Flight an Installation: Arabella Dorman's Statement on the
St James’ Church, Piccadilly
Flight, An Installation by Arabella Dorman
21 December 2015 – 2 February 2016
New installation Flight by acclaimed war artist
Arabella Dorman. A salvaged dinghy, together with life jackets is to
be suspended above the congregation in the nave of St James’ Church,
Piccadilly in response to the humanitarian crisis of forced
The boat on display was made to take 15 people
but carried 62 refugees, many from Syria, across 10km of rough sea
from Assos, Turkey, to Lesvos
This year, more than 3,100 people have drowned in the attempt to
flee their homeland.
Flight is an installation artwork by war artist Arabella Dorman, in
response to the humanitarian crisis of forced displacement across
the world. Together with three life jackets – two adults’ and a
child’s – a salvaged dinghy will be suspended in mid-air in the nave
of St James’s throughout the Christmas period and New Year.
Meanwhile, further lifejackets will transform the traditional
nativity display into scenes Arabella witnessed on the island’s
Dorman travelled to Lesvos in September 2015 to work with the
refugees and was deeply affected by the plight of the thousands of
men, women and children arriving daily in small rubber dinghies.
Dorman has salvaged one of these dinghies and the lifejackets worn
by refugees to create this installation and bear witness to what she
saw. The boat on display was made to take 15 people but carried 62
refugees, many from Syria, across 10km of rough sea from Assos,
Turkey, to Lesvos’s northern shoreline. As is the case with many
refugee dinghies, the boat was steered by an arbitrarily appointed
refugee with no maritime experience and powered by a small
30-horsepower outboard motor. The vessel and engine are unsuitable
for the conditions and the load: many motors fail midway, and many
unstable dinghies capsize in the waves.
The setting of the boat, dramatically lit from below, inverted and
angled towards the altar, invites the viewer to embark upon their
own spiritual journey, while a suspended interplay of light, form
and shadows above the nave reflect the uncertain, rootless and
volatile experience of life as a refugee. The suspension of the
dinghy above the nave mirrors the tradition of hanging boats and
symbolic objects from church ceilings and links Latin navis (ship)
to nave. Meanwhile the three lifejackets suspended alongside the
dinghy evoke the flight of the Holy Family from the Middle East into
Egypt in search of refuge.
The boat, many of which are slashed on landing, remains partially
deflated to illustrate the fragility and disposability of the boat,
representative also of how the lives of refugees are all too often
viewed. Meanwhile, the absence of figures reflects the transience of
human life and pays homage to those thousands lost at sea during the
crossing. Through this absence, the work’s significance is rendered
timeless, ubiquitous and universally applicable.
The 62 people on this boat made it to safety in Europe after being
pulled from the water by the Greek coastguard as it was sinking.
This journey costs each person $1,000 – 5,000. The human smugglers
are often armed and violent, terrorising refugees waiting on the
beaches to board, and firing warning shots to scare anyone
complaining about the overcrowding of their boat. Lifejackets are
not included. Most of those sold on the black market are merely
light buoyancy aids, ineffectual against the surging Aegean; many
are falsely branded and sold at higher prices. These cheaply made
fake jackets become absorbent once submerged for a while, acting
like sponges and weighing the wearer down.
At a time of year when many celebrate the family and friends we
have, Flight asks us to consider our responsibilities as fellow
humans, and to remember those who have lost their families, friends
The reverend Lucy Winkett, rector of St James’ Church stated: “The
real story of Christmas is of the child Jesus born in dangerous
circumstances and a family fleeing a tyrannical regime. We are
seeing this story played out in front of us today with family after
family climbing into boats to escape violence and come to Europe.
It’s therefore especially important for the church to reach out to
people of all faiths and none who are experiencing displacement and
danger as Christians mark the birth of Christ in similar
Arabella Dorman hopes to further understanding of the human face of
this crisis and raise funds for The Starfish Foundation and Doctors
of the World, both doing fundamental work on the ground in Lesvos
and throughout Europe.
Emma Collins or Georgina Church at
Kallaway PR +44 (0)207 229 4595,
Born in 1975, Arabella Dorman has gained an international reputation
as one of Britain’s leading portrait painters and war artists. She
enjoys the patronage of many prominent figures and establishments in
Britain and her work hangs in public institutions and private
collections around the world.
Dorman’s work demonstrates a mastery of classical technique with a
contemporary twist; having painted commissions for prominent figures
and establishments throughout Britain, her work hangs in public
institutions and private collections around the world.
Dorman paints portrait commissions from her studio in Chelsea,
London, while her military pieces are drawn from first-hand
experience of working with British forces in Southern Iraq (2006)
and Afghanistan (2009 – 14). Arabella’s recent body of work from
Afghanistan is a response to the unfolding narrative that she
witnessed during several journeys to the country over a period of
five years, both as an embedded war artist and an independent
traveller. This critically acclaimed exhibition raised over £30,000
for charities Afghanaid and Walking with the Wounded.
Her work is a powerful exploration of the everyday reality of life
on the frontline and the tragedy of a country and people devastated
the World UK
Doctors of the World UK is part of the global Medecins du Monde
network, which delivers over 300 projects in more than 70 countries
through 3,000 volunteers. Since opening in the UK in 1998, they have
raised more than £8 million for overseas programmes, helped more
than 7,000 service users here and fought for healthcare as a human
right for all.
About the Starfish Foundation
During the summer and autumn of 2015, record-breaking numbers of
refugees arrived on Lesvos, often up to 60 boats a day. So a transit
camp was built in the car park of a nightclub called Oxy to provide
food, water, shelter, medical facilities and buses to Mytilini for
every refugee. Donations from tourists and volunteers from around
the world all helped to make this possible.
Posted: December 18, 2015
2.42m Funding Granted for New Immunology Network
Professor Lucy Walker: Royal Free
A group of researchers, including a professor at
the Royal Free Hospital, has been awarded £2.42 million to establish
a new training network for immunologists.
Professor Lucy Walker, who works at the UCL Institute of Immunity
and Transplantation at the Royal Free Hospital, is the deputy
coordinator of the network and will work alongside the coordinator,
Professor Jochen Hühn from the Helmholtz Center for Infection
Research in Braunschweig.
The network, known as the ENLIGHT-TEN programme, will provide
training for young researchers in T cell (a type of immune cell)
immunology and big data analysis.
The immune system is characterised by highly complex processes that
are controlled, to a large extent, by T cells, which act as the
"conductors of the immune system". They play a central role in many
diseases including autoimmune diseases, chronic infections and
cancer, and are therefore key targets for new therapies. However,
the development of new treatments requires a comprehensive and
detailed understanding of T cells. This knowledge can be obtained
only through technologies that generate huge amounts of data.
Specialist expertise in the area of bio-informatics (computer
generated biological information) is required in order to analyse
Professor Walker said: "Our aim is to train a new generation of
young scientists who have an in-depth understanding of T cell
immunology and are also comfortable with the processing and
interpretation of large data sets. We think that integrating these
different skill sets is going to be critical in allowing the
researchers to take full advantage of rapidly emerging
The ENLIGHT-TEN network offers 13 doctoral scholarships to highly
motivated junior researchers. A total of 16 partners from eight
European countries will contribute to the project by integrating
young scientists into their research groups. The project establishes
a cross-European network with strengths in cellular immunology and
bio-informatics and encompasses partners from both academic and
industry settings. For further information about the network and the
partners in the consortium, please visit the website
For further Media contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 020 7472 6665
Posted: December 14, 2015
The Green Party: London Airport Expansion Decision Delay
Caroline Lucas MP
The government’s decision to delay the announcement of whether it
will expand one of the London airports has been slammed by Caroline
Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion.
Lucas, who is travelling to the COP21 talks in Paris, labelled the
delay “unacceptable” and derided airport expansion as being
“incompatible with the UK’s climate change commitments”.
