‘A dog would have been treated better’: Daughter’s heartbreak over father’s death after he was put on Death Pathway without family’s permission

A woman has spoken of her heartbreak after her father died – she believes after being put on Liverpool Care Pathway.

Arthur Oszek, 86, was admitted to Ayr General Hospital hospital after a fall. But for several days Mr Oszek, a diabetic, had his food, drink and some of his medication removed, his stepdaughter claims.

Ann Murdoch was told her father had been put on the Liverpool Care Pathway – a withdrawal of food and fluids – in a bid to let his body focus on medication to make his final days as comfortable as possible.

But Ms Murdoch, 65, was furious that doctors hadn’t asked for permission to put him on the pathway and demanded he be taken off it. After 20 hours of discussions, doctors agreed to restore his food and drink. But by then it was too late and his body gave up the fight, his feet turning back. He died just 17 hours later on August 25 last year.

Ms Murdoch said it took her months to come to terms with her father’s loss and it was only when she heard of similar cases where people were put on the Liverpool Care Pathway without consent that she felt she couldn’t hold back her anger any more.

Last month a major review was announced into the Liverpool Care Pathway, by the Association for Palliative Medicine. The group, which represents 1,000 doctors who work in hospices and specialist hospital wards, will ‘identify and explore concerns’ over the system of caring for patients in their final days.

The review comes as several families have said their loved ones were put on the pathway without their consent.

Speaking from her home in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Ms Murdoch claimed NHS doctors had robbed her father’s right to live. The retired shop manageress said: ‘It was dreadful, he was taken into the hospital because he had a couple of falls and at first he was put on the drip. ‘But then after a number of days he was suddenly taken off it and he was just begging for a drink, saying “I’m so thirsty”.’

‘We asked the doctors why he was taken off his drip and we were told he was on the Liverpool Care Pathway. ‘We didn’t even know what is was, there’s no way that should have happened without asking us. ‘We kicked up a fuss and demanded he be put back on his medication, and eventually they agreed about 20 hours later.’

Ms Murdoch added: ‘He was left dying there for 17 hours until the inevitable happened. No one should have to see their loved one needlessly die like that in front of them.

‘You wouldn’t even make a dog die like that, he was just left to die on his own – none of the doctors came in to check on his condition, in the end we were dabbing a damp cloth over his cracked lips.

She said: ‘Our dad wanted to live, the nurse even said “you want to live, don’t you Arthur”, but the doctors denied him that right.

‘We don’t want anyone else to suffer what we have suffered. My father was a character and a very caring person, he looked after my mother in her final years when she had cancer – he didn’t deserve what happened to him. ‘He was on a lot of medication, but he was living at home, he was able to look after himself with the aid of a care worker from the council. ‘He was fully aware of what was going on around him and he was happy. He should have lived a lot longer.’

Mandy Yule, Director of Integrated Care and Partner Services at NHS Ayrshire and Arran said although they could not comment Mr Oszek’s case until an official complaint was received from his family, she insisted they always consult families before proceeding with the Liverpool Care Pathway.


Is the NHS doing enough to protect patients from rogue surgeons?

Carole Johnson used to regard herself as one of the lucky ones. True, she’d been ‘shattered’ to develop breast cancer not once, but seven times over a decade. But each time she found a new lump, Carole had her rock: the breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson.

Each time Mr Paterson diagnosed another tumour, he was able to arrange her speedy admission to hospital so he could perform a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous tissue.

‘Of course, having surgery so many times was exhausting,’ says Carole, 60, who runs a busy pub in Yardley, Birmingham, with her husband Barry and their three adult children. ‘It terrified my family and left my breasts covered in scars. ‘Each time, it took me weeks, sometimes months, before I was well enough to work again.

‘But it made all the difference that Mr Paterson was always there for me. ‘He really cared about me. Or so I thought.’

Two weeks ago, though, Carole got the worst shock of her life. Far from being a cancer survivor, she discovered that she’d never actually had cancer.

Astonishingly, she was one of 450 healthy women on whom Mr Paterson had carried out surgery they didn’t need.

