Seriously ill baby forced to wait for 12 hours in A&E because no suitable bed was available in all of Britain
A seriously ill baby was forced to wait in an Accident and Emergency ward for more than 12 hours because there were no suitable beds available anywhere in the UK.
The shocking case emerged as specialists yesterday warned the Department of Health about a national shortage of intensive care beds for children this winter.
The Paediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) says all 29 units in Britain have been running close to capacity in recent weeks because of a surge in cases of a nasty respiratory virus and that there are several examples of children having to wait for appropriate care.
In the latest case, the three-month-old infant had been taken to casualty in Birmingham with a serious chest condition. A medical team immediately stabilised the child’s breathing.
The child needed a bed on a paediatric intensive care (PICU) ward because of the severity of its condition, but despite staff ringing each of the 29 units, all of the 320 beds were already occupied by sick children.
A bed was eventually found nearly 100 miles away in Sheffield later that day. The baby has since made a recovery and has been discharged, but the incident highlights the huge pressure on the limited number of PICU beds at this time of year when there is a much higher rate of chest infections.
The case earlier this month emerged in an internet blog written by Mark Newbold, chief executive of Heart of England NHS Trust. Mr Newbold wrote: ‘An ITU [intensive treatment unit] bed is needed, but across the country there aren’t any. They had hoped for one in Cardiff, but just been told it had gone.’
This year there have been increasing numbers of occasions where there are no spare beds – a situation which could put young patients at serious risk.
Yesterday specialist bodies including PICS, the Intensive Care Society and the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists, put together a statement for the Government warning of the situation. It says ‘significant numbers of children ….. may need to have their intensive care delivered in district general hospitals or general intensive care units – even if some of these hospitals do not currently provide other paediatric services’.
It recommends a ‘rapid mobilisation of resources’, including making more staff available and freeing-up adult intensive care beds for children.
Paediatric intensive care specialist Dr Peter Wilson, honorary secretary of PICS, said: ‘There have been several cases of children waiting, although fortunately there have not been any critical incidents.’
The warning has been passed to Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS. He said: ‘In recent weeks demand has been high but well managed by paediatricians and intensive-care staff who worked hard to ensure all children received the care they needed.
‘Despite the high demand, last week 15 per cent of paediatric intensive care beds and nearly 30 per cent of neonatal intensive care beds were available and able to take patients.’
British Labour party leader: Labour made mistakes on immigration
But no mention of the vast pressure on schools, roads, hospitals and welfare payments that resulted from the immigration upsurge
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband today admitted his party made “mistakes” over immigration when in power – and told migrants they must learn English.
Mr Miliband said the former government failed to tackle the growing problem of racial segregation in British cities, adding that Britain needs a fresh strategy to cope with its multi-ethnic society.
He vowed not to sweep public anxieties over British cultural identity under the carpet – while praising the country’s “tolerant, open-minded society”.
The Labour leader also called on the country to back Mo Farah in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards – saying his first victory was the “defining moment” of the London Olympics.
He hailed the Games as an example of Britain’s ethnic diversity in a speech urging more direct action to further integration.
Labour would expect migrants to learn English, tackle landlords who pack migrant newcomers into overcrowded houses and ban recruitment agencies from seeking workers only from particular countries or ethnic groups, he said.
But in his high-profile speech in south London, Mr Miliband insisted that the multi-ethnic Britain revealed in this week’s census and in the summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games is a cause for celebration.
Drawing on his own parents’ experience as Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, Mr Miliband said: “We should celebrate multi-ethnic diverse Britain. We are stronger for it – and I love Britain for it.”
He continued: “Britain is at its best when it comes together as a nation, not when it stands divided. That’s what One Nation is about.
“But at the same time we know there is anxiety about immigration and what it means for our culture.
“The answer is not to sweep it under the carpet or fail to talk about it, nor is it to make promises that can’t be kept. It is to deal with all of the issues that concern people.”
He admitted that previous Labour administrations were “overly optimistic” in assuming that integration would happen by itself and that Labour did “too little to tackle the realities of segregation in communities that were struggling to cope”.
