How hospital ‘neglect’ cut short my mother-in-law’s life: NHS governor sues her own trust after staff failed to treat facial injury

A governor is suing her own NHS Trust after claiming that one of its hospitals hastened her mother-in-law’s death.

Tracey Morgan says staff failed to treat a facial injury suffered by Jean Stevens, and has accused the hospital of ‘covering up’ the incident.

Mrs Morgan says the case has opened her eyes to the ‘frightening’ lack of openness in the NHS.

Mrs Stevens, 87, who had dementia and arthritis, was admitted to Wexham Park Hospital in North-West London in May last year after she broke her wrist at a nursing home. In hospital she sustained severe bruising across her eye and face, with swelling ‘the size of a grapefruit’.

Her family says she fell out of bed in the early hours and nurses put her back and cleaned up the blood, but failed to tend to her wounds or report what happened. As a result of the fall, her condition quickly deteriorated and she died two months later in a hospice.

The hospital initially denied Mrs Stevens had been injured at all on its premises. Mrs Morgan, a governor at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Trust, also claimed that during one meeting a member of hospital staff blamed Mrs Stevens for her injuries.

According to Mrs Morgan, the employee said the injury was caused by Mrs Stevens banging her head against bed rails. Mrs Morgan said there were no such bed rails when she visited her mother-in-law at the hospital.

After nearly a year of inquiries – initiated by Mrs Morgan – bosses have finally admitted there was a breach of care.

She says, however, that the hospital has since attempted to ‘blackmail’ her into dropping the allegation that it had ‘hastened’ Mrs Stevens’s death, by withholding the findings of its internal inquiry.

Mrs Morgan, 46, who is also the chief executive for Age Concern in Slough and Berkshire East, said: ‘I am in a position where I can call the chief executive or director of nursing because I have those contacts, and it has still taken nearly a year to get them to finally admit it. ‘I have been able to expose what happened here and push and push to get to the truth, but only – partly – because of my job.

‘No wonder people get ground down and I think the system is designed to do just that so that people give up and go away.

‘If it has been like this for me, imagine what it is like for a husband or wife in a similar position in their seventies or eighties.’

The mother of three said: ‘We need more transparency in the NHS; this shows it is completely opaque. It’s frightening.’ Mrs Morgan and her family insist that while Mrs Stevens did die from natural causes, her life was shortened by the incompetent care at Wexham Hospital – a claim the trust denies.

The trust’s investigation was completed this month and it accepted liability for a breach of care. But the family claims it would not share its findings unless they dropped the claims that it hastened a death.

Mrs Morgan’s husband Mark Stevens, 55, who also works for Age Concern as a business development director, said: ‘As far as we know, a year later, the same staff who picked Jean up off the floor and put her back into bed without recording the incident or treating her injury are still working at this hospital. ‘Only in the NHS, where there has been a proven allegation of gross misconduct, could this happen.’

Mrs Morgan added: ‘What is really shocking is the way the trust has closed ranks around its staff at the expense of protecting patients. They should protect staff who report these things, not those who don’t.’

An NHS Litigation Authority inquiry into whether the hospital’s actions ‘hastened’ Mrs Stevens’ death is continuing, as are the trust’s own inquiries.

A statement from the trust said: ‘We have made an admission that the trust breached its duty of care in respect of the deceased’s fall. ‘Our investigations into the injuries sustained as a result of the fall are continuing and we will continue to keep the family updated through their lawyers.’

There was no inquest into Mrs Stevens’s death last year but the post-mortem examination recorded the cause of death as pneumonia and dementia.


Patients being charged as much as £12 to call their GP: Scandalous cost of phoning surgeries using 0844 and 0855 numbers

Calls from mobile phones to NHS surgeries using 0844 or 0855 numbers are costing patients a fortune, it emerged today. An investigation has found patients trying to book an appointment with their GP can be left on hold for 30 minutes and charged as much as £12.

Callers are not warned that they are spending up to 41p a minute from a mobile, while phoning a normal landline number is as little as 2p a minute.

An estimated six million patients across the UK are affected by the scheme which is making huge profits for companies who provide the numbers. Britain’s biggest, Daisy Surgery Line which has contracts with about 1,000 GP practices, made £5.8 million last year on sales of £14 million.

