Third mother dies at scandal-hit maternity unit where five babies have also died
Carly Scott, 26, died a week after being discharged from Furness General Hospital with her child
A third mother has died at a scandal-hit hospital maternity unit which is being investigated by detectives. A total of five babies and three mothers have now died as a result of alleged poor care at Furness General Hospital in Barrow.
Health chiefs are now investigating the death of 26-year-old Carly Scott who passed away last Wednesday. She had been discharged after having her baby a week previously.
Hospital officials are refusing to discuss the circumstances surrounding the death but an inquest is expected to open next week.
Several NHS investigations have found the hospital’s maternity unit to be failing and inquests into some of the deaths have already highlighted blunders.
She had only been home a few days with her first child, George, when she was re-admitted.
Police were called in to investigate the other deaths after allegations were made about the conduct of medical staff, evidence given to inquests and the alteration of medical records.
An internal and external NHS investigation into her death has already begun. In February NHS watchdog Monitor issued a report that said the hospital was still failing women and their babies.
Mrs Scott- from Barrow – had only married long time love Nick Scott last summer.
Last night her family and friends were too distressed comment on what led to her death. In a statement, her family said: ‘We are shocked and devastated by her very sudden death. Thanks to family friends and well-wishers for their continued support and special thanks to all the medical staff involved with Carly’s care. ‘We would now like to be left alone to grieve in private.’
Mrs Scott worked in the planning department at defence manufacturer BAE Systems in Barrow.
Work colleague Dave Taylor described her as ‘a wonderful young woman with a bright future’. He said: ‘She was a very kind, considerate, loving and respected person. She would have been a great mother. She kept us all updated on her progress while pregnant and was really enjoying life.’
Another colleague, Shirley Coyle, said: ‘She was a lovely, lovely girl, a really beautiful girl inside and out. She could make you laugh no matter how low you were. ‘I was arranging my wedding and she rang me with all sorts of websites and people who she had used for hers. ‘She couldn’t have been any more helpful. She will be so sadly missed.’
George Nasmyth, interim medical director of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs FGH, said: ‘To lose a family member at such a young age is nothing short of tragic and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Mrs Scott’s family.
‘It is our routine procedure to investigate all cases like this to identify and, if necessary, act upon any areas where our care could improve. ‘We will continue to liaise directly with the family and offer them support wherever we can.’
‘What does she look like? Bet she’s a right old dog’: The abusive message doctor’s surgery staff ‘left on breast implant victim’s phone’
The sort of respect you can expect from government employees
A former model says she has been humiliated by staff at her doctor’s surgery after they allegedly left a message on her answerphone mocking her looks.
Furious Aimi Veness called Little Common Surgery near her home in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, when she became worried about her PIP breast implants.
But when someone from the practice called her back and left a message on her phone, the 37-year-old clothes designer says she could hear a group of women in the background laughing at her.
According to Mrs Veness, one member of staff could be heard giggling, ‘bet she is a right old dog.’
The 37-year-old, a former lapdancer, spent £10,000 on implants nine years ago but became worried when she read about the recent PIP scare.
After making a trip to see her GP, she was left a message a few days later explaining she was not entitled to have her implants checked by the NHS.
But in the background she could hear the muffled conversation followed by laughter.
Mrs Veness, who has a 15-year-old son called Harry and is married to builder Mark, told the Sunday Mirror: ‘I could hear what sounded like three or four staff laughing their heads off and referring to me in really unflattering terms.
‘I will never go back to that surgery. To be called an old dog was just horrific to me.’
Mrs Veness believes the members of staff were also looking at an old passport photo in her confidential file.
A spokesman for NHS Sussex apologised to Miss Veness and said it will be investigating the matter further.
British judges still protecting foreign criminals from deportation
Judges have fired a warning shot against Theresa May’s plan to stop foreign criminals abusing human rights laws.
The Home Secretary disclosed last week that immigration rules will be changed by the summer to ensure the “right to private and family life” can only be used to avoid deportation in “rare and exceptional cases”.
