Paramedic refused to give drugs that would have saved life of man who died from a heart attack
A paramedic refused to give a heart attack victim the drugs that could have saved his life. Doctors believe that 61-year-old Grahame Giles could have survived if he had been given drugs by Brian Jewers, the paramedic who was treating him.
Brian Jewers, who worked for the North East Ambulance Service, was struck off following the incident in 2008.
However, Mr Giles’ widow Marion, now 66, was only informed about the details of her husband’s death following an investigation by Sky News.
Speaking at today’s inquest in Alnwick, Northumberland, Mrs Giles said: ‘I should have been told what had happened to my husband at the start. I was entitled to know the truth.
‘The hardest thing to come to terms with was to hear three years after my husband died that the truth had all been hushed up. ‘That was very deceitful. I thought it was horrendous that they could have done that to me.
‘I was just getting over his death when I was told that perhaps he could have lived if this paramedic had done his job properly. It was an awful shock.’
The inquest heard that the failure of the North East Ambulance Service to tell Mrs Giles about the circumstances of her husband’s death, in March 2008, was due to a breakdown in communications.
It also heard that the risk and claim department within the trust was not aware of the investigation into Mr Jewers’ actions until three years after the incident.
A second inquest into the death was opened after a previous coroner was not made aware of all the facts of the case. Coroner Tony Brown said: ‘There was a clear missed opportunity to provide more suitable medical care by the paramedic.
‘This failure in care was also a failure in care provided by Brian Jewers’ employers the North East Ambulance Service.’
The inquest heard that Mr Jewers was asked to attend a course to give him the relevant training but he declined.
Katie Gollop, representing the Trust, said that as a result he was not qualified to make the decision to administer the drug but in this case he had been instructed to do so by a doctor.
When will they ever learn?
The Labour government blew over 12 billion pounds on such a program but never got it to work
Jeremy Hunt will unveil plans for a £260million system to dispense drugs electronically and signal the end for written prescriptions
The Health Secretary will signal the end of written prescriptions today.
Jeremy Hunt is to unveil plans for a £260million system that will dispense drugs electronically and, he says, prevent needless deaths.
At least 11 people died in the NHS last year because they were given the wrong drugs or incorrect doses.
Medicines are being prescribed incorrectly because patients’ notes are lost, while research suggests that eight per cent of hospital prescriptions have mistakes in them.
Mr Hunt will announce that he is accepting a key recommendation of the Francis report into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Hospital, in which hundreds of patients are thought to have died needlessly, for better use of technology to improve care.
The fund will first be used by hospitals to replace paper-based systems for patient notes and prescriptions, a key step towards an entirely digital NHS by 2018.
Eventually it will be rolled out to GPs’ surgeries, marking an end to the written prescription.
It will be primarily used for ‘electronic prescribing’ in which computer-generated prescriptions, using barcodes unique to each patient, are sent by doctors directly to pharmacies.
Government advisers say the technology will greatly reduce the scope for errors – such as poor handwriting – and improve safety.
The new system of electronic records will protect patients, Mr Hunt will say, by also ensuring that doctors and nurses are able to access accurate details about the care of a patient wherever they are being treated.
‘This fund will allow doctors and nurses to make the NHS safer by harnessing the very latest technology,’ he will add.
‘In many places, right now, a paramedic picking up a frail elderly woman who has had a fall will not always know she has dementia, because he or she cannot access her notes.
‘Or a doctor is prescribing the wrong drugs, because they don’t know what drugs their patient is already on.
‘If we are to improve patient safety then we must allow the NHS to have access to the best tools available and this fund will help them achieve that.’
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, said: ‘This new fund will help patients get better and safer care by giving clinicians access to the right information when they need it most.
‘Supporting hospitals to replace outdated paper systems for notes and prescriptions will help relieve patients’ frustration at having to repeat their medical and medication history over and over again, often in the same hospital, because their records aren’t available.
‘Expanding the use of electronic prescribing of medications in hospitals will help improve safety, save lives and save taxpayers’ money.’
