NHS boss handed £100,000 performance bonus despite claims his hospital was responsible for 2,400 ‘excess deaths’
Britain truly is a madhouse
A former health boss was paid £100,000 in ‘bonuses’ at a hospital that is being investigated for high death rates.
Dr Stephen Morgan received two annual £50,000 payments, according to the accounts at Basildon Hospital, Essex – on top of basic pay of £55,000 as medical director and a consultant salary of £110,000.
Details of his pay came as it was revealed yesterday that there are thought to have been 2,452 ‘excess deaths’ at the hospital in the past decade.
The hospital has said the payments are not director’s bonuses, but Clinical Excellence Awards (CEA) – which are given to ‘recognise exceptional contribution over and above that normally expected in a job.’
A statement added: ‘These are payments made to doctors on the instructions of the Department of Health, following a rigorous competitive process.
‘He has not left the Trust to go into private practice but is an NHS consultant and Clinical Lead for Renal Services in south west Essex and it is for this work, and his role in helping establish the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre, that he receives CEA.
‘Dr Morgan single-handedly founded our renal services in 1995 which is now the largest in Essex. ‘Previously renal patients had to travel to London hospitals for dialysis. The Renal Unit has a reputation for excellent care and receives high satisfaction ratings from patients.
‘CEAs are an element of doctors’ pay, not a director’s bonus, but HM Treasury requires them to be entered under bonuses in the table of directors’ remuneration in the annual accounts.’
Eleanor McGrath, campaign manager for Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will be shocked by these figures, particularly following recent reports of the hospital’s failings.’
Dr Morgan left his post at the hospital last September.
Basildon Hospital is one of 14 trusts being invested across the country over death rates between July 2010 and July 2012.
The hospital trust said it was working hard to improve its mortality ratio performance.
A spokesman said: ‘The figures published in the press over the weekend have not been given to us by the Department of Health or Dr Foster.
‘However, official mortality figures relating to July 2010- June 2012, released by The Information Centre for Health and Social Care, show the Trust’s mortality rates as being higher than expected the figures are still within expected limits for our demographic.
‘In a bid to reduce this figure further a Hospital Mortality Group meets every fortnight to discuss and act on specific diagnostic groups where HSMR/SHMI are high and to monitor a mortality reduction programme action plan.
‘In addition all hospital deaths are now reviewed to see if there are any deficiencies in care.’
Dr Morgan was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Mail Online.
111 helpline blamed for chaos in casualty: A&E patients ‘dumped in corridors… and cupboards’
Failings in the NHS 111 helpline have left A&E units so overwhelmed that patients are being dumped in corridors, X-ray rooms and even stationery cupboards, nurses claim.
In some hospitals it is now `fairly routine’ for patients to wait at least 12 hours to be seen by a doctor, they say.
Other hospitals have appointed dedicated `queue nurses’ to provide basic care for the dozens of patients lying on trolleys in waiting rooms.
On one occasion at an Oxford hospital, 27 patients were said to have been lying on trollies in a corridor waiting to be treated.
Senior doctors are also having to carry out what they term `safari rounds’ – looking for patients who had been hurriedly moved from A&E to another ward with no record of where they had gone.
Since the NHS 111 system was rolled out last month, many hospitals have reported a surge in A&E attendances and in some regions they have gone up by 50 per cent.
The helpline has replaced NHS Direct and local GP out-of-hours numbers and is meant to make it easier for patients to seek advice and treatment – especially at evenings and weekends.
But it is manned by staff with no medical qualifications who read through a series of basic questions to try to assess the severity of patients’ conditions.
There have been reports of patients being sent to A&E with bad backs or coughs, while some call-centre workers have dispatched ambulances for those reporting period pains.
Additionally, patients dialling the line are frequently put on hold, or made to wait several hours to be called back by a nurse, so end up giving up and going down to casualty departments instead.
Senior nurses at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference in Liverpool yesterday warned the system had `tipped A&E over the edge’.
Karen Webb, of the RCN’s eastern branch, said departments were so short of beds that patients were frequently `parked’ on trolleys in corridors. She added: `There are accident and emergency departments in Norfolk where it’s fairly routine now for patients to wait 12 hours to be seen by consultants.’