But the country’s most senior immigration judge has delivered a ruling in a landmark case which, experts say, reinforces the rights of immigrants who commit serious crimes to avoid deportation.
Mr Justice Blake, the president of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, said a “settled migrant” could not be removed from the country unless there were “very serious reasons” to do so.
Having lived in the UK from a young age, or having a child or partner here, can strengthen a criminal’s claim to stay.
The judge has flagged up his ruling as a “reported determination”, which means that it will used by other judges to decide similar cases.
Meanwhile, a Conservative MP has warned that Mrs May’s plans to amend the rulebook for immigration officials may not go far enough, and new legislation may be required to ensure that foreign criminals can be returned to their homelands.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Raab says: “Tinkering with guidelines won’t fix this problem, but amending the UK Borders Act 2007 would.”
Officials from 47 European countries will meet in Brighton this week to debate plans put forward by the Government to reform the European Court of Human Rights, in an attempt to limit its interventions in the UK.
Mr Justice Blake’s decision came in the case of a foreign criminal who was convicted of drug dealing and burglary, but who later overturned a bid by the Home Office to deport him to Pakistan.
Shabaz Masih came to Britain in 1998, aged 10, with his family, who claimed asylum as members of the Christian minority in their homeland. By the age of 15 he was using Class A drugs.
In 2009, he was jailed for 50 months at Ipswich Crown Court for possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and for another crime which involved burgling a house to steal two cars, including one which was driven away at high speed, and crashed.
Masih, from Haringey, north London, was part of a gang known as the “James Business”, distributing heroin and crack cocaine from a flat above an antiques shop in Ipswich.
Just before his arrest for the burglary Masih conceived a child with a British woman, Jade Millard, and their son was born in March 2009.
A report by probation officers at the time of Masih’s sentencing said he presented a high risk of reoffending and a medium risk to the public.
At the end of Masih’s jail term the Home Office began proceedings to remove him from Britain under laws which state that anyone jailed for 12 months or more is liable to automatic deportation.
He appealed and won his case, citing Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the “right to a private and family life”. The Home Office lodged a further appeal.
Hearing the new appeal, Mr Justice Blake ruled: “A first sentence of imprisonment, especially if it is as long as this one was, may have a rehabilitative effect on a young offender whose problems seemed to be linked with his abuse of drugs.”
He heard evidence that Masih, now 25, had “put crime … behind him” and had been free of drugs since being released.
Mr Justice Blake refused the Home Office’s appeal, and said previous case law showed that a “settled migrant” who had “lawfully spent all or the major part” of their youth in this country could only be deported if there were “very serious reasons” to justify the steps.
The Sunday Telegraph’s End the Human Rights Farce campaign has highlighted cases where criminals have escaped deportation, often by claiming their rights under Article 8.
Mr Justice Blake has faced criticism over previous rulings which permitted foreign criminals to stay in Britain.
In one case, he ruled that deporting Rocky Gurung, a 22-year-old killer, to Nepal would breach his right to a family life, even though he was single, had no children and lived with his parents. The judgment was later quashed by Court of Appeal judges.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Too often Article 8 has been used by criminals to dodge deportation and by this summer the Government will have in place new immigration rules which will end this abuse.”
Muslim taxi driver dumps British family out of his cab after spotting an unopened bottle of wine — saying it was against his religion
A Muslim cab driver has been fired after he threw out a family carrying an unopened bottle of wine because he said ‘it’s against my religion.’
Adrian Cartwright, 46, had hired the taxi to take his family out for dinner at an Indian restaurant near Oldham, Greater Manchester. But before they could make the five-minute journey the driver, in his 20s, spotted the bottle of white wine and promptly refused to take them. The family was turfed out onto the pavement and he drove off.
On his Facebook page a furious Mr Cartwright wrote: ‘We all got inside the car and the driver said: “Is that alcohol?’”When I said ‘yes’ he replied: ‘I am sorry but I can’t allow it in my cab – it’s against my religion’. ‘I knew it wasn’t worth arguing so we had to get out.’
