Tag Archives: NHS

Midwives carry out abortions in shake-up which prompts fury from pro-life groups

unborn baby

DailyMail: Midwives have been given the green light to take the main role in performing abortions.

New Department of Health rules say for the first time that midwives and nurses may “participate in the termination”. The controversial guidelines were last night condemned by MPs and anti-abortion campaigners.

Crossbench peer Lord Alton said: “It is particularly perverse that midwives, who do the beautiful work of helping babies into the world will now be called upon to end the lives of children they might otherwise work to save.”

Tory MP Fiona Bruce said the new rules would ‘allow abortions to be administered by nurses or midwives instead of doctors’. She added: ‘This is a clear liberalisation of abortion law which people do not want. Moreover, I do not believe that it is what Parliament intended.’

Under previous guidelines, midwives and nurses could undertake “certain actions” in help to terminate unwanted pregnancies. But the new rules go much further and state clearly that a “nurse or midwife may administer the drugs used for medical abortions”.

The new guidance, which also rules out abortions carried out on the grounds of sex alone, comes at a time of controversy over abortion law, which allows nearly 200,000 terminations to be performed in England and Wales each year. About a fifth of pregnancies end in abortion.

The 1967 law which governs abortion says that two doctors must approve the termination and the procedure must be conducted by a doctor.

In 1981, the courts gave approval for nurses to be involved, and Whitehall guidance restated the principle in 1999.

But the new rules for the first time say that a doctor needs only to approve and begin a termination. The bulk of the procedure can be carried out by nurses.

The move follows pressure from the Royal College of Nursing and abortion providers, who believe the law should be changed to allow nurses full control of abortion induced by drugs or some other techniques.

Labour MP Jim Dobbin, the co-chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Pro-life Group, said: “We simply cannot trust the Department of Health on abortion.

They take every opportunity to make life easier for the abortion industry, even on legally contentious grounds. The Abortion Act is crystal clear that a qualified doctor is the only person able to perform an abortion.”

“Not satisfied with this, the department is now making nurses and midwives accomplices to the tragic taking of innocent human life. We are looking at a judicial review to challenge the legality of this appalling decision.”

Pro-choice organisations say that over the past 20 years nurses have taken over many of the clinical functions once reserved for doctors and so the law should be liberalized to allow them to take over the lead role in abortion.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the biggest abortion provider, BPAS, said: “We think nurses are the best people to deliver early abortions. Abortions should be carried out by people who are clinically qualified to do it, including nurses.”

The Department of Health said the new guidelines made no difference to the law and merely clarified the existing rules.

Dr. Michael Scott, a consultant psychologist and critic of abortion law, believes the new guidance is designed to free up funds in the NHS. “Nurses would be cheaper than doctors,” he said. “One can see that from a purely economic point of view, the government is moving in that direction.”

Dr. Tony Cole, chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, added: “Midwifery is one of the most life-enhancing fields in the whole of medicine and to ask midwives to carry out these death sentences is obscene. It is a betrayal of what midwives are for.”


Sex change drugs ‘to be offered’ to nine-year-olds

Photo: Caters

Photo: Caters

Zach Avery, one of the youngest children to be treated for Gender Identity Disorder, decided, aged five, that he wanted to live as a girl 

Telegraph: Children as young as nine are to be prescribed drugs which delay the onset of puberty as the first step towards a sex change operation, according to reports.

The treatment will be offered by one NHS trust to children who are so troubled by their gender that they may wish to undergo drastic surgery after adolescence, according to the Mail on Sunday.

But the decision was attacked by critics who described the decision to offer the treatment at such a young age as “horrifying” and called for an immediate investigation.

Monthly injections of the drugs, known as hypothalamic blockers, are used to slow the development of the children’s sexual organs by blocking the production of the hormones testosterone and oestrogen.

In boys this prevents the voice from lowering and the development of facial hair, while in girls it stops the menstrual cycle and breast development, in each case making any future sex change operation simpler.

Doctors at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said a trial of the treatment on “gender dysphoria” patients aged 12 to 14 had been successful and it could now be offered even earlier.

Dr. Polly Carmichael, who led the trial, said future treatment would be offered based on “stage not age”, meaning it could be offered to younger children than those who took part in the trial.

“We’re talking about stopping puberty in the normal range of puberty, so I guess the younger age might be nine or ten,” she said.

Only children who meet certain criteria, including having permission from their parents and no mental health problems, will be eligible, she added.

Mark Pritchard, the Conservative MP, called for an investigation into the trust’s decision to provide the treatment at such a young age, especially at a time when budgets for life-saving cancer drugs are being squeezed.

His colleague Andrew Percy added: “I think many people will be horrified at the thought of a nine-year-old being provided with a drug that effectively stops them developing and maturing naturally.”


