Gagged by the NHS: Ex-Health Service boss who said targets were putting patients at risk is paid £500,000 to stay silent
A former NHS hospital chief turned whistleblower has been paid £500,000 in a ‘supergag’ deal to prevent him discussing his concerns about patient safety.
Gary Walker said he was asked to ‘compromise the safety of patients in order to achieve Government targets’ at the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust where he worked.
Last night, an MP compared the situation to the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Trust where up to 1,200 patients died ‘unnecessarily’ because of the focus on targets.
Tory MP Stephen Phillips said he suspected there has been a scandal of ‘similar proportions’ at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.
Campaigners are now calling for the Government to stop the NHS using taxpayers’ money to gag whistleblowers and hush-up embarrassing claims which are in the public interest.
Mr Walker, 42, was sacked from his £140,000-a-year post in February 2010 after allegations that he swore in meetings, but his supporters claimed it was a trumped-up charge.
They said that prior to his dismissal, the chief executive – who rescued the Trust from £24.5million debts – had a serious disagreement with his superiors over the direction of health policies.
He took his employers to a tribunal to claim unfair dismissal, but signed a deal with the Trust before the hearing was due to begin in April last year.
The tribunal judge had already found evidence Mr Walker had made disclosures about patient safety, which were protected under whistleblowing laws.
The patient mortality rate at the Trust, including the rate for emergency admissions, was above the expected rate for the last three years, according to an independent analysis.
Mr Walker’s supporters told the Daily Mail the Trust paid him ‘hush money’ to prevent the public discovering that senior clinicians had raised concerns about risks to patients.
It described the deal with Mr Walker as ‘amicable’, but sources say he was forced to sign or lose his house because of mounting legal fees and his lack of income.
Now it is claimed the ‘supergag’ deal included a £320,000 payment, plus funding of legal costs and a confidentiality clause.
The clause prevents Mr Walker talking about the agreement and his complaints about the Trust, which his supporters say are in the public interest.
Last night, Mr Phillips said he had written to the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley asking for all documents relating to the issue to be released.
The MP wrote: ‘You are well aware of the Stafford Hospital scandal in relation to which we await the final report of the public enquiry.
‘The documents which I have seen give rise to at least the suspicion there has been a scandal of similar proportions at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.’
He said this was due to targets which have ‘a detrimental effect on patient safety’ and argued Mr Walker was sacked for putting patients before ‘bureaucratic box ticking’.
Mr Walker has not commented on the gagging clause, but said previously: ‘This is not about money, it is about a principle that patients come first.’ He also took to Twitter this month to write: ‘So many whistleblowers gagged by bad people using public money to protect their careers.’
David Bowles, a former chairman of the same Trust who resigned in 2009 over NHS targets, said he had also received a gagging letter after being called as a tribunal witness.
He said: ‘The real question is if you sack somebody and you don’t pay them off, why do you spend £500,000 trying to cover up what they have to say?’
Campaigners Patients First called for the Government to prevent the NHS silencing whistleblowers at taxpayers’ expense.
The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said: ‘The comments that have been raised refer to a situation more than three years ago and all organisations involved have moved on.’
Hospital closures inevitable and NHS operation rationing will continue, warns think-tank
NHS patients should expect continued rationing of common operations for years to come, while hospital closures are “inevitable”, according to an influential think-tank.
John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund, also warned services in some hospitals could seriously deteriorate due to the impact of the economic crisis.
He said it was highly unlikely the NHS budget would be significantly increased in the foreseeable future.
Against this grim financial background managers are being asked to get 5p more value from every £1 they spend, every year, partially to keep up with the increasing demands of an ageing population.
Patients have already experienced the effect of this. For example, nine in 10 trusts have introduced tighter criteria to qualify for a range of procedures deemed to be of ‘low clinical value’ – including hip and knee replacements, cataract removals and weight-loss surgery.
Doctors and patient groups have argued that these are unfair and will be more expensive in the long run.
But Prof Appleby said the “financial imperative” was so pressing that such restrictions were likely to continue well beyond 2015.
He said: “In terms of disinvesting from comparatively low value treatments, I would expect that to go on, even though it’s extremely difficult if it’s a case of withdrawing a service.”