Tim Kelsey, national director for patients and information at NHS England, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with the NHS, Department of Health colleagues and frontline NHS staff to ensure that this fund enables the NHS to make substantial progress towards routine use of high-quality data at the point of care.
‘This step change in integrating diverse information sources around the needs to the patient will support clinicians and provider organisations deliver world class patient care.’
The Government has already announced that by 2015 everyone who wants it will be able to get online access to their GP record.
They will also be able to book appointments with their own doctor and order repeat prescriptions online.
Mr Hunt announced last month that patients are to be given the right to opt out of a new NHS database logging details of drinking habits, waist sizes and family medical histories.
Following protests from privacy campaigners, people will be allowed to instruct their GPs not to hand over their records to a centralised information bank.
Around 700,000 patients are thought to have opted out of an existing scheme allowing GPs to share information on their medical history with other parts of the NHS.
British Catholic primary calls in Stonewall to eradicate ‘homophobic bullying’ after pupil calls another student’s shoes ‘gay’
Gay rights activists have been called into a Roman Catholic primary school to give staff lessons in ‘homophobic bullying’ after a five-year-old boy was heard saying another boy’s shoes were ‘gay’.
The jibe, sometimes used by children to mean ‘bad’ or ‘rubbish’, was made by a pupil in the infants’ playground of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Wimbledon, south London.
It was reported by an adult supervisor to Sarah Crouch, the head teacher, who decided that it amounted to homophobic abuse.
She then invited Stonewall, the gay rights group, into the school to teach staff how to educate children in sexual equality.
The training day went ahead with the consent of all but one of the governors and with the blessing of the authorities of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark.
The school is now the first and only Catholic primary school in the country to be listed as a Stonewall ‘Primary School Champion’ of gay equality.
Stonewall resources for primary schools are based around a pack called ‘Different Families Same Love’, which imparts the message that same-sex couple households are equal to those founded on marriage between heterosexuals.
Children are taught not to use the word ‘gay’ derisively because it would upset children who might be gay or might have gay parents.
But the decision to allow Stonewall into a Catholic primary has shocked campaigners who believe that the gay rights group should not be allowed to impose their views on young children.
They claim that such minor incidents were being used as a device to enter schools to teach ‘gay propaganda’.
One Catholic close to the school said she was deeply concerned that the teachers were being trained to undermine a family based on a marriage between a man and a woman.
‘I don’t think that teaching ‘mummy and mummy’ is equal to mummy and daddy is right in a Catholic primary school because Catholic Church teaching doesn’t agree with that,’ said the woman, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals.
Miss Crouch said she called the campaign group into St Mary’s simply to train staff ‘on how to tackle homophobic language and bullying’.
‘As a school, and as Catholics, we are opposed to prejudice of any kind and felt it was important to tackle the issue of homophobic language and bullying.
‘The training was very successful and we feel confident that if any incidents of this kind of language occur our staff have the means to address them appropriately.’
But Dr Patricia Morgan, a leading sociologist, said the decision to allow Stonewall into a Catholic primary school was ‘completely wrong’.
‘Hasn’’t the Catholic Church got more sense?’ she asked. ‘Everyone is kow-towing to these pressure groups which want to get access to children to promote their cause.
‘I think it is incredible that they are interfering in casual insults hurled around by small children.
‘We are now using the use ‘gay’ as a pretext for the introduction of children to sexual minorities at an innocent stage. Is it important for children to know about sexual variety at the age of five?’
Antonia Tully, national co-ordinator of the Safe at School campaign, said that the presence of gay activists in primary schools would alarm parents.
She said: ‘Many parents will be very concerned that a gay rights organisation is considered to be an appropriate source of advice on how to deal with children using inappropriate language in the playground.
‘If a primary school takes on Stonewall’s agenda young children will be exposed to homosexual issues which they are too young to understand properly,’ she added.
‘Parents expect a school to provide an education, not subject their children to gay propaganda.’
Stonewall itself has been a severe critic of the teaching of the Catholic Church, which holds that homosexual sexual acts are objectively disordered, although it is neutral about sexual orientation.