Cancer doctor says expensive cancer drugs should be given to younger patients but rationed for the elderly

The good doctor...

The good doctor…

DailyMail: A prominent cancer expert has said that expensive treatments should be rationed for the old in favour of giving them to younger patients.

Professor Karol Sikora, a former hospital director who runs a private cancer treatment firm, said that age “should be taken into account” when working out whether or not to treat a person.

He said that the NHS now “can’t do everything for everybody” because so many expensive treatments are available and budgets are tight.

Professor Sikora, who used to be in charge of cancer provision at a London hospital, and was once head of the World Health Organisation’s cancer programme, said current guidelines left cancer consultants in an “impossible” condition.

Writing in the Sunday Times, he said: “Do we really expect that people in their eighties with multiple insoluble health problems should have the same technology brought to bear on their cancer as those in their prime?”

“My view is that age should be taken into account when comparing the potential benefits of expensive treatments,” he said. “As technology improves, we simply can’t do everything for everybody.”

His comments chime with recent plans by the Department of Health which suggested taking into account ‘wider societal benefits’ when deciding whether to prescribe a drug.

The plans prompted fears from the NHS drugs watchdog, which said it was “not comfortable” with the idea.

If adopted, the proposals could see factors including whether a person has dependent children or is likely to return to work and pay taxes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which approves drugs for NHS use in England and Wales, said it did not appear as if it values the lives of 20-year-olds more than 70-year-olds.

The organization’s head, Sir Andrew Dillon, said at the time: “There are lots of people who adopt the fair-innings approach: You’ve had 70 years of life – you’ve got to accept society is going to bias its investments in younger people. there are people who subscribe to that, but it’s not something we feel comfortable with.”

“We’re really concerned that we don’t send out a message that we value life less when you’re 70 than when you’re 20.”

Age campaigners immediately attacked the notion that how old a patent is should determine their care, and that the NHS should “treat everyone equally based on their needs”.

A spokesman for Age UK told MailOnline: “We recognize that NHS budgets are squeezed. But our health service exists to treat everyone equally based on their needs.”

“If doctor and patient agree that these new drugs would be of benefit they should be able to access them wherever possible regardless of their age. Decisions about who should and should not be treated should be based purely on clinical need not age – anything else is blatant age discrimination.”

The future?

The future?


Shameless ‘model’ who vowed to have an abortion so she could appear on Big Brother reveals the bump of the child who will never be born due to her quest for fame


DailyMail: An aspiring glamour model who said she wanted an abortion so she could appear on Big Brother has revealed her growing baby bump.

Jose Cunningham, 24, sparked outrage when she had a breast enlargement operation on the NSH. She is now four months pregnant after falling into a life of prostitution.

The aspiring model said she planned to abort the child to further her television career, adding: “This time next year I won’t have a baby. I’ll be famous instead.

Ms. Cunningham, from Leeds, said she had been on the shortlist to appear on Big Brother – but was reluctant to proceed because of her pregnancy.

She told the Sunday Mirror: “An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby.” Instead I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.”

She added: “I want to be famous for being me – Jose Cunningham, a glamour model in my own right. If I want to do that I need to put my career first.”

Ms. Cunningham has now posed in a series of photographs showing off her growing baby bump.

Ms. Cunningham posted a confusing message on Twitter to those criticizing her – which hinted she may be getting more surgery on the NHS. It read: “Thanks for strengthening my case for more cosmetic surgery on NHS! Proof that a certain feature affects my life.” 

Furthermore, as mothers-to-be are entitled to free dental care, Ms. Cunningham is said to be applying to receive a variety of procedures on the NHS. The shameless model is reportedly set to have root canal surgery, a dental implant, a filling, and her wisdom teeth removed.

Ms. Cunningham said she was pleased the NHS would be footing the bill for her dentistry. “I didn’t get pregnant to have my teeth sorted, but it’s a massive bonus,” she told The Sun.

“I’m sure people will be annoyed that I’m accepting this freebie but I couldn’t care less.” She said that she was annoyed the free dental care would only cover a silver filling, but added: “I guess beggars can’t be choosers”.

Ms. Cunningham revealed she was pregnant last month – posting an image of her baby’s scan to her followers on Twitter.

The unmarried mother of two, who says she is no longer working as an escort, does not know who the father of her unborn child is. She says he could either be a surgeon who paid her for a night of passion or a friend she has casual sex with.

Miss Cunningham hit the headlines last year when she underwent cosmetic surgery to increase her bust from 32A to a 36DD at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.


The operation caused outrage, heightened further by the same NHS trust refusing to fund surgery that would enable a two-year-old girl with a form of cerebral palsy to walk.

Miss Cunningham has vowed to work to pay back the £4,800 cost of her operation, but has said that the £1,000 she had set aside to reimburse the Health Service has now been spent on clothes for her new baby.

