‘We have no doctors’: Busy A&E department tells patients they won’t be seen for six hours due to lack of staff
A&E patients waiting to be seen at a hospital at midnight were shocked when they were told they wouldn’t be seen until 6am – because there were no doctors available.
They were allegedly told over the public address system that there would be a wait of six hours before a doctor would be available at the casualty department.
They were then given a stark choice – wait until dawn to be treated at the Prince Charles Hospital in South Wales or go home and see their GP the next day. Some of the patients had already been waiting four hours to be seen at the NHS hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.
The injured patients included a man injured in a three-car pile-up and a woman who had badly gashed her leg after falling at home.
Health chiefs are now investigating after the woman’s husband complained to his local MP.
His wife finally received treatment the next day – but the skin over the wound had shrunk and she faced an ‘extremely painful’ procedure to sew it up.
The couple. who want to remain anonymous, had rushed to Prince Charles Hospital after she fell at her home at Cwmbach near Aberdare.
They had to wait for an hour before being seen by a nurse who said they would have to wait for a further hour before a doctor was available.
But after waiting for three hours they then heard a public announcement at 11.45pm warning to patients that it would be another six hours before a doctor would become available.
In a letter to Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd the woman’s husband said: ‘These people were previously told by a nurse that they must see a doctor. ‘One lady had already spent six hours waiting to see a doctor.
The husband has pledged to take the matter further if his wife’s condition becomes worse following the lack of treatment.
Ms Clwyd said she would be asking for an explanation from health officials following the complaint. She said: ‘I am very concerned to hear about these experiences of my constituents and accident and emergency care is a big issue.
‘There is often a reticence to complain because patients fear it may affect their treatment.’
NHS Wales describes the A&E unit at the Prince Charles Unit as a ‘major’ department, which is open 24 hours-a-day.
Cwm Taf health board deputy chief executive Bernardine Rees said: ‘We are unable to comment on individual cases. ‘However we take these issues very seriously and will be investigating the concerns raised.’
Unwell pensioner with terminal cancer sent home from hospital without being told he had killer disease
A man was discharged from hospital without being told he was suffering from terminal cancer. Trevor Roberts, 68, returned home completely unaware of the seriousness of his condition.
He continued to feel desperately unwell and only found out he had terminal lung cancer after being taken to another hospital where the news of his condition was revealed. He died just days later without ever returning home.
Yesterday the hospital responsible apologised to his family saying there had been ‘errors in communication.’
But last night his family said they were still reeling from the ‘appalling’ oversight and had been left ‘heartbroken and angry’ by the shocking mistake.
His daughter Sharon Taylor, 46, said: ‘Because we didn’t know his condition was so grave, my dad’s grandchildren were abroad on holiday in Turkey and were unable to say goodbye before he died. ‘The whole family is heartbroken about that and still coming to terms with it.
‘If action had been taken sooner, my dad could have been given more time with his family and would have had the opportunity to come to terms with his illness, put his affairs in order and say goodbye.’
Mr Roberts from Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, died six weeks after first visiting his GP in July 2009 following his concerns about painful lumps he had developed across his body.
The retired warehouse supervisor was referred to the Royal Bolton Hospital where on August 1 he was admitted for tests. A complete set of tests was carried out which revealed he was suffering from cancer and that the disease had spread throughout his body and was terminal.
But despite the diagnosis, neither the patient nor his family were informed about his condition.
He was allowed to go home two days later but continued to feel desperately unwell and on 16 August he was taken to the accident and emergency department of the Salford Royal Hospital.
Once there a doctor broke the news to Mr Roberts that scans he had previously at the Royal Bolton Hospital showed he had terminal lung cancer.
Mr Roberts’ wife Margaret and children, Sharon, Martin and Paul, had hoped to take him home to spend quality time together. But they were advised by doctors that he was too frail to survive the eight-mile journey and he died at the hospital just five days later.
His daughter Mrs Taylor, from Astley, near Wigan, said: ‘My dad was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and an important figure in all our lives. ‘The rapid deterioration in his health took us all by surprise and we feel absolutely devastated about losing him so quickly and in such circumstances.
‘The Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust made no attempt to contact us about my dad’s condition and the terrible results of the scan after he was discharged, which we are really angry about.’
She said: ‘We accept the cancer was too severe to treat with surgery or chemotherapy, but if doctors had shared information about his condition earlier he could have also received access to palliative care to make his life more comfortable.
‘We accept the Trust’s apology and are reassured that staff have changed their processes to ensure other families will not have to go through the same ordeal in future.’