He added: “The last Labour government made mistakes in this regard. We have said we will learn lessons from eastern European migration and ensure maximum transitional controls in future.
“And we will look at how the Government’s immigration cap works in practice. “But I believe we can all cope with these pressures if we recognise them and understand how to respond.”
Calling on Britain to back Mo Farah as BBC Sports Personality of the Year, he said: “If anything was a defining moment of the Olympics, amidst so many defining moments, it was Mo Farah’s victories.
“And wasn’t that an amazing interview when he was asked: ’Wouldn’t you rather be running for Somalia?’ and he replied: ’This is my country, mate’.”
Labour has no right to lecture on immigration
Labour leader Ed Miliband’s call for a ‘strategy for integration’ is just so much hot air
Exactly 10 years ago, a tiny campaign group captured the headlines with a startling prediction that net immigration to the UK would grow by two million over the next decade. Since this was four times more than occurred in the previous decade, the forecast was rubbished by the Home Office. Moreover, the people behind the group, Migration Watch UK, were denounced as closet racists for even raising the subject. Yet everything that Migration Watch foresaw came true; indeed, as the figures published this week from the 2011 census show, they were overly cautious.
Sir Andrew Green, the founder of the organisation, wanted to inspire a debate about immigration that he thought the politicians wilfully refused to have. There was a good reason for this: until the mid-Nineties most voters believed successive governments had operated sensible immigration controls. However, everything changed with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of the eastern borders into the EU. This resulted in a huge influx of economic migrants, many claiming to be political refugees, initially settling in Germany but eventually in the UK. By the time Labour came to power in 1997, more than 100,000 foreign nationals were claiming asylum annually compared with just a few thousand in the late Eighties.
As a result of chaotic administration at the Home Office, most of these new immigrants were allowed to remain in the country whether they were entitled to or not. At the same time, Labour abolished the “primary purpose rule”, which was intended to ensure that marriage was not being used principally as a means to enter Britain. The rules surrounding work permits became too lax, exit controls from the country were abolished, visa departments became overwhelmed and human rights law made it difficult, if not impossible, to deport illegal immigrants.
Then, in 2004, the Labour government announced that Britain would allow access to its jobs market to workers from the new members from the old Warsaw Pact bloc. It estimated that the impact would be minimal, with about 13,000 people a year coming from the eight countries, including Poland. In the event, around one million have arrived here to work. This combination of events meant that controls over immigration, rigidly applied since 1971, were lost.
Partly, this was beyond the Labour government’s control; but none the less it could – and should – have prepared for the consequences. And the main reason that it didn’t is because Labour leaders simply denied that it was happening. As a result, ministers refused to heed warnings that mass immigration would result in a shortage of housing or lead to pressure on schools, the NHS and transport. Even today – and especially with budget cuts – public services are poorly prepared for the consequences: hundreds of new primary schools, for instance, will be needed over the next 10 years for which plans have not, so far, been made.
So, for Ed Miliband, Labour’s leader, to make the speech he did yesterday stating that “the last government made mistakes” in its immigration policy is the political understatement of the decade. The difficulties that parts of the country face as a result of large-scale immigration, such as a failure of integration, a lack of affordable homes and high benefit dependency, stem from those “mistakes”.
It is pointless for Mr Miliband now to argue that the country is a better place because of the arrival of millions of newcomers. While many people might agree with that sentiment, if that was Labour’s intention all along why did they deny it was taking place? Either they were incompetent or dishonest. Furthermore, Mr Miliband’s call yesterday for a “comprehensive strategy for integration” is just so much hot air in view of his party’s track record. After trying to shut down the debate on immigration for years, Labour now seeks to claim some unique insight into the problems it has caused.
Unhappily, Labour’s failure was so spectacular that the Coalition has responded by making mistakes of its own. David Cameron’s pledge to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands” is not only unachievable but is arguably not in the country’s interests. Perversely, this target could be reached even with high levels of immigration if they were matched by a rise in emigration.
