Extended Binge

In another spectacular failure for the Government, the introduction of 24-hour drinking laws has resulted in a trebling of drink-related cases in the A&E (ER) department at a London hospital.

In March 2005, there were 79 night time cases involving patients with an alcohol-related problem. By March 2006, there were 250.  In addition to this, there were 27 alcohol-related assaults treated in March 2005. In March 2006 there were 62.

This is just one hospital. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport says that it is not representative of the country. The DCMS seems to have missed this from last year:

A report by the Centre for Public Health said binge drinking is overloading hospitals, reducing life expectancy and fuelling violent brawls.

At the beginning of the year a survey found that hospitals were having to deal with a significant rise in alcohol-related injuries in the wake of 24-hour drinking laws.

It revealed that many casualty departments have seen a greater volume of patients hurt in booze-fuelled fights or accidents.

Accident and emergency units are also finding problems extending much later into the night – increasing the demands on already hard-pressed staff.

The Government said the open-all-hours approach would end binge drinking, because none one would need to quickly quaff before closing time. Instead, the binge just goes on longer. Too many British drinkers just have no self-control.

Catholic Church Favours Birthing Hybrid Humanoids

I don’t know how I missed this when it was announced, but the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said women should be allowed to give birth to human-animal hybrids created in the laboratory. The bishops said this in a submission related to the Draft Tissue and Embryos Bill, which overhauls the law regulating fertility treatment and embryo research.

The bishops have said there should be no ban on implanting hybrid embryos in the womb of the woman who supplied the egg. According to their statement: “Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so.”

This is not to say that the bishops are in favour of hybrids. They oppose creating them, but say if hybrids (or chimera, as they are called) are allowed to be created then they have to be allowed to live. The Church had to make this distinction because one aspect of the legislation that is not up for change is the requirement that any embryos that undergo experimentation must be destroyed within 14 days of fertilisation.

Chimera are not true hybrids of the sperm of one species with the egg of another. This would still not be allowed under the draft legislation. The proposal allows for the introduction of non-human DNA, but the embryo would still be 99.9% human. Perhaps when they are allowed to be 1% non-human and then 5% non-human and then whatever percent can be technologically managed, the Church will have to modify its position. Or not. The current position of the bishops is based upon the view that “At very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings, and should be treated accordingly.” So a 50.01% human should still be carried to term.

The full response to the draft bill can be downloaded from here.

Improving Access to Abortion

In light of the increasing medical evidence of how early the foetus shows signs of sentience  and the increasing number of abortions in this county, the British Medical Association voted yesterday to make abortions easier to obtain. Yes, that’s right.

Under the current law, two doctors have to sign off on the abortion.  the BMA wants to drop that requirement. It may have something to do with the fact that more and more doctors are refusing to do abortions. With more teens wanting to kill their babies and fewer doctors willing to serve as executioner, I suppose something has to give.

There was also a motion before the BMA annual conference to allow nurses and midwives to carry out abortions, but that was defeated on the grounds that they are not sufficiently trained to perform such a complex operation. This is just more evidence of the crisis.

There are 200,000 babies out there needing to be killed every year and no one seems to want to do the killing.  There has been some relief through the increased use of drug-induced abortion, but demand for surgical abortions is still outstripping supply. What is an immoral nation to do in such a situation?

Teens, Sex, and Consequences

I’m sure it is coincidental that these stories appeared on consecutive days. Yesterday, we learned that teenagers have pushed the abortion rate to a record high in this country and are having a record number of abortions. Today, Department of Health said it had agreed “in principle” that Gardasil should be given to all girls in the first year of secondary school. Most readers will be aware that this is the vaccine against human papilloma virus.

According the Daily Telegraph:

Despite huge Government spending on contraception education, 19-year-olds are now the most likely of any age group to have an abortion, with 35 in every 1,000 having the procedure, according to Department of Health figures.

A total of 40,244 abortions were carried out on girls aged between 15 and 19 years, and 18,691 on girls aged under 18, including 1,042 on under 15-year-olds, 907 on 14-year-olds and 135 on girls under 14.

In total, 3,990 abortions were carried out on girls aged under 16 – the age of consent – last year.

