Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Hospital: We are all in the emergency room

Channel 4 is currently showing a documentary called The Hospital which takes a frank look at the effect that teenagers have on our nation’s health service. In this three part special they speak to the doctors working on the frontline dealing with the uneducated accidents that barrel through their doors on a regular basis. The first looked at the carnage that alcohol has unleashed, the second teenage pregnancies and the final show will examine obesity. It is an eye-opener and gives a truly shocking insight into the thinking of a sub-section of society.

Politicians have created a monster. It is clear to see that the health service in this country is having an impact on behaviour as there is little or no recognition of the consequences of actions: people have been desensitized. For example, a teenage pregnancy on the NHS typically costs around £10,000 to £15,000 due to the higher than normal risks because of the natural stresses on an under developed body. The teenagers in question have no awareness of these costs. Society as a whole would probably behave differently if only the individuals/families concerned had to bear the costs.

The politicians have created a new breed of teenager who typically come from a family that has little desire to be concerned about their offspring’s education and consequentially show little emotion towards them. This could perhaps be a reason why teens have descended upon alcohol and have such a bad relationship with it. These fault lines are a politicians’ creation, yet they will claim that only they can fix them. Sadly the time has come to shock people into behaving in a ‘normal’ manner by exposing them to the true costs of their behaviour: we should do without politicians. Or at least only hold in high regard those politicians who can say no and explain why a person will be stronger by learning from their mistakes. Until that time we are all in A&E.


Top British Leftist politician sends out greetings for every festival EXCEPT Christmas!

He is the son of a prominent Marxist theoretician

Foreign office mandarins have begun a consultation on whether to mark Christmas. They have ordered a review into which religious festivals should be the subject of special greetings from the Foreign Secretary. It follows complaints from staff that David Miliband sent out a Ramadan message to Embassy staff around the world, but neglected to prepare one for Christmas Day or Easter.

Mr Miliband has also been accused of ignoring St George's Day, while giving Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, 'plenty of FCO airspace' to wish Scots a Happy St Andrew's Day. Embassy staff are now being asked to nominate occasions which should be celebrated, to avoid upsetting different faiths and nationalities.

The FCO sends out statements to mark Ramadan, the Muslim festival of fasting, and Jewish New Year. But Mr Miliband, who once revealed he did not believe in God, has never sent his own Christmas tidings, to the fury of some staff.

In an internal newsletter called News and Views, Mark Thomas, who works in staff policy, complained: 'It was depressingly predictable that the Foreign Secretary found the time to deliver a special Ramadan message after scoring misses at Christmas, Easter and any other number of occasions when different faiths celebrate special festivals or periods throughout the calendar year.

'The decision to afford Alex Salmond plenty of FCO airspace to wish Scots a Happy St Andrew's Day, while neglecting David, Patrick and George - and not for the first time - was equally disturbing.'

In response, Nicola Bowles, FCO head of corporate communications wrote: 'As you say, the current system for celebrating British (and FCO) diversity with messages from the Foreign Secretary and others on significant dates could maybe be improved. 'We are now consulting with private offices, stakeholder managers and the diversity strategy unit to draw up guidelines that strike the right balance. 'The aim is to find a way to celebrate our diversity - and offer reassurances to groups who may feel marginalised - without falling into the trap of diminishing impact (or indeed overloading our communications system) through an unnecessary plethora of messages.'

The move comes a month after a report from Human Resources consultancy-Couraud said the Foreign Office was sinking into 'stagnation and decay' because of political correctness. Devotion to gender and race equality, together with inertia and weak leadership are crushing the spirit of those working there, it said.


Cancer pill 'offers MS benefits'

The long-term mortality would be a concern with a drug that suppresses the immune system. Much caution needed

Courses of a common cancer drug can dramatically reduce the risk of a patient with multiple sclerosis having a relapse or deterioration, work shows. Taking cladribine a few times a year more than halved the chances of a relapse, with few side-effects, the UK study of 1,300 patients found.

UK expert Professor Gavin Giovannoni said the drug could revolutionise the treatment of MS. Its manufacturer Merck Serono hopes to seek licensing for its use this year. The drug is already licensed for treating leukaemia. Prof Giovannoni gave his assessment of its potential value to MS patients at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Seattle.

The UK's drugs watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, is considering including cladribine in its next round of assessments.

Cladribine works by suppressing the immune system, reducing the risk of further damage to a patient's nervous system. Patients who took the drug were 30% less likely to suffer worsening in their disability due to MS. The study involved over 1,300 MS patients who were followed up for nearly two years and monitored using MRI scans. Patients were given either two or four treatment courses of cladribine tablets per year, or a placebo.

