02/08/2011 Newsnight


Is there confusion about the cervical screening process for women under 25 in England? And more. Presented by Gavin Esler.

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Tonight, America steps back from the brink of a debt default, but


has the crisis fatally damaged Barack Obama's capacity to lead?


Voters may have chosen divided Government, but they sure didn't


vote for dysfunctional Government. With Wall Street plunging tonight,


we will ask former presidential candidate, Howard Dean, about the


stalling of the US economy, and the splutering of Obama's re-election


campaign. With the eurozone also wobbling,


will Euro-sceptics strengthen their demands for renegotiating Britain's


terms of entry. Still no sign of military


intervention in Syria, is the lack of co-here is ive unity in the


country affecting the change. Hundreds of smear tests go


unprocessed, as confusion rages in the pathology labs.


America's top military man goes to Afghanistan to say goodbye to the


troops w a little help from his friends. They know what they are


face, away from their families, trying to fight war on the surface


of the moon. It has been called the lowest point


in the Obama presidency, and a sugar-coated sat tan sandwich. Both


Houses have voted to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending. Any


comfort the deal has been done has been overshadowed by the Dow


plummeting, Wall Street seems less bothered by the voting on Capitol


Hill than the indicators, the US economy is growing so slowly it is


reaching stall speed, with very serious consequences for President


Obama's re-election efforts next year.What actually did happen


today? Basically a deal was done and the most important thing to


remember here is a disaster was averted. The disaster that might


have happened if the richest country in the world had said we


can't pay our bills. Even just for a few days. The Senate approved the


deal that was done in the House of Representatives last night,


senators voted 76-26 in favour of it. Obama signed it into law, it is


clearly a long way from what he wanted. There are two ways to


reduce a deficit, you can either cut spending or you can raise taxes.


He wanted to do both. But, unfortunately he was prevented from


raising taxes from Congress, that was the price of doing the deal.


President Obama made it clear that he hadn't given up on the idea of


raising taxes in the future. I have said it before, I will say it again,


we can't balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have


bourne the biggest brunt of this recession. We can't make it tougher


for young people to go to college, or ask seniors to pay for more


health care, or ask scientists to give up on promising medical


research, because we couldn't close a tax shelter for the most


fortunate among us. What does this bill do? In economic terms it


raises the debt limit, it goes up from $14.3 trillion, to $16.7. They


can now borrow up to $16.7 trillion. On top of that, there have to be


spending cuts of $2.1 trillion, from the Government over the next


ten years. Which sounds impressive, but then you look at how the stock


market reacted, as you were mentioning earlier, it wasn't a


particularly favourable reaction. The Dow Jones closed more than 280%,


that is not a ringing endorsement of the fact that the deal was done.


Why didn't they like it? Given that we are talking about this potential


calamity, Wall Street was distracted, it wasn't watching


Washington but mane Street USA, there are a number of worrying


figures out today. We saw consumer spending with the first fall in two


years. Yesterday we had manufacturing showing a downturn


for the first time in two years. The crucial thing, of course, is


growth, if consumers aren't spending, normally consumer


spending is two thirds of the growth the US gets. At the moment


you are looking at spending which is looking very depressed. You have


had growth of a feeble 1.3%. So main Street USA isn't looking


healthy. This all began with the United States maintaining the AAA


credit rating? One credit agency said the US can deep the AAA status.


You have also had some endorsement from the IMF. All eyes will be on


Standard & Poor's, they were the one that is warned if a serious


deal wasn't done when the US wouldn't deep their AAA credit


rating. They wanted $4 trillion off the deficit, they have only got


barely half that. With the economic back drop, I referred to there, and


the fact that unemployment is more than 9%, they have to keep a very


serious watch on the US economy, just in order to keep their


credibility. What could happen, if they do lose their AAA status that


could still happen, is the cost of money could go up, and with the


state of the economy, that is the last thing you need. For their


thoughts on the political prospect ace head, I'm joined by consultant


Taylor Griffin, who worked on John McCain in the last election, and


Howard Dean, a former senator himself, and a former Party


Chairman. Howard Dean, do you think Barack


Obama did emerge from this as the biggest loser? I think he emerged


the big winner. Any time you get something done the President gets


the credit, when something doesn't get done the President gets the


blame. I think this was a baby step, they kicked the can mostly down the


road. A lot of tough decisions haven't been made yet. I think the


fact this was averted is mostly down to help President Obama, and


if you look at the ratings of Congress, they are extraordinary.


There was a poll out yesterday, 70% of the respondants did something


they had never done before, they gave words, instead of just


answering yes or no, or on a scale of one to ten, they used words like


"ridiculous, "outrageous, "badly behaved", to describe the Congress.


