Urgent inquiry called after investigation uncovers doctors ‘agreeing to abort babies for being the wrong sex’
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last night launched an urgent investigation after it emerged that doctors were offering mothers abortions based purely on the gender of their unborn child.
Doctors working for NHS and private clinics were said to be agreeing to carry out the terminations despite the fact that ‘sex-selection’ is against the law. They were also allegedly recorded admitting they would falsify paperwork to arrange the illegal abortions.
An investigation by the Daily Telegraph saw undercover reporters accompany mothers-to-be to nine clinics in different regions. On three occasions doctors were reported to have offered to arrange abortions after the pregnant women said they did not want the baby because of its sex.
Mr Lansley has now instructed officials to investigate. He said last night: ‘I’m extremely concerned to hear about these allegations. Sex-selection is illegal and is morally wrong. I’ve asked my officials to investigate this as a matter of urgency.’
Last year the Council of Europe recommended that member states including Britain prevent parents from learning the gender of their baby because of concerns over sex-selection abortions. Terminations on grounds of sex of the foetus are illegal under the 1967 Abortion Act, but terminations for non-medical reasons are legal until 24 weeks.
More than 180,000 abortions are carried out every year. Some 22.1 per cent of all abortions carried out in the UK in 2008 were on girls aged under 20
In a video taken in the course of the Daily Telegraph investigation, a pregnant women clearly tells consultant Prabha Sivaraman at Manchester’s Pall Mall Medical Centre that she wants to abort her baby because it is a girl. The pregnant woman says: ‘That is not really appropriate for us right now, we were hoping for a boy.’
The consultant replies: ‘I don’t ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination.’ She is then shown telephoning a colleague to arrange the procedure, explaining that it was for ‘social reasons’ and the woman ‘doesn’t want questions asked’. The cost of the termination is given as £200 or £300, on top of £500 already paid to the clinic for the consultation.
According to the newspaper, after taking the woman’s contact details, Miss Sivaraman asked if she had considered her options. ‘Oh, absolutely … I can’t have it, this baby, because of the gender, so that’s just how it is …’ she replies in the video.
The Care Quality Commission, which is the official watchdog for health and social care services in England – including abortion clinics – is facing fresh questions on its performance following the allegations.
The quango has already come under fire after it emerged last year that residents of Winterbourne View care home were abused. In September, David Cameron backed a critical report by MPs which said the regulator had taken its ‘eye off the ball’.
CQC said last night: ‘We are very concerned at this information. We will be looking very carefully to see if any providers or doctors have breached our essential standards and will take appropriate action.’
Anthony Ozimic, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: ‘This investigation confirms the reality of eugenics in modern British medicine, in which some innocent human beings are deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to live. ‘Sex-selective abortion is an inevitable consequence of easy access to abortion, a situation to which the pro-abortion lobby has no convincing answer.’
In the UK, abortions are allowed on certain grounds, including that continuing with the pregnancy would be a greater risk to the life, physical or mental health of the woman or her existing children than ending the pregnancy, or that there is a real risk the child would have a serious physical or mental disability.
In September, Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries and Labour’s Frank Field lost a Commons vote on the issue of counselling. They wanted to prevent non-statutory abortion providers such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) from offering counselling. Mrs Dorries said that, because they receive money for carrying out terminations, the organisations have a vested interest.
Stephanie Byrom, the chief executive of Pall Mall Medical, denied that the clinic offered terminations on the grounds of gender determination. She told the Telegraph that if one of its consultants had breached its rules it would take ‘immediate action’.
Local doctors make £162m out of ‘ghost’ patients: Anger over bill for 2.5m non-existent people
The NHS is paying GPs to look after 2.5million ‘ghost’ patients, ministers admitted last night. Doctors are receiving an estimated £162million a year – footed by the taxpayer – for non-existent patients on their books who have moved house, left the country or been dead for up to 40 years.
The Audit Commission has counted that in a single year at least 95,000 such ‘ghost’ patients were registered with GPs and earning them annual payments. But the Department of Health last night admitted there are probably up to 2.5million such patients on doctors’ lists in England.
Every year GP surgeries are paid an average of £65 for each patient they have on their books, regardless of how often – or whether – they make an appointment or what treatments they receive. Although there are currently 55million patients registered with GPs, there are only 52.5million actually living in England.
