Sunday, June 28, 2009

Could this happen in Britain?

I doubt that many modern day Brits would have the ticker for it anyway but if they did the guy concerned would not be praised by the authorities. He would be bawled out and punished in some way for breaching "Elf 'n Safety" rules. You must go through the "proper channels" before doing anything. Story below from Australia

Firefighters have praised a Williamstown diner for single handedly extinguishing a potentially fatal warehouse blaze.

Joe Vetesi was dining with three friends at Williamstowns Satorini restaurant when he heard a call for help about 10pm. Noticing a fire in a Parker St warehouse he ran to help. "I have 29 years CFA experience so I'd like to think I know what I'm doing," Mr Vetesi said.

Mr Vetesi scaled a three metre high fence to gain entry to the warehouse and sourced water to extinguish the blaze. "My first concern was that people were inside but once I realised the warehouse was unoccupied I went about putting the fire out," he said.

Two fire crews attended the scene. Newport senior station officer Shane Rhodes praised Mr Vetesis actions. "When we arrived the fire was basically extinguished - he did a good job," he said.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (1)

It's part of the Marxist hate they learn in social work schools: The middle classes are the enemy and the "worker" can do no wrong. Too bad if the occasional child get brutalized and killed

Social workers in Doncaster failed to intervene before a father snapped the spine of his 16-month-old daughter despite being aware she was at significant risk, an inquiry has found. Amy Howson was punched on numerous occasions by her father, James, leaving her with fractures to her arms, legs and ribs. Basic procedures that might have prevented her death were not followed. The 25-year-old was later sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison.

A serious case review into the way social services dealt with the family revealed that there had been sufficient information about the father’s violence for action to have been taken. It was one of two serious case reviews published today into the deaths of youngsters murdered in the borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire. There was such concern at the inadequacy of the children’s services that, earlier this year, the Government sent in a leadership team to manage the council’s social services department and the then mayor, Martin Winter, made it clear he would not be seeking re-election. In total the deaths of eight children known to the town’s social services since 2004 are being investigated.

In a separate serious case review into the death of Alfie Goddard, who died from head injuries in May last year at 11 weeks old, agencies were criticised for failing to heed warning signs. The child’s father, Craig Goddard, 24, a man who struggled with alcohol and drugs, threw the child to the floor because he was crying. He was known to have had issues over controlling his temper.

The report’s authors concluded that agencies failed to recognise that anger, mental health problems, substance use and domestic violence could be risk factors for children. Individual bodies, including social services and health workers, generally acted in isolation. “There was very little communication between agencies and no co-ordinated involvement with the family,” said the report. "There was also a tendency for agencies to concentrate on the needs of the parents without considering the impact on the children.”

It was the shockingly violent death of Amy Howson in December 2007 that pushed Doncaster’s social service provision onto the national stage. In the report’s conclusion, the authors suggest: “The murder of Child B (Amy Howson) by her father was not predictable given the information and knowledge held on him and other family members by agencies. “However, there was sufficient information and knowledge on family members, including (the father), held by individual agencies to conclude that, on balance, both Child B and (and another child) were at risk of significant harm from him. “Some agencies within the Doncaster multi-agency child protection system failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures and did not take proper and effective action to safeguard and promote the welfare of Child B and (another child).”

The report also suggested that the Doncaster Community and Schools Social Worker Service, the Youth Inclusion Support Service and the Doncaster PCT Health Visiting Service missed key opportunities to intervene to help the child. The borough’s children’s services, which received only one star in the Audit Commission’s assessment last year, remain under the control of the Government’s intervention team.

Gareth Williams, the director of children’s services, insisted that plans are now in place to offer an effective service run by experienced staff. However, he admitted that there were still problems with recruitment. Julie Bolus, director of quality and clinical assurance for NHS Doncaster, said that changes to working procedures have been made, including how information is shared with other agencies.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (2)

Social services are in the dock again after a toddler was left to die at the hands of a schoolboy babysitter despite repeated warnings that she was in grave danger. Demi-Leigh Mahon, two, was punched, kicked and bitten by 15-year-old Karl McCluney, while her drug-addict mother was out collecting child benefit. The little girl suffered at least 68 separate injuries.

As McCluney was convicted of murder the catalogue of failings by social services was finally revealed. An independent report found that social workers should have taken action. They knew that Demi-Leigh was being raised in a drugs den. Members of the public and neighbours had told children's services that the child was left crying a lot and that her mother, Ann-Marie McDonald, was injecting heroin and was unable to care for her. Police had reports of domestic abuse.

Yet at no point did social services intervene, and Demi-Leigh was never placed on the 'at risk' register. The case is the second in two years in which Salford social services - branded inadequate by Ofsted in 2007 - have been found to be at fault. However, no one has been disciplined over the errors which enabled Demi-Leigh's mother to leave her daughter with McCluney, who had previously threatened to beat up a teacher and stab another man.

In March last year 31-year-old Miss McDonald - known as Sindy - was given a rehabilitation order after being convicted of supplying heroin and cocaine from her flat in Eccles, near Manchester. But she failed to comply and took Demi-Leigh to a friend's flat, resulting in a warrant for her arrest.

