Nurse who laughed when newborn baby died banned from working at troubled health trust

Death of a full-term baby from an umbilical cord around the neck is unforgiveable these days. Mutasa is a black African surname, probably Zimbabwean

A midwife who treated a woman with ‘contempt’ as she gave birth to a stillborn baby has been sacked from the troubled health trust where she worked.

Terrai Mutasa laughed at Allyson Childs for requesting painkillers amid the trauma of her labour and while doctors fought in vain to resuscitate 9lb 10oz Layla-Grace, who had been born with the umbilical cord around her neck.

In response to her request for a Caesarean at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, the midwife allegedly said: ‘Do you think that won’t hurt? Believe me it will.’

Ms Childs said: ‘I am angry and disgusted. I’ve been let down massively by the hospital. I want a full inquiry. No woman should have to go through what I did.’

Queen’s Hospital has apologised to Ms Childs over this and a further complaint about the ‘insensitive conduct’ of an unnamed nurse who sent Ms Childs ‘rude’ texts hounding her to return medical files.

The trust running Queen’s is under fire over its maternity care after five women died in 18 months. Complaints against Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust rose by a third from 2009 to 2010.

Ms Childs claimed that during the traumatic birth Ms Mutasa treated her contemptuously. Ms Childs further claims Ms Mutasa told her mother to ‘find the scissors’ to cut the umbilical cord during the birth on September 24.

An internal report also reveals the hospital added to the family’s distress by losing Layla-Grace’s pink bib. Queen’s apologised for this and for leaving the body in a bloodstained cot.

The hospital’s chief executive Averil Dongworth met Ms Childs and her partner Steve, 25 – who await the results of a post-mortem examination – and told them she was ‘moved and saddened’ by their experience. She said in a statement: ‘I offered Ms Childs and her family our sincere apologies. We will not tolerate poor standards of care. ‘The midwife involved in Miss Child’s care is no longer working at the trust.’

Ms Mutasa was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which will probe her competency to practise.


Government ditches promise to fine hospitals who leave patients waiting months for treatment after they miss target

Ministers have been accused of delaying new ‘waiting-time’ fines for hospitals. NHS trusts were expected to be given penalties of up to £1million starting in April if they failed to reduce the numbers of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for common operations and treatment.

The measures were announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in November, when he promised to ‘crack down’ on trusts who kept patients ‘languishing’ on lists.

Figures show that as many as 20,000 patients have been waiting longer than a year for a range of operations including hip and knee replacements, treatment for hernias or surgery to remove kidney stones.

But the Department of Health says it will not bring in the fines until next year at the earliest, according to Health Service Journal.

Patients who have waited longer than 18 weeks for treatment are referred to as ‘forgotten waiters’, because hospitals have a target of ensuring 90 per cent of patients are treated within this time period. But there is no time limit for the remaining 10 per cent.

Labour health spokesman Andy Burnham said: ‘Only six weeks after making this promise the Health Secretary has further undermined the already fragile confidence in his ability to run the NHS.’

But ministers insist they never intended the fines to be brought in by April. Health minister Paul Burstow said: ‘This is seriously misleading – there has been no delay. Many trusts have a large backlog of patients so we are giving the NHS time to clear it before we introduce fines.’

NHS managers were told in November they had to reduce the number of long waiters from this year – and by about 50,000 by April. Mr Lansley said at the time: ‘Because of Labour’s perverse approach, the NHS actually had an incentive not to treat patients. ‘The new approach we will take from next year will clamp down on this practice.’

However, according to the Department of Health, penalties will now only be introduced ‘once progress has been made on validating the backlog data and the NHS has had time to adjust to working to the new standard.’

Data suggests there are around 250,000 people waiting longer than 18 weeks to be treated and thousands have waited for more than a year.

The new delay, uncovered by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), was condemned by patient groups.

Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: ‘The Department of Health said they would tackle the issue yet instead of taking action they have just stuck to the same targets which have not helped these forgotten patients.

‘These targets have produced perverse disincentives meaning that once a patient has waited for longer than 18 weeks, there is no push to make sure they receive treatment as soon as possible after that.’

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: ‘We want to reduce the number of patients on hidden waiting lists to help ensure everyone gets access to the treatment they need.

‘Work on this has already started and we expect organisations to reduce their backlog and long waits whilst this is ongoing.’