Each course consists of a single tablet per day for four or five days, adding up to just eight to 20 days of treatment each year. If it becomes available to patients, cladribine will be the first licensed treatment for MS which does not involve regular injections.

Professor Giovannoni, of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, part of Queen Mary, University of London, said: "These results are really exciting. MS can be a very debilitating illness and at the moment treatment options remain limited. "Having an effective oral therapy will have a major impact for people with MS. "Our study shows that cladribine tablets prevent relapses and slow down the progression of the disease, making patients feel better. "Importantly, it does so without the need for constant injections that are associated with unpleasant side-effects. "We will continue to follow the patients in the trial to see how they fare in the long-term."

Dr Lee Dunster, head of research at the MS Society, said: "These are remarkable results and being able to take a tablet instead of having injections will be a huge step forward for people with MS. "The evidence is there, but we now need to see cladribine move smoothly through the regulatory process and the price the manufacturer sets will play a crucial part in that."

It is estimated that 85,000 people in the UK currently have MS, with 2,500 new cases diagnosed each year.


British police respond to capitalistic incentives too: "There was a big fall in the number of speed-camera penalties after police and local authorities lost the right to keep the proceeds. The drop came in the same year that road deaths fell to their lowest level since records began, undermining claims that an increase in cameras improves road safety. In 2007, 1.26 million fixed penalties were issued — down 370,000, or 23 per cent, on the previous year. Over the same period, road deaths fell below 3,000 for the first time, down 226 to 2,946. Until April 1, 2007, camera partnerships operated by police and local authorities were allowed to keep a proportion of fines to pay for more cameras. Since then, they have received a fixed amount for all aspects of road safety. The drop in fines suggests that police chiefs decided to put fewer resources into speed enforcement when they stopped being able to recover the costs of installing and operating cameras. Many camera housings are being left empty and some forces have reduced their use of camera vans".

Yuk! Britain gets an angry feminist as a poet laureate: "Duffy, 53, who has been an advocate of women’s rights ever since she was shocked by sexism on the poetry —circuit in the 1970s, told The Times that she felt deeply that the post should go to a woman. She favoured Jackie Kay, her former partner, or Alice Oswald. “I have a sense of humility because there are so many poets who should take this role. To have refused it would have been a bit cowardly. She said that she hoped to be a controversial figure, a role that she fulfilled last year when one of her poems, Education for Leisure, was pulled from the GCSE curriculum because examiners feared that it promoted knife crime. Duffy responded with a reply in verse that pointed out the quantity of knife usage in Shakespeare’s plays. Duffy was considered a frontrunner for the post ten years ago but lost out amid rumours that senior politicians had reservations about how the popular press would respond to the appointment of a lesbian."

Fawlty Towers not dead: "At a recent “excellence awards” ceremony organised to celebrate the very best in domestic hotels and visitor attractions by Enjoy England — the English tourist board — the great and the good of hospitality were in a hopeful mood. “Boom times” lay ahead for holidays in these isles. Tough economic conditions meant that fewer people would be flying abroad. Airport security queues and higher flight taxes would put off travellers heading for the skies, tourism board grandees predicted. It all seemed win-win. But then one official dared to strike a note of discord. “This is going to be the year of the complaint,” he whispered. “Hotels and attractions have been making staff cutbacks. And you’ve got the Poles going home of their own accord.” Many places are unlikely to cope in the busy summer, he said. The expected swarms of tourists from Europe taking advantage of the weak pound will only add to the bustle. John Cleese, playing the hapless hotel owner Basil Fawlty, once declared: “A satisfied customer — we should have him stuffed!” How many British hoteliers will be saying the same by the end of August? We’ll just have to wait and see".

Traffic lights a hindrance or a help?: "What would happen if traffic lights were suddenly switched off? Would there be gridlock or would the queues of frustrated drivers miraculously disappear? People in London are about to find out the answer in Britain’s first test of the theory that removing lights will cure congestion. For six months, lights at up to seven junctions in Ealing will be concealed by bags and drivers will be left to negotiate their way across by establishing eye contact with pedestrians and other motorists. Ealing Council believes that, far from improving the flow of traffic, lights cause delays and may even increase road danger. Drivers race towards green lights to make it across before they turn red. Confidence that they have right of way lulls them into a false sense of security, meaning that they fail to anticipate hazards coming from the side. The council hopes that drivers will learn to co-operate, crossing junctions on a first-come first-served basis rather than obeying robotic signals that have no sense of where people are waiting. Ealing found evidence to support its theory when the lights failed one day at a busy junction and traffic flowed better than before." [There have been similar reports from South Africa and Holland]

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