The surgeon — widely seen as charming and charismatic — had also performed unorthodox partial mastectomies on a further 700 women.

Known as ‘cleavage sparing mastectomy’, this procedure, which leaves breast tissue around the central chest area, was invented by Mr Paterson and has never been properly tested.

The technique breaches national guidelines which state that leaving excess tissue could increase the risk of the cancer returning.

In fact, the medical review carried out on every woman Mr Paterson performed the procedure on has identified a number of cases where this has already happened.

On October 29 — just four days after Carole Johnson heard the truth about her ‘lovely’ surgeon — Mr Paterson’s 28-year career in NHS and private hospitals across the Midlands came to an abrupt halt when he was suspended from practising medicine by the General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulatory body.

He now faces a disciplinary inquiry, as well as a possible criminal investigation.

The question is why it took so long for Mr Paterson to be stopped.

It now appears that the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust he worked for was aware of the problems associated with his procedure back in 2003, with further concerns reported in 2007.

Yet Mr Paterson was still operating on women until July 2011, when he was ordered to stop breast cancer surgery by the GMC, though he was still permitted to see patients.

It was only at this point that the patients themselves were invited to have their cases reviewed.

Initially deeply hurt by the revelations about her surgeon, Carole’s feelings soon turned to anger that he could be allowed to deliver substandard care to so many women for so long.

‘Why weren’t we told? she asks. ‘Why did I have to find out the hard way through seven operations?’ ….

The fundamental flaw in the system is that it depends crucially on other health professionals speaking out about their colleagues.

‘Safe surgery relies on a culture where members of the multi-disciplinary team accept their professional obligation to voice concerns,’ says Professor Charles Vincent, co-director of the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality.

‘Unfortunately, such a culture can be strongly resisted — especially in an environment where there is a rigid professional hierarchy, or where senior professionals, such as surgeons, are motivated above all by professional pride.’

Basically, staff are unwilling to speak out against fellow medics.

Indeed, a recent survey by the Royal College of Nursing found that more than eight in ten nurses said they would fear personal reprisals or an effect on their career if they blew the whistle on colleagues.

‘For patients to be protected, whistle blowers have to be fully supported, and feel confident that if they raise concerns then something will be done about them,’ says Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College.

‘The survey suggests that clearly isn’t happening.’

Even when health professionals do speak out, hospital trusts are often unwilling to listen, according to GP and Private Eye columnist Dr Phil Hammond, who first reported the Bristol babies scandal in 1992, long before it was finally investigated.

‘I’ve seen so many cases over the years where professional colleagues have raised concerns repeatedly over a long period, but the hospital or trust has not investigated the concerns or taken action to protect patients from avoidable harm.’

He believes the same culture of denial that bedeviled Bristol has led to numerous similar incidents, including the deaths of up to 1,200 patients due to substandard care at two hospitals in Mid-Staffordshire between 2005 and 2009.

‘My guess,’ he says, ‘is that this is what has happened with Mr Paterson.’

Indeed, it appears that in 2003 and 2007 medical colleagues did raise concerns about the cleavage-sparing mastectomies carried out by Mr Paterson at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Good Hope Hospital in the Midlands.

However, the Trust appears to have been shamefully reluctant to act — as Ann Butler, 71, a former teacher from Shirley in the West Midlands has discovered.

She was given the breast-conserving surgery in 2001, even though she said she wanted to have a full mastectomy. In February 2011, she was asked to attend the outpatients department and told about the problems with Mr Paterson.

‘A breast cancer nurse told me then that a cancer specialist had raised concerns about the procedure back in 2003, and an investigation into Mr Paterson’s clinical performance was carried out in 2004.’


Britain powerless to stop tens of thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians moving to UK next year

Britain is powerless to stop tens of thousands of Eastern European immigrants from coming to live in Britain from next year, Theresa May has admitted.

Five year old quotas limiting the number of people from Bulgaria and Romania who can move to live in Britain are due to expire in just over 12 months’ time.

This will give 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians the right to live and work unrestricted in Britain in 2014 under European “freedom of movement” rules.

