Sunday, March 29, 2015
Junk food available in British hospitals: Critics say presence of Burger King, Costa Coffee and Greggs amounts to 'negligence'
Fast food places are usually the only place in a hospital environment where people can feel normal -- something that is greatly appreciated and which is certainly a psychological boon. But the obesity warriors don't really care about people
More than 100 NHS hospitals in Britain contain fast food outlets, shocking new figures have revealed.
Critics argue the presence of Burger King, Costa Coffee and Greggs around sick patients goes as far as being negligent - and is simply adding to the soaring obesity crisis.
There are 128 outlets in British hospitals selling junk food, plus a further 32 branches of WHSmith, which sells confectionery - often at a discounted price.
The fast food branches include two Burger Kings, six Subways and one Greggs, an investigation by The Sun revealed. There are also dozens of coffee shops selling calorie-laden food and drink - with 27 Starbucks and 92 Costas.
This is in addition to all the smaller, independent retailers in hospitals selling junk food.
The news comes as figures from Public Health England show that in Britain, 64 per cent of adults are either overweight or obese.
And experts estimate treating obesity and the associated health problems costs the NHS around £6 billion every year - or five per cent of the entire NHS budget. It spends a further £10billion on diabetes.
To make matters worse, some of the UK's major hospitals have more than one outlet selling junk food.
Addenbrooke's in Cambridge operates a food court with a Burger King, Costa Coffee, Starbucks and pizzeria, while and University Hospital Southampton Foundation trust also hosts a Burger King and a Costa Coffee shop.
Earlier this month it was reported that the Greggs bakery based in an NHS hospital is the fast-food chain's second busiest outlet in Britain.
The counter at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton is often so busy selling steak bakes, bacon rolls and pizzas that ropes have to be used to separate queues of hungry customers which can reach 20 people deep.
The Sun investigation found customers could buy four sausage rolls for £2.40, each which contained 25g fat. The total recommended daily amount of fat is 75g for women and 90g for men. Those with a sweet tooth could buy three sugar and fat laiden doughnuts for £1.
The hospital trust has joined forces with Wolverhampton Council to tackle the obesity crisis locally.
But Mr Loughton said banning the chain from the site would not solve anything.
He said: 'People say "ban the fast-food places" but I don't think that will ever work. We have to change people's mentality regarding the food they eat.'
In Devon, hospital chiefs have told staff not to allow deliveries from a new Pizza Hut - despite it being built in their own multi-storey car park.
The move was revealed a month after the chain opened just 100 yards from the walls of Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
Staff were instructed to tell patients they could not order from the fast food restaurant, with bosses steering them towards 'healthier' sandwiches in the hospital's smoothie bar instead.
And a hospital in Surrey has came under fire when it emerged it had paid £24,000 to close a Burger King branch inside its own walls.
Croydon University Hospital had hosted the fast food chain in its entrance for 14 years, sparking the ire of health campaigners.
It finally managed to close the outlet - which was next to posters promoting healthy eating - in 2011 and replace it with a Costa Coffee branch.
But in order to terminate the contract it had to pay £24,000 to Compass UK, the company operating the fast food franchise.
Croydon Health Service admitted the 'world had changed' since it signed the original deal in 1997.
Why a wise man would never marry
If it ends in divorce, the courts have no regard for the man at all
A millionaire building tycoon says he has been left 'homeless' by a divorce ruling he says handed 80% of the family property to his ex-wife.
Construction magnate David Stocker, 61, was used to living the high life during his marriage to former wife Avril, 62.
They had a five-bedroom home in West London valued at £1million, a £100,000 yacht and a £500,000 villa in Spain.
But he told an Appeal Court hearing that his life of luxury is over and he is now unable to get back on the London property ladder because of the couple's divorce.
After the hearing she denied feeling like a winner, saying: 'When you get divorced, you become poor.'
He said a divorce court ruling left his ex-wife with property worth £1.8million - more than seven times his own £250,000 share.
Mr Stocker argued that the division of assets was 'unfair', especially as his former wife has no children to care for.
Despite his pleas, senior judge Mr Justice Blake told him he must accept his new lot, finding there was nothing legally wrong with the original ruling.
The court heard a family judge had handed four-fifths of the £2million-plus family assets to his ex-wife after their 15-year marriage ended in 2011. The divorce ruling came in 2013.
