Stafford Hospital caused ‘unimaginable suffering’

Stafford Hospital caused ‘unimaginable suffering’

Relatives of patients involved in the report hold pictures of their loved ones outside the Moat House hotel near Stafford

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Relatives of patients involved in the report hold pictures of their loved ones



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David Rose, Health Correspondent

Patients were routinely neglected or left “sobbing and humiliated” by staff at an NHS trust where at least 400 deaths have been linked to appalling care.

An independent inquiry found that managers at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust stopped providing safe care because they were preoccupied with government targets and cutting costs.

The inquiry report, published yesterday by Robert Francis, QC, included proposals for tough new regulations that could lead to managers at failing NHS trusts being struck off.

Staff shortages at Stafford Hospital meant that patients went unwashed for weeks, were left without food or drink and were even unable to get to the lavatory. Some lay in soiled sheets that relatives had to take home to wash, others developed infections or had falls, occasionally fatal. Many staff did their best but the attitude of some nurses “left a lot to be desired”.

The report, which follows reviews by the Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health, said that “unimaginable” suffering had been caused. Regulators said last year that between 400 and 1,200 more patients than expected may have died at the hospital from 2005 to 2008.

Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said there could be “no excuses” for the failures and added that the board that presided over the scandal had been replaced. An undisclosed number of doctors and at least one nurse are being investigated by the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Mr Burnham said it was a “longstanding anomaly” that the NHS did not have a robust way of regulating managers or banning them from working, as it does with doctors or nurses. “We must end the situation where a senior NHS manager who has failed in one job can simply move to another elsewhere,” he added. “This is not acceptable to the public and not conducive to promoting accountability and high professional standards.”

A system of professional accreditation for senior managers would be considered and the Mid Staffordshire trust might lose its foundation status.

Some NHS chief executives have received six-figure redundancy packages or moved to other trusts despite poor performance. Martin Yeates, the former chief executive at Mid Staffordshire, received pay rises that took his annual salary to £180,000, while standards at the trust deteriorated.

The Liberal Democrats claimed that he had also received a payoff of more than £400,000 after stepping down last March, though Mr Burnham said he had received “no more than his contractual entitlement”.

The Care Quality Commission, the NHS regulator, said that the trust under its new management was now “safe to provide services”. But it still had concerns about staffing, patient welfare, the availability and suitability of equipment at the trust, and how it monitored and dealt with complaints. The inquiry made 18 recommendations for the trust and the wider health service, which the Government accepted in full. They include a new review of how regulators and regional health authorities monitor NHS hospitals and a report on “early-warning systems” to identify failing trusts.

But the families of those who died or suffered poor care branded the inquiry a “whitewash” and repeated calls for a full public investigation. The Conservatives accused ministers of trying to blame managers rather than taking responsibility for problems with national targets.

Julie Bailey, who founded the victims’ campaign group Cure the NHS after her mother died at Stafford Hospital, said that the handling of the scandal was disgraceful and unacceptable.

“It is time that the public were told the truth about the very large number of excess deaths in NHS care and the very large number of avoidable but deadly errors that occur every day.”

The NHS Confederation, which represents health trusts, said: “The responsibility for the way this hospital was run rests with its board, management and staff but, as the report says, the framework of targets, regulatory systems and policy priorities it worked within are also very important.”



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Senator Demands DoJ Investigation Against Climategate Scientists, Calls Gore To Defend His “Sci Fi Movie”

Senator Demands DoJ Investigation Against Climategate Scientists, Calls Gore To Defend His “Sci Fi Movie”

February 23rd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.


Pajamas Media:

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) today asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” — the actions of climate scientists revealed by the Climategate files, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify.

“In [Gore’s] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

This report, obtained exclusively by Pajamas Media before today’s hearing, alleges:

[The] Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works believe the scientists involved may have violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, federal laws. In addition to these findings, we believe the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC -backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.

