Another episode from Britian's vicious social workers
Targeting decent people is all they seem to want to do. Feral parents can (and do) kill their kids without the social workers lifting a finger. I guess that in their elitist world the kids of dysfunctional families don't matter
Social services banned a mother from being alone with her baby after she took him to hospital with a tiny mark on his ear. Lyndsey Craig worried that six-month-old Daniel might have meningitis after she found the blemish. But doctors who examined him referred the case to social services who then banned Mrs Craig and her husband Tim, 30, from being alone with the child while they investigated.
Responsibility for Daniel had to be handed to his grandparents. Mrs Craig, 24, who works as an accounts assistant, took Daniel to Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool last month as he was suffering from vomiting and had a small purple mark on his ear.
She said doctors took blood tests and confirmed he did not have meningitis, but decided to keep him in overnight for scans. During this time, she and her husband were asked questions about domestic violence and a social worker was sent round to check their home in Liverpool. When the scans and X-rays came back clear the Craigs expected to be given an apology from social services. But instead they were told they were not allowed to be left alone with Daniel. Mrs Craig said: 'They said that if I took him home, they would be able to arrest me and put both of my children into foster care. That's when I broke down.'
Daniel was discharged from the hospital when his grandparents Florence and Jim Craig signed a form promising to 'support, supervise and monitor' his care until a child protection conference on January 8. The couple, from the Lake District, who are both retired and in their 60s, had to move in with the family.
Social services visited the Craigs, who also have a three year old son Sam, three times during the ban. Officers finally visited them on New Year's Eve to say the ban was lifted, more than three weeks after their ordeal began. But they weren't officially cleared until the child protection conference on January 8 in which ten people voted unanimously against putting Daniel into care. Mrs Craig requested a photograph of the mark on her son's ear and showed it to those attending the conference. She said they were shocked when they discovered the tiny blemish had been the cause of the problem. It has since disappeared and remains unexplained.
Mrs Craig said: 'Right now, there are probably thousands of children who are getting beaten up and abused and they have wasted all this time and money on us.' A Liverpool council spokesman said: 'We recognise these situations are stressful. However, we do have a legal duty to investigate.' An Alder Hey spokesman said the referral was standard practice for any child admitted to hospital with 'unexplained injuries'.
Parents' grief as daughter dies after NHS hospital 'forced them to change her treatment'
The father is a very forgiving man. He should sue the pants off the arrogant b*stards. It's the only thing that will get their attention. Arrogance is a hallmark of the NHS
A little girl with a very rare medical condition died after a hospital threatened her parents with a police protection order if they did not comply with a new treatment plan, it has been claimed. Francesca Blair-Robinson, 12, died five months after her father says he and her mother were forced to withdraw their opposition to new treatment.
Father Malcolm, who had taken the lead in his daughter's care, believes the change in treatment led to her death and that Francesca would be alive today if his hand wasn't forced with the threat of police intervention. Last night the devoted father-of-six spoke out about the tragic circumstances of his daughter's death, calling for a change in the way vulnerable children are treated.
Speaking of the hospital's decision to pursue a 'much more aggressive' therapy plan he said: 'I had warned in writing that such a medical approach may prove fatal, based upon the fact that I had been Francesca's full-time carer for almost the whole of her life and had studied her medical condition and her response to treatment 24/7 for 11 years. 'I have conducted significant research into her case since her death and I am entirely satisfied that the treatment killed her and that neither I nor her mother nor Francesca herself would have agreed to this approach but for the intervention of child protection procedures.'
When Francesca was born with a rare congenital syndrome causing a catalogue of symptoms, including being very small and frail, it was feared she would not make it to the age of one. Sent home to die she confounded expectations by surviving under the dedicated care and attention of her family. Her novelist father, 69, became her full-time carer, devising a treatment plan by 'trial and error' but tailored to her needs that included antibiotics, a nebuliser, physiotherapy and a special diet.
Mr Blair-Robinson, who split from Francesca's American businesswoman mother in 2004, said: 'Working closely with doctors we not only saved her life but developed therapies through cautious use of drugs which gave Francesca a quality of life, a richness of experience and an inspirational nature that was little short of a modern day miracle.' Although weak, the little girl was able to go to school for short periods, and have a home tutor for the rest of the time. She developed a network of friends on the internet and loved the countryside. But after moving from Surrey to West Sussex in 2006 the doctors overseeing Francesca's care changed.