It means the NHS is potentially wasting £162.5million every year on ghost patients.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said it was ‘outrageous’ that money was being wasted to treat patients ‘that only exist within NHS bureaucracy’.
Surgeries are meant to keep their lists up to date and take patients off when they die or move away, but this is frequently overlooked. In some cases doctors have been found to be deliberately keeping patients on their books to earn themselves extra cash.
Last year the Mail revealed that four doctors at a surgery in Streatham, south London, were being investigated over a scam in which they were claimed to have 3,000 patients on their books who did not exist or had false information on their records that brought in extra NHS cash.
Of the latest findings, Mrs Murphy added: ‘At a time when the NHS is being asked to make huge efficiency savings the Government needs to provide answers as to how money was wasted in this way.’
In its extensive investigation the Audit Commission, the Government’s spending watchdog, compared surgery lists to check patients were not registered with more than one GP if they had moved house.
The officials also compared these lists with Government records of deaths and data on failed asylum seekers who have since been deported.
When officials came across patients registered with two surgeries, or those recorded as being dead or deported, they contacted the local NHS body which asked practices to check that their lists were up to date.
The investigation, called the National Duplicate Registration Initiative (NDRI), covered 2009 to 2010. It found there were up to 32,668 dead patients on lists – including 157 who had died more than 30 years ago. Officials even came across one surgery which was being paid every year to treat a patient who had died in 1969.
A further 29,416 patients had moved house and were registered with a different GP, but both their old and new surgeries were being paid for treating them. Another 20,000 patients were removed from the lists when officials found they were not living at the address shown on the books.
The officials also discovered 10,000 failed asylum seekers were on GPs’ books even though they had since been returned to their home country.
Not all surgeries flagged up by the Audit Commission for having high numbers of ghost patients bothered to check their lists.
Health minister Lord Howe said: ‘The NHS needs to make the best use of the funds it has available and avoid giving GPs extra income for patients who have moved away or died. Identifying ‘ghost patients’ will ensure that practices are fairly funded only for the patients they are responsible for.’
Andy McKeon, managing director of health at the Audit Commission, said: ‘The NHS and GPs generally manage patient lists well – at any one time there are some 58million records and many movements on and off lists. ‘It is disappointing that some areas did not rigorously follow up the information provided by NDRI.’
David Stout, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS staff, said: ‘It is important to make sure that lists of registered patients are up to date and accurate. ‘Being able to plan and offer the most appropriate care for local people depends on accurate information.’
Mass immigration, and how Labour tried to destroy Britishness
Throughout the tenure of the last Labour government this newspaper, and others — while praising the huge contribution immigrants had made to this country in the past — attacked the laxity of what were supposed to be our border controls.
It was clear the very nature of our society was being changed by a new kind of uncontrolled mass immigration — and without the British people ever having been asked whether they supported the policy.
Labour arrogantly accused its critics of racism — though most of the incomers were white — and of scaremongering. It claimed it had no choice but to open our borders to the nationals of ten mainly ex-Soviet bloc countries which joined the EU in 2004. The truth was that — as other EU countries which restricted immigration from these states proved — it did have a choice.
The cynicism did not end there. Such, Labour claimed, was its commitment to ensuring that only people with a right to be in Britain could come here that in 2008 it set up the UK Border Agency. The truth, unfortunately, was very different.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has announced that the agency is being wound up next month precisely because it is useless, and the officials who ran it — rather like the borders they supposedly policed — were out of control.
Despite the strong threat from international terrorism, the evidence of eastern European criminal gangs infiltrating Britain, and our overburdened public and social services, 500,000 unchecked people were let in to Britain via Eurostar between 2007 and last year, while countless so-called students were just nodded through.
Though Labour clearly left the system in a shambles, it should be noted that it has taken almost two years for this Government to admit the mess our immigration procedures are in, and to do something about it. So Mrs May’s department — and notably the Immigration Minister Damian Green — also have a case to answer.
They seemed unaware that their officials, too, were ordering the relaxation of controls. Yet while the Coalition has been derelict, Labour was downright malign.
The game was given away in 2009 by Andrew Neather, a former Labour Home Office and Downing Street adviser, who revealed that mass immigration was a deliberate policy by the Left to change the social fabric of the country and to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’.