HSJ columnist and waiting list consultant Rob Findlay said delaying the measure ‘fundamentally undermines the Government’s stated intention to reduce the number of patients ‘forgotten’ on English waiting lists.’

According to the HSJ, the 2012-13 operating framework and second quarter report, both released late last year by the Department of Health, planned to introduce a new target to cut the list of long waiters. But the NHS standard contracts for 2012-13, released on December 23, leave the old system in place.


British Labour Party lurches to the right on welfare payments: Senior left-wing MP admits for first time system HAS to change

The welfare state has drifted too far from its founding principles and must be overhauled, a senior Labour MP has said.

Work and pensions spokesman Liam Byrne said the benefits system has ‘skewed social behaviour’ and provides too much ‘unearned’ support.

Byrne argues that William Beveridge’s 70-year-old system was not designed to accommodate extended mass unemployment. He writes: ‘Beveridge would have wanted reform that was tough-minded and asked everyone to work hard to find a job.

‘He would have worried about the ways his system had skewed social behaviour because he intended benefits to help people who had their earning power interrupted because of illness, industrial injury or the capriciousness of the trade cycle. He never foresaw unearned support as desirable.’

Mr Byrne hints at being keen on a requirement for the unemployed to work after a fixed period. He points out that Beveridge himself wrote: ‘Unemployment benefit after a certain period should be conditional upon attendance at a work or training centre.’

His view is a significant redrawing of Labour’s current position on the provision of welfare. Party leader Ed Miliband has been reluctant to engage in anti-welfare rhetoric, despite it being seen by many as a key policy area that could help win back votes.

But over the next few months Mr Byrne will seek to reposition Labour. He claims that to win back support the party must recast the welfare state to meet the original intentions of its founder. He admits the choices are ‘difficult’ but that they are necessary for Labour to be taken seriously on the issue.

In an article for the Guardian, marking the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, Mr Byrne suggests the ever-increasing housing benefit budget and benefits for long-term unemployment are major flaws in the system.

He also highlights the lack of proper incentives to reward responsible long-term savers as helping fuel the benefit culture. He writes: ‘Beveridge would scarcely believe that housing benefit alone is costing the country over £20billion a year. That is simply too high.’ ‘One more heave behind our old agenda won’t do.’

He would like to see the contributory principle once again restored so there is a more defined link between what people put in and what they in turn receive from the system.

Mr Byrne believes the centre ground of politics has shifted to the Left on issues such as bankers and equality, but that many voters – even traditional Labour supporters – believe there needs to be a tough line on welfare.

Labour believes that as the Tory cuts bite through 2012 people will look at how the pain is distributed through society and Labour must not be seen to be protecting what Mr Byrne describes as the appalling benefits bill.

And he suggests the time is right as the Government is ‘simultaneously presiding over an exploding welfare bill while cutting back on contributory benefits and services like childcare – vital if we are to ensure that the rhetoric on making work pay becomes a reality for all’.


Chorus of support from MPs and campaigners for top judge planning a pro-marriage crusade

MPs and campaigners yesterday lined up to back a High Court judge and his plans for a pro-marriage pressure group. Sir Paul Coleridge, one of the country’s most senior divorce judges, said his campaign would be aimed at promoting marriage and discouraging divorce.

He said marriage was better for children than cohabitation and condemned divorce and its effects. Sir Paul told couples contemplating divorce: ‘My message is, mend it, don’t end it.’

The initiative, made at a time when David Cameron’s pledge to give tax breaks to married couples remains a promise rather than a reality, was praised by campaigners who say politicians and the state have spent the past 20 years trying to reduce marriage to a lifestyle choice.

Julian Brazier, Tory MP and a longstanding advocate of greater public support for marriage, said: ‘This can only help make the political and legal establishment aware of the importance of marriage.

‘Too much family law has been driven by judges for the past two generations – the courts brought in no-fault divorce, marginalising the rights and wrongs of the behaviour of husbands and wives, well before Parliament considered it.’

Author and researcher Jill Kirby said: ‘It is very good news that an eminent family judge can make such a stand on the importance of marriage and family structure. He has seen many of the victims of family breakdown going through his court. He is one of the best people to make the point.

‘It is a change after years in which we have seen so many judges and lawyers try to undermine the status of marriage.’

Sir Paul, who sits in the High Court Family Division as Mr Justice Coleridge, will launch The Marriage Foundation in the spring.

