Schoolboy, 13, spends TWO DAYS with pencil stuck in hand after hospital sent him home and made him wait for operation
A thirteen-year-old was left in agony after a hospital sent him home twice with a pencil embedded in his hand.
Robbie Appleby-Socket, of Askern, Doncaster, was larking about with his friends when the six-inch pencil wedged inside his skin, leaving him in severe pain. His mother Emma rushed him to Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s accident and emergency department, where he was told to come back the following day for an operation.
But when the pair returned the next morning, they were told Robbie’s name was not on the list, and the operation would have to be rescheduled for another time.
Desperate Mrs Appleby-Socket was then forced to take her son 20 miles from their home to Pinderfields Hopsital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Doctors there operated immediately and Robbie stayed in hospital for two nights on an antibiotic drip to ensure the injury would not become infected.
Mrs Appleby-Socket said: ‘Robbie was in agony and the pencil was protruding from his hand but the staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary didn’t seem that concerned. ‘You would have thought it was something they could have done straight away but they just left the pencil where it was, put a bandage over it and said he would have to come back. ‘I was concerned because I thought if he knocked his hand the pencil could go even further inside and cause serious injury.
‘I was disgusted at their attitude because I feared he could lose his hand through infection. ‘I was told he would need an operation but they couldn’t do it until the following morning so he was sent home with the pencil still embedded in his hand.
‘The staff didn’t even check the wound. It was only when I asked about infection that they gave us some antibiotics.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when we went back the following day and was sent home again. ‘He needed treatment quickly so I drove straight to Pinderfields Hospital. I told them the story and they couldn’t believe that the pencil had been left in his hand for so long. The staff there were absolutely amazing.’
A spokesman for the Doncaster Royal Infirmary said: ‘Robbie was seen by the A and E team who were concerned and asked an orthopaedic surgeon to assess him. ‘Robbie was then listed for surgery the next morning and sent home with painkillers to rest and fast overnight in preparation.
‘Unfortunately, due to a number of very urgent cases Robbie’s operation was postponed. We apologised and gave him further painkillers and antibiotics. ‘We apologise to Robbie and his family for the fact we could not operate on him when planned.’
British education bureaucracy to be slashed
Education Secretary Michael Gove wants to have halved his department’s running costs by 2015-16. Michael Gove will shed 1,000 jobs from the Department for Education as he tries to set an example to the rest of Whitehall.
The Education Secretary has pledged to do ‘more with less’ by halving the £580million running costs of his department by 2016. He won the approval of Cabinet colleagues to conduct a radical ‘zero base’ review of his department, as though it were being set up from scratch.
But his plans have drawn the ire of unions, who warned they were balloting members on the reforms.
Mr Gove said poor performers will be ‘speedily managed out’ of their jobs and higher standards will be expected of those remaining.
Many back-office roles will also go as management consultants warned their costs were too high. Work that is not a ministerial priority is also likely to stop.
Children’s services are likely to be hit, with resources diverted to supporting academies and free schools – which will account for one in four schools by 2015.
Staff will also be forced out of their expensive Westminster headquarters, which include a ‘contemplation suite’ and a massage room, to a cheaper building. Real estate costs for the DfE have soared to £40million – £6million of which is spent on vacant buildings.
Unions criticised the job cuts as an ‘ideological attack on the civil service as a whole’ and accused Mr Gove of ‘playing politics’ with people’s livelihoods. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘Michael Gove appears to want to run his department as some kind of nightmarish Right-wing experiment, playing politics with people’s livelihoods and putting at risk the very important services DfE civil servants provide to schools, teachers and the public. ‘Staff in the DfE will not sit back and allow their jobs and the vital work they do supporting the education and development of our children to be used as some kind of ideological testing ground.’
A review document drawn up by the department’s permanent secretary, Chris Wormald, said: ‘While there is no formal headcount target, this is likely to mean that by 2015 the department will have fewer than 3,000 posts, around 1,000 fewer than we have now.’
