Saturday, November 15, 2008

British bureaucrats 'ignored abuse warning before Baby P died'

Uncaring official watchdogs

Haringey Council was warned six months before the death of Baby P that its social workers were still not dealing properly with child abuse cases despite being forced to implement an overhaul after the death of Victoria Climbie. A senior social worker told it in February that officials were ignoring child abuse cases bearing similarities to the appalling neglect that resulted in the eight-year-old's death in 2000 while under council supervision.

Nevres Kemal's solicitor wrote to the Health Secretary of the time and to MPs, calling for a public inquiry. The solicitor, Lawrence Davies, said yesterday that his pleas had been ignored. Mr Davies added: "I did not get a reply from anyone, I copied several MPs into the letter. If someone had acted then maybe Baby P would not have died."

The revelation comes after the council finally apologised for the death of Baby P, saying that it was "truly sorry that we did not do more to protect him". On Tuesday, however, at the culmination of the trials that resulted in three people being convicted for causing or allowing the death of Baby P, Sharon Shoesmith, the director of Haringey Children's Service, refused to apologise, saying that staff had carried out their duties effectively. [Unbelievable arrogance. Below is a picture of the social worker monster herself. See here for details of the privileged life she leads]

Ms Kemal, who is prevented by a court order from talking about confidential council matters, alleged in February that a case dating from 2004 involving alleged sex abuse bore similarities to the circumstances surrounding Victoria Climbie's death. She said that she became aware two months after the initial allegations were made to the council that the children had not been medically examined, which would have meant potentially important evidence was lost. When she reported that the case had not been dealt with satisfactorily she claims that management became hostile. Ms Kemal alleged that she was suspended on false charges of misconduct in December 2004. She was then moved from her 34,000 pounds-a-year job in child protection to one planning support for disabled children. Ms Kemal sued the council for race discrimination and harm suffered by a whistleblower under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. The claim is understood to have been settled although the details remain confidential.

On February 16 last year, soon after a social worker was allocated to look after Baby P, Mr Davies wrote to Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary: "Statutory child protection procedures are not being followed. Child sex abusers are not being tackled." He also wrote to junior health ministers Rosie Winterton and Ivan Lewis, and David Lammy, the local MP for Tottenham, who passed the letters on to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Mr Davies, from Equal Justice solicitors, is now applying for the injunction on Ms Kemal to be lifted, saying that what she has to say is in the public interest and will have an impact on any Baby P inquiry.

Last night a spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said that they received the letter and replied just over a month later. He said: "They made the point that ministers could not comment on the specific details of the employment tribunal case. Secondly, as is standard practice, they suggested that the individual should notify the relevant Inspectorate, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, to take appropriate action and they provided the necessary contact details." At the time of Mr Davies's letters Haringey said it would look into detailed evidence or further allegations.

Yesterday Liz Santry, Haringey Cabinet member for children and young people, said: "On behalf of Haringey Council I would like to say how deeply saddened I am about the death of Baby P. This is a really tragic occurrence and the circumstances of his death are really dreadful. "He died over 15 months ago, and for those past 15 months in Haringey there has been a huge amount of anguish, and endless discussion about what more we might have done to save this little boy. I have to say that we are truly sorry that we did not do more to protect him. Our duty is to protect our children. We did not do so in this instance and I would like to say how truly sorry we are.

"The Government has arranged for inspectors to come to Haringey. They are arriving this afternoon and we absolutely welcome their arrival. We will do everything we can to be open and cooperative with them and the conclusions that they reach we will implement swiftly and comprehensively. "We want to do everything we possibly can to make our child protection procedures as strong as possible." [The bulldust is finally trotted out. Note that there is still no suggestion that anyone will be fired over the matter]


And the social worker monsters wanted the dead boy's sister to be left with the same parents who killed the boy

British social workers are scarcely human beings in their far-Left attitudes. Since when did far-Leftists care about human life anyway?

Social workers responsible for the care of Baby P tried to prevent his mother's newborn child being taken into care against the advice of police, despite the fact it was born in jail, The Times has learnt. Council officials did not want the new baby - a girl - to be taken into care as they said it was "against the human rights" of the mother, even though she was on remand over the death of Baby P. A social worker told police: "We need to let her bond," but Scotland Yard officers eventually over-ruled Haringey on the issue. A source involved in the investigation said: "There was no way that police were going to allow this baby to be looked after by the mother."

Today the council finally apologised over the death of Baby P, who suffered months of abuse despite being on the "at-risk" register, and 60 visits from health and social workers in the last nine months of his life. However, it emerged that the day before he died, the council's social workers offered to pay for his mother to go on a trip to the seaside as a "treat".

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had just been told by police that they were not going to take any action after she had previously been arrested on suspicion of assaulting Baby P. Unaware that the boy was probably already seriously injured, including having fractured ribs and a broken back, social services said that they would arrange the trip for the next week. The mother told the Old Bailey: "I felt like everything was finally falling into place. I was so happy, nothing could get me down." But the next day the child was found dead in his cot.