Lucas, who wants the government to consider a frequent flier levy,
said:“The evidence against expansion at Heathrow is already clear
cut – and delay is unacceptable when a rejection is what’s needed.
Indeed endless growth in our aviation capacity is incompatible with
the UK’s climate change commitments. The politics make this decision
difficult for the government, but the climate science should make it
easy: we don’t need further airport expansion.
“Expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick would be bad news for local
residents who will suffer enormously from increasing noise and air
pollution. It’s clear that a small minority of wealthy individuals
are fuelling the demand for airport expansion — not families taking
an annual holiday or businesses.
“We need fairer and more honest approach to the aviation debate that
rules out airport expansion once and for all. The government must
urgently look into the proposed frequent flier levy as a fair way of
reducing the demand for flights from those who fly the most, whilst
benefiting the majority of people and protecting us all from the
threat of climate change."
Posted: December 11, 2015Up
Parliament Approved devolved Powers Over Healthcare
New laws conferring devolved powers over
healthcare have been approved by MPs amid BMA warnings that the
changes have ‘significant implications’ for the NHS.
Parliament this week approved the Cities and Local Government
Devolution Bill, which seeks to grant greater powers to local
authorities over areas such as health and social care services.
But the BMA has continued to lobby MPs on the potential impact of a
piecemeal approach to devolving healthcare commissioning
In a briefing before the bill’s report stage, the BMA emphasised
that in all cases of devolution, the health secretary should remain
ultimately accountable to Parliament and be responsible for setting
out the standards, accountability and reporting arrangements in
It also warned that in approving the changes it was vital that
resources were allocated fairly to avoid disparity in service
standards across different areas.
The BMA supported an amendment to the bill reaffirming that the
regulatory and supervisory functions remain with the health
The bill has now completed its progression through Parliament.
Posted: December 11, 2015
Institute of Directors Calls for a Temporary Business Rates
Holiday for Small and Medium Businesses in the North West for Flood
The Institute of Directors has called
for a temporary business rates holiday for small and medium-sized
businesses in the parts of the North West which have been affected
by flooding, and welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of a £50
million fund to help the region along with grants of £2,500 to
support flood-hit businesses.
Chris Ward of IoD Cumbria said: “With each day the destruction
wrought by Storm Desmond becomes clearer, and more and more
households and businesses are coming to terms with how they can deal
with the damage. For some small and medium-sized businesses, the
flood damage is a serious threat to their very existence. Many will
be closed for months, and will face hefty bills to replace
equipment, buy new stock and repair their premises. At this time, it
is imperative that insurance companies move as quickly as possible
to help small firms in particular.
“Central government, too, has rightly recognised that it has a role
to play. The £50 million fund and grants announced by the Chancellor
will help, but getting back to business as usual in the affected
areas merits more intervention. Politicians should consider whether
moves like a business rates holiday for SMEs would be appropriate.
If local authorities were to forego one month of business rates,
small businesses would receive an immediate cash boost to help get
themselves back to health and let them continue to play the vital
role they do as a vibrant part of the North West economy.”
Posted: December 10, 2015
With Aowen Jin's Midlight Birmingham City Centre Lights Up for
Midlight: Image Credit:
A stunning field of fibre optic lights will pop
up at two Birmingham city centre sites in the approach to Christmas.
Residents, city-centre workers, Christmas shoppers and visitors to
the city will be able to view and control a unique and interactive
Commissioned and presented by Birmingham Hippodrome Creative,
British-Chinese artist Aowen Jin's new outdoor artwork 'Midlight'
invites people to create their own light displays. Through
cutting-edge digital technology and social media interaction, the
colours can be changed both with sound (music, singing, clapping
etc) and via Twitter.
'Midlight' features thousands of LED lights with 90,000 colour
variations which adjust so that no two experiences with the artwork
are ever the same. The project is the first of its kind to include
the participation of Birmingham’s local Chinese community who live
and work around the Hippodrome in the Southside district.
Aowen Jin is a renowned
British-Chinese artist who works on critically-acclaimed public
commissions that challenge cultural perceptions and social
Aowen Jin Image Credit:
Aowen explained: “Working with the Hippodrome
Creative team on this project has been a real pleasure. As an artist
it’s so important to be able to create an original artwork that
pushes boundaries and breaks new ground. Many organisations struggle
with this, but the visionary team at the Hippodrome have been so
supportive - they really embraced the concept and their help has
been invaluable to getting it off the ground. Their devotion to
engaging with the local community and bringing art to the city is
admirable, and really does make Birmingham stronger as a whole.”
Graham Callister, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Creative Programme
Director added: "Birmingham is now a super-diverse, international
destination for culture that boasts an amazing array of artistic and
creative talent. We want our creative programme to really engage
with this agenda and offer something different for both our existing
and new audiences. New commissions such as 'Midlight' do exactly
that! Through Hippodrome Creative and the fantastic enthusiasm and
commitment from our local Chinese volunteers and participants, Aowen
has created a unique artwork that can bring together the city's
communities at this very special time of year."
Viewing 'Midlight' is FREE to the public. It can be seen at St.
Phillips Cathedral Gardens (Colmore Row) on Wednesday 16 December
from 4pm – 7pm, and also in Millennium Point on Friday 18 December
from 1pm – 5.30pm.
Visitors are encouraged to tweet the name of any colour to @himidlight
and the installation will change colour.
‘Midlight’ is supported by Arts Council England, Southside BID,
Birmingham City Council, Chicmi, Arcadian and Red Gate.
'Midlight' is the latest Hippodrome Creative project following hot
on the heels of last month’s ‘2,241 Reasons to Remember’, a
commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Birmingham Blitz. This
summer Hippodrome Creative also produced two FREE outdoor events
‘Summer in Southside’ and ‘Birmingham Weekender’.
For more images of
, Media and PR Manager, 0121 689 3069
is an independent, not-for-profit, registered charity. The Hurst
Street venue averages over 500,000 visits annually making it the
most popular single auditorium in the UK
Posted: December 8, 2015
The London Leytonstone Tube Station 'Terrorist Incident': Police
are Treating It as Terrorist Motivated Crime
At the weekend a man of 29 attacked commuters with a knife at London
Leytonstone Underground Station which has been reported in all the
media outlets and created a wave of condemnations in the social
The Guardian report: Leytonstone knife
attack: police step up patrols after 'terrorist incident'
Posted: December 7, 2015
The Environment Agency is Urging Communities in Northern
England to Take Immediate Action to Prepare for Flooding
Persistent heavy rain throughout Saturday and
Sunday is expected to bring significant flood risks across
Cumbria and Northumberland.
Heavy rain will be falling on already
saturated ground throughout the weekend, raising the risk of
flooding to its highest level. Severe flood warnings have been
issued for parts of the River Tyne in Northumberland and in
Cumbria, the River Greta at Keswick and River Eden at Appleby.
Residents in Carlisle are also being warned to prepare for
flooding as very high river levels are expected later today.
Further flood warnings will be issued as necessary.
There is also likely to be significant
flooding from rivers and surface water across parts of
Lancashire, the West Pennines and the Cheviot Hills. The River
Ouse in Yorkshire is continuing to rise, with levels likely to
be raised until Tuesday.
Some localised flooding is expected to
persist along the River Severn over the coming days as it
responds to further rainfall. The Environment Agency raised
temporary defences in Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, and Bewdley
earlier this week to protect properties from flooding.
Environment Agency teams are out checking and
maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses,
monitoring water levels and working with local flood wardens in
the areas worst affected. Pumps are being moved to areas most at
People can be prepared by
checking their flood risk. If travelling, people should not
attempt to drive through flood water – 30cm of flowing water is
enough to move your car.
