Hospital kills healthy baby
Proper caution at the first presentation would have saved the child. Yet despite the mother’s pleas nothing was done
Georgina Seamons and husband James Rogers lost their son Edward in the 37th week of pregnancy.
On February 9 the first-time mum experienced bleeding and visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, south London, at 4.30am. She was not seen by a doctor until 10.30am and was not sent for a scan until the following day.
Mrs Seamons, 24, was sent home on February 11. She was told everything was fine as she had stopped bleeding.
The children’s charity worker from London, said: ‘They couldn’t tell me what had happened. ‘From the moment I got into the bed to the moment I left we were asking what’s wrong and I was asking to be induced. ‘But they kept saying it was best for the baby to stay in me longer.’
On February 13 Mrs Seamons went back to the hospital after she started bleeding and was given an ultra sound where she was told her baby had died in the womb.
Three months later Mrs Seamons and her GP received a letter from consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, Nigel Perks, which stated: ‘Clearly, it is a matter of huge regret that we did not delivery her before the second bleed and this is obviously very difficult for the couple to deal with.’
Mrs Seamons said: ‘In the post mortem report they actually say there was nothing wrong with him. ‘He was the right size and his organs were fine. It’s human error that my son is dead.’ She added: ‘If they had just listened to me he would still be here, but how could I have argued with medical staff? ‘It’s just a nightmare that me and my partner had to go through.
‘We understand unfortunately women do have still births but they haven’t given us consistent answers.’
Mrs Seamons has sent a letter of complaint to the hospital, her local MP David Evennett and David Cameron.
She said: ‘I want to make sure other women don’t go through what I went through. ‘When you go to hospital make sure you demand answers. Don’t leave until you are satisfied and don’t let them palm you off like they did to me.’
She added: ‘I used to think they were good and would look after me but after everything that’s gone on I was just another number on a piece of paper to them. ‘I don’t ever want to step foot in that hospital again.’
A South London Healthcare NHS Trust spokesman said: ‘We are deeply sorry for the distress caused and are undertaking a thorough investigation into whether there were any actions we could have taken, mindful of the information we had at the time, which could have prevented the still birth of this baby.
‘We are due to meet with Mrs Seamons in the next week and we hope this will be beneficial.’
The trust points out the number of serious incidents in the maternity service dropped by more than half in the past year to just over 0.2 incidents per 100 deliveries in 2010/2011, which makes its service the third safest among London trusts. [That’s not saying much]
Row in Britain over 75,000 visas handed out each year to foreign students who never go home
Foreign students who fail to return home at the end of their courses push the country’s population up by 75,000 every year, a report revealed last night.
The study by the Migration Watch think tank claims 25,000 remain here illegally. The remainder either take jobs or are given permission to settle down with a partner or undertake further studies.
The report undermines the view of 68 university chancellors who say overseas students should be taken out of the Government’s migration statistics. The number of students coming into the UK is logged, but the figure for those leaving is not.
In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, the Universities UK umbrella group argued that because students went home at the end of their courses there was no need to log them at all.
Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has also pressed the Home office to take a more relaxed attitude to student visas.
In a speech yesterday, he again said: ‘One of our biggest and most successful export industries is higher education. If we are to strengthen it there must be confidence that bona fide overseas students are welcome here, and have the opportunity to work on a managed basis.’
But Migration Watch argues that removing students from Britain’s net migration of 250,000 – which is the difference between the number of people entering the country and those leaving – would ‘destroy public confidence in the Government’s immigration policy’. Mr Cameron has pledged to cut net migration to ‘the tens of thousands’.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said: ‘Foreign students are valuable, but the present system is far too easily abused. Sadly, the student route has become the back door to Britain and it is wide open.’
The study says that since 2002, two million non-EU and 500,000 EU students have been admitted to Britain to study for more than a year. But because they are not counted out, the Government ‘has not the slightest idea how many have actually left’.
Lazy and ineffective British civil servants face losing their jobs in sweeping reforms
Tens of thousands more civil servants face losing their jobs over the next three years under sweeping reforms which will see the size of Whitehall slashed by a quarter, ministers were told yesterday.
Underperforming bureaucrats will be sacked or go unreplaced when they retire under plans to reduce the number of civil servants to around 380,000 by 2015. This is down 25 per cent from the 500,000 employed when the Coalition took over in 2010.
Ministers were briefed at Cabinet yesterday on a civil service ‘action plan’, which will bring in tough rules to strengthen the management of Britain’s army of administrators.