He added: ‘The meal I had that evening was a Halal meal, whose methods I don’t agree with, but tolerate out of respect. ‘I expect anyone offering a public service to do the same, and will be contacting the licensing department to suggest that the driver is politely asked to do so, or hand his badge back.’
He also complained to the driver’s employer Borough Taxis, who have around 70 Muslim drivers, and within half an hour he was sacked. The company’s former chairman, Fazal Rahim, who has also driven for them for almost a quarter of a century, said the driver’s attitude was unprofessional.
‘I am a practising Muslim, like a lot of the drivers. This was not a decision based on race or religion, however, but about being a professional taxi driver,’ Mr Rahim said. ‘As taxi drivers, we cannot be moral policemen. If I picked a customer up from a pub, should I ask him if he has been drinking? Of course not.
‘We need to provide a great service to our customers and as a company we have prided ourselves on that for many years. I don’t know the lad in question but I can only put this down to youthful ignorance. ‘We take people wherever they need to go, whether to a pub, church, mosque or synagogue.’
The family had booked the cab so they could go out and celebrate Easter Sunday together.
The taxi company has apologised to Mr Cartwright and his family and explained why the cabbie must be sacked.
‘We would like to apologise to Mr. Cartwright and his family for any upset or offence caused. Borough taxis would also like to inform customers past and present that we do not agree with the actions of the driver,’ they said in a statement.
‘As soon as the directors heard of the incident an emergency meeting was held and the driver was dismissed with immediate effect only 30 minutes after the incident occurred.’
Fightback against Britain’s daft ‘elf and safety rules as myth busting panels brought in
Ministers have set up a new myth-busting panel to help the public fight council health and safety jobsworths.
From today, people will be able to contact the panel if they feel they have been stopped from doing something on spurious ‘health and safety’ grounds.
The ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’ will then provide advice on whether regulations have been misused – allowing the victim to challenge their council over ‘daft’ decisions.
To mark the announcement, the Health and Safety Executive published a list of decisions the new panel would challenge, including office workers banned from putting up decorations, trapeze artists ordered to wear hard hats and graduates warned not to throw their mortar board hats in the air.
Top of the ‘ten worst myths’ were children being banned from playing conkers unless they are wearing goggles.
The panel, chaired by HSE chairman Judith Hackitt, will offer advice to anyone affected by such ‘ridiculous’ decisions. Ministers hope adverse publicity from the panel’s findings will lead to bad decisions being reversed.
The idea is to separate legitimate decisions to protect people from real risks from those not required in health and safety law. This will allow decisions by insurance companies, local authorities and employers among others to be contested.
Employment minister Chris Grayling said: ‘All too often jobsworths are the real reason for daft health and safety decisions. We want people who are told they cannot put up bunting or they cannot play conkers to know that there is no basis in law for such rulings.
‘Common sense is the key to successful health and safety. The Myth Busters Challenge Panel will advise people where they think local authorities, insurance companies or schools have got it wrong.’
The HSE ‘top ten’ list includes occasions where health and safety legislation has been invoked wrongly by overzealous council officials.
They include ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ games being deemed a health and safety risk; and candy floss on a stick being banned in case people trip and impale themselves.
According to the HSE, some councils have banned hanging baskets in case someone bangs their heads on them, and schoolchildren have been ordered to wear clip-on ties in case they are choked by traditional neckwear.
In other cases, flip flops have been banned from the workplace for being a trip hazard; and park benches have been replaced because they are three inches too low.
Ms Hackitt said: ‘Over the years we’ve seen health and safety invoked – wrongly – in defence of some pretty absurd decisions.
‘When people hear about children being ordered to wear goggles to play conkers or the dangers of candy floss on a stick it undermines public confidence in the true task of health and safety, which is to manage serious risks to life and limb in Britain’s workplaces.
