A look at controversial policy of 'busing' black and Asian children to school during the 1960s and 1970s. Mike Dilger goes on the trail of red kites in urban Leeds.
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You wouldn't drive drunk, but would but would you drive tired?
You wouldn't drive drunk, but would you drive tired?
Welcome to inside out, I am Paul Hudson. Last week, a surgeon who
operated on children at a Leeds hospital was struck out. Why were
his mistakes that picked up on earlier? They were defensive to an
extreme level, which ended up in them actually disguising the
problems. In other words, lying is Mark yes. We beat black and Asian
children sent to school miles away from home in a 1960s social
experiment. I was always looking at the other is thinking how do I
become like them? Later in the programme, amazing footage of these
fabulous birds of prey. A surgeon who operated on children for more
than a decade has been struck off. But tonight there are claims that
the leaves hospital trust when the work of his incompetence because
they were fighting to keep the children's heart unit open.
Nihal Weerasena was a senior surgeon at Leeds children s heart unit
operating on both children and adults with congenital
But last week it was found by a medical tribunal
that he was not competent to do the job.
He will never work as a doctor again.
If there was any question about his conduct or his practice
and the level of competence that he had he should
Mr Weerasena worked at the Leeds General Infirmary
from 2002 until he was stopped from operating in 2013.
But he continued to be paid his consultant s salary
The seven cases heard last week by the Medical Practitioner s Tribunal
dated from 2008 to 2012 so why wasn t he stopped
Because at the time the Leeds Children's Heart Unit
They were terrified that the service would be removed from their hospital
and that that would then be a big blight.
Her daughter Eve was seven when she went to Leeds
for an operation to replace her right ventricle in March 2012.
She'd become breathless at school and it had stopped her from running
around with her friends and skipping etc, so she knew it
And she couldn't wait to get better and get back to doing all the things
Eve s surgeon was Nihal Weerasena and hers was one of the seven cases
It heard that he failed to vent Eve's heart during a crucial
I think anyone would expect these people to be 100% competent
at the job they're doing but afterwards I can t
But we know that Nihal Weerasena had been making mistakes way before
The tribunal found he had made mistakes
What do you think about the fact he wasn't stopped before it came
During this period, NHS England had been trying to slim down the number
And in 2012, it was announced that Leeds Children s Heart Unit,
along with units at two other hospitals, was to close.
But a few months later, after vigorous campaigning
by doctors, patient groups, and local politicians,
High Court Judges ruled that the decision to close the Leeds
unit was based on incorrect information.
We are thrilled about the flawed decision to stop surgery...
Yet just a day later, everything changed again.
Sir Bruce Keogh, the Medical Director of NHS England ordered
the immediate temporary closure of the Leeds unit because of
The man who d first raised the alarm over death rates at Leeds children's
heart unit was Sir Roger Boyle, head of the National Institute for
Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, whose job it was to analyse
We got some early analysis, we knew it was preliminary
analysis which showed Leeds to be substantial outlier.
As I said, the analysis was preliminary.
But the results were so startling that I felt I had no alternative
but to draw it to the attention of the Medical Director
But after further analysis of the data, Leeds was declared safe
and reopened 11 days after operations had been suspended.
They were terrified that the service would be removed from the hospital.
That would have been a terrible blight, both in terms of reputation.
But we now know that Nihal Weerasena had been making mistake
after mistake in operations on both children and adults for a number
of years, including the one which led to the death
You're placing your child in their hands, so yes,
Yet at the time, the hospital flatly denied that Mr Weerasena s
suspension had anything to do with death rates saying?
We have asked one of our surgeons to stop
within the team relating not to his work in children's surgery
We are now investigating the facts in relation to those concerns,
which are not about adverse mortality or morbidity figures.
But evidence heard at Mr Weerasena s GMC Tribunal in Manchester last week
looked at sevencases, six of which involved
It raises fresh doubts about the Trust's version of events.
