Latest news for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northants.
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In the programme tonight: The threat to a pioneering scheme easing
the pressures on A by keeping elderly people out of hospital.
We will do our best to cope with what has happened but I really,
really don't think it is indeed best interest of in Hertfordshire.
The man accused of killing Royston writer Helen Bailey says kidnappers
Why a Bedford accountant was stopped from making a charitable donation.
And I'm here inside shed one at Cardington, looking at the future of
the airship industry. First tonight the row over health
funding in Hertfordshire. The county council is reporting
part of the local NHS to the Health Secretary after it
pulled millions of pounds out of a fund designed, in part,
to stop bed-blocking. It comes as latest figures show that
in our part of the region in December patients spent nearly
15,000 days in hospital beds Our political reporter Tom Barton
has been looking at the figures. The picture of delayed
transfers of care, better known as bed-blocking,
is very mixed across our So in the best-performing areas,
Luton and Central Bedfordshire, last year for every 100,000 people,
on average five beds But in Northamptonshire the figure
was five times bigger. 25 beds each day were being used by
someone who didn't need to be there. In Cambridgeshire and
Hertfordshire it was a little I've been taking a look at one
scheme in Hertfordshire where they're taking action
to improve that figure. Myra Stephenson has been
in St Catherine's Nursing Home in Letchworth Garden City
for three weeks. She came here straight from hospital
and she much prefers it. It's just like a hotel and whatever
you would want, it's there. And the nurses are individuals
and you're an individual. Myra is benefiting from the scheme
which sees the local NHS and Hertfordshire County Council
working together and It's paying for exercise classes
like this, which have led to a massive drop in the number
of falls, stopping unnecessary It is also helping to get people out
of hospital more quickly. Hertfordshire have just started
using this red bag as a way of making the process of leaving
hospital run as It has got everything in it that
you need to go home, so it is a change of clothes,
it has got your medication and it The project also has
a trusted assessor, working in the Lister Hospital on behalf
of the Hertfordshire Care Home Association,
helping to get people out of hospital as soon
as they are ready. We have had a 45% reduction
in hospital admittances since we've In terms of the trusted assessor,
she has now saved, I think it is, 305 bed days in six months,
so that means that we have made The Herts Valley Clinical
Commissioning Group has just taken ?8.5 million out of the shared fund
that pays for schemes like this. Very few parts of the NHS
are making such payments. Yesterday a council committee
decided to ask the Health Secretary I strongly believe that patients
will suffer because while we can absorb some of the impact
of that funding reduction within the service, and we will be
able to resolve some of it, the magnitude of ?8.5 million just
being taken out five weeks before we set our budgets is,
it makes it almost For now though Myra and others
like her are benefiting from a system that is really helping
to stop unnecessary So that's the situation
in Hertfordshire. But, as we saw earlier,
the worst performing area In December 2010 patients spent
1,500 more days in hospital beds The latest figures published today,
for December last year, show that figure is now
more than 5,000. Part of the reason,
according to the county's care home association,
is that many homes won't work with the council because it
doesn't pay them enough. The impact is that we cannot provide
the service that we need They don't pay a sufficient amount
of money per week per resident. We are reaching, in
effect, a tipping point. We have said to them that they need
to increase their funds, they need to increase them rapidly
to prevent further homes from shutting and prevent
bed-blocking to the local hospitals. Northamptonshire County Council says
it's giving care home operators more And is planning to invest an extra
?1.7 million in the next year. And more investment is likely
to be needed because this In 2008 there were 970,000 people
over 65 in the East of England. And it's only going to get bigger,
raising questions over how we look And later in the programme we'll be
in one of the region's hospitals to see how they try and deal
with the issues of Next the fiance of children's author
Helen Bailey has claimed he was blackmailed for ?500,000
by a pair of mystery kidnappers Ian Stewart denies killing
Helen and told a jury that he spoke to her four days
after she disappeared. Let's join our reporter,
Kate Bradbrook, outside Ian Stewart was on his
feet in the witness box Ian Stewart said the two men were
business associates of Helen 's late husband Johnson Field and said they
had visited the house many times and demanded paperwork from there and he
had been physically assaulted by them. They threatened that if they
did not get what they wanted they would demand ?500,000.