Mr Wormald added: ‘We will be smaller and will operate from fewer sites. We will focus on our duties to the taxpayer with renewed vigour, investing where we need to but always remembering that every pound we spend on ourselves must be justified to the citizens who pay for us.’
Cost-cutting will mean leaving the ministry’s HQ in Great Smith Street in Westminster
Most Whitehall departments have been asked to save a third of their costs by Chancellor George Osborne as part of the austerity measures to reduce the country’s deficit. But Mr Gove’s target was to cut administrative costs by 42 per cent by 2015, which he has extended to a goal of 50 per cent by 2016.
Fat is a reasonable choice
An overweight Leftist lady, Julie Burchill, is embittered about the well-preserved Joanna Lumley (above). Getting past the very British class-envy, Burchill has a point, however.
While the latest comments from Lady Muck — sorry, Joanna Lumley — mark her out as something of a rent-a-gob (albeit one with a cut-glass accent), the hard facts of what she says are impossible to argue with.
‘Lots of people nowadays are too greedy,’ she said imperiously this week. ‘People think: “I must have a cupcake.” What do you mean you must? You’ll get fat, you fool. They think: “I want a bit of choccie.” And you think: “No, don’t have it, you fool.”’
On one level, she is quite right. People — and I include myself — get fat because they choose pleasure over self-denial.
But this doesn’t mean we are fools. It could simply be that we have realised that all roads lead eventually to infirmity and extinction — as the amusing slogan ‘eat well, exercise often, die anyway’ illustrates. And we have decided to have as much fun as possible on the way.
Frankly, the ill-tempered tone of Joanna’s diatribe suggests a woman who — in order to court public admiration well into her 60s, which could be seen as a sign of a narcissistic personality disorder — has starved herself to the point of rage.
This is known in fashion circles as being ‘hangry’, an affliction believed to contribute to the half-witted and hysterical tone of the fashion world generally and the psychotic behaviour of Naomi Campbell in particular.
To give Lumley credit, at least she is no Cameron Diaz, who wants us to believe her whipcord physique is the by-product of feasting on French fries and pork scratchings. Lumley admits: ‘On a typical day, I eat lettuce, followed by some lettuce, with lettuce.’
Fair enough, if that’s what turns you on — and it’s what you need to do in order to keep getting work.
But the choice seems to have stoked resentment on her part towards all those women who do not have to rely on their appearance in order to make a living.
I’d like to point out here that this is not just the envious carping of a fat broad, on my part. In the past, I have pilloried that other national treasure, Dawn French, for suggesting rather pathetically that fat women are morally and sexually superior to thin ones.
I just have a real problem with people who seek to portray fatness or thinness as moral concepts.
On the one hand, Lumley sees in mere blubber a world of ignorance and idleness. On the other, French sees said blubber as a mark of sensuality and generosity.
Gluttony and idleness are two of life’s great joys, but they are not honourable — no more than their opposite, dieting and exercise.
Big women do themselves a disservice when they attempt to become the Righteous Fat (the Righteous Thin are bad enough, all that running around and sweating, somehow believing it means anything).
The reality is simply very boring. There are exciting, intelligent, fat people — and exciting, intelligent, thin people.
There are dull, stupid, fat people — and dull, stupid, thin people. There are even — though, admittedly, the thin have the upper hand, even if it is an unattractively skeletal and wizened hand, a la Madonna — attractive thin people and attractive fat people, and unattractive thin people and unattractive fat people.
There are many happy, married, sexed-up fat women and many beautiful skinny girls sitting alone by the phone — and vice versa.
But the idea that thin and fat women might have plenty in common does not sit happily with some sections of society.
An eternal bitch-fight must be in motion — featherweights versus heavyweights — every time the dinner bell rings.