‘I am determined that the panel will help to put the spotlight on the worst health and safety myths and ensure that people give an honest account for their decisions.’ Issues can be raised through the HSE website’s complaints page.
Top British Tories try to torpedo “Green Deal”
A powerful group of Conservative ministers has launched an attempt to torpedo the coalition’s flagship “green” home improvement scheme in a move which will spark a major new rift with the Liberal Democrats.
Leading Tories inside and outside the cabinet believe the £14 billion “Green Deal” – due to start in six months’ time – must be ditched because it risks leaving key “squeezed middle” voters out of pocket by several thousands of pounds.
Under the Green Deal, millions of householders would be encouraged to install energy-saving home improvements such as loft insulation or cavity wall insulation, with no up-front charge.
The work would be funded with loans of up to £10,000 which would be paid back though a surcharge on household energy bills.
Many ministers have long been sceptical of the scheme, the pet project of Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat who resigned as energy secretary to fight a court charge that he perverted the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case.
However, their mood has hardened into outright opposition following revelations this week of a new stealth “conservatory tax” faced by householders, estimated at adding around 10 per cent to the total bill for improvements.
Under the proposal, those who wanted to extend their homes – or undertake repairs – would be required to sign up to the Green Deal as a condition of gaining planning permission for the work.
The group of ministers – which sees George Osborne, the Chancellor, as its leader – includes two ministers at the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, and Grant Shapps, the housing minister, as well as Chris Grayling, the employment minister. They want the Government to abandon not just the compulsory “tax” element of the scheme, but the entire Green Deal.
The move puts Tory ministers on a collision course with Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem successor to Mr Huhne at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The battle comes just weeks before the Queen’s Speech – the announcement of the Government’s legislative plans for the next year – which is currently slated to include at least three energy-related measures.
It also coincides with the build-up to the “Rio+20” Earth Summit in June – a major UN conference which will set a new series of “green” goals for the world economy – which will be attended by Mr Clegg but not, significantly, by David Cameron.
A senior Tory source told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “The Green Deal was Chris Huhne’s baby. He has gone now and this is the right time to kill it off. Forcing people to pay thousands of pounds extra for unwanted home insulation is the last thing hard-pressed families need at the moment. It’s madness.”
Conservative ministers have gone into battle on the issue ahead of local elections across England, Wales and Scotland which could see their party punished by voters after a series of political reverses – including the “granny tax” abolition of some pensioner allowances and accusations that ministers sparked panic buying of fuel over a tanker drivers’ strike which had not been called.
This newspaper has also learned, meanwhile, that Mr Osborne and Mr Clegg clashed face to face on the green issue during an ill-tempered Cabinet meeting last month ahead of the Budget.
According to a leading coalition figure the Chancellor “went round the cabinet table” asking individual ministers “what they were doing” to boost economic growth. When he reached Mr Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister is said to have reminded Mr Osborne that Mr Cameron had pledged to lead the “greenest government ever” – enraging the Chancellor.
The Green Deal, which was first unveiled in 2010 and was included in the 2011 Energy Act, is an attempt to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by buildings. It aims to insulate all homes in Britain within 20 years. Householders are able to borrow up to £10,000 and pay back the cost through their energy bills for up to 25 years.
However, DECC has already admitted there is potential for “hassle” from the deal, including new requirements which might “deter building occupiers from carrying out works”.
Last week it emerged that millions of householders looking to build a conservatory, replace a boiler or put in new windows could first have to pay extra for measures such as wall or loft insulation, under new rules which are currently out to consultation.
Experts have also warned that the deal risks causing havoc in the private rented sector – because landlords would be breaking the law if they rented out accommodation which did not meet strict new energy efficiency requirements.
Last week in a speech Mr Clegg set out plans for large subsidies for low-carbon electricity generation to be set out in the Queen’s Speech, on 9 May, including a fixed-price arrangement with generators.
Other measures expected to be included in legislative plans include an “emissions performance standard”, which would limit the amount of C02 a generator could release, and a “capacity mechanism” to ensure that enough electricity can be generated through gas-fired power stations to deal with the “intermittency” of provision by wind farms.