Ian Stewart was on his feet in the witness box
His voice broke several times as he gave his version of events
He told the court that two men named Nick and Joe abducted Helen
on the 11th April, the day she went missing.
It said on Friday 15th, Nick turned up at the house with a phone.
Ian spoke to Helen, who said "Sorry about everything, I love you."
He replied, "It's not your fault, I love you too."
Ian Stewart told the jury that the following day he met Nick
in Kent to hand over Helen's phone as they had requested.
He said on 26th April Nick and Joe demanded access
They said Helen told us where something was in the garage.
Ian Stewart later told the court they must have
Ian Stewart claimed throughout that Nick and Joe had threatened
that he would never see Helen Bailey again if he told
He said they told him if they didn't get what they needed
they would demand half a million pounds.
Ian Stewart is accused of drugging Helen Bailey with sleeping pills
He told the court Helen had taken them when she realised he couldn't
When asked why that wasn't mentioned in his defence
The drug zopiclone was found in Helen Bailey's system when her body
was found three months after she disappeared.
Under cross-examination prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC put
Now, Ian Stewart also admitted today that he had lied for months about a
note which he said that Allen had note which he
left saying she had gone to left saying she had gone to
Broadstairs and he said he had to do that in order to keep a safe and
also because he was told his sons could end up in hospital if he said
anything, but he told the court today that month later he received a
phone call saying that one of the men, Joe, had now been dealt with
and that he was safe to contact police. Ian Stewart denies all of
the charges against him and his defence case will continue here on
Monday. Thank you.
A Muslim accountant from Bedford had ?400 in charity donations frozen
online after his name appeared on a restriction list
Mamunul Islam had used the online ticketing website EventBrite to sell
tickets to a community film screening in late January
when he was told the money would not be released
When Mamunul Islam organised a charity film night in Bedford
he gave guests the option to make a donation for the screening.
But when Mr Islam went to withdraw the money from ticketing
website Eventbrite he received an e-mail saying the money
was being temporarily withheld because the name M Islam matched one
that had been restricted by the United States Office
If it was my own government, it was our own Parliament,
it was our treasury officer putting such restrictions, than
I would've said, OK, this is my government doing it.
This is the US government telling a British citizen he cannot have
that payment because your name is Islam, you are a Muslim.
Mr Islam had used the site many times before without a problem
but Eventbrite told us it as an automated system that does
the matching and is then reviewed by a team member.
In a statement the company said Whether our colleagues reach out
to the organiser to get additional information
In this event they only had a last name and no geographical information
so our colleagues contacted Mr Islam for additional information to help
verify that he was not the person on the Ofac list.
We took these steps as a routine compliance measure and not
in reaction to any recent news events or changes in US law.
Mr Islam's MP Richard Fuller says he is investigating the incident,
but doesn't believe Mr Islam was discriminated against.
It is not an issue of discrimination, it's
about whether the computer programmes that are being used
are being applied fairly in all cases.
It wasn't a close match, I don't think Mr Islam's name
should have been flagged up and I am going to check with the company to
Eventbrite says unfortunately someone with a very common name
like Islam is more likely to match the list.
Eventbrite, the site that we are using,
Mr Islam believes media pressure encouraged Eventbrite
The company says it is truly sorry for the distress caused.
The government has lifted part of a ban on keeping poultry outside,
but birds on farms in high risk zones will have to stay indoors.
The restrictions were introduced in December to help prevent
It means egg producers in high risk areas including
parts of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
will lose their free range status from 1st March.
Peterborough travel giant Thomas Cook has cheered a solid
start to the new year, but says it still remains
The company says that holiday bookings for the Greek Islands have
risen by nearly 40%, as travellers move away from Turkey
and Egypt because of concerns about security in both countries.
Chief executive Peter Fankhouser said there was no sign that Britons
had been put off by the weak pound, but there was still plenty of
Shares in the company fell almost 10% on the news,
More at 10.30pm, but now here's Stewart and Amelia.
Still to come tonight: More wintry weather on the way.
And fighting the fines for taking children out
We meet the couple who refused to pay and ended up in court.