However, he questioned how much impact limiting access to such procedures actually had on improving the finances of primary care trusts (PCTs), which pay for treatments in hospitals.
And he said the NHS needed to make “a quantum leap” to keep raising productivity year after year, to save a cumulative total of £50 billion by 2020.
Restricting some operations, plus “shaving a bit off the length of stay in hospitals and changing to low energy lightbulbs isn’t going to do it”.
Politicians had to grasp the nettle and tackle more fundamental questions, he said, such as the fact that there were “too many hospitals in the wrong places”.
“The system of care is not as good as it could be if we reorganised it,” he said.
Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs three hospitals, was on the brink of bankruptcy and could soon be run by a management team appointed by ministers. Exactly what will then happen to it is unclear.
But senior figures say this is not an isolated example, and there are many other hospital trusts in dire financial problems, particularly in outer London and the south east, that could go the same way.
Asked if closures were inevitable, Prof Appleby said: “In a word, yes.”
Whole hospitals could close, he said, “or relatively small district general hospitals could attempt to withdraw from providing the full range of services and become more specialist”.
In the meantime there was the danger of a poorer and poorer service in underperforming hospitals, he warned.
“I think the worry with that is that there will be certain areas that would start to see deterioration of services to such a degree that the Care Quality Commission has to step in.”
The CQC has the power to close down wards or services until the provider meets safety standards, and can even close them down permanently.
Prof Appleby said: “That’s really serious: it’s patients having to be ferried to other areas.
“If the NHS got to that stage it would be really appalling.”
Earlier this month Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, warned that without “assertive action”, “the NHS looks like a supertanker heading for an iceberg”.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We know the NHS can, and must be, more efficient to meet future challenges. Where the NHS can do things better and save money to reinvest in high quality patient care, it must do so. We have always been absolutely clear that being efficient does not mean cutting services — it means getting the best services to meet patients’ needs and the best value for every pound the NHS spends.”
Soft-touch Britain, the asylum seeker capital of Europe: We let in more than anyone else last year
Britain granted asylum to more people than any other European Union country last year, official figures revealed yesterday.
Some 14,360 immigrants were given asylum within the UK in 2011, compared with 13,045 in the second highest country, Germany, and 10,740 in third placed France.
The figure was the third successive rise in successful claims in the UK and an increase of 41 per cent since 2008.
Critics said the data confirmed that Britain is a soft touch when it comes to granting asylum. Britain also approved more than a third of asylum applications last year, while France accepted fewer than one in seven claims and Germany around one in five.
Refugees fleeing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repressive regime in Iran made up the largest group granted asylum in the UK, with 1,985 given protection status in 2011. Another 1,160 came from Sri Lanka and around 1,020 from Afghanistan, the figures from Eurostat, the statistical wing of the EU, revealed.
The number of people granted asylum in the UK has grown steadily in the last four years, from 10,200 in 2008 to 14,360 last year. Together, the EU’s 27 member states granted asylum to 84,100 people in 2011, an increase of 8,300 on the previous year. Most came from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think-tank, said: ‘These figures confirm that Britain is the softest touch in Europe when it comes to grants of asylum. No wonder asylum seekers are still queuing up in Calais.’
Gill Gillespie, UK director of the Iranian Refugees Action Network, said there had been a surge in refugees escaping the Middle Eastern country following Ahmadinejad’s crackdown on dissidents after his disputed re-election in 2009.
She said: ‘There is hardly anything that you cannot be persecuted for in Iran – being Christian, gay, a journalist doing his job or just asking for equal rights for women in a country where a woman’s life is valued as half that of a man. ‘Torture, rape, public executions and floggings are common methods of repression against those who the regime dislikes.
‘Refugees from Iran are usually highly skilled and educated, especially in engineering and maths, and offer a great deal to the UK. ‘They are desperate to contribute and do not want to be a burden on British taxpayers.’
Last year it was revealed that nearly 100,000 asylum seekers have been ‘lost’ by bungling immigration officials.