What Britain needs is an immigration policy that chooses the people the country wants while being honest about those it wants to exclude. Instead, we are in danger of producing a system that rejects and deters those whose presence here would be of benefit. As this week’s census illustrated, the levels of immigration seen over the past 20 years have been unprecedented in our history. Some economists argue that this has been a good thing because a vibrant economy needs a growing population to sustain it and the indigenous birth rate is unable to do so. But the fact remains that as recently as 15 years ago, ministers and officials were working on the assumption that net immigration would be a quarter of what it is now.
As the party in government for most of that time, Labour should have acknowledged what was happening and acted accordingly. It miserably failed to do so. Why Mr Miliband thinks we should listen to him now is anyone’s guess.
Nigel Farage, Britain’s most “incorrect” politician
For most of the time since he became UKIP leader six years ago, Farage has been treated by mainstream party leaders as a cross between a saloon bar bore and a clown. Not any more. The former City trader’s aim of getting the UK out of the EU, once derided as fantasy, now looks feasible. His party has knocked the Lib Dems into fourth place in polls.
And unashamed Thatcherite Farage has seized on the gay marriage row to woo more disaffected Conservatives.
Some Tory MPs say UKIP’s growing popularity makes it impossible for David Cameron to win the next Election. Any idea of a Tory/UKIP pact to stop Conservative votes bleeding to Farage was killed off last month when Cameron repeated his claim that UKIP is full of ‘loonies, closet racists and fruitcakes’.
‘If he wants to give us back-handed insults like that let him do it,’ barks Farage. ‘We will not be doing business with that man while he is leader under any circumstances. End of.
‘There isn’t a Tory Party any more, it’s gone. Cameron’s got rid of it. It’s now just another brand of social democracy.’
Farage left the Conservative Party 20 years ago, predictably, over Europe. When I suggest he is an old-fashioned Tory at heart, he objects: ‘I’m not old fashioned.’
He admits that ‘in its early days, UKIP attracted all sorts, religious fanatics and others’ who were seen as ‘homophobic, the BNP in blazers’. But the racists and bigots are gone, he claims. And, buoyed by the rising anti-EU sentiment and disaffection with the three main parties, terrier Farage is yapping at the heels of the big beasts, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.
He has shrewdly cashed in on their united support for gay marriage and claims he is in talks with unnamed Tory MPs about defecting to UKIP.
‘All this talk of equality and fairness goes in one direction. Gay marriage is illiberal because we are forcing millions of people to do something that is anathema to them. Tolerance is a two-way street.’
Has he ever been to a civil partnership celebration? ‘No, but I wouldn’t have a problem in doing so.’
Does he agree with the Tory MP who said parents wanted their children to be straight not gay? Farage, who has two sons and two daughters by his two marriages, replies cheerily: ‘I don’t think I’d rush to the whisky bottle and revolver. It wouldn’t be a problem!’
Does it worry him that if he took more Tory votes, he could help socialist Miliband win power?
Farage replies with his trademark bluster and bravado. ‘What power? I spent 20 years working in the City and understand power. ‘As I always say to people, I worked damned hard right up until lunchtime every day!
‘It doesn’t matter a damn whether Cameron or Miliband is in Downing Street, we have given away the ability to run our own country. ‘Would I have a guilty conscience if the UKIP vote kept Cameron and his SDP Tory Party out and put Miliband and his SDP Labour Party in? None whatsoever.’
He is scathing about last week’s EU summit –when Germany and France speeded up moves towards an economic union, with Britain and non-euro nations on the sidelines. He denounces Cameron for acting as ‘cheerleader in an attempt to snuff out European democracy’ by not objecting to it. And in near apocalyptic tones, Farage suggests it could lead to a repeat of the events that sparked the Second World War. ‘We are heading down a road which will end in violence on a huge scale.’
With a German-run EU? ‘Yes. What we learn from modern history is that if you attempt to impose on people a new nationality, new flag, new anthem without their consent and impose an economic project doomed to failure, desperate people do desperate things. You create the very nationalism you were trying to stop in the first place.’
Farage says he saw a glimpse of it at the European Parliament last week when the EU’s anthem, Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, was played. ‘I looked around that room and I saw them standing ramrod straight to attention and I thought, “Bloody hell, that is scary.”’