A Whitehall source said the document will question the generous flexitime system, which allows civil servants to amass extra time off each month, and will raise the idea of reducing the number of ‘privilege days’, such as the Queen’s birthday, which officials take off on top of bank holidays.
The plan, expected to be unveiled next week, will also call for government policy-making to be contracted out to academics and think-tanks.
Other changes will improve the quality of decision making by officials, which ministers hope will improve the quality of government in general.
The Coalition has already reduced the size of the civil service to around 440,000 people and public sector unions will be incensed that ministers want to go even further.
But the Government will fight the risk of further industrial action by arguing the cuts are vital for reducing the deficit.
The Whitehall source said: ‘This is all about how we ensure we tackle poor performance where it happens and deal with it effectively. ‘It’s about how we can make the civil service more professional, do better with less, ensure everyone performs to a higher level, and deliver a better service all round.’
Cabinet ministers yesterday listened to a presentation on civil service reform by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, and Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the home civil service.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: ‘We have a civil service which is significantly smaller than in recent years, and there’s a need to address how it works and ensure it continues to provide the public services required.
‘It goes hand in hand with the reduction in staff that we have seen. The civil service is fit for purpose, but there is room for improvement.’
On Monday, Lord O’Donnell, the former Cabinet Secretary, called for major reforms to Whitehall including the sponsoring of some Treasury civil servants by the City.
The spokesman for the Prime Minister said there were as yet no plans to see this vision put into practice.
Apprenticeships go begging among lazy British youth
Valuable apprenticeships are going begging because teenagers are too obsessed with Facebook and computer games to learn a hands-on trade, a senior motor industry boss said yesterday.
Even some teachers are turning a generation of youngsters off the ‘joy’ of making and driving real cars – especially sporty ones, he added.
The warning came from Ansar Ali, chief executive of sports-car maker Caterham at a conference of more than 300 motor industry bosses at London’s Canary Wharf yesterday.
As the UK’s booming motor industry seeks to plug vital skills shortages, unmotivated teenagers are turning away from manufacturing jobs offering hands-on skills using real ‘nuts and bolts’. Instead they are in favour of the virtual attractions of ‘driving’ a screen car on a Playstation or over the internet, he said.
Mr Ali said: ‘‘The young generation who come in are not interested. They seem to get no joy from what they are doing. You would think people would have an interest in building real cars. But there’s a complete lack of engagement. We do struggle. Children today just don’t seem interested in sports cars. They’d rather be on Facebook . They are more hooked on computer games.’
He told the conference that he struggled to find young people to work at his company’s factory in Dartford, Kent, creating the hand-built two-seater sports cars despite an average salary of £17,000. And some schools are adding to the problem by demonising the motor car and the motor industry as something to be criticised rather than celebrated.
Motor manufacturers said the problem and skill shortage was most ‘challenging’ among the ‘less glamorous’ supplier and component companies.
And even BBC TV presenter Justin Webb, who was chairing the motor industry conference, admitted that sports cars are not seen as ‘cool’ among young people adding: ‘Cars at my children’s school are seen as a problem.’
Mr Ali, whose firm makes the back-to-basics two-seater ‘Seven’ sports car said that despite the recession he was struggling to find and retain motivated young employees.
The firm builds around 500 of the Seven sports cars a year, costing around £24,000 each, of which half go for export. They are available as completed cars, or in kit-form which enthusiasts can then assemble at home in their garages.
Later he told the Daily Mail that of his 106 employees about 30 work on assembling cars and about a dozen are in their late teens or early twenties.
Training is ‘on the job’ but turnover is high. Mr Ali said: ‘The younger generation seem to get no joy from driving, from building a car from scratch, or from meeting the customers. They are disengaged. I think it’s a cultural thing.
Their virtual world is more important than the real world. It’s a real challenge for the Government, the industry and the education system.’
He stressed: ‘We do have one or two outstanding individuals. But recently we offered people tickets and the chance to go at no charge to the F1 grand prix. Only one person went.’
British government declares war on inept Leftist teacher-training colleges
Graduate teachers will be offered an extra £5,000 to train in schools under reforms aimed at reducing the ‘damaging’ influence of teacher training colleges.
Education Secretary Michael Gove will today unveil a training ‘revolution’ designed to decrease the influence of Left-wing courses and give schools a bigger say in how teachers learn their craft.
More than half of student teachers will be trained by schools within three years, as under-performing colleges are denied funding and shut down.
Graduates who go directly to the toughest schools will be eligible for tax-free awards of up to £25,000. By comparison, bursaries for graduates who train on traditional courses will be capped at £20,000.