Last month she told how she had turned to escort work at the suggestion of a friend and had slept with her fourth client, an unmarried surgeon in his mid-30s.

‘I’m ashamed to say I don’t know who the father is,’ Miss Cunningham told Closer magazine. ‘I’ve only slept with one client, but I’ve also been having casual sex with a friend.’

She was still seeing two clients a week until discovering that she was expecting a baby, and has since worked on adult phone lines. 

Miss Cunningham has a congenital medical condition which means she has no breast tissue.

She says she was bullied about her flat chest from the age of 14. Recently she decided she wants her breast implants removed – again paid for by the NHS.

I. have. NO. WORDS. All we can do is pray for this baby:



Woman has child taken from her womb by social services

hns Telegraph: A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers. Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.

The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown.

The baby girl, now 15 months old, is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have   made a full recovery.

The case has developed into an international legal row, with lawyers for the   woman describing it as “unprecedented”. They claim that even if the council had been acting in the woman’s best interests, officials should have consulted her family beforehand and also involved Italian social services, who would be better-placed to look after the child.

Brendan Fleming, the woman’s British lawyer, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.” “I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent   to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented.

If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there.”

The case, reported by Christopher Booker in his column   in The Sunday Telegraph today, raises fresh questions about the extent of social workers’ powers.

It will be raised in Parliament this week by John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP. He chairs the Public Family Law Reform Coordinating Campaign, which wants reform and greater openness in court proceedings involving family matters.

He said: “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme.” “It involves the Court of Protection authorising a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed. I worry about the way these decisions about a person’s mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected.”

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is an Italian national who come to Britain in July last year to attend a training course with an   airline at Stansted Airport in Essex.

She suffered a panic attack, which her relations believe was due to her  failure to take regular medication for an existing bipolar condition. She called the police, who became concerned for her well-being and took her to  a hospital, which she then realised was a psychiatric facility.

She has told her lawyers that when she said she wanted to return to her hotel, she was restrained and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Meanwhile, Essex social services obtained a High Court order in August 2012  for the birth “to be enforced by way of caesarean section”, according to legal documents seen by this newspaper.

The woman, who says she was kept in the dark about the proceedings, says that after five weeks in the ward she was forcibly sedated. When she woke up she was told that the child had been delivered by C-section and taken into care. 

In February, the mother, who had gone back to Italy, returned to Britain to request the return of her daughter at a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Her lawyers say that she had since resumed taking her medication, and that the judge formed a favourable opinion of her. But he ruled that the child should be placed for adoption because of the risk that she might suffer a relapse. 

The cause has also been raised before a judge in the High Court in Rome, which has questioned why British care proceedings had been applied to the child of an Italian citizen “habitually resident” in Italy.

The Italian judge accepted, though, that the British courts had jurisdiction over the woman, who was deemed to have had no “capacity” to instruct lawyers.

Lawyers for the woman are demanding to know why Essex social services appear not have contacted next of kin in Italy to consult them on the case.  They are also upset that social workers insisted on placing the child in care   in Britain, when there had been an offer from a family friend in America to   look after her.

Last night an expert on social care proceedings, who asked not to be named   because she was not fully acquainted with the details of the case, described   it as “highly unusual”.  She said the council would first have to find “that she was basically unfit to make any decision herself” and then shown there was an acute risk to the mother if a natural birth was attempted.

An Essex county council spokesman said the local authority would not comment on ongoing cases involving vulnerable people and children.

h/t Paula


The future for children under Obamacare?

Now sick babies go on death pathway

DailyMail: Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers. The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions.

Medical critics of the LCP insist it is impossible to say when a patient will die and as a result the LCP death becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say it is a form of euthanasia, used to clear hospital beds and save the NHS money.

The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal. 

Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. The doctor described one case of a baby born with ‘a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies’, whose parents agreed to put it on the pathway.

The doctor wrote: ‘They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped. They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby. Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death was ten days. Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe dehydration ensues.’

The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal. ‘I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.’ According to the BMJ article, the doctor involved had presided over ten such deaths in just one hospital neonatal unit.

In a response to the article, Dr Laura de Rooy, a consultant neonatologist at St. George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London writing on the BMJ website, said: ‘It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.’

The LCP for children has been developed in the North West, where the LCP itself was pioneered in the 1990s. It involves the discharge to home or to a hospice of children who are given a document detailing their ‘end of life’ care.

One seen by the Mail, called ‘Liverpool Pathway for the Dying Child’ is issued by the Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust in conjunction with the flagship children’s hospital Alder Hey. It includes tick boxes, filled out by hospital doctors, on medicines, nutrients and fluids to be stopped.  

