NHS patient, 104, left waiting 12 hours for a lift from hospital after medics refused to call him a taxi over “health and safety” fears:
“NHS chiefs have apologised to a 104-year-old patient after they left him waiting for 12 hours for a lift home because they refused to let him call a taxi – over health and safety fears.
Jack Jones was in tears after medical staff said he would have to wait for an ambulance to give him a lift home after he was discharged from hospital following a fall. He was left waiting on a chair in A&E for more than 12 hours until he was finally driven six miles to the sheltered housing complex in Stourbridge, West Midlands, where he lives.
Mr Jones, who built Spitfire fighter planes at Longbridge in Birmingham, during World War Two, was admitted to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, at 8am on October 26. He was examined and after he was given the all clear he was told he could go but he did not arrive home until 10pm that night.
But he was told by medical staff that it was against the hospital’s policy to let elderly patients go home on their own and promised to take him back in an ambulance.
But Mr Jones was not driven home in an ambulance until 9pm that night despite his family begging hospital staff to let him call his regular taxi driver.
Mr Jones, whose wife Winifred died in 1990 aged 81, said: ‘I was very upset that I was left waiting for so long for a lift home. I told the hospital staff that I use a taxi driver who knows me and would help me to my front door but they refused. ‘It was a very long day considering how close it was to my home, even though I walk with a zimmer frame I could have walked home quicker.’
Mr Jones’ nephew Bob Goode, 83, who lives in Herefordshire, yesterday blasted the hospital – branding it ‘health and safety gone mad’.
He said: ‘Jack was admitted to A&E at 8am and only needed a short check up, but he didn’t get back home until 10pm – that’s simply outrageous considering his age. The staff got him tea and coffee throughout the day and gave him lunch, but he’s 104 and was left in a waiting room chair.
‘He’s a sprightly chap, still lives at home and copes well, but he became quite despondent while waiting for the ambulance. At one point he decided to take action. He knows a local taxi firm who take him right inside and make sure he is alright.
‘So he told staff he would call them, but they said no. They said it was against health and safety policies because they could not risk him falling in or out of the taxi. They told him he would have an ambulance to himself to go direct to his house.
‘The staff said they needed to make sure they could help him, carry him if necessary, to his door and put the lights on and make him a cup of tea and make sure he was okay.
‘He tried to explain that he knew a taxi driver who would do all this for him but they were adamant and just left him there. When he was finally taken to the ambulance he had to wait for an hour until they had loaded five other people on with him.
‘As you can imagine he was shattered when he got home, leaving a 104-year-old from 8am to 10pm is not on. Normally he would have a sleep during the day, but the idiots left him sat there.’
Worried patients also saw Jack getting increasingly distressed throughout his 12 hour ordeal. In a letter to the hospital a woman described finding Jack crying while ‘sitting in a chair, bent over – with a stale cup of tea on a tray which he would not reach’.
Yesterday the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the delay and promised to prioritise elderly patients in the future.
Chief executive Paula Clark said: ‘We are extremely sorry Mr Jones experienced such a significant wait for his transport home and apologise for this. Current demand and capacity issues have resulted in some unacceptable delays.’
‘Following meetings between all parties changes have been instigated including temporary investment in an additional crew.’
Student, 20, dies hours after doctors sent him home for FIFTH time claiming he was ‘stressed’
He was obviously extremely unwell but kept getting discharged
A student died hours after being sent home from hospital for the fifth time by doctors who said he was ‘stressed’. Talented IT student Andrew Moore, 20, was admitted to three different hospitals on five separate occasions in the weeks before his death after collapsing and feeling unwell.
His father Peter, from Stockport, said his son was sent home with anti-anxiety drugs and referred to mental health specialists.
Less than 24 hours after his final hospital visit, to Stepping Hill in Stockport, Andrew collapsed at his family home in Cheadle and never regained consciousness. He was taken back to Stepping Hill and pronounced dead two hours later. A post-mortem examination was inconclusive and further tests are under way to establish the cause of his death.
His family said Andrew had undergone an operation last year to repair an abnormal connection in a vein between his lungs and heart.
There is no suggestion there were any drugs or medication in his system other than a mild asthma medicine.
Two hospitals where Andrew was treated – Stepping Hill and Wythenshawe – have now launched investigations into the care he received.
Father Peter, 55, of Cheadle, said: ‘My son’s died and the doctors had ample opportunity to find out what was really wrong with him. Instead they kept telling him he was stressed out and to go home and rest.
‘My family are in a lot of pain but we’ve had barely any contact with the hospitals since Andrew’s death and have never got the impression they really want to get to the bottom of it.
‘Unfortunately for us the investigation is too little too late, but what really hurts is feeling that my son was so badly let down by the NHS and no-one seems to care.’
