Ambulance staff told injured old lady’s son: ‘stop being a nuisance’
An elderly woman was left injured on a pavement for more than three hours after an ambulance controller told her son to stop being a nuisance as he repeatedly called for help, it was claimed today.
Iris Burton, 84, fell near her house in Ratby, Leicester, leaving her with a broken hip and fractured shoulder blade earlier this month.
But after the widow was left waiting for an ambulance for more than an hour, her son, Philip, was told by a controller to “stop being a nuisance” when he sought an update.
She eventually waited three and a half hours for paramedics who then took her to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she had an operation to mend a broken hip.
Ambulance officials apologised today for the delayed response as Mr Burton threatened to make formal complaint. The incident occurred on February 15 when Mrs Burton fell while walking home just before 6pm. Being unable to move, she cried for out help for about 10 minutes in the dark before a local woman came to her aid. Paramedics were called as well as Mr Burton.
He arrived shortly after to find his mother in agony but NHS Direct officers told him she should not be moved.
Mr Burton, 53, from Leicester, tried to make his mother comfortable and to keep her warm with hot water bottles and duvets from her house.
When an ambulance had still not arrived by about 7pm, Mr Burton called himself.
He said: “I was told there wasn’t an ambulance available and when I asked when one would be with us and where it was coming from, I was told to stop being a nuisance.”
“It was still awful for her. The cold was coming up from underneath on the pavement where she was lying and she was in agony.”
An ambulance finally arrived at about 9.30pm. He is now making a formal complaint to the East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) about the delay.
Mr Burton added: “The ambulance men were fantastic. They were brilliant, but I am going to make a formal complaint about the time it took to get an ambulance to my mother.
“She is doing all right at the moment. She had an operation on her hip on Saturday morning and her shoulder is in a sling, there is nothing more that can be done for that.”
Today, Karlie Thompson, divisional director for Emas South (Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire) admitted that officials had failed in their care and apologised. “It is clear we did not get to Mrs Burton fast enough,” she said.
“While Mrs Burton’s injuries were not immediately life-threatening, I do appreciate the pain and distress she will have experienced. “I regret the delay in our response and offer our apologies.”
She added: “We were busy responding to calls including high demand for people reported to be in a life-threatening condition and providing transport for hospital patients who required life-saving treatment at a different centre.”
The call had been categorised as “green 1” which meant an ambulance should have been with the patient in 20 minutes, she added. The operator has not been named.
The desperation to get kids into a good British school
Rocketing numbers of parents are fraudulently trying to get their children into the country’s best state schools.
They are being caught using false addresses, pretending to be Roman Catholic, lying about siblings and even impersonating family members in an attempt to secure places.
Over the past five years, the number of council investigations into suspicious applications has risen almost 11-fold, a Daily Mail investigation has found.
The number of sanctions imposed – school places withdrawn or applications not accepted – has risen more than threefold over the same period.
The findings reveal the lengths desperate parents are prepared to go to prevent their children ending up in ‘sink’ schools.
Education experts believe the figures are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ because some councils are more proactive in investigating than others.
Tens of thousands of pupils are set to lose out on their first choice secondary school on National Offer Day on Friday. In some areas, half of them are expected not to gain their first preference.
The Mail submitted Freedom of Information requests to all 152 local education authorities in England on fraudulent applications for primary and secondary schools between 2007/8 and 2013/14.
For 2007/8, 96 councils responded. Of these, 36 gave full or partial data and the rest either did not collect the information or cited exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.
Applications of 99 children were probed which led to 38 sanctions.
In 2012/13, 91 councils responded, with 61 giving full or partial data. Applications for 1,059 children were investigated, leading to 129 places being withdrawn or not accepted.
From 2007/8 to 2012/13 there were 2,599 investigations and 516 sanctions. Extrapolated across the country, this equates to 7,573 investigations and 1,595 sanctions over the period.
Most probes relate to accusations that parents are registering a family member’s address or renting a property in a catchment area. Some also claim false sibling links.