Dr Jackie Bene, medical director at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement: ‘We fully accept that there were errors in communication made in Mr Roberts’ case in 2009 and have apologised to his family. ‘We realise that we can’t alter the outcome for them, but we examined the circumstances carefully so that we could learn from where we went wrong. ‘This was a very sad situation that no family should have had to go through and which we regret deeply.‘
Sarah Sharples, the family’s solicitor at Irwin Mitchell law firm, said: ‘The lack of communication between departments is appalling. ‘The Trust’s apology has been noted and we hope that staff have taken this on board to ensure that, particularly in cases where patients sadly have little time left, test results are acted on.’
British Christian B&B owners who refused gay couple win right to Supreme Court appeal
A couple who refused to let a gay couple share a bedroom at their seaside guest house have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
A Christian couple who refused to let a gay couple share a bedroom at their seaside guest house have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year Court of Appeal judges dismissed a challenge brought by Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run Chymorvah House in Marazion, Cornwall, against a ruling that they breached equality legislation when they turned away Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy in September 2008.
Today it was revealed that the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has now decided to hear their case and could rule in their favour after all.
The appeal court had upheld the January 2011 verdict of Judge Andrew Rutherford at Bristol County Court that the Bulls had directly discriminated against the couple, who were awarded a total of £3,600 damages.
Mr Bull, 72, and Mrs Bull, who is in her late 60s, are Christians who regard any sex outside marriage as a “sin” and they would not let the two men have a double-bedded room.
They denied either direct or indirect discrimination, arguing that their policy of restricting double beds to married couples, in accordance with their religious beliefs, was not directed to sexual orientation, but sexual practice.
Dismissing the Bulls’ appeal in February this year, Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, sitting in London with Lord Justice Hooper and Lady Justice Rafferty, said that the restriction was “absolute” in relation to homosexuals but not in the case of heterosexuals.
“In those circumstances it must constitute discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Such discrimination is direct” he said.
Lady Justice Rafferty said a homosexual couple “cannot comply with the restriction because each party is of the same sex and therefore cannot marry”. Now that ruling is to be tested in the Supreme Court.
The Bulls had accepted an £80-a-night double room booking, thinking Steven Preddy, 38, would be staying with his wife.
When Mr Preddy arrived with his 46-year-old civil partner Martyn Hall, the men, from Bristol, were told that they could have two rooms, but not share one.
In January last year Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled at Bristol County Court that the Bulls had breached equality legislation and ordered them to pay the couple a total of £3,600 damages.
The Bulls denied that they had discriminated against Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, saying they had also barred unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing double rooms since they opened for business 25 years ago.
In the Apperal Court ruling earlier this year, Lady Justice Rafferty said “Whilst the appellants’ beliefs about sexual practice may not find the acceptance that once they did, nevertheless a democratic society must ensure that their espousal and expression remain open to those who hold them.
“However, in a pluralist society it is inevitable that from time to time, as here, views, beliefs and rights of some are not compatible with those of others.
“As I have made plain, I do not consider that the appellants face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs, they are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen.”
The taxpayer-funded state equality body, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, had backed Mr Preddy and Mr Hall in their action.
John Wadham of the EHRC said “We believe that this case will help people to better understand the law around freedom of religion. “When offering a service, people cannot use their beliefs, religious or otherwise, to discriminate against others.£”
But Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, which funded Mr and Mrs Bull’s appeal, said “Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalised but extremist hate preachers are protected.”
British Appeal judges are forced to REDUCE jail sentence of ‘dangerous’ paedophile to just 18 months
Judges have expressed ‘great concern’ after being forced to overturn the indefinite sentence imposed on a dangerous paedophile who will now serve just 18 months behind bars.
Simon Crisp twice tried to convince a 15-year-old boy to perform a sex act online and shared sickening images of children with other perverts, London’s Appeal Court heard.
He was jailed indefinitely for public protection – which is almost identical to a life sentence – at Preston Crown Court in March, after computer equipment was seized by police from his home in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
The 36-year-old admitted three counts of trying to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, six of making, nine of distributing and five of possessing indecent images of children, and one of having an extreme pornographic image.
But his open-ended sentence has now been quashed at London’s Criminal Appeal Court and replaced with a conventional jail term of three years.
Judges said that, while they were deeply anxious about the outcome, the law on indeterminate sentences laid down by Parliament left them with ‘no alternative’ but to quash Crisp’s IPP.
The decision means that, instead of remaining behind bars until the Parole Board concludes it is safe to release him, Crisp will now be automatically released after serving half of the three-year term.
Judge Anthony Morris QC, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Treacy, said a sexual offences prevention order handed to Crisp should be ‘vigorously enforced’ by the probation service to ensure he doesn’t re-offend after his release.
The judge told the court Crisp’s computer equipment, including a laptop, webcam and four discs, were seized from his home in September last year.
Before the equipment was analysed, he admitted to police he had downloaded pornographic images of children and had spoken to other paedophiles on Skype – but claimed he had no sexual interest in children.