The gay rights charity is driving the campaign for same-sex marriage and is diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church’s resistance to it.
It claims that homophobic bullying is a common phenomenon in primary schools that had to be eradicated.
A Stonewall ‘Teachers’ Report’ found that three quarters of primary school teachers hear children use the phrases ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ and two in five primary school teachers say children experience homophobic bullying.
‘Fear of bullying can stop children from talking about their families and from doing what they enjoy,’ said a spokesman.
‘All schools have a legal obligation to respond to homophobic bullying and by celebrating difference they can prevent it from happening in the first place.’
Green energy ‘folly will put £600 on bills’: Annual charges to hit British living standards, says report
Britain’s green energy ‘folly’ will cost every family an extra £600 a year by 2020, a report warned last night. The cost to consumers of green energy subsidies will exceed £16billion a year within seven years, according to a leading industry analyst.
Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, warned that the huge burden on taxpayers could lead to the first long-term decline in living standards since the Industrial Revolution.
He estimates that a third of the £600 annual cost will land on energy bills.
The rest will be borne by businesses who will pass on the costs to consumers by charging higher prices for their goods.
In a report titled Are Green Times Just Around The Corner?, he said: ‘Shifting to current renewables for the bulk of our energy would result in a reversal of the long-run economic trend since the Industrial Revolution.
‘More people would be working for lower wages in the energy sector, energy costs would rise, the economy would stagnate and there would also be a significant decline in people’s standard of living.’
He added: ‘The annual additional cost to consumers will be upwards of £16billion a year in 2020, which is over 1 per cent of current GDP.
‘One third of this cost would hit households directly through their electricity bills, regardless of income, making it an intensely regressive measure.
‘The remainder of the cost would be passed through from industrial and commercial customers and eventually be met by households from increases in the cost of living. The total impact would be in the order of £600 per household per year, assuming there are 26million households.’
Under EU laws, Britain’s energy consumption from renewables needs to reach 15 per cent by 2020 – one of the largest proportional increases in Europe. It is currently around 6 per cent.
Dr Constable said the Renewables Obligation – the amount customers pay on their fuel bills to fund green energy – currently costs consumers £2billion a year.
This will have to rise to almost £8billion to meet the targets, he said – costing an average family some £200 extra a year.
The Carbon Price Floor policy, which is a charge on businesses for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit, will cost an additional £1billion.
Experts say this will make Britain’s firms uncompetitive and force them to pass on costs to consumers.
Additional charges to help fund wind farms are likely to add around £5billion a year, the report claims.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘With many families struggling to make ends meet in these tough economic times, taxpayers will be disgusted at how much of their cash is subsidising green energy.
‘Millions of people are worried about the cost of living, yet the Government’s own policies are making bills even more expensive for households up and down the country.
‘Ministers should be looking to reduce the burdens they are placing on people by scrapping expensive green taxes and subsidies which are unnecessarily pushing up our energy bills.’
Last night a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: ‘We don’t recognise these numbers. The costs of renewables are coming down.
‘We’ve already cut the subsidies for onshore wind and solar and in future all green technologies will have to compete to deliver the best bang for the buck.
‘Renewable energy is helping support growth through jobs and investment.’
British Greenie doctor upsets mother
When Charlotte Comer went to her GP with a sore throat, she got more than she was expecting.
As well as being prescribed antibiotics for tonsillitis, the mother of two received an unwelcome lecture on family size.
Her doctor told her she would be ‘irresponsible’ if she had a third child, and went on to call for a limit on how many children couples can have, as happens in China.
Miss Comer said she was left ‘gobsmacked’ by the comments of Dr Justin Landen at the Hill Barton Surgery in Exeter, Devon.
The 21-year-old travel agent said she was leaving the surgery on Monday when Dr Landen questioned her about contraception and asked whether she wanted more children.
When she replied that she and her partner Lee Hook were thinking of having another child after they get married, the GP launched into a ‘lecture’ advocating a two-child limit on families, she said.
