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Rise of secularism fuelling violence and verbal abuse against Christian clergy

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Rise of secularism fuelling violence and verbal abuse against Christian clergy

Nick Tolson, director of National ChurchWatch, which is also involved in the survey and which records hate crime incidents against churches and clergy, said it also asked clergy whether factors were involved such as drug abuse, mental illness or “anti-Christian sentiments”.

Revd David MacGeogh, the vicar of Glastonbury, told The Sunday Telegraph that he receives verbal abuse on a monthly basis.

Five years ago he found a witchcraft symbol sprayed onto the church’s medieval door and he recounted how, during one service he had to lock himself in an upper room and dialled 999 after a man claiming to be Jesus chased him round the church.

“People come in before and during the service and rant and rave, saying we are the works of Satan,” Revd MacGeogh said, adding that there was “no support system” for clergy in his position.

The Ven Anne Gell, Archdeacon of Wells, in the vicar’s diocese, said “Over the past 10-15 years the Diocese has invested time and resources to help ensure our clergy are less vulnerable and isolated. The aim is to have help and support on hand whenever our clergy should need it.”

Revd Dr Anne Morris, vicar of Knuzden in the diocese of Blackburn, said a male parishioner, who was later jailed for assault following an unrelated incident, followed her for a week and tried to enter the vicarage without permission.

“I was in by myself and I was absolutely terrified,” she said.

Her family has also been burgled several times and her diocese has provided a camera over the vicarage front door and extra fencing around the exterior of the building.

A Church of England spokesman said: “We take the welfare and safety of our clergy very seriously indeed.

“Verbal abuse, threats or assaults are completely unacceptable and we would urge clergy subjected to these kinds of incidents to report this to the police and their diocese.”

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Gosport nurses first raised alarm over use of painkillers 30 years ago

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Gosport nurses first raised alarm over use of painkillers 30 years ago

Their attempts to raise the alarm where described by Michael Taylor, the former Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Health Authority, in a 2003 report commissioned by local health authorities and published by the Gosport Independent Panel last week.

Mr Taylor found that nurses working in the Redclyffe Annexe began raising their concerns about the use of diamorphine around the same time that Dr Barton started work at the hospital, telling their union, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) about the problem.

Mr Taylor described the attitude of the hospital’s management team as initially one of “inertia” which then became one of “expecting those staff raising a professional concern to prove that a problem existed.”

The RCN made little progress in resolving the issue with hospital managers and in 1991 it asked Mrs Evans to launch an investigation into the matter.

In a memo to staff on 7 November 1991 Mrs. Evans stated that she was “concerned about these allegations” over the appropriateness of prescribing diamorphine and she urged nurses to identify “the names of any patients that they feel diamorphine (or any other drug) has been prescribed inappropriately”.

However Mr Taylor said the tone of Mrs Evans’s instructions was likely to have had the effect of silencing “relatively junior nurses” rather than encouraging them to come forward.

He concluded: “The failure to follow-up the expression of concerns made by nursing staff about prescribing practice in Redclyffe Annexe from 1988 was a negligent act by the Unit Management Team.

“It is unrealistic to accept that senior managers of the Unit Management Team were unaware of the concerns about prescribing practice.”

Mr Taylor concluded that the “main managerial responsibility for inaction following formal correspondence in 1991 appears to lie with Mr Horne, Mr Hooper, Mrs Evans and Mr Millett”.

He said: “Managers seem to have placed too much reliance on the unwillingness of junior nurses to speak out in front of GPs . . . to justify any further action. If correct, this was both a naive and wholly wrong conclusion by the managers named above.”

Mrs Evans, who is now aged 78 and left Gosport War Memorial Hospital in 1996, refused to comment when approached at her home in Fareham, Hampshire.

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Patients should be charged for GP and hospital visits to fund NHS, leading doctors say

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Patients should be charged for GP and hospital visits to fund NHS, leading doctors say

Similar motions are proposed by committees from Buckinghamshire, Scunthorpe and Worcestershire and Herefordshire, which said “denial of NHS healthcare is now so endemic, that it has become regrettably necessary to consider co-payments for NHS clinical services to re-establish adequate provision”.

Cancer specialist Prof Karol Sikora said he was strongly in favour of co-payments, saying they encouraged people to take more responsibility for their health. 

“Every other aspect of life you pay for – whether it’s your holiday, your home, your car or whether or not your children go to private school,” he said.

Prof Sikora said the NHS should still provide a decent standard of care for free, with top-ups used to speed access for operations, GP appointments and expensive drugs.

“We have always talked about this but Governments of both left and right have avoided it because they thought they would lose votes. I don’t think they will,” he said. 

“I hope the BMA votes in favour of this,” said Prof Sikora, Dean of Buckinghamshire Medical School.

“They voted against the NHS at the start – they’re not all communists.”

But Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA’s GP committee, said he did not believe most of the union’s members would support the move.

“I would be very surprised if it is passed but the BMA is a democratic organisation and we will discuss the arguments,” he said.

“This is an issue that has come up before and it is something we debate but the consensus has always been that the best way to fund the NHS is through general taxation.

“Clearly when there is a lack of investment as we have seen people are going to start looking round for alternatives,” the GP added.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association said charges were not the way forward. 

“Funding the NHS through taxation spreads the risk of ill health across the population, and means that everyone can access care when they need it. “Charges, by contrast, would lead to well-off patients spending more on their care, and less well-off people being excluded, and suffering worse health as a result – it’s both inequitable and inefficient,” she said.

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Dame Vera Lynn breaks link with D-Day concert organisers after backlash

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Dame Vera Lynn breaks link with D-Day concert organisers after backlash

Such was the strength of feeling conveyed on social media that organisers eventually blocked any further comment about the concert on their Facebook page.

Nigel Hay wrote: “My great uncle, Sir Maurice Holmes, came ashore on Juno Beach on D Day where he was Beachmaster – I am absolutely certain he would have given you your marching orders in no uncertain terms.

“The 75th anniversary of Normandy is a commemoration. It is not a party, nor a circus. This beach is a totally inappropriate venue to hold a pop concert. People will wish to visit Sword, amongst other beaches, that day to quietly reflect and to honour the men who fought their way in.”

Sal Williams-Larby said: You are disrespecting my grandfather and every other veteran that lost their lives fighting for your freedom on that very spot.”

And Jean Ellwood pointed out that many families have scattered the ashes of their fathers and grandfathers there.

“The Normandy beaches are a battlefield where many thousands of soldiers died,” she wrote.

“There are human remains that still lie buried there. Would you hold a concert in a cemetery? It is a sacred area, and a total desecration to hold a concert there.”

A statement released on behalf of Dame Vera noted that she was “always keen to support charitable endeavours, especially those that benefit veterans.”

It added: “When she gave her written support to the Liberty Concert last October, the precise venues, dates and types of performances were unknown.   

“As Michiel Florusse the organiser himself suggested, Dame Vera’s name will be removed from the Board until the organisers have, not only spoken to the various veteran organisations and the veterans themselves on July 21, but also have had a meeting with Dame Vera to clarify the situation.’

“Those of us old enough to remember the D-Day Landings and the generations that followed us, owe our freedom to the servicemen who fought so bravely, and the thousands who gave their lives in Normandy. They will be  remembered forever.”

Mr Florusse told the Telegraph that there were currently no plans to change the date or the location of the concert and that they hoped to reassure those opposed to the event at the public meeting on July 21.

Liberty Concerts said online: “We sincerely believe that a respectful use of symbolic historic moments and places provide a chance to come in the hearts of the youth and the media on a meaningful and effective way.”

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