Saturday, October 04, 2008

Unbelievably low standards in British medicine

Blood-pressure tests are about the most routine aspect of medical practice that there is -- but not in Britain, apparently. It is usually very difficult to change doctors in Britain and I myself noted a "take it or leave it" attitude among British GPs when I was there. In Australia it is as easy as pie to change doctors and Australian doctors are much more polite, attentive and obliging. Funny that! So I am not really surprised that the complacent attitude of British GPs extended to the low level of care described below. A simple blood-pressure test could have saved a life

The family of a documentary film-maker who died of heart failure at the age of 43 won six-figure damages yesterday from three doctors who failed to diagnose and treat his worsening condition. Nick Rossiter, who created the popular art programme Sister Wendy’s Odyssey, had been suffering “increasingly severe” hypertension before he had a fatal cardiac arrest in July 2004.

Mr Justice Foskett, sitting at the High Court, was told that Mr Rossiter’s death would have been avoided had Pearl Chin, Cathy Benson and Sharon Alikhani, GPs at the Westbourne Grove Surgery, West London, prescribed appropriate medication from December 2003 onwards. The three GPs, who treated Mr Rossiter between 2001 and his death, admitted to a breach of duty in having failed to spot and appropriately treat his hypertension.

Mr Rossiter left a widow, Beatrice Ballard, a celebrated television producer in her own right, and two daughters, Alice, 11, and Pandora, 9. The amount of damages was not disclosed in court but Ms Ballard, the daughter of the novelist J. G. Ballard, said: “No amount of money can replace my children’s father, but it will help in securing their future.” The judge described the loss as “almost impossible to value”.

The court was told that Mr Rossiter had visited Westbourne Grove Surgery two months before his death, but left without receiving a vital blood-pressure test. The defence had argued that Mr Rossiter may not have completed his course of medication even if he had been prescribed it. But Ms Ballard’s barrister, Henry Whitcomb, dismissed the claim on the grounds that Mr Rossiter was a highly intelligent man who had given up smoking and was “absolutely devoted to his family”.

After the decision, the family’s solicitor, John Pickering, said: “The end of this case comes as a huge relief to Nicholas’s wife, and will provide a secure future for their daughters. Doctors Chin, Benson and Alikhani . . . did not treat him with antihypertensive medication as they should have done. “His family are relieved that this matter is now closed and they can move on with their lives.”


Shock! British Ambassador called Obama 'liberal'

Definitely a nasty word:
"Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's Ambassador in Washington, was last night thrust into political controversy after the leak to a newspaper of a seven-page candid assessment he delivered on Barack Obama.

His letter to Downing Street, written earlier this summer ahead of the Democratic nominee's trip to Europe, contains a level of criticism that will be deeply embarrassing to the Government.

He describes Mr Obama's "decidedly liberal" voting record in the Senate where "the main impression is of someone who was finding his feet, and then got diverted by his presidential ambitions".



Does that sound a bit crass? It is in fact just a plain English translation of the study below

Ethnic Variations in Mammographic Density: A British Multiethnic Longitudinal Study

By Valerie A. McCormack et al

It is not known whether the 20-30% lower breast cancer incidence rates in first-generation South Asian and Afro-Caribbean women relative to Caucasian women in the United Kingdom are reflected in mammographic density. The authors conducted a United Kingdom population-based multiethnic study of mammographic density at ages 50-64 years in 645 women. Data on breast cancer risk factors were obtained using a questionnaire/telephone interview. Threshold percent density was assessed on 5,277 digitized mammograms taken in 1995-2004 and was analyzed using multilevel models. Both ethnic minorities were characterized by more protective breast cancer risk factor distributions than Caucasians, such as later menarche, shorter stature, higher parity, earlier age at first birth, and less use of hormone therapy, but they had a higher mean body mass index; the last four factors were associated with lower mammographic density. Age-adjusted percent mammographic densities in Afro-Caribbeans and South Asians were 5.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.5, 7.5) and 5.9% (95% CI: 3.6, 8.0) lower, respectively, than in Caucasians. Lower densities were partly attributed to higher body mass index, less use of hormone therapy, and a protective reproductive history, but these factors did not account entirely for ethnic differences, since fully adjusted mean densities were 1.3% (95% CI: -1.3, 3.7) and 3.8% (95% CI: 1.1, 6.3) lower, respectively. Ethnic differences in mammographic density are consistent with those for breast cancer risk.

American Journal of Epidemiology 2008 168(4):412-421

British street cleaner attacked by Muslim mob

A COUNCIL street sweeper was racially assaulted as he cleaned a Westhulme subway. The 48-year-old was cleaning the Featherstall Road subway close to the Martha Street entrance at 9.20am on Tuesday when a gang of six Asian youths smashed a wooden post through the side window. They then rained blows on the sweeper with clubs, posts and bats and hit the victim's leg as he tried to get out of the vehicle.