An email from the time, released under the Freedom
of Information Act, shows that NHS England were well aware of concerns
An investigation of this surgeon s outcome data,
use of surgical devices and approach to clinical governance indicated
that his performance fell short of that which was expected.
This letter was sent by six of the Doctor's colleagues to the trust.
The letter says previous concerns had been raised about him, leading
to a number of investigations over a period of years. They also say there
is an apparent excess mortality when compared with his peers. The date of
the letter, six days before the trust put out a statement denying
that his suspension had anything to that his suspension had anything to
do with death rates. The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS
Trust didn t want to be interviewed but they told us that concerns
about Mr Weerasena s surgical outcomes only came to light
during a review which took place after their press statement
and that they subsequently referred Sir Roger Boyle believes
the hospital trust s worries about whether the unit
would close down led They were defensive to an extreme
level, which ended up in them actually disguising the problems
that were present within their organisation from the public,
from the media and particularly Yes, I think to be
blunt about it, yes. A senior paediatric cardiac
consultant Babulal Sethia told the panel said that,
Mr Weerasena showed 'poor clinical practice during operations'
and that his post-operative notes left out crucial details
about procedures that hadn't You put all of your trust in medical
practitioners and it is a real betrayal. The hospital has reviewed
their apologies to those families were significant mistakes took place
in his care. It says it was open and truthful in his statement to the
public, media and then peas and concerns raised were taken seriously
a number of independent reviews a number of independent reviews
concluded that the service was safe. At one point you said he would not
send your child to Leeds for heart send your child to Leeds for heart
surgery, do you stand by that? You said at the time that
you wouldn t send your child The hospital is now as good
as any other hospital in England. I just told her she'd go to sleep
and she wouldn't know anything because she'd be asleep and that I'd
see her when she woke The Leeds teaching hospitals NHS
Trust said that if any families have concerns about the findings of this
hearing they can contact the hospital's patient advice and
liaison service. And if you have got any comments on
the programme tonight, or you have a story we might like the cover, you
can get on contact on Facebook. Coming up, the majestic birds of
prey coming to feed in the back gardens of urban Leeds.
They called at Boston and it was controversial. Taking black and
Asian children from the area where they lived and transported them by
bus to schools in another part of town. I have been hearing just what
it was like from people who were sent as children back in the 1960s.
Every morning, six double-decker buses take 80 children each from
pick-up points across the city to the schools they have been
allocated. I remember it being very cold and hanging around for a long
time. You were being taken away, even though there were other schools
nearby. My overriding memory was the melee of young people and the fear
of getting lost, because there were just so many young kids there. If
you are black or Asian and grew up in Bradford, Halifax or Huddersfield
in the 1960s, the chances are this is one of your most vivid memories
of primary school. It was a solution to a problem, large numbers of Asian
and Afro-Caribbean families were heading to the UK, their children
had to be educated, but schools could not cope with these extra
pupils, many of whom could not speak English. So, in 1965, 11 local
authorities can put the solution, this immigrant children would make
The rest would be sent to other The rest would be sent to other
to put the children from overseas in to put the children from overseas in
a situation where they have to mix. This means they are going to have to
communicate, they will hear English spoken. Some of the language they
heard was upsetting. They were marked with different coloured
group was theirs. We would look for group was theirs. We would look for
a yellow Sun or a black footballer, red diamond stud he would wait for
your red diamond boss, get on and when you got to the school, suddenly
it was the Pakistani bus. This woman moved to Bradford from Kenyan aged
seven. The bus monitor would go around the classrooms and say, can I
have all the immigrants please. Then all the black children would stand
up, walk out in a little line. Yet, more and more children were being
passed. In 19 six to seven, Bradford was taking in 30 non-English
children each week. That is the same of one new classroom and one of the
teacher. Brenda told some of these new arrivals. It was done with the
best of intentions. It was assumed the children would learn English
better in a naturally English-speaking environment, which
is OK, if you speak to your friends in the classroom, but if you don't
it doesn't help. Even well-meaning children used language which would
shock today. I was watching on one occasion when they were giving out
the milk. The Asian child tried to give the milk to provide child and
he pushed it away. In the end, one little boy got so exasperated with
this but he said, ticket, Pakistanis are just the same as people. One man
went to school and was filmed by a BBC panorama programme. We had one
teacher. It was that lady and that lady alone. We were in an annex of
the main school. We were not Nixon. Had we been in another school,
mixing with all the other children and then the policy could work. The
project is about a British government policy. The feeling of
what it was like to be passed as stock, so much so that they have
started recording the memories of other children who were part of
this. Some people remember it as a happy experience. Other members were
similar to my own. Thank you for coming and spending the afternoon
with me. It was not just new arrivals were dispersed. And Asian
child was a potential boss child, even if you came from England. I was
born in Bradford and had a good Yorkshire accent when I was younger.