On July 15, she left her daughter with McCluney at his father's flat. It was his 15th birthday. When Demi-Leigh began crying he flew into a rage. He subjected the defenceless toddler to an appalling assault, punching her in the face, biting her and kicking her. When Miss McDonald returned after an hour and a half, Demi-Leigh was barely breathing. She died in hospital two days later.

McCluney admitted manslaughter but a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him guilty of murder. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Last night Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, and grandmother, Frances Gillon, said they twice contacted the council up to six months before the toddler's death. Mrs Gillon, 68, said: 'It is a disgusting failure by social services. 'They should have done something. There was no communication and they need their back sides kicking.'

Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, who left the family home when she was just three months old and now lives in Morecambe, Lancashire, said: 'Demi was a much-loved and wanted child. She smiled so much she looked like a Cheshire Cat.'

In a statement Miss McDonald said: 'I always tried to do my best and I'd do anything I could for Demi but sometimes I feel I didn't get the help and support I needed.

Ministers told Salford social services bosses last year to make improvements or be removed following Demi-Leigh's death and a report on failings which led to the death of a twoyearold boy in a blaze at his home. Additional social workers have now been recruited and the improvement notice has been lifted.

John Merry, the leader of Salford council, said: 'I do not want to make excuses, but the report's sad conclusion is that this tragedy could not have been foreseen and it could not have been prevented.'


Whistleblower helpline for NHS doctors as concerns for patient safety grow

Hospital doctors wanting to raise fears about patient safety are to be given an anonymous “whistleblower” helpline because of growing evidence of staff reluctance to speak out for fear of recriminations. The dedicated phoneline has been set up as part of new guidelines issued by the British Medical Association, and seen by The Times, designed to help to formalise the process of “whistleblowing” in the NHS.

Doctors will be presented with two motions at the BMA annual conference next week calling for action to address staff concerns about reporting malpractice. One motion, proposed by the BMA’s agenda committee, warns that the NHS risks another patient safety scandal like that of Mid-Staffordshire where 400 deaths were linked to poor care, such is the scale of the problem. It calls for trusts and regulators to pool all complaints from clinicians to identify worrying trends. A second motion, proposed by junior doctors, calls on the General Medical Council to recognise formally that the harassment of whistleblowers is a serious breach of medical regulations. It also requests guidance on whistle-blowing.

Tom Dolphin, a junior doctor specialising in anaesthesia based in East London, said he had felt compelled to act after hearing of the experiences of colleagues who had to work without some patient-monitoring equipment. “One colleague needed equipment that wasn’t there, and was told there wasn’t any. There can be a culture of ‘that’s the way it's always been and no one’s come to harm yet anyway’. Others tried to raise concerns, got nowhere and had pretty much given up.”

The BMA guidelines, released today, follow research suggesting hospital doctors are frequently frustrated in their attempts to raise concerns about standards of care, despite recommendations by the Department of Health for the development of whistleblowing policies six years ago. A survey of 565 doctors working in hospitals in England and Wales found that three quarters had had concerns about issues relating to patient safety, malpractice or bullying in the NHS, the majority linked to standards of patient care.

Many said that their experiences of reporting issues had been negative — either because they were ignored or because their complaint was shared more widely than they were comfortable with. One in six doctors who reported concerns said that their trusts had indicated that their employment could be negatively affected.

The BMA advises hospital doctors to err on the side of raising any concerns about malpractice or systemic failures, and to do it as soon as they can, rather than allowing the situation to reach a point where patient safety is threatened. It points out that employees who are victimised after raising their concerns can go to an employment tribunal, and that employers can be heavily fined. “If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a manager, you should not agree to remain silent,” it states, adding that “raising concerns is not just a matter of personal conscience — in some circumstances it is a professional obligation”.

Last month Jonathan Fielden, the chairman of the BMA consultants committee, called for sweeping changes to reporting problems in the NHS. He said that “a culture of inactivity and despair is preventing issues from coming to light, and putting patient care at risk”.

Margaret Haywood, a nurse, is appealing to the High Court against a decision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to strike her off the register for secretly filming at a Brighton hospital. Footage showed examples of neglect, including an elderly patient sitting in clothes he had soiled the night before.

Earlier this month the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) called for greater reporting of safety issues in hospitals in a report on paediatric healthcare. It said that 10,000 alerts over medication given to children were being issued annually in the NHS, including errors in the calculation of drug doses and health workers forgetting to give patients their medicine. The NPSA report concludes that over the period of a year 33 children and 39 newborn babies died with “indicators of avoidable factors”.


Britain: The bankrupt welfare State: "The stark evidence of the growing imbalance between what the Government raises and what it spends is likely to intensify the political row over the public finances and may strengthen calls for cuts in spending. Treasury figures show that welfare payments will exceed income tax receipts by almost £25 billion. Normally, income tax receipts comfortably cover the benefits bill. The disparity between tax revenue and welfare costs was identified by Andrew Brough, a fund manager at Schroder Investment Management, who suggested that the amount of money spent on social protection could soon exceed that raised from both income tax and national insurance. According to an official Treasury forecast, benefits will cost £170.9 billion in 2010/11. That is equal to what the Government will spend on the NHS, schools and universities combined. This year will be the first in a decade that benefits cost more than workers pay in income tax."

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