Tycoon Matthew Riley, 39, launched the firm from a garage in 2001. The Sunday Times rich list claims he is worth £85 million.

The probe by the Sunday Mirror tested how long it took for 80 surgeries to answer.The longest was the Dun Cow surgery in south London at 28 minutes and 50 seconds.

This worked out at £11.82 from a mobile charging 41p a minute. A BT landline charging 5p a minute would have cost £1.43.

A wait of 13 minutes and five seconds was recorded for Crawcrook surgery in Gateshead with a cost of £5.36 from a mobile and 65p on a BT landline.

A call to the Padiham Medical Centre in Burnley, Lancs, was kept on hold for eight minutes and 20 seconds. The bill was £3.41 for a 40p a minute BT landline.

There was no warning to patients calling the 0844 and 0845 numbers of the high cost of the calls if they were using mobile phones.

The investigation recorded that the average wait was one minute and 54 seconds

A spokesman for the Patients’ Association told the Sunday Mirror: ‘It is morally wrong for GPs to charge patients these rates – many will have no clue. This needs to be stopped.’

Former Labour Minister John Healey, who won a fight with GPs in his Yorkshire constituency to drop the lines, added: ‘No one should be forced to use these rip-off numbers. ‘Guidelines created by Labour ruled out this practice. The Government needs to enforce the rules.’

In 2010, the Health Department urged GPs to phase out the premium lines, but many of the medical centres are legally-bound by long-term deals with the telecom providers.

When questioned about the 28-minute wait, the Dun Cow told the paper that the delay was ‘definitely not typical.’

A spokesman for Crawcrook blamed the delay on a ‘major problem’ with its system. It claimed the surgery had installed the 0844 number because patients often found their landline busy.

A statement from Daisy Surgery Line said: ‘It is important to note 084 numbers are not premium rate numbers.

‘NHS regulations permit their use provided our GP customers are satisfied that, having regard to the arrangement as a whole, their patients will not be paying more than a local rate call. Surgery Line offers the option of a geographic number.’


At last, it’s official: spending more doesn’t make public services better

New research suggests that cutting government down to size will leave Britain stronger and more socially cohesive

Last year, the Department for Education asked a firm of accountants to trawl its vast pupil database and find the secret of great state schools. Deloitte had access to the records of almost half a million pupils, factoring in everything from postcodes to ethnicity. It could examine the bizarre variation in spending per pupil, ranging from £4,500 in Lyme Regis to £10,000 in Salford. And the study would be useful in light of the Coalition’s policy for a “pupil premium”, offering £900 to help the poorest pupils. Or so it was assumed.

When the results came back, the conclusion was extraordinary. As one would expect, schools marked “outstanding” tended to achieve the best results. Poverty mattered, but not as much as Deloitte had expected. The biggest surprise, though, was the money: no matter how you split the figures, the amount spent didn’t seem to make the blindest bit of difference. “There is no correlation at all,” it concluded, “between the level of per-pupil funding and educational outcomes.” This was seemingly not what a cash-hungry department wanted to hear. The report was parked in an obscure part of its website, with no public comment.

The study’s conclusions are, of course, rather devastating to the Liberal Democrats’ flagship idea of pupil premiums. Pupils trapped in a sink school are unlikely to be helped by a bit of extra cash poured into a dysfunctional system. But the policy will go ahead because David Laws, the schools minister, is under orders to bring back a “win” for his party. His boss, Nick Clegg, wants applause lines in speeches boasting about the help given to poorer pupils. The Deloitte report, of course, confirms what is obvious to most parents: ethos is what matters most – and you can’t buy a good ethos. Head teachers who turn around a school are utterly priceless, in every way.

So it emerges that the whole premise of Labour’s education policy – that cash matters most – was false. A succession of Labour ministers stood behind a podium and boasted about “investing” in schools – and they did. Spending per pupil doubled. But still, Britain hurtled down the international league tables. Of the last 34 official studies into English state schools, not one looked at funding per pupil. Gordon Brown did not want to know. He had drawn a dividing line with the Tories and he wanted it hammered home: if you care, you spend. If you’re cruel, you cut. And did this actually help schools? Mr Brown didn’t seem to care that much.

