One nurse for 250,000 patients: New out-of-hours crisis as whistleblower reveals nurses are replacing GPs to cover entire counties
Britain’s biggest out-of-hours care provider is using senior nurses to cover up to a quarter of a million patients when they cannot recruit GPs to do the shifts.
The firm, Harmoni, regularly employs advanced nurse practitioners to work eight-hour overnight shifts covering districts of up to 150 square miles.
They have a greater range of expertise than a nurse, but critics say they cannot be expected to replace a fully-trained family doctor and attend emergency callouts.
At times of staffing pressures, there has been just one advanced nurse practitioner working overnight in North Somerset, which covers 250,000 patients.
The revelations come from a whistleblower – a GP who worked for the firm in Somerset – who has made a number of other startling allegations about how the firm is routinely jeopardising safety to cut costs. They include:
* Locum doctors flying in on easyJet from Europe, or driving from elsewhere in Britain, to work back-to-back shifts round-the-clock without sleep;
* Terminally-ill cancer patients made to wait eight hours for a doctor to visit them at home and administer pain relief;
* Foreign doctors with a poor grasp of English being used to plug gaps in the rota;
* Staff accused of fiddling figures about the length of time patients wait to see a doctor or speak to them over the phone.
The whistleblower said that working for Harmoni was like ‘taking a loaded gun and sitting with it because at some point it’s going to become so unsafe it’s going to go off.
‘My personal feeling is that at times it has been unsafe. It’s a dereliction of duty. Everything is secondary to meeting budget. Patient care is compromised, employee care compromised.
‘It’s an edict from on high. They have thinned rotas down to a bare minimum.’
Harmoni has contracts in London, Berkshire, Sussex, Dorset, Hampshire, Milton Keynes, Stoke-on-Trent, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Essex and North Somerset. It is responsible for the care of millions of patients and makes £100million a year from NHS contracts.
Many of its services are now accessed by the controversial 111 service which effectively acts as a call centre when patients try to seek advice if their local surgery is shut.
But the Harmoni whistleblower revealed that when shifts cannot be filled with on-call doctors, advanced nurse practitioners are drafted in instead.
They are senior nurses earning up to £70,000 who have had extra training in advanced medical practice that allows them to carry out some tasks normally done only by a qualified doctor.
Harmoni has admitted they are used to cover out-of-hours shifts elsewhere in the country when it is unable to find doctors.
The firm claimed there would always be a GP on call at home to provide ‘covering support’. But the whistleblower, who has requested anonymity, said he was once telephoned by a nurse who was desperate for advice on treating a patient with a complicated condition.
In March, he said, Harmoni was forced to draft in a nurse from Stoke-on-Trent to cover a night shift in Somerset. The whistleblower said many family doctors no longer volunteered to work out-of-hours shifts for Harmoni because of the intense workload.
Instead, less experienced locum doctors drive down from London and do blocks of shifts spanning several days.
Incredibly, the firm also relies on several European doctors who fly to Bristol by easyJet from Spain and Austria – and some ‘clearly struggle’ with the English language.
The whistleblower said Harmoni assumed the English-speaking abilities of foreign doctors had been tested by the NHS trust.
Last year, according to the whistleblower, a man dying of cancer waited eight hours for a doctor to give him pain relief. He also alleged that last month a manager instructed a junior official to change the figures on a spreadsheet for waiting times so they were more ‘favourable.’
A spokesman for Harmoni said: ‘On very rare occasions, and only after consultation and agreement with our commissioning colleagues in North Somerset that the service remained clinically safe, we have run an overnight shift with a very experienced advanced nurse practitioner providing the first point of contact with a GP available on-call to support with any advice needed.’
When asked if this happened elsewhere in the country, Harmoni added: ‘Advanced nurse practitioners do have certain limitations on the care they can provide such as with very young children and palliative care.