Analysis of the machine revealed over 200 indecent images of children – including five in the most obscene category – and it was discovered these had been sent to other people via the internet.
A probation report concluded Crisp was a danger to the public and there was a real threat that his ‘fantasies’ about children would result in him reoffending. The court heard he had a previous conviction for sexually assaulting a three-year-old 20 years earlier, when he was aged 15.
Sentencing him, the crown court judge said a five-year sentence would have been appropriate for the offences, but that he was ‘dangerous’ and should therefore be locked up indefinitely.
Crisp’s lawyers argued the five-year ‘notional term’ was too long, saying the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of the overall sentence or the level of his offending.
Allowing the appeal, Judge Morris agreed the term was ‘excessive’ and that the IPP must be quashed – as indefinite sentences can only be imposed where the offences would justify a conventional sentence of at least four years.
He told the court: ‘We consider that the judge’s finding of dangerousness was fully justified on the evidence before him.
‘But, by reason of this court’s decision to reduce the notional determinate term, a sentence of imprisonment for public protection was not available.
‘We have great concern as to the outcome. But, as Parliament has laid down that the notional term must be at least four years for an indeterminate sentence to be imposed, we have no alternative but to quash the IPP.’
Evil British social workers again
Social workers failed to tell a couple who adopted a seven-year-old girl that she may have suffered serious sexual abuse.
Then they blamed the child’s new parents for her uncontrollable behaviour as the pair struggled for six years to bring her up.
When the parents tried to persuade their adopted daughter to follow the family’s rules, they were accused of ‘torturing’ her and being ‘high risk abusive parents’.
But the Christian couple’s ordeal came to a head when the girl falsely accused her adoptive father of assaulting her.
Both parents were arrested and the adoptive mother, a teacher of 20 years’ standing, was briefly banned from having any contact with children.
Yesterday a High Court judge called the behaviour of social workers towards the parents ‘cruel’.
Judge Clifford Bellamy found they had made a series of unfounded allegations against the Roman Catholic parents, including charges that they locked the girl in her room to stop her stealing, violently pinned her to the floor, and strip-searched her for stolen items.
Social workers also pretended the girl had few problems when she was away from the parents at school. ‘That was not the case at all,’ the judge said.
He further criticised the attempt by social workers to blame the parents for the failure of the adoption, condemning the workers for failing to give information to the couple or to take account of the girl’s deep psychological troubles.
The case comes at a time of growing pressure on local authorities to find more families to adopt children.
Last year just over 3,000 children in care were permanently adopted by new families, the lowest number in a decade.
Social workers have been accused of bias against adoption and inventing barriers like rules on race or age to stop couples taking on youngsters.
In the case of the Catholic couple Judge Bellamy, sitting in Coventry, heard that the girl was born in 1997 to a family where children had been sexually abused.
She was known at least to have witnessed the abuse of one of her sisters. However she was not taken from her mother until she was four years old, when she was found to have head lice, rotten teeth and no idea of a daily routine.
The girl was not adopted until she was seven. Her new parents had told social workers they could not take a child who had been sexually abused.
But soon after the adoption they caught the girl downloading pornography from the internet to show to children at her school.
Social workers told the court that information about suspected abuse ‘was given to the adopters at the time of the placement but in general rather than specific terms’.
Judge Bellamy said: ‘The parents have said that if they had known in 2003 what they know now they would not have proceeded with the adoption. But they did not know. And they did adopt.
‘It is to the immense credit of these parents that despite the challenges their daughter has presented, and despite the difficulties they have had to contend with in engaging with the local authority, they still care about her, and they still love her and want what is best for her.’
The court heard from psychologist Dr John Richer, former head of child psychology at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. He said that the treatment of the girl in her early life meant that her new parents would ‘get caught in a vicious circle where their normal behaviour, which works with most children, only serves further to alienate a child like this.
‘To call these not uncommon parental reactions emotionally abusive is not only inappropriate and wrong, but cruel,’ he said.
The court heard that the girl frequently went missing and stole from the parents’ two older daughters.
The judge said that the girl went back into council care in December 2010. Since then she had been sexually assaulted, arrested for a serious assault on a care home staff member, had a contraceptive implant fitted without permission from her Roman Catholic legal parents, and had been provided with no therapy, despite a deep need for help to overcome her psychological disorder.
He said he had no choice but to make a legal order transferring care of the girl to the local authority. ‘I regret to say that I am in no doubt that there is a likelihood that if I make a care order the parents will be marginalised and largely ignored,’ he said.
The judge ordered that the adults and children involved in the case should not be identified by name or location.
Anger as distinguished British primary school teacher, 63, is tried for giving ‘worst pupil in 40 years’ a clip round the ear after he had attacked ten pupils
A dedicated teacher was subjected to a five month court ordeal after he was accused of assaulting an ‘uncontrollable’ pupil who had hit 10 classmates.