The cost of all this is now hideously clear. The Labour years were an astonishing experiment in expanding the size and scope of the state. Over the past decade, the British government grew faster than any major administration, anywhere, over any other decade – apart from those preparing for war. The NHS budget more than doubled, transport and education spending almost doubled and the welfare bill rose by 50 per cent. Forget about the bankers. This was the madness that led to the worst economic overheating in Britain’s modern history and, ergo, the worst recession in living memory. The debt, which will take a generation to tackle, will be Brown’s only legacy.

It goes way beyond education. Other evidence of the spending myth can be seen across government. The police did worse than anyone (apart from the military) from the Brown bonanza and they were not “protected” from cuts by the Coalition. Yet crime is one of the rare success stories. Earlier this week a study found that Britain has seen a sharper drop in crime than anywhere in Europe over the past decade. Yesterday, we learnt that reported crime plunged 8 per cent last year alone. There are no comparable boasts of improvement from an NHS whose budget has been pushed to a record high. The headlines are about A&E waiting rooms jam-packed because GPs refuse to work weekends.

The Labour spending experiment has proven that Ronald Reagan was right to compare government to a baby: endless appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. There is nothing to show for all this feeding, except a big mess. It might be forgivable if the splurge had bought, for example, a world-class transport network or the smartest welfare system in the West. Instead, we ended up with the world’s most expensive poverty. The unreformed benefit system is an example of state spending inflicting actual harm on communities, incentivising family breakdown and paving a road to dependency rather than work.

And yet the Conservatives seem curiously unwilling to break free of the failed logic. When David Cameron says he has “protected health” by ensuring the NHS is more expensive year after year, he is following the false trail set by his predecessor. The idea of “protecting” health and schools because you like health and schools has been described by the former head of the Audit Commission, Steve Bundred, as “completely insane”. When George Osborne inherits a government budget that grew by 60 per cent under Labour, and still feels unable to cut faster than 1 per cent a year, it suggests he still feels himself to be a prisoner of the old logic. Even Barack Obama is making faster progress cutting his deficit.

It is growing ever harder for Ed Balls to portray Mr Osborne as a crazed ideologue. For three years, the shadow chancellor has been making the same charge: that the Conservatives worship at the altar of austerity, and that the cuts are crushing the recovery. Yet Osborne has been borrowing massively – at least £120 billion a year. The Coalition’s deficit reduction programme has been suspended for two years, so it’s hard to accuse him of doing it too quickly. If extra debt was going to stoke a recovery, it would have done so by now. It was perhaps not intentional, but Mr Osborne has tested Mr Balls’s plan to destruction.

Slowly, Mr Balls is starting to look like the crazed ideologue. Spending money is his only solution to every given problem. Privately, both Labour and Tory MPs regard him as David Cameron’s greatest electoral weapon. His claim that more ambitious saving will choke a recovery is contradicted not just by theory but by history: a European Commission analysis of 49 fiscal consolidations in 14 countries found that they were as likely to spur growth as depress it. Just like money and exam results, there is no magic link.

But the association between spending and progress was comprehensively disproved by the last government, and this is a point that the Chancellor ought to make more often. Austerity will not be a phase of his career, but the mission that will define British politics for this decade and perhaps beyond it. In his coming Spending Review, the Chancellor will be asking Britain to settle down to several more years of lower spending, so what he had hoped would be a one-off dose of medicine will become the new norm. It will be time for him to make the moral case for a smaller state.

The adjustment is painful, but cutting government down to size is not just something to be done at the behest of the bond markets. It will leave Britain a better, stronger and more socially cohesive country. We are moving too slowly down the road to fiscal sanity, but this is better than speeding towards the abyss. The alternative that Ed Balls offers – borrowing, spending and not caring if it works – now stands exposed as the most dangerous ideology of all.


British Ministers ‘not totally committed’ on carbon

A parliamentary advisory committee has accused the Government of being only “half-committed” to low-carbon energy generation, warning that the UK is likely to miss emissions reduction targets as a result.

David Kennedy, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said Britain needs a huge investment in renewable, or clean, power infrastructure if it is to hit its target of a 50 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2025 on 1990 levels.

Emissions are currently a fifth lower than in 1990. While the recession has caused emissions to fall, the underlying trend in CO2 output is flat when it should be declining, Mr Kennedy said. “We won’t be able to meet that target without significant measures – and they have to be taken now if it’s going to happen by the mid-2020s.”

