John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Thursday, November 30, 2006
  Written Parliamentary Questions: 30th November 2006
Gas Industry
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken besides his efforts to liberalise the European gas market to ensure security of supply within the UK gas market.(John Hemming)

A:holding answer 21 November 2006

The recent review of the UK's energy policy confirmed the Government's view that security of supply is best ensured by a competitive and liberalised market-based system. Coupled with a light touch regulatory framework, this facilitates the short-term balancing of supply and demand, and provides the price signals and incentives to encourage investment for the longer term in diverse supplies. Two outcomes from the Energy Review address security of gas supply: DTI is working to streamline consent regimes for gas supply infrastructure projects, and is also consulting on possible ways to further improve the effectiveness of the current UK gas security of supply arrangements.
(Malcolm Wicks, Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry)

Gas Industry
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what impact concerns raised by NATO regarding Russia limiting gas supply into Europe have had on his plans for security of gas supply in the UK.(John Hemming)

A:holding answer 21 November 2006

With our EU partners and through the International Energy Agency, the Government monitor international gas market developments closely. The UK continues to promote diverse supplies, delivered through competitive markets, as the most efficient and effective way to ensure gas security of supply.
(Malcolm Wicks, Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry)

Imported Gas
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the availability of information on the cost and supply of Norwegian gas imported into the UK.(John Hemming)

A:holding answer 23 November 2006

No individual assessment has been made. Rules covering participation in GB gas markets, including those relating to provision of information, are the same for all market participants.
as the most efficient and effective way to ensure gas security of supply.
(Malcolm Wicks, Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry)

Imported Gas
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to increase the transparency of the gas markets that feed the UK gas market.
.(John Hemming)

A:holding answer 23 November 2006

I attach great importance to the development of a functioning internal energy market. While progress has been made in implementing the EU's 2003 liberalisation package, further steps are needed and I welcome the action the Commission is taking, both in conducting a sectoral inquiry of energy and in considering what other action may be necessary.

In the UK's response to the Commission energy Green Paper of March this year, we underlined a number of factors which we regard as key to the development of the market: ensuring sufficient information is available for all market players and consumers to benefit from fair competition; the need for regulators to have sufficient powers and independence to deliver competition, including across borders; investment in cross-border infrastructure; and effective unbundling to prevent discrimination against market entrants.

I look forward to the publication of the Commission's strategic energy review and the conclusions of the sectoral inquiry, both due to be published in January.

(Malcolm Wicks, Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
  Written Parliamentary Question: 29th November 2006
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated income to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency from fees for providing replacement registration certificates (V5C) was in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. (John Hemming)

A:The income, which is derived from fees for providing replacement registration certificates (V5C) for 2005-06 was £14.7 million and the forecasted income for 2006-07 is £13.5 million. (Stephen Ladyman, Minister of State, Department for Transport)
  Family Courts - how secret are they?
What has happened recently is that there have been two judgements in Clayton v Clayton and in NCC v Webster that have both reinterpreted and clarified the situation in terms of proceedings in the Family Courts.

I would emphasise that I am not legally qualified and if people wish to check out specific details then they should check them with people who are legally qualified.

Firstly, however, any proceedings held in private before a judge remain confidential. That includes any of the papers and reports that are part of those proceedings and prepared for those proceedings. This includes the judgement whether it is anonymised or not.

Secondly, whilst proceedings continue noone can publish the identity of a child or material intended or likely to identify a child in such proceedings.