Jonathan Day, Environment Agency Flood Risk
Manager, said: “River levels across northern England are already
high and we are expecting to see severe flooding locally as a
result of today’s rainfall, with communities in Cumbria likely
to be the most affected due to flooding of roads and properties.
“We are working closely with the emergency
services and partners to make communities aware of the risk of
flooding and take urgent action where necessary. Our teams are
in action clearing watercourses, maintaining flood defences and
putting up temporary defences where these can be effective.
“We urge people not drive through flood
water: just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.
check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest
situation by following
and #floodaware on Twitter.”
Posted: December 7, 2015
Cap on Agency Staff Pay for NHS Trusts
4 December 2015: NHS trusts in England have been subjected to
a cap on the amount of money they can pay agency staff.
The cap, which came into effect last week, was opposed by the BMA, which warned
it could have an impact on the supply of staff, including locum doctors, and the
quality of services and patient safety.
The rules apply to all NHS trusts apart from ambulance trusts, but not to staff
directly employed by trusts or bank staff who work additional hours to fill rota
gaps at either their own trust or others in a network.
GPs are also excluded unless they work directly for a trust.
In its response to the consultation by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development
Authority in November, the BMA says: ‘We have serious concerns about the impact
that the caps will have in geographic areas and specialties where recruitment
and retention is an ongoing problem, and in trusts with reputational
The cap is being phased in with reductions from 100-150 per cent above the basic
hourly rate from 23 November to 55 per cent above the basic rate from April
The BMA’s response says: ‘We urge consideration of the underlying causes driving
doctors to agency work and encourage the use of alternative interventions such
as improving working conditions and pay rates, better rota management and
flexible shift patterns to help bring down agency costs.’
Posted: December 6, 2015
Oldham West and Royton By-election Elects Jim McMahon
Jim McMahon of the Labour Party has become Member of
Parliament for Oldham West and Royton after winning the by-election held in that
constituency on 3 December 2015.
The by-election was called following the death of the former
MP, Michael Meacher.
The results of the Oldham West and Royton constituency Parliamentary by-election
were as follows:
Jim McMahon - Labour - 17,209
John Joseph Bickley - UK Independence Party - 6,487
James Barry Daly - Conservative - 2,596
Jane Brophy - Liberal Democrats - 1,024
Simeon Hart - Green Party - 249
Sir Oink A-Lot - The Official Monster Raving Loony Party - 141
Posted: December 5, 2015
Green Party Criticised Disabled Students' Allowances Cuts
The government’s decision to cut a support grant, leaving many disabled students
at universities and colleges without practical campus support has been slammed
by the Green Party who believes education should be open to all.
The Disabled Students’ Allowance currently helps 53,000 disabled students pay
for non-medical and technological support. The government’s plans for the
allowance amount to a £70 million cut to support for disabled students.
Joseph Johnson, minister of state for universities and science, provided a
written answer to parliament on Wednesday (02 December)  explaining that
Disabled Students' Allowances will be cut, meaning that IT support, alongside
reading, proof reading and scribing support would be significantly reduced. It
is predicted that the cuts to IT support will particularly affect disabled
prospective students over the age of 35, who may possess lower IT skills and may
be deterred from applying to study at college of university after 2016, when the
cuts will be come into effect.
The Green Party’s disability spokesperson, Mags Lewis said: “There seems to be
an expectation from the government that if higher education cannot or does not
plug the gap, it may be up to the individual student to make up the difference.
Disabled students may fall into a no man’s land, with the government, DSA and
colleges and universities claiming it’s everyone else’s responsibility.
“There is no mention of funding being transferred to higher education, so we
have a potential bureaucratic mess, with students with less acute disabilities
being abandoned by the DSA and some HE establishments who might say that they do
not have resources.
“Poorer, less advantaged students at cash strapped universities will be the
hardest hit by this decision. Sadly some students will drop out and some
potential students won’t enrol.”
Dave Cocozza, spokesperson for higher and further education of the Green Party,
said: “We welcome views from students likely to be affected by these cuts to
ensure they are fed into the government’s ongoing consultations. The Green Party
will continue to oppose them.”
Posted on: December 4, 2015
United Kingdom: Editorial : 'Rage, rage
against the dying of the light'
'Rage, rage against
the dying of the light'
Of reason of sense of British fair play
Of age old human dream of equality
Of what's British value for life's core
Conservatives are the 'builders' indeed, of destruction, of demolition
and of de-fabrication of the very fabrics of what United
Kingdom is about.
To My England
My England takes off her land embroidered dress
And goes swimming wild in style soft and swift
She touched round all corners in watery craft
And is all sure and glow a gentle rock that holds
My England is bound in voyage-vision’s terms
Abound she spells the multiple in a single rose
She is a poem written by green moss on white cliffs
Serenaded by creamy summer’s sun or April’s showers
My England weaves magic beyond man’s limitations
Where we find living is as much as letting others live
She is a cuddled up baby in water-mother’s womb
And she speaks to me in moonsphorescent tongue
My England meets and greets our mother with joy
In her palms she holds an all abound arcadia wrapped
My England takes off her land embroidered dress
And goes swimming wild in style soft and swift
My England: Neverbridge Stone
Roses : Munayem Mayenin, ISBN: 978-1-4477-1626-6. First
Published: February 2008
BMA Calls for Commitment to Public Health
2015: The Government must renew its commitment to protecting
funding for public health services to avoid creating future
problems for the NHS, the BMA has warned.
The message comes as the Commons health select committee
prepares to consider evidence submitted to its inquiry into
structural changes in public health services since 2013.
The inquiry aims to examine the delivery of services and the
effectiveness of responsible local authorities in light of the
reforms brought in under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
BMA public health medicine committee chair Iain Kennedy
(pictured) said public health services in England continued to
face a series of serious challenges, particularly regarding
funding and workforce.
He said: ‘Public health services in England have had to contend
with repeated cuts and reorganisations that have left many parts
of the service in disarray.
'In order to ensure that patients are able to benefit from
public health services that are fit for purpose, it is vital
that ministers ensure there is adequate protection for funding
and clarify the responsibilities of local authorities when it
comes to spending.'
Dr Kennedy added: ‘Given the types of health challenges likely
to be facing the NHS over the coming decades, such as diabetes
and obesity, ensuring robust and effective preventative services
at a community level will play a vital role in relieving the
pressure on the wider health service.’
Chancellor George Osborne imposed a £200m funding cut on public
health earlier this year. At the time, Dr Kennedy warned that
such a move was likely to leave services depended on by the most
vulnerable patients 'gutted'.
As well as calling for these cuts to be reversed, the PHMC has
repeatedly warned that ringfence protection for the public
health Government grant must be maintained to ensure that public
health continues to be effective and appropriately funded.
Dr Kennedy has also warned that the impact of the Health and
Social Care Act 2012 has reduced clarity and accountability
within the sector, with some local authorities using public
health money to fund non-related services.
December 10, 2015
Ten Beautiful Churches of
You don’t to have a particular faith to enjoy going to church.
Visiting a parish church or chapel offers you the chance to walk
into a place that has been at the heart of its community for
decades, even centuries. History is literally carved into their
furniture and stonework and, amid the excitement of Christmas;
churches also offer calm respite from the excesses of the
Visit Essex has put together a Top 10 of fascinating and
beautiful places to discover.
1 -St Mary’s church in the wonderfully named village of Wendens
Ambo was originally built in the Saxon period before being
reconstructed in the Middle Ages. The church has several
heritage highlights; including a medieval brass effigy, 14th,
15th and 16th century wall paintings, medieval glass and
bench-end carvings and four remarkable carved grotesque heads.