The 98,000 were the applicants that the UK Border Agency was unable to track down from among nearly half a million cases found abandoned in boxes at the Home Office in 2006. The discovery caused a huge political row. Those cases have now been placed in a ‘controlled archive’ – effectively put on ice indefinitely – after officials could find no trace of their existence.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: ‘Asylum seekers come to the UK because we have long history of looking after people extremely well in this country. ‘We also speak English, the second language most people are likely to learn whichever part of the world they originate from.
‘But the number of people granted asylum remain a very small percentage of the total number of immigrants coming to Britain.’
The Mr Big making a mockery out of the so-called immigration crackdown: Kurdish gangmaster will smuggle people into Britain for £2,000
Standing on a patch of grass 46 miles across the Channel from the White Cliffs of Dover, a man in a designer jacket emblazoned with the words ‘No Fear’ is making a laughing stock of our Government’s promises to stop illegal immigration into Britain.
He calls himself ‘Fahruddin’ and is the Mr Big of a multi-million-pound people-trafficking operation that every year smuggles 5,000 migrants from all over the world into Britain from northern France.
Ten days ago, three young Turks paid him a total of £9,500 to be put on a lorry and taken by ferry to Dover.
A few nights later, 21 migrants from Afghanistan and Iran made the same trip and earned Fahruddin nearly £50,000.
And then on Tuesday, he promised to smuggle a 29-year-old Turkish girl (along with two Chinese couples) from Dunkirk to Kent if her relatives deposited a large sum of cash with a fixer-colleague at a small supermarket in Wood Green, North London…..
So how do these illegal people-trafficking operations — of which there are many — work?
First, there was the cheaper Option A. This would involve her father sending relatives in England £2,000 in cash to hand to a middle-man contact of Fahruddin’s at a supermarket in Wood Green.
Once the cash was handed over, Fahruddin would be told via mobile phone and he would then proceed to put Rojda on a lorry. Under this option, the driver would be totally unaware of his illicit human cargo.
Alternatively there is the more expensive Option B which, he said, had a greater guarantee of success. Fahruddin explained that Rojda’s family would have to give £6,000 to the same Wood Green supermarket contact.
She would then be put in a lorry whose driver would be aware of the smuggling attempt since he would get a share of the money if the passage was successful.
Both options would mean Rojda would be taken from the camp in a car after midnight by one of Fahruddin’s lieutenants to a lorry park near the ferry ports where drivers sleep in their cabs or leave their vehicles unattended while on a meal-break.
Under Option A, a member of the gang would break into the trailer — cutting the security wire circling the outside — and check the labels on boxes and pallets to ascertain the lorry was heading for England.
Once sure, he would push Rojda in and seal the trailer’s wire with superglue so the break-in would not be detected by the driver.
Despite talk by politicians of beefed up border checks, X-ray equipment and increased security at ports, it was clear from talking to Fahruddin that these measures are no deterrent to the smugglers and thousands of foreigners are still getting through illegally.
In Dover, the gang’s English-based accomplices would be waiting for Rojda and would follow the lorry for miles by car until it stopped and the driver got out. Quickly, they would break in again, retrieve Rojda and drive her to her relatives in London.
Under Option B, the driver would stop at a safe, pre-arranged spot outside Dover, where he would be met by Fahruddin’s gang members and Rojda would be handed over.
During the discussions between Mr A, the girl and Fahruddin, she was told not to worry about the heat-seeking equipment used by border guards at ports to detect migrants hiding in lorries.
The smugglers have devised a simple trick to escape such checks. They wrap migrants in a cold, wet blanket or put ice cubes in their clothes so the warmth of the body is not detected by the equipment.
Having proved how easy it is to arrange to be smuggled illegally into Britain, Rojda and her uncle promised to ring Fahruddin after they had arranged his fee.
Although they never took up his offer, our investigation shows how simple it is for thousands of foreigners to slip illegally into the UK every year — and how plenty of criminals break the law and get rich by helping them to do so.
I tracked down, for example, the three Turks who paid Fahruddin £9,500 to get to England ten days ago. They had reached his camp after a 2,000-mile journey in a vegetable lorry from Gazientep, a Turkish city near the Syrian border.
They are now part of the rapidly growing Turkish community in Britain, which tops 500,000 in London alone.