In September, Andrew was taken to Leighton Hospital, in Crewe, after collapsing while working for a software company in Alsager, Cheshire. Tests failed to find what was wrong with him.
The next day, the Manchester Metropolitan University student collapsed again and was admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital, where he was prescribed anti-anxiety drug Diazepam [Valium!]
Andrew was taken by ambulance to Wythenshawe on two more occasions after feeling unwell in the following days. His parents claim, on the second occasion, he was so helpless they could not pick him up off the floor.
He was then referred by the hospital to Stockport Mental Health Crisis, who advised his family to take him to A&E at Stepping Hill Hospital when he had another episode on the evening of October 11.
Doctors took a blood sample from Andrew but after a short chat with a resident psychologist he was discharged, again with a prescription of Diazepam. He collapsed and died just hours later on the afternoon of October 12.
A spokesman for Stepping Hill said the hospital wanted to express its ‘deepest sympathies’ to Andrew’s family.
He added: ‘Following Andrew’s death we launched an immediate investigation into this incident so that we can fully understand exactly what happened and why. ‘While the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further, but we are in contact with Andrew’s family and will keep them fully informed of the findings of our investigation.’
Brendan Ryan, medical director of Wythenshawe Hospital, added: ‘We are sorry to learn of the death of Mr Moore and our condolences go to his family and loved ones. ‘I can confirm that Mr Moore presented at our A&E this year and we are reviewing our involvement with him.
‘While Stepping Hill Hospital is carrying out an investigation of its own into Mr Moore’s death we are unable to comment any further at this time.’
A Leighton Hospital spokesman said the hospital was unaware of Andrew’s death and declined to comment further.
Scrap law on ‘insulting words and behaviour’ that censors free speech, British MPs urge
Controversial legislation that criminalises ‘insulting’ words and behaviour should be scrapped, MPs and peers urged yesterday.
The law – which has been used to arrest a Christian preacher, a critic of Scientology and a student who made a joke – has a ‘disproportionate impact on freedom of expression’, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said.
In a report, it recommended that ministers accept an amendment which would remove the ‘insulting’ offence from the Public Order Act.
Section 5 of the 1986 Act says someone is guilty for just using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the sight or earshot of a person ‘likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress’.
Critics say the law is a catch-all which censors innocent remarks and leaves it to police and courts to decide what constitutes ‘insulting’ words or behaviour.
Home Secretary Theresa May began a consultation on scrapping the offence last year but the Government has not yet responded.
The joint committee said: ‘We understand the sensitivities within certain communities on this issue, but we nonetheless support an amendment to the Bill.’
An amendment could be debated during the House of Lords report stage of the Crime and Courts Bill today.
Britain waltzes further down the East German path
The oddest thing happened this morning. Sitting at my desk, some woman just wandered in through our warehouse and asked to talk to a director. I replied that I’m one so how can I help. She tersely declared that she works for HMRC and demanded a payment of œ15,000 for overdue corporation tax.
I was taken aback for a moment as she looked about 60 and was dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt – it’s not the kind of thing one would expect her to come out with.
As it happened, the people who deal with our accounts were both at a funeral at the time, so I said I’d have to talk to them first. She, however, insisted that as I was a director I would be able to sign a cheque right there and then. Of course I could, but there was no way I would even consider doing that, especially for someone who just breezes in arrogantly from the street.
She fixed me with a surprised glare (perhaps for not shitting myself when faced with a rep of the government, I dunno), before handing me her card and telling me all the nasty things that might happen if it’s not paid in the next week. Now, I’ve often said that tax is effectively extortion with menaces, but I’ve never seen it illustrated in such a blatant manner.
On later talking to our credit controller, she said that we’d paid a huge amount up front and were just waiting for some communication of the balance due before settling it – that’s what one would expect from a government agency, after all. However, we’d not received a single letter or phone call to tell us what we were supposed to pay. Wouldn’t it have been much more professional – and less costly in time and, therefore, money – to ring or write rather than sending some late middle-ager round to ask for a cheque out of the blue?
And when did employing similar intimidatory methods to 1930s mafia protection racketeers become an acceptable state policy?
Another example of little men in Britain with their ego-driven bureaucratic pettiness
Only media exposure produced a belated twitch of decency in the matter
A 90-year-old war hero, who risked life and limb for his country during World War Two, was slapped with a œ70 parking fine as he attended a Remembrance Day service – because his blue badge was upside down.
Disabled George Roberts, who served as a gunner and a driver transporting artillery across Africa, has hit out at jobsworth traffic wardens who gave him the ticket while he paid his respects to fallen comrades in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
The wheelchair-bound veteran was driven to the service at St Chad’s Church by his son Michael, 43, who parked in a nearby disabled bay.
But when Mr Roberts, who has also survived a stroke and four heart bypass operations, and Michael returned to the car after the emotional service, they were shocked to find a parking ticket on the windscreen.