‘Therefore, on the occasions when they are the first point of patient contact, we ensure there is always covering support available from a GP. For Harmoni, and indeed virtually all out-of-hours providers, there are some occasions where filling all the planned GP rota slots is a challenge.’
When asked if staff were ever asked to change performance figures to make them look more favourable, the spokesman said: ‘Our performance figures are accurately recorded in line with national guidelines and, again, carefully scrutinised by our commissioning colleagues.’
The Department of Health said: ‘It is a legal requirement for the NHS to make sure the right, high quality out-of-hours services are in place for patients in their area. If this is not happening, it is totally unacceptable.’
Cash-strapped hospital bosses employ American IT expert on a salary of £25,000 A MONTH…and even picked up his bar tab and his laundry bill
A debt-ridden hospital trust that plans to axe 750 jobs is spending more than £25,000 a month on an American IT expert.
Rotherham Hospital Trust paid around £40 million for a computer system that has never worked. In a bid to repair the failing system the trust is paying £25,000 a month, plus hotel bills and air fares, to U.S. IT expert Larry Blevins – who has even advised the White House.
Staff at the crisis-hit trust are furious that taxpayers is picking up the bill for airline tickets, laundry and restaurant bills.
Flight tickets cost £4,000 when Mr Blevins flew in from the USA for a three month initial period.
His basic expenses over a six week period at Sheffield’s Hilton Hotel came to £2,300 for accommodation, laundry, taxis to work, meals and non-alcoholic beverages. His contract has now been extended and he remains as project manager for the struggling IT system.
Hospital chiefs have told staff that the Electronic Patient Record System is being retained despite ongoing problems.
The failing IT system caused chaos when it ‘lost’ 5,000 outpatient appointments in a ‘black hole’ which cost the hospital £1.6 million and had patients turning up at the wrong times for appointments that doctors knew nothing about.
The hospital trust has also admitted that three other consultants – Michael Morgan, the trust’s interim chief executive, barrister and accountant Tim Bolot, who is leading the financial recovery, and Joshua Ejdelbaum in a supporting role – are costing £92,400 a month including VAT.
In February the trust was found by NHS watchdog, Monitor to be ‘in significant breach of the terms of its authorisation’ for its failure to deliver on its savings plans.
On-going problems with the controversial patient record system – originally budgeted at £30 million – were also highlighted by consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers who reported that it would run to at least £40 million.
London based healthcare management firm Bolt Partners were called in to lead the recovery and restructure the trust. They provided Mr Morgan, Mr Bolot and Mr Ejdelbaum initially on an interim basis.
A trust spokesperson confirmed that Mr Blevins, described as an ‘Electronic Patient Record System expert’ had amassed ‘basic expenses from the hotel to the hospital, meals – some bought from the hotel bar – and non-alcoholic beverages’.
She added: ‘The laundry expense was included within the hotel deal package and £4,000 of the monies was allocated as his fare from the United States as part of his contract.’
Last October the hospital told staff that more than 750 jobs would go and wards would close in a bid to save cash. The hospital is currently making cuts in a bid to save £5million. Since then several senior officials, including the chief executive, have left and job cuts have still not been made.
A source for the health union UNISON said: ‘There is still no word on when the trust will even begin the process of appointing a new chief executive. ‘Do they really need to keep up this level of spending? We knew the appointment of a new chief executive will take seven to nine months but when will it start.’
Britain’s universities should take a lesson from the USA
A British perspective
Britain and the US have chosen two very different models for funding universities – and it’s clear which is winning
If a bunch of sadistic academics were to construct a mass experiment into mankind’s ability to resist temptation, it would look a lot like Stanford University. First, plonk a campus in one of the world’s most agreeable climates and make it look more like a spa hotel than a place of study. Next, have students dress as if they have stepped off the beach, and make sure one lies just half an hour away. Then hang hammocks between trees on the way to lecture theatres to ensnare the weak-willed. Finally, funnel 1,800 teenagers a year into this den of distraction – and see if they can do any work.