Miss Comer and Mr Hook, a 28-year-old courier, are parents to Harrison-Lee, two, and Freddie, 11 weeks.
The couple do not claim employment or housing benefits and Miss Comer is currently on maternity leave. ‘I was walking out with Freddie in my arms and he [Dr Landen] asked me if I wanted any more kids,’ she said. ‘I told him we were thinking of having another, but not until after we got married.
‘I started explaining that we both came from big families so we’d like more children but he said he didn’t think coming from big families justified having more children.
‘He then started talking about how the country is overpopulated and anyone who has more than two children is irresponsible. He started going on about how this country should be like China where people are allowed only one child.’ China’s one-child law has been used to control its booming population since 1979.
She added: ‘I was gobsmacked. I never cry, but as soon as I got out I just burst into tears. I was so angry.’
Miss Comer could not understand why the conversation was relevant to her visit but said Dr Landen told her it was his job to advise on such matters. ‘He started saying that in a few years’ time the Government wouldn’t be giving out benefits as much,’ she said. ‘I felt like I was being judged.
‘I told him my partner works 70 hours a week as a courier and I am on maternity leave, and we weren’t on benefits.’
‘I don’t think he knew what to say to that, so he asked me why we would want more children if my partner works 70 hours a week and doesn’t have enough time with his children already. He used that as a reason for us not to have more children.’
She said Dr Landen, 43, contacted her after the appointment to apologise but she decided to lodge a formal complaint.
‘All the way through he kept saying, “I’m a doctor, I have to give advice on things like this, it’s my job”.
‘I was shocked to be having this conversation. I went in for some antibiotics and came out with a lecture. It upset me, as I already feel judged, being young and having two children, but to get this from your doctor – there’s no way anyone should be spoken to like this.’
A statement issued through the NHS said Dr Landen issued ‘advice’ regarding contraception.
A spokesman said: ‘There was no intention whatsoever to cause offence or distress and Dr Landen apologises if this has upset his patient. Dr Landen’s priority as a GP is always to meet the health needs of his patients and at no point was this advice ill intended.’
Maiden speech of Viscount Ridley in the House of Lords
We have another Viscount among us. And unlike Viscount Monckton, Matt Ridley DOES get to sit in the House of Lords
Listening to debates over the past few weeks, it has become clear to me that this is a House that not only respects but expects knowledge and expertise. This is something that my father made clear to me when he was enjoying a long and distinguished career in this House, but he would speak only on subjects that he knew something about—in his case, particularly the Territorial Army, the north-east of England and local government. When I spoke to the hustings a few weeks ago before being elected here, I said that if elected I would speak on three main issues: the north-east of England, science and technology, and enterprise and innovation.
I am here to fill the vacancy caused by the sad death of Lord Ferrers, and I pay tribute to that giant of a parliamentarian, who was on the Front Bench under no fewer than five Prime Ministers. I may hope to match his long legs but I do not expect to match his length of service.
I am that strange chimera—an elected hereditary Peer. As a result, I am acutely aware that I am here thanks at least as much to the efforts of my ancestors as to my own. I would not be human if I did not feel a smidgen of pride in being the ninth Matthew Ridley in direct succession to sit in one of the Houses of Parliament since the son of a buccaneering Newcastle coal merchant was elected to the other place in 1747. That brings me to the subject of my speech.
In 1713, exactly 300 years ago, the Newcomen steam engine was just coming into use all over the north of England. One of the very first was commissioned at Byker on the north bank of the Tyne by my buccaneering ancestor, Richard Ridley, in 1713. Within 20 years, more than 100 of these great clanking monsters were transforming the coal industry by pumping water from deep mines and vastly increasing productivity.
The effect of that innovation was momentous and global. By lowering the cost of energy and raising the wages of labour, it set in train a whole series of events, including the mechanisation of industry and the increase in demand for the products of that industry, and so the great flywheel of the industrial revolution began to turn. For the first time, an economy grew not through an increase in land or labour but through an increase in energy, because mineral energy from beneath the ground showed an unusual property that had not been shown by wood, wind and water or by oxen or people—that is, it did not show diminishing returns; the more of it you dug up, the cheaper it got.