It will be backed by influential legal figures and aims to provide information on the strengths of marriage, commission research and organise conferences. It will eventually lobby for pro-marriage policies. Sir Paul, who has made a series of outspoken speeches on the reasons for family break-up, said: ‘You are four times more likely to break up before your child is five years old if you are not married.

‘Over 40 years of working in the family justice system, I have seen the fallout from these broken relationships. There are an estimated 3.8million children currently caught up in the family justice system. That is a complete scandal. My focus is on the children. I am unashamedly advocating marriage as the gold standard for couples where children are involved. I desperately want to avoid a moral crusade.

‘And this is not a cosy club for people who are happily married and can say, “look how well I have done”. It will, I hope, appeal to people of every background, including those who are divorced.’

His move comes at a time when leading politicians are at odds over the legal status of marriage. Mr Cameron remains pledged to encourage the institution by giving tax breaks to married couples, but Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have derided the idea.

The view that ‘stable relationships’ and cohabitation are just as good as marriage has taken root across much of Whitehall, to the point where the effects of marriage are being dropped from official statistics.

Sir Paul said: ‘Governments cannot legislate stronger relationships into existence. ‘Ultimately, more and stronger marriages will result from individual choices, behaviour and culture. We will seek to influence those choices.’

Among figures said to be backing his plans are Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former chief family law judge, Baroness Deech, a family lawyer and academic who has given a series of lectures calling for more support for marriage, and Baroness Shackleton, the divorce lawyer who acted for Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney.


The worst 10 assaults on freedom in Britain during 2011

From bans on songs and leafleting to war against gossipy tabloids, 2011 was a bad year for free speech

If one had to pick an image to sum up the British attitude towards free speech in 2011, it would have to be the three monkeys in the Japanese proverb who ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’. This year, we were treated like a nation of chimps, who had to be protected from certain words and images – for our own good, of course. Here are the Top 10 most annoying erosions of free speech in the UK this year.

No.10: Twitch Hunts
Far from being, as Twitter CEO Dick Costolo likes to put it, ‘the free-speech wing of the free-speech party’, Twitter has proven to be an intolerant and conformist sphere, often used to mobilise followers to grass people up to the authorities for committing ‘speech crimes’. Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson felt the self-righteous wrath of Twitterers more than most this year. When he made a bad joke about striking workers in November, trade-union leaders went from campaigning to save jobs to joining with the Twitterati to demand that Clarkson lose his.

No.9: Leafleting bans
In many towns and cities across the UK, it’s becoming a criminal offence to hand out leaflets without first getting them vetted and authorised by local councils. Councils such as Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Leeds have introduced ‘leafleting zones’ where anyone wanting to hand out leaflets must first fork out cash to the council and wear a special badge. It’s a sad day for free speech when such a long-standing, primary form of public communication is curtailed in this way.

No.8: Superinjunctions
The war against gossip intensified in 2011 with the rise of gagging orders – aka superinjunctions. When an injunction is taken out, usually by the rich and famous, it becomes a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment, for anyone to publish the offending claims. So-called hyperinjunctions went further, preventing people even from discussing the subject of an injunction with their MP. As Brendan O’Neill observed, this represents a ‘flashback to the feudal era, when badmouthing the upper classes was a risky endeavour for mere plebs and peasants’.

No.7: Criminal ASBOs
Since New Labour introduced them in 1999, anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) have been used to regulate individuals’ behaviour. Now they’re being used to clamp down on the freedom to protest. In March, English Defence League (EDL) member Shane Overton received a Criminal ASBO banning him from attending or helping to organise any demonstration, meeting or gathering held by the EDL, and even from visiting its website for 10 years. Later in 2011, police tried to slap an ASBO on EDL leader Stephen Lennon that would have prevented him from having any involvement with his own organisation. This was rejected by a judge as being a bit OTT.

No.6: The censorship of Human Centipede 2
Horror movie Human Centipede 2, with its gruesome scenes of people having their mouths stitched to other people’s anuses, probably isn’t to everyone’s taste. But for a time in 2011, people in the UK were denied the right to decide for themselves whether or not it was to their liking. The British Board of Film Classification denied the film a certificate, effectively meaning it was banned, on the basis that it might ‘corrupt’ audiences. Director Tom Six rightly asked: ‘How can it be that adults are not allowed to choose whether or not to see a film? This kind of censorship is ridiculous.’