 There were there were 193,737 abortions in England and Wales last year. This is an increase of nearly 4% over 2005.  And over 21% of these were carried out on babies with mothers 19 and under. (I have to disagree with the language used by the Telegraph – its not the mothers who are aborted.) Teens have now ousted the 20- to 24-year-olds as the biggest age group of aborters.

The Government spent £40 million in tax money on contraception education to bring down the abortion rate. Sadly, the one thing they don’t emphasise is that the only way to avoid pregnancy is to avoid sex. But how can they do that when political representatives are fornicators, teachers are fornicators, parents are fornicators, and the Government pays for entertainment programming on television and radio which openly and aggressively promotes fornication? How is any teenager going to keep their legs closed if everyone they know, see, and respect has theirs splayed open?

Now I am all for preventing cancer. Gardasil works best if it is introduced before girls are sexually active and especially before they are exposed to HPV. It is part of the sad commentary on teen sex that they have to get them at 11 in order to make sure they gotten most of them protected.

And I have to say I’ve no doubt it will serve as another green light to the safeness of sex as a game and a toy. That pubescent boys in an amoral society see it like this is no surprise, but that is exactly how it is viewed by many girls by the time they are even in Year 8 (7th grade).  By Year 10 (when the topics I teach include cohabitation, contraception, and abortion) many of them are aggressive about their sexuality and against any suggestion that there is any reason, moral or otherwise, to curb their appetites. It is truly frightening.

Nothing to be Proud Of

As I was looking for something on Wikipedia today, I discovered that it is Autistic Pride Day. It is a day set aside to celebrate “neurodiversity”. Give me a break.

I’m sorry, but this can go in the bin with all the other “Pride” days. Why on earth is “neurodiversity” something to be proud of?

I have nothing against those on the autistic spectrum, if there is such a thing. I know there are even some kids who do have a wiring malfunction in their brain and are not just riding the cultural autism wave because they have been allowed to not behave in social situations and this is a way to explain away their sociopathy.

There certainly is neurodiversity. Everyone is wired a bit different. Big deal. Some people are wired so differently that they can’t function in normal society. That’s just the way they are. Inasmuch as they are disadvantaged, then we have a moral responsibility to take care of them. They shouldn’t be looked down upon. That’s just the way they are.

It’s just like I’m a cripple. I’m missing part of a leg. Normally people have two full-length legs with a foot on the end of each. Thanks to a very slippery road and my unfortunate placement between a stationary vehicle and one spinning out of control, I don’t. I can’t do some things now. I have pain a lot of the time. And I’m a strong advocate for increased access for the physically disabled. But I don’t there should be a “Mobility Impaired Pride Day”. I don’t there there should be some sort of special colour or ribbon or symbol.

Autistic Pride Day is the brainchild of Aspies for Freedom (AFF), a group of people with Asperger’s Syndrome – considered by some doctors and researchers to be a condition on the autistic spectrum, though how to classify it is a matter of some controversy.  AFF want autism to be given special minority status – thus joining the burgeoning number of other minorities (so many that I’m not sure there is a majority left). If anyone can achieve this it would be AFF, because once they set their mind on something. . .

(That was so un-PC. Maybe it will generate some comments. You know what they say, any blog traffic is good blog traffic. BTW, any AS readers can respond with something about cripples.) 

Just because you shouldn’t be ashamed of something does not mean it is something to be proud of. You are who you are. You play from the hand you’ve been dealt. “Pride” days do nothing for promoting diversity or incorporating differently-abled people into mainstream society. 

The Price of an NICE English Postcode

The postcode lottery strikes again.

One of the advatages of devolution for Scots is that they may no longer be tied to England for the worst cancer survival rates in Western Europe. The approval of drugs available on the NHS is down to the Scottish Medicines Consortium. England and Wales is governed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The Scots have approved the use of cetuximab and docetaxel for head and neck cancer. Drug trials have shown that cetuximab (also know by the brand name Erbitux) plus radiotherapy survive for an average of just over 4 years, compared with less than two and a half years for those treated with radiation alone. Nice says it costs too much for what you get. Tough luck.

As I mentioned back in January, Erbitux has already been rejected by NICE for use in bowel cancer. It seems that Nice and the NHS have found a good way to keep the socialised medicine fiscally viable. All you have to do is let all the cancer patients die off and there are fewer people putting a drain on resources.