Last year, talking to Melvyn Bragg, Lumley spoke of the panic attacks that brought her to ‘the brink of utter insanity’ when she was in her 20s and living on ‘Marmite on toast for breakfast, lunch, tea and supper. There was nothing else to eat, we were so poor.’
Referring to it as ‘a bit of a wobbler’, she told Bragg: ‘I was on stage and began to see people levelling guns at me out of the boxes.’
If she’d had a nice cupcake or a bit of choccie before going on stage, I bet she’d have felt a lot better.
The diseases of dieting — anorexia, bulimia and osteoporosis —cost the NHS a great deal of time and money, as do diabetes and gastric bands.
But the fat must simply stand there and brave all the abuse thrown at them; often, in my opinion, by people who envy their ability to live comfortably in their own skin and to value themselves more for their IQ than their BMI.
Last year, a funny email was doing the rounds: two photos, one of a full-fat Nigella Lawson at her most radiant, and one of that human husk Gillian McKeith, looking like Worzel Gummidge in drag.
The words beneath the photos ran: ‘Gillian McKeith is a 51-year-old TV health guru advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet of organic fruits and vegetables.
‘She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements, and also states that the colour of food is nutritionally significant. She also recommends faecal examination. Nigella Lawson is a 50-year-old TV cook in Great Britain, who eats nothing but meat, butter and desserts. I rest my case…’
Far from being fools, we fatties have cottoned on to the fact that binge-drinking, over-eating and all those causes and effects of weighing too much will mean we’ll die at a reasonable age — and thus can spend our savings with abandon as we grow old.
Eat frugally, live long, then find yourself being hustled down the Liverpool Care Pathway [death].
Or follow the primrose path of living fast, eating much, exercising little and dying from the side-effects of fun? We are all free to choose. And I made my choice long ago. Cheers!
The orgy of greed spoiling our countryside: why I campaigned in Corby
By James Delingpole
The Yorkshire moorland that inspired Wuthering Heights is about to be blighted by nine 377ft wind turbines, each one the height of Salisbury Cathedral.
Do you need to be a rabid, bat-crazy, monomaniacal, classical liberal loon to find this upsetting? I hope not, I really do. The vandalisation of Ovenden Moor, near Haworth, in the heart of Brontë country should concern us all, regardless of which way we vote or what newspaper we read.
Caring greenies ought to be dismayed by the widespread environmental havoc it will wreak: the kestrels it will slice and dice, the protected bats it will cause to implode, the huge concrete bases, the poisonous rare earth minerals mined under the most atrocious conditions in China. Bookish Left-leaning wimmin in glasses with large, red plastic frames ought surely to be concerned by the blighting of the landscape which inspired Emily – and Charlotte, and Anne.
Red meat socialists ought to be spitting blood at the injustice the Great Wind Scam perpetrates against the common man. It takes money from the poor and funnels it straight into the pockets of greedy, often toffy landowners and rapacious, mostly foreign-owned energy companies.
Here, roughly, is how the spoils will be divided among the troughers at Ovenden Moor. The landowner will be paid £401,000 pa, index-linked, for the next 25 years. The developer will get an income of around £2,679,300 pa, index-linked, over the same period. The vast bulk of this will come straight from the taxpayer in the form of compulsory subsidies, payable even if the turbines produce no power.
And the energy that will emerge from this orgy of greed and destruction? It will be neither green, clean, abundant or useful. Wind power requires full back-up from fossil-fuel-powered stations. It doesn’t save CO2, nor provide energy security, nor contribute anything to the base load power Britain so badly needs to keep the lights on.
These are just a few of the reasons why I consider the Great Wind Scam to be the biggest political scandal of our generation, and why I accepted an invitation by local wind-farm protesters to stand as their candidate in the Corby by-election.