When she collapsed in May 2007 medical staff at St Richard's Hospital, in Chichester, wanted to change the way she was treated. She made a swift recovery but doctors still advocated 'aggressive use of IV antibiotics' and oxygen therapy, claims Mr Blair-Robinson. He said both he and his ex-wife objected, and within a week were summoned to a meeting where they were confronted without warning by a social worker, police officer and medical staff. 'Her mother and I were threatened that unless we withdrew our opposition to the hospital's medical plans, Francesca, a frail and vulnerable child with a very sharp intellect, would be made the subject of an immediate police protection order.'
Terrified the couple complied and the little girl was referred to Southampton General Hospital which set out the more 'aggressive' programme. Within five months she had died of respiratory failure, a death that Mr Blair-Robinson would not have happened if he had been allowed to continue taking the lead in her care. He believes there should have been a narrative record of her care in her medical notes and a better system of information sharing and is calling for an overhaul of the way the NHS handles complex cases of children with special health needs. 'She knew she was dying, insisted on doing her Christmas shopping early as she feared she would not reach the day herself and confided that she felt the doctors were killing her.'
He said he did not indeed to pursue legal action as he did not think it 'helpful'. 'Doctors do their best but they make mistakes, they are human,' he said. 'They are forgiven but changes need to be made.' He is sending a copy of his proposed reforms to child protection process to Downing Street.
Of Francesca, who he believes could have survived into adulthood, he said: 'She was a completely magic person, everybody who came upon her was enchanted by her, she may have had a wonky body but she had a golden spirit. 'So that the values of her life may be more widely shared, it seems fitting to propose reforms to our approach to helping the vulnerable.' Francesca had congenital varicella syndrome, a condition that is related to the mother being infected with chickenpox early in pregnancy.
BBC personality made 40 false rape allegations against her ex-boyfriend
Another instance of something that feminists claim never happens
A BBC personality has shattered her ex-boyfriend's life by falsely accusing him of rape. The woman, who has broadcast to television audiences of millions, accused him of raping her 40 times throughout their two-and-a-half-year relationship. He was arrested, held in a police cell and handcuffed as police searched his flat for evidence of his crime. But she retracted her allegation weeks later, and the officer investigating the claims described them as 'inconsistent' and 'not credible'.
Despite the lack of evidence, the incident remains on the Police National Computer thanks to a legal loophole, which campaigners say is blighting the lives of falsely accused men. Even if the 'victim' withdraws their allegation, it will show up under enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks that are undertaken regularly on people who apply for jobs with employers such as the NHS or schools. It will also prevent them from travelling to the United States.
The boyfriend cannot be identified to protect his accuser's anonymity, but wants to make his case public. He said: 'The lies she told have ruined my life. Yet, while I have lost out on jobs and been left paranoid and scared of women, she has got away without punishment. We're not even allowed to reveal her identity. Rape is a horrific crime, and there is no way I am capable of committing it. 'I don't care how successful she is, she should be sent to prison. Of course, the BBC doesn't know what she has done. But if they were to find out I would like to think they'd sack her.'
Fewer than six per cent of reported rapes result in a conviction, but according to Tim Murray of the False Rape Society, this case is typical. 'Thousands of innocent men are tainted for ever by an unfair system,' he said. 'The accused should have the right to remain anonymous until a conviction. If they are cleared, the incident should be erased from their records.'
Robert - not his real name - is an articulate man in his 50s who met the BBC star in London in 2003. A keen amateur photographer, he was there to take promotional shots. The woman, who we will call Charlotte, was working for a commercial television station and asked Robert if he would take some publicity pictures to help further her career. Within weeks they had embarked on a physical relationship. 'In addition to being very beautiful she was intelligent and funny. She was, still is, ambitious. Her career and becoming famous meant more to her than anything,' he said.