When I hear about how much more compassionate enlightened British socialism is when compared with the big bad USA, I just think of all the people here who die due to rationed health care. And if you are in the US, remember that this is what Hillary wants for you, too.

All About Sex

I hadn’t tag surfed in a while, so I was skimming through and came across some anti-Christian Right stuff.  I’m not really affiliated with the Christian Right anymore, but given my background and the fact that most anti-Christian Right stuff is heavy on the anti-Christian bit, I thought I’d go in a have a poke around.

In the past I have been a critic of some of the Christian history of America material. I think some of it has been poorly research and most of it has been written to an agenda, neither quality I find particularly endearing.  Now I come across the anti-Christian history agenda and it seems to suffer from the same problem.

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Mistakes

If it wasn’t evident before that Tony Blair is leaving the premiership sooner than Watford Football Club, it is now. Tony’s actually admitting mistakes. No one in politics admits mistakes unless they have no future.

First he admitted that he failed on his pledge that everyone would have an NHS dentist by 2001, no matter where they lived. Six years later, less than half of adults are registered. This is fewer than when Labour came to power.

This week, commenting on a 10-year-old given an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) after committing 60 offenses (including assault, criminal damage, drinking in public and swearing at police), Blair admitted that money won’t solve all of the problems of this sort, or does it help to blame society.

A couple of days ago, there was a lot of publicity about a 10-year-old given an Asbo, with his father given a parenting order. Of course it’s shocking that a 10-year-old was causing such mayhem. But the answer, I’m afraid, is neither to give his father more benefit or for society to explain why such behaviour is wrong.

And go and ask the community if they would prefer the Asbo not to exist.

What I have learnt over these 10 years is that the original analysis I had was incomplete and therefore misguided, ie, guiding us to the wrong policy conclusion, not in the sense that investment in poorer neighbourhoods and regeneration was wrong – it has been absolutely right – but in the sense that it will not deal with this small and unrepresentative minority.

Reading this, it only seems logical that Tony should join the Old Tory party when he leaves office. Of course he’ll be the only one, because with David Cameron the Tories have all adopted New Labour policies.

More of the Ills of Socialised Medicine

Last week we learned there may be a lot less radiation around hospitals this summer. This is a bad thing, because if doctors want to know what is going on inside your body they may have to resort to more guesswork than usual. The Society of Radiographers has voted to consider industrial action if the government does not reverse its decision to stage a 2.5% pay rise.

This comes on the heels of the 22,300 NHS jobs that have been cut in the last 18 months. Because of what have been called “recruitment flaws” due to a computer selection process, there are more than 34,000 junior doctors are chasing 18,500 UK posts. The Government’s current plan is to ship some of them out in a deal with Voluntary Service Overseas. Over half of those surveyed, however, have said they will go abroad looking for work.

Now we know they’ve cut training places for a variety of skilled professions, even though these are needed to meet the needs of the health-care seeking population. Seems they don’t meet the needs of the NHS budget. In fact, the money that had already been allocated for training was needed elsewere, so those funds have been raided. Read more of this post

Society Without Boundaries

The ladette culture is getting younger and younger. It has been revealed that girls 11-13 are drinking 83% more alcohol than they were six years ago. Alcohol Concern, a national voluntary agency on alcohol misuse funded by the Department of Health, has also released information showing that for boys in the same age group, the increase is 43.4%.

In my experience as a teacher, I find this unsurprising. My students in that age group as a whole are very conversant with the drinking culture. Some are open about their drinking. By the time they are 14 or 15, they find it absolutely incredible that someone would suggest to them that drinking to the point of drunkeness is in some way inappropriate. And just like the number indicate, it is girls who are more brazen about this.

Unfortunately, Alcohol Concern’s response to this is to urge the Government to make it illegal for anyone, including parents, to provide alcohol to anyone under 15. This takes away parental responsibility to teach the appropriate use of alcohol. This will especially impact Jewish families who may have their children partake of a bit of the Sabbat wine. It also affects children taking Communion. After all, in the Orthodox Church, infants are provided with wine from the time of their baptism. In the Roman Church, they are communing from about seven years old. It may be the Most Precious Blood, but to an unbelieving policeman and prosecutor, they may not be able to discern between the accidents and the true reality.