As new figures reveal that so-called bed blocking
is the highest on record, we've been given exclusive access
to one of the region's hospitals to see how
The head of the NHS said today that delays in getting people out
of hospital and into social care or back home have gone up by 90%
Simon Dedman has been to Basildon Hospital to see how
a team there is dealing with the problem.
We have had a very challenging night.
We are still on black alert currently.
It is the first meeting at Basildon Hospital to work out
I've got three potential discharges for today.
We are in a position where we have no more beds in the hospital,
so we have 28 patients placed in A, so at the moment, if we have
any more ambulances arrive, we only have one trolley
If you have more than one patient, what are you going to do?
Then we will have ambulances queueing.
We admitted more people than we were able to discharge yesterday.
Basildon's managing director takes me through the latest situation.
What we're hoping to do is move patients into our elective
orthopaedic ward, which means we are not able to do joint surgery,
Just coming round to see if there are any patients for hospital home?
After the morning meeting, nurse Natalie Cook goes ward to ward
to find patients who could be discharged from hospital
and get their treatment from Basildon hospital nurses
The consultant saw you yesterday and is happy for us to take you home.
She has found one who will hopefully be discharged today.
She heads now to find four other patients who can get
But the real problem is being dealt with here.
Sick elderly people who get stuck in hospital.
This ward aims to treat the frail quickly and get
That is what this team works on every day at nine.
Some patients have been here for ten days though.
But after two days on this ward, Eileen is looking
I am on some tablets, I don't know exactly what they are for,
other than having those in the mornings and apart from that,
it's just being here and getting looked after.
Some patients here are waiting for social care to kick in.
The majority of the patients who come over here we treat
The longer they stay, more complex problems arise,
so having access to community services and talking
to leads in community, we are able to get them out quicker.
Every bed in Basildon Hospital is taken and it has pretty much been
that way since the beginning of the year.
So much so that if you needed something like a hip replacement,
they would pay to send you private, none have taken place
Basildon Hospital is trying but getting slack in the health
This time of year, lots of families will be spending hours trying
to find a decent summer holiday at a decent price.
So do you take the children out of school during term time
when everything is much cheaper, or do you wait for the school
The government says children need to be in school and unauthorised
absences attract a fine of ?60 per child.
But when Matt and Kerry Thomas from Norwich were fined ?120
following a trip to Majorca, they decided to fight
Wearing her uniform today but last summer, faith and her brother took a
week out of school with their parents. They headed for the Spanish
holidays it would have cost 3000. I holidays it would have cost 3000. I
and the exchange rate and I learned and the exchange rate and I learned
how big the world was. Their schools took a DM view. The local council
took action. Matt and Ceri Thomas refused to pay the ?120 fine so it
was doubled. They still refuse to pay and so today both sides faced
each other in court. I know what is best for my children not someone
sitting in a courthouse or behind a desk. I know what is best and the
best thing for them was to have the experience of a foreign holiday.
Matt is pinning his hopes on the case of another father who won his
case at the High Court. He took his daughter to Florida and faced a
and now Supreme Court judges will and now Supreme Court judges will
decide if he has to pay. I don't think there is an issue, as long as
they catch up with their work and make sure that is not affected.
Maybe when they were younger, maybe not so much when they are older
because of exams. I don't agree with it. They are therefore education.
The county council told us it is Headteachers themselves who decide
whether or not to take action... Aside from the lower cost of
holidays during term time, there are those like this family who thought
their rights as parents are being undermined, but the government is
clear, even a few days away from school can affect exam results and
have a detrimental effect on a child's's education. That is the
only holiday we have ever been on as a holiday. But we took it on term
time which is against the law. The family will be back here for a full
trial next month. I'm sure most of us remember
the case of the wheelchair user who took his local bus company
to the supreme court, after a dispute with a woman
with a child in a buggy over He won the case, but now something
similar has happened in Essex. Nicki Price has cerebral
palsy and was waiting She says there were two pushchairs
taking up the space for a wheelchair and the mothers refused
to move them. Nicky Price on her way to the bus
stop. She says using a bus must be a basic right. Unfortunately they are
not very reliable. They are always missing buses out which makes the
enough is bus overcrowded. And when Nicky try to get on a first bus
recently, there were two pushchairs in the space for the wheelchair. The
drivers ask the mother to fall they pushed us up, they both said no and
Nicky could not get on. I was devastated. I was upset, angry. I
was worried about my child which was my main thought at the time, which
was I must get to my child, to pick her up. But I felt like a second
class citizen. And it came despite Doug Pauley's recent victory in the
Supreme Court. He could not get onto a bus when a mother with a pushchair
refused to move. The judges ruled they should do more to accommodate
wheelchair users. Nicky Price says the ruling has not made any
difference. She dreads being left stranded at a bus stop. I am
vulnerable, left out in the cold, alone. Where does it... What if
something happens? I feel scared to use the buses. In a statement, first
said: Nicky Price see the fore says she
has received overwhelming support over what she feels is a continuing
injustice against wheelchair users. You may well know that hidden away
in a giant hangar in Bedfordshire is the longest aircraft
in the world. It's called the Airlander and it's
a cross between an airship and a conventional plane.