As I said right from the start, the very last thing I wanted was to be an MP: my wife would divorce me. But what I didn’t want to do either was to let down my cause with a really crappy showing on election night. That’s why my strategy was to play the whole thing by ear. If I thought I stood a chance of becoming one of those Martin Bell-type outsiders who sweeps the board, well, whoop-di-do, I’d risk the divorce and spend two years in Westminster doing what I like best – really peeing my enemies off. If I could achieve more with a tactical, last‑minute withdrawal, well that would suit me too – not least because I’d no longer be letting down my friends in Ukip.
I love Ukip. There’s barely a single one of their policies I disagree with. Inevitably, there was much upset among my Ukip pals when I announced I’d be standing against them: they were worried that I’d take away votes from their excellent candidate, Margot Parker. This I didn’t want to do.
Equally, though, I had a lot of sympathy for my local Conservative MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, whom I got to know and like at a Tory conference in Windsor in September and who is masterminding the Tory campaign in Corby. Chris is the kind of Conservative who would have me voting Tory again: small-government, anti-EU, massively anti-wind. He, too, was worried I’d steal Tory votes – gosh how nice it is to feel important! – and was keen to show me that his party was at last seeing sense.
For example, he was the one who drew my attention to the anti-wind speeches made by Owen Paterson and the new energy minister, John Hayes, at the Tory conference. It was newspaper reports of some even stronger anti-wind remarks by Hayes which gave me just the excuse I needed to withdraw from the election with honour, claiming victory.
The timing was perfect. Obviously, I totally love the idea that the Coalition rewrote its entire energy policy because of me – and if the Guardian and Greenpeace wish to credit me with such mighty powers, as they did yesterday, then great. But politics is a bit more complicated than that. George Osborne is known to be fiercely anti-wind; Cameron, it is rumoured, appointed Hayes and Paterson quite deliberately to placate all those shire Tories mortified at the bat-chomping eco-crucifixes ruining their views and wiping out their property values. So while I’m proud to have played my small part in the war to defeat the great wind menace, I think it’s more likely that I was only ever a humble Sancho Panza rather than the true Don Quixote.
Tories won’t win if we don’t back gay marriage, says Britain’s Chancellor: But party Right urges him to focus on ‘the issues that really matter
Osborne attended “public” (fee-paying) schools in his youth and one could perhaps note an old saying about British public schools: “In British Public schools, homosexuality is not so much permitted as compulsory”
George Osborne launched an emphatic defence of gay marriage yesterday, saying the Tories will not win the next election unless they drop their opposition to it. He urged the party to emulate US President Barack Obama by appealing to young voters and women with a socially liberal message.
But the Chancellor’s intervention provoked anger on the Tory Right, with campaigners claiming that proposals to legalise gay marriage could cost the Conservatives more than a million votes and 30 seats.
One MP said the ‘social liberal values of Notting Hill don’t translate well outside the M25’, while a former Tory minister warned that Army chaplains could face the sack if they disagree with the plans.
Writing in The Times, Mr Osborne said most voters support gay marriage and politicians should ‘reflect the modern societies they aspire to lead’. He quoted Margaret Thatcher saying the Tories should respond to ‘people and how they want to live their lives’.
The Coalition has pledged to legalise gay marriage before 2015, but it is not part the Government’s current legislative programme.
However, Mr Osborne used his article to argue that it is a vital plank of Conservative re- election plans. He said the party should heed the lessons of Mr Obama’s election success despite poor economic conditions.
In a robust shot across the bows of the Tory Right, Mr Osborne said voters on both sides of the Atlantic want economic toughness and social liberalism.
He added that Mr Obama sealed victory once he started making the case that the deficit should be tackled and showed that he ‘was on the side of ordinary, hard- working voters’.
But crucially, he said the Tories, like Mr Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney, could lose supporters who agree with them on the economy if they are not in tune with them on social issues as well.
He wrote: ‘President Obama’s high-profile endorsement of equal marriage for gay couples enthused younger voters. But polls found that a majority of all Americans supported him on the issue and voted for it in all four states that held ballots.’
