Tuesday, June 30, 2009

British doctors want right to pray for patients without fear of reprisal

Doctors are calling for the legal right to be allowed to pray alongside their patients. The British Medical Association is to debate whether the threat of disciplinary action should be lifted from NHS staff who try to meet patients' spiritual or religious needs. There has been concern among doctors and nurses that even offering to talk about such matters could be grounds for suspension.

Guidance issued by the Department of Health in a document called Religion Or Belief: A Practice Guide For The NHS has fuelled anxieties. It says such requests could be seen as harassment or intimidation and could lead to staff being disciplined.

Cancer specialist Dr Bernadette Birtwhistle, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said the debate on Wednesday at the BMA's annual meeting in Liverpool would clarify how doctors and other staff could provide spiritual care for patients. She said: 'It's getting to where many of us feel we cannot talk to patients about their spiritual or religious needs or ask them about praying. 'Christianity is being seen as something that is unhelpful. 'Freedom of speech is being curtailed too much, and I don't think it is always in the benefit of patients.'

The move follows the case last year of nurse Caroline Petrie, from Westonsuper-Mare last year, who was suspended after a patient complained that she had offered to pray for her. North Somerset NHS Trust agreed she could return to work and pray for patients as long as she asked them first if they had any spiritual needs.

The Department of Health guidance states that members of some religions are expected to convert other people. It adds: 'To avoid misunderstandings and complaints, it should be made clear to everyone from the first day of training or employment that such behaviour could be construed as harassment under the disciplinary and grievance procedures.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA Council, said the importance of the issue for a minority of people 'could not be underestimated'. He said no healthcare professional should be able to impose their beliefs but it was 'perfectly acceptable' for patients with a terminal illness to be asked if they wanted to see a chaplain. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the BMA, said: 'It's hugely important that it's allowed, but it's not an opportunity to impose your views on patients.'

The BMA will debate the matter, making it clear that offering to pray for a patient should not be grounds for suspension. The Department of Health said the document was a guide to encourage awareness for staff and patients.


The "don't ask, don't tell" approach to immigration is what has given Britain's despised anti-immigration party an opportunity


Does it matter if immigrants have taken (or created) all the new jobs in the British private sector? I reveal this in my News of the World column today, as the key fact from a data request I made from the ONS. It’s a divisive topic, and even exploring it make ministers feel uncomfortable. But this ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach to immigration has not just given the BNP the political space needed for its electoral breakthrough three weeks ago, but left ministers ignorant about what’s going on in our labour market. Between Q1 of 1997 and Q1 of 2009, immigrants account for 106% of new jobs in the private sector – ie, there are more new workers (1.55m) than new jobs (1.47m).

I’ll update this post later with key graphs and put online the full response to my data request - this all deserves to be in the public domain. But it does strike me that the best way to fight the BNP is not to ban its MEPs from the House of Commons (as our MPs are now trying to do) but actually start learning about, and dealing with, the dynamics of migration. BNP support is the scream of the forgotten voter – and unless Westminster collectively starts to reach out to these people then the BNP’s success story may well have a good bit left to run.


Freaked by the BNP! British PM pledges to house local people first

But isn't that "racist", Gordo? It is when the BNP advocate it!

Gordon Brown is to try to win back Labour’s core supporters with a pledge to give priority on housing waiting-lists to local residents. A proposal to require councils to take account of applicants’ connections to the area when allocating homes is central to a policy blueprint. The populist measure risks reviving the controversy over Mr Brown’s call for “British jobs for British workers” .

A housebuilding programme is also to be announced today as Mr Brown seeks to regain the political initiative. Extra cash for social housing will come from a £500 million switch in spending, outlined in the new programme, Building Britain’s Future, The Times has learnt.

Resentment at needs-based rules under which newly arrived migrants are believed to be placed at the front of housing queues has long been cited by Labour MPs as eroding support among its core working-class voters. Housing is an important issue in the Labour heartlands, with 1.6 million households on council waiting lists — four million people in England and Wales. In some areas, a quarter of households are queueing for a home. Disaffection among traditional Labour supporters was plain at the recent council and European elections, at which British National Party MEPs were elected. Mr Brown’s decision to oblige councils to give priority to those with local connections who have been waiting a long time is being dubbed “British homes for British people”.

Senior government sources insist, however, that the policy is consistent with a new emphasis on entitlement to key public services. The measure will not require primary legislation, it is understood, but will be subject to consultation.

Other policies being announced today include guarantees of a maximum 18-week wait for a hospital appointment, limited to two weeks for cancer patients, and free health checks for the over-40s. The NHS will be placed under statutory obligations to meet what are currently only targets. [which will just lead to yet more fudging of the figures]

Mr Brown previewed the theme of the government paper in an interview with The Times last week, when he said that he would not flinch from taking on “any vested interest that stands in the way of better services”.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is expected to take up the theme of entitlement tomorrow with the publication of a White Paper extending a guarantee of one-to-one tuition in maths and English for struggling pupils from primaries to the early years of secondary schools. It will also propose that league tables be replaced by a “report card” detailing schools’ performance on behaviour, truancy and parental satisfaction alongside exam results. Mr Balls is expected to duck the issue of whether schools should be ranked on a single grade. Critics claim such a move would diminish the emphasis schools place on academic performance.

