Red tape warning over NHS bodies
A raft of new organisations set up to run the NHS could lead to a “a myriad of conflicting polices”, a body which represents NHS organisations has warned.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that the range of new bodies set up by the Government could lead to a “tsunami of bureaucracy”.
Mr Farrar made his comments after a survey of NHS bosses found that 57% said a lack of expertise or experience in the new organisations is the biggest risk to the Government’s NHS reforms.
Of the 252 chairs and chief executives of NHS organisations who responded to the survey, more than half said they were concerned about disruption caused by organisational restructuring.
In an article for the Health Service Journal, Mr Farrar said: “To be successful, these new organisations must listen – and keep listening – to NHS leaders. They must avoid overwhelming NHS organisations with complexity and instead focus on the critical overarching concerns that will matter most in the end.
“It’s essential that national bodies ensure they are driving towards the same goals, not subjecting the NHS to a myriad of conflicting policies. Otherwise the NHS will be pulled in different directions and unable to make progress.
“They need to minimise the burdens their policies place on the system by making it as easy as possible to comply. With so many new structures, the danger of a tsunami of new bureaucracy is obvious. The NHS must stay focused on patient care, not repeatedly providing information in different formats to multiple bodies.”
Health minister Simon Burns said: “The NHS Confederation is wrong – we are slashing NHS bureaucracy, not increasing it. Our reforms remove two layers of administration, saving taxpayers £5.5 billion over the course of this Parliament.
“Our reforms mean that doctors and nurses will be in charge of the NHS, not managers. It makes sense for the people that know their patients best – doctors and nurses – to take responsibility for driving up standards in their local NHS, free from bureaucratic interference.
“Careful work is under way now to ensure that new NHS bodies are prepared, but this is not affecting patient care. Waiting times are low, infection rates are down and patient satisfaction remains high.”
No nanny no more
Britons do not like nanny. Despite decades of her telling us what foods we should eat, how much we should drink, and what lifestyles are safe, a majority of us wish she’d stop. This is the finding of a new poll commissioned by the ASI. Its full findings are well worth a look, but here’s a snapshot.
71% agree that “It’s up to me, rather than the government, to secure myself a job,” and only 7% disagree.
51% agree that “I think most of my retirement pension will probably come from a pension fund I have saved myself,” compared with the 22% who disagree.
Housing divides on party lines, with a majority of Labour voters agreeing that government has a duty to provide it, and a majority of Tory voters disagreeing.
Should government provide advice on what foods people like me should eat and how much to drink? 48% disagree and 22% agree.
The statement that “Politicians and Civil servants are well-equipped to make personal decisions on my behalf” finds only 9% in agreement, versus 65%who disagree.
Would young people like to run their own business? Of the Of the 18-24 age- group, 49% agreed, versus 27% who did not. Among 25- 39 year-olds some 44% agreed that they would like to do this, versus 30% who disagreed.
It seems that despite all the nannying, the British prefer to make their own decisions, and young people might well be out there creating the new businesses for our future prosperity.
British welfare housing and social cleansing: try to keep a straight face while the Lefties tie themselves in knots
Sometimes inequality is a good thing, apparently
By Tim Worstall
There are times when I find it difficult to suppress the giggles at the contortions that Lefty philosophy can entail. Take the stories about flogging off the expensive council houses to build cheap ones. Apparently this would mean that poor people would no longer live right next door to rich people and this would be a very bad idea. As the Telegraph reports:
“Senior Liberal Democrats and council leaders raised concerns that the policy could force hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged families out of desirable neighbourhoods and into “ghettos”.”
Sounds bad, doesn’t it?
“Critics said the plan could result in social “cleansing” as council tenants disappear from expensive postcodes, especially in parts of London and the South East.”
Horrors. According to Gabrielle Omar, director of architect firm Lolli & Square:
“Another worry is that we would be creating new ghettos, reversing some of the work that has been done to integrate communities.”
“Critics warned that it would lead to “social cleansing”, with low-paid workers progressively moved out of more expensive areas.”
How could they?
But there’s something that confuses me here. The argument being put forward here is that rich and poor should live side by side. That this engenders a feeling of community, that we all become as one by living next door to each other. This could be true, of course; I’m certainly willing to give the belief a try.