As the attack took place, the gang shouted, "Asians rule supreme" and "get out of our area white scum". They ran away when the victim called the police. The victim, who has worked for the council for four years, was left shaken and had to take the rest of the day off work.

Oldham Council's service director for Streetscene. Mark Odell. confirmed that a member of the road sweeping team was involved in an incident while cleaning the subway at Featherstall Road roundabout. He added: "The worker reported the incident to the police who attended the scene and took a statement. "As a result of the incident we have reviewed our risk assessments and made some changes to the way our road sweeping staff operate in future. "Thankfully incidents where our staff are abused or worse by members of the public are rare."

Police say they are treating the matter as a racially aggravated incident and are investigating.


Cane is needed again to give children a lesson say a fifth of British teachers

A fifth of teachers would like to see the cane re-introduced in Britain's schools, research has found. They said children's behaviour had deteriorated to the point that caning would be an effective punishment. The survey of more than 6,000 teachers by the Times Educational Supplement found that a fifth supported the right to use corporal punishment in extreme cases.

Judith Cookson, a supply teacher, said: “Children's behaviour is absolutely outrageous in the majority of schools. I am a supply teacher, so I see many schools, and there are no sanctions. There are too many anger management people and their ilk who give children the idea that it is their right to flounce out of lessons for time out because they have problems with their temper. They should be caned instead.”

Ravi Kasinathan, a primary teacher who also “strongly” supported the idea, said: “There is justification, or an argument, for bringing back corporal punishment, if only as a deterrent. I believe some children just don't respond to the current sanctions.”

The survey suggests that support for corporal punishment is strongest among secondary teachers: 22 per cent back the idea, compared with 16 per cent of primary teachers. It also uncovers much lower support among heads and deputy and assistant heads: 12 per cent, compared with 22 per cent of teachers.

John Dunford, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Thankfully, corporal punishment is no longer on the agenda, except in the most uncivilised countries. I am sure that this barbaric punishment has disappeared for ever.”

An official at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: “Violence against children is clearly unacceptable and illegal.”


Bigotry against Indians from British immigration officials

There have been a lot of reports like this. Brits are getting tired of the constant influx of foreigners and it shows at times. There is a lot of resentment of Indians because they work hard and do well economically as a result. So they become a convenient outlet for frustration

Overly zealous British home ministry officials are "humiliating, harassing and abusing" legal Indian and other migrants at airports across the country, a campaigning group said today. "Though migrants are used to discrimination and harassment, these new revelations show how the treatment of legal immigrants by border control now has stooped to the lowest of levels," the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) Forum said in a statement.

The British home ministry was unable to offer a comment immediately, but said it was looking into the complaint.

The group, which won a high-profile case against the government this year, said migrants who were in Britain under the HSMP visa were suffering at the hands of "overly zealous immigration officers" at some of Britain's busiest airports like Heathrow, Manchester and Belfast. "Our members complain that upon their and their families' return from trips abroad, they are harshly discriminated against by the immigration authorities, though they are fully legally entitled to re-enter the country to continue contributing to the British economy," said Mr Amit Kapadia, executive director of the forum.

It said immigration officers not only lecture migrants, and offer unsolicited advice, but have also detained and threatened to deport without reason. It gave the example of Pooja Tandon, who was detained at Heathrow airport while returning from a holiday in Switzerland with her husband, child and parents. It quoted her as saying the immigration officer lectured them about "finding alternative employment" and about "the shifts we work and child care arrangements." "He then said he is detaining us for further enquiry and if he is not satisfied with it, then he will deport us," although the family was let off with a verbal warning.

Pooja Tandon added: "We are really shaken by this incident. We felt being treated like criminals. We pay our taxes and national insurance and all other bills, and are being threatened this way."

In a second instance, a doctor who has been in Britain for a decade was questioned by an airport immigration officer about his using the state health service for the delivery of their son, when all tax-paying foreigners are entitled to the National Health Service. "The immigration official had no legal position to threaten, abuse and intrusively demand information about the sensitive and private medical care of a legal migrant worker," the HSMP Forum said.

In a third case, an HSMP migrant was detained for a few days and was about to be deported to his country of origin because he was not working in his field of expertise, "when in reality HSMP visas do not have any such restrictions."

"It is clear from these cases that Immigration Officers have tried to take the law in their own hand," the forum said.


1 comment:

Deb Acle said...

- Nick Rossiter's tragic death was pointless, needless and totally unavoidable. The NHS itself racked up 34,000 (thirty-four thousand) similar avoidable deaths last year alone. The unofficial figures are much higher.

- I bet the poor white street cleaner gets done for accusing non-white people of racism.But note, there are NO-GO areas all over Britain now where white people just do not tread.