At this point, I should like to declare an interest because I am still in the coal-mining business, albeit indirectly. However, my aim here is not to praise any particular kind of energy but to praise the cheapness of energy.
Today, an average British family uses as much energy as if it had 1,200 people in the back room on exercise bicycles pedalling away on eight-hour shifts. It is worth remembering that when people talk about how many jobs can be created in any particular sector of energy. We could create a lot more jobs by making energy on treadmills. What counts is not the jobs we create in producing energy but the jobs we create in consuming energy if we make it affordable—or, indeed, the number that could be lost if we make it unaffordable.
One reason why we in this country are falling behind the growth of the rest of the world is that in recent years we have had a policy of deliberately driving up the price of energy. To quote a recent report from the Institute of Directors:
“The UK’s energy and climate policies are adding more to industrial electricity prices than comparable programmes in competitor countries, putting UK industry at a disadvantage and making a rebalancing of the economy more difficult”.
Household energy costs have doubled in the past 15 years. In the US, where gas prices used to be the same as they are here, they are now one-quarter or one-fifth of the level here. That is an enormous competitive advantage to the US and a disadvantage to us. The chemical industry, as a result, is very keen to move to the United States, and other industries, including the cement industry, are feeling the pinch from high energy costs. Near where I live at Lynemouth on the north-east coast, the country’s largest aluminium smelter recently closed with the loss of 515 jobs, largely due to the rising cost of energy.
A nation can compete on the basis of cheap labour or cheap energy but if it has neither then it is likely to be in trouble. Surely these are not controversial remarks.
UK shale gas programme to ‘accelerate’, say ministers
Britain is on track to “accelerate” its shale gas programme, according to Michael Fallon, the energy minister, as he confirmed a new licensing round for oil and gas explorers will take place next year.
The Government will next year launch the UK’s 14th onshore licensing round, he said, announcing that engineering consultancy AMEC has been hired to do the environmental assessment of plots’ suitability for exploration.
The last such licensing round closed in February 2008, meaning this will be the first to take place since the shale gas revolution in the US, which has been at the forefront of the drive to extract methane gas trapped in layers of shale rock.
Under each licensing round, companies take the first step towards developing land for oil or gas extraction, although they would need to get further permissions to carry out work such as fracking – hydraulic fracturing – to release shale gas.
“The Government is creating the right framework to accelerate shale gas development in a responsible way,” Mr Fallon said. “We announced fracking could resume with robust regulation last December and there is nothing now stopping licensees from bringing on new drilling plans.
“It is up to licensees to come forward with plans to explore the shale potential, engaging with local communities and gaining the necessary planning permissions and permits.”
More than 330 licences for the onshore exploration and exploitation of energy sources both conventional and unconventional – such as shale gas – have already been issued in the UK.
Considerable interest is expected under the coming round, as companies look to explore the potential for fracking in the UK, with the Government appearing keen to harness the economic benefits.
Opponents of the process, which involves using a mixture of water, sand and chemicals to fracture rock, allowing the gas or oil trapped within to flow out, worry about the environmental impact and upset to residents in affected areas. Tremors related to fracking activity near Blackpool led to initial work being halted.
“Shale gas has great potential and we have the right regulation in place so the UK benefits as quickly as possible in terms of energy security, investment and jobs,” Mr Fallon said. “But development must be done in partnership with communities. We are working hard with industry on a package of community benefits and to ensure that their concerns are properly met.”
Mr Fallon was speaking at the first meeting of the new All Party Parliamentary Group for Unconventional Gas & Oil (APPG) in the House of Commons, a forum to discuss unconventional oil and gas exploration and development, and its impact.
