NHS doctors refusing to visit old people in care homes ‘because they can’t be bothered’
Elderly care home residents are not receiving an adequate level of treatment because some doctors are refusing to visit their residence. According to a BBC investigation, some GPs are choosing to make diagnoses over the phone instead of paying in-person visits.
In one startling example, Debbie Dean, whose 71-year-old father was suffering from pneumonia, told the BBC’s Radio 5 live Investigates programme that a GP was reluctant to check on her father in his care home in Stoke-on-Trent.
Cecil Dean’s medical notes, recorded by staff at the home, reveal that his GP on three occasions either refused to see or reluctantly visited the man, who was also suffering from lung disease and mild dementia. Ms Dean’s brother even had to insist that the GP come into the home to assess her father just hours before his death in January 2010.
She told the BBC: ‘To me, the doctor couldn’t be bothered to come out and see the patient – he would rather prescribe over the phone rather than actually come and see him.’
The GP is now retired and would not comment on the story.
This case highlights the fear that residents of care homes do not receive the level of care and full range of services they should be getting.
Chief executive of the English Community Care Association, Martin Green, told the BBC Radio 5 live that doctors sometimes do not make visits to care home even when they are requested.
He said: ‘They often don’t get access to a lot of the support services around primary care, like physiotherapy and speech and language therapy, all which are extremely important for people who, for example, have strokes. ‘It’s quite clear that in some areas people who live in care homes are not getting the same services that the rest of us are getting who live in the community.’
Consequently, homeowners are choosing to pay for enhanced GP services out of their own pockets, even though some of these services are entitlements covered by the NHS.
Mr Green explained: ‘Out-of-hours services are enhanced services, but if I’m sat at home and I ring my GP, there is a mechanism there that I can use – and that should apply to care homes.’
In a recent report released by the Care Quality Commission, staff at only 38 per cent of the homes inspected said they received regular visits from GPs, with 10 per cent saying they had to pay a GP to see a resident.
Brightest British students tempted by £3k university scholarships
The universities concerned, however, appear to be mostly jumped-up technical colleges so very bright students would be ill advised to go there. Bright students should be going to Britain’s very good top 20 universities (the “Russell Group”) in order to realize their potential
Universities are attempting to “bribe” bright students into applying by offering cash incentives of up to £3,000 a year, it has emerged.
Scholarships worth a maximum of £9,000 for a traditional three-year degree are being made available to candidates who gain the best A-level results this summer, it was revealed.
The awards, which are not means-tested, underline the lengths to which universities are being forced to go in an attempt to recruit and retain top students when tuition fees soar in September.
It follows the introduction of new Government rules that allow universities to take unlimited numbers of sixth-formers gaining at least two As and a B at A-level.
An analysis of prospectuses, shows universities such as Bradford, East Anglia, Liverpool Hope, Northumbria, Worcester, Salford and Surrey all offer bursaries for students who gain AAB grades. Most awards are for around £1,000 a year and some are handed out in the form of tuition fee discounts.
One of the most generous scholarships is being offered by Bedfordshire – the university run by Prof Les Ebdon, the incoming head of the Office for Fair Access – which allows some students to claim as much as £3,000 a year.
It is only open to those who gain AAB grades at A-level and remain on course for at least a 2:1 throughout their degree.
City University in London is also offering an extensive performance-related scholarship programme. Students applying for many engineering degrees can gain £1,000 for AAB grades, £2,000 for three As and £3,000 for an A* and two As.
Experts said universities were keen to increase the number of students with the best A-level results to improve their academic record and boost their position in official league tables, which often give institutions points based on recruits’ average entry grades.
But Deborah Stretfield, a London-based careers adviser, insisted many sixth-formers were “cynical about the advertising toys and targeted bribery” used by some universities.
“The status and ranking of the university is more important to students and parents,” she said. “Some students also point out that they would feel ‘overqualified’ if they went to a university that was lower in the league table.”
From this September, the cap on tuition fees in England will almost triple to £9,000 a year.
To coincide with the fee rise, ministers are allowing all universities to recruit an unlimited number of AAB students, almost of whom go on to higher education anyway.
It is feared that the move will hit middle and low-ranking universities the hardest as bright students migrate towards courses at leading research institutions.
Speaking last year, Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said many universities were “vulnerable to losing some of their AAB+ students to more selective, more prestigious, institutions”.
“This is likely to give rise to an arms race of ‘merit-based’ scholarships,” he said. “If one university offers them others will be obliged to do so.”
A City University spokesman said: “In setting the level of these scholarships we have been determined to offer the best possible financial package to prospective students and have also taken into account strategically important and vulnerable subject areas and hence the size of the scholarships vary.”
Militant neo-atheists are busting a gut to drive Christians off the radar, says British TV cook
Delia Smith is mounting a campaign to defend Christianity against attacks by ‘militant neo-atheists’ – who she claims are engaged in a ‘running battle’ with believers. The veteran television chef was prompted to make her outspoken remarks by a series of high-profile rows over the role of religion in modern life.
Ms Smith, 70, said: ‘There is a running battle going on… and militant neo-atheists and devout secularists are busting a gut to drive us off the radar and try to convince us that we hardly exist.’ In the statement posted on her website, http://www.deliaonline.com – which has two million regular users – the chef added: ‘I am a passionate believer but… we are somewhat under the cosh.’