He denies comparing it to the rise of Hitler, but adds: ‘This is the new nationalism. For German politicians in the European Parliament it is acceptable to be deeply patriotic about the European flag and not their own. Germany, Italy – there are many countries who feel they are rubbish and they rather like a flag they can be proud of and an anthem they can stand up to. The European project is now a project of nationalism – and it is very dangerous.’
Farage’s talk of European turmoil has baffled and enraged the EU’s po-faced ruling class, and he adds: ‘I think political extremism will grow everywhere, I really do.’
Nearly 50,000 British children let down by failing primary schools that let bright starters ‘fall back into the pack’
British schools mostly focus on getting the dummies over the line and neglect brighter kids
Almost 50,000 of the brightest children have been failed at primary school despite a rise in headline pass rates, official league tables revealed yesterday.
Four in ten who were high-fliers at the age of seven failed to reach their potential and achieved only average grades in national tests at 11.
School-by-school tables for more than 15,000 primaries show that national results in English and maths SATs tests were markedly up on last year.
In 2011, 67 per cent of pupils achieved level four – the expected standard for their age – in reading, writing and maths, but this year it was 75 per cent.
However, concerns are being raised over provision for the brightest in some primaries after it emerged that 49,678 of the 125,800 pupils who were the top performers at seven did not continue on the same trajectory over the next four years.
They failed to achieve the level five in English and maths tests at the age of 11 that had been predicted by their results at seven.
The Department for Education said it was ‘unacceptable’ that children who made bright starts to their school careers had ‘fallen back into the pack’.
The tables are based on results in national tests in English and maths taken by more than 540,000 11-year-olds in England in the spring.
They show that a quarter of youngsters left primary school without a basic mastery of reading, writing and maths – down from a third last year. This means they failed to reach the expected level four in all three subjects.
The figures also show that two-thirds of pupils who were slow starters in the three Rs failed to catch up and reach the expected standard by the end of primary school.
But there were 59 schools where every pupil in the lowest-achieving group at seven had been pulled up to expected levels at the age of 11.
The number of schools failing to meet basic targets for performance fell by more than half, from 1,310 to 521. Of these 521, 45 have already shut down or been turned into academies under the control of outside sponsors. Many of the rest now face closure or takeover.
Faith schools were more likely to achieve good results than other primaries, it emerged. Some 62 per cent of the 896 primaries which brought all pupils up to expected levels in English and maths were faith schools, despite them making up only a third of primaries nationally.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the results were ‘excellent news’, adding: ‘It shows the hard work that’s going on in the system and has been going on for some years.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Every child must be challenged to achieve their best. These results show that some children who were struggling at seven have made real progress by 11 and are now performing as well, or even better, than we expect.
‘However, there are still too many cases where the opposite is true. It is unacceptable that children who made such bright starts to their school career have fallen back into the pack.
On the stupid Lefty Luddites, green ideologues and Guardianista pillocks opposing Britain’s glorious shale gas revolution…
By James Delingpole
Lord Justice Leveson has been in Australia giving the locals his tuppeny ha’penny’s worth on press regulation. Given how gagmakingly PC they are over there these days, I’m sure they lapped up every word. The bits that most interested me were his views on the differences between the print media (or as Richard North calls it the “legacy media”) and the blogosphere.
During a speech at the University of Melbourne, he insisted there was an important difference between mainstream journalists with “a powerful reputation for accuracy” and bloggers and tweeters who were “no more than electronic versions of pub gossip”.
Who are these mainstream journalists with a “powerful reputation for accuracy”, you wonder? (Well clearly he hasn’t read much of the output of Fairfax Media, recently.) Maybe someone from somewhere like the Observer, I’m guessing, for I wouldn’t have Lord Justice Leveson down as a Telegraph or Mail man and I doubt he touches the Murdoch press. In fact, I’d lay money that Leveson is a great admirer of the Observer’s chief political writer Andrew Rawnsley. Many people are. Even I once quite liked the idea of him. He’s the kind of political commentator you see on TV, looking quite cuddly and sounding quite reasonable, and mutter to yourself, “Well he seems an all right sort of fellow, that Andrew Rawnsley.”
