‘Don’t go to Emergency Room unless you are dying’ say NHS Suffolk
Getting so see a GP in Britain is easier said than done and many non-fatal conditions are very painful (e.g. urinary tract infections) so this is very oppressive advice
Health chiefs have told patients not to visit hospital Accident and Emergency departments over the Bank Holiday weekend unless they are dying. NHS Suffolk says people should bother A&E doctors only if they believe their ailment has life-threatening consequences.
The primary care trust, which cares for 600,000 people, urged residents suffering from non-fatal complaints, including urinary infections and long-term back problems, to contact a pharmacist or GP and ensure their medicine cupboards were ‘well stocked’.
NHS Suffolk said on its website: ‘Do you seriously think you’re dying? If the answer is no, then it’s likely you shouldn’t be at A&E. ‘Ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend, NHS Suffolk is reminding people that the A&E department of their local hospital is only a place to go for emergencies that could have life-threatening consequences.’
The Patients Association said: ‘This is a concerning approach – the vast majority of people would only consider visiting an A&E department because they felt the illness or injury was sufficiently serious.’
Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne said: ‘People should ignore this. The clue is in the name – Accident and Emergency. If you have had a serious accident ….. go to A&E.’
The news comes after the NHS suffered deep financial cuts, which led to the closure of several A&E departments earlier this year.
NHS foundations trusts, a marker of excellence in the NHS, have told the regulator Monitor they are coming under ‘increasing pressure’ to meet accident and emergency waiting times and referral to treatment targets.
The report, based on the annual plans of individual trusts, found that around one in three trusts are predicting a decline in their financial risk rating in the next year.
The hospitals which face the greatest monetary troubles are small and medium-sized district general hospitals and trusts with large private finance initiatives (PFIs), Monitor said.
A masked man on a motorbike and my chilling brush with Surveillance Britain
Official Britain criminalizes ordinary people rather than bother with real criminals
The man on the motorbike seemed to come from nowhere. One minute I was loading my car at the start of a bank holiday weekend, the next I was being photographed by a sinister figure in black who looked like a vigilante.
At first I thought he was wearing a balaclava beneath his motorcycle helmet, but it turned out that he had a scarf wrapped around his face, leaving just a slit for his eyes.
He didn’t engage in conversation. He simply took out a digital camera and snapped a photo of my car, which I had pulled out of its space further down the road, and — as there was a neighbour’s car outside my house — had parked half-overlapping her car and half-overlapping an empty motorcycle bay, so that I could load my suitcases.
Apparently this was an offence. The fine I received in the post a few days later was for ‘obstructing the street’, even though the street was deserted.
When I rang my local council to complain, a jobsworth told me that if someone had been taken ill and an ambulance had arrived at that moment it might not have been able to pass by at speed and they could have died.
I told them to get a grip. You could have got two buses through the space. They didn’t care. I had been caught double-parked outside my own house, in an empty street, on a bank holiday for a minute-and-a-half — and they were going to throw the book at me.
Welcome to Surveillance Britain.
Yesterday, a report revealed just how much our freedoms are being trampled on by local councils and their new-found love of covert methods.
Town halls have launched an astonishing 9,600 spying missions on the public in the past three years, using laws meant for investigating terror suspects.
A total of 345 councils have used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 9,607 times since 2009 — the equivalent of around nine spying missions a day.
Some 26 local authorities have used it to spy on dog owners suspected of letting their animals foul pavements. A further seven have used the powers to investigate suspected breaches of the smoking ban.
Suffolk County Council conducted a ‘test purchase of dating agency services’. Another council investigated a fraudulent escort agency.
Why? What business is it of the local council if men are losing money to shady pseudo-prostitution services who take their credit card details over the phone and then don’t send the girl? Surely that is their own look-out.
The report, A Legacy Of Surveillance: Calling Time On The Grim RIPA, is by the excellent think-tank Big Brother Watch. All those who are worried about the erosion of civil liberties in this country should read it. Look up your local council and see what they have been up to.
You might find that householders who put their bins out at the wrong time in your neighbourhood are being spied on.
This is a breathtaking outrage, not least because the Government has repeatedly made it clear to local authorities that they do not have the right to fine people for minor misdemeanours to do with household rubbish disposal.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has even written to councils to tell them to refrain from imposing refuse fines for infringements such as putting wheelie bins in the wrong position, because the fines are not legal.
However, far from setting an example by upholding the law themselves, councils continue to try it on, hoping that we do not know our rights and that we will pay them their pettifogging fixed penalties.
Those putting out their rubbish too early are being caught by motion-activated cameras on lamp-posts and even hidden inside tin cans, if you please.
Were the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau writing today, his famous quote would read: ‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is on CCTV.’