Oddly, they do. Work of sufficient quality to make Stanford one of the best universities on the planet. While famous for computing (and begetting Silicon Valley), most of its departments are now ranked amongst the world’s top five. Nor is it full of geeks: its athletic record is such that, if Stanford were a country, it would have come sixth in the Olympics – ahead of Germany and Australia. Rather than being a Californian freak, it is just the latest example of an extraordinary trend: the way that American universities are making dazzling progress while most British ones are in a state of crisis.
When Teddy Roosevelt visited Stanford a century ago, he said he had not been prepared for the sheer beauty of the place. Neither had I when I spent last week there as a media fellow at the Hoover Institute, on one of the many programmes which have no equivalent here. But what strikes a British visitor most is the mix of students. Knowing Stanford’s reputation, I had imagined it to be full of preppy, roistering Americans with parents rich enough to afford the $40,000-a-year fees. Instead I found students from all kinds of backgrounds, just over a third of whom are white. A fifth are Asian and a sixth Hispanic. It is a social and ethnic melting pot.
What makes all this possible is that Stanford is a private university. To British ears, the very phrase suggests a selfish club for the rich. Yet it is Stanford’s independence that allows it to run its own controversial but effective policies to find bright pupils from poor backgrounds. Google is, famously, a product of Stanford. But so is Julian Castro, the 38-year-old Mayor of San Antonio and a rising star of the Democratic Party who was offered a place in spite of mediocre school grades. He happily supports its “affirmative action” policy because, as he puts it, “I’ve seen it work in my own life”.
Britain and America have chosen two very different models of universities, and it is clear which one is winning. The academic rankings (compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University) show 17 American ones in the top 20, with Britain represented only by Oxford and Cambridge.
It might not be a surprise that the American universities do so well academically, given their funding. What is more surprising is that they appear to do far better on social justice, not to mention sporting prowess and entrepreneurial zeal. Stanford has a needs-blind admissions policy, and will subsidise whoever can’t afford it. The majority of students receive a subsidy that covers most, if not all, of the fees.
In Britain, our universities are hurtling down the international league tables – a fact that is partly explained by the dire levels of funding. A study published yesterday suggested it was a minor miracle that Oxford and Cambridge have retained their status given how cash-strapped they are. In theory, British universities should be safe because they are assured stable funding from the state. But, as things turned out, the world’s governments are in a financial crisis – while global philanthropy is booming.
If Stanford was run by the state of California, it would likely be as broke as the state of California. As things stand, it raised a cool $1 billion last year, almost double Oxford and Cambridge put together. It has managed to create a virtuous circle: it picks students who tend to remain grateful for their education, so donate generously in later life – especially if they think it helps bright, less fortunate youngsters do well. The same is true for Harvard, Yale and many of the top American foundations. They have collectively come up with a formula linking independence, sound finance, academic excellence and social justice.
British universities are some of the worst-funded in Europe – a problem that will not be remedied by the new tuition fees. Charging £9,000 a year covers barely half the cost of putting an undergraduate through Oxbridge. Worse, the Government’s funding formula pushes the universities towards having papers published in academic journals, rather than forging links with the outside world.
Last week I met IBM managers enrolled for a short course in Stanford’s “d.School” of entrepreneurship and an Army colonel studying Libya before his deployment to US Africa Command in Stuttgart. Such links are all too scarce in British universities.
Even on the Times Higher Education Supplement’s rankings, just five of them make the top 50. Our academics are notoriously underpaid, which is more dangerous than ever in a global marketplace. Students who have been mis-sold higher education for decades are finally waking up to the scam.
The old sales pitch, that a degree will mean you earn £100,000 more over a lifetime than a classmate who starts work at 18, is a sum conjured up by mixing up doctors’ and lawyers’ degrees with the others. For a male history graduate, it’s £35 a year more, and for others (“creative arts” degrees) it’s £15,000 less over a lifetime.
