Monday, December 22, 2008

NHS bosses to limit doctors’ hours -- by hiring more bureaucrats!

This must be a high-point of socialist stupidity. They are hiring more bureaucrats in order to reduce the hours that doctors work. As if the person making up the rosters at the moment cannot simply make them up differently! It is more doctors, not more bureaucrats that are needed. So how about spending the money instead on hiring more doctors?

The NHS is appointing a new layer of managers to ensure that doctors do not work too hard. Hospitals say the bureaucrats are needed to ensure compliance with European legislation which says that, from August next year, no doctors will be allowed to work more than 48 hours a week. At the moment, junior doctors can work up to 56 hours.

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Trust appointed a “working time directive project manager” in 2006-7. Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust is advertising for one at a salary of up to 44,527 pounds. A spokeswoman said the purpose was to “redesign roles and rotas in preparation for compliance next year”.

Last week the European parliament voted to end Britain’s opt-out. Unless a compromise is reached in the European Union’s council of ministers, this will mean doctors cannot work longer hours even if they want to. The Royal College of Surgeons has issued a warning that the NHS will not be able to cope when hours are cut next year.



Claims in a Government-commissioned report that wind power can supply a third of Britain's electricity have been condemned as wildly optimistic by leading experts. Researchers and parliamentarians warned that a heavy reliance on wind energy would place Britain's energy supplies at risk.

A report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), published last week, maintained that wind farms could play a major role in helping Britain cut its harmful carbon emissions by 34 per cent in 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050. It stated: "Despite the inherent intermittency of wind power supply, wind generation could make a significant contribution to total global electricity generation and be a major source of electricity in the UK (eg 30 per cent by 2020 and more beyond)."

The CCC, chaired by Lord Turner, the former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said that new techniques of energy storage would overcome the problem of maintaining a regular supply when the wind is not blowing. But sceptics say this is far too ambitious because experts have not yet been able to devise effective ways of capturing and storing electricity generated by wind. That means a backup system, in the form of nuclear or coal- or gas-fired power stations, would always be needed.

John Constable, director of policy and research at the Renewable Energy Foundation, a think tank, said: "To generate 30 or 40 per cent of our electrical energy from wind power would present unmanageable and unaffordable difficulties at the present. "The CCC's assertion to the contrary is simply out of step with the state of theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field. Betting on very heavy commitment to wind for carbon reduction is irrational and will result in the inevitable failure of our climate change policy. Wind has a role, but this role will be modest in scale."

A report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, published last month, also cast doubt on the merits of wind turbines.

More here

Human rights fear delayed trial of British killer

And how many other such cases are there?

The prosecution of Rachel Nickell's killer was delayed by almost two years because of human rights concerns about obtaining a sample of his DNA, a senior government official said yesterday. Prosecutors were concerned that Robert Napper's lawyers might claim a violation of his human rights if his DNA were taken without his proper consent while he was a mental patient, according to the legal official. In 2006 Lord Goldsmith, then attorney-general, was informed of the debate about Napper's rights. Lawyers finally concluded that a DNA sample could lawfully be taken. The official said: "Human rights was one of the arguments that stopped them getting his DNA. The Crown Prosecution Service and the police decided they had to resolve it because it could have been a technicality that could have collapsed the trial."

At the Old Bailey last week Napper admitted killing Nickell, a part-time model, on Wimbledon Common in 1992. He was returned to Broadmoor where he was already serving an indefinite sentence for the horrific killing of Samantha Bissett, 27, and her four-year-old daughter Jazmine in 1993. The Metropolitan police admitted both women and the child might still be alive were it not for a series of failings by detectives. The Met issued an unprecedented apology to the families of all three victims.

Police initially ignored the trail to Napper, focusing instead on Colin Stagg, who was acquitted in 1994. It was to be 10 years before a break-though in forensic techniques meant scientists were able to isolate a tiny fragment of DNA taken from Nickell's body. Within weeks scientists had established that it matched a sample from Napper which had been taken in the 1990s and held on the DNA database.

Napper has been linked to a total of 109 sex offences and 86 possible victims. He is also likely to be quizzed by police about the killings of at least three other women: Claire Tiltman, who was stabbed 40 times in Greenhithe, Kent, in 1993; Penny Bell, 43, who was knifed 50 times in Greenford, west London, in 1991; and Jean Bradley, 47, who was stabbed in Acton, west London.


British faith school pupils 'outperforming others at every age'

Pupils in England's religious state schools scored significantly better examination results at seven, 11 and 16 than those in community schools, figures show. On average, 85 per cent of children at Anglican, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim schools left primary school with a decent grasp of the basics - compared to 79 per cent elsewhere. Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country's 7,000 faith schools.

Critics claim that higher scores are achieved because faith schools use admissions policies to cream off middle-class pupils. Last year, the Catholic Church reported a surge in late baptisms as parents attempted to boost their children's chances of getting into the much sought-after schools. And a recent report by the Runnymede Trust - a multi-cultural think-tank - said they should be stripped of their power to select along religious lines to prevent distortion.

But faith leaders insist schools do well because of their religious ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. Oona Stannard, director of the Catholic Education Service, said: "Our success comes from fulfilling our mission, which is so much more than what Ofsted or the Government says a school must do. When I was a teacher, I remembered that I was not just seeing a child, but was seeing God in that child, and that creates expectations in teachers. "We are charged with developing the whole child."

Faith schools currently make up a third of all state-funded schools in England. Some 4,657 are Anglican, 2,053 are Roman Catholic and 82 belong to other Christian denominations. Another 36 schools are Jewish, eight Muslim, two Sikh and one is Hindu. Most use religion - often gauged by attendance at weekly worship or references from local faith leaders - as a tiebreaker when over-subscribed.

An analysis of GCSE results from 2007 reveals pupils in these schools make more progress at every stage of the education system. Some 51 per cent of pupils in Church of England schools and 52 per cent in Catholic schools gained five or more good GCSEs, including the subjects of English and maths. Scores increased to 63 per cent in Muslim schools but soared to 77 per cent in Jewish secondaries. By comparison, only 43 per cent of pupils made the grade in England's non-religious schools last year.

Faith schools also outperformed the rest based on the Government's favoured "value-added" measure, which compares performance at 16 to results when pupils started secondary school at 11. Scores are also weighted to take account of the number of pupils speaking English and second language and those on free meals - ensuring schools with large numbers of middle-class children do not gain unfair advantage. On this measure, Muslim pupils made the most progress, followed by those at Jewish schools, other Christian schools, Catholic schools and Anglican schools. Again they outstripped secular schools. It suggests that claims faith schools are dominated by children from rich backgrounds may be exaggerated.

Last month, a report by the schools adjudicator found that two-thirds of schools controlling their own entrance policies - most of which are faith schools - failed to follow the code on admissions. A large number were found to have asked for extra information from applicants, prompting critics to accuse them of seeking to discover parents' incomes and marital statuses in order to "cream off" middle-class pupils who tend to do better academically.


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