Thursday, December 12, 2019

If you get cancer in Australia you now have DOUBLE the chance of surviving compared to sufferers in Britain - Why?

Both Britain and Australia have systems of "free" government hospitals so why the difference?  They get vague below in answering that and fail to mention the elephant in the room: 40% of Australians have private health insurance versus only 7% in Britain.  So for nearly half of Australians, the scan is done and the diagnosis is in almost immediately.

I once got a referral for a CAT scan from my GP and when I went in immediately to the scanning service, they APOLOGIZED for not being able to do it that day -- but did fit me in the next day.  And my doctor had the report the day after that. 

It's nothing like that prompt in Britain.  It takes many weeks for a final diagnosis there.  And an NHS doctor is just as likely to tell you you have indigestion rather sending you promptly for a scan or specialist appointment. And the sooner you get a cancer diagnosis the better your chances of surviving it

Australians suffering from some of the deadliest forms of cancer will soon be twice as likely to survive as patients in Britain.

A recent study into 3.9 million patients with cancer from seven countries  - Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK - found Aussie battlers had a better survival rate across the board in the first year of diagnosis.

It also topped the charts over a five-year period at all but lung (Canada) and ovarian cancer (Norway).

The better rate of survival has been put down to the willingness of Australians to see a doctor, get health checks and quick referrals to hospital for treatment.

The Cancer Survival in High-Income Countries project, compiled by UK's The Lancet Oncology, hopes to provide a guide for governments across the world to better understand and treat cancer patients.

But while Australians can take some solace from the study's results, those living in the UK have reason to be worried.

Former World Health Organisation's Cancer Program chief Professor Karol Sikora told Daily Mail Australia the situation in the UK was a disgrace. 'This is extraordinary. People in the UK seem to be afraid to reveal the truth of what we are facing,' he said.

'The five-year survival rate in Australia for pancreas is set to be as good as one in four patients by 2024. 'In the UK, that rate - currently eight percent - will be just over one in ten in the same year. This is a British national scandal and one being hushed up.'

The study delved into the survival rates of patients suffering oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, and ovary cancer. It revealed the UK is bottom of the league for five major cancers.

'What we are about to face in comparison to the Aussies is remarkable,' Professor Sikora said.

By sourcing back through decades of records, Prof Sikora believes forecast numbers look increasingly dire for UK residents and remarkably positive for Australians, particularly those with pancreatic or lung cancer.

Cancer survival rates over a five year period 
Oesophagus 23% in Australia, 16% in the UK

Stomach 32% in Australia, 20% in the UK

Lung 21% Australia, 14% UK

Ovarian 43% in Australia, 37% in the UK

The cancer research expert said Australians were surviving longer over the five year period due to better access to good basic surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy where appropriate.

But it's over the initial one-year period where Australians are ahead of the rest of the world.

'(The UK) has been consistently behind since the beginning of the study in 1995,' Professor Sikora said. 'If we're consistently behind on the one year statistics, that means we're not going to do well on the 5 year statistics.'

All of the seven countries analysed share roughly the same total spend on health care and enjoy national health schemes.

Professor Sikora said the UK provided many of the oncologists working in Australians, New Zealand and Canada. 'So it can't just be that, it must be that one year survival that's the problem (in the UK),' he said.

Professor Sikora said Australians could be surviving for a number of factors, including our willingness to go to the doctor and get health checks.

He also believes Australian GPs have better access to information that can ensure those with cancer are treated faster. 'Why not give GPs access to CT scans, to ultrasound, and to MRI?' he said. 'Now, some do have, and they do it very well. But some don't have access. They have to make a consultant referral.'

Professor Sikora believes Aussies are being referred to hospitals significantly faster than cancer patients in the UK.

'And you predict the obvious rise in cancer incidence as we go through an ageing population. It's not going to work unless we get more capacity in the system,' he said.

'Sixty-two days, which is the NHS England target, is simply not fast enough. 'In all these other countries, you'd get next day service with your GP. The day after that - the scan. The day after that you see the specialist, and that includes Saturdays.'

Professor Sikora said the UK needed to learn some fast lessons from countries such as Australia. 'Smarten up the front end of diagnosis of cancer; not worry about high cost therapies, that's not the cause of the problem,' he said. 'The reality is, the system doesn't work. It's letting down British cancer patients.'


A court has ordered The Canadian Human Rights Commission to re-investigate a claim by a former CIBC worker that he was discriminated against because he WASN'T gay

The Canadian Human Rights Commission was ordered to properly assess a discrimination complaint by a former employee of a major bank who claims his boss told him he had “no hope” for promotion unless he joined their “group” of gay and bisexual men.

He was told only males who were gay or bisexual were promoted in the office, he claims.

The commission had improperly dismissed the employee’s discrimination complaint based on sexual orientation, in this case for being straight, the Federal Court of Canada ruled.

A new investigation and reassessment was ordered.

Aaren Jagadeesh worked as a financial services representative for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto. He was repeatedly turned down for promotions.