Existing laws are sufficient to tackle the problem. It is not the law, it is the enforcement. It is the 14 and 15 year olds drinking in pubs and clubs and buying from the off-license. It is those who informally supply young teens with drink.

It is no surprise a society that practices complete hedonism sees its children picking up the worst aspects of it. A binge drinking culture will have binge drinking children. A completely promiscuous society will have a huge teen pregnancy problem.

Morality knows no age restrictions. These are false barriers that a society erects when it wants to protect the innocent from its own decisions. They are used to justify bad behaviour and immorality. These arbitrary limits by their nature proclaim there is a time when it is appropriate for a person to do what is right in their own eyes. But just like in the book of Judges, everytime a society does what it right in its own eyes, it only brings the judgment of God.

In this country, it has given us a binge drinking culture with children suffering from alcohol-related diseases formerly only known in the aged after intemperate lives. It has led to 500 abortions in this country every day, about 20% of which are performed on teenagers. It has led to unprecedented levels of robbery and vandalism, almost all of which are attributed to youthful offenders.

In the end it costs the society itself in so many ways.

Crisis of Conscientious Objection

There is finally a crisis in the NHS that I’m glad to hear about. There are too many doctors who will not perform abortions. The number who refuse due to conscientious objection is rising significantly.

Even though tax money pays for 80% of abortions in the UK, half of these are done in private facilities.

I’m glad to see that even though the number of abortions continue to rise, those who really know what abortion is increasingly want nothing to do with it. The scientific evidence demonstrating the sentience of the unborn continues to mount. In 1967, it may have been easier to suggest that it was just a blob of tissue. Now doctors must go through extensive mental and philosophical gymnastics to convince themselves otherwise.

To make up for the lack of doctors willing to do the deed, there is a serious move afoot to allow nurses to carry out surgical abortions. Currently they can give abortion pills, but they can’t actually invasively attack the child and kill it with instruments.

I’m not sure what other surgical procedures nurses can perform. It seems there are those so desperate to kill babies they will do whatever it takes to make sure the abortuaries keep running at full capacity.

Travel Safety

Even though the have paid for the NHS with their taxes, 50,000 Britons each year are going abroad for medical treatment. The primary motivation is not to skip waiting lists, though that would certainly be motivation enough in many cases. Rather, most of them are leaving to avoid clostridium difficile and the super-bug MRSA.

When I was in the States last week, someone asked me what I was like having socialised medicine. I told him we have some of the best medical care in the Third World. That may not be entirely true, as some of the most popular medical tourism destinations are India, Turkey, and Hungary.

They are trying to avoid becoming victims like 13 people at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn killed by c. difficile in the last three months or the 17 who have died of c. diff at James Paget Hospital just 65 limes away near Great Yarmouth. And of course not everyone dies. Many just become very seriously ill and some need major surgery.

Cross the county to the West Midlands and Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. They had 36 cases of MRSA in the the last three quarters of 2006, and 327 cases of c. diff – double the number from the previous year. Why?

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Open Wide

When we complain about the quality of dental care in the UK, it is not without reason.

At least Alan Hutchinson has been struck off.

As was noted in the determination issued by the General Dental Council, “You urinated into a sink in your surgery following which you did not wash your hands and then proceeded to treat a patient. This behaviour was clearly inappropriate and is completely unacceptable.”

Talk Fast

It may be free to stay in hospital in the UK, but if a patient needs to make a phone call it is another matter altogether. For as long as I’ve been in the UK it has been expensive to call from a hospital room. That’s because the phones on the wards are not owned or charged by the NHS or BT or any other regular telephone service provider.

They are owned by Patientline. And Patientline is not happy charging a mere 10p a minute to let lonely patients reach out and touch someone. They have announced a rate hike of 160%. That’s right, what used to cost 10p per minute will now cost 26p per minute. And it’s not like patients can just lay there waiting for the phone to ring. Patientline already charge 49p ($1.00) per minute for incoming calls.

Patientline already run the TV service as well. It costs £2.90 ($6.00) per day to watch TV while you lay around waiting to get better.

Unscented

It was once sage advice to stay upwind of an Englishman. These days this is no longer true and there is a healthy market in anti-perspirants. Too healthy, in fact. It seems every time I need one, I have great trouble finding a stick of deodorant.