Roy Cope had to restrain a pupil at St Bartholomew’s Church of England Primary School in Great Harwood, Lancashire, who displayed the ‘worst behaviour’ he had seen in his 41 years in the job.
The 63-year-old deputy head was accused of holding the boy by the wrists and slapping him on the side of the head after the youngster went berserk and flew into an ‘incandescent rage.’
This child, not named for legal reasons, had lashed out at other pupils with his satchel, pinned one to the wall by the throat and shouted at a teacher.
Mr Cope was asked to intervene when the boy was ordered out of class and was spotted in a corridor shouting at another member of staff.
Blackburn Magistrates Court heard that the case, which cost taxpayers thousands, and if Mr Cope was convicted could have faced up to six months jail, but to huge cheers from the public gallery he was acquitted.
He claimed all along the boy slammed his head against his hand while violently swaying and rocking in a bid to run away.
Chairman of the bench Graham Parr said: ‘We accept that there were aggravating facts presented to us in that the boy was behaving in an unruly manner. We really have doubts over whether the contact constituted an assault.’
After the case was thrown out Mr Cope’s son Robin, speaking on his behalf, said: ‘The family have had overwhelming support over my father’s case but it should never have come to court in the first place.
‘The fact is there is an issue today with unruly children and it has come to this where dedicated teachers are repeatedly appearing before the courts on their say-so. ‘It caused a lot of distress and all because of one child where there were not enough measures in place to deal with him.’
A retired detective inspector and a parent gave evidence at the hearing praising Mr Cope as a dedicated and professional teacher of the ‘highest standards.’
James Oldcorn, a parent, PTA member, governor at the school and former senior police officer, said: ‘I always found Mr Cope a very enthusiastic teacher. ‘He continued the very idea of a Christian School, where every child mattered.’
Wendy Litherland, the mother of a pupil at St Bartholomew’s, said: ‘Mr Cope is an absolutely outstanding teacher, he has dedicated his life to St Bartholomew’s and all the parents are 100 per cent behind him. ‘This is because of one child. There are not enough measures to deal with this.’
The court heard how the incident occurred last March while Mr Cope, from Accrington, was involved in a rehearsal for a forthcoming school production of Wind In The Willows.
The boy had become ‘hysterical and out of control’ in a class and one teacher, Thomas Lowe, said the pupil was in such a rage he grabbed railings to stop him being taken to Mr Cope’s office, continuously shouting ‘get off me, get off me’.
He said he saw Mr Cope hit the child and threaten to do it again if he did not calm down. He told magistrates: ‘Mr Cope was not using a technique I knew, but he seemed in charge. He was being forceful but fair.
‘The child’s arms were flailing and he kept on shouting, getting more and more hysterical. Mr Cope released or lost control of the boy’s left arm and then he struck him across the face.’
Mr Neil White prosecuting said: ‘Mr Cope has a long and distinguished teaching career with many decades behind him. He is a well-respected and well liked deputy head at the school. ‘But the prosecution say that you cannot slap a boy across the face.’
Speaking in court Roy Cope responded: ‘As a teacher with over 40 years’ experience this allegation has come as a great shock to me and caused me and my family great distress.
‘Since the boy started school he was a disruptive and aggressive pupil and frequently disrupted the school. He is probably the worst of the pupils I have ever taught in 40 years of teaching and on occasions he is uncontrollable. ‘He worked himself into an incandescent rage, I knew it was all bluster and knew he would eventually calm down. I had to be calm but firm with him.’
Another teacher went to Mr Cope’s aid as the tried to restrain the boy and calm him down.
But Mr Cope said: ‘Because he had just been restrained he was more agitated than he had been and was trying to break free from his arms. ‘I was trying to get him to stop wobbling round because he was getting more agitated and he slammed himself into my hand. He just kept rolling and rocking and trying to get rid of the restraint. All the time I was speaking in a calm quiet voice saying ‘calm down’ but once I had let go of his hands I may have said, ‘do you want me to do it again’ to stop his hands from moving. ‘But I do not believe a slap across the face is a method of controlling children.’
Graham Boyes, a former headteacher at the school said: “Roy has worked to the highest of standards. He was an example to other members of staff. ‘I have to say, over a long period of time the school functioned well and a lot of that was down to Roy’s work in the school.’
Mr Cope’s lawyer Simon Farnsworth said: ‘The boy was an unruly pupil and has been since he started nursery. In Mr Cope’s experience the worst in over 40 years’ teaching.
‘Mr Cope had been forceful but fair and went to assist as the boy’s arms were flaring. He is someone who deals with unruly pupils and he has dealt with these for many years. ‘He is not the kind of man who would deliberately strike a young boy like this. This matter has got out of hand.’