A culture of snooping is developing that goes beyond even the use of RIPA, which the Government, to its credit, is trying to crack down on by requiring councils to apply for court orders before they can use it.
In Lambeth, south London, where I live, there were only two RIPA uses last year, for investigating the misuse of disabled blue badges. But an insidious atmosphere of surveillance prevails, aimed at petty offences.
Parking wardens no longer wear uniforms, but zoom around on little motorbikes wearing plain clothes so you can’t see them coming.
Meanwhile, the following is a list of the bylaws on a warning notice at my local park:
‘Keep your dog under control’; ‘Pick up your dog’s mess’ ‘Cycle only on marked cycle routes’; ‘Put your litter in a bin or take it home with you’; ‘Be courteous to other park users’; ‘Do not allow your dog to harm or disturb wildlife’ (This includes squirrels, which are technically vermin, but the council will still prosecute you if your dog catches one); ‘Do not allow your dog to enter the lake’; ‘Do not use barbecues’; ‘Do not pick flowers or damage trees or plants.’
A lot of these are pretty subjective. Walking on grassland invariably results in some sort of plant being damaged. And the faded cycle markings on the paths are virtually impossible to follow correctly.
Part of the reason for all this moralising from councils is a desire to control, of course. Catching a squirrel-botherer or sticking a tag saying ‘Contamination!’ on a garden waste sack when there is a small piece of cellophane inside it — as happened to me — no doubt gives the town hall bureaucrats immense job satisfaction.
But there is a deeper, more malevolent reason, too. One has to ask why, if the authorities can use this technology to patrol wheelie bin placement, they cannot use it to catch street gangs in the midst of burglaries, or dealing drugs on estates.
Could it be because householders pushing their bin out too early, or dog walkers in Hunter wellies who have allowed their spaniel to chase a water rat are sitting ducks to be tapped for money?
Gang members take months to put through the courts and, even if convicted, rarely cough up when served with a fine.
This would explain why even Tory councils are guilty of using RIPA, because it really isn’t about ideology — which would surely see Conservative-led authorities shun such Soviet measures — but about what the budgets require.
Hard-pressed local authorities know which side their bread is buttered. There is simply no money in chasing the real trouble-makers. And so, as the criminals go unpunished, the hapless, law-abiding folks who always pay are the subject of an increasingly merciless assault on their civil liberties.
While there are obvious exceptions — no one who complains about benefit fraud can object to JobCentre Plus making use of surveillance 34,093 times between 2009 and 2012 to catch out benefit cheats — most of these fines have nothing to do with maintaining safety and propriety.
If Lambeth was really concerned about me being dangerously double-parked, for example, then a parking warden should ask me to move on, not photograph my car before driving off, leaving me still ‘blocking’ the road.
Councils refer to their spies as ‘covert human intelligence sources’. In many cases they are council employees — dog wardens, parking attendants or trading standards officials — but they can also be schoolchildren, recruited to go undercover to test for the under-age sale of alcohol or cigarettes.
A few months ago, a leaflet came through my door asking me to be a neighbourhood warden. This turned out to involve snooping on my neighbours and reporting them for littering and other minor offences. No thank you.
Presumably, though, there are residents doing this, patrolling the streets, telling tales to the authorities about undesirable behaviour.
How long, therefore, before we start being fined by Big Brother not just for doing the wrong thing, but for saying the wrong thing?
For cracking what is deemed to be a bad taste joke, perhaps, as we walk down the street with a friend, or on our mobile phone, thinking we are having a private conversation?
Not very long, if we carry on like this.
Britain’s House of Lords Resists Global Warming Policies, Promotes Free Trade With China
Suddenly, Great Britain’s House of Lords is back in style and that’s good news for the free market. Some of the more forceful critics of anti-energy, global warming policy proposals are finding expression in the elite unelected chamber. There is Lord Christopher Monckton, a former member of the Conservative Party, who has repeatedly challenged former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore to debate the science behind the idea of man-made global warming; thus far to no avail.
Someone else who has been in the news recently is Lord Nigel Lawson, a former UK chancellor, who champions free trade over environmental restrictions. He is particularly critical of Europeans who have worked to erect trade barriers against China.
“It is wrong in two ways,” Lawson told ChinaDaily.com “It is wrong morally because it is asking them to slow their development down. It is also wrong in practical terms because it is quite clear they are not going to do it.”
Lawson, who authored “An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming,” has been on the receiving end of intense criticism from environmentalists for taking on the scientific establishment. But Lawson is convinced he has the upper hand on the economics and on key moral questions. He is far from alone. A growing number of geologists, physicists and astronomers now question the premise of man-made global warming theories. Freeman Dyson, a British-American physicist at Princeton University, who was born in Britain, backs Lawson’s arguments.