It’s getting harder than ever for Britain to look down, intellectually, on America. Its universities are world-class, and expanding fast. Oxford and Cambridge may be far older, but neither can afford to be cocooned in an archaic world of dining at high tables and mispronouncing words like “Magdalen”. The global competition has never been fiercer, and they are facing a future of austerity while it’s boom time for their private rivals. The very fact that the world’s most respected university ranking system is run from Shanghai gives an idea of how quickly the competition is evolving.
It is Stanford’s independence that allows it to try out its social mobility formula, with a success rate that Britain’s engineers of equality could only dream about. If Stanford were government-run, its star-picking would be branded “positive discrimination” and banned under Californian state law. The University of Texas is being taken to the Supreme Court on precisely this point, and the defence documents include a submission from a Stanford psychologist, Greg Walton, who argues that true meritocracy means taking account of the stronger headwinds facing poorer students.
For all its drama, Britain’s tuition fees debacle has not secured the future of our universities. There still isn’t enough money and the new Office for Fair Access threatens new levels of political interference. Once, we may have been able to dismiss the American model of independent universities as hideously expensive, financially unstable or socially unfair. It is impossible to do so anymore. For the British universities who can afford it, independence will seem like an increasingly attractive option.
Suffering on statins? Stop taking them now: Cholesterol-busting medicines may be causing more harm that good
When one of my patients – let’s call him John – recently returned to me with disabling chest pains a year after heart surgery, we both feared the worst.
But after numerous investigations found nothing untoward, we recognised the real problem: his statins. So I told him to try going without them for two weeks.
These drugs, taken by eight million Britons, are routinely prescribed to anyone who suffers a heart attack as they lower the likelihood of a second attack. They have an anti-inflammatory effect, which reduces the risk of a clot forming in the heart arteries.
Statins are also regularly prescribed by GPs to many more patients to lower the levels of cholesterol in their blood, in the hope that it will prevent a heart attack from happening in the first place. They are the most commonly prescribed drug in Britain, with more than 55 million statin prescriptions dispensed last year.
John returned and he was elated. For the first time in months his chest pains had gone. But he now had a new concern: his GP had since told him: ‘You must never stop your statin!’
He was confused. But I was steadfast: he shouldn’t be on the drugs. In fact, I often stop patients taking statins when I believe they are causing distressing side effects, which happens in about one in five of those I see. It may seem cavalier. But in such cases – and there are many thousands – statins do more harm than good. And it is possible to control cholesterol through diet alone, as actress Michelle Pfeiffer says she has done.
Statins do what they claim to: they lower cholesterol. But increasingly the medical profession is discovering that the health benefits of lower cholesterol have been exaggerated.
Two recent studies have cast serious doubt on early clinical trials into statins in the 1980s. These trials overplayed how good for us they could be, which contributed to a culture of over-prescribing the drug. The studies also suggested significant side effects of statins may have been underplayed.
Last month one of the world’s most respected sources of medical information, the British Medical Journal, presented serious doubts. According to its report, GPs have put an extra three million people on statins in the UK over the past ten years – and have received extra funding for meeting these targets.
Yet we have seen no obvious benefit in either a reduction in diagnoses of heart disease. There has, though, been a 40 per cent reduction in the number of heart attack deaths. But while statin prescriptions may have played a role, there have been no studies that prove this link.
Studies have shown a connection between reduction in deaths and the now-routine practice of undergoing emergency angioplasty as soon as someone suffers a heart attack – unblocking the artery with a stent or balloon through keyhole surgery.
Another known cause for reduction in heart disease mortality is that far fewer people are smoking today than 30 years ago. The number of smokers has dropped from approximately 40 per cent of the population in the 1980s to 20 per cent now.