He said potential investors in low-carbon energy – from wind-turbine blade makers to nuclear-power project developers – “need to know there is a market” for clean power. Unless they are confident about their likely returns – for example through guaranteed subsidies and the Government’s commitment to hitting renewable energy targets – they are unwilling to risk investment.

“We don’t know how the low-carbon technology market will look in the 2020s because the Government will not commit, and that uncertainty is stopping investment,” Mr Kennedy added. “The Government is only half-committed to the future, and that is the worst of all worlds. This report reinforces the fact that there is a lot more to do to reduce our footprint, and the Government should not be patting itself on the back.”

The CCC has published a report showing that Britain’s carbon footprint has grown by 10 per cent in the past two decades, as a rapid rise in CO2 emissions generated by making the UK’s imports outweighed reductions in those produced in this country.

Britain is the second biggest net importer of carbon emissions, after Japan, because much of its manufacturing industry has moved abroad.


British big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions – but you must pay for ‘sinister’ technology

Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.

The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.

Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will also be affected by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts.

Last night critics:

* Condemned the principle that outside forces should be allowed to control appliances.

* Warned the new sensors would add £40 to the average price of white goods for consumers.

* Hit out at the energy giants who would make millions of pounds extra profit under the scheme, as it would save them from firing up reserve generators or paying factories to switch off furnaces to quell demand. There is no suggestion that consumers will be compensated for having their appliances shut down.

The sensors will automatically detect spikes in demand for power that the grid is struggling to meet, and temporarily shut off the appliances.

Viktor Sundberg, energy strategy manager at Electrolux, warned: ‘This is Big Brother technology on a grand scale. The device inside the fridge or freezer will automatically change the way the appliance operates in response to the output of the grid.

‘This method of shutting down household appliances could to be carried out almost instantly, saving the energy companies millions because they won’t have to start up the turbines or pay huge industrial companies to cut production. Consumers are not benefiting at all and will be left paying more when they buy the appliances, as well as having their private goods controlled by outside forces.’

David Davis, the former Tory leadership candidate, said: ‘There is a Big Brother element to this – and it also shows the energy suppliers passing down their incompetence to the customers. They should be supplying energy as customers need it, not the when they want to give it.

‘There is something Soviet about this. It’s a ridiculous idea and it should be opposed. I hope the Government puts its foot down.’

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This sinister plan smacks of over- the-top intrusion into people’s houses. It should be the choice of consumers if they want to sign up to it, not slipped into our homes through fridges and freezers.’

The National Grid – a private company that made £2.6 billion profit in 2011 – is required by law to balance supply and demand in the network.

However the EU has set a target that 20 per cent of all electricity will be generated from green sources by 2012 – but these are unreliable, making the task more difficult.

The solution proposed by the National Grid, along with its counterparts in 34 European countries, is to install the controversial devices.

The National Grid supplies alternating current to homes at 240V and an frequency of 50 hertz (Hz). But because electricity cannot be stored in bulk, there are fluctuations in this.

When demand starts to outstrip supply, the frequency drops – when there is more power than needed, it rises.

Sensors in domestic appliances would check this frequency every 0.2 seconds, and if it fell to 47Hz – a level that would risk blackouts – the devices would kick in and shut fridges, freezers and ovens down. Across millions of homes, this would cut demand significantly and so restore the balance.

Presently, the National Grid can shut down power to industrial firms to balance the grid. They are compensated in such cases, but there is no proposal to pay consumers if they face similar interruptions

The sensors could also be used if supply of electricity outstripped demand, putting power stations in danger of ‘tripping’ and shutting down temporarily. If the frequency of the supply nudged towards 52Hz, the devices could make fridges become cooler, increasing demand and balancing out the system.

The move comes on top of separate initiatives to put ‘smart meters’ for gas and electricity in all British homes by 2019, giving energy firms real-time information on individual households’ usage.

The proposals were contained in a 63-page document drawn up by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). It has been agreed by the EU-wide body of energy regulators and was sent to the European Commission on March 27.

It is set to deliver its verdict on the proposals within three months, and they could then go to the European Parliament to be turned into legislation that would force manufacturers to install the monitors.

Appliances containing the sensors could be in shops within three years.

In its proposal, ENTSO-E stressed that shutting off appliances would only be a last resort, but admitted it could happen.

