Monthly Archive: August 2017

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Drunk HGV driver from Omagh could have caused 'catastrophic' collision on busy motorway

  • Drunk HGV driver from Omagh could have caused ‘catastrophic’ collision on busy motorway

    BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

    A drunk HGV driver, from Omagh, who was three times over the limit has escaped jail after being caught trying to perform a u-turn on a busy motorway.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/drunk-hgv-driver-from-omagh-could-have-caused-catastrophic-collision-on-busy-motorway-36088003.html

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/incoming/article36088690.ece/2b158/AUTOCROP/h342/Omagh%20-003.jpg

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A drunk HGV driver, from Omagh, who was three times over the limit has escaped jail after being caught trying to perform a u-turn on a busy motorway.

Unbelievable images show Martin Kelly, who had drunk a quarter bottle of vodka, attempting to spin his Volvo truck around on the M6 in Cumbria.

Kelly was found dazed and barefoot by another motorist who was forced to take evasive action to avoid a serious collision by mounting the grass verge to avoid the HGV.

Furness magistrates court heard Kelly had drunk a quarter bottle of vodka about an hour before the incident on August 14 when he stopped at a motorway service station.

His roadside breath reading recorded by police was 107 microgrammes of alcohol, in 100 millilitres of breath, when the legal limit 35 is microgrammes of alcohol.

The dad of two appeared at court in Barrow on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle dangerously and drunk driving.

Chairman of the magistrates described his actions as potentially catastrophic but despite this only gave the 32 year old a suspended sentence.

Prosecutor, Mr Peter Kelly, said: “He was turning back against the flow of one way traffic. It was a reading of 107 microgrammes of alcohol on the M6 motorway from someone driving a HGV.

“Fortunately there was no accident but there was a risk of serious injury to others.”

Referring to the driver who was forced to mount the grass verge, Mr Kelly added: “His attention was drawn to a HGV on the hard shoulder which was starting to move.

“He moved lanes to allow the lorry to move out. The truck turned sharply and started making a u-turn.”

The court heard how the driver of the other vehicle found Kelly to be dazed and not wearing any shoes. His Volvo Euro 500 HGV was left blocking the entire carriageway.

Defending Kelly, Mr Graham Quigley said the defendant is a man of previous good character, who is “deeply sorry for what happened,” and had cooperated with police.

“He has driven HGVs for some years, with experience of driving across the UK. Kelly’s job is with AGRO Merchants Group in the garage, however he was doing weekend work driving HGVs.”

Mr Quigley added Kelly has an alcohol problem and in November 2016 he was in rehab and was discharged in February 2017. Two months later he started his job.

The defence solicitor said Kelly was not in a good mood after being disturbed by a crowd on the boat over to Cairnryan. Mr Quigley said Kelly had trouble with his sat nav and he was rebooting it on the hard shoulder, but then he may have blacked out. “The next thing he remembers is seeing the male driver” he said.

Mr Quigley said he had asked Kelly what had happened, but the solicitor said: “He can’t tell me.”

Mr Quigley said Kelly is the dad of a four-week-old baby, a two-year-old and his wife is in remission from cancer. He received excellent references from his employer which expressed that his “remorse is unequivocal”.

Brian Carruthers of the Probation Service made a pre-sentence report. Mr Carruthers said: “He is extremely remorseful about it. He has been having flashbacks about what could have happened. He understands that it could have been catastrophic and he could have killed many people that day.

“It has frightened the life out of him what could have happened.”

Mr Carruthers said Kelly had not had a drink since, and was attending AA meetings and doing a 90-step rehab programme. Kelly’s family are behind him, and Mr Carruthers said if Kelly went to prison his wife would struggle to pay the household bills and they could lose their home.

Chairman of the magistrates, Mr Gary Ormondroyd, told Kelly: “Your actions were potentially catastrophic”.

Kelly, of Drumnakelly Road, was sentenced to 26 weeks in custody and six weeks in custody, both suspended for two years. He was also banned from driving for two years and will have to take an extended retest after the disqualification period. He was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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'A sickening waste'

  • Council chiefs, complaining about a lack of staff, buy new equipment, leaving returned kit to rust, it is alleged
  • Council says photos are misleading and 90% of collected equipment is re-used

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Thousands of pounds worth of bath lifts, hoists and walking frames are alleged to be lying abandoned in a council depot as Britain faces an ever-growing crisis. 

