Archive for December 29, 2011


Worcestershire NHS Bosses send staff on two day training course to cut sick leave

Last month the trust spent £1,196,000 on temporary staff, a big increase from October when the figure was £808,000 Because of the Norovirus .

HOSPITAL Bosses in Worcestershire could save £2 million a year if they cut staff sickness levels by just half of one per cent.

A self-care programme for 86 staff has already saved NHS hospital bosses in Worcestershire £130,000 in two years by helping them cut their number of sick days.

The two-day course, managed internally, helps staff at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester look at issues such as their lifestyle, diet and balancing work with their other commitments and responsibilities to reduce the number of days they take off sick.

When a doctor, nurse or healthcare assistant is off sick it costs Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust both sick pay and paying expensive bank and agency staff to cover shifts.

On average for this year, 4.1 per cent of WAH NHS Trust’s 5,500 staff are off sick at any one time, within the NHS average and an improvement on the rate of sickness in 2007 which was about five per cent.

Liz Preece, an occupational therapist who works for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, gave a presentation at Worcester-shire Royal Hospital.

She said: “We know from the research that individuals who have high levels of short term sickness absence are likely to continue with that pattern of absence.

“The biggest single predictor of sickness absence is a previous history of sickness absence.”

Since April the trust has been forced to sack 12 staff on long term sickness although some staff are suspended from work on medical grounds if they have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting which can spread to patients and lead to ward closures. This has happened recently at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch because of norovirus.

Last month the trust spent £1,196,000 on temporary staff, a big increase from October when the figure was £808,000.

The rising costs are partly to cover staff sickness but also to cover unfilled vacancies and to staff the increased number of beds opened over the winter to deal with increased patient numbers.

Of this £1,196,000, £445,000 was spent on temporary nursing and £691,000 on medical agency and locum costs.

Bev Edgar, interim director of director of human resources, said: “I think the danger is that we think all temporary spending isn’t good and that isn’t the case at all.

“The purpose of a flexible workforce is to have people on hand at a time when we need the right resources, for example reopening a ward or where we have had to close wards because of infection.”

Mrs Edgar said “the foot came off the pedal” in terms of recruiting staff but that there was now rolling advertising for both nurses and healthcare assistants.

She added: “We have put some pressure back on recruitment and nursing teams to get those posts filled as quickly as possible.”

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Store chain D2 Jeans has collapsed into administration, making 200 staff redundant and jeopardising hundreds more jobs.

Administrators closed 19 stores and laid off the shop workers as the Dundonald, Ayrshire-based firm became the first notable post-Christmas retail casualty.

The remaining 28 stores are being run as a going concern while administrators seek a buyer for parts or all of the business in the hope of saving the jobs of hundreds more employees.

BDO LLP administrator James Stephen said: “It is unfortunate that the economic climate and extremely difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the retail sector.

“However, we are hopeful of securing a sale of all or part of the business and will continue to trade the business while this is explored.”

It is the second time in two years that the chain, originally set up by Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, has gone into administration.

Last time, it was understood that around 500 jobs were saved as its management struck a deal to buy more than 40 of its stores out of administration. But around 32 stores – employing more than 300 staff – were not included in the rescue deal.

A spokeswoman for BDO said she was unable to say which of the firm’s stores had been closed today.

According to the company’s website, which is no longer fully functioning, D2 operates stores across the UK. These include Sheffield, Redditch, Taunton, South Wirral, Bicester, Banbury, Rochdale, King’s Lynn, Gloucester, Barnstaple, Penzance, Truro, Newquay and Cambridge in England.

In Scotland it has stores in Paisley, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Livingston, Coatbridge, Hamilton, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Irvine, Ayr and four in Glasgow.

its Redditch store has closed.

Never mind the Arab Spring, the economic crisis, the Eurozone meltdown or the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking. This column has brought you the stories that really mattered in 2011. It’s time to test your knowledge in our special Makes you Proud to be British Quiz 2011.

1. Armed police in West Yorkshire raided a residential garage in Bradford on the basis of evidence from a helicopter-mounted heat-seeking camera. They discovered:
a) A cannabis factory.
b) A dozen illegal immigrants.
c) Two guinea pigs, called Simon and Kenny.