There was a dramatic 17 per cent reduction in heart-attack hospital admissions in 2007, a year after the ban on smoking in indoor public places was introduced. It has also been consistently shown in studies over the past few decades that aspirin taken at first indication of a heart attack reduces deaths – as does a daily low dose after an attack.
What of the early hopes that statins would cut cardiac disease by 30 per cent? A 1995 study suggested they would, but the number of sufferers has increased from about eight per cent of the adult population in 1995 to 12 per cent today.
Last month the Annals Of Internal Medicine reported that 20 per cent of those on statins suffered a significant side effect – muscle pains, stomach complaints and memory disturbance – far higher than the one per cent that was first suggested by drug companies.
STOP FOR TWO WEEKS
So what next for millions reading this who are on statins? If you have no trouble with them, there is no reason to stop. But if you, like John, are suffering discomfort, you should consider stopping them for a trial period of two weeks.
Start by seeing your GP to tell them what you are experiencing, and ask: ‘Could this be a side effect of the statins?’
They should be able to tell from your history whether this is the case. Stopping a statin short term won’t harm you and you will know within ten days or so whether it was causing the problem as that is how long it usually takes for side effects to wear off.
If a GP refuses, sometimes your cardiologist can speak to them, as I have done. John’s doctor eventually agreed. Even if they refuse, and offer a lower dose, this might reduce or halt the side effects, so it’s worth trying.
The Donald is angry
For good reason
By Donald Trump
Next week, I have instructed my lawyers to launch an all-out challenge at the Scottish Supreme Court to ‘Mad Alex’, as I believe history will some day call Alex Salmond.
The First Minister’s obsession with turning his nation into the Saudi Arabia of ‘renewables’, as he refers to his plans for thousands of industrial windfarms, is a disgrace.
Windfarms are not only hideous, they kill birds and sea mammals, they destroy housing values, they are a danger to our health and tranquillity – and it is an absolute scam to claim that they save energy.
They raise electricity rates by at least four to five times. Much of England and Wales, like Scotland, is threatened by this unreliable, inefficient, discredited, obsolete technology, which continues to exist only because of enforced taxpayer subsidies. World opinion is turning against them because of the havoc they wreak.
There is a reason why banks don’t lend to build windfarms . . . they lose money.
This is a subject on which I reluctantly have become an expert: With the aid of a £34 million European Union grant, Mad Alex’s latest pet project is to be erected just off the beautiful stretch of coast where I am investing hundreds of millions of pounds in a major resort.
The Trump International Golf Links is much more than business to me. It is near and dear to my heart. My mother was born Mary MacLeod on the Isle of Lewis and grew up speaking Gaelic before she fell in love with my father, builder Fred C. Trump, during a holiday in New York.
For years, I dreamed of building a world-class golf facility in Scotland. It’s the home of golf, and there is no better links land in the world.
I felt that I was doing something special for my mother when I bought 1,400 acres north of Aberdeen. This was in 2006. Four years later, I learned that my dream was to be the latest victim of Mad Alex’s flawed ideas.
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will loom ominously from a platform in the North Sea just a mile and a half from my golf courses. Its sub-station will be built in the tiny nearby village of Blackdog, rendering that community unfit for healthy living.
Each of its 11 turbines will be 65 storeys high. That’s twice the height of Big Ben and eight storeys higher than Trump Tower, the Manhattan building that is my corporate headquarters and the setting for my US TV show, The Apprentice.
Because this windfarm is a ‘testing facility’, each turbine will be a different colour, shape and size. It will look like an industrial junk yard.
Mr Salmond says that windfarms ‘encourage tourism’, which shows the level of thinking, the kind of insane mentality we’re dealing with. People will come to Scotland to look into the trunk of one of these monsters? Faulty thinking.
It is ludicrous to even suggest that this horrible industrial zone would be compatible with a luxury resort that will eventually include hotels, restaurants and high-quality residences.
These turbines will be visible from the links and will be located so close that you will hear the whooshing of the blades. That is not a sound anyone wants to hear.