While carbon dioxide has been vilified in a series a reports from the United Nations, and by an all too compliant media, its impact on warming cycles is far from certain, Lawson informs critics. Unfortunately for him both major parties in Britain have embraced alarmist positions on climate.
This point was not lost on Vice-President Gore when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in July 2008. There is no argument between the two major parties in Great Britain over the scientific evidence, Gore told committee members at the time. Although they are “competing vigorously” with one another, they are vying to see which party can offer the “most creative and meaningful” solution to the “climate crisis.”
When he was running for office, Prime Minister David Cameron didn’t exactly distance himself from the green energy restrictions that are at the heart of modern environmentalism. In the aftermath of the “climategate” scandal implicating the University of East Anglia, green initiatives are suddenly less of a priority from Cameron and the Tories. They have pulled back on unsound policies, but for purely political reasons.
That’s where the House of Lords is still valuable. While the political class was racing ahead with “cap and trade” schemes that were economically unsound, and as it turns out, greatly detached from scientific findings, it was in the House of Lords where skeptics found expression.
The Lord has lost power since the beginning of the 20th Century, but it still plays a valuable role. Under former Prime Minister Tony Blair, legislative changes removed all but 92 of the 750 hereditary peers. This means it is no longer possible to become a peer by family pedigree. However, Blair’s government fell short of converting the Lords into an elected body like the U.S. Senate; this for the good.
In early American Republic, each state selected two U.S. Senators, who in effect, served as ambassadors to the national government in Washington D.C., where they safeguarded local interests. But after progressivism interceded, the 17th amendment was adopted on May 13, 1913. From that point forward, U.S. Senators were elected and not appointed. Almost overnight, they went from being careful custodians of states’ rights to agents of the federal government. The end result was a rapid expansion of federal power.
Since the House of Lords remains a fully appointed, unelected body, it is in position to resist popular trends and fashionable ideas that do not hold up under careful scrutiny; like the concept of man-made global warming, which has been largely discredited by updated research.
Just as man-made global warming has been pilloried in the House of Lords, protectionist policies against Chinese produced goods have also come under fire.
Lawson has told colleagues that free trade with China should be encouraged and not criticized. Arguing that the country’s rising economic power will boost living standard for vulnerable populations.
“It [China’s growing economy] means the world is a much more competitive place, but on the whole it is an excellent thing,” he said. “It has taken millions of people out of poverty and provides a huge market for exports.”
This is the refreshing kind of free market discussion that has largely gone missing in elected bodies in Europe and America. Hopefully, the honest debate in the House of Lords will spread across the pond.
British junior high School results: furious backlash as pass rate slumps
It’s going to be like getting addicts of drugs to wean some Britons off soft marking
GCSE results fell for the first time in the exam’s 24-year history on Thursday, prompting a furious backlash from teachers, who claimed that grades had been deliberately suppressed.
Up to 10,000 pupils are believed to have missed out on C grades in English — considered a good pass — as results registered their only annual decline since 1988.
Head teachers, local authorities and union leaders said grade boundaries had been “very substantially” raised at the last minute.
Many schools could now face closure or takeover for failing to hit key GCSE targets.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, moved to defuse the row yesterday, insisting that exam boards had operated “entirely free” from political pressure.
He also appeared to welcome the drop in grades, adding: “You cannot have a situation where exam passes continue rising forever and ever without … grades either falling or steadying.”
Business leaders also said results registered this summer were “now more reflective of the ability of those taking the exams”.
In all, it is believed that pass marks in English had been raised by as much as 10 per cent for some GCSE papers this summer compared with assessments taken in January.
Sources said this was because grade boundaries set at the start of the year were too lenient — risking grade inflation.
As more than 650,000 schoolchildren in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their results, it emerged that:
* The proportion of test papers marked at least A fell by 0.8 percentage points to 22.4 per cent — the first annual drop on record.
* Fewer GCSE papers were marked C for the first time, with marks down by 0.4 percentage points to 69.4 per cent.
* The proportion of C grades in science dropped sharply from 62.9 to 60.7 per cent after Ofqual, the qualifications watchdog, ordered a toughening up of test specifications.
* More pupils opted to study traditional academic subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, history and geography following a government attack on “Mickey Mouse” qualifications.
* The gender gap at the heart of the exams system widened, with almost three quarters of GCSEs sat by girls graded C or better, compared with less than two thirds of boys’ papers.
The drop in the number of pupils awarded good results in English proved controversial. Nationally, 669,534 sat GCSEs in English language or a joint language and literature paper, but the proportion of C grades dropped from 65.4 last year to 63.9 per cent. It equates to a fall of just over 10,000 on the number of pupils expected to gain good marks.