In 2012/13 in Wolverhampton, five places were withdrawn due to parents using incorrect addresses, including a family member ‘posing’ as a child’s father.
Medway Council in Kent withdrew four primary places last year after it found families fraudulently used grandparents’ or childminders’ addresses. Knowsley Metropolitan Council in Merseyside withdrew 11 places from 2008/9 to 2012/13 due to ‘false Catholic baptism’ claims.
In another case, ‘parent A’ tipped off Buckinghamshire County Council last year about ‘parent B’ no longer living at the address provided. The school place was withdrawn from ‘B’ and given to ‘A’.
Hertfordshire County Council has seen an eight-fold rise in investigations, from 56 in 2008 to 455 last year.
Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: ‘We owe it to parents to defend admissions against unscrupulous competition and fraudulent activity.
‘This is probably the tip of the iceberg as it’s not being investigated as much as it should be.’
Foreigners to lose legal aid in court battles over benefits as Cameron orders end to ‘soft touch’ Britain
Immigrants are to be banned from receiving legal aid to launch court battles against the government in order to claim benefits.
David Cameron last night vowed to stop Britain being seen as a ‘soft touch’ as he revealed the first details of a plan to curb the access foreigners have to public money.
The Prime Minister said ministers were scouring the tax and benefits system to close loopholes which make it too easy for newcomers to Britain to claim handouts.
‘Our message is very clear. We want immigration that will benefit Britain,’ he insisted.
Limiting legal aid in cases involving housing, benefits and other civil claims will save millions from Britain’s £billion legal aid bill.
‘I think the most important thing is to make sure that while you have free movement you are not a soft touch,’ Mr Cameron said.
‘That is why we are going through, in fine detail, our benefits system, our tax system, our health system, our housing system, every aspect of our welfare system.’
The Government is determined to use curbs on benefits to deter Romanians and Bulgarians from flocking to the UK in January when restrictions on their travel here are lifted.
Mr Cameron revealed he has ordered Tory ministers to ignore warnings from civil servants that getting tough on immigration was too difficult.
And he said he had been forced to rebuff calls during a trip to India last week to ease curbs on immigrants moving to Britain for low-skilled jobs.
Ministers are also looking at ways to limit the amount of child benefit and tax credits which can be claimed by new arrivals in the UK.
Currently child benefit is paid to 40,000 children who do not live in the UK, costing up to £36million-a-year.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has now been tasked with drawing up a ‘residency test’ to prevent new arrivals from immediately gaining automatic access to legal aid for cases in the civil courts.
The PM said: ‘I think there is more we can do. One of the aspects that we are reaching fairly early conclusion on is that we can no longer grant legal aid to non-UK nationals or for civil cases, people who are facing housing cases or benefit cases.
‘We need a proper residency test for those cases and we’re going to consult on introducing one,’ he told the Daily Express.
‘That is just one element of a huge range of measures to make sure that people who do come here are coming here because there is a particular job of work they want to do – rather than coming here because they want to use the health service or get a council house.’
A Government study to flesh out the new policy is set to be announced soon.
Mr Cameron said he had made to Tory ministers that they must over-rule officials if they try to derail attempts to take a more strident line on curbing immigration.
‘Going through area after area, I’ve told the ministers: tear up your departmental brief, I’m not interested in what you were told to say when you came to this meeting; rip it up, think like a Conservative and make sure you’re really doing what is necessary to ask the difficult questions in your department.
‘Make sure that we’re a fair country and a welcoming country but not a soft touch.’
He also promised to continue to reduce the overall net migration to Britain every year, which rose to 200,000 newcomers a year under Labour.
‘We were not able to cope with that level of migration and pressure on public services,’ he said.
‘We’ve seen the level of net migration come down by a quarter over the last two-and-a-half years. I want to see further progress.’
Mr Cameron spent three days in India last week, where he urged more Indian students to come to Britain.
