here.
As a result there are two gates for Eurostar trains in Brussels, one for those going to Lille, which does not have passport checks, and one for the UK, which does.
It means an individual could buy two tickets and then pass through the Lille gate but stay on the train to London without having their passport examined.
In evidence to the home affair committee, Jonathan Sedgwick, international group director of the UK Border Agency, admitted: “It is perfectly possible that people in some circumstances can get through.”
He said in the last year 140 people had been removed from the train at Lille and 160 had been stopped at St Pancras.
In June, an illegal immigrant was arrested after stepping off a Eurostar train carrying Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who was returning from inspecting border controls in Calais.
The Moroccan man, believed to be in his twenties, was held after UK Border Agency officers made a “sweep” of the train as Mrs May returned to London.
Sporadic passport checks are carried out at St Pancras but Mr Sedgwick signalled they could now become the norm. Asked if they were to be stepped up here, he said: “We intend to introduce tighter controls overall, yes.”
The move may be the only way to close the gap after Mr Green said rules around Schengen meant changes in Brussels could only be made with negotiation. He said: “It’s one of those things that the British Government can’t solve on its own … that has to be solved in negotiations and that’s what we’re now doing.
“There are strict British immigration controls in place in France and Belgium and we have UK Border Agency officers based at St Pancras to target those we believe are intent on entering Britain illegally. “We are currently working closely with our Belgian counterparts and Eurostar to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
Border force staff have also been threatened with arrest by the Belgian police for trying to close the loophole, emails seen by BBC Radio 4’s The Report programme showed. One officer, who tried to question two people suspected of trying to take advantage of the loophole, was told by Belgian police: “This has got to stop, you are not in Britain now, you are in Schengen. If they make a complaint, you will be arrested.”
Another UKBA officer warned that staff were so scared of being arrested by the Belgian police that they “will now turn a blind eye to potential Lille loopholers”.
‘Whining women surgeons who complain about their sexist industry are just making excuses,’ says top British female consultant
A top female surgeon has rejected claims the profession is sexist, saying women surgeons who claim it is should stop whining and that many are using the allegation to hide they fact they are not good enough.
Helen Fernandes, who chairs the Women in Surgery group at the Royal College of Surgeons, dismissed claims that sexism was the cause for only eight per cent of consultant surgeons being female.
The number is even lower in neurosurgery, which is Ms Fernandes’ area of specialism. Ms Fernandes works as a consultant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
In an interview with The Times, she said: ‘I don’t think true sexism or harassment along those lines really exists. In my opinion, a lot of girls who say that they’ve experienced sexism are, generally speaking, not up to the mark surgically. ‘Sexism’ almost becomes an excuse.’
One of the reasons put forward for the low number of female surgeons is the unpredictable nature of shifts, which could interfere with domestic issues. Ms Fernandes, who has three children, told young women wanting to build a career in medicine to stop moaning about having kids and to invest in home help.
‘Don’t whine for hours about childcare issues or the fact that you’re a mother. Domesticity is a dirge.’
Ms Fernandes has hired the equivalent of one and half full-time employees to help her run her daily life. ‘That’s very difficult in your training years, because costs are so high. But you’ve got to take a long-term view.’ She said her childcare and domestic bills now only take up 10 per cent of her salary, but that the figure was as high as 80 per cent previously.
Ministers won’t back cross-ban Christians: Ex-archbishop condemns ‘illiberal’ assault on faith
The [British] Government was slammed last night for refusing to support a group of Christians fighting for their rights in the European courts. Four individuals who have been disciplined at work or lost their jobs after refusing to remove crosses or to conform to gay rights laws are attempting to overturn the decisions of British courts and tribunal.
They had hoped for support from Ministers after a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron on their behalf.
But the Government told the European Court of Human Rights that it backed the British judges and does not accept that the Christians have suffered discrimination.
To the dismay of Lord Carey, the Government even said that wearing a cross or a crucifix was not a ‘generally recognised’ Christian practice – even though Church leaders say it is a hugely significant symbol. ‘Such is the result of a liberal establishment that has become deeply illiberal.’