The trio included a young husband and wife, aged 27 and 24, who are now settling in Hackney, East London.
The husband, a carpenter, has already started work on the black market at a relative’s supermarket while his wife, who speaks only Kurdish, is still recovering from the 40-day journey across Europe.
The third member of the trio — a 24-year-old woman — is a friend of the couple. She is now living in a relative’s flat in North London with her husband, who was smuggled into Britain on a lorry from Calais several years ago.
They told Mr A how they got to Britain. The money was provided by a relative called Ibrahim, who deposited the money to pay Fahruddin with another North London supermarket contact.
The three then waited at the Teteghem camp for ten days for Fahruddin to have proof of the payment and then give the go-ahead.
At midnight, they were driven to the first petrol station across the Belgian border, where a waiting lorry was parked.
The driver was part of the scam. Wearing a black cap, he got out of his cab and pushed the three into the lorry trailer, which was full of textiles destined for a clothes factory in Britain. He then drove to Dunkirk and boarded a 2am ferry for England.
A few hours later, as dawn was breaking, they stepped out onto British soil to start a new life — just like the hundreds of thousands before them and, if wealthy criminal gang masters such as Fahruddin get their way, thousands more in the future.
British Migration staff ‘played solitaire rather than hunt for foreigners taking part in sham marriages’
Immigration officials played solitaire on their computers instead of hunting for foreigners taking part in sham marriages, a tribunal heard yesterday. In the end one investigator refused to ‘turn a blind eye’ and was sacked, it was alleged.
Neville Sprague said it had become clear that there was a major criminal conspiracy in which foreign nationals applied for ‘spouse’ visas that enabled them to stay in Britain and enjoy benefits and free services.
It had ‘far reaching consequences’ for the immigration situation, but when he tried to encourage his bosses to act they showed little interest.
Mr Sprague, 59, a former chief immigration officer, told the employment tribunal: ‘I was singled out because of my reluctance to ignore serious organised criminal activities in relation to bogus sham marriages. ‘I wanted action taken, but the department wanted to brush the scandal under the carpet and wanted me out of the way.
‘Some members of the unit found it difficult to do any real motivated work. Some were quite happy to sit on their computers playing solitaire and similar games rather than working.’
Mr Sprague joined the Home Office in 2001 after 25 years as a uniformed officer and detective with the Metropolitan Police. He earned £26,000 a year working for the Border Control Crime Team, now known as National Tactical Operations.
Things began to go wrong after Jill Smith, the head of the BCCT, twice promoted investigator Tony Buswell in a short time. Neither job was advertised and Janet Griffiths, a Border Agency inspector, told the hearing she had never known such a quick double promotion in more than 20 years in the service.
Mr Sprague told the tribunal in Croydon, South London, that Mr Buswell’s accelerated promotion ‘annoyed’ most of the staff and that they disliked his ‘cocky attitude’.
Things deteriorated further after his unit was asked to investigate a few cases of sham marriages by foreigners. ‘It was obvious there was serious organised criminal activity occurring,’ he said. ‘I had great difficulty in getting Buswell and Smith to show any interest. They begrudgingly allowed us to investigate some cases already known about, but they did not want new cases investigated.’
Another inquiry unit based with them in Croydon could have investigated but showed ‘little interest’, he said. ‘It was easier to turn a blind eye.’
Mr Sprague was sacked in April 2009 after complaints about his role in the arrest of a man and his wife involved in an alleged bogus marriage scam. They included claims that he was ‘untidy, smelly and unkempt’, which he denies.
Mr Sprague, from South Croydon, is claiming unfair dismissal.The tribunal continues.
Britain’s lost generation of NEETs
More than 8,000 teenagers have joined the ranks of NEETs as the proportion staying on in school after 16 has fallen for the first time in a decade. The number of 16 to 18-year-olds that are considered not in education, employment or training – rose 5.7 per cent in a year.
One in 12 of this age group (8.1 per cent) has now become a drop-out – 154,710 – by the end of 2011 compared to 7.5 per cent or 146,430 in 2010. This means that an extra 8,280 young people were NEET in 2011 compared to 2010.