2. Labour MPs called for the resignation of Tory MP Sir George Young after he joked that the most popular girl’s name of 2011 was:
a) Salmonella.
b) Chlamydia.
c) Austerity.

3. The NHS invested millions of pounds of ring-fenced taxpayers’ money in:
a) State-of-the-art MRI scanners.
b) The latest cancer drugs from America.
c) Super-strength hoists, heavy duty toilets and reinforced ambulances and hospital beds to handle the increasing number of patients weighing up to 40st.

Supersize me: A new ambulance designed to carry severely overweight patients. Is this what the NHS spent millions on? Supersize me: A new ambulance designed to carry severely overweight patients. Is this what the NHS spent millions on?

4. Publican Mike Sacqui, landlord of the Penny Farthing, in Lyndhurst, Hants, received a visit from the police after he put up a sign reading:
a) No coach parties.
b) No dogs, No blacks, No Irish.
c) Poofters welcome here!

5. Diversity officials spent £5,000 during Romany and Traveller History Month on:
a) Advising travellers on how to obey the planning laws.
b) Explaining that using red diesel in non-agricultural vehicles is illegal.
c) Hip-hop dancing lessons.

6. The former Mayor of Dudley was accused of ‘homophobia’ because he used the word ‘faggots’ in an email. He was referring to:
a) Stonewall.
b) The Terrence Higgins Trust.
c) Meatballs in gravy.

7. As part of the new curriculum introduced under Labour’s ‘education, education, education’ policy, it was revealed that thousands of pupils have been given lessons in:
a) Reading and writing.
b) Arithmetic.
c) How to claim unemployment benefit.

8. In Wisbech, Cambs, police refused to patrol a local park after 8pm because they were afraid of:
a) Drive-by shootings.
b) The Werewolves Of Wisbech.
c) The dark.

9. The Rev Martin Wray, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, surprised his parishioners when he:
a) Said he believed in God.
b) Said he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
c) Turned up at a Vicars And Tarts party dressed as a prostitute, in a little black dress, shiny gold tights, pink high heels, a pink necklace and long black wig.

10. New safety advice issued to police officers told them to wear:
a) Hi-viz jackets.
b) Stab-proof vests.
c) Body-hugging cycle underwear with a padded crotch.

11. Ex-Harrods boss and Fulham FC owner Mohamed Fayed erected a bronze statue outside Craven Cottage football ground, honouring:
a) Former Fulham and England captain Johnny Haynes.
b) Former Fulham and England captain Alan Mullery.
c) Former pop star and kiddie fiddler Wacko Jacko.

What was pupil's destructive behaviour blamed on? What was pupil’s destructive behaviour blamed on?

12. Teachers in Darwen, Lancashire, walked out on strike in protest at classroom violence. One school governor, a Lib Dem councillor, blamed pupils’ destructive behaviour on:
a) Broken homes, poverty and deprivation
b) Government spending cuts
c) The wet and windy weather in Lancashire, which puts children ‘on edge’

13. Suffolk Fire Brigade dispatched 22 firemen, including a ‘special heights team’ and back-up crew, in five vehicles — one from 60 miles away — to rescue:
a) A family from a burning tower block in Ipswich.
b) A critically-injured lorry driver trapped in his cab after a multiple pile-up on the A14.
c) A cat on a roof, which had already been brought down by a part-time fireman with a ladder by the time they got there.

14. The NHS in Bolton, Lancs, spent £75,000 on a substance-abuse scheme, which included:
a) A new drying-out clinic.
b) A team of trained early-intervention specialists.
c) Buying mobile phones for alcoholics.

15. A caretaker from Derby married a pre-op Malaysian transsexual and spent £1,200 obtaining a visa for his new bride to be allowed to stay in Britain. She/he repaid him by:
a) Promising to love, honour and obey until death doth them part.
b) Having a nice dinner ready for him every night when he got home from work.
c) Refusing to have the operation and running off to Blackpool to become a showgirl.