The pair filmed many of their encounters at his Central London flat, something he said was Charlotte's idea. 'It turned her on and I enjoyed it too,' he said. 'We agreed from the start that we'd have an open relationship. But we didn't just have sex. We cooked together, went to restaurants. I supported her whenever she was down.' Robert, who separated amicably from his wife, with whom he has two teenage children, ten years ago, was introduced to her friends, but not her family. 'They have strict views on sex before marriage and Charlotte wanted them to believe she was a virgin.'
Still in her 20s, there was a considerable age gap between the two. 'It was flattering at first,' he admits. 'But as the months went by I became more self-conscious about it. Plus, I started to mistrust Charlotte. She lied to me about her whereabouts. And I knew she wanted to marry another boyfriend.' By March 2006 he decided to end the relationship. He arranged to visit Charlotte's London home to pick up the keys to his flat from her.
Yet as he was waiting outside in his car, he was arrested. He was taken first to Hendon Police Station in North London, then to Marylebone police station, where he was accused of raping her, spiking her drinks, blackmailing and threatening to kill her. 'I was confused and powerless. I imagined myself in prison for life. I respect women and would not dream of touching one against her will.' While in custody, Robert, a former employee of an international trading company, suggested the police visit his flat to pick up the DVDs he and Charlotte had made. 'I knew they should prove my innocence,' he said. He also thinks the footage was the reason for his arrest in the first place. 'Once I ended the relationship she became paranoid I would blackmail her with the DVDs,' he said. 'But she was judging me by her standards.'
After seven hours, he was released on bail. 'I dreaded telling my children and ex-wife what had happened,' he recalled. 'Charlotte had befriended them, even picking my children up from school. Luckily they supported me from the start.'
In police records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and seen by The Mail on Sunday, Charlotte claimed that Robert had been blackmailing her by threatening to sell the DVDs to the Press. She said he spiked her drink before they had sex and threatened to kill her if she left him. 'It was all nonsense, fabricated to substantiate her claim,' he said. 'She once told me she had been raped twice before. Now I think she uses both the allegation, and sex in general, as some kind of tool to get what she wants.'
As the days passed, the police began to find Charlotte's evidence increasingly 'tenuous'. The DVDs showed that Charlotte 'would appear to be fully participating in sexual acts'. On May 18, perhaps knowing her account contained, as police put it, a 'number of inconsistencies', she withdrew the allegation. The police officer recorded the incident as 'no crime'.
Robert then received a letter saying he was released from bail and that no further action would be taken. 'But there was no apology from Charlotte or the police,' he says. His anger was exacerbated when police told him in a letter that 'the matter remains recorded as rape'. It was eventually downgraded to 'an allegation of rape' after he protested. Although the allegation had been withdrawn, one police officer had written in his records that: 'There is insufficient additional verifiable information to determine that no notifiable offence has been committed.'
Surprisingly, the law permits officers to register their disagreement with the outcome of a case in police records, with potentially devastating repercussions. While Charlotte's anonymity is guaranteed by the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act of 1976, Robert's ordeal will remain on his file indefinitely. He believes he has been rejected from a job as a Home Office interpreter because he failed to clear criminal checks. An application for a US visa requires him to state whether he has ever been arrested for a crime, and he says he did not apply for a job as a photographer in London schools because his records would stop him being offered it.
A police spokesman would not discuss individual cases but said: 'The current Association of Chief Police Officers guidelines state that police forces retain allegations of serious crime for ten years. We are liaising with ACPO and the Information Commissioner about a review of this policy.'
New British diplomas not suitable for bright pupils, say teachers
More crap education for kids stuck in British government schools
Teachers do not rate the Government's new diploma as suitable for bright teenagers or those wanting to go to university, according to research published today. Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, appears to be failing to win round his own workforce in promoting the qualification for 14 to 19-year-olds. Mr Balls has said that the diploma, which is supposed to bridge the academic and vocational divide, could become the qualification of choice, eventually replacing A levels. Teachers, however, do not appear to share his enthusiasm. A survey of 1,300 teachers found that under a quarter thought the diploma was suitable for academically able pupils. Just a fifth believed that students destined for university should bother taking a diploma; A levels were still seen by most teachers as appropriate for clever pupils and for those wanting to progress to university.