Department of Health figures show the numbers of patients waiting more than four hours in A&E have more than doubled compared to last year. There were 27,247 such cases in March 2013, up from 13,200 in March 2012.
A DoH spokesman said that A&E departments were seeing an extra one million more patients compared with two years ago, adding: `Despite this they are still trying to ensure patients don’t face excessive waits for treatment.’
A generation of unruly toddlers: British Schools Minister says nursery children aren’t taught manners
Nurseries are breeding a generation of toddlers with no manners, the education minister has warned.
Elizabeth Truss condemned ‘chaotic’ pre-schools that allow children to do what they want all day long, leaving them unable to sit still and listen by the time they get to primary school.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, she said many nurseries were filled with toddlers ‘running around with no sense of purpose’.
She called for a traditional approach akin to that found in France, where children typically start working with a graduate-level teacher from the age of two and are expected to say ‘hello’ when an adult enters the room.
The minister’s criticism comes as the Government prepares to offer tax breaks to help working parents with the cost of childcare.
From 2015, working couples will qualify for tax breaks worth as much as £1,200 a year per child.
Some Tory MPs have claimed the scheme discriminates against stay-at-home mothers, but ministers say there is evidence that up to a million women want to work but are put off by nursery or childminder costs.
Miss Truss’s intervention suggests the Government believes there is much work to be done to improve the quality of care in nurseries before the tax breaks come into effect.
She said education watchdog Ofsted will be expected to mark down pre-school providers who do not take on better-qualified staff and offer children more structure.
‘This isn’t about two-year-olds doing academic work – it’s structured play which teaches children to be polite and considerate through activities which the teacher is clearly leading,’ she said.
‘At the moment fewer than one-third of nurseries employ graduate-level teachers and have structured, teacher-led sessions. We know that’s very beneficial.
‘What you notice in French nurseries is just how calm they are. All of their classes are structured and led by teachers. It’s a requirement. ‘They learn to socialise with each other, pay attention to the teacher and develop good manners, which is not the case in too many nurseries in Britain.’
She said of the UK system: ‘Free-flow play is not compulsory, but there is a belief across lots of nurseries that it is. I have seen too many chaotic settings, where children are running around. There’s no sense of purpose.
‘In these settings where there aren’t sufficiently qualified staff, and children are running around, we are not getting positive outcomes. ‘We want children to learn to listen to a teacher, learn to respect an instruction, so that they are ready for school.’
The married mother of two, who is increasingly tipped for high office, said it was clear that far too many existing nurseries are ‘not good enough’ – and stressed the importance of good preparation for primary school.
‘Children get into the habit of waiting their turn, of saying hello to the teacher when they come into the room,’ she said.
The minister highlighted the Government’s changes to rules on child-to-adult ratios, to encourage nurseries to employ better-paid graduates.
Teachers can already look after up to 13 children aged three and four years, compared with just eight for less well-qualified staff.
Her intervention will delight parents and educators who believe a more traditional approach is necessary in vital pre-school years.
However, it risks angering trade union leaders and those who insist it is best to ‘let children be children’ before they reach primary school.
From September, Ofsted will only consider ratings of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ to be acceptable for nurseries and pre-schools; the ‘satisfactory’ rating will be scrapped and replaced with ‘requires improvement’.
Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw recently decried the ‘absolute nonsense’ that more exams are needed to work with animals than young children.
Met Office Now Admits Arctic Sea Ice Didn’t Cause Cold Winter
In a new report entitled “Why was the start to spring 2013 so cold?,” the chief of the UK MET Office now admits that decreased Arctic sea ice or “Arctic amplification” was not responsible for the unusually cold spring 2013 in Europe, finding “little evidence from the comparison between the cold spring of 1962 and this year that the Arctic has been a contributory factor in terms of the hypothesis” of “an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.”
According to the report, “Figure 13 shows the midtroposphere temperature anomalies for 1962 and 2013; over the Arctic they are almost identical and reflect the negative NAO pattern. It is hard to argue that Arctic amplification had changed the equator to pole temperature in a systematic way to affect the circulation this spring.”
There have been some suggestions that the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, especially during summer, is responsible for this year’s cold spring. It is argued  that amplification of global warming over the Arctic is reducing the equator to pole temperature gradient, thereby weakening the strength of the mid-latitude jet streams. In turn this may lead to slower progression of upper-level waves and would cause associated weather patterns in midlatitudes to be more persistent, potentially leading to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.