Mr Stocker said he had been obliged to sell his boat - which he valued at £100,000 - and to hand over the keys to the former matrimonial home in Ruislip, north-west London.
The building boss, whose business is based in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was also told to split the Spanish villa - which he valued at more than £500,000 - with his ex-wife.
Mr Stocker, representing himself in court, told Mr Justice Blake he was baffled by the decision, saying: 'We have got no kids - why is it not 50/50?'
He told the judge: 'My wife got a £1m house in Ruislip, half a villa that's worth hundreds of thousands more. My wife got £1.8m in property and I'm left with £250,000.
'I'm entitled to a home under human rights. I told the judge throughout the case that all I wanted was a home out of it,' he went on.
He said he was no longer fielding a barrister in the divorce battle, which has been running for four years, because 'I ran out of money'.
'The assets have 80% gone her way. All I'm asking for is a home,' he added.
Mr Justice Blake however told Mr Stocker that he had no hope of overturning the divorce ruling and would have to accept his reduced circumstances.
'Unfortunately, as happens so often in this type of litigation, everything here has the appearance of an applicant who refuses to have a sense of finality', he said.
'This court doesn't sit as a re-hearing court. You don't just come here and say, "Can we start all over again please?".
The judge concluded: 'The husband argues that the division of the marital assets was unfair and disproportionate.
'This was a case in which there were no children to be taken into account, the husband contends that a 50/50 split would have been appropriate.
'But none of the matters he raises constitutes a basis for appeal which has any prospect of success.'
Mr Stocker vowed to fight on as he left court.
Mrs Stocker, who attended the hearing and sat at the back of the court throughout, said later that she didn't feel like she had come out of the marriage a winner.
'When you get divorced, you become poor... the only people who have won out of all this are the lawyers,' she said.
She added that she and her ex-husband had known each other since the early 1980s, having met at a squash club, and married in 1994.
Defending her payout, she said she had worked hard during the marriage to make the family construction company a success.
'I'm an intelligent person and I've got a masters degree from a good business school,' she added.
Of her high-flying former life whilst married to Mr Stocker, she said: 'We had a very good lifestyle. People used to say to me 'You've got everything.''
'It's very sad. We had a long relationship, but all relationships are fraught. I'm very philosophical now, but it was a very hurtful time.'
Christian baker accused of making customer 'feel like a lesser person' because he refused to make pro-gay marriage cake
A Christian baker who refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan has begun a court battle over equality laws.
Belfast-based Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake featuring an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto 'Support Gay Marriage'.
Northern Ireland's Equality Commission is now supporting a legal action against the family-run bakery on behalf of gay rights activist Gareth Lee, whose order was declined.
Mr Lee told a court today he was left 'shocked' and in 'disbelief' when one of the owners of the bakery, Karen McArthur, rang him and told him she would not be processing the order he had already paid for.
'It made me feel I'm not worthy, a lesser person and to me that was wrong,' he said.
Opening the case, Robin Allen QC, representing Mr Lee, said the baker's objection on religious grounds was not lawful.
He said baking a cake did not mean the bakers supported any message the cake might carry and compared the baking of a cake to a postman delivering a letter or a printer printing a poster.
'A postman taking a letter to the door or a printer carrying out a printing job - nobody would say that involved promoting or support,' he said. 'It's simply a functional relationship, a working relationship.'
The lawyer also noted the publicity around the case and highlighted that politicians, church figures, bloggers and others had expressed opinions on the matter.
But the barrister insisted the case must be judged on the facts alone, saying: 'Law must not be determined by those who shout loudest.'
Mr Allen QC said he was not in court to challenge the McArthur family's faith and highlighted that the proposed design would not have had an Ashers logo on it.
The case is being heard at Belfast County Court by district judge Isobel Brownlie.
The case has sharply divided public opinion in Northern Ireland and beyond.
In the wake of the bakery's refusal to provide the service last May, the commission, a state-funded watchdog body, took on the case on behalf of Mr Lee.
Initially, the commission asked the bakery to acknowledge that it had breached legislation and offer 'modest' damages to the customer. When Ashers, which is owned by the McArthur family, refused, the commission proceeded with the legal action.
Outlining his view of the facts, Mr Allen said Mr Lee had used the bakery in Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre 'regularly' before the incident.