It argued: ‘The accumulated effect of switching off a large number of temperature-controlled devices will give a substantial reduction of load in the system.

‘In this way it should be able to prevent ….. large scale blackouts.’

The authorities insist appliances would only cut out for a few seconds, and that consumers will be able to set acceptable temperature ranges so fridges would not be switched off if they were already warm, and therefore food would remain fresh. But if ovens are switched off temporarily, it could affect the cooking time of meals.

Presently, the National Grid can shut down power to industrial firms to balance the grid. They are compensated in such cases, but there is no proposal to pay consumers if they face similar interruptions.

Experts believe household bills would not be affected because the scheme would just alter the time at which appliances are used, not their total energy consumption.

Adam Scorer, of Consumer Focus UK, said: ‘There is a lot more work that needs to be done before these proposals become acceptable for consumers. The costs and benefits need to be clear, the right consumer protections in place, people’s privacy assured and arrangements made so that consumers get paid for any services they provide to networks.’

Consumer groups throughout Europe have expressed ‘serious concern’ in a letter to ENTSO-E.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change admitted last night that the Government was unsure how the new technology would work.

He said: ‘There could be benefits to consumers, it could open up new ways to save on energy bills, but we also need to consider all other factors before responding to the Commission.’

A spokesman for National Grid said: ‘One of the proposed requirements is for a limited number of [future] temperature controlled devices such as fridges and freezers to have the capability to assist the real time balancing of electricity supply and demand by automatically switching off devices for short durations.

‘This should result in benefits to consumers as it will lead to a reduced requirement for additional back-up electricity sources.

‘It will have no material impact on the operation of fridges and freezers switching will be for a few seconds and only occasionally. ‘Consumers’ produce will remain cool in their fridges and frozen in their freezers.’


Home Office fury as drug dealer immigrant wins right to stay in UK

A judge’s decision to allow a convicted drug dealer who abandoned his children the right to stay in Britain over his “human rights” is at the centre of mounting political protest.

Hesham Mohammed Ali won an appeal against moves by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to deport him because of his crimes.

He convinced a judge he had a “family life” which had to be respected because he had a “genuine” relationship with a British woman – despite already having two children by different women with whom he now has no contact.

Ali also mounted an extraordinary claim that his life would be in danger in his native Iraq because he was covered in tattoos, including a half-naked Western woman – a claim which was only dismissed after exhaustive legal examination.

In his decision to let Ali stay, the immigration judge said he was not taking into account new guidelines introduced by the Home Secretary last week, in an attempt to stop spurious human rights cases being brought by criminals to prevent their deportation.

The Home Office has said it was “disappointed” by the ruling, while MPs said it showed there was an urgent need to stop abuse of human rights laws.

“Foreigners who commit serious crimes should be deported, regardless of whether they have family in the UK,” a spokesman said.

“We are disappointed with this judgment and that is why this Government will bring forward primary legislation to prevent foreign nationals remaining in the UK through abuse of the Human Rights Act.”

Dominic Raab, the Tory MP who is campaigning for human rights reform, said of the case: “It is bad enough a convicted drug dealer cheating deportation because he has a girlfriend.

“But it’s even worse that our elastic human rights laws consume government time and money fighting such ludicrous claims. The shifting human rights goalposts have encouraged a ‘try it on’ culture at taxpayers’ expense.”

Priti Patel, the Tory MP, said: “The right to family life has been completely abused in this case. It’s clear this individual has no regard for proper family life and the upbringing of his children, as he has no relationship with either of the mothers let alone either of his children themselves.

“It is wrong for hard-working British taxpayers to be footing the bill for cases like this. It is further evidence that our human rights laws need to be reviewed immediately.”

The Home Office spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money trying to have Ali deported, fighting his initial appeal – which was eventually set aside – and a second hearing.

The two key elements of his claim were his “family life”, and the danger his tattoos would pose if he was deported to Iraq.

During that hearing the court went to great lengths to consider the issue of Ali’s tattoos, with Judge Jonathan Perkins describing the issue as “problematic”. He asked whether Ali, 36, had considered having the tattoos removed and heard evidence from an expert witness on whether Iraqi people were victimised for having body art.

Ali was brought to Britain “irregularly” by a people-smuggling gang in 2000, when he was 24, and has never been in this country legally. Two years after arriving he made an asylum claim which was refused, as was a subsequent appeal. However, for reasons which are unknown, he was not deported and continued to live in Britain.