In an interview on BBC1, the Home Secretary said Britain would not be able to extend the so-called “transitional arrangements” to limit the expected influx.

Mrs May hinted that Britain might try to deny them benefits and access to the National Health Service to put them off from coming.

She told the Andrew Marr programme: “There are no further transitional controls that we can put on – the transitional controls end in December 2013.

“But that’s where the importance of looking at some of the issues about what it is that is attracting people to come here, in terms of things like our benefits system and access to the health service, is so important.”

The sudden influx could mean that the Coalition struggles to hit its target of cutting net migration – the difference between the numbers arriving and leaving – to tens of thousands by the next general election, expected in 2015.

Mrs May added that as part of a general review of free movement across the UK she will be looking at the attractions of why Romanians and Bulgarians wanted to settle in the UK.

This could lead to Bulgarians and Romanians being denied benefits or use of the health service if they came to live in the UK. However any attempt to deny benefits to European Union citizens in Britain will almost certainly be open to legal challenge in the courts.

She said: “I will be looking at what we call the pull factors, what is it that attracts people sometimes to come over here to the United Kingdom, so looking at issues about benefits, and access to the health service, and things like that.

“And then we’re doing a wider piece of work across matters relating to Europe more generally but including free movement about that balance of powers between us and the EU.”

The citizens of Romania and Bulgaria currently have restricted rights to come to Britain since they joined the European Union in 2007, but those limits end on 31 December 2013, opening the way for them to move freely.

Forecasters have said the removal of the restrictions could lead to a significant number of new arrivals, in the same way as when Poland and other Eastern European countries gained the same rights in 2004, with the scale likely to be increased by the economic crisis gripping the rest of Europe.

The Home Office has made no official predictions of how many more Bulgarians and Romanians will seek to enter Britain when the current limitations end, and argues that most who want to come have probably arrived already, finding work on the black market if they cannot work legally.

However, critics believe that the Government’s reluctance to issue predictions is because it grossly underestimated the numbers that came in the previous wave of migration in 2004, when citizens from eight new eastern European EU members, including Poland, were given full access to the UK job market.


Football fans need free speech, too

A man has been jailed for singing a song that mocks a religious leader, yet liberty campaigners have said nothing

Imagine the scene: a young man is led away in handcuffs to begin a prison sentence as his mother is left crying in the courtroom. He is 19 years old, has a good job, has no previous convictions, and has never been in trouble before. These facts cut no ice with the judge, however, as the crime is judged so heinous that only a custodial sentence is deemed appropriate. The young man in question was found guilty of singing a song that mocked and ridiculed a religious leader and his followers.

So where might this shocking story originate? Was it Iran? Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan? Perhaps it was Russia, a variation of the Pussy Riot saga, without the worldwide publicity? No, the country in question is Scotland and the young man is a Rangers fan. He joined in with hundreds of his fellow football fans in singing ‘offensive songs’ which referred to the pope and the Vatican and called Celtic fans ‘Fenian bastards’.

Such songs are part and parcel of the time-honoured tradition of Rangers supporters. And I have yet to meet a Celtic fan who has been caused any harm or suffering by such colourful lyrics. Yet in sentencing Connor McGhie to three months in a young offenders’ institution, the judge stated that ‘the extent of the hatred [McGhie] showed took my breath away’. He went on: ‘Anybody who participates in this disgusting language must be stopped.’

Several things strike me about this court case. For a start, if Rangers fans singing rude songs about their arch rivals Celtic shocks this judge to the core, I can only assume he does not get out very much or knows little of life in Scotland. Not that his ignorance of football culture is a surprise – the chattering classes have always viewed football-related banter with contempt. But what is new about the current climate is that in Scotland, the middle-class distaste for the behaviour of football fans has become enshrined in law.