This appalling policy was never discussed publicly because Labour strategists feared it would upset the party’s traditional white working-class support. For self-interested political reasons, the public could not possibly be consulted.
Mass immigration gratified the Left in two ways that have inflicted enormous damage on our country. It furthered the bogus notion of multiculturalism — undermining national identity and common values, and preventing the successful integration of immigrant communities into the British cultural mainstream.
Moreover, at a time of growing economic crisis, it added an enormous number of people to Labour’s client state.
Recent immigrants were grateful for their admission to the country, and for the costly safety net of the welfare state that was provided for them: a gratitude that, Labour hoped, would help it garner more votes at elections.
That aside, it is generally accepted that new arrivals to a country — who are often relatively impoverished — are more likely to vote for Leftish governments. So although present ministers have much explaining to do, this cocktail of ideology and blatant gerrymandering is of the Left’s making.
In the interests of creating a society with which Leftist ideologues felt comfortable, and which would help shore up Labour’s vote at elections, the wishes of the vast majority of the British people, and their security, were ridden roughshod over.
The idea of multiculturalism was advanced with varying degrees of stealth over several decades by politicians, civil servants and council officials. Its doctrine was spread in schools and in teacher-training colleges.
Weak as it so often is, the Church of England appeared to welcome it, even though it posed a mortal threat to that institution. The BBC, never to be found wanting when political correctness was required, suppressed any debate about mass immigration, took the tenets of multiculturalism as its gospel and preached it to the nation.
Internationalism is one of the core principles of the Left. It abhors the nation state, which it sees as a foundry of bigotry, racism and aggressive nationalism.
The Left has always understood this: that if you manage to wreck a national culture and a national identity, you shatter the ties of history and nationhood forged over centuries.
Although there used to be patriotic Leftists — and there still are one or two — many in the New Labour project in the Nineties and Noughties were, effectively, self-hating Britons.
They tortured themselves with post-imperial guilt, wanted the country to lose its independence and be ruled by Brussels, and sought to have what a BBC executive called the ‘hideously white’ mainstream culture diluted by ‘diversity’.
This was immensely dangerous. In a world where even Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality Commission, highlights the threat that multiculturalism poses to social cohesion, it is surprising it has taken ministers so long to become alert to this danger.
However one of them, at last, has. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has said that the culture of the majority will once more be given pre-eminence in society. This is utterly sensible and, indeed, indispensable if we wish for a coherent and settled society of shared values.
To promote — as opposed to tolerate — the practices of other cultures is to drive people into ghettos. It prevents integration and assimilation and causes strife in society between religious and social groups who find themselves gazing at one another suspiciously across the social divides created by multiculturalism.
Mr Pickles has specified what this assault on multiculturalism will mean. He has said that public bodies’ obsession with translating leaflets into all known languages — and spending a fortune in public money on doing so — should end. Learning English is one of the fundamentals of grasping the British way of life.
He has argued that tolerance of the beliefs of others should not extend to disowning those of the majority.
He deplored the disciplining of Christian workers who wear crucifixes, and the recent decision to ban prayers before the meetings of a town council in Devon. He has called all these issues ‘the politics of division’, and he is right.
In a society that remains more than 90 per cent indigenously British, it is ludicrous to be ashamed of national traditions, rooted in common values from a shared past. And it is entirely right to expect those who come here to accept those values and traditions, and not be made — usually by mischievous, politically-motivated white liberals — to feel hostile towards them.
When even many atheists recognise the central importance of Christianity to the culture and institutions of our country — and I am one of them — it is offensive to the intellect as well as to the spiritual to seek to downgrade or marginalise that faith.
Our society needs an end to mass immigration.
This is not just because the parts of the country where immigrants most wish to settle are overcrowded, and the public services and infrastructure are cracking under the strain, or because we have 2.7 million unemployed.
It is principally because our national identity — founded on Christian values of tolerance and decency, and on a history of which we can be exceptionally proud — has been gravely injured by Britain’s Left-wing enemy within, and needs to recover from its wounds.
The best way to guarantee a harmonious future for all our people, of whatever racial background, is to make that culture strong again, and for us all to embrace it.
British bureaucrats are only barely human beings
How low can you go? Man drowned in lake just 3ft deep after firemen refused to wade in due to health and safety rules
A charity worker drowned in a 3ft deep lake when a policeman and a paramedic were ordered not to try to rescue him. Simon Burgess, 41, was left to float face down as emergency crews watched.