Last summer, everybody got very excited when it
made its maiden flight. Then, a few days later,
there was a crash landing. Now after months of repair work, it
could be back in the air very soon. Airlander in the skies above
Cardington. One of many maiden flights. Its second test flight
ended in this, and undignified nosedive on landing. The state of
the cockpit shown it could have been worse. I have been given special
access inside shed one. To find out how the air lender is recovering.
The cockpit now being rebuilt, those at the controls that they are
unharmed. There was a loud noise when we hit the ground. Pretty soon
we realise that most of the damage was superficial. We were fine and a
chilly got top and walked off the flight deck. Are you looking forward
to going back up? We are all excited. There was frustration we
had to stop flying to repair the aircraft, but we know we have made
loads of changes to our training and we will come back much stronger.
This shed is 100 years old, built for the original airships with its
own climate, far colder than own climate, far colder than
outside. A century ago, nearby shorts town was built to house the
workers and now the apprentices once again being recruited from the same
area. It is amazing to follow in their footsteps and a revolutionary
aircraft like this is amazing. It's a great feeling, a great atmosphere,
everyone grew up around here so knows the history. If it hadn't been
for a heavy landing, the Airlander would have had extra flying time but
backers remain optimistic. Details confidential but they include a high
profile investor from the middle east and it is hoped Airlander will
return to the skies very soon. Come March time, we should leave the hang
out again for our 2017 flight test programme. Then we will work with
customers, working up to some longer trips into Asia, North America. This
is the latest chapter in airship history as the industry celebrates
its 100th year here. Handsome. Very impressive. Now the
weather. Colder firmly establish across the British Isles. Bitterly
cold for at least 48 hours and there have been some snow flurries. These
photographs define some. Evidence of snow on the windscreen. You can see
a little bit of snow there on what looks like a table. Most of us saw
leaden skies today and with the temperature and the bitterly cold
wind, it has not felt pleasant. There will be the risk of further
snow showers over the next 24 hours. High-pressure, huge area of high
pressure across Scandinavia and that is blocking these Atlantic weather
systems coming in. Colder air across us over the last 24 hours. These
showers will continue this evening. Mainly for coastal parts, but as
that north-easterly wind freshens, they could move further inland, so
the chance you may wake up to a dusting of snow tomorrow morning,
particularly if you live in eastern counties. A few degrees below
freezing. Tomorrow's weather, not a lot changing but we have this
feature coming in from the north sea and there will be more depth to the
cloud tomorrow, so any showers will be heavier. The risk of those
showers through the day, a lot of dry weather but no evidence of
sunshine. Temperatures once more similar to today, two or three
degrees. Factor in that degrees. Factor in that
north-easterly wind, it will be bitterly cold. Snow showers could
move further west so as we go into Friday evening, a greater risk of
getting a dusting of snow and further across western counties as
well. Certainly looking very wintry over the next few days. There are
changes into next week. Low pressure moving up from the south and that
will change things. Slightly less cold air for the weekend, but we
still have the north-easterly wind so it will feel the same temperature
wise. But by mid week, more of a springlike feel as temperatures
cover perhaps into the mid teens. Fantastic! That is all from us.
Goodbye. OK, everyone, have you got
your bamboo sticks? If you just paint
what you want to paint, I've turned around,
my painting washes away. ..and take on
The Big Painting Challenge. Remember, you're not painting
a pond. Before I met you,
I was a civilised woman.