British social workers already have overweening power — but want more
A year ago, I wrote of a worrying case where Social Workers went to the High Court for permission to enter the home of a person of sound mind because ‘it was thought’ that possibly they were making decisions as a result of ‘undue influence’ by their son who lived with them. No one actually knew whether they were or not, but on the basis that they might be – such permission was granted. Fair enough, a judge had listened to the arguments from ‘a’ social worker – we are not allowed to know who – and a document was drawn up delineating what subjects the son was allowed to speak of to his parents in their own home…in particular, he should not discuss with his parents any arrangements for securing the family home. What happened to the home in which he and his parents lived was to be entirely a matter for the local authority to decide if and when they thought it should be sold…..presumably if and when the parents became vulnerable through mental incapacity.
Social Workers were outraged – why should they have to grovel before a judge and explain themselves before they could enter a home and decide the basis on which family relations should be conducted? The fact that they wanted to do so should be perfectly sufficient! They lobbied hard to be given an automatic right of entry to any household they wished, regardless of whether the occupants were vulnerable for any reason…in order to dole out health advice or dictate how individuals conducted their family affairs.
The Government agreed to consult on the matter. Raccoon readers were kind enough to make a magnificent response to the survey! The results of that consultation were published a few days ago. The Government were not minded to give that power to Social Workers:
We believe it is highly significant that members of the public were far more strongly against the proposal compared to health and social care professionals […] it is clear that some people perceive themselves at greater risk of unwarranted intervention by social workers than of abuse in their home.
The Social Workers have thrown a hissy fit! We, the public, don’t understand! Nanny knows best! We have to be encouraged to eat our ‘five a day’, and Social Workers are the people to do it… no sooner was the Government’s conclusion to the survey announced than the Social Workers flounced into print:
A survey of social workers carried out by the College during the consultation had found overwhelming support for the power, with practitioners citing cases where they would have used it had it been available. Walker said:
“It seems that the weighting [the government has] given to individuals’ responses doesn’t reflect the evidence or the professional view.”
They are mobilising ‘the professional view’ to lobby the Government before the second reading on the 21st May of the Bill that would give them this power. This is becoming a battle of wills. Nobody is objecting to them going to court if they really believe that there is a specific problem in a specific household – but that is a world away from all Social Workers having the power to enter any house at any time and dictate how the occupants live!
Remember that Social Workers do not have to be publicly named, nor do the local authority have to be publicly named – There have been 358 applications from Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset councils in the last 3 years alone demanding the right to take control of households, their finances and the welfare of the occupants. Just in one relatively small area!
Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly has written to the Lord Chancellor demanding to know why Stoke on Trent City Council has requested that some families be imprisoned for challenging orders governing the welfare of their loved ones. (No public record exists of Judge Cardinal’s ruling on Miss Maddocks and secrecy rules forbade anyone to name Stoke on Trent City Council who had requested that Miss Maddocks be imprisoned. The social worker who gave evidence against her could not be named either.)
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said:
“It cannot be right that local authorities and council bureaucrats should run roughshod over the lives of individuals and their families. At the centre of elderly care must be the concept that families and loved ones must have a right to care and look after the best interests of patients, whatever their condition’.”
I have spoken to John Hemmings MP on this matter, and he told me this morning, quoting yet another case:
‘Although the senior judiciary have now moved to stop secret imprisonments for contempt of court, it remains that we have a number of other secret prisoners where there is no public accountability as to why people have their liberty denied. I have passed the Rachel Pullen case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (RP v The United Kingdom). The key to this case is that as with many others in fact she does have capacity. It is simply that the courts have ignored all the evidence that she has capacity and only taken into account the single expert that says she doesn’t. I have provided examples of a number of cases where the capacity assessment is plainly wrong.
In England we allow a single social worker to imprison someone by claiming that they don’t have capacity – and the Courts will accept this. That is basically wrong.’
They are misusing the power they have at present, a power that they argued was essential to protect the vulnerable, the young, the elderly, the mentally incapacitated. Now they seek to extend that power to all of us, at any time, under any circumstances, just because they think they should – and they don’t want a nosy judge overseeing how they use that power.
They don’t like the fact that the Government listened to the public in that consultation – they want our voices to be overruled. What do we know, ignoramuses that we are?