2 - In Dedham, right in the heart of ‘Constable Country’ sits
the impressive St. Mary the Virgin church. Begun in the same
year that Christopher Columbus discovered America, it was
completed prior to Henry VIII appointing himself Defender of the
Faith and head of the Church of England. Inside is a rare
painting by John Constable, The Ascension. The image is one of
only three religious paintings by the artist, all of which were
commissioned for churches in his native Stour Valley. It was
commissioned in 1821, the same year that he completed his
world-famous masterpiece, The Hay Wain. The churchyard also
provides the final resting place for the infamous art forger,
3 - Although not strictly a church, Mistley Towers are the
haunting remains of what was once St Mary the Virgin, which was
demolished in 1870 when a new church was built nearby. The two
porticoed classical towers bear all the hallmarks of their
designer, Robert Adam, and give a brief sense of the grandiose
but highly unconventional Georgian church that stood between
4 - A remnant of the early origins of the church in Essex is the
haunting chapel of St Peter on the Wall at Bradwell-on- Sea.
Built by St Cedd of Lindisfarne in AD654, this Saxon chapel is
always open and offers a small exhibition about its history and
a bookstall. Having set sail from the monastery at Lindisfarne,
St Cedd landed in Bradwell and found the ruins of a Roman fort.
Using the stones, Cedd modelled his chapel on those established
in Egypt and Syria. It was from here that he successfully
converted the East Saxons (Essex) ruled by King Sigbert.
5 - Another
historically important church in the county is that of St
Andrews in Greensted. This is the oldest wooden church in the
world and is believed to be where the body of the martyred King
Edmund body was rested on its journey to Suffolk in 870 AD. Fans
of the current BBC2 series The Last Kingdom will recall that St
Edmund was beaten and then shot with arrows, after St Sebastian,
by invading Danish Vikings. Dating from the 11th century, the
wooden walls of this tiny church were already standing when
William the Conqueror landed at Hastings in 1066. However there
are traces of earlier foundations beneath the present ones,
giving credence to the story about St Edmund. The brickwork of
the chancel and sanctuary is from Tudor times, and the tower
from the 17th century. The ancient grave slab on the right of
the porch is thought to mark a crusader's grave.
6 - Another
church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin can be found in Stansted
Mountfitchet. Dating back to the 12th century, this lovely
example features two exceptionally fine 17th century monuments
with effigies: one to the wasp-waisted Hester Salusbury in her
hunting clothes; the other to her father, Sir Thomas Middleton.
The church was restored between 1887 and 1888, during which time
14th Century wall paintings were discovered. Two hundred years
previously, in 1120 William Greno raised a hill and built
Stansted Castle. William became known as 'de Monte fixo' which
became Mountfitchet. He was probably responsible for the
chancel, north and south nave doorways - which are from 1120.
The font dates from 1200. In the 13th Century a chapel was added
on the north side, possibly by Roger de Lancaster, who was lord
of the Manor of Stansted Hall from 1285-1291. Roger’s son Sir
John de Lancaster probably extended the Chapel eastwards. A
stone effigy of a knight in armour, lying with his legs crossed
is believed to be either Robert, or his son John.
7 - Continuing
the Essex preoccupation with St Mary, the largest church in
Essex is another dedicated to her. Nearly 200 feet in length and
lavishly designed, this church was built in 1430 under the
supervision of John Wastell, who also designed King's College
Chapel in Cambridge, this magnificent building stands
overlooking the historic market town of Saffron Walden.
8 - The remains of one of the earliest Augustinian priories
founded in England lie in Colchester. Begun about 1100, St
Botolph’s Priory is an impressive example of Norman
ecclesiastical architecture, made all the more notable for its
use of flint and recycled Roman brick. A key feature of the
priory is the series of huge circular pillars and tall round
arches. The Civil War siege of the town in 1648 resulted in St
Botolph’s being badly damaged by cannon fire.
9 - The hamlet of Bures on the Essex/Suffolk border can claim to
be one of the most important sites in English history. On
Christmas Day in 855, Edmund was crowned King of the Angles at ‘Burva’,
what is now believed to be Bures. The site of Edmund’s
coronation was an ancient royal hill, upon which now stands St
Stephen’s Chapel. Intrepid visitors to the now disused chapel
will be rewarded for seeking it out. Lying about a mile outside
the village and accessed via a track through Fysh House Farm,
the chapel contains the effigies of three Earls of Oxford, the
only survivors of twenty-one tombs once found at Earls Colne
Priory. Experts have speculated that there are actually not
three but seven monuments that make up what can be seen today.
The confusion in trying to piece together the tombs was probably
caused by the destruction of the original Priory during the
10 - Prittlewell Priory is a medieval priory in Southend-on-Sea.
It was founded in the 12th century, by monks from the Cluniac
Priory of St Pancras and passed into private hands at the time
of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Today it
is a fully restored Grade 1 listed building where you can trace
the story of the priory through the words of the historic
house's former residents.
For more ideas and inspiration about Essex’s houses of the holy,
please go to
December 10, 2015
Flooding: Government Plans to Cut DEFRA Funding Questioned by
level of funding of the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has been called into question by the Green
Party after intense flooding in the North West of England.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett also says that the damage
caused by Storm Desmond is a stark reminder that the effects of
climate change are not only restricted to “far-off places.
Bennett said: "I offer the Green Party's sympathy and best
wishes to the many hundreds of people forced to take emergency
shelter over the weekend and the many thousands more who have
seen their homes and businesses damaged. I also offer our thanks
to the rescue teams who've been working tirelessly to help those
"Any individual event is of course weather, not climate change,
but we know that scientists say that climate change will mean
more frequent and higher level occurrences of extreme weather.
The extraordinary Storm Desmond is a reminder that climate
change is not something that will affect the distant future in
far-off places, but an already existing reality that is
impacting on all of our lives.
Bennett added:"Storm Desmond also brings into serious question
government plans to cut funding for the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as its failure to
announce exactly what it will spend on repairing flood defences,
which should be a clear priority.
"Cumbria County Council should be reconsidering the call from
fossil fuel divestment campaigns to take the £108 million it had
invested in 2013/14 in fossil fuels into investments that tackle
climate change, rather than exacerbate it."
Friends of the
Earth UK has published a briefing in the immediate aftermath of
the devastating flooding that is not over yet. It can be read
December 9, 2015
BMA: Overseas Patient
Charges Pose 'Public Health Risk'
2015: Proposals to charge tourists and migrants for NHS services
could have ‘unintended drawbacks’ on patients and the health
service, the BMA has warned.
The Government is consulting on plans to extend charges for
certain services such as primary and emergency care, under the
Visitor and Migrant NHS Cost Recovery Programme.
BMA council chair Mark Porter has warned that the changes could
lead to confusion. He said it would be unacceptable to create a
climate where any patient with a serious health need was
deterred from seeing a doctor owing to cost.
He said: ‘It is important that anyone accessing NHS services is
entitled to do so. However, the Government’s proposals could
create unintended drawbacks for the NHS and patients.
‘There could be confusion with access entitlements to emergency
care services, given the proposals introduce charging for
[emergency department] visits yet say no patients will be turned
away if they need care.
'Similarly, while patients won't have to pay for GP
appointments, they may have to pay for follow-up tests and
He added: ‘Most importantly, there is a real risk that some
migrants and short-term visitors who desperately need care could
be discouraged from approaching the NHS if they cannot pay.
‘We cannot have a situation where any patient with a serious
health need is deterred from seeing a doctor, especially if
their condition raises a potential public health risk.’
In announcing the consultation, the Government has said that
applying charges to overseas visitors could help to recover up
to £500m per year by 2017/18.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the proposals would have
no impact on permanent UK residents, and that exemptions for
vulnerable groups such as refugees, and those with illnesses
posing a threat to public health, would remain in place.
He said: ‘The proposals explored in the consultation aim to
support the principle of fairness by ensuring those not resident
of the UK who can pay for NHS care do so.