16. Beach bar singer Simon Ledger, from the Isle of Wight, was arrested and accused of racially aggravated harassment because he was:
a) Distributing BNP pamphlets.
b) Wearing Black And White Minstrels make-up.
c) Singing the 1974 Number One hit Kung Fu Fighting.

17. Serial burglar Nathan Cassidy was spared a jail sentence by a judge at Cambridge Crown Court, despite the fact that he had 14 previous convictions and was already serving a suspended sentence, because:
a) He was truly, deeply sorry.
b) He promised to make restitution and go straight in future.
c) He claims to be allergic to prison.

18. As part of its commitment to ‘safeguarding children’, Ash Manor Secondary School in Surrey:
a) Hired security guards to ward off drugs dealers and paedophiles hanging round the school gates.
b) Installed metal detectors to stop weapons being brought on school property.
c) Installed CCTV cameras to spy on children in the toilets.

19. Councillor Lance Kennedy was on the receiving end of hate mail and death threats after he was exposed as:
a) The Birdman of Barlinnie.
b) The Beast of Bodmin.
c) The Tortoise Tyrant of St Austell.

Dream Job: In the current dire state of the UK job market, what job would you queue round the corner for?Dream Job: In the current dire state of the UK job market, what job would you queue round the corner for?

20. A Brighton hairdresser who parked a 3ft-high toy bus outside his salon to drum up business was rewarded with:
a) A 50 per cent increase in customers.
b) An enterprise award from the Chamber of Commerce.
c) A £50 parking ticket.

21. A 51-year-old female police inspector from Manchester failed a fitness test which requires officers to be able to run 500 yards wearing full riot gear and carrying a shield, in less than two minutes 45 seconds. She was:
a) Put on administrative duties.
b) Told to work out in the gym and take the test again.
c) Awarded £30,000 for sex discrimination and the time limit was raised to three minutes.

22. At the height of summer, the Yorkshire seaside resort of Bridlington banned holidaymakers on the beach from:
a) Drinking alcopops.
b) Nude sunbathing.
c) Flying kites, punishable by a £500 fine.

23. With unemployment at its highest level for a quarter of a century, jobseekers in Blackpool queued around the block to apply for a job as a:
a) Tram driver.
b) Toffee apple salesman.
c) Knife-thrower’s assistant.

24. Under a schools exchange programme, Blackburn, Lancashire — constituency of former Home Secretary Jack Straw — has been twinned with:
a) Aberdeen.
b) Abu Dhabi.
c) Abbottabad, last hiding place of Osama Bin Laden.

Jack Straw's Home constituency has been twinned with a most peculiar choice... Jack Straw’s Home constituency has been twinned with a most peculiar choice…

25. National Vocational Qualifications for trainee hairdressers have been scrapped:
a) To save money.
b) There were not enough applicants.
c) Elf ’n’ safety banned them from using scissors, so the NVQ was worthless anyway.

26. A Ugandan woman has been granted indefinite leave to stay in Britain because:
a) She has married a Romanian citizen with an EU passport living in Birmingham.
b) She is working in the NHS as a neurosurgeon.
c) She might be ‘suspected’ of being a lesbian if she went home and could face persecution — even though she isn’t a lesbian.

27. Council officials in Redditch decided to tackle dog fouling by:
a) Sending in fast-response clean-up teams with high-pressure hoses.
b) Handing out free pooper scoopers.
c) Spray painting stray dog poo orange to shame owners into clearing it up.

28. A group of illegal immigrants from Vietnam has been prevented from entering Britain by:
a) New, tougher passport controls agreed with the Vietnamese government.
b) Multi-lateral asylum rules approved by the EU Commission.
c) A sniffer dog called Jake, who found them stowing away in a consignment of wheelie bins on the back of a Polish-registered lorry bound for Britain.

29. Two masked crime fighters called the Dark Spartan and the Black Void took to the streets of Torbay. But there were doubts about their effectiveness because:
a) They have no powers of arrest.
b) The police disapprove of people taking the law into their own hands.
c) The Black Void suffers from stress-related irritable bowel syndrome.