The move will sideline training colleges, which have expounded fashionable teaching theories – particularly in reading – instead of giving students a rigorous grounding in classroom practices.
In a speech today, Mr Gove will say: ‘The idea is a simple one: take the very best schools, and put them in charge of teacher training and professional development for the whole system.’
From September, more than 900 teacher training places will be available on a new ‘school direct’ scheme, in which schools themselves choose the trainees they want to train. This route will be dramatically expanded over the next few years, Mr Gove will tell the annual conference of the National College for School Leadership in Birmingham.
There are currently about 30,000 training places for teachers, mostly at colleges. Mr Gove will say his ‘revolutionary’ proposals will lead to ‘well over half’ of these places being moved to schools by the end of this Parliament.
A Government source said: ‘For too long, Left-wing training colleges have imbued teachers with useless teaching theories that don’t work and actively damage children’s education. The unions should back more training in schools – by teachers, for teachers.’
Those with a first-class degree in key subjects who train in schools where more than 25 per cent of pupils are eligible for free school meals will receive a bursary of £25,000. Smaller sums will be available for those with lesser degrees or who wish to teach in primary schools or non-priority subjects.
In addition, training colleges that are deemed to ‘require improvement’ by Ofsted in two consecutive inspections will be shut, while a new paid scheme for those switching careers to be a teacher will offer 5,000 places from next year.
Professor Alan Smithers, an expert in teacher training at Buckingham University, said: ‘School-led training has a lot to recommend it because schools will be recruiting the people they want and who they have to live with. They are likely to apply more stringent criteria than universities, who have to fill their places.’
He added that ‘we train about twice as many teachers as we need’ – but thousands survive only a short time in the [chaotic] classrooms before dropping out. ‘If we can drive up the quality of training, the process will become less wasteful and our children will benefit but also the taxpayer will benefit.’
Thousands of British teachers go back to school to learn basic maths and grammar so they can deliver tough new lessons
Tough? I learned all that stuff in primary school — as did others in my class
Tens of thousands of teachers will be forced back to the classroom to study grammar and maths because they lack the knowledge to deliver tough new primary school lessons.
Ministers yesterday unveiled an overhaul of England’s ‘substandard’ primary curriculum in an attempt to reverse more than a decade of dumbing down. English lessons will contain tougher grammar and spelling, while maths classes will put greater emphasis on times tables, fractions, mental arithmetic and long division.
But experts warn many teachers will need intensive retraining to deliver the new lessons.
A requirement on schools to teach a foreign language to all seven to 11-year-olds will entail even more extra lessons.
Under a proposed new curriculum for English, pupils as young as seven will be introduced to conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs and subordinate clauses. Eight-year-olds will study ‘fronted adverbials’ – clauses at the start of a sentence that modify a verb, for example: ‘Later that day, I heard the bad news.’
Nine-year-olds will learn about relative clauses and modal verbs such as can, could, shall and should, and ten-year-olds will cover the use of the subjunctive, the active and passive voice, as well as subject and object.
Ian McNeilly, director of the National Association for the Teaching of English, said: ‘The focus and emphasis on grammar in primary schools will mean that potentially a whole generation of teachers will need some quite intensive training. ‘It’s a big move from what some teachers have been used to.’
Many teachers may not have been taught grammar at school, having been educated in the 1970s and 1980s. They will need tuition in grammar as well as how to teach it by 2014, when the new curriculum is intended to be introduced.
Mr McNeilly said: ‘Unless there’s a change in Government policy, they are not going to be paying for it. It’s going to be individual schools and maybe teachers that are going to have to pay.’
Similar problems are expected to arise in maths as several concepts taught at secondary school are being moved to primary level, such as adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.
And some schools are ill-equipped to meet the demand to make study of a foreign language compulsory for seven-year-olds.
Kate Board, head of languages strategy at the education charity CfBT, said: ‘There’s quite a job to be done both increasing the confidence of teachers to teach languages but also to improve their linguistic competence.’
Details of changes to other primary subjects – and proposals for reform at secondary level – will follow later in the year.
As part of the reforms, the system of national curriculum levels – the eight-point scale that has been used to measure children’s progress since 1988 – will be scrapped, Education Secretary Michael Gove confirmed.
A new grading system will be drawn up for national curriculum tests at age 11, which is expected to mark out more clearly which pupils are falling behind.
In a letter outlining the reforms, Mr Gove said: ‘We will work closely with the teaching profession…. to determine exactly how the new National Curriculum will be enhanced and assessed.’