I remember one school report, the teacher said to my father, does not
speak English. My father is very upset and I was reprimanded for
this, because the only language I could speak at that time was
English. I think this made me feel as if I wasn't there. I couldn't
speak English and I did answer questions and, so, when I went back
to school for the second term, you could not stop me talking. Brenda's
work with immigrant children wanted her to study the effects of the
programme. This psychological service did a reading test at six
plus to see how all the children in the schools were getting on. The
results of that, when I looked at it, showed that the children who
stayed in the local school were actually doing better, even though
there were 50% Asian children, compared to children who had been
bussed out. By 1979, Bradford was sending out 24 buses a day, but in
another authority, Ealing, campaigners challenged bussing in
court saying it fell foul of new race relations legislation. This
policy was racially motivated. It has continued to be racist in that
black children are sent. Educationally it has been a
disaster. Likewise socially and culturally. Bradford took note. The
community there had had enough of Boston as well. In March 1979, the
petition was presented to the then chairperson of the education
committee, signed by 1600 parents who demanded the end of bussing. It
was one-way traffic. Only children from the inner-city areas, the
prairies, and particularly black and Asian children, were being passed
into the urban middle class areas. Would he have been in favour if it
had been reciprocated and white middle-class children were bussed to
inner-city areas? Indeed, I would inner-city areas? Indeed, I would
have been and I am still now. I am in favour of integration and the
best way to promote this is in the area of education. Bussing children
and rejected. In 1980, Bradford and rejected. In 1980, Bradford
became the last place in the UK to face of us and for good. What is a
preposition? The city has seen another wave of migration, mostly
from Eastern Europe. What does that work say? These children attend
their local schools with extra help to learn English and to integrate.
Sometimes when children first over, they are quite daunted by being in a
new school and a new area. Very quickly, because of the experiences
we take them on, they make friends and they start to feel very
comfortable. Bussing left its mark on the previous generation. I think
bussing was the beginning of my journey to fighting discrimination
appear to have been a good idea and appear to have been a good idea and
working, but in fact it was not. Had it been done properly, I think it
might have been helpful. Something like bussing is always going to be a
superficial solution to the bigger issues, which are poverty and a lack
of knowledge about each other. Our next report has some amazing
footage of some of Yorkshire's best loved birds of prey. The red kite on
disappeared from our skies but thanks to a reintroduction
programme, they are fairly common. Some people are even feeding them in
their back gardens. Red kites, one of our largest birds
of prey, a truly majestic sight These fabulous birds were once
extinct from Yorkshire Now, they re back and today you can
find them in the most Just a couple of miles
from the city centre, high rises and factories
on the skyline. Its 9 o' clock, and the red kites
are out on their regular patrol above seacroft,
looking for carrion. I ve come to meet two neighbours
who are lucky enough to get a closer The birds are regular
visitors to Roys back garden The wingspan is fabulous. You get
hooked on it. Where do you put food? On top of the shed. This would put
down and it is a spectacle. They ve had up to a dozen birds
at a time in the garden, Look at that. I have another shot on
this one. There are for coming down. Beautiful. We have all the time in
the world. These birds move really fast,
so today we ve got a specialist slow mo camera to try and capture
the Seacroft kites Our cameraman, Steve,
has a hide with a clear Out goes the fresh meat,
perfect for carrion eating kites, Its not long before
the birds start to appear. A kite was circling above. It will
have seen the food being placed out and they have the most astonishing
eyesight. It is the equivalent of a pair of binoculars stuck to our face
permanently. Let's see what happens. It is low and it is coming this way.