30. A family of asylum seekers from Somalia has been given a £2 million, six-bedroom home in Hampstead, at a cost to taxpayers of £8,000 a month in rent, because:
a) They are high-level defectors with valuable intelligence about al-Qaeda activities in London.
b) They are wealthy members of the Somali business community who will repay British taxpayers just as soon as their Swiss bank accounts have been unfrozen.
c) They didn’t fancy living in Coventry.

31. A man claiming to be a 17-year-old Albanian asylum seeker arrived in Britain without any papers. The authorities:
a) Sent him to a detention centre until he could prove his true age and identity.
b) Sent him back to Albania after he admitted on an internet dating site that he was 24.
c) Sent him for free hair-loss treatment on the NHS to ‘boost his self-esteem’.

What excuse can you give to Boarder Control in order to remain in the UK?What excuse can you give to Boarder Control in order to remain in the UK?

32. Electrician Gareth Durrant was admitted to hospital with life-threatening internal injuries sustained at the caravan factory where he works. He claimed:
a) He had fallen from an overhead gantry.
b) He suffered a severe 5,000-volt electric shock while working on a wiring loom.
c) A high-pressure air hose had detached itself from a ceiling mounting, snaked its way up the leg of his trousers and ‘accidentally lodged itself’ in his bottom, pumping a 300lb-per-square-foot blast up his back passage.

33. Despite imposing £3.1 million budget cuts, Bury Council in Greater Manchester managed to find some money to improve the efficiency of its refuse service by:
a) Re-introducing weekly bin collections.
b) Scrapping complicated recycling rules.
c) Buying iPads for dustmen at £500 a pop.

34. Britain gained a new world record holder in 2011. In August, Andrew Holmes knocked more than six seconds off the previous best time in his event, which was:
a) 1,500 metres freestyle swimming.
b) 56-mile cycling endurance.
c) Bog-snorkelling along a 180ft trench at the World Championships in Wales.

35. It was revealed that in Labour’s last year in power, the Foreign Office spent nearly £40,000 teaching mandarins:
a) Mandarin.
b) Arabic.
c) African bongo drumming.

36. Teacher Benedict Garrett, 31, from Ilford, Essex, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct, but given the go-ahead to carry on teaching. He admitted:
a) Fiddling examination marks to inflate grades.
b) Giving unauthorised private tuition contrary to education department policy.
c) Working as a male stripper and pornographic film star, under the stage name Johnny Anglais, specialising in firemen, policemen and offering a range of personal services, including lap dancing and serving food in the nude at dinner parties.

Poor dear: why was the police woman signed off work with full pay?Poor dear: why was the police woman signed off work with full pay?

37. In October, it was reported that a woman police officer had been off work on full pay for four months. Scotland Yard said she was ‘ suffering from stress related matters’ because:
a) She had confronted a robber wielding a sawn-off Purdey and wrestled him to the ground
b) She had risked life and limb tackling violent looters during the riots
c) She had a broken heart after her married lover went back to his wife

38. Lisa Taplin and her two young sons, aged four and two, were approached by a hi-viz council warden in a park near her home in Hailsham, East Sussex, and warned about their behaviour. Lisa was:
a) Drinking Special Brew from the can while sitting on a swing.
b) Letting her sons smash up the cricket pavilion.
c) Feeding ‘unhealthy’ white bread to ducks.

39. Paulo Franco, who is Portuguese, was forced out of his job as a supervisor at Britain’s biggest banana-packing factory, in Coventry, because:
a) He is allergic to bananas.
b) His work was unsatisfactory.
c) He can’t speak Polish.

40. And this is where we came in. Armed police in Hampshire scrambled a helicopter and sealed off a golf course after reports that a dangerous white tiger had been spotted in a field at Hedge End, near Southampton. They found:
a) A white tiger which had escaped from a nearby zoo.
b) A large, domesticated white cat, which could easily be confused from a distance for a white tiger.
c) A cuddly toy. CUDDLY TOY!

If you answered a) to all the questions: Keep Calm And Carry On.

If you answered b): Mind How You Go.
If you answered c): Well done. One hundred per cent correct. You couldn’t make it up!