‘The recovery of up to £500m per year will contribute to the
£22bn savings required to ensure the long-term sustainability of
Dr Porter, however, said that the changes could end up
generating more costs than savings.
He said: ‘Not only will this arrangement cause confusion among
patients, it will also require GPs and hospital doctors to spend
more time on the paperwork and bureaucracy needed to regulate
'This could mean the administration of the new system could end
up costing more to run than it collects in revenue.'
December 8, 2015
Principia and One Giant
new reading initiative went live on December 1 a as British
European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia Mission
prepares for launch in December, a new reading initiative – One
Giant Read – will become a reality here on Earth.
Created by charity Literature Works, in partnership with the
RNIB and the UK Space Agency, and supported by Gollancz, The
Poetry Archive and the Plymouth Literature Project at Plymouth
University, the project offers easy to access reading materials
and content themed to the Principia Mission and Tim Peake’s stay
on the International Space Station.
Supported by the RNIB, Plymouth Literature Project at Plymouth
University, The Poetry Archive and Gollancz, the project offers
easy to access reading materials, audio books, poems, interviews
and short films from leading Scientists all themed around
British Astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the
International Space Station.
The site brings film, audio books and recordings of writing,
poetry and scientific commentary in order to be as accessible to
as many readers as possible. With only 7% of all readable
materials in formats accessible for blind people, the One Giant
Read project is working with the RNIB to develop materials which
will be as accessible as possible to their members and the
initiative aims to raise funds to enable Literature Works and
RNIB to develop more reading and writing initiatives, with 40p
of every £1 donated going directly to RNIB to support their
work. For every month Tim circles the Earth, the One Giant Read
website offers a series of themed writing and reading challenges
showcasing the very best of science fiction writers and
exploring the influence science fiction has had on science fact.
The first of month is called ‘Arrival’ and will discuss the
‘Overview effect’: the moment when Tim will see Earth from a
distance for the first time – stirring strong feelings of the
fragility of our planet. To compliment this, our first month
starts with an audio clip of the novel Blue Remembered Earth by
contemporary British science fiction author Alastair Reynolds,
including audio book extracts donated by Gollancz. The Poetry
Archive brings us ‘Mouse’s Nest’ a beautiful poem the 19th
century English poet John Clare, recorded by poet Paul Farley
and Biological Scientist Professor Camille Parmesan of Plymouth
University will be commenting on climate change with our profile
focussing on the Scottish science fiction author Iain M. Banks
alongside book reviews, films and more sci-fi news.
January moves on to the theme of ‘Gravity’ – including an
excerpt from the prolific science fiction writer H. G. Wells’
First Men in the Moon and poetry by critically acclaimed poet
Simon Barraclough. During the following months we also have
poetry by Sir Andrew Motion, poems from The Poetry Archive and
scientific commentary designed to both enthuse and educate on
topics from space to robotics, navigation to life on other
Every month the site will publish the best book reviews and
‘flash fiction’ short stories of up to 500 words from our
audience, with each entry having the chance to win a highly
prized official ‘Principia Mission’ patch, as worn by Tim Peake,
and a free copy of one of the books showcased on the website.
Tracey Guiry, CEO of Literature Works says: Science fiction is
one of the most widely read and popular genres in the UK, and
many ideas dreamt up by writers and poets in the past have now
become science fact. The One Giant Read brings accessible
examples of the best audio books, poems and videos from
scientists to get readers excited about the arts and science,
and our One Giant Write competition challenges writers to use
the next seven months to complete and enter their unpublished
Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, says:
We are thrilled that Tim’s mission will inspire such a great
project that will recognise and encourage the imagination and
creativity needed to continue our exploration of space. This
exciting project will use literature to bring the latest science
and engineering to new audiences.
Gollancz Commissioning Editor, Marcus Gipps, said: We’re
thrilled to be involved with One Giant Read. The best of science
fiction builds on the world we live in, and Tim Peake’s
forthcoming stay on the International Space Station reminds us
that we can already achieve remarkable things. Audio versions of
our books are hugely popular already, and both Gollancz and our
authors are delighted to be supporting an initiative to increase
the resources available for people with sight loss.
Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean in the Faculty of Science
and Engineering at Plymouth University, said: Space exploration
is one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time, and
consistently inspires people to think beyond the boundaries of
what might be possible. I hope the One Giant Read project can
capture that spirit, using a combination of science fact and
fiction to educate audiences about the impact science and the
arts can have on their daily lives. It provides a unique
opportunity for us to use our world-leading expertise to enthuse
people about the STEM subjects.
Find out more at
December 4, 2015
Greater Manchester LEP Awarded New Life Science Enterprise Zone
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
has awarded a new Life Science Enterprise Zone to the Greater Manchester Local
The new zone will include two strategic employment sites, Manchester Science
Partnerships’ Central Campus and the Clusterlabs site owned by the Central
Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT), both located within
Corridor Manchester - the largest clinical academic campus in Europe.
The Enterprise Zone will specialise in life sciences, a key priority sector for
economic growth in Greater Manchester, and will promote the continuing
development of a leading innovation cluster within the North West’s life science
Enterprise Zones offer incentives to attract new businesses, making it easier
for them to locate there and generate jobs and growth. They also act as
catalysts for new businesses, allowing the local LEP to reinvest business rate
growth into the zones to attract additional investment.
The new Life Science Enterprise Zone will join the existing Greater Manchester
Enterprise Zone at Airport City, which includes Medipark, increasing the
region’s pull for businesses and investors. In the past three years, the 24
existing Enterprise Zones report that they have attracted more than 15,500 jobs,
over 480 businesses and £2.1 billion of private sector investment.
Mike Blackburn, chair of the Greater Manchester LEP said: “This Enterprise Zone
will provide a welcome boost to the life science sector in Greater Manchester.
Our city is built on innovation and this sector is key for the future of our
economy. It will attract top rate life science companies to the area and help
make Corridor Manchester one of the top innovation districts in Europe. The
Greater Manchester LEP is committed to this project and we look forward to
seeing the benefits of the investments, business and jobs.”
Chris Oglesby, MSP chair and Corridor board member said: “Life sciences are
recognised as vital to the growth of the UK economy and our region has a number
of competitive advantages to drive future growth in this sector - from physical
infrastructure through to its supply chains, skills and knowledge base. Locating
the Life Science Enterprise Zone in the Corridor Manchester innovation district,
together with our Alderley Park site which forms part of the successful Cheshire
Science Corridor Enterprise Zone, reinforces the North West as a destination for
life science investment and business growth.”
Rowena Burns, MSP chief executive, added: “The additional jobs created as a
result of the Life Science Enterprise Zone will be of high value, in a priority
economic sector with the potential to benefit not just Greater Manchester but UK
plc as a whole. It will deliver immediate financial and economic benefits by
capitalising upon the established, successful partnership between MSP and CMFT,
at a time of huge opportunity afforded by the ground breaking devolution of
health and social care to Greater Manchester. Once again, partnership working is
proving to be the key to innovation which is at the heart of driving economic
growth and social change.”
Sir Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of CMFT, said: “This Enterprise Zone will
attract innovative life sciences companies to our campus, enabling us to work
with them to develop new solutions for diagnostics, treatments and care.
“Our location on Corridor Manchester at the heart of a growing regional life
sciences cluster allows us to work with our Corridor partners to create a
compelling offer to companies to establish and grow their businesses here.
“The life science cluster located on Corridor, is part of a wider health economy
that will deliver economic benefit alongside improvements to health and
wellbeing for people across the City region.”