Health and safety rules stopped them going more than ankle deep into the lake, an inquest was told yesterday.
According to a doctor, Mr Burgess’s life could have been saved had he been removed from the water quickly.
The constable and the ambulance worker who volunteered to jump into the lake were given strict orders not to do so by fire station watch manager Tony Nicholls.
PC Tony Jones arrived at the scene on foot shortly after Mr Burgess fell into the water while feeding swans. He told the inquest: ‘When I spoke to witnesses and found out the body hadn’t been there long I told my sergeant I was willing to go into the water. ‘He authorised me to do so and I took off my body armour but Mr Nicholls advised me strongly not to go in.
‘I said I would go in anyway and asked if I could borrow his life jacket but he said “No”, but I was going to do it regardless. It didn’t sit right with me that no one was going to get the body or assist the person in the water.
‘The control room was informed I was going in and they sent a message that under no circumstances could I go in the water.’
Paramedic Robert Wallace told the hearing he also offered to attempt to retrieve the body from the water at Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire. ‘I’m trained to swim in currents you go white water rafting in, but Mr Nicholls told me he didn’t want my help,’ he said.
Mr Nicholls, who is based at Gosport fire station, told the inquest that he understood the body had been in the water for five to ten minutes. ‘There were no obvious signs of life so from that I made an assessment it was a body retrieval and not a rescue,’ he said.
‘The officers were trained to go into ankle deep water, which is level one, so we waited for level two officers, who can go into chest high.
‘One of the police officers told me he would like to go in the water and I advised him in the strongest terms not to. A paramedic told me he was level two water trained, but when I asked him if he had protective equipment he said “No”, so that was the end of that.
‘I was under immense pressure from the three witnesses to go into the water but I gave them a short answer. ‘The specialist team arrived and three officers went in and removed the body.’
A witness told of her frustration at seeing 999 workers stand and wait. Gillian Hughes said the specialist team measured the depth of the water with a pole and even called for a press officer before recovering Mr Burgess’s lifeless body. This was almost 30 minutes after the earlier teams arrived.
Mrs Hughes, 53, said Mr Burgess fell in while trying to retrieve a plastic bag from the water. ‘He looked like he was swimming and had a smile on his face,’ she said.
‘The next minute he had stopped and was lying face down. The firemen arrived with the police and I said “He’s only been there five or ten minutes so if you hurry you might save him”.
‘He just said “We’re not allowed’ and I said “But that’s your job”. Mr Burgess was only 20ft away. I thought they would get him straight away. ‘I believe one of the police went in to get him but was told he was not allowed. I said to one of the firemen “Why don’t you go in?” and he said they couldn’t if the water was higher than ankle deep. ‘I said “You’re having a laugh”. He said “No, that’s health and safety”.
‘After the incident I was unable to sleep because I kept blaming myself and now I have to live with it.’
Brett Lockyer, a registrar of histopathology, told the inquest there were signs Mr Burgess had fallen into the lake because of an epileptic seizure, following unsuccessful brain surgery to ease his condition.
‘If he had been taken out of the water after ten minutes there is a slim chance he could have been resuscitated,’ he said.
‘The seizure would’ve made it look like he was swimming and explains why he had a grin on his face.’
What turns British doctors into tyrants?
The British Medical Association has called for the government to ban all smoking in cars. This follows a similar call from the Royal College of Physicians a few years ago.
The British medical lobby has had an epiphany. Why should they have to worry about adapting to the shifting nature of Britain’s healthcare needs – which reeks of the unwelcome prospect of change – when they can instead simply demand that the government outlaw things that are making us ill?
Allowing people the freedom to do harmful things, and thus to contribute to ‘preventable death’ statistics, is anathema. I mean, if the entire nation were the prisoners of good doctors we would all live much longer.
That very phrase, ‘preventable death’, is symbolic of the problem. It reeks of a ‘something must be done!’ attitude towards people’s lifestyle choices that indicates a widespread disregard on the part of the medical authorities and much of the commentariat for the capacity of ordinary people to make their own decisions.
Of course, nobody will own up to this sort of old-fashioned, paternalist elitism. After all, progressives are meant to respect the working man and woman. Looking down on the ‘great unwashed’ and making moralistic judgements about them is what Tories are meant to do.