In landmark hearings, the court in Strasbourg is to consider the cases of Shirley Chaplin, a Devon nurse banned from working on the wards after she failed to hide a cross she had worn since the age of 16, and Nadia Eweida, a check-in clerk for British Airways who was told to remove her small crucifix at work.
The European judges will also examine the cases of Relate counsellor Gary MacFarlane, who was sacked after suggesting he would refuse to provide sexual therapy to gay couples, and registrar Lilian Ladele, who was disciplined by Islington council in North London after refusing to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies.
Their cases are among a series in which Christians have clashed with their employers over the equality legislation introduced by the last Government, prompting widespread dismay from Church leaders.
A cross-party group of MPs, led by Tory Gary Streeter, is now holding an inquiry into the issue of religious discrimination.
Even the Government’s own watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has told the European Court that the British courts have failed to protect the rights of some believers.
Christian lawyers say the rights of the four to express their beliefs at work should be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows individuals to ‘manifest’ their faith in public.
But the Government, in 40 pages of legal arguments drawn up by the Foreign Office, said they were not protected because neither wearing a cross nor following their conscience at work was a core requirement of their faith. Echoing British court or tribunal judgments, the Government said wearing a cross was not ‘a practice of a religion in a generally recognised form’.
It said that even if the European Court did decide that Ms Eweida and Mrs Chaplin could wear crosses, employers could overrule this because of health and safety rules banning jewellery at work. It also denied that the rights of Ms Lidele and Mr MacFarlane had been breached, arguing that they could have resigned rather than stay in jobs where they had to carry out tasks that were against their beliefs.
The Government added: ‘The UK is entitled to conclude ….. that other than in limited prescribed circumstances, religious belief does not justify discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation.’
But the Christian Legal Centre, backed by Lord Carey and former Anglican Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, says the visible wearing of the cross or crucifix is ‘clearly an aspect’ of the practice of the Christian religion. The centre’s head Andrea Williams said: ‘Sharing faith in the public square goes to the centre, the heart, of a Christian’s life and belief – it’s who they are.
The Government’s interpretation is not backed by the overwhelming majority of people who want to live in a country where people are free to disagree.’
A “revisionist” view of the British empire
Though still a fairly mainstream view among Britons themselves
[One] might see in the experience of the British Empire some prescriptive remedies for what ails Western Civilization. How about, for instance, the idea of limited government? By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, in the 1920s the British government and its vast empire operated on a budget about 40 percent less, in constant dollars, than the state of California’s budget for 2012. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider that Britain ran the Sudan with a civil service of 140 men, and governed India’s then-300 million people with about 100,000 British soldiers and civil servants. (California has more than twice as many full-time state employees.)
The British Empire certainly did not go in for “nation-building” in the “let’s export the democratic welfare state” sense. The British believed they governed well, and did well for the people they governed, but they always had to ensure that the sum of benefits minus costs was in the black. The British had tremendous national interests, for instance, in Afghanistan (a potential Russian invasion route to India) and Iraq (oil), but they would never have spent a trillion dollars occupying these countries, as we have done. For the most part, they kept them in line with occasional punitive expeditions (Afghanistan) and the RAF supporting a British-imposed pro-Western monarch (Iraq).
The British Empire set a beneficial example in another sense too. It was tolerant. On issues that truly mattered — an independent judiciary, limited government, abolishing slavery and widow-burning — they enforced British standards of fair play, ordered liberty, and decency. But they were also quite content to let Arabs be Arabs, Masai be Masai, and so on. They did not politicize society or, another way of putting it, nationalize it.
They ruled with the lightest of authority, often through local elites, and had a famous affection for the “warrior races” (which they were keen to defeat and then bring on their side). As a Frenchman once marveled, “Wherever the British have penetrated we meet British officers who believe the Bedouins, the Kurds, the Ghurkhas, the Sikhs or the Sudanese, whichever they happen to command, to be the most splendid fellows on earth. The French do not share this passionate interest in other races — they only praise individuals or communities insofar as they have become Gallicized.”