However a council spokesman denied the mother's claims that a trip was offered and said: "No such offer of a holiday or a trip to be paid for by the council was either made or implied. It is not our practice to offer such a holiday or a trip."

More here

Britain's health service is now worse than Estonia's

Healthcare in Britain is worse than in Estonia even though we spend four times as much on each person, according to a Europe-wide league table. And despite the billions poured into the NHS by Labour, the standard of care is on a par with the former Communist states of the Czech Republic and Hungary, which spend far less on health.

Long waiting times and slow access to new cancer drugs were highlighted as major reasons for Britain's `mediocre' placing of 13th out of 31 countries. Britain came out near the bottom on cancer survival rates, waiting times, MRSA infections and the speed of access to new drugs. The Euro Health Consumer Index report found that when the cost-efficiency of the health service was taken into account, the UK came 17th.

Johan Hjertqvist, of the Health Consumer Powerhouse think-tank which compiled the report, said Britain had improved since last year on patients' rights and providing patients with information on their health. `However access for both waiting times for treatment and uptake of modern drugs, remains a problem,' he added. The report concludes: `The NHS shares some fundamental problems with other centrally planned healthcare systems. It would require some really top class management for that giant system. Superbug problems are improving, but they are still bad.'

Government health spending has doubled since 2002. This year, 96billion pounds is going into the NHS - almost four times 'the amount spent in the former Soviet republic of Estonia per head of population. The report backs up a recent Italian study, which put Britain near the bottom of a European table for the chances of its patients still being alive five years after being diagnosed with cancer.

Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: `For all the central initiatives and health drives launched in Whitehall, we are still lagging behind much poorer countries like Estonia. `That should teach the politicians that this centralised, micromanaged and monopolistic approach does not work.'

The index rates healthcare systems on 34 indicators before working out a total score out of 1,000. The UK scored 650 points, way behind the Netherlands in first place on 839 points. Britain was rated `poor' on nine indicators, including direct access to a specialist, quick access to operations and MRI scans, five-year cancer survival rates, MRSA infections and quick access to cancer drugs. It was rated `intermediate' on 16 indicators, such as the ability to see GPs on the same day, quick access to cancer therapy and heart attack survival rates. Only on the remaining nine indicators was it rated `good'. These include NHS Direct, the quality of hospital rating systems and IT.

The study concluded that countries with a social insurance system, in which patients take out cover with companies but receive healthcare from separate bodies, fared better than those with centrally driven systems such as the UK.

LibDem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: `We have got to attack the waste and bureaucracy that drives clinicians and the public crazy. We need to make sure that all available resources are focused on patient care.' Tory health spokesman Stephen O'Brien said: `This is further evidence of the incompetence of ministers when it comes to running the NHS.'

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: `The European Health Consumer Index report is not anchored in any reputable academic or international organisation. It uses flawed methodology and old data.'


Outrage as British school fails to observe Veteran's day silence - because it would disrupt classes

A secondary school has sparked outrage by failing to observe the two minute silence on Armistice Day - because it would disrupt classes. The headteacher of Bedminster Down School in Bristol said it was impractical to interrupt lessons - particularly PE and cookery - at 11am on Tuesday. So instead the act of remembrance was moved to the lunch break at 12.30pm, which was ''a more appropriate time for reflection''.

But the move upset some pupils and local members of the Royal British Legion. Schoolgirl Hayley Thomas, 15, said many of Bedminster Down's 1,000 pupils were ''shocked'' by the change. She said: ''I have always been taught to respect those who sacrificed their lives to make life how it is today. ''In my opinion, the majority of this country, regardless of how important their job or education is, such as the police, politicians and general public, all take time out at the official time as a sign of respect to all those who lost their lives for the good of their country. ''We have had the silence at 11am in the past. A lot of people were shocked that the school put it aside this year.''

Roger Duddridge, chairman of the City of Bristol group of Royal British Legion branches, said it is ''sad'' if we can't spare two minutes to remember ''those who gave everything.'' He said: ''If we can't give two minutes of our lives just to stand quietly to remember those who gave everything they had it is a little bit sad. ''But if the school wants to observe the silence at 12.30pm, then at least they are remembering.''

Year-11 student Hayley was in a textiles lesson at 11am on Tuesday and said the teacher of that individual class did allow pupils to mark the silence. However, it was not until 12.30pm when deputy head Philip Bailey made an announcement over loudspeakers to start the official school act of remembrance.

For 90 years British people of all ages and occupations have dropped whatever they were doing to observe the two minute silence at 11am on November 11.

Yesterday Bedminster Down head teacher Marius Frank defended the move and said he felt the Armistice was marked ''reflectively and appropriately'' - even thought it was 90 minutes late. He said: ''The actual time is important, of course, but it is also about having the silence at an appropriate time for reflection to make sure the students really understand what it is about. ''We do not have the space to assemble all 1,000 students plus staff in one place so we chose to observe the silence at a time when we usually have our announcements, while everyone is still in their classrooms before lunchtime. ''We gave it an introduction so that it did not happen in a vacuum and it was marked reflectively and appropriately.''


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