This new illiberal climate has created a situation where football supporters are increasingly viewed as a public-order incident waiting to happen. Tragically, young fans like Connor McGhie are now fair game because those in powerful positions don’t like what they sing. They have been demonised and criminalised for many years, a trend which reached its logical conclusion last year with the introduction by the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Act, which made it a criminal offence to shout or sing offensive slogans. The consequence is that to be a Celtic or Rangers fan today is to be watched over, regulated, censored and generally treated like a threat to society. There is no discrimination towards different groups of fans – all are treated equally badly. It was this time last year that I wrote on spiked about a dawn raid on the home of a 17-year-old Celtic fan, who was remanded in custody for allegedly singing a republican song the police objected to. In short, the civil liberties of Celtic and Rangers fans alike are now fair game to be trampled on.

What is also noticeable about the imprisonment of McGhie for singing songs is the response of civil-liberties activists and religious-freedom campaigners. Or rather, the lack of response. There has been complete silence. Where are all those who protested vehemently against the detention of Pussy Riot for making similarly profane statements in a Russian cathedral? Where are all those newspaper editorials howling in rage against the incarceration of this young Rangers fan? Perhaps if he stormed into St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow, the spiritual headquarters of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and hurled obscenities at worshippers, he would attract more support.

The other thing that strikes me is how anti-Catholic prejudice seems to be tolerated when it comes from our ‘national treasures’, like Stephen Fry or Richard Dawkins, but not when it comes out of the mouths of football fans. When the pope visited Britain two years ago, liberal campaigners lined up to accuse him of everything from hatred of women to paedophilia. To my knowledge, none of these words were deemed offensive enough to the UK’s Catholic community to prompt arrests or detentions, yet when a Rangers fan shouts of his hatred for the pope, that fan is locked up.

Tolerance, it seems, exists for those safely ensconced in polite society but not for Rangers or Celtic supporters, the great majority of whom are just ordinary working-class guys who love their team and enjoy expressing their passion for 90 minutes a week. True, they are not observing polite dinner-party etiquette when at a football match, and those of a more delicate nature should perhaps avoid Celtic or Rangers games. But part of the ritual of supporting a team is to wind up your rivals and, for some, this involves being raucous and boorish and hurling the occasional insult.

At the time of writing, Connor McGhie has been released on bail pending an appeal. Young men like him need and deserve the support of people who claim to care about free speech and civil liberties. This support should not be reserved for nice, respectable people, and withheld from those deemed less respectable. Despite my fanatical support for Celtic and my deep loathing for Rangers, there are things that cut through football rivalry. The right to shout the slogans we choose during the game is one of them.


Farewell to our warrior nation

Max Hastings on the decline of Britain

The Government is making huge cuts to the Army, Royal Navy and RAF in the mistaken belief that they no longer matter

Thirty years ago, I tramped across a soggy South Atlantic wilderness among 15,000 Royal Marines, paratroopers, Guardsmen and Gurkhas who fought that most surreal of campaigns, the 1982 Falklands war.

It was obvious at the time that Margaret Thatcher’s South Atlantic adventure was a last imperial hurrah. But none of us would then have guessed that today, not merely the ships and planes, but the very Armed Forces which fought the war, would be on their way to the scrapyard. Soldiers are being made redundant. I do not mean merely those thousands of men and women who have lately been handed P45s as part of the Coalition Government’s defence cuts. Britain’s entire Armed Forces are shrinking towards a point where, like Alice’s cat, soon only the smile will be left.

This represents a big cultural change. Yet despite all the public’s enthusiasm for supporting soldiers through such charities as Help for Heroes, there is no sign that they have noticed the draconian implications of the defence cuts – or if they have, that they much care. Amid disillusionment following perceived military failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British people have lost enthusiasm for our traditional role as a warrior nation.

David Cameron’s Government is cutting the regular Army to its lowest manpower strength for centuries: 82,000. When the downsizing is complete, more than 20 per cent of our soldiers will have gone. I must confess that I am profoundly sceptical whether it will prove possible to recruit the 30,000 reservists the Defence Secretary promised this week.

Soon, we shall be capable of deploying only a single battlegroup of 7,000-8,000 men for sustained operations overseas. Compare this tiny force to the 35,000 troops deployed in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles in the 1970s, or the 30,000 military personnel sent to the First Gulf War in 1991.