As has been reported here at Pajamas Media over the last several months, the exposure of the Climategate files has led to a reexamination of the IPCC Assessment Reports, especially the fourth report (AR4), published in 2007. The IPCC AR4 report was named by Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson as one of the major sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding, the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Since the Climategate files were released, the IPCC has been forced to retract a number of specific conclusions — such as a prediction that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 — and has been forced to confirm that the report was based in large part on reports from environmental activist groups instead of peer-reviewed scientific literature. Dr. Murari Lal, an editor of the IPCC AR4 report, admitted to the London Daily Mail that he had known the 2035 date was false, but was included in the report anyway “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

Based on this minority staff report, Senator Inhofe will be calling for an investigation into potential research misconduct and possible criminal acts by the researchers involved. At the same time, Inhofe will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its consideration of an Endangerment Finding for carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Act, and will ask Congress to withdraw funding for further consideration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

In requesting that the EPA reopen the Endangerment Finding, Inhofe joins with firms such as the Peabody Energy Company and several state Attorneys General (such as Texas and Virginia) in objecting to the Obama administration’s attempt to extend regulatory control over carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Senator Inhofe believes this staff report “strengthens the case” for the Texas and Virginia attorneys general.

Senator Inhofe’s announcement today appears to be the first time a member of Congress has formally called for an investigation into research misconduct and potential criminal acts by the scientists involved.

The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate files and the subsequent revelations:

The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.
They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.
They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”
They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while claiming scientific objectivity.
The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation:

It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12, 2000).
It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and criminal penalties.
The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in congressional proceeds, which may constitute an obstruction of justice.
If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties.

By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.

Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”

The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with climate science

The Obamagenda Proves A Jackpot For Special Interest Groups

The Obamagenda Proves A Jackpot For Special Interest Groups

February 23rd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.


The Hill:

Lobbyists for healthcare, energy and financial interests had a banner year in 2009, with the average payout for each reaching as high as $177,000.

Despite his push to rein in special interests, President Barack Obama sparked a boom on K Street with major new proposals on healthcare, climate change and financial policies.

“The magnitude of the work done in the three fields is just huge,” said Michael Levy, of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Washington office.

New lobbying restrictions led to a decline in the number of registered lobbyists working for clients in each of the three industries, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The combination of more work for fewer lobbyists meant record payouts per lobbyist.

Lobbyists working in each of the three industries took home the most on average that they have in a decade, even when adjusted for inflation, according to analysis of the data by The Hill.

Many lobbyists work for clients in several policy areas, so the average payout by industry doesn’t necessarily equal the average overall compensation those lobbyists received. Spending was up in all three broad areas of healthcare, energy and financial-services reforms.

Healthcare clients spent the most overall on lobbying at $544 million, which was roughly $60 million more than in 2008. But there were more lobbyists (3,405) on healthcare issues than on either energy (2,311) or financial legislation (2,654).

Lobbyists earned an average of $160,000 for healthcare-related work.

Energy clients paid $409 million for an average of $177,000 per lobbyist. Lobbyists for energy clients beat out financial lobbyists for top billing.

Energy has long been a significant source of lobbying spending. But as a generator of revenue for K Street, the sector really took off after 2007 when the Democrats, now in control of Congress, began pushing sweeping climate change legislation.

A number of new clean-energy companies have hired lobbyists for the first time in the past two years.

Financial firms also have increased their spending on lobbying. The sector spent $465 million lobbying in Washington in 2009, which was about $8 million more than in 2008. But there were 167 fewer lobbyists registered for financial, insurance and real estate clients.

Obama drove huge interest on K Street with a major push for new financial regulations following the worst crisis since the Great Depression. The House Financial Services Committee spent the bulk of 2009 debating major new policies to rein in Wall Street and prevent future taxpayer-funded bailouts.

The House passed legislation in December, a little more than a year after Congress approved a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry.

“Wall Street was bailed out and benefited from taxpayer largesse, and now K Street is benefiting from it,” said Carmen Balber, head of the Washington office at Consumer Watchdog.