At a one-on-one meeting with his manager on Sept. 15, 2015, Jagadeesh said he was told that every male manager in the office was gay or bisexual, and, unless he joined this “group” there was “no hope” for him, court heard.

Jagadeesh claims the manager said this was why young male employees with little or no qualifications were promoted; told him to “be smart and learn”; and then allegedly asked Jagadeesh what he thought of him.

Jagadeesh said he replied that he thought of him as just his manager. He claims he told his boss he was willing to work with anyone but he was not gay or bisexual.

The incident negatively impacted his “mental stress and self-dignity,” he said, but it was not his only trouble at work.

His job, according to court records, required him to call 60 to 70 customers each day to sell products, which required him to read four to six pages of product information and legal disclosures.

The bank evaluated his performance by measuring two metrics: “wrap time,” meaning the time between calls must be less than 30 seconds, and “adherence targets,” meaning operators must be on calls 96 per cent or more of the time on their shift.

After several months of continuous calling, he developed severe throat and vocal cord pain. His family doctor recommended modified duties. He claims he was instead asked by the bank to go on short-term disability. CIBC referred him to another doctor, who in turn referred him to a specialist. The specialist concluded he suffered from muscle tension dysphonia and needed regular medical breaks to fully recover, court heard.

Jagadeesh said CIBC started discriminating against him soon after the diagnosis. His pay as well as bonuses and incentives were cut. He said he was threatened with discipline if he took his medical breaks. He said he was turned down for 17 alternate jobs.

The incident negatively impacted his 'mental stress and self-dignity,' he said

Jagadeesh believed “the encounter” with his manager about sexual orientation “was the primary reason for his discrimination and explained why, despite his qualifications, experience, and excellent performance, he was denied workplace accommodation for his disability, and not offered any alternative position,” Justice Janet M. Fuhrer said in a court ruling.

Jagadeesh was fired on May 10, 2016. He filed a human rights complaint the following April alleging discrimination by CIBC because of disability and sexual orientation. He alleged that young employees received promotions, awards, and favours because they were sexually exploited.

An investigator with the human rights commission was assigned to look into the complaint.

CIBC officials were interviewed — but not the manager who allegedly made the remarks about only gay and bisexual men being promoted. That manager, the investigator was told, was on “extended leave of absence.”

The investigator declined to proceed further on the complaint of sexual orientation discrimination, but did assess his disability complaint and found that CIBC had adequately accommodated him.

Last November, the commission dismissed the complaints.

Representing himself, Jagadeesh appealed to the Federal Court, seeking a review of the commission’s decision. He complained the investigator had selectively ignored evidence to avoid dealing with the sexual orientation complaint.

CIBC, however, agreed with the investigator’s conclusions. The bank argued it was a thorough probe and that nothing linked the negative treatment Jagadeesh allegedly experienced to his sexual orientation. CIBC argued he was simply unqualified.

Fuhrer, in a decision released in September, ruled that the commission’s investigation and decisions were not procedurally fair to Jagadeesh. Fuhrer said the lack of thoroughness in reviewing the grounds of the complaint meant the decision must be set aside.

She ordered the commission to try again with a different investigator.

Hanna Lange-Chenier, a spokeswoman for the commission, said she could not discuss the case or reveal its status. “The law prevents us from commenting on any complaint in our system,” she said.

Jagadeesh also clashed with CIBC over how much the bank should reimburse him for the cost of his successful court challenge and returned to court last month.

Jagadeesh had represented himself and said he spent $438.10 in expenses, while CIBC said it had spent significantly more than $5,000 to defend the case. Apparently then understanding he could claim for his time as well as expenses, he asked for $6,646.57 while CIBC said he should only get $500.

“Self-represented litigants are eligible for a moderate allowance above the costs of their direct disbursements to reflect the time and effort they devoted to preparing and presenting their case,” Fuhrer ruled on Nov. 19.

She ordered CIBC to pay him half of what he asked for: $3,332.30.

Crystal Jongeward, senior consultant, public affairs with CIBC said: “While we are unable to comment as the matter is still before the commission, no form of harassment or discrimination is acceptable at our bank.”

Jagadeesh could not be reached for comment.


Christian doctor, 59, who risked losing his job for offering to pray with patients is cleared of any wrongdoing after anonymous complaint about his practice

Dr Richard Scott, 59, was investigated after the National Secular Society (NSS) claimed that a 'highly vulnerable' patient 'felt discomfort at the use of prayer'. The case was taken up by the General Medical Council, despite the NSS admitting it did not know who the complainant was and that they had received the allegations second hand.

The investigation followed a Radio 4 interview which Scott took part in regarding the freedom of religion in England.

In the interview, aired in January, Dr Scott spoke about how he sometimes used his faith to help patients with depression and anxiety. 'I always go through three elements: does somebody need tablets, would someone benefit from counselling, and as an option I offer the possibility of Christianity,' he said. 'Only last week a lady converted to Christianity in clinic as a result of that introduction.'