No.5: The banning of sectarian songs in Scotland
The mere act of singing certain songs in Scotland will soon be enough to have you locked up for up to five years. The SNP’s Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Bill was passed in December, criminalising ‘offensive’ songs and chants by football fans – especially fans of the two Glasgow clubs that dominate Scottish football, Celtic and Rangers. As Kevin Rooney argued on spiked, ‘In Scotland, the idea that football fans are a thick-skinned bunch who can put up with abuse from rivals for 90 minutes every Saturday has been replaced by the assumption that the majority of fans are potential victims at permanent risk of suffering offence or psychological damage’.

No.4 The Advertising Standards Authority’s antics
From its censure of an allegedly racist chocolate advert to its ban on airbrushed make-up ads for being ‘misleading’ to its chastising of a lighthearted Phones 4 U advert which featured a winking Jesus, the officious, censorious quasi-government group the ASA was working overtime in 2011. It also expanded its mandate to cover online ads, meaning there is now even more material the British public is prevented from seeing just because a small board of unelected officials has deemed it ‘offensive’.

No.3 The banning of protest marches
Lib-Con home secretary Theresa May casually banned protesters from marching this year. Responding to campaigns by certain illiberal left-wing groups who wanted the EDL banned from marching in Tower Hamlets in London, May decided to outlaw all marches in six London boroughs for a period of one month. You might think this would have encouraged left-wing activists to question their tactic of placing faith in the state to decide which groups should be allowed to protest. But no, and sadly their liberty-related naivety looks set to continue in 2012.

No.2: The jailing of ‘Facebook rioters’
During the English August riots, 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw set up a Facebook ‘event’ entitled ‘Smash Down in Northwich Town’. It was an event only he showed up to (he was promptly arrested) and yet he received a four-year jail sentence for his FB antics. The judge justified the jailing on the basis that this ‘happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation’. Other youngsters were also imprisoned for Facebook speech crimes. It seems this ‘collective insanity’ extended to the judges, who evidently didn’t realise they were eroding a fundamental democratic freedom by jailing people for doing nothing more than publishing words online.

No.1: The Leveson Inquiry
The post-hacking scandal closure of the News of the World, a paper of 168 years standing, was a dark day for press freedom. As Karl Marx warned, ‘you cannot enjoy the advantages of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences. You cannot pluck the rose without its thorns!’ The subsequent Leveson Inquiry into the ethics of tabloid press, cheered on by celebs and broadsheet journalists, could well lead to the establishment of an authority ‘with teeth’ designed to tame the feral tabloids. Some anti-tabloid types have even proposed a system of licensing journalists, who could then be struck off if they do something bad. It seems clear that the tabloids have already been found guilty, and in 2012 we, the British public, will be further instructed on what we should and shouldn’t read.


Taking the soft option: Figures show number of British pupils doing High School courses in traditional subjects fell by half under Labour government

Just one in five pupils were entered for GCSE exams in traditional academic subjects during Labour’s last year in Government, new figures have revealed today.

In some areas, just three per cent of children were given the chance to study the core academic subjects of English, maths, two sciences, a language or history or geography.

The official figures reveal the extent to which hundreds of thousands of children were encouraged to drop academic subjects in favour of so-called softer options.

They show that in 13 years under Labour, the number of pupils entering these academic core exams fell dramatically from 50 per cent in 1997 to 22per cent in 2010.

Of those who were took these subjects, only 16.5 per cent in England achieved good grades of A* to C.

Ministers have now introduced a new ‘English Baccalaureate’ – made up of five traditional subjects: English, maths, a science, history or geography and a foreign or ancient language – to encourage pupils to study subjects value most by employers and universities.

The figures reveal staggering regional variations. In Knowsley, just 3 per cent of pupils achieved good results in these traditional subjects – just 107 children.

There were 9 local authorities where fewer than 1 in 10 pupils were entered for the exams, and 34 local authorities where fewer than 1 in 10 pupils achieved good grades in these subjects.

Pupils in deprived local authorities were much less likely to study an academic core of GCSEs than their peers in wealthier areas.

The local authority with the largest proportion of pupils achieving the core EBacc subjects was Buckinghamshire, where 33.2 per cent pupils achieved good grades. In Hertfordshire, 4,612 were entered the EBacc academic subjects – more than in 24 other local authorities combined.