The message is plain: Britain has neither the means nor the will any longer to sustain a capability to commit large troop numbers abroad, in support of the national interest. The historic vision of the redcoat – holding the line at Blenheim, Waterloo, Balaclava; defending Rorke’s Drift for that peerless movie Zulu; fighting to victory in two world wars and countless colonial ”brushfire” campaigns – is to be laid to rest.

This momentous decision, with all that it means for our culture and heritage, has been a long time coming. And it raises an important question: what are soldiers for in the 21st century?

For thousands of years, nations required armies to defend their own territories and conquer those of others. From the 18th century, most of our military effort was deployed to secure our burgeoning empire. The public in those days did not love its soldiers as it did its sailors. Everybody knew that Britain recruited its warriors from the dross of society, men incapable of finding any other route to a living than to ”take the King’s Shilling”. The Army preserved some respectability chiefly because the aristocracy liked fighting, and sent its younger sons to serve. Lords and honourables were often bereft of brains and unfit for their commands, as Wellington complained. But somehow a raw, brutal, bovine courage common to the leaders and the led, together with a few bright officers, enabled the relatively small regular army to achieve some remarkable things.

The First World War brought a huge expansion of the Army, first by volunteers, latterly by conscription. The same happened in 1939-45, when once again millions of young citizens experienced military life. Even when peace came, the Cold War and residual empire commitments sustained into the 1950s an Army of 750,000. Then, however, it was decided that conscription was more trouble and expense than it was worth. Though a minority of young men fought, most peeled potatoes or blancoed puttees at Aldershot or Rheindahlen. They learnt little that was useful, and the professionals had to devote most of their energies to training them.

The Army that followed in the 1960s and 1970s, volunteers to a man, became the best this country has ever had. But the end of the Cold War brought another radical upheaval. Inevitably, the government seized the opportunity to save money by cutting the Armed Forces. The Royal Navy secured a temporary reprieve thanks to the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falklands. A short, sharp, decisive war enabled the British to show off their superiority over a third-class enemy. The prestige of all the services soared, and victory earned Margaret Thatcher her reputation as a warrior prime minister.

But she soon resumed her pursuit of a ”peace dividend”. Rhine Army’s resources and training budgets were cut savagely. For the First Gulf War in 1992, it proved necessary to cannibalise the Army’s entire armoured vehicle inventory in Germany to deploy a single weak division in the desert.

The Army was deeply apprehensive about its future when Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997. As far as action went, it need not have been.

New Labour’s prime minister put British troops in harm’s way, in pursuit of his supposed ”moral foreign policy”, more often than any other modern national leader including Mrs Thatcher. There was one important difficulty, however. While Blair was eager to use force to do good deeds in the world, he never wanted to pay the bills. In Iraq and later Afghanistan, British forces found themselves pursuing hugely ambitious objectives with wholly inadequate resources, and humiliatingly dependent on the Americans for equipment.

In the Blair era the Army shrank below 100,000 men, yet again and again accepted tasks that were properly beyond its means. The generals’ traditional ”can do” spirit contributed to grievous embarrassments and failures in Basra and Helmand province. They should have said ”no” more often.

Today the public still embraces our Army – but as victims, lambs to the slaughter like the Light Brigade at Balaclava. Such an attitude greatly dismays thoughtful soldiers. They know that the Army has lost much of the prestige won by victories of the Falklands era, and the political clout it could wield when most politicians had served in uniform. David Cameron’s Coalition sees only that it needs to save money, and soldiers are expensive.

It costs about $2 million a year to keep each American in Afghanistan. Manpower costs account for 40 per cent of Britain’s defence spend. The Government is determined to fight no more foreign ground wars, once we escape from Helmand.

This hope or expectation is almost certainly unrealistic. Events have a way of taking charge. Who knows where Cameron, or his successors, may discern a ”moral imperative”, as he did in Libya and chafes also to do in Syria? Downing Street argues that air power and special forces can do the business, without having to commit thousands of troops. Technology may be expensive, but it seems to the politicians to deliver a bigger bang for their buck.