“We all know the health insurance lobby has been such a massive undertaking and people have spent so much money in supporting or opposing it, but still, on the financial side with fewer firms and fewer lobbyists, the numbers are so much higher. That’s a picture of the stakes on Wall Street,” Balber said.

Levy of Brownstein said the growth in financial services lobbying was an indication more of the crisis the industry faced last year than of specific proposals on Capitol Hill.

“Financial services is really less what the president’s agenda was and just the massive collapse of the sector,” Levy said. “A lot of it is reactive to events rather than reactive to the president’s agenda.”

Lobbying revenue across the three industries has not always been on the rise. Revenue adjusted for inflation dipped in all three sectors in 2002 from 2001. And lobbying revenue for financial clients dipped each year between 2003 and 2006.

Since 2007, however, lobbying revenue has been on an upswing across the three industries.

The biggest swing has been in the energy field, with energy clients spending $387 million in 2008 compared with $273 million in 2007.

A Special “Happy Birthday” To The Tea Party From… Chuck Norris?!

A Special “Happy Birthday” To The Tea Party From… Chuck Norris?!

February 23rd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.



It’s still difficult to believe that last week, President Barack Obama actually celebrated Feb. 17 as the anniversary of his stimulus plan (aka the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), in which Washington borrowed $862 billion on American taxpayers’ credit. Celebrate the piling of roughly $1 trillion on the backs of our posterity? Call me clueless, but I never have considered easing present circumstances by going into a massive amount of debt as an answer to anyone’s economic recovery and longevity.

But I bet there’s one date the president definitely won’t be celebrating: Feb. 27. This Saturday marks the anniversary (or first birthday) of the Tea Party movement.

To think that last year at this time, the mainstream media and Washington politicians were either completely overlooking them or labeling those patriot gatherings as extreme and wacky fringe resistances. WorldNetDaily was virtually alone in reporting the Tea Parties as a legitimate patriotic movement like the original 1773 protest in Boston Harbor.

Today, just one year later, Tea Party patriots have proved themselves as a collective and formidable force and foe against big government power and corruption. Even according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, roughly 1 in 5 adult Americans identifies with the Tea Party movement.

Tea Party patriots cross all partisan lines. What unifies us is our fundamental belief that what America’s Founding Fathers established was good and right, that we’ve largely abandoned their vision and that the only recourse to reawaken America is to return to their principles and values. But that is easier said than done, as progressives have worked double time to discredit and undermine them and the very pillars of their republic.

A few years back, an editor at The New York Times wrote, “The Founding Fathers were paranoid hypocrites and ungrateful malcontents.” He’s not alone. Many liberals in media and higher education share his sentiments, labeling our Founders as racists, bigots, chauvinists and charlatans, among other things. This is not only ungrateful but also wrong. It’s their contributions, not their character flaws, that we should be highlighting. As Samuel Adams said in 1771, “Let us first see it prov’d that they were mistakes. ‘Till then we must hold ourselves obliged to them for sentiments transmitted to us so worthy of their character, and so important to our security.”

America’s greatest problem is that we have forgotten our roots. Too many of us don’t know or don’t feel connected to those who founded our country.

Case in point, in 2007, a national survey commissioned by the U.S. Mint found that only 30 percent of Americans knew that Thomas Jefferson was our third president, and only 7 percent could name the first four presidents in order. If you’re a part of the 93 percent, you should know that they were George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The fact is most Americans don’t have a clue why our Founders created this country, what principles motivated them or why they framed our Constitution the way they did.

To restore America, we need to reclaim our past and learn from it. It is only by turning back and examining our beginnings that we can reawaken — or, if you will, reboot — our country. So if, like most people, you’re a little rusty on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, here’s a quick primer or reminder of what our government was meant to be — and should be.

