Ambulance waiting times

Several of the media report on a clandestine NHS plan to exend target times for waiting ambulances in an effort to avoid missing those targets.

The Mail reports that patients could wait up to 19 minutes under the new targets

The Mail on Sunday has uncovered a secret plan to double the time ambulances can take to reach critically ill patients.

The current target is for an emergency vehicle to reach those in life-threatening situations within eight minutes.

But a document seen by this newspaper reveals that the target time to get to those suffering a range of serious problems including strokes and seizures is to be increased to 19 minutes.

Last night leading doctors said the scheme – designed to make it easier for ambulance services to hit targets they have missed for months – risked lives.

The astonishing memo – leaked by a whistleblower – reveals that the changes have been approved by NHS England, but bosses wanted implementation delayed until after the General Election in May.

However, they discussed bringing the plan forward at a series of secret high-level meetings, because of ‘unprecedented pressure’ on emergency services.

The revelations come as the NHS faces a wider winter crisis with top medics warning: ‘Don’t get ill this Christmas.’

According to the leaked document, drawn up by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), NHS England has agreed ‘in principle’ to relax the maximum ambulance wait for what are known as ‘Red 2’ incidents.

It stated the organisation ‘had a firm position that any changes would be made after the General Election’.

And Sky News has a similar story.

Sky News has seen a controversial memo which suggests 999 response times in England could change for some critically ill patients.

Some people who need an ambulance may soon have to wait longer for it to arrive even if they are classed as a serious case under new proposals.

In a letter seen by Sky News, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives suggests the target time to get to patients suffering a range of “serious but not the most life-threatening” problems, including strokes and seizures, could be increased to 19 minutes.

The current target for an emergency vehicle to reach people in life-threatening situations is eight minutes.

According to the memo, NHS England says there will be no changes to response times where patients have “immediately life threatening” conditions such as cardiac arrest, choking and major bleeding – known as Red 1 calls.

In these instances, a “fast response” car is often sent ahead of a fully-crewed ambulance to meet the time limit.

Under-age brides

The Mirror reports that girl married abroad can be brought into the UK without a penalty to their husbands, according to the Sunday People.

If the girl is wed lawfully in her homeland her husband cannot be prosecuted under UK law, Theresa May’s Home Office said.

Officials made the admission after the Bishop of St Albans Alan Smith asked the House of Lords what steps the Government was taking to protect girls already in under-age marriages from coming into the UK.

Schools minister Lord Nash told him social services and police might be involved if there were child protection issues, but the law as it stands cannot stop child brides entering the UK in the first place.

It is not known how many do so, but the Home Office Forced Marriage Unit says of 1,302 cases investigated last year, 15% (195) involved under 16s.

Rt Rev Dr Smith told the Sunday People: “I’m pleased to have unearthed ­anomalies our Government must wrestle with if it is to secure the future and safety of young girls brought into the country.”

Foreign students

The Home Office is still doing its best to deport some of the thousands of foreign students who do not go home after their courses, reports the Sunday Times.

FOREIGN students would be kicked out of the country when their courses ended under tough rules being drawn up by Theresa May.

The home secretary wants a future Conservative government to “move towards zero net student migration” by sending home those who come to Britain on student visas.

The plan is likely to bolster May’s support from the Tory right amid a feud between her closest aides and Conservative high command.

In a move that will be seen as an attempt to burnish her credentials as a future leader, May is demanding that the party’s next manifesto include a pledge to force non-EU students to leave the UK and apply for a fresh visa from abroad. At the moment most students switch easily to a work visa.

A similar story has been put on line by Sky News.

The Home Secretary is reportedly considering hardline plans to make non-EU graduates leave the UK and apply for visas from abroad.

Foreign students could be forced to leave the UK after their courses finish under tough new rules being considered by the Home Secretary, reports say.

Theresa May wants the Conservative party’s next manifesto include a pledge to make non-European Union graduates return home and apply for a work visa from abroad if they want to continue living in Britain, according to The Sunday Times.

At the moment most students switch easily to a work visa from within the UK.

Under the proposal, universities and colleges would be fined and stripped of the right to sponsor foreign students if they fail to ensure that students left the UK.

A source close to the Home Secretary told the newspaper that Mrs May has warned the Prime Minister that failure to act on foreign students will make it impossible for him to hit his target of cutting net migration.

Terrorism

Video footage obtained by the Mirror shows British Jihadis training for a war on the UK.

Shocking footage obtained by the Sunday Mirror shows Craig Fraser, the leader of a far-right group called Sigurd Legion, bragging about screening a jihadist film at a training session next month.

In a conversation with the notorious self-proclaimed “white nationalist” Kai Murras, powerfully-built Fraser says: “One of the videos we’re going to show at the next Sigurd camp, we’re going to get a projector up and project a jihadis training for ISIS over in Syria, showing them how they train”.

Murras, seen as leading figure among Europe’s far-right movement, replies: “The irony is that we actually need a jihad”.

With their prospects of achieving power through the ballot box in tatters following the collapse of Nick Griffin’s BNP, a new breed of UK fascists has emerged determined to transform ­themselves from a skinhead rabble into a highly trained and disciplined unit.

Scotland Yard’s anti-terror squad considers the extremist group a possible threat to national security.