Among 16-year-olds, 86.2 per cent were in full-time education in 2011, compared to 88.0 per cent in 2010, a fall of 1.8 percentage points or over 21,000 students.
It is the first time the numbers have dropped since 2001, and comes amid a move to raise the school leaving age. From next year, pupils will leave education and training at age 17, and in 2015, this will be raised to 18.
Overall, there were fewer young people aged 16 to 18 in 2011 (1,910,000) than there were in 2010 (1,952,400) according to the Department for Education figures.
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said the figures were a ‘clear sign’ that the education system needs to do more to give young people the skills that businesses and universities want.
He said: ‘The number of young people not in education, employment or training has been too high for too long – this is not a new problem. But we are determined to tackle it.’
The Government is spending £7.5 billion on education and training and £126 million over three years on extra support for the 16 and 17-year-olds most in need of help, Mr Loughton said.
Shadow minister for young people Karen Buck said: ‘This generation of young people is paying a huge price for the recession made in Downing Street – long term youth unemployment has more than doubled in the last year.
‘Whether it is cutting support for young people to stay in school, trebling tuition fees or ending face to face careers advice, this Government is hopelessly out of touch with the needs of the next generation.’
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), said: ‘Education is a key social and economic driver and can help young people develop the necessary skills to find jobs and realise their potential.
‘Instead of erecting barriers to study, such as hiking up university fees, the government should follow the example of other countries and invest in education, not cut the very services young people need.’
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, added: ‘These figures are a reflection of the Coalition Government’s short-sighted, destructive and illogical reforms of the education and training system for young people.’
Now Britons can check on their doctor’s track record — as Government plans to release ‘tidal wave’ of information about public services
Good if it happens
Patients will soon be able to scrutinise the success rate of treatment by local GPs, including their track record on beating cancer.
Under the Government’s ‘open data’ plans, a ‘tidal wave’ of information will be released about public services covering health, education and crime.
As well as potentially life-changing information about local healthcare, it will also give parents the chance to judge schools beyond the usual Ofsted report and see additional data, such as which have the best records for getting pupils into universities.
The move – unveiled by the Cabinet Office today in a White Paper – is designed to make those working in public services more accountable. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said there would be a ‘presumption to publish’ information from departments and officials ‘from the Prime Minister down’.
Coalition ministers started revealing more about government spending two years ago when they began publishing all departmental spending over £25,000 and local authorities had to reveal all spending over £500.
Senior civil servants earning salaries higher than the Prime Minister’s have already been named on the data.gov.uk website, and residents have been able to see how dangerous their neighbourhoods are with the publication of crime maps and sentencing rates.
Mr Maude said: ‘Data is the 21st century’s new raw material. With more than 9,000 datasets covering crime, health and education up on data.gov.uk, people can now scrutinise local crime statistics, sentencing rates, school results, hospital infection rates and GP outcomes.
‘But we want to take this to the next level. ‘We will be publishing even more data that has the power to change people’s everyday lives.’
From the end of July, cancer survival rates will be published to give patients more choice over which GP they want to manage their care. Such information will put pressure on GPs to ensure they detect cancers earlier.
Patients will be able to enter their postcode and see detailed comparisons between local clinics.
And there will also be a smartphone app giving GP ratings based on 11million responses from the Department of Health’s national survey, which asked patients questions such as whether they trusted their GP and how easy it was to get an appointment.
The White Paper on Open Data stated: ‘We will be unrelenting in our efforts to get more data out.’
Some British children are too naughty for normal school life and number of persistent offenders is rising, says Government’s behaviour tsar
Some children are simply too naughty to fit into everyday school life, the Government’s behaviour tsar suggested today. There is a group of youngsters who behave in very difficult and violent ways and who need much more help and support, according to Charlie Taylor.
He indicated that there may be have been a rise in these types of pupils, many of whom display very bad behaviour from an early age.
Giving evidence to the Commons education select committee this morning, Mr Taylor – former headteacher of The Willows, a special school in west London for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties – said that while behaviour in general is improving, there remains a groups of children that persistently behave poorly.
He was asked by Neil Carmichael, Conservative MP for Stroud, why it was that increasing numbers of pupils are suspended from school for abuse or assault and, at the same time, Ofsted rates almost four-fifths of schools as good for behaviour.