About GM LEP
GM LEP sits at the heart of Greater Manchester’s governance arrangements,
ensuring that business leaders are empowered to set the strategic course,
determine local priorities and drive growth and job creation within the city
region. It is central to the wider partnerships established between local
government, businesses and educational institutes, and the public, private,
voluntary and community sectors. GM LEP is one of 39 Local Enterprise
Partnerships across the UK which is approved by the Department for Communities
and Local Government and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
For further information:
0161 238 4586
Posted on: December 4, 2015
Stop the War Protest Outside Parliament Today
As the debates go on about the Government's proposed
extension of British Bombing in Syria and the Parliament is due to
debate and vote later today on it Stop the War is organising another day
of protest today outside the Parliament from midday and a rally is to be
held in Parliament Square at 18:00
Posted on: December 2, 2015
Junior Doctors at Work: Photo: BMA
Industrial action by junior doctors has been suspended after
the BMA reached an agreement with the Government to re-enter genuine
The action due to begin tomorrow has been averted following conciliatory talks
with the BMA, NHS Employers and the Department of Health. All action planned for
December is also suspended while negotiations take place – and the imposition of
a new contract is put on hold.
Junior doctors in England were set to provide emergency care-only for 24 hours
from 8am tomorrow morning over the Government’s decision to impose a new
contract on trainees.
However, following conciliatory talks via Acas the Government has agreed not to
impose the introduction of a new contract. NHS Employers has also agreed to
extend the timeframe for the BMA to commence any industrial action by four weeks
to 5pm on 13 January 2016 to allow negotiations to progress.
In an email to members this evening, BMA council chair Mark Porter says:
‘Following conciliatory talks with NHS Employers and the Department of Health,
we have agreed to suspend industrial action in England, which was due to begin
at 8am tomorrow. The Government has also agreed not to proceed unilaterally with
the introduction of a new contract.
He adds: ‘Today’s decision is in the best interests of patients, doctors and the
NHS. It is unfortunate that we have not been able to reach agreement sooner but
patients, doctors and everyone else who works across the NHS will be pleased
that in the end the right decision has been made.
‘A return to genuine negotiations is clearly preferable to the imposition of a
new contract or industrial action and provides us with the best opportunity to
deliver a contract for junior doctors which recognises the central role they
play in delivering patient care across the NHS.’
In January, all parties involved in the negotiations will decide whether
meaningful progress is being made.
Dr Porter adds: ‘At that point, we will need to consider whether industrial
action should be reinstated.
‘The coming weeks will be challenging, but it is vital that we do all we can to
come to a negotiated agreement. I know that you will continue to support us in
this, as you have over the past few months. We are one profession. We stand
Full ACAS Statement
Following productive talks under the auspices of ACAS, the BMA, NHS Employers
and the Department of Health are all agreed that a return to direct and
meaningful negotiations in relation to a new contract for junior doctors is the
right way forward. We intend to reach a collaborative agreement, working in
partnership to produce a new contract for junior doctors, recognising their
central role in patient care and the future of the NHS.
All parties are committed to reaching an agreement that improves safety for
patients and doctors and therefore NHS Employers have agreed to extend the
timeframe for the BMA to commence any industrial action by four weeks to 13
January 2016 at 17:00, to allow negotiations to progress. Within that timetable,
the BMA agrees to temporarily suspend its proposed strike action and the
Department of Health agrees similarly to temporarily suspend implementation of a
contract without agreement.
All parties acknowledge that they share responsibility for the safety of
patients and junior doctors, which must be paramount. In reaching this agreement
to return to negotiations the BMA acknowledge the wish of NHS Employers and the
Department of Health to agree and implement a new contract without undue delay.
All sides wish to achieve a contractual framework that provides fair reward and
a safe working environment for junior doctors throughout the week.
Note: for the purposes of this agreement, NHS Employers is acting on
behalf of all employers of junior doctors.
Memorandum of understanding
This memorandum sets out the basis on which the parties will progress the
agreement to return to negotiation reached on 30 November 2015.
We acknowledge the commitment of the BMA, NHS Employers and DH to the centrality
of junior doctors in the current and future NHS, to recognise their dedication
to patients and the NHS, and to provide a safe and supportive environment and
The parties support the commitment to patients to ensure that the quality of
care and patient outcomes (including appropriately adjusted mortality rates) are
the same every day of the week. In that context we recognise the commitment of
the government to work with the medical profession and other staff groups in
partnership to improve access to seven day services. The parties recognise that
junior doctors currently make a significant contribution across seven days, that
urgent and emergency care is the priority for such services and that any new
contract would support these aims.
All parties acknowledge the crucial role of doctors in training across the NHS
in providing safe patient care and the need to properly recognise that
contribution not only through terms and conditions but also by reaffirming the
commitment to a high-quality training experience, the very best working
environment and appropriate work-life balance.
The current cost-neutral November 2015 offer is the basis for further
negotiation, and the BMA, NHS Employers and DH have agreed to work
collaboratively to develop and oversee new contractual terms and conditions of
service for junior doctors.
Contractual safeguards for safety are paramount and we therefore commit to
develop a jointly selected and supported guardian role to oversee the hours of
work of doctors in training and ensuring appropriate payment for hours worked
outside planned work schedules.
A commitment is also made to define propositions on work schedules, including
the number of hours designated as plain time ensuring that doctors in training
would not be expected to work consecutive weekends, and how time for
administrative duties and training should be recognized.
Our discussions will also address access to flexible training (through joint
work between HEE, BMA and NHS Employers), taking into account the changing
demographic of the medical workforce, as well as developing further our shared
commitment to ensuring that the training and working environment for junior
doctors is improved (including addressing issues of fixed leave, study leave,
notice of deployment and duty rosters, access to rest and refreshment
Collaborative work on pay will include an ‘open-book’ approach to the November
2015 pay calculator and supporting data and models, including cost-neutrality
and equality impact, helping ensure clear systems for pay progression and
managing transition. This agreement also recognises the need to work in
partnership with HEE and where relevant the medical royal colleges to improve
the training experience for junior doctors, including improving access to
flexible working and enabling the transition to a fully competency-based
approach to support junior doctors to progress through their training.
Posted on: December 1, 2015
Remove the Threat to Impose Contract Before Industrial Action for Next
Week can be Deferred: BMA to the Govenment's New Offer of Conciliation
Junior Doctors Demonstrating: Image: BMA
The Government has Agreed to Conciliation Talks with Junior
Doctors, But Still Needs to Remove the Threat of Imposition to defer industrial
action next week.
That was the BMA response to a letter from health secretary Jeremy Hunt today
confirming that Government officials and NHS Employers will start talks via Acas.
BMA council chair Mark Porter said the BMA would begin these discussions as soon
as possible but Mr Hunt must remove his threat of imposing a contract on doctors
in training in England to defer Tuesday’s planned action.
Responding to the development, Dr Porter said: ‘It is encouraging that Mr Hunt
has made a significant shift in accepting the BMA offer of conciliatory talks
through Acas, finally recognising the fact that trust has broken down between
junior doctors and the Government.
‘However, junior doctors and the public, who by now will be used to Mr Hunt’s
political game playing, will not be surprised that he has waited until now to do
the right thing.'
Dr Porter added: ‘We hope to start these talks as soon as possible in order to
reach a collaborative agreement for the benefit of patients and the NHS.
'Importantly, Mr Hunt must finally remove his threat of imposition to defer
Tuesday’s industrial action.’
'Talks Better Than Strikes'
In the letter to Dr Porter, Mr Hunt says: ‘While I believe the right thing to do
is to return to the negotiating table directly, it is clear that any talks are
better than strikes, so I am very happy for my officials and NHS Employers to
commence those talks using Acas conciliation services.’
Mr Hunt adds that the Government has committed an extra £3.8bn next year to
expand seven-day services and with that had to come reform of contracts.
NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: ‘Employers across the NHS
will welcome a return to discussions with the BMA, working with Acas
'I remain hopeful that through our joint endeavours we can end this dispute, and
modernise the contracts for doctors while also addressing their concerns.’
