Emergency callers failed by third of ambulance trusts

A third of ambulance trusts are now failing to reach enough of the most seriously ill patients within the required time, new figures show.

The Department of Health stipulates that an ambulance should reach 95 per cent of ‘Category A’ cases – where a person’s life is in immediate danger – within 19 minutes. However, in December four out of England’s 12 ambulance services did not manage to reach that figure – double the previous number.

Until then only two were consistently failing to do so – East Midlands and East of England ambulance trusts. Now North West Ambulance Service and South Central Ambulance Service are on that list as well.

Nationwide, 96.1 per cent of such calls received a response within 19 minutes in December, compared to 96.8 per cent for the eight months from April to December 2011.

Meanwhile, the proportion of Category A cases in which a vehicle was dispatched within seven minutes fell, from 77.1 per cent in November to 74.0 per cent.

A Department of Health spokesman said the increase was due to an increase in demand over the holiday season. [And in a typically British way, they weren’t prepared for it] He said: “December saw a greater number of people going to hospital by ambulance than previous months, but despite this, the NHS is still on course to meet its targets by the end of the year.”

“Patients should be able to expect a coherent 24/7 urgent and emergency care service which is accessible and safe. We expect all ambulance trusts, commissioners and the wider NHS to look at the data for their region and perform at the highest level.”

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MPs’ ‘sexist’ beer ban: Top Totty ale outlawed in the Commons bar

And the brewers are laughing all the way to the bank

Like many real ales, its quirky name helps it to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately for a brew branded ‘Top Totty’, it stood out a little too much for one female Labour MP who has managed to have it banned from a House of Commons bar.

Kate Green, the party’s equalities spokesman, said she found the beer – which has a pump plate with a cartoon picture of a bikini-clad bunny girl – offensive, adding later that it ‘demeans women’.

Despite never having even seen the pump in question – and the bar not receiving a single complaint – Miss Green yesterday stood up in the Commons chamber to demand it be removed from sale.

Last night, however, her stance provoked a backlash from men and women alike who branded her ‘humourless’ and criticised her ‘knee-jerk puritanism’. Slater’s Ales, meanwhile, the ale’s family-run Staffordshire brewery, said the outcry had seen its orders double.

The £2.70-a-pint beer was banned from the Strangers’ Bar, where MPs can take guests, within an hour of Miss Green’s complaint. Leader of the House Sir George Young intervened to rid Parliament of what he called ‘offensive pictures’.

Miss Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston in Greater Manchester, brought up the issue at business questions in the Commons, where she called for a debate in the House on ‘dignity at work in Parliament’.

She took up parliamentary time to say: ‘I was disturbed last night to learn that the guest beer in the Strangers’ Bar is called Top Totty, and that there is a picture of a nearly naked woman on the tap.’ She said later on Twitter that it ‘demeans women’.

But many MPs did not share her outrage. Tory Tracey Crouch asked on Twitter: ‘Why is a beer called Top Totty offensive & now banned from Commons?’ Fellow Conservative MP Nadine Dorries tweeted: ‘Westminster = sense of humour-free zone. Banning of the Top Totty beer was weak PC decision and gives sensible pro-women advocates a bad name.’

The ale – described as ‘blonde, full bodied with a voluptuous hop aroma’ – had been introduced as a guest ale by Tory Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford, where it is brewed. Mr Lefroy said: ‘These guest ale slots offer a very welcome opportunity for small independent breweries like Slater’s to reach a wider audience with their products, some of which have cheeky names.’

The ban was also denounced by Mike Nattrass, Stafford’s UKIP MEP, and Claire Fox, director of think-tank the Institute of Ideas. Mr Nattrass said: ‘Miss Green really is a humourless sort. This sort of knee-jerk puritanism does more to damage the cause of equality than a thousand beer labels.’ And Miss Fox said: ‘What really demeans women is the idea that we’ve no sense of humour – and MPs acting as sanctimonious killjoys in our name.’

Last night Vicki Slater, of Slater’s Ales, said: ‘At first I just couldn’t believe it that in this economic climate a Labour MP would get exercised about the name of a beer.