This hypothesis remains contentious , however, and there is little evidence from the comparison between the cold spring of 1962 and this year that the Arctic has been a contributory factor in terms of the hypothesis proposed above. Figure 13 shows the midtroposphere temperature anomalies for 1962 and 2013; over the Arctic they are almost identical and reflect the negative NAO pattern. It is hard to argue that Arctic amplification had changed the equator to pole temperature in a systematic way to affect the circulation this spring.
Big lurch: British Labour Party goes racist?
From one extreme to the other. The vote for UKIP has got both sides of politics running scared
Labour was today accused of peddling ‘xenophobic rhetoric’ after a senior frontbencher complained about receptionists in hotels being foreign. In controversial remarks, Labour’s shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said it ‘would be nice’ to go into a hotel in this country which had a British receptionist. He said he was ‘angry’ at employers for failing to train and employ Brits, relying instead on people from Latvia and Estonia.
But the Tories said the comments were proof that Ed Miliband’s party was ‘confused’ on the issue of immigration and was ‘cynically’ trying to grab headlines.
Mr Bryant, the MP for Rhondda in south Wales, said local businesses had been unable to fill jobs with local people. ‘I have very high levels of youth unemployment in my constituency; it has risen by some 200 per cent in the last year,’ he told BBC2’s Newsnight.
‘I do get quite angry with some British employers, who’ve decided not to bother train British youngsters to work in the hospitality industry or the construction industry. ‘It would be nice sometimes when you go into a British hotel if the receptionist was British.
‘We need to give our young people to have the skills and the opportunities to get those jobs.
‘There is a hotel in my constituency quite often it’s not been able to employ locally, it has ended up employing people from Estonia and Latvia, often people from Estonia and Latvia have so much get up and go they’ve got up and gone.’
He was speaking during a debate on the impact of immigration in the UK, ahead of limits being lifted next year on the number of people from Bulgaria and Romania who can settle elsewhere in the European Union.
Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘Chris Bryant’s choice of words are irresponsible and unwise. ‘His comments demonstrate how confused Labour are over the issue of immigration. Labour have gone from an “open door” policy leaving the country to cope with 2 million migrants, to cynically peddling xenophobic rhetoric.’
Victor Ponta, the prime minister of Romania, admitted there is a problem with citizens of his country coming to Britain and committing crimes.
He said Roma gypsies, in particular, posed a ‘huge challenge’ to law enforcement by begging and stealing mobile phones. And he backed Britain’s moves to tighten up access to benefits for Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants.
It came as surverys suggested 150,000 Romanians and 200,000 Bulgarians are planning to move to Britain.
During the debate Mr Bryant apologised the immigration policy of the Labour government, in which he was a minister. He said:’ In all situations where you have one country where wages are much lower than in another country, then people will be prepared, despite having very advanced skills and knowledge and qualifications, to work at much lower level in another country.
‘One of the things we have to take into consideration – absolutely – well, yes – can I do the apology on behalf of the Labour party.
‘I mean look, there was a very serious mistake that was made in 2004, which is that, all the main political parties believed in enlargement of the European Union.
‘The point is that we went out – Britain went out on a limb – Britain decided that unlike France and Germany and Italy that we would allow people to come to the UK, immediately from day one.’
The growing cry for England and St George
Politicians should take note of the resurgence of English national identity
And a Happy St George’s Day to you as well! Now there’s a phrase few of us are likely to utter today – not least because many English people haven’t a clue that this is their national day. In Catalonia, which shares the same patron saint, young men will give their love a red rose and a book, and the church bells will ring out. Here, anyone wearing a red rose in their buttonhole to work will be assumed to be on their way to a wedding.
The English consider overt nationalism to be in bad taste, yet are quite content to wear leprechaun hats and drink green beer on St Patrick’s Day or tuck into a haggis on St Andrew’s Day or Burns Night. The Celtic fringes need their national days to assert their identities; while the English, as the dominant people of these isles, have always felt a little bit above it all.