George Santayana’s famous observation bears repeating: “Instinctively the Englishman is no missionary, no conqueror . . . he travels and conquers without a settled design, because he has the instinct of exploration. His adventures are all external; they change him so little that he is not afraid of them. He carries his English weather in his heart wherever he goes, and it becomes a cool spot in the desert, and a steady and sane oracle amongst all the deliriums of mankind.
Never since the heroic days of Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master. It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics manage to supplant him.” How true. And between the British Empire and its enemies among the Bolsheviks, the National Socialists, the scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics, I know which side any true conservative should plant his colors.
“Stimulus” didn’t work in Britain either
Labour’s increased spending after the credit crunch actually harmed the economy rather than boosting it, according to a centre-right think tank.
A report by the Institute of Economic Affairs found that stimulus measures pursued by Western governments in response to the economic crisis did not work.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has repeatedly called on the Government to soften its deficit reduction plans and embark on a ‘Plan B’, which would include more public spending in an attempt to boost growth.
But the institute’s study said Plan B would be disastrous for the British economy, and that all Western economies needed drastic fiscal and tax reform if they were to overcome their sovereign debt crises.
Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘We must resist the calls of those who say that one last, big spending push could get the economy back to meaningful growth.
‘The opposite is true. ‘Many Western economies might well be tipping back towards recession partly because of these giant fiscal packages that were enacted in 2009, and the coalition Government must resist calls for any Plan B that involves more government borrowing and spending.
“Green” BBC fakery
It was the BBC’s landmark wildlife documentary that was four years in the making and took intrepid cameramen to the edge of the Earth to film. But now it’s been revealed the method used to capture key scenes might send a chill down the spine of Frozen Planet viewers.
Instead of being filmed in their sub-zero natural habitat, the BBC has admitted a polar bear and her cubs that were the centrepiece of the show were caught on camera in a zoo.
The breathtaking footage was watched by more than eight million viewers left out in the cold when it comes to what the BBC did. It showed a polar bear tending her newborn cubs in fake snow and was mixed with real Arctic shots with zoo scenes.
The scene was filmed last Christmas from the comfort of a German wildlife park enclosure made of plaster and wood. Situated beneath the zoo’s polar bear enclosure, the den was fitted with cameras shortly before the cubs’ birth.
Documentary makers have been accused of misleading the audience into believing the footage was gathered by daring cameramen in the wilderness.
How the moving scene was filmed is explained by producer Kathryn Jeffs in a hard to find clip on programme’s website. She said it would be impractical to film the carnivores in the wild, adding: ‘They stay in the pole through the winter and the female polar bears actually give birth at the peak of winter. ‘The problem for us is that they do it underneath the snow in these dens of ice and there’s absolutely no way we can get our cameras down there.’
But during the show Sir David Attenborough’s script failed to explain how the key scene was made.
A BBC spokeswoman said today: ‘This particular sequence would be impossible to film in the wild. ‘The commentary accompanying the sequence is carefully worded so it doesn’t mislead the audience and the way the footage was captured is clearly explained on the programme website.’
Yesterday chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, John Whittingdale, said it was ‘hugely disappointing’ viewers were misled. He said: ‘My view has always been that all broadcasters should not seek to give viewers a false impression and it is much better if they are entirely open.
‘If this was not filmed in the wild it would have been much better to have made that clear in the commentary. ‘It’s questionable how many people would visit the website and find the video clip which explained the circumstances of the filming.’
More than eight million viewers tuned into the fifth episode from the £16million seven-part series on November 23. It began by showing genuine footage of a male polar bear scavenging for food during the harsh Arctic winter.
UK green targets may get tougher… but renewable energy ‘still won’t keep lights on’
Under a climate deal announced in South Africa after days of negotiations, world leaders agreed a ‘road map’ for all major countries to introduce legally-binding targets to tackle global warming for the first time.
But the world’s biggest polluters – including the U.S., China and India – will only have to start cutting their greenhouse gases ‘from 2020’ and it is unclear how stringent the targets will be.
In return the EU has agreed to negotiate even more ambitious curbs on emissions, which could see green taxes on energy bills rise to fund a new wave of wind farms and solar panels. Currently they cost £90 per household a year in the UK.