He said his client had seen a leaflet in the shop advertising a service whereby images could be printed in edible icing on a cake. He said there was nothing on the leaflet which suggested a limitation on the service due to 'religious scruples'.
The barrister told the court that the order was accepted by Ashers director Karen McArthur and Mr Lee paid for it in full. 'A contract was therefore concluded,' he said.
Mr Allen said that, over the next few days, Mrs McArthur expressed concern about the requested cake design with her daughter-in-law, Amy, and the matter was then discussed with her son, Daniel.
After that Mr Lee was informed that his order would not be processed due to the family's religious views, said the lawyer.
Mr Allen said if companies were allowed to break contracts with individuals then 'the law is worth nothing'. He added: 'The rule of law says there shall be no discrimination in the commercial sphere.'
The barrister insisted that Ashers was not an 'explicitly religious' business and referred to an interview Daniel McArthur gave to a newspaper in which he claimed the majority of his 60-plus workforce were unaware of his family's faith.
Mr Allen stressed the importance of anti-discrimination legislation in Northern Ireland, given its history of sectarian strife.
Daniel and Amy McArthur sat on one side of an almost packed courtroom, with Mr Lee watching from the other side.
The Ashers case has prompted the Democratic Unionist Party to propose a law change at Stormont that would provide an 'equality clause' which would essentially enable businesses to refuse to provide certain services on religious grounds.
Mr McArthur has previously said: Mr McArthur has previously insisting that Christians should be able to apply their beliefs to the day-to-day running of their businesses.
He said: 'I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that.'
Father who believed he had the right to smack his two children has them taken into care by social workers
Probably a Muslim
A father who believed he had the right to smack his young children has had them taken into care by social workers.
The parent, from Rotherham, told officials that he thought his children benefited from being smacked.
He said that he hit his children on the bottom, legs and arms, using his hand, but that the red marks 'did not last long'.
But a judge has now ruled that his 'entrenched' views were harmful to their children.
The man has now had his third child, a six-month-old girl, taken into care by Rotherham Council officials.
It comes after his middle child, now aged three, was also taken into care. It is not clear whether the man's eldest child is in care, although there have also been care proceedings issued in relation to that child.
Handing down the judgement at the High Court, Judge Sarah Wright said she made the decision because there was no prospect of the father ever changing his 'domineering behaviour'.
She added that the children's mother could not protect the youngsters from her partner's need to have 'total control' over his family.
She said: 'It was clear to me that she cannot separate herself from the father and from his entrenched views. 'Sadly, she has put him before her children. She refused to accept any view or opinion that is not his. 'She singularly fails to appreciate the risk that he poses to any child in his care'.
During the hearing, it emerged that the man's son, now aged three, had been removed from the family home when he was just a few months old. Since then, he has been cared for by his 'quiet, considered and thoughtful' maternal uncle.
The judgement also revealed that care proceedings had taken place for another child, during which a family judge criticised the man's 'rigid and inflexible thinking'.
The court said the man was not prepared to 'settle for a shade of grey', but saw everything in black and white.
He also insisted on his right to smack his children, believing he had done 'nothing wrong', the judgement said.
It added that both parents had been 'uncooperative and obstructive' with professionals.
During the latest hearing, it emerged that, when the mother fell pregnant again, she tried to conceal her pregnancy so they would not flag up on social services' radar.
Despite the mother arranging to give birth at a hospital in a different area, their attempt to conceal the birth failed. The little girl - known as E - was then taken from them under a police protection order.
Explaining her reasons for concealing her pregnancy with E, the mother said she feared she would be put under pressure to have an abortion.
She also insisted there was no basis for social workers' concerns, saying: 'There is no reason why we are here'.
Whilst agreeing he could be 'slightly dogmatic', she said he had never been violent or aggressive, the judgement said.
But the court ruled that the mother had 'aligned herself' with the father and said she was 'totally convinced' that he posed no risk to the children.
It added that the father 'must feel in control' and was capable of rude, uncompromising and hostile behaviour in his determination to get his own way. 'There is also very little prospect of the father accepting the need to change', said the judge.
Despite the parents' objections, Judge Wright ruled that E's welfare demanded that she also be looked after by her uncle and his partner, alongside her older brother.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.