I don’t like anti-perspirant. It tends to make me break out under my arms. It makes me feel clumpy in the pits. It is invariably made with aluminium (a/k/a aluminum). With the frequency of Alzheimer’s and related conditions in my family, I have an aversion coating myself in atomic number 13.

So I found myself at the 24-hour Tesco in the wee hours scanning the selection of products. Anti-perspirant products. Doesn’t anyone else ever want just plain deodorant? It was only with the help of a shelf-stacker that I found a product suspiciously surrounded by anti-perspirants that appeared to be marketed toward women. It contains some sort of Japanese formula and is clearly labelled “No Aluminium”.

The scent of this product is not the same as Mennen or Old Spice. I was worried a bit this morning when I put it on that I might exude a bit of femininity. And I remember an old commercial that advertised “Sure” as “strong enough for a man, but pH balanced for a woman”, so would this deodorant that was shelved with the feminine range work for me? What is the pH difference between men and women?

Despite my self-consciousness, the Japanese herbs and spices seem to have worked in a subtle fashion.

Looks Good on Paper

The casual outside observer of British politics may think that we have a two- or three-party system. We are actually a multi-party country, with some parties have more viability than others. If you are outside the UK, you may be unfamiliar with the UK Independence Party, known as Ukip. Ukip’s principle aim is the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

Though ironically they have 10 members of the European Parliament, Ukip does not have any MPs at Westminster. They field candidates in most constituencies, some of which they have a chance of getting enough votes not to lose their deposit.

They are trying to make in-roads in local elections, where they have an actual chance of winning. One of those potential candidates is a former member of the special forces and holder of the British Empire Medal. Sounds like a winner.

But Ukip don’t want Jack Biggs in a winnable seat. He’s registered disabled. He’s had a double knee replacement. Of course local councillors spend most of their political time sitting on their bum cheeks and there has been no question that Mr Biggs has these in working order. But since he can’t campaign by handing out leaflets and canvassing voters, the don’t want him. Or more specifically, they only want him as a “paper candidate”.

There’s no reason why Mr Biggs can’t use other campaign methods, especially if he has the help of volunteers. That might require Ukip to think outside the box when it comes to campaign methodology. (It wouldn’t be out of the box in terms of US elective politics, but having worked in both systems, the British campaigns are remarkably uninventive.) Sometimes cripples are just good for making up the numbers.

Badge Envy

Heather Mills has more than just Paul McCartney angry. She’s gotten on the wrong side of the Federation of Disabled People.

They are all in a huff because Heather is appearing in the ABC TV series Dancing with the Stars. The UK-based group say that she should give up her blue (handicap parking) badge because she is able to get around. “Clearly she has mobility so she should refrain from using the badge. It’s not fair on other disable people.”

Now I’m no particular fan of the strange estranged Mrs McCartney, but as a advocate for the handicapped, and most certainly my fellow amputees, the only thing I can say to the Federation of Disabled People is “on your bike”. I’m glad that on a good day and with the quality of prosthetics Heather can clearly afford, she can dance. I wish I could. It still takes her 35% more energy to do it. That means she gets worn out that much faster. And she’s taking half the weight on a stump in a socket. If she dances for a hour or two (and why shouldn’t she), she may not have much energy or tolerance left to do much more.

The advantage of handicap parking is not just the proximity to a destination. It is the width available to open the door. Someone wearing a prosthesis needs more room to open the door, because even if they can run into the store, they can’t fully flex their knee.

What is mobility? That she isn’t in a wheelchair? There are a lot of people who are not in wheelchairs with blue badges. And how is it not fair on other people? She’s a leg amputee. She has mobility issues and they aren’t going to go away. Why can’t the FDP instead focus on the fact that a disabled person is being showcased in a talent that is mobility-oriented.

The Federation of Disabled People does not appear to be a national organisation. The only thing that comes up when I Google the name is the Brighton and Hove Federation of Disabled People. I also noticed that in every news article it is mentioned that her car is a Mercedes. I don’t know if the original story writer knew this or if it was pointed out by the FDP. Perhaps they don’t like rich relatively mobile amputees.

Amillia’s Transatlantic Impact

She’s American, but Amillia Taylor is big news in the UK. She has re-ignited the abortion debate that fires up from time to time.