Lord Reid once said:
“English law goes to great lengths to protect a person of full age and capacity from interference with his personal liberty. We have too often seen freedom disappear in other countries not only by coups d’état but by gradual erosion: and often it is the first step that counts. So it would be unwise to make even minor concessions.”
Please help to reinforce the will of those in parliament who are listening, and will try to protect our freedom. Lord Howe will be introducing the ‘Care Bill’ into the House of Lords for its second reading on May 21st 2013. Make sure he doesn’t think the public’s response to the consultation was a ‘fluke’ – and drown out the voices of the professionals!
Its in your ‘best interests’. You can e-mail Lord Howe via this link. Tell him that you do want your voice to be heard!
British police chief constable and council chief executive refuse to stand down despite catalogue of errors in Oxford sex ring scandal
The angry mother of a victim of the Oxford sex grooming gang last night demanded: ‘Someone needs to take the blame.’
Catastrophic failings by police and social services enabled the sadistic group to drug, rape and traffic girls as young as 11 for eight years. Victims repeatedly told police they had been abused and sexually tortured and care-home staff just watched as the men collected the under-age girls at night.
But despite the catalogue of appalling blunders and missed opportunities – and David Cameron warning police and council chiefs they faced ‘very searching questions’ – nobody is prepared to take the blame.
Both Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton and Joanna Simons, head of Oxfordshire County Council, say they will not resign.
Their defiance, a day after the seven vicious and ‘medieval’ predators were convicted at the Old Bailey, came as:
* It emerged that only one care worker has been sacked in the aftermath of the scandal.
* An MP urged courts to impose ‘the most severe penalties’ on the gang so the victims receive ‘the justice they were denied by the local authorities’.
* One of the UK’s largest police forces said tackling child sexual exploitation is now a bigger priority than gun crime.
Most of the eight-year campaign of abuse by the gang took place after Miss Thornton was appointed head of the Thames Valley force in 2007.
She yesterday apologised for not acting sooner, but when asked if she had considered resigning from her £160,000-a-year post, she said: ‘The focus has got to be moving forward. I think the focus for me is on driving improvements in the future.’
Five of the six girls were abused while in the care of Oxfordshire County Council’s social services department. But Miss Simons also said she was not quitting her £182,000-a-year job as chief executive.
She said: ‘My gut feeling is that I am not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out.
‘[We are] incredibly sorry that we weren’t able to stop this abuse any sooner ….. what we understand now is much more about the grooming process. ‘We didn’t understand that going back seven or eight years ago.
‘All I can do is apologise if we didn’t listen enough, if we didn’t do enough.’
The mother of one of the victims, only 14 when the gang began plying her with drink and drugs before exploiting her for sex, said: ‘Oxford Social Services has failed our children and someone has to pay for it.
‘They were supposed to be looking after my child, yet the social workers went home at night knowing that she was being abused and did nothing.
‘The police are talking about there being more victims, something like 50 more girls, who they want to come forward. But how can they expect them to have the courage to come forward when these six girls have been failed so badly.’
Speaking in New York, the Prime Minister refused to defend the Chief Constable and county council chief, saying the authorities would have to ‘respond for themselves in terms of what happened’.
Mr Cameron, an Oxfordshire MP, said: ‘It really is just appalling, absolutely appalling – it’s shocking what took place. Everyone’s going to have to ask some very searching questions about how this was allowed to continue for so long.’
As with similar outrages in Rochdale and Rotherham, police officers, social workers and staff in residential homes knew or suspected that children were being used and sold for sex by large numbers of men.
But a catalogue of opportunities to stop the abuse were missed from as early as May 2005.
Two of the three care homes where victims of the Oxford gang lived have been closed down.
But only one person has been sacked – a manager at Dell Quay, a privately run care home in Henley-on-Thames where the council placed girls, was dismissed after refusing to pay a victim’s taxi fare when she returned after running away. The 14-year-old was driven back to Oxford where she was raped.