He had a child with an Irish woman and then another son with a woman from Liverpool but has no contact with either child, the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber heard.

In November 2005 he was convicted of possessing Class A and Class C drugs, and fined.

Just over a year later he was convicted of another offence at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London but this time it was more serious – possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply – and he was jailed for four years. Under immigration laws any foreign national jailed for a year or more should be subject to automatic deportation.

Within months of his sentencing, the Home Office told Ali they would attempt to deport him but because there was confusion over his true nationality, the case was allowed to lapse.

The drug dealer was released on bail in January 2009. Deportation proceedings began again in 2010, and Ali again lodged an appeal. He told the court he would be in danger if he was returned to Iraq because he was so Westernised.

Allowing him to stay at the second hearing, Judge Perkins said he was impressed by evidence from Ali’s girlfriend, Cy Harwood, 31, a Londoner who has trained as a beautician. They met in 2005.

The judge ruled that Ali’s deportation would have a very damaging effect on her and would be a breach of the couple’s rights under Article 8.

“Destroying an important relationship in the light of a reformed criminal who was last in trouble over six years ago is, I find, just too much and I am satisfied that an exception is made out,” he said.

The judge also detailed the claim that tattoos, and Ali’s claim that he had become Westernised, would put him in danger in Iraq.

“He described himself as ‘covered in tattoos’ including a half-naked Western woman on his chest, a sea horse and star on his arm and his fiancee’s name ‘Cy’ surrounded by stars on his hand.

“He was asked if he could refer to any evidence to confirm his alleged fear that being tattooed would be a sign of the infidel in Iraq. His answer was vague. He referred to watching videos on YouTube. He said that people with tattoos get stoned or harmed.”

Alan George, a specialist on Iraq who appeared for Ali, told the court he was not aware of any examples of Muslims being persecuted because of their tattoos but he added that “tattoos would be considered un-Islamic and a tattoo of a semi-naked woman particularly objectionable”.

He suggested it would be difficult for Ali to pray because Muslim ritual requires him to bathe and expose his body.

Describing the issue as “problematic”, Judge Perkins said: “I have had to think carefully about this but the appellant had not given any indication that he had any objection to trying to conceal the tattoo or have it removed.

“[The tattoo on Ali’s hand] might prompt inquiry but as it is a central feature of the appellant’s case that he is now a devout Muslim I am not persuaded there is a real risk of a tattoo doing more than prompting curiosity which would be satisfied by his sincere explanation about the strength of his religious convictions.”

Ali said he worked as a wrestling promoter and had also been a professional dancer. At one stage he passed an audition to work for Simon Cowell, the music impresario, but “he was arrested before he was able to take advantage of that opportunity,” the court heard.

Judge Perkins added that he was deliberately not taking into account the Home Secretary’s changes to the immigration rules.

“I do not arrive at this conclusion by considering the rules in their amended form which purports to introduce aspects of Article 8 expressly into the rules,” he said.

“They do not assist me with the proper application of the appellant’s human rights. My decision is in accordance with binding jurisprudence.”

The case raises new concerns over the arguments sometimes put forward by foreigners who are seeking to stay in Britain, such as the Bolivian man whose case was first reported in The Sunday Telegraph in 2009.

Camilo Soria Avila argued that he should not be deported partly because he and his boyfriend had bought a pet cat, Maya, and joint ownership of the animal added weight to his case that he enjoyed the “right to family life” in Britain.

The immigration tribunal ruled that sending Mr Avila, 36, back to Bolivia would breach his human rights because he was entitled to a “private and family life”

with his British boyfriend Frank Trew, 49, and joint ownership of a pet was evidence that he was fully settled in this country.


Supermarket forced to pull packets of Whole Hearted Roasted Monkey Nuts from the shelves…because nuts aren’t listed as ingredient

Monkey nuts seems to be a British term for peanuts (goober nuts; groundnuts) still in their shell. The packaging was transparent so customers could see that it contained unhulled peanuts. Anybody aware that they had an allergy would surely know what the product looked like. But bureaucracy is not paid to think and it doesn’t

A Lancashire supermarket chain has been forced to clear its shelves of monkey nuts – because the label doesn’t state that the packet contains nuts.