In June, the General Medical Council wrote to Scott informing him that it had received 'some information' from the NSS and would begin a fitness to practise investigation in to him.

The NSS claimed they had been contacted ’by a member of the public who was concerned because an acquaintance whom she describes as "highly vulnerable" is being treated at the practice and claimed that the patient "does not feel able to express discomfort at the use of prayer".'

The NSS letter also cited the BBC radio interview, The Battles That Won Our Freedoms: 3 Freedom of Religion, and claimed Dr Scott was ignoring GMC guidelines ’by preaching to patients'.

But the doctor, who practices at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, has now been cleared of any wrongdoing.

He welcomed the ruling but slammed the GMC for taking on the 'extraordinary' case. 'The GMC should have seen this as a vexatious complaint, i.e. from someone with an axe to grind,' he said. 'It should never have escalated.

'They could have contacted me and I would have written back and it would have been over and done with - instead quite extraordinarily they took it to the very top level of fitness to practice. 'I'm glad they came up with the right answer.'

Dr Scott said the investigation had caused stress with his family, but said he won't change how he treats patients.

He said: 'My family don't like it when I have a complaint like this and I know for other doctors it's hard but it is part of my days work, I won't change my day to day workings.'

According to the Christian Legal Centre, the legal group who supported Dr Scott, the GMC concluded that 'there is no first-hand account or complaint from any patient about [his] practice'.

The GMC ruled: 'There is no convincing evidence that Dr Scott imposes his personal religious beliefs upon potentially vulnerable patients.’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: 'The outcome of this case not only gives reassurance to Christian doctors and professionals across the UK that they can share their faith in the workplace, but also clear guidance on how they can share it without fear of losing their jobs.'

This is not the first time Dr Scott has had run-ins with the GMC, having been issued a warning in 2012 after a 24-year-old man filed a complaint against him for talking about Jesus at the end of an appointment.

The GMC said it does not comment on specific cases unless they are progressed to tribunals. But a spokesman said: 'What we can say in general terms however, is that our ethical guidance sets out how doctors can balance their own personal beliefs with those of their patients.

'No two cases are the same and we treat each issue on its own individual facts. 'The threshold at which we are required to open a case is prescribed in the legislation which governs the GMC's regulatory functions. Where a complaint meets that threshold we are obliged to investigate.

'We make every effort to conclude that work as quickly as possible to minimise what we know can be a stressful process for doctors and patients.'


Federal executions delayed on a technicality

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Friday that it would not allow the Trump administration to resume executions in federal death penalty cases after a 16-year hiatus. The move, which left in place a preliminary injunction from a federal judge in Washington, effectively stayed the executions of four men scheduled to be put to death in the coming weeks. The court’s brief, unsigned order said it expected an appeals court to decide the inmates’ challenges “with appropriate dispatch.”

In a separate statement, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, said that the inmates “were convicted in federal court more than 15 years ago for exceptionally heinous murders” and that “the government has shown that it is very likely to prevail” when the case moves forward.

“Nevertheless,” Alito wrote, “in light of what is at stake, it would be preferable for the district court’s decision to be reviewed on the merits by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before the executions are carried out.” He wrote that he would have set a deadline for the appeals court to act.

“The court has expressed the hope that the court of appeals will proceed with ‘appropriate dispatch,’ and I see no reason why the court of appeals should not be able to decide this case, one way or the other, within the next 60 days,” Alito wrote. “The question, though important, is straightforward and has already been very ably briefed in considerable detail by both the solicitor general and by the prisoners’ 17-attorney legal team.”

“For these reasons,” he wrote, “I would state expressly in the order issued today that the denial of the application to vacate is without prejudice to the filing of a renewed application if the injunction is still in place 60 days from now.”

Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the department would continue to press for the executions. “While we are disappointed with the ruling,” she said in a statement, “we will argue the case on its merits in the D.C. Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court. The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law and to carrying forward sentences imposed by our justice system.”

Attorney General William Barr set off the court fight when he announced in July that the federal government would end what had amounted to a moratorium on capital punishment. Last month, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, of the US District Court in Washington, blocked the executions, saying the protocol the government planned to use did not comply with the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994, which requires executions to be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed.”

On Dec. 2, a unanimous three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to stay Chutkan’s preliminary injunction. That same day, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to step in.

The central legal question in the case is whether the word “manner” in the 1994 law refers to the methods of execution authorized by the relevant states (like hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection) or the protocols the states require (like the particular chemicals used in lethal injections or how a catheter is to be inserted).

In his July announcement, Barr said the federal government would replace the three-chemical cocktail it had used in earlier executions with a single chemical, pentobarbital.

Chutkan wrote that using a uniform nationwide protocol was not authorized by the 1994 law. All of the relevant states permit or require executions by lethal injections but the details of their protocols vary. That meant, Chutkan wrote, that the federal protocol was at odds with the 1994 law



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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