Thirdly, however, when the proceedings have come to an end there is no statutory protection of the identity of the child. It is, therefore, at that point open to people to publish details. Quoting from Mumby's judgement:

"On the other hand, section 12 does not of itself prohibit publication of the fact that a child is the subject of proceedings under the Children Act 1989; of the dates, times and places of past or future hearings; of the nature of the dispute in the proceedings; of anything which has been seen or heard by a person conducting himself lawfully in the public corridor or other public precincts outside the court in which the hearing in private is taking place; or of the text or summary of any order made in such proceedings. Importantly, it is also to be noted that section 12 does not prohibit the identification or publication of photographs of the child, the other parties or the witnesses, nor the identification of the party on whose behalf a witness is giving or has given evidence."
"The common belief (which I confess I shared) that the statutory prohibition outlasted the existence of the proceedings has now been exploded for what it always was – yet another of the many fallacies and misunderstandings which have tended to bedevil this particular area of the law. On the other hand, and as Sir Mark Potter P was at pains to point out (at para [53]), the fact that, following an end to the proceedings, the prohibition on identification under section 97 will cease to have effect does not of course mean that the provisions of section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 are diluted or otherwise affected. The limitation upon reporting information relating to the proceedings themselves under section 12 of the 1960 Act will remain."

Fourthly, however, a judge can determine that a case be held in public.

There is a shift in the law that arose from Clayton v Clayton where the statute was read in accordance with freedom of speech such that any constraints under the Children Act ended at the end of the proceedings.

Mumby's judgement arose moreso from a proper review of the law in this area rather than a reinterpretation.

In essence it means that without going to court anyone aggrieved (or indeed happy) about the outcome of a Family Court procedure can now talk about it publicly.

This does not allow a proper consideration of what professional evidence was given although the professionals can be identified.
Monday, November 27, 2006
  Birmingham Baywatch
I always thought Birmingham needed a big river. The rivers Rea and Cole are relatively small although I have seen a nice old picture of the River Cole today.

We have, however, had our own tailored version of Baywatch uploaded on Youtube.
  Children and Mental Health
I have been reading an interesting report by National Statistics into the Mental Health of young people looked after by local authorities in England.

It points out for example that for 5-10 years olds 42% of the children (looked after by local authorities) are thought to have a "mental disorder" as opposed to 8% of "private household children".

There is a question as to why. Clearly there are two potential sources of cause. One is the experiences of the child before becoming formally "looked after". The other the the effect of being "taken into care".

The only way of checking out this situation and finding out what are the key drivers is to have controls. The only available controls are other countries. It is clear that a substantial number of children are taken into care who should not be. What is not clear is what proportion of those taken into care fall into that category.

Another useful piece of information is that which looks at the prevalence of mental disorder compared to the time in the current placement.

This shows a gradual reduction in disorders as the time in a particular placement extends. The figures are under 1 year 49.4%, 2 47.4, 3 45.4, 4 39.6, 5 39 over 5 years 31%.

In a sense this justifies the argument that the process of being taken into care causes problems for children.

It remains, however, that the stress caused to children by being taken away from their home when nothing was actually wrong in the first instance should not be ignored.

It is difficult to make the finely balanced decisions as to when to intervene. However, what is very clear is that on average intervention notwithstanding the good efforts of foster parents, is damaging.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
  Afghanistan - a segmented society
Afghanistan is, from an anthropological perspective, a segmented society. The primary patterns of political loyalty are to families, clans and ethnic groups.

Fundamentalist secularists tend to see religion as a cause of problems. It is in fact human nature that is a cause of problems religion tends to temper the worst aspects of human nature.

It is important to remember that religion tends to follow a segmented identity. When the UK was primarily segmented a thousand years ago Christianity followed the conversion of clan chieftans.

The division between Sunni and Shi'a Islam started out as a political division and became from that an ideological division.

To understand what is happening in societies it helps to deemphasise religion and look at the tribal loyalties.

The word Afghanistan is pronounced as if all the first three consonants are swallowed up and elided together. The languages spoken are those which tend to ignore the constancy of vowels and focus on the consonants. Hence words such as Pashtun can be written "Pathan" and pronounced as P'tan or Pushtoon.

The Pashtun are just under half of the population with Tajik about a quarter and other groups such as Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen and Baloch as well as other smaller groups. Different areas tend to be dominated by different ethnic groups.

