Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:
- NHS England’s A&E figures hit an all time low
Reported by Radhika Morally
Recent reports from the NHS have indicated that performance at NHS England’s Accident and Emergency centres is currently the worst on record.
Only 84.6% of patients were seen within four hours in the month of March, compared to the figure of 90% recorded in March 2017. Furthermore, the number of people having to wait for more than 12 hours has tripled in the same period. All the above figures are much below the 95% target that was last hit in 2015.
Such a concerning report has prompted warnings that the health service is perpetually in an ‘eternal winter’; hospitals are unable to cope with the continuously rising need. The President of the Society for Acute Medicine, Nick Scriven, has said that such results indicate that now is the time for a turning point in planning.
Although some have attributed this issue to a rise in patients, due to what has been described as the NHS’ toughest winter, NHS leaders have indicated that a combination of eight years of staff pay freezes and the under-funding in health and social care has made it impossible to efficiently discharge healthy patients, and free up beds for those who are sick.
Ian Dalton, the chief executive of NHS Improvement, has said that ‘April tends to make the point where pressures on the NHS start to decrease’, but figures show that hospitals still remain under intense pressure, especially considering the backlog of elective surgery.
It appears that the British public are increasingly sympathetic to the current plight of the NHS. A King’s Fund analysis of data from the British Social Attitudes survey has shown that 61% of respondents support tax rises to increase NHS funding, an increase of 21% from 2014.
- Theresa May to assemble cabinet to discuss action against Syria
Reported by Anna-Mei Harvey
The Prime Minister is to consider action, following the alleged chemical attack on Saturday on Douma in the Eastern Ghouta region. The attack is reported to be government response to Syrian rebels opposing the Assad regime. Reports released suggest that the attack killed 42, and injured hundreds more. The injured showed symptoms of exposure to an organophosphorus compound.
The Syrian government has responded to the allegations, claiming that the rebel group Jaish al-Islam was making “chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army”.
Russia, who have already vowed to shoot down missiles aimed at Syria, was taunted on Wednesday in a tweet written by President Trump. He warned against supporting Assad’s regime, publicly declaring his intentions to respond with force.
Mrs May is now faced with deciding whether to support Trump in coordinated military attacks on the region. She has already claimed that the attacks, and Assad by extension, “cannot go unchallenged.” In theory, the decision regarding military action ought to be subject to a vote in Parliament. Despite this, Downing Street appears to be considering bypassing the vote considering the urgency in response demanded by America.
Responses to the calls for action from Parliament have been mixed. Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable advised that provided May provides a coherent plan and works with international partners, his party would support her in action.
- Two individuals charged following the discovery of a starved dog
Reported by Paige Waters
In Edwardsville, Jon Haynes Jr –aged 37 – and Jonyce Lockett – aged 38 – have been with charged with aggravated animal cruelty. This was due to the two individuals failing to provide their dog with adequate food. The trial is still yet to take place, and if they are convicted the maximum penalty for the crime is up to three years in prison.
The charges came after their dog was found to be malnourished and deceased at their home on Emert Avenue in Granite City.
The Granite City Animal Control came to this finding after they had received an anonymous report on the 4th April that a dog was severely starved and malnourished. The police followed up on the report, where they found the dog to be deceased.
Following the discovery of the dog, an autopsy was carried out which confirmed that the cause of death was starvation, as their was not any traces of food found within the dogs stomach.
The State’s Attorney Gibbons commented on the matter, stating: “we must always fight to protect animals from abuse by holding abusers accountable through aggressive investigation and prosecution. I am grateful to the Granite City Police Department for their excellent work on this investigation, which will allow us to get justice for the loss of this innocent life.”
Read more here.
- Lawsuit for being complicit in torture, filed against Saudi Prince
Reported by Sara Saquib
The ongoing interference of the Saudi-Arabian government in Yemen has been known to have broken humanitarian laws. Although they claimed to have intervened in support of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, they have been accused of purposely bombing civilian targets in Yemen, including the bombing of hospital buildings. The Saudi Arabian government began to intervene in March 2015, with their purpose being to help Hadi reclaim power.
Amid the ongoing dispute, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took a trip to Paris, with the purpose being to discuss partnership. However, his visit and discussion with French President Macron has been rooted in opposition. This has been brought to attention recently, as a lawyer in France has filed a lawsuit against the Saudi Prince, accusing him of being complicit in the torture of several Yemeni citizens.
The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, has refused to accept the lawsuit, stating that it is not the Saudi’s that should be held responsible, but rather the opposition group in Yemen who exiled their president.
However, supporters of the lawsuit are not satisfied, claiming that the conflict has now extended to those who are innocent civilians. This suit was filed not only to highlight many atrocities in Yemen that are going unheard of, but also to dissuade President Macron from selling arms to Saudi Arabia.
The lawsuit cites statistics about civilian causalities compiled by organisations such as The Human Rights Watch, The U.N and Amnesty International. A thorough examination of the suit will be carried out, before any further legal action will be taken.