My confusion comes though from the other thing we are regularly told by assorted Lefties: that inequality kills. That just by having rich and poor in the same country, let alone the same neighbourhood, suicides rise, jealousy rises, heart attacks climb, cancer rates inflate. I’m sure that somewhere or other Wilkinson and Pickett, perhaps in The Spirit Level, insist that it is the very knowledge that others have so very much more that produces these results. I’m also willing to consider this belief, give people an opportunity to prove it.
But think how much angels-on-pinheads philosophising is require to believe, let alone assert, that national inequality kills people while local inequality is a desirable thing. That a pay differential of 50 to one between two people who will never meet, are in fact entirely unaware of each other’s existence, causes the ruin of society while the same two people living next door to each other is a wondrous joy to behold.
Further, given the campaign against pay inequality within companies, this idea that the top should not get more than 20 times the bottom, how twisted does logic have to get to then insist that pay inequality within geographic communities must be maintained rather than reduced?
As I say, I don’t really mind either argument: they may or may not be true but I’m happy to consider either. It’s just that the same people advancing both does give me the giggles.
And as for this:
“Critics of the idea said it would simply open up the expensive London housing market to more rich foreigners. Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North, said it would add to the capital’s “inflated, overseas, money-driven housing bubble”.”
In what possible universe can this be true? We aim to increase the number of (possibly expensive) houses which are available for people to purchase. It’s a perverted view of the world that says that an increase in supply is going to raise prices and inflation. In fact, it’s laughable.
New computer database launched to track down 150,000 illegal immigrants in Britain
The Brits will manage to bungle that too
An immigration computer database is being set up to track down the 150,000 people who are staying in Britain illegally, it was revealed yesterday.
Border chiefs are due to launch the project next month to deal with the huge backlog of foreign nationals who have overstayed their student or temporary work visas.
Letters will be sent to those in the ‘migration refusal pool’ warning that they will be deported and barred from entering the UK if they do not leave within 28 days.
Private companies currently tendering for the multi-million pound contract include G4S, the controversial security firm which failed to deliver enough staff for the Olympic Games.
Passenger records held in the e-borders database, which covers details of all flights outside Europe to and from Britain, will be checked and there will be careful monitoring of the 100 immigrants whose visas expire daily.
It comes after it was revealed last month that 40 per cent of immigrants who have been refused leave to stay in the country have not been sent the forms demanding they leave.
Tens of thousands of these lapsed visa cases date back more than five years and are a legacy of Labour’s catastrophic mismanagement of Britain’s immigration system.
Immigration minister Damian Green said he hoped the new scheme would allow Border Agency staff more time to carry out enforcement operations and reduce the backlog.
He said: ‘We’re concentrating much more on enforcement. From debrief interviews we’ve found that a third of people decide to overstay at the point their visa expires. ‘If we can send these people letters warning of the consequences of illegally overstaying then I’m sure we can reduce the total number deciding to remain.’
The move follows a UKBA summer-long drive to remove visa ‘overstayers’ that has led to thousands being removed, with 2,000 of those being in London alone.
The majority of those targeted entered the country on student visas which have now expired. Mr Green said they mainly came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Brazil and Nigeria and were now working illegally.
An operation in the capital yesterday resulted in three arrests. Two Pakistani nationals and an Iranian man were arrested in Walworth and Brixton, South London, for allegedly working illegally.
One 28-year-old Iranian was arrested by the same immigration officer at a Halal butchers three years ago. Another Pakistani man smirked as he was led away in handcuffs in what was his third arrest by UKBA staff.
The chief inspector of immigration, John Vine, criticised the UKBA for not having a strategy for reducing the pool of overstayers last month. The only guidance staff were given for dealing with cases in this 150,000-strong group was that the total size of the pool should not be allowed to increase.
Vine said his greatest concern during his inspection of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight immigration team was over the ‘150,000-plus cases nationally that are sitting in a migration refusal pool’.
The chief inspector concluded that UKBA staff reported it being impossible to know whether the 150,000 were still in Britain or had left voluntarily.
In total, the UKBA faces an enormous backlog of 276,000 immigration cases. The growing total includes asylum seekers, foreign criminals and illegal migrants and is equivalent to the population of Newcastle.
MPs sitting on the Commons Home Affairs Committee said the UK has become a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ for migrants, a country where it is ‘easy to get in, but impossible to keep track of everyone, let alone get them out.’
In addition, around 21,000 new asylum cases have built up because officials were able to process only 63 per cent of last year’s applications. There are also 3,900 foreign criminals living in the community and free to commit more crimes, including more than 800 who have been at large for five years or more.