That never used to be the case, however. In medieval times, St George’s Day was widely observed in England as a feast day; today, some towns and cities will host pageants that date back to the 13th century. Yet after the Union of 1707, and for the following 291 years, such celebrations fell into abeyance. When I was growing up, hardly anyone considered April 23 to be a special day – though I remember boxes of wilting shamrock arriving in the post from our relatives in Northern Ireland on St Patrick’s Day, and daffodils being sported by the Welsh on March 1.
But ever since Scottish devolution in 1998, there has been a resurgence of interest in English national identity. Over the past few days, the letters page of this newspaper has carried advice on how the day could be marked: why not a supper party with such English culinary delights as Lancashire hotpot or shepherd’s pie, followed by readings from Shakespeare, who died on this day in 1616 and may have been born on April 23, too? The English can more than match Robbie Burns with “This royal throne of kings, this sceptr’d isle/This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars/This other Eden, demi-paradise. This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”
Over the past 10 years or so, more and more events to mark St George’s Day have taken place across the country: last Saturday, there was a big celebration in Trafalgar Square. So is something going on here? Has the English national spirit, for so long subsumed beneath a cloak of Britishness, been prodded from its torpor? Have the people, as Chesterton said they would, found their voice?
If so, it is hardly surprising, given the current fixation on Scottish independence and the referendum in 2014, chosen to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and Bruce’s victory over the English army of Edward II. Indeed, the reassertion of Scottish nationalism has reawakened its English counterpart. A poll published today by the IPPR, a Left-leaning think tank, suggests that seven out of 10 people living in England want St George’s Day to be a public holiday (a good idea only if it replaces May Day, since we already have a glut of days off at this time of year). The last census showed that 70 per cent of the English population identified themselves as either solely English or English in combination with some other national identity; a generation ago they identified themselves predominantly as British.
Nick Pearce, director of the IPPR, says: “There is compelling evidence that English identity is becoming politicised: that is, the more strongly English a person feels, the more likely they are to believe that current territorial arrangements treat England unfairly.” He maintains that Englishness is a growing force that politicians can no longer ignore. So why do they continue to do so?
When the Scots and, to a lesser extent, the Welsh were granted a modicum of home rule, England was left out. The last government tried to foist regional devolution on England, but was sent away with a flea in its ear. After all, why should England be balkanised when the other constituent parts of the United Kingdom have re-emerged as self-governing entities?
The reason, of course, is England’s comparative size. The simplest answer to what to do about England within a devolved UK is to give it its own parliament; but this would be so large as to threaten the stability of the Union. It is no coincidence that the strongest supporter of a separate English parliament is the Scottish nationalist Alex Salmond.
With a Coalition that commands a majority of votes and seats in England in power at Westminster, the issue of the influence wielded by Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs over English laws does not arise. But it will if Labour wins the next election by a narrow margin, and, using its Scottish votes, is able to impose legislation that England does not want. For Scottish MPs at Westminster can vote to make laws for the English – even on matters that, in Scotland, have been devolved from Westminster.
The McKay committee, which reported recently on how to deal with this so-called West Lothian question, suggested giving new responsibilities and opportunities to English MPs, but without allowing them a veto over their own laws. This is a characteristically pragmatic approach, very much in keeping with the constitutional gradualism this country prefers. But it will cut little ice if Scotland votes against independence but still gets another big dollop of devolution to compensate.
Sooner or later, the English will insist on being heard; but for now, a suitably understated and self-deprecating celebration is in order.
British businesswoman/actress wins High Court battle over businessman who attacked her property business
Actress Linda Bellingham has won damages and an apology from a businessman who wrongly accused her and her husband of being involved in property fraud.
Darren Richards created anonymous blogs that defamed Miss Bellingham and her property business, Virtual Property World, which she owns with her husband Michael Pattemore.
The 64-year-old actress, who starred as the mother in the Oxo television adverts, won a six-figure settlement from Richards who has also apologised.
Mr Richards accused Mr Pattemore of being involved in property fraud. The couple believed he was trying to stop customers using their property business
Miss Bellingham and her husband only discovered what had been written on the blogs when they were contacted by the British Franchise Association.
The couple applied to the High Court and were granted an ‘unmasking order’ which meant Google and WordPress had to reveal the IP address of the computer which posted the blog.
Libel is harder to uncover now but is still illegal, as it should be. It can do great damage.