Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Autistic Pupil Was ‘Caged’

Below is an enclosed play area that the Western Isles Council (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) constructed as a safe play area for a teenage pupil with learning difficulties and autism, at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, on Lewis.
Described as a "cage" by local SNP MSP Alasdair Allan, it has since been removed.

The pupil's parents, who raised funds to help cover the costs of a safe outdoor area which they hoped would include decking and play equipment, said they were "deeply upset" to see what had been constructed.

The Council said that it wanted to apologise unreservedly to the family.

Constructed from old barriers and bog-standard fence-posts he admitted that it represented “a failure on the part of the council to consider this young man's needs."
And then, in an attempt to deflect criticism, Mr Allan went on to say that the pupil's parents were full of praise for his teachers.

This excuse was further extended by councillor Norman MacDonald, vice chairman of the policy and resources committee, who said that the enclosure was the result of a communication breakdown between staff and the supplier over the specifications of what was needed.

But here's the thing.
Mr Allan also said: "Some months ago, the parents were deeply upset to see what had been constructed.”

"Some months ago”!!!

The enclosure was taken down over the past two weeks. But unfortunately for the Council it has made the news.

There is absolutely no excuse for this. Distressing to the family, and an affront to human dignity, this council wants to have a good look at itself.

This is the sort of thing that is only too common within local authorities where the culture of incompetence seems as rife as ever.

Plants Shall Talk Unto Plants

Just watched a BBC news item on talking to plants and how the ‘Scouse’ accent is the most successful.

Most successful for what?

Plants do not grow better if you talk to them!

Why would they? How could they?

Seriously – think about it.

The thing is that there are plenty of numbskulls out there, encouraged by twats such as Prince Charles, who actually believe in this pish. And if they can believe in this – they can believe anything.
They really shouldn't be encouraged. It's not the plants that need talking to.

If I was conspiracy theorist I would say that they're putting something in the water or spraying us with something from planes.

Anyway, off to watch Sky’s absolutely brilliant ‘History Channel’ that is showing a programme about how UFOs are alien spacecraft. A veritable feast of pseudoscience, conspiracies, delusion and downright lies...  

Woman Dies as Ambulance Technician Chose Not to Respond to 999 Call

An ambulance technician chose not to respond to a 999 call about a woman having what proved to be a fatal heart attack 800 yards from his depot in Moray because he was on a break.

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) said the emergency in Tomintoul was instead answered by a crew based 21 minutes away in Grantown-on-Spey and an air ambulance was also scrambled.

However, 33-year-old Mandy Mathieson died.

The SAS have pointed out that the technician has been suspended while an investigation is carried out.

The Scottish Government said that it expected the investigation to examine whether procedures were properly followed and if there were any lessons to be learned.

But, here's the thing …  

When a paramedic refused to cut short his tea-break to attend a woman suffering from a heart-attack two years ago in Fraserburgh, a spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service told us:

"Under the rules of the UK Government's ‘Agenda for Change NHS’ pay modernisation programme, ambulance crews are entitled to a break during their shift and cannot be disturbed during that period.

"All ambulance services in the UK must comply with these rules, unless staff choose individually to be interrupted during their break."

So, the ambulance technician on duty in Tomintoul was on a rest break and chose not to respond. And in doing so, did nothing wrong.

But, let's face it you wouldn't have the aforesaid agreement in place if you couldn’t provide adequate cover – would you?

Obviously – if you're the SAS - you would. And the result is that people are getting a service that puts lives at risk. 

Incidents like this reflect badly on the SAS and undermine what is otherwise an excellent service that we take for granted and, unfortunately, only appreciate when we use it.  

The problem here is an ill-thought out agreement with the unions, along some people who are perhaps in the wrong job.

Time to get rid of both.

More Action – Less Talk Required From Ofcom

TalkTalk and Tiscali have been threatened with fines for aggressively billing customers for services that had been cancelled and payment of bills they did not owe.

After receiving more than 1,000 complaints this year, Ofcom has finally got of it’s arse and told them get their act together.

TalkTalk, which has been trying to collect the non-existent debts, including in some cases using debt collectors and threats of legal action, blamed a new billing system introduced after it bought Tiscali in June last year.

If the company fails to comply by December 2nd it may be fined as much as 10% of its annual turnover.

"Ofcom is determined to stand up for consumers and take action against companies that break the rules," said Ofcom's director of consumer affairs, Claudio Pollack.

The people at Ofcom must surely be the only ones in the country that accept the sort of pish that the people offer it as a defence for their actions. 

They are either ‘at it’ or not fit to run a company.

Or perhaps a bit of both?