But is he? Since Shale Gas is very much the topic de la semaine, I thought I’d treat you to Rawnsley’s insights on the subject from his Observer column last weekend. (Note to younger readers: The Observer used to be Britain’s pre-eminent serious newspaper). Here’s a flavour:
“Frack-heads talk feverishly about the reservoirs of shale gas being the equivalent of Britain’s share of the original North Sea oil reserves. If that were to prove true, this would indeed provide a rich source of energy for Britain and a big boost to tax revenues for the Treasury. Some Tories even believe that shale gas could do for David Cameron what the black stuff did for Margaret Thatcher. The shale deposits under Lancashire alone, so they claim, could power the country for more than half a century. When they get really carried away, they reimagine Blackpool as the “Dallas of the North” with kiss-me-quick hats swapped for stetsons. Climate-change deniers are prominent among the frack-heads. Yet it also seems to offer something to greens because shale gas emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal.
Well, it is only human to dream and the temptation to fantasise about miraculous treasures is all the greater if you are a politician looking for relief from many more bleak years of austerity. The trouble with their dream is that it is very risky for Britain.”
Now, speaking as a polemicist and a troll-baiter, I have a sneaking admiration for Rawnsley’s style here. It’s colourful, it’s rude (“frack-heads” sounds a bit like, oo-er missus, something else, doesn’t it?), it’s combative, it’s provocative and it’s seething with but-barely-contained righteous rage. Problem number one is Rawnsley is not a blogger – he is the Chief Political Correspondent of Britain’s once most-revered serious newspaper. Problem number two is that every word he has written here – including all the ands and buts – is total, abject, weapons-grade toss.
Fortunately, we have a journalist on hand to explain why it’s a load of toss. No, wait. This guy’s not a professional journalist at all – he’s one of those dangerous blogger fellows Lord Justice Leveson warns us about: the type whose opinions are no better than an “electronic version of pub gossip.”
Still, let’s give him a fair hearing, eh? His name is Nick Grealy and he does seem to know quite a bit about the subject. For example, he has some facts and figures which would appear to make a mockery of the Great Rawnsley’s Olympian scepticism and Ozymandias scorn.
The bit that particularly exercises Grealy is Rawnsley’s claim that Britain’s shale gas plays are thin and feeble:
“Shales in Europe are generally thinner and deeper, and therefore much more expensive to tap, than those that have been successfully exploited in the United States. And Britain looks likely to be one of the less promising prospects in Europe because its shales are typically among the thinnest.”
It exercises him because this ludicrous claim is about as far the opposite of true that the opposite of true can be. Here are the DECC estimates:
So we’ve all heard of the Bakken and Marcellus Shales – the ones which have transformed the US economy, brought natural gas prices down by two thirds, etc. Well our own Bowland Shale, under Blackpool is up to 40 times thicker.
The depressing thing is that in a decade or so’s time when the shale gas revolution has really taken off in Britain – bringing prosperity, jobs and dramatically cheaper energy – no one is going to remember the names of that rag bag of ideological greenies, wind turbine scamsters, ill-informed celebrities, enviro-loon activists and Guardianista pillocks who fought so hard to stop it happening.
But I wish they did. If there were any justice Cuadrilla would erect a huge statue of Andrew Rawnsley in Blackpool for dogs to urinate on and for shale industry workers to throw rotten fruit at and their privately educated offspring to laugh at. “This man tried to keep you poor,” the plaque below would read. “This man tried to deny you jobs. He tried to make it more expensive for you to heat your homes. He tried to hold back the economic recovery. He tried to ensure that more of your countryside was obliterated with wind farms.”
Maybe if they could find space for it, they could put up another statue to the lefty Twitter pontificator, anti-shale-gas campaigner, and occasional comedy writer Graham Linehan. Maybe there could even be a blue flame emerging from his posterior – in order to symbolise the origins of his political insights on shale, the NHS, climate change and other matters….