‘But all this publicity has been a blessing. After the fuss, it sold out immediately. People have been phoning from all over Britain asking us to supply their pubs. We’re delivering twice as much Top Totty tomorrow as we ever have before.’

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Assistant head teacher ‘bullied, undermined and victimised staff at British school where colleague collapsed and died’… but she’s cleared to return to the classroom

A former assistant head teacher ‘bullied, intimidated, undermined and victimised’ her colleagues, including one young teacher who collapsed and died on school premises, a disciplinary panel has heard.

While employed as acting deputy head in South Yorkshire Moira Ogilvie, 40, allegedly ‘bullied’ staff, made them spy on each other and acted in an inappropriate manner towards children – including making obscene ‘finger gestures’ towards them.

The assistant head teacher of High Greave Junior School, Rotherham is also alleged to have discussed confidential information, and asked members of staff to report on their colleagues behind each other’s backs.

Appearing at a General Teaching Council conduct hearing in Birmingham, she was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, but can return to teaching under certain conditions.

The hearing heard how 29-year-old teacher Britt Pilton had been found dead at the school in February 2009.

Presenting officer Laura Ryan told the panel: ‘Bullying is recognised as being a problem amongst pupils, so it is vital it is not present in staff responsible for those pupils.

‘Members of staff reported that Moira Ogilvie had asked them to spy on each other. ‘That she had left them feeling victimised, intimidated, bullied and harassed, and that she had been seen making obscene finger gestures to pupils.’

One victim of the toxic leadership was 29-year-old teacher Britt Pilton. The bride-to-be, 29, faced 12 months of pressure at the school before she had a panic-attack and was found dead on the floor of a school toilet, an inquest in 2009 found.

In a letter, fellow teacher Natalie Garbutt said that on the day of Miss Pilton’s death, she had been ‘concerned that photocopying she had left in the photocopier had been removed by Moira Ogilvie to substantiate claims in relation to her professional conduct.’

Natalie Garbutt, a teacher at the school, gave a statement to the GTC committee in September. She told the panel about how Miss Pilton’s name had been removed from her pigeon hole in the staff room on the day following her funeral. Miss Garbutt said this had made staff feel uneasy because they ‘didn’t want all evidence of her to be taken away.’

She added that Miss Ogilvie had joked that the school, which had been facing the prospect of a drop in pupil numbers, would no longer have to worry.

Miss Garbutt said: ‘Moira made some comments that I think were meant to be light-hearted.’ She added: ‘She commented about there not being any staffing issues now because we had enough staff for the children.’

Miss Garbutt told the panel that Miss Ogilvie had asked her to ‘keep tabs’ on Miss Pilton after telling her that there were too many staff at the school. Miss Garbutt said: ‘The thing with Britt was her attendance was quite poor, she wasn’t always prepared for her lessons, things like that and I was asked to make notes on things that Britt did.’ She added that she thought Miss Ogilvie wanted to gather evidence to use against Miss Pilton.

She said: ‘Britt made a lot of mistakes, she had a lot of time off and if there was going to be any body that would have to leave then evidence was needed to be collected.’

Another member of staff, Rachel Green, claimed that Miss Ogilvie had remarked that Miss Pilton’s replacement was ‘a better teacher than Britt ever was’ in front of a child.

Giving a statement to the panel, former head teacher June Hitchcock said that the school had been ‘devastated’ by the loss of Miss Pilton. She said staff were ‘devastated, completely. It was a total shock. It affected them, I would suggest it still affects them deeply. ‘It was a huge loss professionally and personally for some of the staff who were very close to Britt Pilton.’

Still, despite being found guilty, Ms Ogilvie will be allowed to continue to teach under a conditional registration order: ‘She will able to return to register and teach on the position but she cannot take line management responsibilities,’ GTC press officer Sam Haidar told Mail Online. ‘She needs to take an accredited mentoring or reflected management course.’

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Drug addiction ‘may be hereditary’ as siblings have brain abnormality which makes self-control difficult

Drug users hooked on crack cocaine may have inherited their vulnerability to addictive behaviour, scientists claimed yesterday.

Researchers found that drug addicts and their non-addicted siblings share certain features of the brain, meaning it may be hard-wired for addictive behaviour.