Today’s policy blueprint, which will also include economic measures as well as the draft legislative programme for the last session before the general election, comes in the midst of a fierce row over public spending.

Yesterday Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told the BBC that ministers wanted to improve accountability in the public services. Challenged in a Politics Show interview on what would happen if entitlements were not met, she said the punishments would depend on the service concerned. Refusing to comment on whether hospitals would have money taken away if they failed, Ms Cooper said: “There are . . . areas, in which you do have penalties, where actually you don’t get the services improved, but this will depend on particular areas.”


The Gauleiter complex in Britain

(Gauleiters were local Nazi officials. Post from Prof. Brignell)

In these pages we have frequently remarked that the British experience should be taken as a warning of what could happen in the USA . Nevertheless, Americans have gone ahead with their own experiment in authoritarian socialism. Typical of the phenomenon is hurriedly and ill drafted legislation that puts power into the hands of minor and unelected officials. It is an unfortunate characteristic of some people that such power goes to their heads, and many of those in positions that once were intended to represent servants of the people now come to regard themselves as the masters. In Britain much of the primary legislation comes directly from Brussels in the form of “Directives”, which are diktats, emerging from a secretive bureaucracy, that have never been properly debated or received the benefit of expert advice.

American politicians now have their own version of this process, as exemplified by the bizarre goings-on that led to the House of Representatives passing a weirdly inapposite Climate Change Bill. The cost of the Global Warming Myth, already staggering, is about to increase by orders of magnitude, tantamount to economic suicide.

One of the many dubious claims of the proponents is that it will create Green Jobs. This is a dysphemism for a new class of people living off the taxpayer. A major sub-class is The Snoopers. We had them in the UK during the post-war Labour Government. They were tasked with such duties as preventing private enterprise. It was largely Winston Churchill’s successful campaign against The Snoopers that brought that spendthrift Government to an end. Nowadays opposition leaders are considerably less effective.

Now The Snoopers are back. They pry into our garbage bins, secretly film us and employ covert agents to follow us (justified by legislation originally promoted as being anti-terrorist). One couple were subjected to a prolonged stake-out to check that they were living where they claimed to be and not evading the equality rules in the educational lottery. A teenager was prosecuted for allowing a toddler to discard a sweet wrapper. Fortunately, our judges still have enough power to treat such cases with the derision they deserve. What is not disclosed is how much this snooping impoverishes the taxpayer, but it is not difficult to imagine the cost of several weeks of secret surveillance. Also typical is the fact that the actions in question were not even offences until the advent of New Labour Government. It is not only a crime to want to select a school for your child (unless you are rich), there are now so many new offences that no one, even the lawyers, knows what is legal or illegal. There are literally thousands of new crimes (including the Orwellian sounding enviro-crimes). When the Government is enacting seven new laws every day, without a semblance of proper debate, ordinary people are exposed to legal hazards of which they are completely unaware.

These are the conditions under which the Gauleiters thrive. Every citizen is threatened with the circumstances of Kafka’s Joseph K, arraigned for crimes and misdemeanours unknown, and helpless in the face of an all powerful officialdom. Furthermore, ordinary people are now encouraged to become informers. Records show that 28 Gestapo were able to rule a million people by the use of informers. Many people were wrongly arrested owing to accusations motivated by malice or revenge. When journalists enquire about cases like those mentioned above, the response always comes from someone called “A Spokesman”, anonymous and unelected. There is no comeback if they get it wrong. The ultimate insult is that the poor chumps they pick on have been forced to contribute to the inflated salaries these officials command. One of the greatest financial burdens carried by the poorer elements of society, such as pensioners, is the dramatic inflation of local taxes.

Look on this America. It is your future.


Wimbledon admits good-looking female tennis players get centre court

This was being furiously denied just days ago. I mentioned it on 22nd.
"Good looks count for more than tennis ability when it comes to choosing which women play on Wimbledon's centre court. A succession of easy-on-the-eye unknowns have appeared in Wimbledon's prime arena this year while some of the top women's seeds have been relegated to lesser courts.

The All England Club admitted that physical attractiveness is taken into consideration. Spokesman Johnny Perkins said: "Good looks are a factor."

A BBC source said: "It's the Wimbledon play committee, not us who decides on the order of play. "But obviously it's advantageous to us if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court. "Our preference would always be a Brit or a babe as this always delivers high viewing figures."


Britain: PC repair techs serve as police spies: "A visit to your PC repair shop could be swiftly followed by a trip to court and a short stay in your local jail if it harbours any remotely questionable material — whether you knew about it or not. That, at least, is the fear as the latest confirmed outing for the Dangerous Pictures Act sees one individual prosecuted after a PC engineer spotted potentially unlawful pictures on their PC — and his line manager passed on details to the police.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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