Booths Food, Wine and Grocery has withdrawn its Whole Hearted Roasted Monkey Nuts and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued an Allergy Alert.

The company is concerned the label doesn’t state the packet contains peanuts, putting those allergic to them at risk.

The withdrawn product is Booths Whole Hearted Roasted Monkey Nuts, 350g, best before July 12, 2013.

A spokesperson for the FSA said: ‘The reason for the withdrawal is that the packaging does not state the product contains peanuts, which is a specific allergen that’s listed in legislation.

‘People who are allergic to peanuts may not be allergic to other types of nuts. The product’s packaging is transparent, but the nuts are still in the shells i.e. sold as monkey nuts rather than specifically as peanuts.

The FSA added: `EH Booths has withdrawn the product with the above date code from sale. `Customer notices will be displayed in stores, alerting customers to the reason for the withdrawal. `The company will also contact the relevant allergy support organisations, which will tell their members of the withdrawal.

`Customers with an allergy to peanuts are advised not to eat this product but to return it to the nearest EH Booths store for a full refund. `No other EH Booths products are known to be affected.’

‘Without the correct information on the packaging, people with an allergy to peanuts – who might not know or make the connection between peanuts and monkey nuts, for example children – might eat the product and experience an adverse reaction.’

Booths said it takes the accurate labelling very seriously. Technical manager, Waheed Hassan, alerted the FSA to this error immediately as well as posting notices in all Booths stores.

`It is our responsibility as retailers to accurately record allergy advice, and in this instance, we felt a responsibility to recall the product and issue a notice to our customers who might suffer from a specific peanut allergy,’ he said.

It is the second product the company has had to withdraw within weeks. Last month, the store withdrew some of its Edamame Bean Stir Fry because it contained soya.


House of Fraser manager sues employer for £1MILLION after ‘suffering crippling injuries picking up an earring’

A department store manager is suing her employers for more than £1million claiming she suffered crippling injuries at work while bending down to pick up an earring.

Safaa Pate, 31, was running a Coast clothes and accessories concession at the High Wycombe branch of House of Fraser but has not been able to work since the incident in January 2009.

Ms Pate, who walks with a stick, says she suffered ‘irreparable’ back injuries and was left in ‘unbearable’ pain while retrieving a earring which had fallen under a display unit, her legal team claims.

In a writ lodged at London’s High Court, Ms Pate, of Bray, Berkshire, says that she has had to undergo a spinal fusion operation and had been left with no feeling in her left leg and foot.

She is suing the Coast Fashions brand, blaming breaches of heath and safety at work regulations for her back problems.

However the company deny any wrongdoing, saying Ms Pate ‘should have used a stick’ to retrieve the dropped earring and arguing she was ‘the author of her own misfortune.’

In the writ, Ms Pate’s barrister, Caroline McColgan, sets out the details of the accident saying: ‘She was performing a stock-take of items within the concession. As she was inventorying some jewellery, she dropped an earring onto the floor. It fell underneath one of the gondolas.

‘She bent down and put her hand under the gondola in order to retrieve the earring. However, it had landed too far in from the edge and she was unable to reach it without moving the gondola out of the way. As she did so she heard a clicking noise and felt her back give way.

‘She experienced increasing levels of pain over the course of the day. When it became unbearable she was compelled to leave work and attend hospital for treatment.’

The barrister claims that Ms Pate’s employers were guilty of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, and had ‘failed to take reasonable steps to provide her with a safe system of work.’

In their defence to the action, Coast admit that they ‘owed Ms Pate a duty of care as her employer at the material time’ but deny responsibility for any harm she suffered.

Lawyers for the company state: ‘Ms Pate’s work was light work. She had to move clothes…but she was not required to lift or carry anything of substance.

‘It is denied she was required to move the gondolas or that this formed any part of her employment. It was not Ms Pate’s responsibility nor part of her job to move the stands and gondolas.

‘It is denied it was sensible or reasonable or other than a breach of her own duty to take care to try to push or move the gondola to reach the earrings.’

The case is set to come to trial in November this year and is expected to be heard by Judge Richard Seymour QC.

Coast’s barrister, Caroline Allen, said outside court after a preliminary hearing that Ms Pate was making a ‘large damages claim’ in excess of £1m.


About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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