Abortion isn’t the political litmus test issue that it is the States. Views cross party lines. Peter Garrett was the spokesman for Life while a member of the Labour Party (though he has since become a Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidiate) and David Alton was the highest profile pro-life activist in the House of Commons when a member of the Liberal Democrats (though he is now a Crossbencher in the House of Lords). , It would be fair to say that most of those opposed to abortion on principle are Tories.

However, despite the Conservative attempts at attracting feminist votes, the Labour Party depends on the social left to support it’s incursion into Middle England. This makes it difficult for the Government to lower the age of preservation for unborn lives. Critically, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is not in favour changing the law, which makes it unlikely to get any Parliamentary time for debate.

Currently abortions can be carried out up to 24 weeks for “social” (meaning “any”) reasons and up to the time of birth for medical reasons. Partial birth abortion is practiced in this country.

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The Cost of Socialised Medicine

I saw two headines on the same day. The Daily Telegraph said

Death toll from ‘superbugs’ is soaring

and the local paper said

Axe going to fall on hospital jobs

Our local county hospital once had one of the best rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile in the country. In other words, it was one of the safest hospitals when it came to superbugs. It is still relatively safe as hospitals go, but that isn’t saying much. Between 2003-04 and 2004-05 the number of cases locally increased by 350%.

Now the Telegraph tells us that nationally between 2004 and 2005 “the number of deaths recorded as associated with MRSA rose 39 per cent and those that mentioned Clostridium difficile rose by 69 per cent.”

But this is the reality of socialised medicine. When the system is stretched to the limits, stretch it further. Locally that means axing around 75 jobs in one hospital to meet a £3 million shortfall. It means fewer nurses and less patient care. It means less time to wash hands and change linens. It means less attention to the little things than lead to big problems.

The entire burden won’t be borne by the rank and file. No, the members of the local Hospital Trust have confirmed “a revision of the portfolios of its top managers and executive directors, aimed at saving £80,000 a year.” So 2.67% of the savings will come from the fat at the top. How generous.

Notice that this is achieved by shifting some responsibilities around. No job cuts. Those are reserved for people who actually care for patients.

Teen Pregnancy Numbers Game

The Government has pumped millions of pounds of tax money into reducing teenage pregnancy. As with most Government plans that cost money, it produced the exact opposite effect.

The 2005 figures are now out and show a four percent rise in the pregnancy rate amongst teenagers 13-15 year old. Surprisingly, only 60% of these pregnancies ended in death, especially as the number of abortions also continues to climb.

The Daily Telegraph noted, “In the past, the Government has blamed parents for not doing more to help cut teenage pregnancy. But a key part of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy has been to provide abortions and birth control to under-16s without parental knowledge.” There’s talking out of both sides of your policy.

The Telegraph further notes that in October, the British Medical Journal reported that easier access to the morning after pill had “no measurable effect on rates of pregnancy or abortion”. I’m sure the BMJ overlooked the fact that the morning after pill is an abortifacient. So what the BMJ is really saying is that because enough embyronic people are being flushed down toilets, the abortuaries haven’t seen their business skyrocket.

Hence the Government’s information about the rates of teenage pregnancy are seriously flawed in favour of the Government’s targets. Even with this advantage they have no chance of reaching their goal of halving teenage pregnancy between 1998 and 2o10. The number are still going the wrong direction.

Just like the Government.

Labour Pains

Gail Jordan had arranged to give birth at her local hospital, two miles from her home. That makes sense, as she lives in Solihull, a suburb of Birmingham with a population of nearly 100,000. She’d even had her parentcraft classes there.

When she went into labour, she rang the hospital, as you do. She was told it would be fine to come in when her contractions got closer together. They did, as they do. She rang again to let the maternity ward know she was coming in. A woman told her not to bother.

Mrs Jordan said, “I explained I was having three contractions every ten minutes and she said, ‘Well what do you want me do to about it?’ ” Not words you want to hear when you are about to have baby.

“I asked if there was another hospital, they said Coventry may be able to help you. I asked do you have their number and directions, they said no you’re just going to have look them up in the Yellow Pages.” That’s service on the NHS. Yes, we’re you’re local hospital. Yes, you planned for months to have the baby here. Yes, we told you there was no problem a few hours ago. Yes, you’re gonna have this baby any minute, so I’d get dialing if I were you.