In 1776, by an act of the Second Continental Congress, the original 13 Colonies adopted a Declaration of Independence, dissolving their relations with England. America would be a confederation of independent countries (”states”). In 1777, the Articles of Confederation (our first constitution and governing document) was written and adopted by the Second Continental Congress, though it was not ratified until 1781. The Federalists soon recognized the deficiencies in the Articles of Confederation, so they called for the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. By the end of their four-month convention, the United States Constitution was adopted, though it was not ratified completely until 1790. It has been amended 27 times since. (The first 10 amendments constitute the Bill of Rights.)

The Framers set out a path for us, and we’ve strayed from it. And the first thing any rational man does when he’s lost his way is to look at a map. If you think, as I do, that America has taken a wrong turn, studying America’s Revolutionary history is the first step to helping us find our way back — just as millions of Tea Party patriots have done already.

Happy first birthday, Tea Party movement! If participants in the Boston Tea Party of 1773 laid the groundwork for the Declaration of Independence just three years later, imagine what impact you can have by the time you celebrate your third birthday.

To find a Tea Party birthday celebration in your area this Saturday, Feb. 27, check out the various gatherings under “events” at

Sinking to New Lows in the Terror War

Sinking to New Lows in the Terror War

Posted By Jamie Glazov On February 23, 2010 @ 12:06 am In FrontPage | 19 Comments

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a columnist for National Review. His book Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad [1] (Encounter Books, 2008), has just been released in paperback with a new preface. Check out a description [2] from Encounter Books.

FP: Andy McCarthy, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

The Obama administration has now named a CAIR-trained supporter of convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian to be its envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. What gives here?

McCarthy: Jamie, as always it’s a great pleasure to be here.

It’s not such a great pleasure, however, to talk about what is happening to our country.  What we are seeing is the domestic version of the Obama administration’s dangerously loopy “engagement” strategy.  Basically, if you’re a friend of the United States, say Israel or Poland, prepare to be screwed; if you despise America as, say, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood do, prepare to be wooed. What’s happening here is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to unwind.

The OIC is an insidious organization dedicated to the imposition of Sharia (i.e., the evisceration of liberty) and the destruction of Israel. Yet, as Claudia Rosett’s recent brilliant column [3] in Forbes observes, we are subsidizing its activities and giving it a propaganda victory every time we repeat its claim to be a “57-nation bloc” (one of those “nations” is the Palestinian territories, which do not constitute a nation). We shouldn’t have an envoy for it at all. We can thank the Bush administration’s pandering for that, but the Obama administration takes every Bush misstep and increases it geometrically. So now we will have an envoy whose credibility with the OIC will lie in the fact that he shares its disdain for the American government’s national defense measures against Islamic terrorists.

FP: What’s with Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano and her cozy relationship with Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. affiliates?

McCarthy: This is a continuation of what President Obama started in Cairo, when the Muslim Brotherhood was invited to attend his ballyhooed speech. There are many people on the Left who have argued for years that we should be engaging the Brotherhood — that they are the “good” Islamists who are willing to work through a political process rather than resort to terror.  Putting aside that they actually do support terrorism (against U.S. forces in Muslim countries and against Israel, at the least), shouldn’t we be concerned about what these “moderates” want to achieve through the political process?  They are dedicated to the installation of Sharia law, the necessary precondition, in Islamist ideology, to the Islamization of society.

Many of the groups for which Napolitiano has rolled out the red carpet — the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, for instances, are Muslim Brotherhood tentacles.  Like CAIR, they were shown in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial to be part of what the Brotherhood described as ”grand jihad” to “sabotage” America from within. When you know that, the idea would be to keep them out.  We’re inviting them in.  I strongly recommend that people check out Richard Pollock’s report [4] at Pajamas Media about Napolitano’s meeting with these groups.

FP: Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan has come out with some curious comments on the recidivism rates of released Gitmo detainees. Tell us about those comments and other aspects of this story that need more attention.