Brian Lightman, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said his organisation had received complaints from “dozens and dozens” of schools.
“Students who were working at a C level throughout the year, who were told on their assessments that they were in line for a C, have found out today that this is worth a D,” he said. “This means they may not get their places at college and sixth form. It is morally wrong to manipulate exam grades in this way. You are playing with young people’s futures.”
The Welsh Assembly claimed that it raised concerns with Ofqual two weeks ago over the grading of English language GCSEs.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services, which represents local authority officials, called on the Department for Education to carry out an investigation into the marking of English papers.
Tory-controlled Westminster council claimed that the “goalposts had been moved” for pupils halfway through their GCSEs.
Mr Gove said grade inflation was finally being contained after decades of rising pass rates, but insisted that yesterday’s scores were a “result of the independent judgments made by exam boards entirely free from any political pressure”.
He said the decision to change grade boundaries was down to individual exam boards and was “fairly comparable” with previous years.
Between 1988 and 2011, A grades rose almost threefold, while the proportion of Cs increased by more than 60 per cent.
Mr Gove previously warned of the possible scrapping of GCSEs in favour of new qualifications modelled on the old O-level. Yesterday, he said the Government would bring forward proposals for GCSE reform in the autumn, adding: “We want to change them, to improve them.”
John Cridland, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “While the proportion of students attaining an A* to C grade in English and maths has dropped back a little, enhancing the rigour of our examination system will help to improve performance compared with our international competitors.”
Tim Thomas, from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “Whilst employers will be disappointed at the fall in pass rates, businesses may find that grades are now more reflective of the ability of those taking the exams.
“Previous pass rate increases have not always translated into attainment levels seen by businesses and have led to suggestions of grade inflation. “Employers often find that school-leavers lack the numeracy and literacy skills they require, as well as wider employability and communication skills.”
Alan Smithers, professor of education at Buckingham University, said tougher standards were “good news for pupils and their parents”. “The point of GCSEs is to give them an accurate assessment of their capabilities as a guide to future choices,” he said. “Over-generous results could easily give the impression that someone was suited to something when they weren’t.”
But Stephen Twigg, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: “We need to understand why results have fallen in these subjects. Is it because of pressure from Ofqual to shift grade boundaries?
“Concerns have been raised regarding the English GCSE. As well as ensuring standards remain rigorous, we must ensure pupils are treated consistently and fairly.”
The “incorrect” diet that seems to beat fibromyalgia
When I wrote in the Daily Mail about how I’d overcome fibromyalgia, the response from readers was overwhelming. Clearly, many people, like me, have been floored by the condition — and the lack of effective treatment — and were anxious for more details.
Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes fibromyalgia and there’s no cure. Treatments such as painkillers rarely do more than ease the symptoms (characterised by debilitating muscle pain).
Many patients end up giving up work and normal daily life — I longed to retire early from my job as a GP just so I could rest all day.
After two years of misery, my condition was getting worse — but I then came across the theory that fibromyalgia may be linked to oxalates, which are compounds found in ‘healthy’ foods such as fruit, vegetables, salad, nuts and beans.
I cut these out of my diet and overnight my symptoms disappeared — the disabling muscle pains, tingling legs, fatigue and inability to concentrate all went. But if I ate foods rich in oxalates, the symptoms returned within hours.
Why would this be so? Oxalates are a kind of ‘natural’ plant pesticide and if the body doesn’t excrete them properly for some reason, it’s possible they accumulate in the muscles, brain and urinary system, causing a range of problems.
But though this made sense, no one could have been as surprised as me that the low oxalate diet actually helped.
And it really did — I was so happy to function normally again, to be able to run instead of amble, do my housework, carry on working and feel animated again.
I must stress that by no means am I an expert in fibromyalgia — eminent doctors and researchers, such as those behind the Fibromyalgia Association UK, have spent years studying this condition, and done much to support sufferers.
Indeed, the article I wrote was about my personal experiences and those of a small number of my patients.
But I can’t believe we are unique — I’m willing to believe my physiology may be a bit odd, but felt surely there would be others in the same situation……
The important thing to remember is that this approach appears to go against the healthy eating principles you’ve been following for years.
Your fruit and vegetable intake is going to be limited to low oxalate produce, which will likely result in you eating much less than before (though this is no reason not to get your five a day — you just won’t have a wide range of fruit and vegetables to choose from).
Going low oxalate also means avoiding healthy wholewheat products and potatoes.
I’d also recommend avoiding vitamin C supplements — in large doses, this vitamin is metabolised into oxalate.
Some low-oxalate foods, such as sponge cake and shortbread biscuits, are high in sugar, so shouldn’t be eaten to excess.
However, there are plenty of low-oxalate foods that are low in sugar, such as eggs, meat and cheese.