The statistics relate to pupils who took their GCSEs last summer and chose their subjects in 2009.

In nearly every other developed country in the world, children are assessed in a range of core academic subjects at 15 or 16 even if they are on a ‘vocational’ route.

In France, for example, all children take the ‘Brevet des Colleges’, which assesses French, maths, a modern foreign language and one of either history, geography or civics.

But Labour gave non-academic qualifications – including computer skills, sports leadership and certificates of ‘personal effectiveness – parity with traditional subjects in league tables in 2004.

The move helped fuel a damaging collapse in the number of children taking academic courses as schools pushed weaker pupils into other areas to improve their league table performance.

Ministers believe the move was part of a deliberate attempt to obscure the poor performance of schools after years of massive public spending increases.

Recent research by the Department for Education shows that the EBacc has made a dramatic difference already with 47 per cent of pupils due to take their GCSEs in 2013 now studying a combination of EBacc subjects.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘Labour’s educational betrayal of the poorest children is the unwritten scandal of the last thirteen years.

‘While children in wealthier areas sat the exams which guaranteed entry to the best universities, pupils in deprived areas were steered away from the qualifications which could have transformed their opportunities.

‘If we are to ensure our young people get the college places and jobs they deserve we must stop students being diverted towards soft subjects and give them the qualifications employers respect.’

Tory MP Damian Hinds, who sits on the Education Select Committee, added: ‘These figures show categorically how, over 13 years, the last Labour Government imposed a postcode lottery on the life chances of a generation, with too many young people steered away from the subjects that employers value most.’

But shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg hit back at the claims. He said: ‘Labour broadened the curriculum, and raised standards. All these figures demonstrate is that more children had more choice in the subjects they took at GCSE under Labour. The figures ignore the fact pupils also got better results.

‘This re-hash of old figures makes no account for outcomes, just a crude assessment of how many pupils took subjects. As well as in core subjects such as English and Maths, Labour raised standards in GCSEs like History and Geography.’


Perhaps Britain’s Dept. of Energy & Climate Change would like to do their sums again?

There’s been various amounts of head scratching around the place as DECC says that renewables will be cheaper than fossil fuels in the future. Even though we know that each of the individual elements that make up the renewables path are more expensive than each individual unit in the fossil fuel path. Which is really very puzzling indeed, that the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

Over and above the various problems that I and others have noted elsewhere, there’s this that has me confused too:

Natural gas for February delivery settled Friday at $2.989 per million British thermal units, the lowest closing price for the commodity since September 2009. It closed below $3 in the winter for the first time in nearly a decade.

This is the result, of course, of the US practice of fracking for shale gas. And we know that the UK has vast reserves of this, underneath and around Blackpool. Decades at least of supply, if not a century or more.

Now, I’ve looked around the DECC spreadsheet trying to find the price assumptions they make about natural gas and other fossil fuels. And I’m afraid I just can’t find it, just can’t find it at all. Cannot see what prices they have assumed, whether they’ve got a version that deals with the implication of having lots and lots and lots of very cheap natural gas or not.

And I have a very strong feeling that that is one of the possibilities that they should tell us the results of. For they are telling us that whatever we do is going to cost £200 billion or more in the coming years, £5,000 per year per household. And we know that building gas fired power stations is cheaper than almost any other form of energy generation. So if we are floating on that much gas and we can get it for something like the American price, might that not reduce the costs per household?

Don’t you think we ought to be told? After all, yes, fracking causes earthquakes, small ones and this might be vaguely detrimental to life as it is lived in Lancashire. But what if it saved us, say, £100 billion?

Well, what is Lancashire worth then?

I can’t prove or show anything because I cannot find the crucial assumptions. But I do have a feeling in my water that if we were to rerun these calculations with reasonable assumptions, like, say, that we’ve as much if not more natural gas than the US does, then we might find that renewables really aren’t an option that anyone would go for. Which, if I were cynical enough, might be why that calculation isn’t presented to us.


British Minister slams ‘environmental Taliban’

Energy & climate change minister Greg Barker has rejected criticism by green campaigners of government efforts on the low-carbon agenda.

Mr Barker said he was “fed up with the environmental Taliban” criticising ministers’ efforts to address legitimate industry concerns.

He told the Financial Times measures such as the £3bn Green Investment Bank, sweeping electricity market reform, a carbon price floor and a “Green Deal” encouraging household insulation were all evidence the government’s enthusiasm for green action was undimmed.