Scientists who scanned the brains of 50 pairs of brothers and sisters of whom one was a cocaine addict found that both siblings had brain abnormalities that made self-control more difficult.

The findings increase understanding of why some people with a family history of drug abuse have a higher risk of addiction than others. The study could also help vulnerable people lean how to take control before addictions set in.

However, the work by the University of Cambridge also suggested that although there may be a genetic base for addiction, some people can overcome this predisposition to stay off drugs.

A study in the Lancet medical journal in January said that as many as 200 million people use illicit drugs worldwide each year, with use highest in wealthy countries.

Unhealthy addictions can also range from narcotics and prescription medicines to legal substances like cigarettes and alcohol and lifestyle factors such as over-eating or gambling.

Scientists have noticed brain differences in drug addicts before, but as yet they were not sure whether those differences came before the drug use, or were as a result of it.

Karen Ersche of the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at Britain’s Cambridge University led a team of researchers who got around this problem by studying pairs of biological siblings – one addicted and one with no history of chronic drug or alcohol abuse – and comparing both siblings’ brains to those of other healthy people.

Their results, published in the journal Science, showed that both addict and non-addict siblings shared the same abnormality in the parts of the brain linked to controlling behaviour – regions known as the fronto-striatal systems.

‘It has long been known that not everyone who takes drugs becomes addicted, and that people at risk of drug dependence typically have deficits in self-control,’ said Ersche.

‘Our findings now shed light on why the risk of becoming addicted to drugs is increased in people with a family history:… Parts of their brains underlying self-control abilities work less efficiently.

Paul Keedwell a consultant psychiatrist at Britain’s Cardiff University, who was not involved in the research but was encouraged by its findings, said: ‘If we could get a handle on what makes unaffected relatives of addicts so resilient we might be able to prevent a lot of addiction from taking hold.’

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Hidden dissent at a great temple of Warmism (the UEA)

Nick Brooks in Email 1558:

“I’m always wary of claims (p3) that we are entering a period of unprecedented warmth. I do not know what the mean global temperature was in the Holocene climatic optimum, but research suggests tropical sea-surface temperatures some 5-6 degrees higher than present. Even a smaller change would of course be catastrophic for many societies today, but unless there have been serious comparisons between today and the mid-Holocene and we can say with confidence that anthropogenic warming scenarios exceed such palaeoclimatic conditions such claims may come back to haunt us.

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Bacon butties, roast dinners and a cuppa: The 50 things that Brits love best about Britain show Brits are a nation of food lovers

I’m rather partial to a bacon butty myself

The tasty bacon butty is what we love most about Britain, a survey revealed today. A humble bacon sandwich topped the poll of the 50 things we most adore about the nation, with a traditional roast dinner taking second place.

Nothing washes down a meal better than a lovely cup of tea – which came in at number three in the survey of 60,000 Brits.

Our proud national history came fourth followed by the BBC in fifth, Big Ben in sixth and Buckingham Palace in seventh.

The love for our rolling hills will never dwindle as the beautiful English countryside made eighth spot.

Food continued its domination in the remainder of the top ten, with fish and chips and the Yorkshire Pudding coming in at ninth and tenth respectively.

Incredibly, the poll revealed that cheese is a greater national treasure than our monarch, with cheddar coming in at 13th on the list while the Queen trailed behind in 15th.

For an example of style, class and British engineering, the Aston Martin roared into 17th.

It is clear that Brits love bagging a bargain, which comes in at 30th on the list.

James Bond triumphed over Harry Potter as the nation’s best-loved fictional character.

And proving the quirkiness us Brits are known for is alive and well, that most alternative of British ‘sports’ – cheese rolling – made the last spot.

While perhaps when it comes to love, the debate is over, as Marmite finished narrowly outside the top 50.

‘When it comes to our great loves food is clearly on top and whether it’s a butty, bun or sanger the trusty bacon sandwich is a worthy winner of the top spot,’ said T-Mobile spokesman Spencer McHugh, after the company commissioned the research for a new TV ad.

He added: ‘Whether we’re eating it between bread or rolling it down a hill it’s obvious that we are a nation of food lovers.’

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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
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