Mr Osborne continued: ‘I wouldn’t change the current abortion laws and I strongly support gay marriage on principle. I am proud to be part of a government that will introduce a Bill to allow gay marriage.
‘It is worth reflecting that in Britain, as in America, a clear majority of the public support gay marriage, and an even bigger majority of women support it.
‘That majority support is just as high in the North as it is the South, and it is equally high among all socio-economic groups.
Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth has warned the Ministry of Defence that military chaplains could be sacked if they oppose gay marriage
Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth has warned the Ministry of Defence that military chaplains could be sacked if they oppose gay marriage
‘Successful political parties reflect the modern societies they aspire to lead. As Margaret Thatcher said in the first sentence of her introduction to the 1979 Conservative election manifesto: “The heart of politics is not political theory, it is people and how they want to live their lives”.’
The Coalition for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage, dismissed Mr Osborne’s claims and announced that it will campaign in tomorrow’s Corby by-election against a redefinition of the institution. Colin Hart, the organisation’s campaign director, said: ‘The PM and the Chancellor must stop misleading the public. The polls actually show that a majority of voters do not support the redefinition of marriage.
‘It’s time for senior politicians – particularly Mr Cameron, Clegg and Osborne – to get a grip and start talking about the issues that really matter, like reviving the economy, not redefining marriage.’
He highlighted a poll by the research consultancy ComRes that found that redefining marriage could cost the Tories up to 30 parliamentary seats and 1.1million votes. ‘Ordinary people in places like Corby want action on the economy and public services, not meddling with marriage,’ he said.
Tory backbencher Stewart Jackson said: ‘The focus should be less on these social liberal obsessions of West London and more on blue-collar issues like the cost of living, mortgages and reducing taxes for families. ‘The social liberal values of Notting Hill don’t translate well outside the M25.’
Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth has written to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond warning that military chaplains face being disciplined if the Government forces through its plans.
He wrote: ‘Under the Government’s proposals if the definition of marriage is rewritten, then those chaplains who maintain their support for the traditional/biblical meaning could face disciplinary action and even dismissal.’
The former minister also dismisses recent assurances from the Government that it can protect churches from prosecution.
He said: ‘The Government is keen to assert that no clergy declining to offer a marriage service to homosexuals will be subject to discrimination or penalty, an undertaking ministers are in no position to give since the interpretation of any new law will rest with the courts and, ultimately, the impertinent European Court of Human Rights.’
Why women expect too much from men in bed
SOMEWHERE in Britain there is a very lucky man. The unnamed individual is, according to reports at the weekend, being divorced by his wife, a high-flying city banker, on the grounds, inter alia, that he is “boring” in bed and refuses to take part in the kind of bedroom antics popularised by the raunchy blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey.
Well done, that man! He is not only escaping what sounds like a miserable marriage (“Thank you for whipping me, darling, but you forgot the handcuffs”), but in doing so – he’s admitting “unreasonable behaviour” for a quick divorce – he is striking a blow for his sex. Like Bradley Wiggins, like Mo Farah, he can go into any pub in the country and know that every man there would be happy to buy him a drink if only they knew his story.
Up to now, Fifty Shades has been no more than a bad literary joke, a triumph of marketing over substance. Millions have bought E.L. James’ execrable novel about a sadomasochistic affair between a billionaire entrepreneur and a naive literature student, and millions have wished they had kept their money in their pocket.
But now that the book is being deployed as a weapon in the marital bedroom, with wives using James’ saturnine billionaire as a benchmark against which to measure their husbands, the joking has to stop. This is war, with men in the firing line and common sense the first casualty.
Feminists are rightly quick to censure the kind of male-inspired pornography which pressures women into behaving like Swedish nymphomaniacs with pneumatic breasts. But isn’t E.L. James guilty of much the same, peddling unattainable sexual fantasies, setting wife against husband, introducing the worm of dissatisfaction into solid, if unspectacular, relationships?