But he acknowledged that there had been a shift in focus in recent months. He said: “There is a change, and that is towards better value for money and greater financial rigour,” he said.

“We recognise that in tough times the green economy doesn’t fit in a silo on its own, as some in the green lobby seem to think it should. It’s entirely right we should be mindful of the impact on consumer bills.”

The comments followed chancellor George Osborne riling green activists in the November autumn statement, when he unveiled a £250m package to help ease the impact of climate policies on heavy electricity-consuming companies, saying “we are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills”.

At the same time, ministers infuriated the solar energy industry by hastily moving to stem a rush on household solar panel installations by halving the subsidies paid for such systems sparking criticism from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace

”I was quite shocked about how some in the environmental lobby were so scathing about [the £250m industry support package],” said Mr Barker.


Britain’s Shift In Green Rhetoric Signals End Of Green Consensus

Article from the Financial Times

As the new year begins, imagine how different Britain’s political landscape might be if it had a chancellor talking about “the fierce urgency of now” needed to tackle the “environmental crisis” of climate change.

Or if that same minister censures the Treasury for being “at best indifferent, and at worst obstructive” on green policies, and says it “simply isn’t good enough” for the UK to lag behind every major European country when it comes to using renewable energy such as wind power.

As incredible as this scenario may sound these words are all from a speech George Osborne, now chancellor, made to London’s Imperial College in November 2009, when he was shadow chancellor.

Six months and one election later, Mr Osborne was in what David Cameron, prime minister, said he wanted to be “the greenest government ever”.

It is a measure of how much that government has changed that it is hard to imagine many of its ministers making such a speech today. To the relief of many of the country’s biggest manufacturers and industries, there has been a distinct shift in the government’s tone on green issues.

Even Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s chief policy adviser, and the man credited with coining the phrase “vote blue, go green”, appears to have had some serious second thoughts. Referring to global warming he reportedly told officials a few weeks ago “I’m not sure I believe in it”, a remark he declines to confirm or deny.

The result is a growing debate among employers, investors and environmental groups about whether this adds up to a mere change in rhetoric, or if it presages a more substantial policy shift.

Either way, there are already some signs the government has prompted a change in investor sentiment about renewable energy.

“It has shifted where we are placing the emphasis,” says Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, explaining the group has already reduced its solar investments since the move to reduce subsidies, but was pressing on with ventures in biomass, heat pumps and energy efficiency services.

“There has not been a major policy shift but the change in rhetoric is a sign that we must look at the costs more closely,” Mr Laidlaw said. “Affordability has risen up the agenda.”

At the other end of the debate, David Nussbaum, chief executive of the WWF-UK environmental campaign group, and a former finance director at the Field Group packaging company, argues the shift in tone could put clean energy investment at risk.

He said: “I was talking to a senior business person in a FTSE 100 company who said ‘Our company had to raise between £2bn and £3bn in the last year on international markets for investment in the UK, but since the chancellor’s speech, I don’t know if I could do that now’.”

Several renewable energy investors contacted by the Financial Times said they had not detected a substantial shift in the government’s fundamental environment policy framework. But some said Mr Osborne’s comments in the autumn statement had made them uneasy.

Even investors who agree contentious solar subsidy cuts, announced last year, are necessary question the government’s handling of the issue. “More than anything in recent months, the solar debacle has added to the cost of capital by increasing the risk perception of those investors the government needs to deliver its low carbon vision for the economy,” says Richard Nourse, a former banker at Merrill Lynch who heads Novusmodus, a €200m clean energy venture capital fund.

Precisely what lies ahead is unclear. Pressure is still building among heavy-energy-using companies eager to see the government do more. “The mitigation measures announced in the autumn statement are a good sign that government is now listening to the needs of energy intensive industries, but they are only a start,” says Tom Crotty, director at the Ineos chemicals group, whose Merseyside chlorine plant alone uses nearly as much electricity in a day as the city of Liverpool.

Karl-Ulrich Köhler, head of Tata Steel’s European operations, says uncertainty about who will qualify for the new support package, plus the green policies that prompted it, still “make investment decisions in a long-term industry like steel very difficult and reduce the UK’s attractiveness as an investment destination”.