Coventry is 23 miles away. Perhaps there was no bed at Coventry, because her husband was finally able to arranged something at Warwick. Warwick is only 14 miles from Solihull, but it’s down narrower roads, so it takes at least as long to get there.

The good news is they got there in time.

How to Dismantle a Health System

It’s Newspeak time again. Did you know that the closure of beds in dozens of maternity units, A&E departments and community hospitals is a sign of NHS success? Neither did I until Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt told me through a newspaper interview. “Fewer beds are a sign of success — not a sign of failure.”

It doesn’t matter anymore that some emergency cases have to be sent further and further away to find a hospital. Hewitt said the “increasing sophistication” of ambulances meant it was safer for patients to travel longer distances.

I find myself agreeing less with the Tories these days, but I have to agree with the shadow health secretary when he said, “The Health Secretary is living on a fantasy planet, far removed from the reality of the front line cuts that are having a daily adverse impact on NHS staff and patients. Despite this year’s savage job losses, bed cuts and service closures, the NHS organisations providing front-line care are no less in the red than they were last year.”

Local NHS trusts will end the fiscal year £1.05 billion in the red.

Three years ago the NHS decided to save some money by changing the age of the first smear test for women from 20 to 25. At the same time, more and more girls are having sex earlier and the rates of chlamydia are going through the roof, so the risk of pre-cancerous cells in younger and younger women is increasing rapidly.

Research indicates that as a result 3,000 women under 25 will develop undetected pre-cancerous growths each year. The NHS will then have to treat many of these women for cervical cancer at a much greater cost. Many of these women will now die. The ones whose chlamydia hasn’t resulted in sterility will leave children motherless.

But that will be the burden of another Government and that’s what politics (and therefore socialised medicine) is about.

NHS Improvements

Yesterday we had to make a trip to the A&E. Over here that’s an area of the hospital, not a cable TV channel. It’s the same thing as the ER, which over here is just an American TV drama.

Aidan had his head cut open at school by a large wooden brick. By the time Mrs H got there the bleeding had been brought under control, but they said he needed to go to the hospital to glue his head back together and see if he had a concussion. As I am normally in possession of the sole family vehicle, I had to leave my school to go to his school to transport everyone to the local hospital.

Anyhow, inside the A&E was a digital sign – you know, the red, scrolling, LED type. It alternated between four messages, one of which was:

Due to the installation
of a new computer system

It may take longer than normal
to take your details

Please be patient

In other words, “we have spent more taxpayer money to make your hospital less efficient”. But at least they are honest about it.

Because the A&E was almost deserted, we were also informed by the LED sign that the wait time would only be an hour.

In another development to improve service, the hospital has removed free handicapped parking. Traditionally one of the perks of being a cripple in this country is free parking in publicly-owned car parks. The local hospital has handed over the management of their car park to a private company.

Worth a Thousand Words

— “I died while waiting for a cure to be found by research on embryonic stem cells, and you?”
— “I was that embryo!”

Attributed to http://www.arbil.org/LTRHA.htm (though even with Google translator I can’t find the right link)
H/T to Fr Pat Reardon

Forbidden Protection

The head of the Islamic Medical Association in Britain is urging Muslims to avoid vaccinations. This is because they may be made from sources considered haram. He says that vaccinations against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and meningitis are un-Islamic.

Dr Abdul Majid Katme bases his view on the presumption almost all vaccines contain products derived from animal and human tissue and this tissue was not killed in a halal fashion. He is also opposed to them because some contain or have been made using pork-based gelatine.

Instead he suggests another way to avoid disease. “If you breast-feed your child for two years — as the Koran says — and you eat Koranic food like olives and black seed, and you do ablution each time you pray, then you will have a strong defence system.” Who needs an MMR or a DPT injection when you have olives?

Katme wields a considerable influence as the head of one of the two national Islamic medical organisations and as a member of the Muslim Council of Britain. There is already evidence of lower than average vaccination rates in Muslim areas and this will only exacerabate the situtation. However, his is not a home-grown British view. He has imported it from a global movement of Islamic leaders who are telling followers to refuse vaccines from the West.

In this anti-Western demonstration, Muslims leaders are willing to bend the truth to accomplish their goal. According to the Sunday Times, “In Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India, Muslims have refused to be immunised against polio after being told that the vaccines contain products that the West has deliberately added to make the recipients infertile.”