The Government will thrash out the details of a second period of the Kyoto Protocol next year, but it is likely the current target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 will rise to 30 per cent. Officials said yesterday that if agreed, Britain’s share would be a 42 per cent reduction on 1990 levels in only eight years, to replace the current target of 34 per cent.
It will require ramping up existing green measures which already include plans to build up to 32,000 wind turbines onshore and offshore.
And no sooner was the ink drying on the agreement than a report from the Adam Smith Institute questioned the effectiveness of renewable sources of energy.
The analysis by the right-wing think-tank claims wind turbines and solar panels cannot replace gas, coal and nuclear power because the energy they produce is intermittent and depends on the weather.
‘The UK’s plans for renewables are unrealistic, and these technologies cannot provide the secure energy supply the country needs,’ it says.
‘Present policies will lead to an energy crisis by the middle of this decade.’
To meet current targets for wind power would require five turbines to be installed every working day until 2020, it says. More damningly, the analysis found renewables only achieve ‘modest’ cuts to greenhouse gas emissions as they require so much back-up generation.
Britain currently produces 6.6 per cent of energy from renewables but has a target to increase this to 15 per cent by 2020. The report claims solar and wind energy have ‘no prospect of being economically competitive’ as the market is ‘rigged’ by subsidies.
British climate retreat unnoticed by Australian journalists
In July, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, wrote to his Australian counterpart, Julia Gillard, supporting Labor’s legislation to introduce a carbon tax leading to an emissions trading scheme on July 1 next year.
Ostensibly, Cameron’s letter was one of praise for Gillard. However, the subliminal message was one of criticism of the [Australian] Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. Needless to say, the Cameron missive was much used by Labor to discredit the Coalition. Also the Canberra press gallery, which overwhelmingly supports Gillard and opposes Abbott on the carbon tax issue, made much of the letter.
Little mention was made of the fact that the climate change policy of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government in Britain entailed a review in 2014. The message was that Britain would scale back its climate change abatement policies if it found itself to be out in front of other European Union nations. This reflected concern about the plight of Britain’s chemical, steel and manufacturing industries.
The review scheduled for 2014 has been brought forward in the light of the economic situation. This was made clear in the Autumn Statement delivered in the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, last month.
Osborne expressed considerable concern about the impact of “green policies adopted not just in Britain, but also by the European Union, on some of our heavy, energy-intensive industries”. In an emphatic declaration, he added: “We are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills, aluminium smelters and paper manufacturers. All we will be doing is exporting valuable jobs out of Britain.” He added that such a policy will not achieve environmental goals and that “businesses will fail, jobs will be lost and our country will be poorer”. As the saying goes: hear, hear.
Now, it is understandable that the likes of the Prime Minister, Wayne Swan and Greg Combet do not want to draw attention to the change in direction in Britain. But journalists and commentators using the Cameron letter against Abbott have no such excuse. They are supposed to be reporting news, not barracking for causes.
The reason for Britain’s change of direction on climate change is obvious. Osborne warned “much of Europe now appears to be heading into a recession caused by a chronic lack of confidence in the ability of countries to deal with their debts”.
I have just returned from a series of meetings in Britain and the US. Without exaggeration, the mood about the world economy is one of deep pessimism. It is difficult to see how the economies of Europe can recover in the immediate to medium future. Moreover, the collapse of the euro remains a real possibility, since the existence of a single currency for a majority of EU nations has come into conflict with the fact that Europe is not a political entity.
A single currency works in such federations as Australia, Canada and the US. It does not – and cannot – work in such an entity as the EU.
Interviewed by Charles Moore in the London Telegraph this month, the former European Commission president Jacques Delors declared that the failure of the single currency turned on the fact that the EU had not created common economic policies “founded on the co-operation of the member states”.
Delors is a retired bureaucrat. The fact is that, as Theodore Dalrymple has argued in his polemic The New Vichy Syndrome, the EU was established “against the wishes of most of the populations involved”.
The economic disaster that is contemporary Europe will have knock-on effects on the global economy, including on such key players as the US and China. Another recession in Europe could imperil the re-election of the US President, Barack Obama, in November, even if the rival contender is the Republican Newt Gingrich. Advocates of action on climate change in Australia invariably point to California’s embrace of an ETS. They rarely state that California is bankrupt and that the Obama administration has effectively junked its own cap-and-trade proposal.