Junior doctors in England will on Tuesday provide emergency care only as part of
the first planned day of industrial action.
Posted on : November 26, 2015
A Snapshot of Junior Doctor
Voices About the Disputed Contract
24 November: The BMA asked
trainees in England from a range of specialties why they feel so strongly about
the contract the Government is threatening to impose (which has been published
on BMA website).
Sanna Waseem : London Core Medical Trainee
1 in Acute Medicine
Every decision I make can
impact on a patient’s health and well-being as well as my personal and
professional life. Being forced to make such decisions when physically and
emotionally drained is not only unsafe, but also unethical.There is no
justification for taking away a mechanism that protects patients and doctors.
Research, working abroad, gaining varied experience, taking time to be certain
of our specialties and even becoming parents all make for well-rounded
consultants. Patients often benefit from time we take out as much as we do. Take
away this option and everyone loses out. The conveyor belt approach to training
will rob our profession of the rich and varied experience that makes excellent
Paula Bradley Newcastle ST6 in ENT
The Government thinks that
extending standard hours will stop doctors being ‘incentivised’ to work slower.
I know of no doctor who works more slowly for the prospect of getting paid
more.Patient safety is our priority. If keeping patients safe means staying late
at work, doctors will do this. Extending standard hours and removing safeguards
means doctors will work longer hours with no consequences for the hospital
trusts.They will be tired — and tired doctors are not safe.
Stretching an already stretched service will have dire consequences on the
staff, their morale, and ultimately patient care and safety. Changing terms and
conditions for doctors will threaten recruitment and retention. There are better
terms and conditions elsewhere in the world for doctors. UK-trained medical
school graduates will leave — they already are doing so.
Jasia Khan London ST3 in Emergency Medicine
It’s unfair to change the
definition of unsociable hours and this seems to be singling out our profession.
What is unsociable hours for one profession should apply to all. Often the
premium pay is an accurate reflection of the care we provide during these hours.
The people making these cuts have no idea. The removal of safeguards results in
tired and burnt-out doctors. Being financially penalised for taking time out of
training is ludicrous. Who’s going to want to do research?
What about those of us who want families? It seems discriminatory to me.
Amanda Friend Leeds ST2 in Paediatrics
My biggest concerns centre on
the removal of safeguards against unsafe hours. The proposed contracts include
rotas with 23 hours ‘off’ between finishing night and commencing day shifts and
there are no incentives to prevent doctors working stretches of over 12 days or
seven night shifts without a rest, despite evidence that these shift patterns
would lead to dangerously tired doctors. Tired doctors make mistakes, decision
making is less sharp and procedural ability deteriorates.
As an academic trainee, I worry that the proposed financial penalties for those
who go ‘out of programme’ will put off many potential researchers from doing
PhDs, for example. I would never consider striking over pay alone. It is the
potentially negative impact on patient safety that worries me, and a concern
that these changes are an attempt by the Government to discredit the NHS and
bring about privatisation.
Philip Smith London ST5 in Gastroenterology
It’s clear that the Government
is trying to get junior doctors to work longer hours by removing the safeguards,
but paying them less in the long term once the ‘pay protection’ expires in 2019.
Most people realise that when you’re working more hours for the same money, it’s
a pay cut. If Jeremy Hunt wants a seven-day NHS, he needs to be able to pay for
Last week, I was supposed to be working 9am to 5pm, but I came in at 7am and
left at 7pm or 8pm. I was working four extra hours I wasn’t being paid for every
day. As gastroenterologists, we have to deal with people who are bleeding or
sick. We don’t have to work extra hours and come in early — we do it because we
care about our patients.
The safeguards were there for good reason — because they stopped doctors from
working excessive hours. Without these, I would have to work even more excessive
hours. This would lead to me being tired — and when people are tired they make
Posted on : November 26,
Junior Doctors Voted Overwhelmingly for
Industrial Action as BMA Approached Acas for Conciliatory Talks with the Health
Junior doctors voted
overwhelmingly for industrial action as BMA approached Acas for conciliatory
talks with the health secretary
Junior doctors have overwhelmingly voted in favour of taking industrial action
after the government’s threat to impose a new junior doctor contract in England
from August next year.
Following a ballot of more than 37,000 junior doctors in England, more than 99
per cent have voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike, and 98 per
cent for full strike action1, demonstrating the strength of feeling amongst the
While the BMA regrets the inevitable disruption that this will cause, junior
doctors have clearly been left with no alternative due to the government’s
continued threat to impose a contract that is unsafe for patients and unfair for
Even now and with such a resounding mandate, we are keen to avert the need for
industrial action and have therefore approached Acas to offer conciliatory talks
with the health secretary and NHS Employers to clarify the conflicting
information coming from government over the past weeks.
If industrial action goes ahead, it is important to remember that other doctors
and NHS staff will continue to provide high-quality patient care. As previously
announced, we have released the dates of proposed action well in advance to
allow employers to put in place plans to minimise disruption to staff and, above
all, to patients2.
Commenting, Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “We regret the inevitable
disruption that this will cause but it is the government’s adamant insistence on
imposing a contract that is unsafe for patients in the future, and unfair for
doctors now and in the future, that has brought us to this point.
“Patients are doctors’ first priority, which is why, even with such a resounding
mandate, we are keen to avert the need for industrial action, which is why we
have approached Acas to offer conciliatory talks with the health secretary and
NHS Employers to clarify the conflicting information coming from government over
the past weeks.
“The health secretary is right when he says this action is ‘wholly avoidable’3.
Our message to him is that junior doctors have today made their views perfectly
clear but that it is still possible to get back around the negotiating table to
deliver a contract that is safe for patients, contains the necessary contractual
safeguards to prevent junior doctors being overworked and properly recognises
evening and weekend work.”
BMA Press Release
Posted on: November 21,
Stop the War's Rally in
London Tonight in Parliament Square
Stop the War
has asked all its groups and supporters to protest on Tuesday 1
December, against plans for bombing Syria.
Supporters are advised to assemble at 6pm in Parliament Square
where a rally would take place followed by march to Labour and
Tory Party headquarters, both nearby.
Elsewhere, there will be other protests in town and city centres
around the country against the proposed British Bombing in
December 1, 2015
By-election Candidate Simeon Hart Calls on Government to
Overturn ‘Heartless’ Decision to Scrap Disabled Election Fund
Party’s Oldham West and Royton by-election candidate cites
issues in making voice heard.
The Oldham West and Royton
by-election will be on Thursday, 3 December 2015.
The government is making it harder for people with a disability
to stand for elected office, according to the Green Party’s
by-election candidate in Oldham West and Royton.
Simeon Hart, who was also the only Deaf and British Sign
Language (BSL) user to stand as a parliamentary candidate in the
May 2015 General Election, is dismayed at the government’s
failure to renew a fund covering ‘disability-related costs’ such
as carer prices and, in his case, sign language interpreters.
As a temporary replacement for what should be core government
funding, Simeon is asking the public for help through
crowdfunding to support interpreter costs incurred during the
The Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund was set up
in 2012 and closed in March this year. The fund’s website states
that the government is unable to give a ‘commitment’ to its
Hart, who is finding it difficult to locate and pay for
essential BSL support for the by-election said:
“Becoming a candidate in elections and by-elections is supposed
to be open to anyone eligible in the UK. Yet my experience has
been a challenge and I know that many people with a disability
will be put off trying to become an elected politician.
“My party and I have a detailed plan for how we can reduce fuel
poverty and keep parks public in the constituency and I am
unable to articulate my plans as well as the candidates from
other parties because of problems finding and paying for an
“If the government is serious about making elections a level
playing field, it will reconsider its heartless decision to
scrap the Access to Elected Office Fund.”
Natalie Bennett, the Green Party’s leader will be joining Simeon
while he campaigns in the constituency on Tuesday (24 November).