Mr Clegg said reports that householders would have to pay thousands of pounds extra to do “simple things like insulating their homes” were “ludicrous scare stories”.
Britain has one of the world’s toughest carbon reduction commitments – enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act – to cuts emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years.
LOL! “Free” solar panels make some British houses unsaleable!
Fears that “free solar panel” offers to generate £1,000 a year out of thin air looked too good to be true will be fuelled by new claims that banks and building societies are refusing mortgage applications.
Some properties where photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed are proving unmortgageable and unsaleable, hitting house prices. Worse still, the bad news comes not from critics of renewable energy but professional intermediaries with every reason to hope house sales can proceed; surveyors and mortgage providers.
Institutions are wary of criticising government-backed schemes to save the planet – but they are also reluctant to be left with bad debts if property deals turn sour. David Dalby, a director of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors told me: “We fully support the use and production of sustainable energy. However, at a time when prospective buyers are finding it tough to secure mortgages, free solar panels can cause a further barrier to homeownership.
“An inflexible PV panel lease, without a buy-out clause, could result in a failed transaction. We are advising our members to inform homebuyers of these issues and strongly urge anyone looking to make an offer on a property with ‘free’ PV panels to seek legal advice and consult their mortgage lender beforehand.”
Not all solar panels are affected. Those which may cause problems were installed by solar companies free of charge to the householder, which then sell any extra energy generated back to the grid under the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs scheme (FITs).
These schemes are usually based on leases of 25-years for use of the roof space, which requires the prior approval of the mortgage lender, which RICs claims many lenders are refusing to provide. The news follows early scepticism about some offers and questions about contract terms and conditions.
Where a mortgage lender does refuse the mortgage on the basis of the roof-lease, the solar company may offer a ‘buy-out’ option to the prospective buyer who can purchase the installation at the price stated in the original lease agreement, less depreciation. However, typical costs of between £10,000 and £12,500 could come as a nasty shock for new owners who may already be pushing their finances to the limit.
If the worst comes to the worst, installation companies could refuse to sell their kit to new homeowners and seek to charge for removing the panels and the loss of income from the feed-in tariff. Even the risk of litigation could block a sale, causing the house price to plummet.
Paul Broadhead of the Building Societies Association said: “Most building societies will consider lending on properties with solar panels. One factor that will sway their decision towards a refusal is if they believe that the roof space leasing agreement with the panel provider, makes the property less saleable.
“Leasing roof space to a third party is still a pretty new phenomenon and ought to be treated with caution by homebuyers and lenders alike until the industry is better regulated and controlled.
“There are number of issues with these schemes and some of the providers. These are primarily driven by the lack of any regulation of panel providers. There is an accreditation scheme but it does not have any statutory backing, and not all providers subscribe to it.
“There are also some instances of high pressure sales techniques and home owners are often being required to lease the airspace above their roof for 25 years, usually with no break-clause. It is patently important for consumers to be very clear what they are signing up to and the long-term implications.”
Similarly, a spokesman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said: “Lenders support the principle of green energy initiatives, but want to ensure that solar panel leasing agreements do not adversely affect the value or marketability of the property.
“Ensuring compliance with the CML’s minimum requirements should reduce the chance of a borrower encountering problems in trying to sell or remortgage the property, or in carrying out repairs and maintenance.
“The minimum standards provide important protection for lenders and borrowers, given that most agreements to lease roof space last for 25 years. Any changes to the borrower’s circumstances over that period, or the need for maintenance or repairs, should not create a financial burden for either the lender or borrower.”
Mr Broadhead emphasised that these problems do not apply to panels that have been bought by the homeowner and professionally installed. Indeed, some building societies will offer further loans to buy solar panels. The BSA has produced factsheets on how tell one type of solar panel agreement from another which you can see here.
It all goes to show there is nothing new under the sun and that, when it comes to financial services, “free” can prove the most expensive word in the English language.