What the UK is currently doing is taking on the Pashtun in Helmand. The problem is that you cannot win "hearts and minds" by shooting people. The UK armed forces are, therefore, have been given an impossible job. The more people they shoot the more likely people are to join with the opposition known as the Taliban.

This is not a complex ideological issue it is the simple traditional human one of my enemy's enemy is my friend.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
  Birmingham MPs work together on New St
It should not be really "news", because the Birmingham MPs should work together in the interests of the city.

However, this is working quite well as far as New Street Station is concerned. 5 MPs (3 Labour, 1 Tory and 1 Lib Dem) took part in an event to highlight the petition cards. Then Gisela Stuart and I took the petition (along with various other people inc Steve Dyson, Carl Chinn and Paul Tilsley) to the Department for Transport.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
  Speech on Public Family Law and Medical Ethics
Youtube being as it is the 12 or so minutes of the speech is divided into two parts.
(note that it starts with the end of someone else's speech)
First part being

Second part being
  Written Parliamentary Question: 22nd November 2006
NHS Trusts
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what the maximum amount each NHS trust may spend on marketing their services to general practitioners under patient choice and payment by results is; and what definition of marketing she uses;

(2) what the maximum amount each NHS trust may spend on marketing their services to patients and members of the public under patient choice and payment by results is;

(3) how much each NHS trust has budgeted for marketing their services to (a) patients and (b) general practitioners under patient choice and payment by results.
(John Hemming)

A:Information on NHS trust budgets for marketing is not held centrally.

In the "Operating Framework for 2006-07" the Department set out its expectation that providers would not want to spend excessively, on advertising and marketing and its preference for a self-regulatory approach. The Department will launch a "Code of Practice for Advertising and Promotion of National Health Services", for consultation shortly.
(Andy Burnham, Minister of State (Delivery and Quality), Department of Health)
  PMQ Again
Prime Ministers Question time starts up again today.

I wonder sometimes if PMQ's style of questioning drives and/or responds to the style of politics in the UK. It is more about entertainment than good government. There are important issues which need proper consideration. That will not generally happen through PMQ, however.

For example the Quality and Outcomes Framework in the NHS is costing a lot of money. Is it value for money? Given the contract with GPs is it possible to reduce the costs? I am told of one single handed GP with a gross income of £450,000 as a result of QoF with a patient list of 6,500. That probably gives him a profit after staffing costs of about £300,000. The question is whether the improvement in health of his patients is worth the increased costs. I am not sure that it is.
Monday, November 20, 2006
  Local Hospital Most Important to Patients
The national survey of patients into patient choice of hospital has been released. Unsurprisingly 57% of people (79,000) think that the location is an important issue.
22% were concerned about the waiting times, 18% about the hospital's "reputation", 17% about the quality of care, 15% about cleanliness, 8% about quality of staff and 6% about car parking.

The reputation of the consultation for a specialism was less important than car parking. There were a number of other minor issues as well.

In Eastern Birmingham 26% of patients remembered being offered a choice.
This figure was 18% for Heart of Birmingham, 37% for North Birmingham and 19% for South Birmingham.

Everyone was supposed to have been offered a choice from Jan 2006.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
  SIDS Conference in Yokohama
This conference included an interesting abstract:

The pathomechanisms leading to SID are still unknown. One way to gain more insights into these is an analysis of memory monitor downloads. There are now a number of recordings from cardiorespiratory monitors which were obtained during SID. In an analysis of 9 recordings of chest wall impedance and heart rate obtained during SID, gasping was the predominant pattern, being already present at the time of the monitor alarm in 3 infants and occurring within 3 min. after it in a further 4. One infant only began to gasp 13 min. after the first monitor alarm. The duration of gasping ranged from 3 s to 11 min. Primary trigger for the monitor alarm had been bradycardia in all but two infants, but there was no indication of heart block or ventricular tachycardia. Prolonged apnea (>20 s) began only up to 13.7 min. (median 2.7) after this alarm in 5 infants and 7 to 20 s before it in 3; in the remaining infant, stimulation occurred prior to any apnea. There was no evidence for any arousal reaction (e.g., body movements). These observations suggest that prolonged apnea is unlikely to be a primary mechanism in the sequence of events leading to most cases of SID. Also, bradycardia is unlikely to be a primary mechanism, as it was closely related to gasping, which is indicative of severe hypoxemia (triggering the bradycardia). Finally, gasping occurred in the majority of these SID victims, but was obviously not successful as an autoresuscitative mechanism. The latter data were confirmed in a similar study observing gasping in 23 of 24 infants immediately preceding death. These data differ from those obtained during imposed apnea (infanticide), which may show initial tachycardia. These data will be compared with a polygraphic video recording of an infant during a severe ALTE who showed similar respiratory patterns.

I would feel uncomfortable if a baby died from SIDS in hospital when simply being monitored unless all possible efforts were made to prevent this from happening.
  The Bolam Test and Medical Ethics
There has been some debate about Medical Ethics.

Since Nuremberg there has been the Nuremberg Code .

In essence in non-therapeutic research doctors are not allowed to Harm human beings to find out what happens.

It is more permissible when the research is supposed to benefit the patients.

The Bolam Test (see link) is a test for medical negligence. If a doctor harms a patient when trying to cure the patient then this is OK as long as it is something seen as a reasonable thing by other reasonable doctors.

So, in other words, a doctor can avoid a charge of medical negligence by finding another independent doctor who says that it was OK.

This, however, is not the same for harming patients as part of research where the actions taken were never anything like to benefit the patients.

The goes to the nub of the arguments about the research managed by Dr David Southall (it turns out he is no longer a professor).

The evidence is from published work as well as secret reports such as the Hull report that his research harmed the patients (mainly babies) in it.

The fact that some other doctors think that it ok does not get him off the hook.
The question is one as to whether the risks taken with the health of the babies concerned was reasonable in the circumstances and given the potential information obtained from the research. This is a legal test not one of medical opinion.
Friday, November 17, 2006
  Speech on Public Family Law and Medical Ethics
I managed to get into the Queens Speech debate about Public Family law and Medical Ethics yesterday. See link for Hansard.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
  The Debate Kicks off on Medical Ethics
The complex debate relating to family court secrecy and medical ethics has now kicked off in the British Medical Journal (see link).

(see the rapid responses)

I spoke on these issues during the Queens Speech debate today. I will post a link to this tomorrow.
  Written Parliamentary Question: 16th November 2006
Dental Budgets
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the gross dental budget is in each primary care trust in 2006-07; how much has been budgeted for in charges in each trust; what the expected outturn against budget is; and if she will make a statement. (John Hemming)

A:A table listing the primary dental service resource allocations for 2006-07 for all primary care trusts (PCTs) in England as at 31 July 2006 is available in the Library. This sets out gross budgets for each PCT, the level of patient charge income that it was reasonable to expect for the level of gross expenditure for each PCT, and the net allocations awarded to PCTs. The actual level of charge income will depend on a range of variables including the service levels, ie the annual units of dental activity, agreed for each local contract with dentists and the relative proportions of chargeable and non-chargeable treatments carried out during the year. The in-year management and monitoring of those allocations is the responsibility of the individual PCTs. (Rosie Winterton, Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
  Queens Speech: Groundhog Day
Some day the government will start concentrating on enforcing the laws that exist rather than creating new ones.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
  GMC Continues Cover-up
There are 5 families in front of the GMC. I know who all 5 families are, but am not going to identify family M because Mrs M is in Australia and I have not been able to contact her.

