Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Workfare  in Britain:  Jobseekers to care for patients in hospitals as part of unpaid work experience

Dozens of unpaid jobseekers are to deliver patient care at three hospitals in the Midlands, an NHS Trust has revealed.  It follows a successful pilot at Sandwell Hospital, West Bromwich, where six unemployed people worked for eight weeks to help care for patients on wards.

A spokesman for Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals trust, which runs the scheme, said the placements gave jobseekers a real taste of healthcare.

'The pilot is now complete and, after further consultation with trade unions and managers, we are aiming to run similar programmes across out three hospitals,' they said in a statement.

However, union representatives for medical staff said they were concerned that the move showed a 'worrying glimpse of the future.'

Ravi Subramanian, head of Unison in the West Midlands told The Guardian that the Birmingham and Sandwell hospital trust was being forced to find £125m worth of savings over the next five years.

He added: 'Now the hospital is making moves to deliver healthcare on the cheap, by using people on work experience to help with patient care. Patients and staff will rightly be very worried about the standard of patient care as this scheme is rolled out.'

The NHS Trust defended the 'ward service assistants' scheme, saying the participants were all CRB checked and underwent two weeks of training at Sandwell College before carrying out basic tasks.

These included making hot and cold drinks for patients and helping to feed them if necessary, as well as collecting medication from the hospital pharmacy to give nurses more time on the wards.

Assistant Director of Nursing Linda Pascall added: 'We have really appreciated the support the ward service assistants have given to the wards.  'Their positive attitude has made this venture a success and we hope to be able to continue to work with our Jobcentre Plus partners to offer this scheme which has proven to have genuine benefits for our local community.'

Pauline Jones, Account Manager at Jobcentre Plus, said two of the six people had already gained employment thanks to their work experience.

Sue Horsburgh was one of the six participants and said she found it very rewarding.  'When I started on my first day, there was a lady who was quite poorly. She couldn’t talk and all she could really do was put her thumb up but I went to see her in my last week and I had a conversation with her,' she said.  'I went home each day and felt I had done something worthwhile.'

Fellow ward service assistant, Jennifer Howell, said the role had given her the confidence to start a new job working with people with learning difficulties.

And Sarah Jones, another of the six to undertake the placement, said she now wants a career as a healthcare assistant.  'I love it,' she said.  'There was nothing negative. I know that after doing this I never want to do anything else ever.'

Until Feburary this year, people on Government work experience schemes faced having their benefits cut if they left unpaid schemes.

However, ministers changed the rules following a meeting with scores of employers after protests by activists who complained that the unemployed were being forced to work for nothing.


Three Views on Same Sex Marriage

    Mike Adams

A lot of cultural commentators are confused these days. They believe that people’s views on same sex marriage are solely a reflection of their religious beliefs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, some things could be further from the truth – like saying that Al Sharpton has integrity or that Dan Savage has class. But you get the point. The same sex marriage debate is about politics. To call it a religious debate is to miss the point entirely. Your stance on same sex marriage should vary depending on whether you consider yourself to be a conservative, a liberal, or a libertarian.

For conservatives, the issue is pretty simple. The institution of marriage predates any existing government or nation. So no government has a right to redefine marriage. But it is okay for the government to become entangled with marriage towards the end of promoting marriage. The institution is good. It tames men. It protects women. It is good for children. Therefore, it is worth promoting.

Conservatives view efforts to redefine marriage as philosophically unacceptable. That government should recognize an institution in one move and then redefine it in another is an unacceptable encroachment on a religious institution. Recognize yes, redefine no. It is not their religion that leads them to this conclusion. It is their politics. It is also common sense. Conservatives rightly scoff at the notion of calling same sex unions “marriage” just as they scoff at the idea of calling three-sided objects rectangular.

Conservatives are unimpressed with overly simplistic appeals to freedom. When evaluating the “freedom to marry” they refuse to stop at the question “Is it free?” They also ask the question “Is it good?” Same sex marriage does not tame men, it does not protect women, and it is not good for or even conducive to raising children. Hence, there is no need for government recognition of same-sex unions.

Nor are conservatives impressed with overly simplistic appeals to equality. One cannot even say that male-male unions are equal to female-female unions. The former are much less stable than the latter. How could one possibly assert sameness between same-sexed and opposite-sexed unions?

Put simply, conservatives defend the status quo on marriage because they can see no compelling reason for the government to promote same sex unions. And they reject the authority of the government to equate unequal things.

For liberals, the issue is also very simple. In the liberal mind, government has unlimited authority to fundamentally transform institutions as long as it is adhering to a vision of equality. It does not matter that marriage predated government. Government can seize and redefine institutions as long as it is acting on behalf of a group that claims to have suffered from negative stigma. It is true that, on average, homosexuals are more educated and wealthier than heterosexuals. But they have been subjected to ridicule and ostracism. In the liberal mind, that alone justifies government intervention.

Liberals handle claims of inequality on an incremental basis. It is true that redefining marriage to include same-sex unions will open the door to efforts to legalize polygamy. But liberals do not think of all possible ramifications when they seek to advance a “solution” to a “problem.” Nor is it in their interests to do so. The process of reducing stigma must be done incrementally or it will backfire.