Mr Taylor replied that the numbers of schools rated as good has fallen from around 87 per cent as the bar has been raised on standards of behaviour.
He told the committee: ‘Though I would say generally, the trajectory of behaviour within schools is improving’ It is now rarer in schools to have ‘no-go areas where teachers fear to tread at lunchtimes and break times’, Mr Taylor said. ‘So things have improved.
‘But I do think there’s a group of children who show very extreme behaviour, very difficult, challenging, violent behaviour, often quite young children, and I would say possibly there has been an increase in those sorts of children.
‘You can still be a school who is good on behaviour and still have pupils like that within your school because you’re doing a good job with them.
‘But nevertheless there are certainly a group of children who need extra interventions, who need more help, who need more support and for whom the basic standards of just a really well-run school aren’t enough.’ He added: ‘The trajectory is in the right direction, but there’s a huge amount to carry on doing.’
Mr Taylor has just been appointed the first chief executive of the Teaching Agency, which will oversee teacher training.
Mr Taylor said that he had concerns that some training courses are not teaching would-be teachers enough about behaviour and how to deal with it.
‘Sometimes behaviour gets pigeon-holed as a one off lecture at the beginning of the year,’ he said, with a lecturer handing out tips on how to deal with misbehaving pupils.
Mr Taylor has previously called for disruptive children to be identified before they start school to stop them going ‘off the rails’ later on.
Publishing his report into alternative provision earlier this year, Mr Taylor said that intervening to help naughty children when they are as young as two or three is better than ‘waiting until they are throwing tables around’.
Teaching unions have previously raised concerns about misbehaving pupils, with a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) suggesting that poor parenting could be fuelling bad behaviour in schools. It revealed that behaviour has worsened in the last five years, with pupils kicking, punching, pushing and shoving school staff.
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said there is a minority of children who have a ‘total disregard of school rules’.
These youngsters are just as likely to be ‘over-indulged’ middle-class children as those from poorer homes, she said.
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has also warned that schools are often forced to act as ‘surrogate parents’ in a sometimes self-obsessed culture that fails to instil good values in children.
Brit global warming skeptics now outnumber believers
Fewer Britons than ever support the proposition that global warming is caused by human-driven CO2 emissions, according to the latest survey.
Some 48 per cent of Britons now agree with the suggestion that warming could be “mostly natural” and that the idea of it being human-caused has yet to be proven. By comparison only 43 per cent agree with the idea that warming is “mostly” caused by industrial and vehicular CO2 emissions.
In Canada the ratio is 58:34 in favour of the mamade warming hypothesis, while in the USA it’s a tie.
Only 43 per cent of Britons think we should get poorer in order to protect the environment. The numbers have actually moved very little since November 2009, but believers are now in the minority.
The studies were conducted by Angus Reid and surveyed four thousand people in the USA, Canada and the UK.
The UK is only one of three countries in the world to pass legislation mandating CO2 reduction, and the issue dominated the media agenda between 2006 and the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. So the UK is unique amongst the three countries surveyed, in giving its population saturation exposure to the climate change issue, and early exposure to CO2 mitigation policies.
It would seem that the more people hear the arguments and study the policies, the less they like them.
British Greenies fracked!
Fracking should be permitted in Britain because the risk of earthquakes and water contamination is minimal, a government-ordered report has found.
Scientists from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society said the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale should be given the go-ahead, subject to tight regulations and continuous monitoring of drilling sites.
The panel said that despite evidence fracking can trigger small earthquakes, the tremors felt at ground level would be about the same size as those caused by a lorry driving past a house.
Chances of any contaminated water or gas escaping into groundwater supplies were “very low” because of the depth at which the process takes place, they added.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals into shale beds at high pressure to split the rock and release the natural gas stored within.
Prof Robert Mair, chair of the panel, said: “The risks associated with fracking can be managed effectively in the UK, provided operational best practices are implemented and enforced through effective regulation.
“[There are] a number of issues we believe must merit further consideration including the climate risks associated with the extraction and subsequent use of shale gas and, very importantly, the public acceptability of hydraulic fracturing.”