The results of the survey are a blow for the Government, which has pushed hard to convince parents, universities and employers of the diploma's worth. The qualification was designed to break down what ministers have called the pernicious divide between theoretical and practical education.
Some universities have agreed to accept the engineering diploma, but Oxford and Cambridge also want students to take A-level physics as a condition of entry to its engineering degree course. Other diploma subjects include construction, hair and beauty, information technology, and travel and tourism. Five diplomas are currently on offer, with plans for an eventual 17. Three announced most recently appear more academic than their predecessors, covering science, languages and humanities, but these will not be available until 2011. Only 12,000 teenagers began taking diplomas last September, a quarter of the Government's original estimate.
The poll, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research and released by the Sutton Trust, an educational charity, found that three quarters of teachers thought the diploma was for schools in poorer areas. Only three in ten believed it was suitable for independent schools. More than four fifths saw the qualification as being for those who wanted to pursue a vocational route.
James Turner, director of policy at the Sutton Trust, said: "At a time when diplomas are being heavily promoted to schools and students, it is worrying that the perception among teachers - who should be best informed - is that these are not for bright young people with university ambitions. This reflects a wider confusion about the role and currency of the different qualifications available in schools and colleges. "There is a real danger of a divide emerging between those pupils in independent and top state schools who are set on an academic path, leading to places in selective universities, and students from non-privileged backgrounds who have those opportunities closed to them."
Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said the survey showed that young people needed better guidance. Diana Warwick, its chief executive, said: "This is a new qualification, so inevitably there will be a learning curve for everyone involved. But we are concerned that there is a perception among the teachers surveyed that the diplomas are not appropriate qualifications for students aiming to go on to university. "Diplomas provide a new route to higher education and enable wider accessibility for students to develop the skills that best meet their aspirations."
Professor Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds and a member of the Government's advisory group on diplomas, said: "The results of this survey show that we have to work harder on providing high quality information and training to those that are giving our 14 to 16-year-olds advice and guidance about their future studies."
IVF advance promises leap in success rates
Success rates for IVF could be improved dramatically by a pioneering new IVF test that promises to help thousands of infertile couples to start a family. The new procedure, developed by British scientists, selects the most viable eggs for use in fertility treatment, by screening out those with genetic defects that would cause them to fail. A British woman was today announced as the first in the world to have benefited from the test.
The technique, developed by researchers at Care Fertility in Nottingham, has enabled the unnamed 41-year-old woman to conceive after 13 failed cycles of IVF treatment. She is due to give birth in two months time. The screening procedure could transform the prospects of motherhood for older infertile women and those with a history of miscarriage or IVF failure. It should also improve success rates among younger patients with a good chance of conceiving by IVF. While previous egg and embryo quality tests have been licensed only for women with a poor prognosis, the new one has been approved for any patient.
Simon Fishel, managing director of Care Fertility, who led the development team, estimates that as many as half of all couples having fertility treatment could benefit from the technique, known as Array Comparative Genomic Hybridisation (Array CGH). "IVF success rates are around 30 per cent, and reach 40 per cent only in the best clinics, which means at least 60 per cent of cycles still fail," he said. "One of the holy grails is to get to one embryo, one baby, but the great stumbling block is that only 25 to 30 per cent of eggs are actually viable. By being able to select the normal ones, we should have an impact on success rates. How great that might be we don't yet know."
Array CGH would be especially useful when only a single embryo is transferred to the womb, to prevent the multiple pregnancies that are by far the greatest hazard of IVF, Dr Fishel said. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is seeking to reduce IVF twin and triplet births from one in four to one in ten, which will require many more patients than at present to have a single embryo transfer. "Converting IVF to single embryos is going to hit some patients very hard in terms of success rates, but if we can select those eggs and embryos with the highest chance of being chromosomally normal, I am hopeful we can mitigate that," Dr Fishel said. "I think this technology will lead towards this goal."
UK: Data bill "will wipe out privacy at a stroke" : "Sweeping new laws to allow ministers to release the private details of millions of people to a string of public bodies or private firms have been condemned as being `open sesame to a vast increase in government power.' Opposition MPs joined human rights campaigners in attacking the new powers, warning that they could lead to the widespread release of medical records and other sensitive data."