The other families are
A - Janet and Lawrence Alexander - see Lawrence's Web page see Lawrence's Web page
B - Sharon and Hannah Bozier
D - Janet Davies
H - Davina and Ben McLean
  Blair Summoned to Washington
The idea that Tony Blair will be cross examined by the US Iraq Study group, but not an equivalent Inquiry in the UK is not good for the UK.
  GMC Hearing
Being in London for the meeting tonight having come down early because of meeting Ofgem I attended the GMC FPC hearing earlier today.

There are a number of odd things about this particular GMC process.
The first is that they seem to concentrate on relatively minor issues rather than the major issue of doing harm to patients (particularly babies) through dangerous research.

Secondly, they are appear to be trying to gag the patients and their parents. There is no reason for the parents to be anonymous. Lawrence Alexander (one of the patients) is now 20 he has done loads of interviews with the media and published his story on the web. The theory of anonymity is to protect the children. The reality is that it only protects the professionals who make errors (intentionally or otherwise).

I had referred the research to the GMC to ensure that it has been formally referred. I have now referred the absence of action to the Council for Regulatory Healthcare Excellence which is the watchdog of health watchdogs.

They responded promptly and have promised an urgent substantive response whereas the GMC have just said they will respond later.

There are two underlying systematic issues that are important within this current context.

The first is that the GMC are claiming a continuing responsibility for regulation within the medical profession. I am really very uncomfortable with their behaviour on this issue. The lawyers acting for the complainants basically don't act for the complainants they act for the GMC. There is a danger here that things get left out of the process although to be fair the CHRE acts as a backstop. However, for equality of arms the people making references should be in a stronger position to guide the complaint process. There are clearly systematic problems here and the GMC are not making their case for a retention of this role very well.

The second is that there are proposals to lessen the amount of ethical control on research. The current system has clearly failed. There needs to be a more effective mechanism for investigation to ensure that people are not treated as they have been (for people read particularly babies). I am not sure that removing the local research ethics committees is a good idea.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
  Remembrance Sunday Birmingham 2006
I have noticed that quite a few people are looking at my photographic record of Remembrance Sunday in 2005. I, therefore, took photos from my seat in the VIP stand plus a few others.

I have suggested that the City Council kept a documentary photographic record of major city events such as Remembrance Sunday and post them on the web. If I remember to chase this up it would be relatively easy to do. What is important is to do a better job with events than people such as the BBC. For example you should ensure that each of the groups attending is photographed. That is much like the Jang or Kashmir Post that photograph all the people at a meeting. The BBC editorially select what they think are good photos. That misses out much of what happens.

My difficulty is that often I am involved in the event such as playing the Guitar at St Patrick's day so I cannot do a proper record.

However, for remembrance Sunday 2006 in Birmingham's Centenary Square you need to start with a properly dressed Council House.
Note that the Council wishes people a Happy Christmas not a Happy Winterval.
The parade is gathered:
Most of the event is run from the Hall of Remembrance
and it ends with a march past the Lord Mayor
I have photographed all the main wreaths, but here are only a selection. If anyone asks me to update this with all of them I will.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
  Justice for Families
I have been working on creating a defined structure for the umbrella campaigning I have been doing (with others) to improve Public Family Law.

From Friday it has been called "Justice for Families". The main web page on my reference website is linked.

As am umbrella campaign it will not have individual membership, but be based upon affiliation of other organisations.

So far Fassit have agreed to affiliate. If anyone else wishes to affiliate they merely need to indicate their support. No financial contribution is needed.
  Farepak and MPs Salary
A considerable amount of fuss has been made about whether or not MPs should donate £165 (a day's salary) to those who have lost money in Farepak.

I give more to charity in a year than £165 so the question is why Farepak?

Firstly, noone has contacted me from my constituency about the issue so it does not appear to be an issue in Yardley.

Secondly, for each MP who donates someone who lost a hamper at a value of £500 will get about a fifth of a penny. Hence if 600 MPs donate funds then people will get £12 towards a hamper. Enough really for a fish and chip dinner for a family of four.