Bennett said: “Simeon is an excellent candidate who is eager to
meet with constituents to tell them about Green Party plans for
the area. It has been tough for him in finding and paying for an
interpreter and it saddens me to think that a good number of
quality prospective candidates with a disability could be put
off from standing for election.
“We await to hear from the government about their plans for the
fund and what they can do to ease the financial burden that’s
being unfairly imposed on prospective political candidates with
The Green Party Disability Group is also supporting Simeon’s
campaign. The group’s convenor, Paul Weaver said: "If a change
is ever to be made in the way that we work with and for disabled
people within all levels of government then we need to ensure
that funds are made available to assist with the extra cost
Green Party Press Release
Simeon Hart's Campaign
Contact 0207 549 0315 /
November 24, 2015
400 Pharmacists to Be Recruited to GP Surgeries by Next Year
More than seven
million patients will soon have access to expert advice from a
clinical pharmacist when they visit their GP, thanks to the
expansion of a new scheme to fund, recruit and employ
pharmacists in local practices.
NHS England has more than doubled funding from £15m to £31m for
its clinical pharmacists in general practice pilot, due to an
overwhelmingly positive response from GP surgeries. NHS England,
Health Education England, the Royal College of General
Practitioners and the BMA are today announcing the 73
applications that will receive a share of the funding, which
will cover 698 GP practices and include 403 clinical
Recruitment of pharmacists for the three year initiative, which
was announced in July, will begin immediately, giving patients
the additional support of an expert pharmacist in their GP
surgery from Spring 2016.
Examples of the benefits patients can expect include extra help
to manage long-term conditions, specific advice for those with
multiple medications and more access to clinical advice on
“Regional assessment panels examined applications against
national criteria including the potential for the pilot to
improve access to general practice for patients, reduce workload
for GPs and to support clinical pharmacists within a
multidisciplinary team.” Additional funding was found to more
than double the number of supported applications after the
panels were impressed by the outstanding quality of responses.
The pilots will be evaluated and will build on the experiences
of general practices that already have clinical pharmacists as
part of their team, in some cases as partners. The work is part
of the GP Workforce 10 Point Plan, which aims to strengthen and
support the GP workforce.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said: “General
practice is under extreme pressure after a decade of escalating
patient demand and falling resources, with patients
understandably frustrated that they are facing longer waiting
times for appointments. Nine out of ten GPs have told the BMA
that the standard 10 minute consultation is not sufficient and
the unprecedented workload has negatively impacted on the
quality of care given to patients.
“The pilot scheme is a positive and important opportunity to
develop the role of pharmacists working in practices to relieve
some of the unsustainable pressures faced by GPs up and down the
country. Pharmacists bring specific skills that should add value
as part of multi-professional teams working in GP surgeries. We
need to ensure that the benefits from these pilots can be
extended to all practices nationally, so that GPs can be
supported to have the time to see the increasing numbers of
patients with complex and long-term conditions, and in order to
provide quality and accessible care.”
Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive said: “Joint working
between pharmacists and GPs has the potential to have major
benefits for both patients and clinical professionals. This
pilot will be a win-win for GPs, pharmacists and patients.
“By testing these new ways of working across professional
boundaries we are taking another step forward to relieving some
of the pressure that GPs are clearly under and ensuring patients
see the health professional that best suits their needs.”
Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive, Health Education
England: “We will be supporting this important pilot by
delivering the education and training programme through our
national delivery partner Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy
“Pharmacists are key to effective multi-disciplinary teams in GP
practices and to the delivery of high quality patient care in a
modern primary care environment. This is the one of the key
recommendations of the recently published Primary Care Workforce
Sandra Gidley Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English
Board said: “This extra investment of £16m in the pilot is
fantastic news. It’s a real vote of confidence in the pharmacy
profession and a huge step towards the integration of
pharmacists into primary care.
“NHS England’s support in evolving the role of the practice
pharmacist will prove enormously valuable to both patients and
other clinicians. More patients will see at first-hand the
difference a practice pharmacist can make to their health and
more GPs will come to regard them as an essential part of the
multidisciplinary team in their practice.”
Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The
opportunity for more pharmacists to work in GP surgeries as part
of the practice team is great news for GPs and our patients.
It's wonderful that what started out as a joint statement
between our College and colleagues at the Royal Pharmaceutical
Society just eight months ago, is now becoming a reality and we
can start to reap the benefits.
"We have a severe shortage of GPs across the UK, and having
highly trained pharmacists working with us to take on tasks such
as medication management, will help alleviate the intense
pressures we are under, and improve patient safety.
"The feedback that we have received from our members who already
have a practice based pharmacist is that they play an invaluable
role, so we are pleased that NHS England has taken the idea so
seriously and so swiftly brought it to fruition.
"There is a long way to go to solve the workforce crisis in
general practice and creating new roles, such as practice-based
pharmacists, is just one of the steps in our 10 point plan to
build the general practice workforce, launched earlier this year
with NHS England, Health Education England, and the BMA. We now
need to do everything we can to 'recruit retain return' as many
GPs as possible so that our profession can continue to deliver
the care our patients need and deserve."
House of Commons Briefing Paper, titled, Junior Doctor
Contracts in England ( by Thomas Powell) describes the current
situation. Here's snapshot:
on behalf of the NHS organisations and the Government, are
currently working on detailed proposals for reformed contracts
for doctors in training (junior doctors). Separate negotiations
are taking place on a new consultant contract.
The Department of Health sets the framework for NHS Employers’
work on NHS staff contracts, and has specified that revised
contracts must be broadly cost neutral. The Health Secretary has
also asked the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’
Remuneration (DDRB) to report on contract reform, and how this
can support the delivery of seven day services.
For junior doctors, the new contract would mean an extension of
plain time working further into the evenings, and to Saturdays.
It would also make changes to pay progression and replace the
current banding system, where pay supplements are based on an
assessment of the length and unsocial timing of contracted work.
NHS Employers state that their proposed contact changes will:
Enhance the quality and quantity of training opportunities for
Provide a higher basic rate of pay.
Provide proportionate payment for additional hours worked.
Unsocial hours paid at a higher rate.
Flexible pay premium for hard-to-fill specialties.
Negotiations between NHS Employers and the British Medical
Association (BMA) junior doctors committee stalled in October
2014. The BMA have expressed a number of concerns about the
proposed contract changes, including concerns that doctors'
welfare and patient safety are not being sufficiently considered
by NHS Employers.
While the BMA has re-entered negotiations over the consultant
contract it is calling on the Government to reverse the current
proposals for change to the junior doctor contract. In July
2015, the Health Secretary set a deadline of mid-September for
the BMA to re-enter negotiations. The BMA junior doctors
committee refused to do so and the Government has said it will
impose the new junior doctor contract in time for the new intake
in August 2016. The new contract will apply to any doctor in
training taking up a new employment contract.
On 26 September 2015 the BMA announced a ballot of junior
doctors on industrial action. A detailed offer for a new
contract was published by NHS Employers on 4 November 2015; this
was rejected by the BMA. The results of the ballot were
announced on 19 November 2015: 98% supported strike action
(based on turnout of 76%). The BMA has confirmed plans for
junior doctors to provide emergency care only on 1 December
2015, and for a full walk-out from 8am to 5pm on 8 and 16
The dispute only relates to the junior doctor contract in
England; the health departments in Wales and Scotland have said
they will maintain the existing contractual arrangements and no
decision has been reached in Northern Ireland.
Junior Doctor Contracts in
November 21, 2015
Sentinel-3A is due to be
launched in December 2015 from Plesetsk in Russia.
This image shows the third satellite of the Sentinel fleet
before being shipped to Russia before launch. Sentinel-3A is due
to be launched in December 2015 from Plesetsk in Russia.