So instead, other reasons are found. Sometimes they are small and particular – for example, the car smoking ban is supposed to be about protecting children, even though advocates want to apply it to single drivers as well – and all this on the basis of an almost certainly apocryphal ’26 times the death’ statistic.
More often the reasons are big and sweeping, and none comes bigger than ‘cost to the NHS’. It’s pretty perverse: on the one hand, we insist that our social conscience will not permit anybody, for any reason, to fall beyond the safety net of the state; while on the other we try to claw back as much money as we can by stripping them of freedoms which may weigh heavily on our social treasury.
I’ve written at length about how a certain species of leftist will turn a safety net into a straightjacket and use the NHS as a highly effective basis for authoritarian government. Yet this is really just the logical outworking of the fact that the freedom-minded have almost totally lost the cultural battle about whether or not adult citizens of a country should be respected as such.
That’s the real battle. Important as the individual policy struggles for liberty are, they’ll continue to resemble endless rematches of Canute vs. the Tide unless public perceptions on personal liberty can be fundamentally shifted. Otherwise, each and every state-cutting measure will come with a ‘preventable death’ toll, and progressives will continue to paint liberty as murder-by-omission.
British Public to get new rights to block ‘eyesore’ windfarm plans
A subtle way of stopping most of them. A classic British “fudge”, backing down without appearing to back down
Resident’s will win new powers to block the eyesore of onshore windfarms in an overhaul of planning laws, David Cameron announced last night.
The Prime Minister said the Government would act to ensure that only those windfarms which win local approval are given the go-ahead.
He hinted that the Coalition is preparing to beef up its National Planning Policy Strategy – due to be published next month – in order to let those living nearby have power of veto over the location of the turbines, which are widely regarded as unsightly.
Mr Cameron insisted that some onshore wind energy will form part of the mix of energy supply in future but, he added, ‘if, and only if, local people have a proper say in planning decisions’.
The Prime Minister made the declaration in a letter to 101 Tory MPs who called for the Government to ditch generous subsidies to build windfarms.
His intervention is a hint that the Government is looking favourably at a series of amendments to the planning strategy that were tabled by Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris. He wrote to Downing Street calling for a cut in the subsidy for windfarms and a rethink on planning laws.
Mr Cameron responded: ‘Planning works best when communities themselves have the opportunity to influence the decisions that make a difference in their lives.
That must include local communities having their full say on onshore wind farm planning decisions.
Our planning reforms will put local communities in the driving seat by giving new powers to neighbourhoods to write their own plans. ‘Top-down regional targets will not trump local concerns and aspirations of local residents when local plans are made.’
The Prime Minister also said local communities would collectively win financial benefits from new wind turbines. At present only landowners see a profit. ‘We are committed to ensuring local communities capture the full economic benefit from hosting renewable energy projects, including retention of all the business rates they pay,’ he added.
At least 4,500 more turbines are expected to be constructed as the Government attempts to meet legally binding targets for cutting carbon emissions.
Critics say wind farms are inefficient because the wind cannot be guaranteed to blow when there is the greatest need for energy.
Equally, several wind farm operators were paid to actually shut down last year when it was too windy – because they produced more energy than the National Grid could handle.
The Prime Minister did not back down entirely. He refused to budge on the MPs’ concern that the Government should slash the subsidy for windfarms by more than the 10 per cent already announced. The subsidy is blamed for driving up energy bills.
He said: ‘Onshore wind plays a role in a balanced UK electricity mix, alongside gas, nuclear, cleaner coal and other forms of renewable energy.
‘A portfolio of different supplies enhances energy security and prevents the UK from becoming over-reliant on gas imports.’
He also said the Government should promote green jobs.
Mr Heaton-Harris said he would lead a delegation to Downing Street to discuss the issue further. He told the Daily Mail: ‘I’m hopeful given what he says about planning and how that is being addressed. This is the opening of a conversation.’
Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and North Essex, said: ‘I’m quite encouraged by this. I’ve got one of these windfarms in my constituency. ‘Everyone objected locally but it was imposed by a government official anyway.
‘Apart from the farmer whose land it is on, no one sees any benefit from it at all. Everyone else suffers because their houses fall in value.’