Coming this way. Just behind you Steve.
The kites are so easy to spot, with their six foot wingspan,
gliding motion, and distinctive forked tail, which acts
After three hours of watching and waiting, we ve got
seagulls, but our kites are proving camera shy.
There are one or two cakes around, but they are frustrating us.
Eventually, after six long lonely hours, the winter daylight is fading
Sad, but Im thrilled to see this majestic bird flying over the most
We never managed to catch the kite swooping down. I am thrilled to see
this majestic bird flying over the most urban of landscapes. When I was
a bird-watcher back in the mid-19 80s the only place to see a red kite
was made in Wales. Now they are in was made in Wales. Now they are in
urban Leeds, just over there. They have always been an urban bird.
Shakespeare wrote about it. They would scavenge in the street in
medieval times. They were probably doing a public service.
tits in their gardens, but should we be feeding
You have to be a little bit careful. Cured meat is not what they usually
eat. They eat bone and things as well. If they feed their checks on
pure made it can cause calcium deficiency.
I still can't help but be in awe of seeing Red Kites
145 years ago they were persecuted to extinction in England.
But in 1999, 69 birds were reintroduced in Yorkshire
And what success story it s been, over 100 breeding pairs this year,
That is a pretty impressive stag. I am looking at a red deer with a huge
set of answers, but I am not after that, I am after something else that
is read that should be flying in the air around here. The large number of
Katie and more birds competing for food. It is no surprise they are
also being fed in back gardens here. I would shake your hand, but it
looks like you are a bit busy. Eileen has been feeding the birds
daily for the last two years, giving them the best cups fresh from the
butchers. This cannot be cheap. No, it isn't cheap. I do get some help
now. Right then. It is close to one o'clock. I get the feeling, there is
one bird up there already. He is the fighter of the lot. He keeps them
all in order. How can you recognise him? He has got missing feathers. It
is because he is always fighting. This might be our best chance to get
those elusive slow motion shots of the kites. We are all set up with a
hide and camera. And, we not alone. Thanks to Eileen it is an open
secret that this cafe is one of the best spots in the north to the red
kites close-up. Quite if you birds are circling. We just need one to
come down, because that will result in the rest then piling in. They are
making a sweat. They are teasing us. But finally, we got what we came
for. They got there. A sky full of kites.
Fabulous. Just tumbled out of the error. Look at that. Not one. A sky
we were hoping for. Yorkshire we were hoping for. Yorkshire
redcoats and six times slower than real time. What will Eileen Nick
Gifford birds revealed in all their glory? Here we go. With the them
grabbing the food. That is fantastic. See that beautiful red
tail as they come in. They swing their talons down like landing gear.
It usually happens so quickly you don't appreciate it. Oh my word,
that is lovely. That has been a privilege to see these huge and
graceful birds in glorious slow motion. And one more thing, we went
back to Seacroft a week later and this time the kites were not quite
so camera shy. Yorkshire's redcoats, coming to an urban landscape near
you. That is all from me. I will be back
next week. We will meet the primary school girl who was born a boy. We
hear how a rural community is dealing with the proposed closure of
the hospital and I find out why Lawrence of Arabia moved to the
seaside resort of Bridlington.
Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire presented by Paul Hudson.
Paul Hudson looks at the controversial policy of 'busing' black and Asian children to school during the 1960s and 1970s, and naturalist Mike Dilger is on the trail of red kites in urban Leeds.