It will create a whole spectrum of health-and-safety issues, and when the sun hits the turbines it will cast shadows over wide areas of land in what is known as the ‘flicker effect’.
My company, the Trump Organisation, took out our first advert last year in Scotland to explain the destruction windfarms have wreaked elsewhere in the world.
Under the headline ‘Welcome to Scotland!’, it showed rusting wind turbines at a failed and closed windfarm on Hawaii and – using calculations made at the University of Strathclyde – warned: ‘Alex Salmond wants to build 8,750 of these monstrosities.’
Incredibly, the ad was banned by the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on the grounds that, although we made it clear that the photograph was not taken in Scotland, it gave a ‘misleading impression’.
The authority also claimed: ‘Although it was likely that some wind turbines would at some point in the future be decommissioned and others might stop working for a variety of reasons, we understood that Scottish regulations were in place to prevent the turbines from deteriorating to the condition shown in the photograph.’
It added that, if one believes Mad Alex’s government, a mere 5,645 turbines will be built, ‘significantly less than the claimed figure in the ad’. Actually, I believe the number will be over 12,000. Moreover, contrary to Mad Alex’s claim that this will create jobs in Britain, most of the equipment will be made in China.
We retaliated by taking out a second advert. Over a photograph of a bank of wind turbines that (as we plainly declared) stand on a hillside in California, we warned: ‘Is this the future for Scotland? Tourism will suffer and the beauty of your country is in jeopardy!’
The ad included a second image – of a smiling Alex Salmond. The intention was to shock and wake people up to a big problem. The politician who released a mass murderer – one of the world’s worst terrorists, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – now was invading the Scottish countryside.
‘This is the same mind,’ we pointed out, ‘that backed the release of terrorist al-Megrahi “for humane reasons’’ – after he ruthlessly killed 270 people on Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.’
We also gave Alex Salmond’s email address, for the benefit of those who might wish to exercise their constitutional right to join our protest. The ad was approved by the ASA’s sister organisation – the Committee of Advertisement Practice – and then, suddenly, it was banned.
I wondered: Is Scotland censored? Was Alex Salmond able to kill the ad? In what sounded uncannily like his words, the regulators said the photograph made windfarms look bad. I can tell you that the eyesore they are planning next to our resort will look much worse.
The windfarm in the advert is next to a busy American freeway. Can you imagine the blight that these turbines will impose on the peaceful and beautiful Aberdeenshire shores and bay?
The ASA also said it was ‘distasteful’ for me to draw parallels between Mr Salmond’s contempt for the wellbeing of the citizens of Scotland and the lack of compassion I believe he has exhibited for the victims of the Lockerbie atrocity and their families.
In the case we are filing next week in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, we intend to rebut this by seeking a judicial review of the decision to build the windfarm, in the hope that sanity will prevail and that the scheme will be scrapped.
We will lay down the full and embarrassing facts. We will reveal that, in this matter, the First Minister has been ruthless and cynical. He misled me and my company, even as he was secretly begging me to help him manipulate world opinion over the freeing of al-Megrahi.
I remember a dinner that the Scottish Government gave in October 2007 at Le Perigord, a New York restaurant. The invitation said it was to mark Mr Salmond’s first trip to the US as First Minister.
It was a small gathering and during the cocktail hour, my legal counsel, George Sorial, and I spoke at length with Mr Salmond about the possibility of a windfarm application and the First Minister promised us that this would not and could not happen.
If it were to be built close to land, it would interfere with shipping lanes, Mr Salmond said, and it would also interfere with military radar installations. No windfarms will be built there, he said.
My company continued to invest in the resort in good faith. It wasn’t until August 2009 that Mr Salmond began to show his true mindset. My son, Donald Trump Jr, and George got a call from the First Minister’s special adviser, Geoff Aberdein, lamenting the ‘terrible criticism’ over the release of al-Megrahi.