McCarthy: Well, the recidivism comment is just staggering.  First of all, to say the rate at which former Gitmo detainees recidivate (i.e., go back to the jihad) is ”20 percent,” as Brennan said, is preposterous.  We don’t know if someone is a recidivist unless we either encounter him on the battlefield or get reliable intelligence that he has rejoined the terrorist groups.  That is, we can’t account for people we haven’t encountered on the battlefield or otherwise gotten good intelligence about.

This is not a criminal trial such that you have to suspend common sense and give those unaccounted for jihadists the benefit of the doubt. The only safe assumption is that the real recidivism rate is higher — no doubt much higher — than 20 percent. Moreover, even if it were lower, we are talking about people who go back to mass-murder, not shop-lifting. For Brennan to say 20 percent is fine because it compares favorably to the recidivism rate for ordinary criminals utterly misconstrues the difference between a national security challenge (which must be defeated) and a mere criminal justice problem (which has to be managed by good policing but can never really be eliminated).  That would be a stupid remark for a cop or an analyst to make; for a high national security official to make it is inexcusable.

Beyond that, why is Brennan going to NYU to pander to Islamist activists like Omar Shahin?  Michelle Malkin has an excellent piece [5] on this unnoticed aspect of Brennan’s performance. Shahin was the ring-leader of the Flying Imams. He was also the leader at one of the most notorious Islamist mosques in the United States, the Islamic Center of Tucson. His predecessor there was Wael Hamza Julaidan, an al Qaeda founder designated by the Treasury Department as an international terrorist. Shahin gave fiery anti-Semitic “sermons” while at the mosque, the worshippers at which included 9/11 suicide bomber Hani Hanjour, bin Laden’s secretary Wadi el-Hage (since convicted in the embassy bombing case), and two young Saudis (Hamdan al-Shalawi and Muhammad al-Qudhaieen) who just happen to have been implicated in a 1999 “dry run” for the 9/11 attacks — engaging in the same sort of antics Shahin and the other Flying Imams engaged in. Shahin was the Arizona coordinator for the Holy Land Foundation (a charity later shuttered for supporting Hamas) and later became a representative of “Kind Hearts,” another Hamas charitable front. Yet, here is a top presidential adviser not only giving this guy the time of day but seemingly agreeing with him that our post-9/11 counterterrorism has been too aggressive.  It’s shameful.

FP: What is happening in all of these developments and what threat does it pose?

McCarthy: The Muslim Brotherhood’s “grand jihad” — as it describes the plan in a 1991 memo — is to “sabotage” the United States from within.  These developments show we’re not only failing to defend ourselves.  We’re helping them along.

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Obama Presents a Health-Care Plan With Federal Funding of Abortion

Obama Presents a Health-Care Plan With Federal Funding of Abortion

February 24th, 2010

By Sarah Kliff, Newsweek

Obama’s health-care-reform plan is a huge step forward for the Democrats, the momentum they need to push the legislation out the door. But the legislation is not 100 percent in the clear yet: yet again, abortion promises to become a linchpin issue in the future negotiations.

In his plan, Obama went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted, which is less restrictive than the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. It came out of a last-minute compromise between Sens. Ben Nelson, an opponent of abortion rights, Patty Murray, and Barbara Boxer (both abortion-rights supporters). Opponents of abortion rights didn’t like the language (neither did abortion-rights supporters for that matter) and Nelson later admitted he planned to filibuster the language, essentially force Senate to pick up the more restrictive Stupak language that the house was using. In other words, if the abortion opponents had their way, this language would never get anywhere close to seeing the light of days. Stupak-Pitts was the plan all along.

Watch the video

But now that it’s been dropped from the plan, major pro-life groups are furious. “Any member of Congress who votes for the final legislation proposed by President Obama will be voting for direct federal funding of elective abortion … and also an array of other pro-abortion federal subsidies and mandates,” says Doug Johnson, the National Right to Life Committee’s legislative director.

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Toyota just like Congress and Government