And it gets worse. You would assume that men of retirement age would not be feeling under the same pressure to perform in the bedroom as men who still have their own teeth and hair, but you would be wrong, judging by the latest women’s “romantic” novel to shoot up the bestseller lists, confounding the pundits.
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd features a sexually frustrated pensioner (married to a man who has given up on sex) who meets the man of her dreams while looking after her grandchildren in the park.
If Fifty Shades of Grey is “mummy porn” in marketing jargon, Thursdays in the Park is “gran-lit”, a steamy tale of sex and sixtysomethings – the Kama Sutra meets Antiques Roadshow.
The novel sank without trace when it was published last year, but is now topping the charts in its ebook edition and outselling E. L. James. It is certainly an intriguing storyline and you can see why it has caught on with the public, even in our youth-obsessed times. With Charles Dance said to be in negotiations for a film version, Thursdays in the Park could spark the same kind of buying frenzy as Fifty Shades. You don’t even have to go into a bookshop to purchase it: you can get your jollies by downloading the book in the privacy of your own home – perfect for retiring spinsters with vivid imaginations.
“Old people falling in love and having passionate relationships is not a story that’s had much exposure before, but I’m in no doubt that the market’s out there,” says Boyd, a 62-year-old grandmother, adding: “All I can say is that sex in the park beats sex in the basement.”
Who would argue with that? And in finding the sex lives of mature people far more interesting than those of teenagers, she is following a tradition as old as Antony and Cleopatra.
It is good, other things being equal, that women writers are producing novels of sexual exploration which challenge and subvert the works of their male counterparts. And it is good that older people are being presented in a positive, outgoing light, not portrayed as sexually extinct.
Jane Juska’s bestselling 2003 memoir, A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late Life Adventures in Sex and Romance, tapped into the same market. Its bittersweet account of a 66-year-old woman, seeking no-strings sex via an ad in the New York Review of Books, struck a chord with mothers and grandmothers who, after years of making sacrifices for their families, dreamt of putting the sex into sexagenarian.
But it is one thing to celebrate grey sex, another to encourage delusional attitudes, as Fifty Shades of Grey does. When the dividing line between daily life and escapist fiction becomes blurred, when women expect their partners to satisfy their most intimate needs as if it was as easy as unlocking handcuffs, we are all the losers. Shouldn’t a book with a title like Fifty Shades of Grey alert readers to the fact that life is nuanced, and not perfect?
But, one way and another, it is going to be an uncomfortable time to be a male of the species. We don’t mind trying our hands at this multi-tasking malarkey, but do we have to become proficient with handcuffs and find out how to give sexual satisfaction to women born when George VI was on the throne? Time to reach for the remote, I think.
Tweet what you like in Britain … as long as you don’t have many followers
I suppose we must be thankful for small mercies
It might be the one of the few occasions in life when it’s better to be unpopular than have lots of friends. Twitter users who make ‘grossly offensive’ comments online could escape prosecution if they have barely any followers on the social media site, the Director of Public Prosecutions has suggested.
But those who are followed by thousands could face the full force of the law if they publish offensive remarks as more people will see them, Keir Starmer said in a conference speech earlier this week.
His remarks follow a row about free speech after a teenager in Kent was arrested earlier this week for allegedly posting a photo of a burning poppy on Facebook, reported the Daily Telegraph.
The arrest of Linford House, 19, prompted civil liberty groups to campaign for free speech, claiming police were threatening the man’s rights to express himself – even if what he posted was insensitive.
Mr Starmer’s comments come before he publishes guidelines to cope with the new issues arising from expression on social networks, after meeting with police, publishers and internet companies.
Daniel Thomas, a footballer from Port Talbot, Wales, was arrested in the summer after a homophobic message was posted from his Twitter account about Team GB Olympic diver Tom Daley.
But the 28-year-old was never prosecuted, in part because he only had only around a hundred followers – and while the content was offensive it was not seen as a criminal offence, the DPP said.