Attempts to reason with a traffic warden fell on deaf ears as the pair were told they would have to contact the local council.
The warden even echoed the chilling excuse of some of Hitler’s men when he claimed he had issued the ticket because he was ‘following orders’.
Mr Roberts served in the Royal Artillery Regiment in World War Two and attends the Remembrance Day procession and service every year.
Earlier this year he was forced to stop driving but still qualifies for a blue disabled badge because son Michael is his dedicated carer and driver.
George, who has four grown-up children, 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, said: ‘I was struggling to get out of my car and I must have disturbed my blue badge.
‘Many millions of men never came back from the war, and I went through it all without a bullet – only to get shot by this.
Red-faced bosses at Shropshire Council today apologised to George, and promised to cancel the ticket.
British regulator hails turnaround at schools that outlawed mobile phones
A school has been hailed for improving discipline and cracking down on bullying – by banning mobile phones. Pupils are forbidden from making calls, sending texts or using online messaging services anywhere on the grounds.
Those who breach the zero tolerance policy have their phone confiscated – and parents have to go into the school to get it back.
The initiative has won the backing of Ofsted, which said the ban at Burnage Media Arts College in Manchester had ‘contributed to a reduction in opportunities for cyber-bullying…or disruption in class’.
It comes after the new chief inspector of schools blamed mobiles for constant low-level disruption which hampered learning and called for them to be barred from classrooms.
The college’s head, Ian Fenn, said: ‘I think mobile phones rather crept up on education – and in our experience it was a nightmare.’
A particular problem has been pupils using messaging services such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) behind teachers’ backs, he said. ‘We used to have kids BBM-ing in lessons or sending each other jokes.
‘We tried telling pupils they couldn’t use them in lessons but it didn’t work because it was too much of a grey area. ‘When we banned them completely we weren’t sure how it would be received – but the effect has been dramatic.
‘I don’t think there’s any other initiative in the last 12 years I’ve seen that has had the same impact. Apart from getting the best teachers we can, I think it’s the most important thing we have done for pupils to improve learning.’
Mr Fenn said not only had behaviour and concentration levels improved since the ban was introduced a year ago, but reports of cyber-bullying had dropped dramatically.
The ban has meant many pupils now leave their phones at home – with others only using them outside school gates to contact parents once the day has finished.
Staff at the boys’ school say the difference in behaviour has been ‘dramatic’. Parents and governors have also given their full backing.
Local councillor Bev Craig said: ‘The school has continued to see a marked improvement in its results. The latest measure in enforcing a ban on mobile phones in class is a good way of getting young people to give their full attention in class.’
Ex-pupils include architect Norman Foster and National Youth Theatre founder Michael Croft, from its days as Burnage Grammar School for Boys.
Earlier this year Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new chief inspector of schools, told how he was drawing on his experience as head of Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, East London. Mobiles were banned, ending what he called the ‘disruptive and pernicious’ menace of cyber-bullying.
Top Catholic rejects Gove’s free school programme as ‘problematic’
Absurd politically correct government insistence that Catholic schools must take 50% non-Catholics!
Education Secretary Michael Gove’s flagship free school programme was rejected as ‘problematic’ by the Catholic Church yesterday.
Greg Pope, deputy director of the Catholic Education Service (CES) for England and Wales, said there was a ‘perverse disincentive’ for the church to launch free schools.
Free schools are state schools set up by parents, teachers, charities, faith groups and other organisations.
A Department for Education document for groups applying to open free schools with a religious character says that admission on the basis of faith must be limited to 50 per cent of the yearly intake when oversubscribed.
Mr Pope said this 50 per cent issue ‘works against there being a huge number of Catholic free schools’.
At the moment there is only one Catholic free school, St Michael’s Catholic School in Truro, Cornwall.
Mr Pope said: ‘When I discussed this with the Secretary of State earlier in the summer, the point I made to Mr Gove was we would be unlikely to open a new school unless there was demand for a new school.
‘If there was demand for a new 1,000-pupil Catholic school, why would we open a free school if we had to turn away pupils on the grounds that they are Catholic while accepting others on the grounds that they are not Catholic? That’s a perverse disincentive to me.’
Mr Pope said he was not against the idea of free schools and it was an option they would explore further if this ‘barrier’ was not in the way.
He said the Catholic Church does have the option of opening up voluntary aided (VA) schools – state schools run by a foundation or trust, quite often a faith group.
But if they wanted a new school to be an academy – which has more freedom than local council-run schools – they would have to open a VA school and convert.
His comments came as the CES published its annual census looking at the make-up of its schools.
It found that 70.4 per cent of pupils at Catholic schools in England and Wales belong to the Catholic faith, along with 55 per cent of teachers.
It also found that some 33.5 per cent of pupils at Catholic primary schools are from an ethnic minority, along with 28.7 per cent of those at Catholic secondary schools.