Leading anti-fascist campaigners called for Home Secretary Theresa May to launch an urgent probe into the activities of Fraser and his neo-nazi cohorts.

Our footage, taken at a previous boot camp Wales, shows two men stripped to the waist pummelling each other as they practice unarmed combat and others training with blades.

VIP child abuse

The historic question of children being abused by senior Westminister people rumbles on in the Mirror.

VIP paedophile child murder witness will be shown pictures of possible victims within weeks

The key witness in the VIP paedophile child murder probe will be shown pictures of possible victims within weeks, the Sunday People can reveal.

Police hope for a major breakthrough in the New Year after narrowing down a file of 200 boys who vanished at the time it is feared the ring operated.

They are trying to identify the three abused children the witness – a man in his 40s called Nick – says were killed.

The latest development comes after Scotland Yard publicly confirmed on Thursday for the first time they believe Nick’s account is “credible and true”.

And Sky News has a similar story.

Scotland Yard has “received calls and information” relating to grave allegations of a VIP paedophile ring operating in Westminster during the 1970s and 1980s.

Detectives are investigating “credible” claims that the murders of three young boys – aged between seven and 16 – were linked to high-profile abusers, including MPs. One victim was allegedly run over by a car.

On Thursday, a fresh appeal was launched for further victims of historical abuse at the Dolphin Square estate, in southwest London, to come forward.

Children were allegedly taken to sex parties at the plush property, which was popular with politicians.

An alleged abuse victim – known as Nick – has claimed that he and other young boys were taken to properties in London and the Home Counties at the time, and abused by groups of men. In his “harrowing account”, he said this included military bases.

Scotland

The Independent asks whether former First Minister Alec Salmond is still pushing for devolution.

Alex Salmond has ‘broken his word to the Scottish people’ says Scottish Lib Dem leader

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has accused Alex Salmond of breaking his word to the Scottish people.

Willie Rennie made the charge after the former First Minister of Scotland said he believes he will see another independence referendum within his lifetime, in an interview with The Times.

Mr Salmond thinks that an English vote to leave the EU could prove a “tipping point” for another poll, if Scotland votes to stay.

He said: “If you believe there are four equal nations, partners in this United Kingdom, then it seems reasonable that no one country should be dragged out of the European firmament against its will.”

Labour poll lead

The Guardian reports a spike in the polls to the advantage of the Labour Party.

Labour has opened up a seven-point lead over the Conservatives in the latest Opinium/Observer poll, which also shows a sharp fall in the personal approval ratings for the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage.

The survey will be a boost for Labour and its leader, Ed Miliband, who has endured a torrid time since the autumn conference season as the political parties prepare to enter a general election year.

It is the second poll in a week showing that the Tories have lost ground since chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement earlier this month, in which he spelled out the need for several more years of deep cuts to public spending.

The survey will be worrying for Farage, as it shows his personal ratings diving to a level below those of Cameron. Photograph: Guim

The poll by Opinium puts Labour up two percentage points on a fortnight ago on 36%, while the Conservatives are unchanged on 29%. Ukip has fallen by three points to 16%, while the Liberal Democrats are also unchanged on 6%, just one point ahead of the Greens, who are on 5%.

If replicated at the general election, the figures could see Labour secure a majority in the Commons of more than 80 seats. Last week an ICM poll for the Guardian also showed Labour stretching its lead, to five points.

Since Miliband’s party conference speech in Manchester in September, after which he was mocked for forgetting to mention the deficit, Labour and the Tories have been neck and neck in a majority of polls, with Labour’s lead being wafer-thin.

Obesity in the EU

London Mayor Boris Johnson has slated an EU ruling on the disability of obese people, says the Telegraph.

A European ruling that overweight people can be classed as disabled is “totally and utterly ridiculous” and insults those with genuine disabilities, Boris Johnson has said.

The London Mayor publicly attacked the controversial decision during a question and answer session on Twitter.

It comes after Europe’s highest court has ruled fatness “can constitute a disability” for the purposes of European Union equality at work legislation.

The judgment means British companies will be required to treat obese workers as “disabled”, providing them with larger seats, special parking spaces and other facilities.

Discussing the ruling, Mr Johnson tweeted: “It is totally and utterly ridiculous to class this as a disability. It is an insult to those who are truly disabled.”

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, also criticised the ruling, saying: “It’s difficult to argue overweight people should be classed as disabled. There are occasions, but obesity in general isn’t a disability.”

The backlash from politicians comes after the 25-stone Dane whose sacking led to the judgment said he does not see himself as disabled.

Karsten Kaltoft, told The Telegraph: “I took my case to court because when you get told you’re being fired because your weight is too high it hits you very personally. I don’t think that’s fair.”

“I could do my job exactly like all the others. After this decision, I hope that if a person can do their job the right way they don’t get fired just because they’re too big.”

The 50-year-old was fired from his job four years ago as a childminder after 15 years of working for the municipality of Billund, a small town in Denmark’s Jutland region.

“Obesity can constitute a ‘disability’ within the meaning of the Employment Equality Directive,” the European Court of Justice ruled.

“While no general principle of EU law prohibits, in itself, discrimination on grounds of obesity, that condition falls within the concept of ‘disability’ where, under particular conditions, it hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers.”

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