Mr Aberdein told them Mr Salmond wanted to phone me and ask me to support his decision. He said: ‘I’m going to send you a draft of a statement for Mr Trump to release.’
They emailed it over. It said: ‘It must have been a hugely difficult decision for the Scottish Government to make and, of course, for most of our own United States families who lost loved ones, it would always be impossible to accept.
‘However, I am certain that the Scots issued this release for good reasons and I would like to hope that it might help to break the cycle of violence around the world and replace it with reciprocal gestures.
‘In any event, it won’t stop my love affair with Scotland and the Scots. No one should ever demean that country. Too many Scottish soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan for the head of the FBI to lecture Scots on fighting terrorism.’
The statement was preposterous. I’m a New Yorker who lived through the September 11 attacks.
I couldn’t believe Mr Salmond would ask me to sign such a letter.
I am going to fight him for as long as it takes – to hell if I have to – and spend as much as it takes to block this useless and grotesque blot on our heritage.
By exposing the fallacy and danger of wind turbines, I will be honouring Mary MacLeod’s memory in an even more important way than building the greatest golf course anywhere in the world.
Greenie hatred of the world they live in on display
They really do want to impoverish us. Warmist Louise Gray writes below
At the moment the UK is committed to cutting greenhouse gases by a third by 2020.
However a new report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research said these targets are inadequate to keep global warming below two degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
The report says the only way to avoid going beyond the dangerous tipping point is to double the target to 70 per cent by 2020.
This would mean reducing the size of the economy through a “planned recession”.
Kevin Anderson, director of the research body, said the building of new airports, petrol cars and dirty coal-fired power stations will have to be halted in the UK until new technology provides an alternative to burning fossil fuels.
“To meet [Government] targets of not exceeding two degrees C, there would have to be a moratorium on airport expansion, stringent measures on the type of vehicle being used and a rapid transition to low carbon technology,” he said.
Prof Anderson also said individuals will have to consume less.
“For most of the population it would mean fairly modest changes to how they live, maybe they will drive less, share a car to work or take more holidays in Britain.”
More than 190 countries are due to meet in Copenhagen in December to decide a new international deal on climate change.
Speaking at an Oxford University conference on the threat of climate change, Profjkj Anderson said rich countries will have to make much more ambitious cuts to have any chance of keeping temperature rise below four degrees C.
“If we do everything we can do then we might have a chance,” he said.
No, it’s not racist to stop illegals conning their way into Britain
Immigration is one of the biggest political issues of our time – yet for too long we weren’t allowed to discuss it for fear of being labelled racist.
Remember Gillian Duffy? In 2010, when the Rochdale pensioner raised her concerns about the numbers of people coming into Britain, Gordon Brown called her a bigot.
She and thousands like her were deemed narrow-minded for questioning Labour’s mass immigration policy – a policy that saw 2.2 million migrants arrive during Labour’s 13-year rule.
At the time, we were consistently told that this was for economic reasons, that we needed more newcomers to boost productivity.
In fact, it was also a politically motivated ploy to change the make-up of Britain. According to former Labour adviser Andrew Neather, it was designed to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date’.
But after a decade of misguided social engineering, today’s politicians have a responsibility to confront this issue; as Conservative politicians, I believe it is our duty.
To do this we need to change the nature of the debate – and we’ve had some success. As the then chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips said, David Cameron has deracialised the immigration dilemma.
Cutting the numbers of immigrants has nothing to do with race but to do with the pressure on services such as schools, hospitals and housing.
To use a former Conservative election mantra, it’s not racist to limit immigration and our aim has always been to cut it.
That is why we announced last week in the Queen’s Speech that the new Immigration Bill will stop illegal immigrants being able to access public services, make it easier for us to deport foreign criminals, and change the law to stop spurious appeals.
I can’t think of anyone who would argue that British taxpayers should subsidise healthcare or benefits for those who are not entitled to them.