Thirdly, why Farepak and not MG Rover.

Fourthly, why Farepak and not Save the Children or Help the Aged.

As far as I am concerned I will continue to support local youth groups rather than Farepak.

The important point about Farepak is why the advance monies were not kept in a trust account so if the company goes bust the money is not lost to the depositors. That, however, is the responsibility of the government. (DTI)

If there are any people in Yardley who have suffered from this then I will be happy to look at how we can make Christmas better for them, but not by giving them 0.2p.
Friday, November 10, 2006
  Peak Uranium
The linked article (slightly old apologies, from October 2006) relates to how flooding at one mine caused a jump in prices of Uranium.

With the issues about either scarcity of fossil fuels or carbon emissions there have been discussions about Nuclear Power.

It is quite clear that there are constraints on the availability of Uranium.

There are arguments that there is only enough Uranium to produce three years of the world's electricity

One of the problems with Uranium is that it takes quite a bit of energy to mine and process the ore such that it can be used.

What is needed is a proper full cycle analysis of the production of Uranium.

There are three other suggested nuclear energy sources. These are fusion (where deuterium is hammered together to create heluium), the breeder reactor and the Thorium Cycle which is a form of breeder.

None have been shown to be effective as yet before we take into account the long term effects on the environment.

My own view is that solar energy through algae will be the best mechanism over time to create a sustainable energy cycle. This will still use hydrocarbons, but they will be produced sustainably.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
  Adoption Campaign
The issue of Adoption has been quite high profile recently. We had Madonna's circumvention of the system. We also have the campaign to encourage older people to adopt (see link).

It is clear, however, that some of the contested adoptions of the past have occured on the basis of false evidence. My own view is that there should be a hold on contested adoptions until there has been a review of the process. Whatever the situation is we should not compound the difficulties.

Some of the people I am particularly worried about are those parents that adopt children that should not have been "freed" for adoption. What happened with Tammy recently is likely to happen more often as the children get older and find their birth parents. This is difficult for both sets of parents and the children. There is, of course, no easy answer to this.

What is important, however, is not to create any more of these situations. When parliament starts again I will do some work on this.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
  Pipped at the Post
Well, having been at place 14 on the list of questioners for the Prime Minister (probably too low down to be called) then parliament is prorogued (cancelled until the official opening next week). Hence no question.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
  Times Articles and Southall Victim
The first article looks again at MSbP and FII. I asked a question about FII relatively recently and the government (Civil Servants) came out with the usual drivel.

The second article,,200-2436306,00.html
Looks at the use of Medical Opinion as Evidence.

It is important to remember the impact of the false allegations on the children of the parents who were alleged against. There is a speech from last week's conference at
This is from someone who was adopted as a result of false allegations and was recently reunited with her mother. This raises perhaps the hardest aspect of this whole saga. There is clearly an impact on the adopting family when it turns out that the forced adoption occurred on the basis of false allegations. I don't really have an answer to this save that we should stop forced adoptions on the basis of "balance of probabilities" immediately.

The following statement will be going to the GMC on Monday.
STATEMENT BY LAWRENCE ALEXANDER to GMC Fitness to Practise Directorate:


In 1987 I was made a Ward of Court based on medical evidence invented by Dr. Southall. Despite the wardship case having been dismissed thanks to a determined legal fight by my parents in 1987, the false Munchausen by Proxy (MSbP) label stuck and was spread throughout neighbourhoods, schools, my own social circles and their workplaces.

My parents’ ruined careers left us very poor and on benefits, so many clothes and toys came from car boot sales. My aunt Nina was one of the few in the family who offered love and support to me throughout my childhood giving generous birthday and Christmas presents. I recently gained an uncle, but I was abandoned by all others, and have no grandparents.