The Islamic world may be out-breeding the West, but if they insist on keeping rates of infant and child mortality high, this may sustain parity in the clash of civilisations.

Culture of Death

Life ain’t what it used to be.

The latest British Social Attitudes Survey conducted by the National Centre for Social Research indicates that 80% of the British public now support the right to physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. It won’t be long before we go the way of the Dutch.

There are reports that we have already gone the way of the Dutch informally – that there are doctors who just do what they want and no one says anything. This was the case in the Netherlands before the Dutch courts set out guidelines for properly reporting of these type of murder-suicides. It rose from 18% of cases reported in 1990 to 45% reported in 1995.

And when you consider case after case of the maltreatment of elderly patients in hospitals resulting in death – and these are the ones reported in the newspapers (and logically many more that are not reported) – it is easy to see how cheap life is.

Even when people want to live, the NHS mathematically calculates whether a life-extending drug is value for money. If it comes up short in the equation, the patient is left to die. That’s what happened today when the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (as I have noted before the preferred acronym NICE is right out of That Hideous Strength) rejected the appeal by Cancerbackup and Bowel Cancer UK against its ruling last August to reject Erbitux for bowel cancer.

In other words, life cannot be allowed to get too expensive. It becomes the same decision people often have to make at the vet’s surgery. But if humans are not uniquely the image of God, but rather just the latest development in animal evolution, is there anything that differentiates a vet from a physician?

Thus it is quite a logical step within the dominant scientific and world view to not only allow physician-assisted suicide, but encourage it. A nation that has rejected God devours itself.

Frankenstein’s Cancer Cure

The Rosslyn Institute in Edinburgh is best known for creating Dolly the cloned sheep. But that was just the beginning. Now they are breeding chickens. But these aren’t just any ordinary chickens. They are chickens with human genes.

The human genes produce human proteins. The proteins are then secreted into the whites of the eggs. The proteins are then extracted from the whites and used to produce drugs. The proteins produced so far include inferon very similar to that used in treating multiple sclerosis. Another could treat skin cancer and arthritis.

The Institute already has a flock of 500 hybrid bird-like creatures. So far they appear to similar to chickens, even indistinguishable from the ISA Browns that make up the majority of their DNA. But as scientist continue to modify the genetics, it is only a matter of time before this happens:

Cause for Thanks

Though the official national celebrations owe much to the instigations of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, and not so much to the Pilgrim Fathers, in the spirit of civic unity may I wish all Americans wherever they are a Happy Thanksgiving.

We are particularly thankful that Aidan’s tooth has been filled. Mrs H managed to get him into an NHS clinic and get the tooth taken care of, even as the dentist was saying it was quite irregular as he should have to wait 18 months for treatment. She even wrangled a white filling for him, rather than the NHS preferred mercury fillings that are illegal in some EU countries due to proven health risks.

Though the dentist would not do both cavities at the same time – only the one that was actually causing pain – Mrs H also managed to get an appointment for the other one as soon as February. February 2007, that is, not even February 2008 or 2009 as might normally be expected.

The Great British Smile

You pay for socialised medicine, you expect socialised medicine.

When it comes to dentistry, this is a joke. A sick joke. It is impossible to get onto an NHS dentistry list. Even then, the NHS only pays a small amount for services and the practices are free to charge whatever they like, so the patient still has to make up the difference out of pocket. But forget getting an NHS dentist anyway, even if you can get past the fear factor. NHS dental treatment for children is supposed to be free. Without an NHS dentist, this is a useless fact.

Otherwise, it is even difficult to get seen by a private dentist. Aidan has a cavity and is in pain. Even with pain, it is tomorrow before he can get an appointment to be seen. Not be seen. Just get the appointment. So Aidie continues to be in pain.

Abortion and Depression

It may seem like stating the obvious, but The Times today has discovered that abortion exposes women to higher risk of depression.

The article begins:

WOMEN who have abortions are risking depression and other mental illness and should be told of the dangers, a group of leading doctors says today.

In a letter to The Times, 15 senior obstetricians and psychiatrists say that new evidence has uncovered a clear link between abortion and mental illness in women with no previous history of psychological problems.

Women who have had abortions have twice the level of psychological problems and three times the level of depression as women who have given birth or never been pregnant, they say.