In the US and now Britain, grim economic news has led to a reassessment of climate change policies. Not so in Australia, where, by mid-2012, there will be a carbon tax – something none of our competitors will have in the foreseeable future.
Gillard presides over the first government in Australian history which has consciously decided to disadvantage the nation with respect to its competitors – in the short term, at least. In Britain, Cameron was once committed to such an agenda. This appears to be no longer the case. Perhaps Osborne should write a letter to Gillard or Swan explaining why.
The ‘detox delusion’: Health claims ‘at best unfounded and at worst dangerous’, argues professor
They promise to help you shed weight and purge your body of chemicals that are poisoning your body and mind. But the only thing that detox products will help you lose is money, a scientist said last night.
From diets based on raw fruit and vegetables, to foot spas and colonic hydrotherapy, there are dozens of treatments and products that claim to boost health by cleansing the body of chemicals.
Marketing is likely to become particularly fierce in the next few weeks, as millions who over-indulge during the Christmas period make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier.
But detox diets and other treatments are not the answer, an expert has warned. David Bender, an emeritus professor of nutritional biochemistry, said the body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself without any extra help. What is more, he says the claims made about detoxing are at best unfounded and more likely undeniably false. Some detox methods may even be dangerous, he claims.
In an article written in Society of Biology magazine The Biologist, he argues that the term detox has gone from being applied to a chemical reaction involved in the production of urine, to ‘a meaningless marketing term’. His piece, entitled The Detox Delusion, picks apart the claims made by those promoting detox diets.
Such diets usually involve eating large amounts of fruit, vegetables and juices, while drinking large amounts of water and steering clear of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
They purport to boost health in a variety of ways, from raising energy levels to allowing the body to focus on self-healing. Professor Bender, of University College, London, writes: ‘I am not sure what “self-healing” is and the idea of “raised energy levels” is nonsense.
‘The whole philosophy of detox is based on the unlikely premise that accumulated toxins cause a sluggish metabolism, weight gain, general malaise and so on. ‘Weight gain is due to an imbalance between food consumption and energy expenditure. There is no magic shortcut for weight loss – you have to eat less and exercise more. It’s that simple.’
Some very unwise fooling around
“Stag parties” or “buck’s nights” for men about to get married are traditionally a bit wild but these guys pushed the limit — thus getting one of their friends into hot water
A Tory MP who attended a stag party where guests chanted Nazi slogans has issued a second apology in a desperate bid to save his career. Aidan Burley was with 12 Oxford-educated friends, some of whom chanted ‘Hitler, Hitler, Hitler’, at a restaurant in a French ski resort.
The ‘stag’, who was seated next to the MP, wore an SS uniform and later posed giving the Nazi salute – illegal in France.
Mr Burley, the MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, was filmed by journalists from the Mail on Sunday raising his glass before a fellow guest made a speech saying: ‘Let’s raise a toast to Tom for organising the stag do, and if we’re perfectly honest, to the ideology and thought process of the Third Reich.’
The MP did not raise his glass during the speech. He did appear to pay the bill for the meal, although he later said he had paid only his share.
The Nazi incident happened on December 3 in Restaurant La Fondue, an upmarket venue in the centre of the ski resort of Val Thorens.
The man in the Nazi uniform was accountant Mark Fournier, 34, who was frequently addressed by the others as ‘Himmler!’ It was his businessman brother John Fournier, 37, who gave the toast celebrating the Nazis.
As they left the restaurant, Mark and John Fournier agreed to be photographed and, without prompting, performed Nazi salutes.
Asked why he was dressed as he was, Mark Fournier said: ‘We wanted to see how a Nazi outfit in the middle of France would go down. The answer is not that well at all.’
Another said: ‘We are trying to intimidate as many people as possible. A lot have been quite offended, especially one guy who was both Jewish and gay.’
Mark Fournier has not responded to requests for comment, but his brother John told the Mail on Sunday: ‘[Mark] was dressed up in an outfit as a tongue-in-cheek laugh and there was nothing more to it than that. It was just a bunch of lads having a good evening.’