Yet ”boots on the ground” offer flexibility and a disciplined and available national resource such as no other institution in the land can match. In 2012, the Government would have faced huge embarrassment had it not been able, at a month’s notice, to deploy 3,000 soldiers for security at the London Olympics. After 2015, however, there will be pitifully few men for Olympic security or anything else.

Defence policy should always be rational, so no sensible person will lament the passing of Britain’s redcoat tradition merely as a matter of sentiment. But I believe that our national interest and security will suffer from the drastic shrinkage of the Armed Forces. In future, we shall retain – at vast cost – a capacity to pulverise an identified foreign enemy with Trident nuclear missiles, though it is hard to conceive any credible scenario in which we would use them. We shall still have special forces, capable of storming buildings and fighting terrorists. But we shall have lost immense and important capability between the two.

When millions of people put on their Remembrance poppies tomorrow, they will commemorate not only the dead of our past wars, but the looming recession into history of the Armed Forces which have done so much to define our national culture. The politicians are consigning Britain’s Army, Navy and RAF to the margin of national experience. As a matter of policy rather than sentiment, this seems a grievous error.


British universities paying £10,000 to sign up bright students

Bright students are being offered financial incentives worth up to £10,000 to study at “lower-ranked” universities amid a scramble to fill undergraduate places, the Telegraph has learnt.

Dozens of institutions outside the academic elite are making lucrative offers to applicants with the best A-level grades, irrespective of their household income, it emerged.

The awards – for students starting degrees in 2013 – normally include substantial discounts on tuition fees or cash contributions towards living costs.

Some universities are offering applicants guaranteed places in halls of residence and even free laptops or membership of sports clubs.

Institutions offering deals include Aston, Bournemouth, Brunel, Coventry, De Montfort, Edge Hill, Essex, Gloucestershire, Kent, Leicester, Northumbria, Roehampton, the Royal Agricultural College, Salford, Surrey and Wolverhampton.

City University London is offering awards of between £3,000 and £9,000 over three years depending on students’ A-level grades and chosen undergraduate course.

Newman University College in Birmingham said it was offering £10,000 for all students who achieve three B grades or better in their A-levels.

Newcastle University’s school of electrical and electronic engineering offers scholarships of up to £2,000-a-year plus a laptop, while Surrey University promises a £3,000 cash award alongside free sports club membership to students with straight As.

In most cases, these scholarships are not means-tested but depend on students naming particular universities as their “firm choice” on UCAS application forms.

The disclosure appears to underline the lengths universities are being forced to go to in an attempt to fill places following a backlash over the near tripling of tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000-a-year.

Earlier this month, England’s Higher Education Funding Council found that university finances were under pressure after an “unexpected fall” in admissions rates.

Overall numbers were an average of 2.1 per cent lower than universities’ own forecasts, it emerged. Some 57,000 fewer undergraduates started courses across the country this year.

In a report, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said “lower-ranked” universities were now increasingly likely to use cash incentives to attract students.

“Support for high-achieving students has become more generous across all types of institutions, particularly lower-ranked ones,” it said. “This may be at least partly a response to the new admissions system… It may result in high-achieving students being attracted to lower-ranked universities by the promise of more financial support in the short-term.”

Previously, the number of students recruited by each university was subject to strict Government caps.

But the Coalition has partially lifted controls to allow institutions to take unlimited numbers of students with the best A-level grades. In 2012, they could recruit more undergraduates with AAB grades, while next year the measures extend to those with at least ABB.

The move has triggered intense competition to sign up these students to prevent them being tempted to rival universities.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said high-achieving students were “in demand by universities and there are a wide variety of scholarships and other financial inducements being offered to them.”

“Universities have offered merit-based scholarships for many years, so the concept is not new,” she said, adding that UUK was currently undertaking research into the impact of bursary and scholarship packages on university application trends.

But Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said cash for bright students may come at the expense of means-tested support for the poorest.

“Some universities are now pulling out all the stops to secure students with the highest grades,” she added.

“Students considering university next year should be attracted to the courses that best suit their talents, not by financial incentives.”