Steve Heywood, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said yesterday: ‘Our No 1 priority at the moment is child sexual exploitation. It is now ahead of gun crime. Expect a lot more convictions.’
Prosecutors have pledged to ‘re-review’ three historic cases involving victims of the Oxford sex ring after admitting more could have been done to investigate their claims. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would look again at the decision to take no further action over the allegations of abuse involving the girls from 2005 to 2006.
In one case, the CPS said information was requested from Thames Valley Police but the force did not respond.
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said the CPS would now be more ‘proactive’ when dealing with sex abuse allegations. She said: ‘We want to encourage people who have experienced something similar to have the courage to come forward.
‘What we shouldn’t do is as soon as we see a weakness – the girls had taken drugs or alcohol or they lied about something in the past – that means, “this case is hopeless and we can’t go ahead with it”. ‘Rather than be fatalistic and negative, it’s about being really positive and saying, “how can we really get to the truth here?”‘
Ms Ubhey admitted the CPS should have pursued Thames Valley Police when information was first requested about one of the claims.
The further allegations do not involve any of the defendants involved in the Old Bailey trial, she added.
‘I think we could have been more proactive,’ Ms Ubhey said. ‘Of four cases we looked at, in three of those it’s arguable we might have been able to do more.
‘What I can’t say is that we will change our decision. What I can say is perhaps we could have taken a more proactive approach in making further enquiries.’
Ms Ubhey confirmed a serious case review would be conducted following the conclusion of the trial.
Authoritarian Britain: They can’t be bothered about Muslim sex criminals raping young white girls but having a model railway in your home calls for action!
A model railway fan has been ordered to dismantle his £10,000 train set in his loft by his housing association on health and safety grounds.
Father-of-three Robert Burdock, 61, has 63 locomotives which whizz along 70ft of track around the perimeter of his attic.
His train set includes hand-crafted stations, depots, streets and tiny figures – which are all enjoyed by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But a social housing firm now says Robert has made ‘alterations’ to the two-bed 1950s property in Buckfastleigh, Devon, without permission – breaching strict planning regulations.
Robert, who has lived in the home for fourteen years, says a housing official arrived to inspect a leaky chimney and told him the train set had to go.
Retired builder Robert said: ‘I’ve been building train sets since I was 11. It’s been a lifelong passion of mine and I take a real pride in creating things.
‘When I moved into this house I decided I needed a project to keep me going as a hobby and I decided to build a railway in the loft.
‘Some people like to spend their money down the pub or play a few games of snooker, but for me I build railways. ‘I’ve made much of the scenery myself and spent anything from £8,000 to 10,000 on it.
‘There’s absolutely no way I’m taking it down now – if they want to evict someone over a train set that’s up to them.’
Robert’s woes began when he rang Teign Housing to report a leaking chimney at the £140,000 ex-council property where he lives with his disabled wife Linda, 64.
He says the only work he’s ever done to make room for the train set was to put down flooring and replace a single, faulty electrical socket.
Robert, who retired due to ill health, said: ‘They have said that unless I dismantle the railway, they will send in their workman to pull it apart so they can put right the changes I’ve made.
‘All I’ve done is put down flooring that meets all the required regulations and I’ve even coated the little buildings I make in fire-retardant.
‘Everything is based on trestle tables. I’ve not damaged a thing. This house was a tip when I moved in. I’ve spent thousands down the years doing it up. ‘I even fitted my own central heating – you won’t hear them complaining about that.
‘People might think model railways are childish – but I don’t think I’m being the childish one here.’
Teign Housing insists Robert’s track has to go so inspectors can make sure the loft area is safe. The firm manages over 3,600 homes across south Devon.
Paul Davies, head of asset management, said: ‘It is part of our tenancy agreement that tenants must seek permission to make any alterations to our properties so that we can make sure it is safe and meets the required building regulations.
‘We have written to Mr Burdock to explain that all items in the loft space must be removed so that we can gain access and reinstate the timber members to ensure the property is safe.
‘Once this work has been done, we will look at ways for Mr Burdock’s train set to be accommodated safely.’