I feel Mum and Dad's parenting is pretty close to perfect looking back on it now as a 20-year old. They are caring, loving, open-minded and intelligent people. The idea of them being accused of child abuse is laughable. They never even smacked me. They gave me a good education, and just the right balance of freedom, discipline and care that I needed. Amazingly they also managed to keep up a front of being happy and carefree in the face of the chaos wrought by Dr. Southall.

During much of my childhood I was largely oblivious to it all, but despite Mum and Dad’s efforts to shield me, I secretly lived with the terror of being taken away from them and into care. If the worst had happened, I had designed elaborate escape plans, although naively based on Tintin adventures – one of my favourite reads when young.

I became more aware of the MSbP label in my late childhood and early teens. After being fit and full of energy for every activity through my early years, I suddenly became extremely ill, losing two stone in two months. My parents had been able to avoid any contact with GPs but we were now forced to consult a user name not allowed, who treated me with absolute contempt and derision. No help or treatment was offered. Mum and Dad had to pay privately for an ME user name not allowed the last five years, and I am still assessed as 80% disabled, and the worst case of cell damage in thousands of known patients. What exactly has caused all this damage?

The slur of child abuse also mysteriously found its way to my school. I was so happy there, when suddenly I was being bullied and ostracized, apart from two loyal friends. Classmates were barred from previously planned visits to sleep over, or even visit. The final humiliation came when Mum and Dad were banned from the school premises. Shortly after this, despite brilliant class and behaviour reports, I was told to leave the school, leaving me heartbroken and inconsolable. Mum and Dad educated me at home and did a great job, but I was desperately lonely without my friends.

We are told that in so-called child protection cases confidentiality is paramount. In my case this has been a joke. Despite my parents’ clear and proven innocence, we have been punished for two decades. To what purpose? There have never been any explanations or apologies.

During this my twentieth year, even more things have fitted into place. I have read my own Special Case file (kept secretly by Dr. Southall at a hospital I never attended) and have searched through pages of material in search of answers. I have learned of hundreds of babies being abused in horrifying and needless medical research by Dr. Southall during and after my time at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He didn't even seek parental consent, and I now read some of the tests involved giving babies "noxious" gases, including Carbon Monoxide. What implications does this have for my health now and in the future, I wonder?

It is impossible to imagine how my life would have been without Dr. Southall’s intervention. The phrases ‘best interests of the child’ and ‘child protection’ are used all the time. All Dr. Southall’s two decades of ‘care and protection’ have done for me is bring us grief, poverty, danger, isolation and now ill-health. I am not a bitter person but on behalf of myself, all the other children and their families, I implore the Fitness to Practise Panel to investigate thoroughly in this hearing the exact purpose and full extent of the secret files and the invasive experiments behind them.

I have been secretly monitored with my family throughout my childhood. Please at least help me to clear all records so I can restore my privacy and dignity as I face my uncertain future.

6th November 2006 Lawrence Alexander
Monday, November 06, 2006
  Metaphyseal Fractures
This seems to be another diagnostic of child abuse. The real question is how valid it is as a diagnostic. There is no question that it has been used. The Webster Family is one family with many children taken off them because of "metaphyseal fractures".

Of all the injuries observed in child physical abuse, none is more specific than the metaphyseal fracture. First described in 1957 by the eminent pediatric radiologist John Caffey, metaphyseal fracture is virtually pathognomonic of abuse. Kleinman et al coined the term "classic metaphyseal lesion" (CML) to describe the injury. CMLs are relatively common in abused infants and are discovered in 39%-50% of abused children less than 18 months of age. Overall, CMLs most often occur in the distal femur, proximal tibia, distal tibia, and proximal humerus. They are seen almost exclusively in children less than 2 years of age.

pathognomic, pathognomonic
a. a. aiding diagnosis; distinctive

News Item re Websters (Hardinghams)
The expert added that the number and nature of the metaphyseal fractures suggested “that all the child's limbs were forcibly twisted on one or more occasion with enough force to cause the fractures”.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
  Standards of Proof, Medical Ethics and Family Law
At the moment to disqualify a doctor requires evidence beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal standard). However, to remove children from parents requires evidence on the balance of probabilities.