Last night Ms Smith said she had been spurred into action by hearing the atheist scientist, Richard Dawkins, claim recently that religion was increasingly irrelevant in Britain.
Ms Smith said: ‘Atheists have been saying that Christianity is dying. ‘He [Richard Dawkins] did a survey which said we were not a Christian country, which was cheeky – and not true. ‘Secularists and believers have got to work alongside each other. But Christians are alive and kicking. ‘I probably will be saying more on this subject. I am concerned about it.’
Mr Dawkins had backed up his claim by saying that the proportion of people identifying themselves as Christians had plunged from 72 per cent to just 54 per cent in the past ten years. He said the findings supported his contention that all signs of religion in British public life should be removed, along with Christian opposition to social changes such as gay marriage and assisted suicide.
‘It is clear that faith is a spent force in the UK and it is time our policy-makers woke up to that reality and stopped trying to impose beliefs on society that society itself has largely rejected,’ he said.
Ms Smith made her call to her followers as part of an appeal for the aid charity, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD), saying: ‘Whilst the belief battle grabs the headlines, one thing we all stand united on is hopefully our common belief in human life and human flourishing.’
Last month a judge caused fury in the Christian community when he ordered Bideford Council in Devon to stop holding prayers during official proceedings – after an atheist former councillor complained it disregarded non–believers.
On the same day, in a separate test case heard in the Supreme Court, a Christian couple lost their attempt to overturn a £3,600 fine imposed on them for refusing to allow a gay couple to occupy a double room in their hotel.
But Keith Porteous Wood, of the The National Secular Society, said: ‘Delia Smith has fallen for a myth in imagining secularists and atheists are somehow endangering her faith. ‘It is the Church that is destroying itself with its inhumane pronouncements and unwillingness, in some cases, to admit its own evil-doing. ‘When crimes against little children are denied and covered up, people are repelled and walk away.
The prayers ruling was condemned by bishops and Cabinet Ministers. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles dismissed it as ‘illiberal’ and personally signed an order giving councils the power to ignore the ban.
Shortly afterwards Baroness Warsi, the Conservative chairman, used a visit to the Vatican to launch an attack on the ‘liberal elite’ attempting to downgrade the importance of religion in public life.
Ms Smith comes from an ecumenical background, having been baptised into the Church of England and attended a Methodist Sunday School and a Congregationalist Brownie group before converting to Catholicism at the age of 22.
She has written books on religion, including a full-length book on prayer called A Journey Into God. Ms Smith’s cookery books are the second bestselling in the UK, earning her £63 million – second only to Jamie Oliver’s £101 million. She has presented cookery programmes on the BBC since 1973.
Racism against black and Jewish people is all in their minds, claims veteran comedian Jackie Mason in provocative outburst
I think he is largely right. People have their thoughts but rarely act on them these days
Veteran Jewish comedian Jackie Mason has plunged the BBC’s Desert Island Discs into the centre of a race row by claiming that ‘Jewish and black people’ are no longer the victims of racial discrimination.
Mason, 75, who is regarded as one of the world’s greatest stand-up comedy stars, said some minority groups wrongly believe they are still being persecuted because of an inability to escape the past.
In an edition of the Radio 4 show to be broadcast today, the New York-born star says: ‘I wouldn’t say the Jews or the blacks today are suffering from racism. ‘I don’t think it’s such a terrible disadvantage to be black or Jewish today.’
He added: ‘But because they once were …… they are still not comfortable enough with the new situation they’re in. ‘They still can’t accept the fact that they are completely accepted everywhere ….. it’s all in their minds.’
Mason, who is currently playing to packed houses in London’s West End, said he doubted whether Jewish people were even being persecuted when he started out as a comedian in the early Sixties.
He said their memories of the horrors unleashed by the Second World War had kept their fears alive. He said: ‘Jews weren’t really suffering anywhere, but they were self-conscious because they have suffered in the past. ‘It was like they couldn’t believe the fact they were being accepted now and they were still nervous about something that hasn’t happened in the last 20 years.’
Mason, who was ordained as a rabbi before opting for a life as a comedian, said many other minority groups shared fears that were equally unwarranted. He said: ‘It’s the same with black people today. They still talk about being persecuted when the white people don’t even feel that.’
Mason’s comments shocked Kirsty Young, the show’s host, who said it was up to the minority groups themselves to identify incidents of racism.
But the star said young people today simply did not care about issues of religion and race any more. He said: ‘The younger the people are the less it matters to them what their identity is in terms of their religion or their colour. ‘Whites and blacks would never marry in those days. Jews and Gentiles would never marry. Today, that type of marriage is very common.’
He said some people who complained of racism were simply covering up for their inadequacies, and the election of President Barack Obama proved times had moved on. He said: ‘I see this with all the minorities. You can’t get a job somewhere. He can’t admit to himself that he is inadequate – they’ll claim it’s anti-Semitism.
‘It’s more imagination. Everybody imagined that it’s impossible for a black person to get elected President of the United States. Whether they are Jewish or white or black, they never thought it was possible for a black person to become President.’
Mason said his distinct Jewish sense of humour often alienated members of that community. He said: ‘A lot of Jews are embarrassed by Jewishness because it reminds them of their parents and grandparents who were refugees and poverty stricken. They were always like an alienated minority. People who are raised that way still have a feeling of “I don’t belong if I’m Jewish so I’d rather you don’t mention it”.’
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.