To some, this means the government is bound to scale back its environmental actions in future. “There is a clear disintegration of the green consensus,” says Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a critic of many climate policies. “We’re still at the stage of rhetoric rather than really strong rollback of policies, but it normally starts with the rhetoric before you start with policies.”


A breastfeeding myth lives on

What they seem to overlook is that mothers’ IQ is highly predictive of breastfeeding so all we are seeing here is that high IQ mothers have high IQ children, which is not exactly news. IQ is highly hereditary. It would be nice if researchers knew something about their subject but in my experience many don’t

Breastfeeding is Associated with Improved Child Cognitive Development: A Population-Based Cohort Study

By Maria A. Quigley et al.


To assess the association between breastfeeding and child cognitive development in term and preterm children.

Study design
We analyzed data on white singleton children from the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study. Children were grouped according to breastfeeding duration. Results were stratified by gestational age at birth: 37 to 42 weeks (term, n = 11 101), and 28 to 36 weeks (preterm, n = 778). British Ability Scales tests were administered at age 5 years (naming vocabulary, pattern construction, and picture similarities subscales).

The mean scores for all subscales increased with breastfeeding duration. After adjusting for confounders, there was a significant difference in mean score between children who were breastfed and children who were never breastfed: in term children, a two-point increase in score for picture similarities (when breastfed ≥4 months) and naming vocabulary (when breastfed ≥6 months); in preterm children, a 4-point increase for naming vocabulary (when breastfed ≥4 months) and picture similarities (when breastfed ≥2 months) and a 6-point increase for pattern construction (when breastfed ≥2 months). These differences suggest that breastfed children will be 1 to 6 months ahead of children who were never breastfed.

In white, singleton children in the United Kingdom, breastfeeding is associated with improved cognitive development, particularly in children born preterm.


Is the kiss of life actually dangerous? British Heart Foundation say it may hinder patient’s survival

Giving the kiss of life may actually hinder a patient’s survival, experts warn. They say that mouth-to-mouth is often ineffective and gets in the way of the crucial chest compression’s need to keep the victim’s heart beating.

And according to the British Heart Foundation, the sheer thought of having to blow into someone’s mouth puts many of us off from even attempting resuscitation.

So the organisation is today publishing guidelines urging the public to ignore the kiss of life and instead concentrate on giving “hard and fast” chest compressions until an ambulance arrives – to the beat of Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees.
New guidelines state that people should ignore the breaths and give constant chest compressions 5-6cm deep (2 inches), just between the nipples, at the rate of 100 to 120 a minute

People should ignore the breaths and give constant chest compressions 5-6cm deep (2 inches), just between the nipples, at the rate of 100 to 120 a minute

Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as it is officially known, is given to patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest – when their heart stops pumping blood around the body.

At present official first-aid guidelines recommend giving 30 chest compressions, then pinching their nose and blowing into their lungs twice, and repeating until an ambulance arrives.

But the new guidelines state that people should ignore the breaths and give constant chest compressions 5-6cm deep (2 inches), just between the nipples, at the rate of 100 to 120 a minute.

The breaths of air, or rescue breaths, are meant to fill the patients’ lungs with oxygen – so you effectively breathe for them. But the BHF claims that when ordinary members of the public do this they don’t properly blow into the lungs –while at the same time they are stopping the chest compressions.

The organisation says that patients should have enough oxygen into their body to survive until help arrives so it is more essential that helpers concentrate on the compressions to pump blood round the body.

Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘The kiss of life can often be daunting for untrained bystanders who want to help when someone has collapsed with a cardiac arrest.

‘Hands-only CPR should give lots of people the confidence and know-how to help save someone in cardiac arrest, the ultimate medical emergency. It’s been shown that hard, fast and uninterrupted chest compressions are better than stopping compressions for ineffective rescue breaths.

‘It’s very simple; call 999 and then push hard and fast in the centre of the chest at a tempo similar to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. If you’re untrained or unconfident about the kiss of life give Hands-only CPR a go instead – it could help save someone’s life.’

Official figures show that survival rates for cardiac arrests are very low. Some 30,000 people suffer from one outside hospital every year and only 10 per cent will recover and be discharged from hospital.

The official guidelines will still recommend that trained medical professionals or people who have been trained in first aid still perform the kiss of life however.

A poll of 2,000 people by the BHF found that a fifth were put off by the thought of giving mouth-to-mouth or catching an infection. And four in ten feared they would be sued if they did something wrong.



About jonjayray

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s