New weight loss compound
The beneficial effects seem very small and the risks considerable
There’s a new drink that could not only help you lose weight, but could also treat epilepsy, diabetes and possibly even Alzheimer’s. It might also be an incredible energy booster. When a group of international rowing champions took it, one of them beat a world record.
It sounds far too good to be true, but the drink’s scientific credentials are impeccable.
It’s been developed by Kieran Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford University and head of its Cardiac Metabolism Research Group, at the behest of the U.S. Army.
Equally amazing is that the drink doesn’t involve a new drug. It contains something our bodies produce all the time.
This key ingredient is ketones — the tiny, but powerful sources of energy our bodies make naturally when we start using up our fat stores for energy because there are no carbs around.
We all have slightly raised ketone levels before breakfast because we haven’t eaten for a while. And if you fast for a few days or go on an Atkins-type high-fat diet, your body will start pumping out ketones. They are nature’s way of keeping you supplied with energy — especially your brain and muscles.
The clever trick Professor Clarke has pulled off is to have found a way to make ketones in the lab. This means that instead of having to follow difficult diets (with unpleasant side-effects such as constipation and bad breath), you can just add ketones to a normal diet — in the form of the Drink, as it’s known.
It’s a radical new approach, which flies in the face of more than 30 years of advice that a low-fat diet with lots of carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight, treat diabetes and protect your heart. It also raises questions about the demonising of diets such as Atkins, which are blamed for causing constipation and kidney failure.
So how do ketones help? They are the reason why high-fat diets such as Atkins seem to work so well. Without the energy from carbohydrates, your body starts releasing stored fat, which the liver turns into ketones for energy.
The pounds drop off faster than with a low-fat diet because you are actively burning up stored fat. But there are other benefits of these ketogenic diets, as they are called. Blood sugar levels come down because you are eating hardly any carbohydrates.
In a study published earlier this year, Professor Clarke found that rats given the new ketone compound ate less and put on less weight than those getting the same amount of calories from a high-fat or a high-carbohydrate diet.
In the first trial Professor Clarke has run on humans with diabetes, completed within the past few months, the effects were also impressive. In the week-long study, eight people with diabetes had three ketone drinks a day as well as their normal diet.
As with the rats, their weight dropped (an average of nearly 2 per cent of their body weight), but so did their glucose levels, cholesterol and the amount of fat in the blood. The amount of exercise they did went up as they had more energy. However, the study was small and as yet unpublished.
So how does a drink that adds ketones help you lose weight if you’re not burning fat to produce those ketones in the first place? It is because ketones make you less hungry — they damp down hunger centres in the brain. This means you eat less and so you have the same weight loss as on a high-fat diet.
Meanwhile, because you’re eating less, your blood sugar levels come down
Eighteen months ago, Professor Clarke tried her ketones on rowers.
DeltaG ketones come in a thick, clear liquid that is very bitter, so in the trials on rats and humans, it has a little water added along with orange-coloured flavouring plus some sweeteners to make it more palatable — in this form it’s known as the Drink.
A group of top international rowers were given it shortly before they rowed on fixed machines in a lab.
After half an hour of hard rowing, those getting the Drink had rowed on average 50m further in the same time than when they had a dummy drink. This was an improvement of 0.5 per cent. It can be the difference between silver and gold.
But what about the dangers of high levels of ketones? Ketogenic diets are linked with constipation (through lack of roughage) and sometimes bad breath (the result of the way ketones happen to smell). Increased ketone levels may also lead to kidney failure, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease, according to NHS Direct.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, lead cardiologist of the National Obesity Forum, says:
I don’t go near Benecol or any other margarine-type products that claim to lower cholesterol and I advise my patients to stay clear of them, too.
First, they are expensive; second, these products are artificial, packed with unnatural products that really can’t do you any good; and third, I don’t believe there is any demonstrable health benefit.
They may have a very marginal effect on cholesterol, but — and this is critical — this hasn’t been established as having any clinical benefit in reducing the risk of a heart attack. In short, the whole saturated fat argument has been ridiculously overhyped.
A review of studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, which analysed almost 350,000 people for up to 23 years, revealed no consistent evidence linking saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.
In fact, I’ve started advising my patients to have butter, though clearly in moderation.
Really strong data is increasingly showing that the saturated fat from natural dairy products may even be beneficial in reducing heart attacks. It’s thought this is because it contains essential vitamins, such as A and D, as well as essential nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, which studies suggest can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other research, by Dr Dariush Mozaffarian from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, found that people with higher levels of the trans-palmitoleic fatty acid (found mainly in dairy products) in their blood were about 60 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the next 20 years than those with the lowest levels.
Again, this runs counter to long-standing recommendations to trade in whole milk and cheese for the skimmed varieties.