‘I wanted to send a message that if you’ve got a place at a university, if you can speak the English language, there isn’t an arbitrary limit on who can come.
‘Afterwards you can work, but only in a graduate job. In India I was pressed quite hard – why can’t we work in non-graduate jobs?
‘I was very clear, including when sitting among those 500 girls in the Delhi college, I said we have unemployed people in Britain who need to be put into work.
‘I’m not interested in people coming to study in university, then staying on for ages in unskilled jobs. That is not in our national interest.’
Earlier this month, Mr Cameron told the Commons that ministers were looking at a wide range measures to ensure Britain was not seen as a ‘soft touch’ by foreigners seeking to take advantage of its health or benefits systems.
The Prime Minister, who wants tougher rules to ensure visitors do not ‘take advantage’ of British generosity, said those from outside the EU should pay when they use our hospitals.
Officials should also do more to reclaim the costs of NHS treatment from EU countries whose nationals take ill here.
Landowners ‘£1 billion wind farm boom’
Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners are on course to earn around £1 billion in rental fees from wind farm companies
Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP, estimated the sum will be paid over the next eight years to at least a dozen landowners willing to allow turbines on their estates and farms.
He suggested the wealthiest Scots are benefiting from the spread of wind farms at the expense of consumers, who have to heavily subsidise the technology in their energy bills.
Among the landowners named in the book is the Duke of Roxburghe, who, he estimated, could earn £1.5 million a year from turbines erected in the Lammermuir Hills.
Titled So Much Wind – The Myth of Green Energy, the book also claims that the spread of wind farms is leading to a new wave of Clearances as families are forced to move away by the construction of industrial turbines.
It was published as MSPs debated Alex Salmond’s plan to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.
Mr Stevenson estimated that the target would require the construction of around 5,000 wind farms in Scotland of which around 1,900 have already been built.
“We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” he told a press conference in Edinburgh.
“In parts of the Highlands now tourism is being effectively destroyed and people are leaving the Highlands because tourists no longer want to go there with the landscape bristling with wind factories and industrial wind turbines.
“It’s a catastrophic policy that could lead to the lights going out in Scotland and power cuts in the years ahead. It’s time this was exposed.”
His book argued that “money is the driver” behind landowners’ willingness to allow the construction of wind farms on their estates and farms.
“Rental payments vary and are top secret but it is estimated that a dozen or more of Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners will pocket around £1 billion in rental fees over the next eight years,” he wrote.
Mr Stevenson estimated the Duke of Roxburghe’s income based on 48 120-metre high turbines at Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills.
He wrote that Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming, a seventh baronet, could be earning £435,000 a year for allowing 29 turbines on his Altyre Estate near Forres in Moray.
Meanwhile, he estimated the Earl of Seafield could get £120,000 a year from eight turbines on his estate near Banff.
The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive around £2 million annually in rent for 49 turbines at Braes O’Doune, which Mr Stevenson wrote are “clearly visible from the iconic Stirling Castle”.
The Earl of Glasgow, a Liberal Democrat peer, has 14 turbines on his Kelburn estate in Ayrshire that could generate £300,000 of income per year.
Mr Stevenson highlighted how the Crown Estate, will controls large tracts of land and the seabed around Scotland, is on course to net billions of pounds from offshore wind farms. The revenue will be split between the Treasury and the Queen.
The Tory MEP argued wind farms are extremely inefficient and erratic, saying National Grid figures showed they produced only 0.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs on Tuesday morning this week.
In a debate at Holyrood, opposition MSPs complained about SNP ministers overturning local planning authorities’ decisions to reject wind farm applications.
However, Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, insisted he would only approve “the right developments in the right places”.
Scottish Land and Estates, the body that represents landowners, and the Roxburghe Estate declined to comment on Mr Stevenson’s claims.
British Member of Parliament Admits Climate Change Act ‘A Mistake’
by John O’Sullivan
Britain’s deeply unpopular Climate Change Act (2008) may be set for repeal as another politician joins the growing number of MP’s aghast at the damage it is having on the nation’s ailing economy.