These photographs taken outside the building used by council-owned supplier Essex Cares Limited have been taken to leave council bosses shamefaced.

It is claimed they show around £180,000 worth of care equipment, including 90 beds thought to cost £600 each and nearly 100 hoists worth around £900 each.

Whistle blowers claim thousands of pounds of medical equipment is being put at risk because there are not enough agency staff to decontaminate the used devices for re-issue in Essex

The medical equipment is being stored in a council depot in Witham, Essex 

Fifty toilet frames, 25 bath lifts and twelve walking frames have also been stacked away in the depot in Witham.

The equipment is returned to Essex Cares after use, and the company is meant to clean each item before handing them on to patients.

But a whistleblower told The Sun there were not enough staff to clean the equipment, and Essex County Council has been wasting money on new purchases.

The source told the newspaper: ‘The company used to decontaminate the items, refurbish them and send them out to a new customer within 24 hours.

‘But a shortage of agency staff has caused stock to pile up in the yard and bosses have been buying new stock to send out instead because it’s easier. Money is being wasted on new items as perfectly good stuff is left to rust.’

In 2015/2016 spending on adult social care was cut by 6.4 per cent across the country, compared to figures from 2009/10.

But these cuts have been made as Britain faces an ever-growing ageing population. The Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that the number of over-65s will increase by almost a third by 2030.

A spokesman for Essex Cares described the newspaper’s story as ‘extremely misleading’

The company claimed 90 per cent of the equipment was sent out to new patients 

Witham MP Priti Patel said: ‘The care needs of elderly people across Essex must be met through the most efficient use of taxpayers’ money. If the equipment is there, get it out to those who need it.’

A spokesman for Essex Cares described the newspaper’s story as ‘extremely misleading’.

A statement said: ‘Essex Cares Limited sorts, cleans and reuses thousands of pieces of equipment every month. 

In fact more than 90 per cent of the chairs, frames and hoists and other all the other equipment returned to Essex Cares Limited is cleaned, checked and either warehoused or sent out to be used again, normally within four days of it arriving at our depot.

East item is checked in and registered. Then it goes on to be completely decontaminated and sterilised using specialist equipment on the site. 

Once it has been fully decontaminated, our staff clean the equipment by hand and it is sorted ready for distribution again. This work takes place five days a week, all year long, while our fleet of 32 van collects and delivers equipment throughout Essex.

In June 2017 we collected 3,500 used equipment items from homes across Essex and 95% were cleaned, refurbished and reused by other customers in around four days, with only 5% scrapped; in July 93% of the 2,226 items collected were reused. With this kind of turnaround equipment is constantly moving in and out of the yard in Witham. 

When we recycle any old equipment, all the money from this is ploughed back into new items, which helps keep the cost to taxpayers of equipment down’.  

NHS SPENDS £21M – TO LEARN HOW TO SAVE CASH  

Health bosses have spent up to £21million on management consultants – to tell them how to cut costs.

The Government was criticised for the ‘ludicrous waste’ of public money, with doctors and nurses saying the spending was difficult to justify in the wake of NHS staff shortages and pay freezes.

The Kent and Medway area alone paid £3.2 million to four firms.

Dr John Allingham, who works as a GP in Dover, said it was ‘an eye-watering amount of money’. He added: ‘It is difficult to justify how we can find cash for cake when so many people have no bread.’

The figures were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by GP magazine Pulse. It asked the NHS’s 44 Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) regions in England what they had spent on external consultants since March 2016. The 19 STPs which responded spent £9.17m. Pulse extrapolated the figures across all 44 and said the total spend could be up to £21.2m.

BMA chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘It is unacceptable millions of pounds are spent on consultancy fees for so-called ‘transformation plans’ that are ultimately designed as a cover to deliver £26 bn in cuts. This is a ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money.’

An NHS England spokesman said: ‘Pulse Magazine have simply made up their headline of £21m. Even they admit the actual number reported is less than half of this.’

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A5 closed in both directions after serious crash near Lutterworth …

Road to be closed for some time

The A5 is still set to be closed for some time in both directions this morning.

Northamptonshire Police is on the scene and is calling it a ‘serious injury collision’.

A spokesperson said: “We were called at 6am this morning to a serious RTC involving three vehicles.

“It has happened at the cross roads at the top of A5.

“It is a serious injury collision and the road is going to be closed for some time in all directions.”

The vehicles involved have been confirmed to be a car, a lorry and a motorbike.