But Deborah Streatfield, a London-based careers adviser, doubted that scholarships acted as a significant draw, adding that applicants “intensively study league tables of university rankings and subject ranking and never look at the financial incentives on offer”.


Weak British primaries to become academies (charters)

The Government will improve the 400 weakest primary schools by turning them into academies, the Prime Minister said yesterday.

David Cameron said that by the end of next year he wanted them to be paired with sponsors to turn them into academies as part of the Coalition’s efforts to improve education in the poorest performing schools.

“The driving mission for this Government is to build an aspiration nation, where we unlock and unleash the promise in all our people,” he said. “A first-class education system is absolutely central to that vision.

“We have seen some excellent progress with our reforms, including turning 200 of the worst-performing primary schools into sponsored academies.

“We have seen how academies, with their freedom to innovate, inspire and raise standards are fuelling aspirations. So now we want to go further, faster, with 400 more underperforming primary schools paired up with a sponsor and either open or well on their way to becoming an academy by the end of next year.”

At the last general election, there were 203 academies but they were all secondary schools. There are now 2,456 academies, and a further 823 in the pipeline. Of the new academies, 333 were formerly failing primary or secondary schools.


Could a glass of wine help a woman beat breast cancer? Drink could help survival chances increase by a fifth

The alcohol merrygoround again. Moderate drinkers were probably mainly middle class — thus accounting for the effects observed

A glass of wine a day boosts the survival chances of women with breast cancer by up to a fifth, scientists have found. Those who drink in moderation are more likely to recover from the illness than those who abstain.

But the findings are somewhat unexpected because drinking alcohol is considered to be one of the leading causes of breast cancer among healthy women.

One explanation is that the chemicals in alcohol which damage healthy cells also have the same effect on cancerous cells.

There are currently no specific guidelines for breast cancer patients on alcohol consumption, but healthy women are advised to drink no more than 14 units a week. Many women with cancer stop drinking in the hope it will boost the success of their treatment.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at 13,525 women with breast cancer for an average of seven years, making it the largest study of its kind.

They recorded the average weekly alcohol intake for each patient as well as their body mass index. Women who drank seven units a week – three and a half small glasses of wine – were 10 per cent more likely to survive than those who had nothing.

The odds increased to 20 per cent if women drank 14 units a week. Dr Paul Pharoah, of the university’s Department of Oncology, said: ‘What our study says is that it is reasonable, if you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol.’

Although drinking alcohol seems to make a big difference to women’s survival odds, the scientists pointed out that the overall change was small.

This was because there were many other factors affecting the success of treatment including how early the illness was diagnosed, the woman’s age and the particular type of breast cancer.

Experts commenting on the study also pointed out that alcohol was only beneficial once a woman had been diagnosed with breast cancer.


18 year old girls must not look sexy in Britain?

A TV advert showing a teenager posing provocatively in skimpy school uniform has prompted a barrage of complaints from parents. Advertising watchdogs said the 30-second commercial for Kingsmill fruit and fibre bread had triggered claims that it ‘sexualises children’.

The advert shows a schoolgirl in the kitchen at breakfast. Her younger brother then relays a warning from their father: ‘If you think you’re going to school in that skirt, you can think again.’

The girl, played by actress Tara Berwin, responds by defiantly hitching up her mid-thigh length skirt to strike a provocative pose.

One outraged viewer wrote on a web forum: ‘Perhaps it’s because paedophilia is very much in the public consciousness at the moment but shouldn’t this be illegal? Nearly seeing up the skirt of a minor?’

The advert featuring 18-year-old Ms Berwin and nine-year-old Lewis Hardaker is the latest in a £4 million campaign to promote Kingsmill bread.

But criticism of the advert, which was uploaded to YouTube, prompted a response from Ms Berwin. She said: ‘There’s no need to patronise me, I haven’t done anything wrong.’

A Kingsmill spokesman said: ‘It captures the playful interactions that are typical of day-to-day family life and demonstrates our understanding of modern families and their needs.’
He added that the advert was cleared for broadcast by the appropriate industry body.


Video at link. A mountain made out of a very small molehill, I think.


About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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