Conservative Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell’s mea culpa today (February 25, 2013) shows dignity and acceptance of the weight of evidence conflicting with the already scientifically dubious notion of human-caused global warming. “My biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry,” said Carswell on his blog.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of last week’s surprise admission by Rajendra Pachuari, the UN’s head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Pachauri conceded that we are now into a 17-year pause in global temperature rises, as confirmed recently by Britain’s Met Office. Even NASA’s most strident climate doomsayer, Dr. James Hansen concedes there has been “a pause” in any temperature rise.
The 2008 rush to enact the UK’s “carbon tax” is now dismissed by Carswell as “gesture legislation” and like other politicians he admits “this law has turned out to have real consequences.” Like others Carswell has woken up to the stark reality of just how much the UK’s Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices and is “squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive,” says the MP. Under the Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. In contrast, the EU is only committed to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020.Skyrocketing energy bills have forced 6 million households in fuel poverty and the proposed Carbon Floor Price will increase this number to 12 million – that is 1 in 4 households
Ironically, Carswell is a graduate of the UEA, made infamous by the Climategate scandal of 2009. He is also regarded widely as among the more principled politicians in Westminster hoping to turn the tide on this folly. Carswell was voted in 2009 by ‘Spectator’ readers as ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ while ‘The Daily Telegraph’ nominated him a ‘Briton of the Year.’ He now takes his place among that fast growing band of dissenting Conservative politicians speaking out about the damage misguided ‘green’ policies have had on our economies.
House of Lords dilutes Press plan which ‘threatens free speech’
Controversial plans to force newspapers to seek approval from a new regulator before printing contentious stories were watered down by peers last night.
Tabled by Labour peer Lord Puttnam this month, the proposals provoked an outcry by human rights campaigners, who warned they would have a chilling effect on free speech.
Supporters of the amendment of the Defamation Bill included some Tory and Liberal Democrat rebels, as well as Labour and Crossbench peers.
They said they wanted to use it to put pressure on ministers to bring forward plans to implement Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals for Press regulation.
But Lord Fowler, a former journalist and Tory Cabinet minister, who had backed the plans, said he now saw they went too far.
He said the Press ‘do have a genuine point’ in warning the proposal would harm free speech.
The peer said the plans were ‘anathema’ to journalists as they raised the chance of stories being suppressed by the powerful.
‘In any story of any controversy, there will always be people out there who want to stop the story, or at the very least take the guts out of it,’ added Lord Fowler.
Peers agreed to remove the clause without a vote. But Lord Fowler said he still supported the main thrust of Lord Puttnam’s amendment.
This would introduce Leveson-style arbitration for members of the public wronged by the Press and potentially ruinous damages for papers which refused to sign up.
But Justice Minister Lord McNally said yesterday’s change made an ‘unacceptable position’ only ‘marginally better’. He confirmed that ministers still viewed the Puttnam amendment as ‘unacceptable’.
The Bill, which contains vital reforms to libel laws, is now effectively in limbo, pending the outcome of cross-party talks on implementing the Leveson proposals for a new media regulator.
Lord McNally said a draft royal charter has been published showing how a ‘recognition body’ might be constituted to underpin a ‘tough system of self regulation’.
Tory sources have made it clear that David Cameron would rather abandon the Bill than allow Lord Puttnam’s plans to become law.
More insane British “justice”
Rapist with HIV who sparked nationwide manhunt after going on the run walks free from court because of his ill health
A convicted rapist with HIV who sparked a nationwide manhunt after going on the run has been spared jail – because of his ill health.
As a registered sex offender drifter Alan Clune, 32, was required to tell police where he lived after he was released from jail.
He went on the run after moving out of a house in Lancashire he shared with his partner without telling police.
Senior officers said he posed a risk to members of the public and he was at large for 10 days before being found 300 miles from home in London.