The LCP was devised by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool for care of dying adult patients more than a decade ago. It has since been developed, with paediatric staff at Alder Hey Hospital, to cover children. Parents have to agree to their child going on the death pathway, often being told by doctors it is in the child’s ‘best interests’ because their survival is ‘futile’.

Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children. She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway. ‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.

I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’

Alder Hey confirmed that children and babies are discharged for LCP end of life care ‘after all possible reversible causes for the patient’s condition are considered’. ‘There is a care pathway to enable a dying child to be supported by the local medical and nursing teams in the community, in line with the wishes of the child patients, where appropriate, and always their parents or carers.’ Alder Hey said children were not put on the LCP within the hospital itself.

Teresa Lynch, of protest group Medical Ethics Alliance, said: ‘There are big questions to be answered about how our sick children are dying.’

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘End of life care for children must meet the highest professional and clinical standards, and the specific needs of children at the end of their life. ‘Staff must always communicate with the patient and the patient’s family, and involve them in all aspects of decision making.’

I certainly hope children here in America are not going to be subject to this “pathway” once Obamacare is implemented. Heartbreaking.


13 year old girls given contraceptive implants without parents’ knowledge

What could go wrong?

Telegraph:  The procedure was carried out in Southampton, Hants, as part of a government initiative to drive down teenage pregnancies.  As many as nine secondary schools in the city are thought to have been involved.

But it has caused a backlash from parents who weren’t aware that their daughters had been fitted with the device, which sits under the skin.  It is currently unknown exactly how many youngsters have taken part in the scheme.  Parents say they have been forced to inspect their child’s arm for any sign of the implant.

Health chiefs have defended sexual health services going into schools, saying teenage pregnancies had dropped by 22 per cent as a result.

But campaigners from the Family Education Trust say the implant fuels the flames of promiscuity by giving girls licence to have underage sex.  Norman Wells, director of the trust, has urged health chiefs to look at ways of discouraging sexual activity amongst children in the first place.  He said: “Schemes like these inevitably lead to boys putting pressure on girls to have sex.  They can now tell their girlfriends: ‘You can get the school clinic to give you an implant, so you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant’.”

Parents send their children to school to receive a good education, not to be undermined by health workers who give their children contraceptives behind their backs.

One mother, whose 13-year-old daughter was given the implant, has called the scheme “morally wrong”.  She claimed the school had gone ahead without consulting their family doctor.  The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said the pupils had to simply fill out a questionnaire about their medical history.  They then underwent a consultation with health experts before receiving the contraceptive but there was a lack of follow-up appointments.  She said: “I feel really angry about this.  I agree that teaching teenagers about sexual health and contraception is very important but this is a step too far. To perform a minor surgical procedure on school grounds, without parents knowing is morally wrong.”

Health chiefs have defended the scheme, insisting letters were sent to all parents at participating schools in 2009 when the service was launched.  It was then left to individual schools to inform parents of all future students joining, either by letter or in the prospectus.  They also say reports are showing that teenage pregnancies have dropped by 22 per cent since sexual health services went in to schools.

A spokeswoman for Solent NHS Trust and NHS Southampton said: “We are committed to ensuring local young people are able to access clinically appropriate sexual health support.  This helps them to avoid unwanted pregnancies and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections.”

What could go wrong here?  This: A 13-year-old girl who had a contraceptive implant fitted at school without her mother’s knowledge said she wanted the procedure because she “felt like having sex”.

The teenager is one of 33 schoolgirls who have been fitted with the device in Southampton, Hants, as part of a controversial government initiative to drive down teenage pregnancies.  Now she has broken her silence to defend her actions, saying she believes she acted responsibly by taking measures to stop herself getting pregnant.

And her mother insisted she was “proud” of her daughter, although she claimed performing a minor surgical procedure at school without parental consent was “morally wrong”. 

“I think it has really helped me because if I am with my boyfriend and we feel like having sex, I have the peace of mind knowing that I am OKAt the time I didn’t want to tell my mum because there are some things you don’t want to talk to your parents about.  But I am glad I have told her now. I’d rather tell her I’ve had an implant than tell her I was pregnant.  But I think there should be the option to have full confidentiality because some children just can’t speak to their parents.”

Her mother said she was proud her daughter has taken responsibility to protect herself.  But she is now demanding an apology from health bosses at the Solent NHS Trust and a review of the service in schools.  She said: “I believe they have neglected my daughter by not making sure she had a follow-up appointment.  I want an apology. I know I may not be able to stop this surgical procedure being carried out on school grounds altogether.”

This is disturbing on many levels.  A 13 year old girl is not mature enough to make informed decisions about her medical care.  And she certainly isn’t emotionally mature to deal with the consequences.  How can she be afraid to speak with her mom yet “mature” enough to participate in the most intimate act of sexual intercourse?

Wait for Obamacare folks and the mandate Skippy wants for access to birth control.  And be sure to check your young girls’ arms.