As an immigration lawyer, I saw too many unmeritorious cases, legal loopholes, delays to proceedings and claims that were nothing more than cons and scams.
As the daughter of an immigrant, I have no hesitation in confronting this issue and saying this is not about the colour of people’s skin, it’s about the capacity of our country.
Nearly a decade ago, while canvassing on the streets of my hometown of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, it became clear that the pace of change in our communities was creating a sense of unease.
Labour’s dispersal policy, where huge numbers of asylum-seekers were dropped into small towns and villages, had serious social consequences.
Large numbers of predominantly young male asylum seekers were moved to West Yorkshire. Families who had been used to living next door to each other for generations suddenly found they were next to large groups of young men.
Small villages on the outskirts of Wakefield, already challenged by multiple deprivation issues, suddenly found themselves the unwilling hosts of large and traumatised communities fleeing war zones.
Fights on the streets and racial attacks became an all-too-often occurrence, with both locals and new arrivals feeling unsupported, unsafe and uneasy.
This is important. We rely on people to get along and live alongside each other comfortably but if people start to feel a sense of unease, it starts to eat away at the fabric of society.
Too often the economic case for more immigration is made; it’s time to make the economic case for less immigration.
So often those people who are struggling at the bottom end of the social sphere – struggling with schools, jobs and access to good healthcare – are themselves from minority ethnic backgrounds.
They’re not immigrants but second or third generation Bangladeshi, Somali or Pakistani.
I talk about this because it matters and it’s personal. The backlash of far-Right extremism that foments because of this underlying current of anxiety is directed at people like my children, simply because they are not white. We have as much of an interest in this as anyone.
Even those on the Left have been forced to admit that immigration is a problem, yet it is those on the Right who have credibility on this issue.
I genuinely believe the Conservatives have got the correct vision and I also know we’re starting to deliver.
In three years, we have managed to get a grip on Britain’s out-of-control immigration, cutting the numbers of those coming here by a third.
This has been achieved by what Theresa May has been doing: Cracking down on bogus colleges and reforming the student visa system, capping the number of people who come here and tightening up our borders.
As a result, net immigration into the UK in the year ending June 2012 was 163,000 compared with 235,000 in June 2010.
This is still way too high; we need to go further and faster. Labour introduced convoluted procedures for what they thought were controls but they didn’t work.
The system was so overloaded and inefficient, there was a sense that people thought that if they delayed their case for long enough, they would be allowed to stay. They were right.
So our measures are not only fair, they’re long overdue. I know what benefits immigration can bring.
When my father arrived in Dewsbury from the Punjab, he got a job in the rag mills. Hard work and an in-built sense of wanting to improve his life took him from being a mill worker to a mill owner.
The fact is we wouldn’t be the country we are today without the people who came here after the War – people like my dad – to work in our industries and help rebuild the country.
Britain wouldn’t be competing in the global race without the races from around the globe that make up our diverse nation.
We are rightly proud that Britain is a tolerant, diverse society – and that is something we must protect. We will always be open to the brightest, the best and those genuinely in need. What we can’t do is open the doors to anyone and everyone.
For those who do come here to live, our message is equally robust. If you aspire to join our nation, if you aspire to come to these shores, then you must sign up to our shared values of fairness, responsibility and playing your part.
You must join our common language and make every effort to integrate into society. We are no longer a soft touch and there are no more free rides.
As the Minister who is responsible for integration, I am working hard on policies that support this message.
As a mainstream, responsible party we must not be ashamed or frightened to make the case as to why these controls are essential.
We have to acknowledge that people such as Gillian Duffy have legitimate concerns and we must be the ones to articulate a solution.
This is nothing to do with current electoral realities, nor is it a repositioning of the party. On the contrary, I think we’ve grown more confident.
Now we need to communicate what we have already achieved, and we need to continue to confront the issues that our predecessors thought too taboo.