I am aware of a number of cases where totally rubbishy medical opinion has been used to remove children from parents.

I am to some extent persuaded of the need of stronger standards of proof for permanent actions (such as disqualifying doctors or removing children from their family for ever).

The big issue for me, however, is why that the GMC has not acted (and still does not respond to my reference) on some of the research managed by David Southall. There is a hearing on 13th November. However, it is not going to consider research project E5 in Sir David Hull's report.

The law in terms of defamation on these issues is relatively complex. References to bodies such as the GMC have qualified privilege which means that if they are not malicious, but in error then they do not form cause for a defamation action. Anything which is part of proceedings in parliament (such as an Early Day Motion) is covered by absolute privilege. One legal debate in my JR on questions is what the definition of proceedings is.

I think, however, that there will come a point where I might just publish the details of the allegations. I will give the GMC a little longer to respond.
  Ofcom Acts on Silent Calls
The linked story from The Telegraph shows Ofcom seeming to act. Hopefully this will be more than Sabre Rattling.
Friday, November 03, 2006
  Written Parliamentary Question: 2nd November 2006
HMRC Call Centres
Q:To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs has implemented the informative message to stop silent calls in its call centres.
John Hemming)

A:holding answer 30 October 2006

HM Revenue and Customs is currently undertaking work to upgrade the outgoing telephony systems in its contact centres and expects to have the technical ability to play such recorded messages fully in place from March 2007. In the interim, arrangements are in place to ensure that the contact centre telephone number is always displayed therefore anyone missing a call would have the option of calling the number back. (Dawn Primarolo, Paymaster General, HM Treasury)
Thursday, November 02, 2006
  The Free Lunch Row
There is a row going on in the blogosphere about whether or not the Lib Dems should have made it clear in the last manifesto that "free personal care" did not include a "free lunch". (or indeed a free dinner).

The reality is that free personal care is an improvement on what happens at the moment. Anyone going into a residential home would have had to pay for their own food in any event. Hence the underlying policy is a clear step forward for the people involved.

There is also a problem where people are having to top up payments for people in residential care. Some of the care may be paid for through means testing, but that does not cover all of the bill and relatives need to find the rest.
  Shorter Speeches
There were a number of votes yesterday on how parliament should operate. I voted for shorter speeches and september sittings, but against the communications allowance and requiring more notice for amendments in committee.

Now, however, the communications allowance has been put in place I will probably fall into line and make use of it. (in the next financial year). I am subsidising my office costs slightly this year, mainly because of the cost of the phone system.

The reason it is being done is to stop abuse of postage, but really the best thing to do would be to stop abuse of postage instead.
  Written Parliamentary Questions: 2nd November 2006
Health and Safety Executive
Q:To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Health and Safety Executive plans to make its guidance books available in electronic format.(John Hemming)

A:holding answer 11 September 2006

Over the past 18 months, HSE has made more than 1,000 previously priced publications, mainly reports, freely available in electronic format, through the HSE website. (Anne McGuire, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
  NHS Lobby
Today I met people from Birmingham concerned about proposals for the NHS. The loss of our regional blood testing centre concerns me as at times we need a rapid turnaround of testing. There is an argument that there could be fewer centres, but not as few as three.

I also had the papers accepted for the appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Click Here for access to higher resolution versions of the photos The license for use allows use of the photos by media as long as they are attributed.

better brent chart

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Published, promoted, and printed (well not really printed I suppose, more like typed) by John Hemming, 1772 Coventry Road, Birmingham B26 1PB. Hosted by part of 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043, United States of America. This blog is posted by John Hemming in his personal capacity as an individual.

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