It emerged Clune, a former Big Issue seller, had repeatedly ignored a sex offender order demanding he tell police of his home address.
He had originally been jailed for four years for the rape an 18-year old heterosexual man whilst knowing he was HIV positive and had Hepatitis B.
At Burnley Crown Court, Clune admitted breaching the notification requirements of the sex offenders’ register but was given a two year suspended prison term after his lawyer told how his client was undergoing dialysis and had skin cancer.
Passing sentence Judge Beverley Lunt said she was imposing a suspended sentence only because of Clune’s health, but warned if he failed to comply with the order again, he would be locked up for a total of four years.
Judge Lunt warned him: ‘It’s an absolute certainty. Start obeying the rules. The trouble with you is if you go off the rails, you go off spectacularly.’
Clune who became a drug addict at 13 learned he contracted HIV in July 2002. The following September he raped his 18 year old victim following a drinking session in Swansea.
The teenager who had been visiting the Welsh city to see his girlfriend had to endure ‘three months of terror’ before doctors could tell him he had not contracted the disease.
In December 2002 Clune was ordered to sign on the Sex Offender register for life but after his release from jail flouted the order three times in the space of two years.
He was given a suspended jail term in December 2006 then in November 2007 was jailed for five months before being given a further three months in July 2008 for breaching the terms of the order.
He disappeared again on May 11 last year after quitting his home in Haslingden, near Rossendale.
The alarm was raised when police had gone to Clune’s home in relation to a completely unrelated matter and found that he was no longer living there.
Michael Scholes, prosecuting, said Clune registered at a Salvation Army drop-in centre in the West End of London on May 16, saying he was homeless and had been sleeping rough.
On May 21, police turned up to arrest Clune but he slipped out of the door and ran off. He was detained in a nearby Apple store.
Lawyers for Clune later said his actions were ‘not a precursor’ to any sexual offence. He said he would ‘sofa surf’ from time to time when he got into difficulties.
In mitigation defence lawyer Bob Sastry said his client’s disappearance was ‘not necessarily premeditated.’ He had been having difficulties with his then-partner and the relationship had broken down.
The barrister continued : ‘He must acknowledge, particularly when he was staying at the Salvation Army, there was no difficulty in telling police where he was. By that stage, he was worried about going to prison.’
Dorset town scraps ‘uncool’ traditional carnival queen
A Dorset town has become the latest to ditch its annual “uncool” carnival queen procession through the streets, in a move that will end a tradition dating back more than 80 years.
Despite being synonymous with British culture as fish and chips and Morris dancers, Verwood has become the latest victim of a growing modern trend that believes the ceremony is outdated.
Organisers today announced that they would bring down the curtain on the carnival queen for this year’s summer parade after 84 years captivating locals.
They have also scrapped floats this year after fewer organisations were prepared to enter, citing high insurance costs and health and safety fears.
Instead, there will be a short walking procession through the town, which has a population of about 14,000, while any wheeled entries must be non-motorised.
Officials admitted entry numbers have dwindled in recent years and women have become increasingly unwilling to participate.
“We always have lots of potential princesses – 25 to 30 girls enter each year,” Steve Saville, one of the organisers, said today. “But for older teenagers and young women, I’m afraid it’s not cool to be a queen these days. “It’s not a beauty contest – queens have been chosen for their personalities and what they have done. But it’s just not cool.”
It is in stark contrast from the town’s first parade in 1929, in which dozens of excited young ladies entered desperate to wear the crown.
New committee members are now being sought to join the band of volunteers, mostly from the town’s Rotary club, who have attempted to keep interest alive for the past decade.
Last year Devizes in Wiltshire announced it too was ending the tradition, first launched in the market town in 1933, where a local lovely was chosen each year to ride on a decorated float at the head of the summertime procession through the streets.
A decision to scrap the traditional pageant in Weymouth, Dorset in 2009, provoked such an outcry that the event was eventually reinstated.
Verwood’s queen-less carnival is due to take place in late June.