When arguments for polygamy do arise, liberals will weigh them in conjunction with their effects on other groups. The argument that Mormons have been historically oppressed will have to be weighed against claims that polygamy advances the oppression of women. Regardless, the issue will be decided based on its presumed effects upon groups, rather than individuals. According to liberals, rights are not given to individuals by God. They are given to groups by government.

Put simply, liberals reject the status quo on marriage because they see equality as a compelling reason for the government to promote same sex unions. And they accept the authority of the government to equate unequal things – even at the expense of redefining institutions that predate the existence of the government.

For libertarians, recognizing marriage in any form is problematic. The true libertarian considers both the conservative and the liberal to be misguided on the issue. Libertarians believe the conservative is wrong to think that government should be in the business of promoting a religious institution. Libertarians believe the liberal is even more misguided to believe that government should recognize and regulate an even broader range of relationships than it already does.

Many self-proclaimed libertarians such as Neal Boortz were outraged at North Carolina voters’ recent affirmation (61% to 39%) of traditional marriage. These confused libertarians are really social liberals with fiscally conservative leanings. They have failed to grasp the merit in preventing a judicial fiat that would have produced greater entanglement between the government and private relationships.

Many liberal Christians were also disappointed by the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina. But it wasn’t their religion that compelled them to oppose it. Liberal Christians are simply more committed to their politics than they are to God. And they value His approval less than that of their fellow man.


Blacks and Same Sex Marriage

 Star Parker

Perhaps history will show that the first black president’s biggest contribution to black America was forcing this community to come to terms with its own identity and priorities.

By formalizing his support of same sex marriage, President Obama has pushed blacks to decide what is most important to them. The Biblical message they hear in church every Sunday, or the big government liberalism that they regularly vote for on Tuesday of Election Day.

I’ve often talked about what I call the “Sunday-Tuesday Gap’ in black America.

The black church has always played a central role in black American life. Blacks attend church with greater frequency than any ethnic group in the nation. In church, they hear from pastors who preach the Bible in a most literal fashion.

According to a 2010 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey, 34 percent of the general public sees the Bible as the literal word of God. However, 57 percent of blacks and 61 percent of black Protestants say the Bible should be read as God’s literal word.

This helps explain why in responding to surveys on so-called “social issues,” – abortion, marriage, family, infidelity, homosexuality – blacks poll like white conservatives.

However, when blacks go to vote on Tuesday, they certainly don’t vote like white conservatives. They vote like white liberals.

On Sunday, blacks hear preachers talk about traditional values, about family, about personal responsibility, about the sanctity of life. On Tuesday they go to the polls and vote for candidates that support abortion, moral relativism, and government dependence.

According to a 2010 Gallup survey, 55 percent of blacks said they attend church frequently (“at least once a week” or “almost every week”). However among Democrats, the party blacks overwhelmingly support, 39 percent say they attend church frequently. And among liberals, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, 27 percent attend church frequently.

The black vote wasn’t always so predictable. Eisenhower got 39 percent of the black vote in 1956 and Nixon received 32 percent in 1960.

Now, ninety percent of blacks can be depended on to pull the lever for Democrats.

These are the blacks of Tuesday. But now that President Obama has made his support for same sex marriage clear, what impact will this have on the blacks of Sunday?

In 2008 in California, the blacks of Tuesday voted for Barack Obama. But in the same election, the blacks of Sunday switched over and voted for Proposition 8 which directed that marriage be formally defined in the California state constitution as traditional marriage of man and woman.

After President Obama spoke out for same sex marriage, those commonly identified as black America’s political leadership – Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Joseph Lowery – immediately took public positions supporting the President’s stand.

But these leaders, who represent the political behavior of Tuesday blacks, are out of sync with grass roots sentiment, which reflects the sentiments of Sunday blacks. According to Pew, 47 percent of Americans support legalization of same sex marriage, but only 39 percent of blacks and 33 percent of black Protestants do.

If there is a consensus on anything today, it’s that most Americans feel the country is on the wrong track. Where we part company is on the diagnosis of what is wrong.

There are big questions we must decide that will determine the kind of country our kids and grandkids will be living in.

There is no place where the dilemma is clearer than among black Americans.

Will America move more in the direction of the values of the blacks of Sunday or those of the blacks of Tuesday?

It’s time for black Americans to set and clarify their priorities and act in concert with them. The choices made today will impact not just their own future, but the future of our whole nation.


Violation of Religious Freedom: Catholics File Lawsuit Against Obama Administration

It's on. Catholics have officially filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the contraception mandate in ObamaCare. The lawsuit names Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and their departments as defendants.

    Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a May 21 statement applauded 43 dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies for filing 12 lawsuits around the nation saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate violates religious freedom.

    His statement follows.

    “We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there's still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It's also a great show of the diversity of the Church's ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.”

Ironically, the lawsuit comes just a week after "Catholic" pro-abortion, pro-contraception mandate Kathleen Sebelius spoke at a Georgetown University commencement ceremony. Georgetown is a Catholic institution and was at the center of the contraception mandate controversy.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


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