Half of British pupils failing in High School maths and science
Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are being denied the chance to pursue highly-skilled careers after failing in science and maths at secondary school, according to research.
Jobs in engineering and technology are being “closed off too early” for as many as half of schoolchildren because of a lack of qualified teachers and priority being given to other subjects.
Figures show that in some areas fewer than a third of pupils finish compulsory education with at least a C grade GCSEs in maths and two separate sciences – seen as the minimum requirement for further study or apprenticeships.
The report, by Education for Engineering (E4E), a body representing the engineering industry, found that almost a fifth of pupils were not even entered for two sciences.
Rhys Morgan, the organisation’s head of secretariat, said: “For too many young people the pathway to a rewarding career in science and engineering is being closed off too early.
“The minimum qualifications for progression to science, engineering and technology roles would usually be A*-C grades in two science GCSEs and in mathematics.
“But we have found that only half of young people achieve this and strong evidence to suggest that of those that don’t, many are enrolling on less than the double science they will need to keep their careers options open.”
According to figures, around half of pupils currently fail to gain good grades in maths and two sciences, but performance differs significantly between local authorities.
Trafford in Greater Manchester had the highest participation and achievement rate in the country, with more than two-thirds gaining high scores in the subject. The worst performing area was Blackpool where just 31 per cent of pupils hit the target.
The study also showed that many pupils were being denied the chance to sit separate science GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics. Only 18 per cent sat exams in the three sciences in 2010.
A further fifth of pupils failed to take at least two sciences and one-in-12 were not entered for any GCSEs in the subject at all.
Dr Morgan added: “Teachers and pupils work hard to achieve in their exams, but some pupils are enrolling on options that will limit them in the future.”
Green tea extract ‘eradicates cancer tumours’
A very preliminary study in laboratory glassware only
Powerful new anti-cancer drugs based on green tea could soon be developed after scientists found an extract from the beverage could make almost half of tumours vanish. The University of Strathclyde team made 40 per cent of human skin cancer tumours disappear using the compound, in a laboratory study.
Green tea has long been suspected of having anti-cancer properties and the extract, called epigallocatechin gallate, has been investigated before. However, this is the first time researchers have managed to make it effective at shrinking tumours.
Previous attempts to capitalise on its cancer-fighting properties have failed because scientists used intravenous drips, which failed to deliver enough of the extract to the tumours themselves.
So, the Strathclyde team devised a “targeted delivery system”, piggy-backing the extract on proteins that carry iron molecules, which cancer tumours Hoover up. The lab test on one type of human skin cancer showed 40 per cent of tumours disappeared after a month of treatment, while an additional 30 per cent shrank.
Dr Christine Dufès, a senior lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, who led the research, said: “These are very encouraging results which we hope could pave the way for new and effective cancer treatments.
“When we used our method, the green tea extract reduced the size of many of the tumours every day, in some cases removing them altogether. “By contrast, the extract had no effect at all when it was delivered by other means, as every one of these tumours continued to grow.
“This research could open doors to new treatments for what is still one of the biggest killer diseases in many countries.” She added: “I was expecting good results, but not as strong as these.”
Dr Dufès said population studies had previously indicated that green tea had anti-cancer properties, and scientists had since identified the active compound as epigallocatechin gallate.
But the Strathclyde researchers were the first to delivery it in high enough doses to tumours to have an effect.
She explained: “The problems with this extract is that when it’s administered intravenously, it goes everywhere in the body, so when it gets to the tumours it’s too diluted. “With the targeted delivery system, it’s taken straight to the tumours without any effect on normal tissue.”
Cancer scientists are increasingly using targeted delivery to improve results, relying on the many different ‘receptors’ that tumours have for different biological substances.
In this instance, the scientists used the fact that tumours have receptors for transferrin, a plasma protein which transports iron through the blood.
The results have been published in the journal Nanomedicine.
The “ultimate objective” was a clinical trial in humans – but Dr Dufès said that was some way off. “We have got to optimise the delivery system and therapeutic effect first,” she said.
Dr Julie Sharp, from Cancer Research UK, said: “A few studies have shown that extracts from green tea may have some effect on cancer cells in the lab but this has not yet been backed up by research in humans.” She added: “It’s far too soon to say if enjoying a cup of green tea has any wider benefits in combating cancer but we know that a healthy balanced diet can help to reduce the risk.”
Midwives told to drop ‘30-second rule’ on cutting umbilical cord after delaying longer shown to benefit babies
This has been known for some time. It seems a pity that it is not already generally implemented
A radical change in the way babies are delivered will see midwives delay cutting the umbilical cord following evidence that it improves the health of newborns.
The Royal College of Midwives is preparing to update its guidance to recommend delayed clamping for most women who give birth in hospitals, which will affect about 90 per cent of all births.
Current guidance from the RCM and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is to cut and clamp the umbilical cord within 30 seconds to protect babies from too much exposure to a synthetic hormone given to mothers to speed up labour and deliver the placenta.
It was also thought to help prevent a baby getting jaundice, a condition that causes yellowing of the skin, and was encouraged because of the risk of bleeding in new mothers.
However, doctors have long been divided over the issue – and studies have now found that delaying the procedure by just a few minutes has significant health benefits.
It is thought being connected to the maternal blood supply for longer helps protect babies against iron deficiency and anaemia, and allows vital stem cells to be transferred.
Increasing numbers of women have also been asking midwives to delay cutting and clamping to allow more blood to drain from the placenta into the baby, and also simply so they are connected for longer.
The new guidance is being developed and will be announced at the College’s conference in November.
Mervi Jokinen, practice and standards development adviser at the RCM, said: ‘We are supporting the midwives not to clamp the cord immediately. We’ve not finalised the guidelines and in terms of how long it will recommend delaying clamping for, we don’t know.
‘Guidelines drawn up by different organisations vary from one to five minutes, and even up to ten.
‘Most midwives will have to use their judgment in terms of the clinical situation. It’s more likely to happen within three to five minutes.’
Mrs Jokinen added that the change was driven by the evidence from clinical studies, but also because women were increasingly asking for midwives to delay clamping.
‘The issue here was studies started to show that with early clamping you’re denying a baby a boost of blood and it was recognised that haemoglobin levels were much lower later on,’ she said.
‘It is said that babies who are healthy and well would benefit from greater haemoglobin levels. Women have also asked us to give their babies to them while they are attached.’
A study from Sweden found a delay of three minutes could reduce the risk of iron deficiency later in childhood as well as anaemia in newborns, which can lead to poor brain development.
At four months, fewer than one per cent of infants who had delayed clamping were deficient in iron compared with six per cent of those clamped immediately. There was no increase in jaundice or other complications thought to be linked to delayed clamping.
In an editorial published in the same journal as the study, Dr Patrick van Rheenen, a consultant paediatrician at Groningen University in the Netherlands, said: ‘Delayed clamping clearly favours the child.
‘How much evidence is needed to convince obstetricians and midwives that it is worthwhile to wait for three minutes to allow for placental transfusion?’
A major US study published in 2007, which involved more than 1,900 newborns, found a two-minute delay was enough to reduce the risk of anaemia by half and low iron levels in the blood by a third.
The World Health Organisation dropped early clamping from its guidelines in 2007 and best practice on the issue varies across Europe. Guidelines in the UK, drawn up by NICE, recommend early clamping although an update is due in 2014.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists updated its guidance last year to recommend the cord ‘should not be clamped earlier than necessary, based on a clinical assessment of the situation’.
Although hospitals will still be able to decide their own birth protocols, it is likely that they will follow RCM policy.
David Hutchon, a retired consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist who has campaigned for years for a change in policy, said: ‘This is very welcome. ‘But whether doctors will take any notice is another issue. ‘There’s a lot of ignorance out there and people have just blindly followed guidance for years without questioning it.’
Which is more intolerant: Britain or Russia?
Most people in the West think that the two-year jail sentence handed down in a Moscow court to the “Pussy Riot” punk band was excessive.
I personally don’t think that ANY speech ANYWHERE should earn ANY jail but had I been a worshipper at the Moscow cathedral, I think I too would have seen their actions as “hooliganism” — which is what they were jailed for.
An interesting comparision, however, is with Britain — which DOES clearly jail people for speech. A couple of years ago, for instance Simon Sheppard got 4 years jail for holocaust denial. He was jailed simply for what he said on his website.
What Britain and Russia class as unacceptable differs but it seems to me that these days you get a worse deal in Britain than you do in Russia when it comes to disagreeing with the ruling class.
America’s Leftist elite is severely inconvenienced by the 1st Amendment but, without that, I have little doubt that they would be as punitive as Britain. I think their all-out attack on Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A shows that. They have attacked him in every way they legally can. They haven’t got him thrown into a mental hospital yet but give them time.