They had a 2% popularity rate in this poll. I think the President


has easy competition now. I think it will be a close race, but any


kind of deal would benefit the President. Taylor Griffin, do you


take that criticism of Congress on board a lot of people looking at


the speaker, John Boehner, saying he couldn't run his own party,


never mind the Republicans running the country? Governor Dean is


exactly right. The President definitely avert add really


popularity disaster here if that deal hadn't gotten done. The view


of Congress is very negative, and the public's view of the


President's handling is a little better than Congress. But the


bigger problem the President now has going forward, is that this


debt deal sets a lot of things in motion to keep these fiscal issues


on the front burner from now until the 2012 election, and going


forward. That's an area where Republicans have a bit of an


advantage, it will be tough for the President to deal with, especially


considering the economic news that he will get blamed for asle. Some


Democrats said this is a sat tan sandwich, one put it colourful -


Satan sandwich, one put it colourfully, and hit the poor, and


make America not vote for President Obama? I said I was from the


Democratic wing of the Democratic party, the more progressive end of


the spectrum. I don't think on the face of it the deal is that bad. We


don't know what will happen in November when this commission has


to come forward with some ideas. But the President does have some


tools in its tool box, one of which is the Bush tax cuts expire in


early 2013 he can let them expire, that will bring in a substantial


amount of revenue to start to balance the budget. This is a tough


one. I actually agree with Taylor, I think even though the President


gets a short-term bounce out of this, it is a long-term economy


staying bad he has a tough election. I think he will get re-elected, I


don't think the Republicans can say they are running because they are


not Barack Obama. That will not work. Governor Dean, do you accept


that spending cuts will hurt the poor, as the Democratic wing of the


Democratic party, that is not what many Democrats want to hear, that


is why they are some what irritated by the President? The spending cuts


we have seen so far are by and large not a disaster. The health


care was left alone, social security was left alone. Those


things matter enormously. The college opportunities were left


alone. The problem is what happens in November, there could be


substantial cuts to Medicare, those fall mostly on providers. There is


a, I love the timebombs, in every piece of legislation that comes


through. I had to read the whole bill, I'm not very good at because


I'm not a lawyer. One of the things says in the Medicare cuts are more


than 2%, then you take across the board cuts of all discretionary


spending, that would hurt the poor and be a huge problem. We don't


know. They kicked the can down the road, they did get the deal done,


but they haven't really put a dent in the deficit.


One of the problems for the Republican party, is you have a


great opportunity in 2012, but equally, as a party, you are


perfectly capable of picking one or two candidates who most Americans


think are pretty loony? That's one of the dangers here. Is this has


ban victory for the TEA Party wing of the Republican party, which is


not happy with it. So to speak. They are going to be looking for a


candidate that really supports fixing what they think is a bad


debt deal, if that means the Republicans end um nominating


somebody like Michelle Backman who would be more of a challenge to


elect in an election, this could be a negative thing for the


Republicans. If it keeps the focus on fiscal issues, that is where the


Republicans can make headway with it. They have a lot to prove


between now and the election, that they can handle it better. I know


you will remember 1995 and 196, where Clinton portrayed Congress as


wreckers, that is the kind of rhetoric that we will hear in the


next 12 months? This is where I disagree with Taylor, or sort of


agree. I think the TEA Party is doing enormous damage to the


Republican party, while people want the deficit under control, I think


Taylor is right in terms of saying the Republicans have pushed the


issue here and gotten some deficit reduction, they don't want to cut


Medicare and social securities, they don't want to push Medicade,


which is a poor people's benefit in most situation, they don't want to


see benefit cuts. The privatisation bill of Medicare


will be an albatross around every Republican's neck when they run in


the fall. Some of the Republican's numbers, in Florida they are in the


20s, and Wisconsin is losing recall elections, and that could be


Democratic Senate in a few weeks. Those are not good things for


Republicans running locally, people remember that stuff. Even though it


is probably not fair, it is only 87 people in the TEA Party in Congress,


that is where people will get the publicity, and that is the


Republican brand, that is not good for the party. A last thought,


these will be hard economic times in the next year, everyone has


agreed on that. What happened on Wall Street bear that is out, won't


people possibly rally behind this President given the alternatives?


think it will depend what happens with the economy between now and


the election. If the economy make as strong rebound, it is not where


the economy starts before the election, but how it changes. Is it


really getting better substantially or getting worse f it starts to get


better before the election people will rally around the President, if


not they will be looking for an alternative. It is up to the


Republicans to say the President hasn't got it done in the last


three years of the term with the economy, we will take a turn, and


if we don't get it done we will get fired too. That will be a strong


argument for the Republican Cannes if they can present a credible


candidate that can make it. Thank you very much. It is not just


the United States that can turn an economic crisis into drama, Europe


can too. Spain's Prime Minister delayed his holiday plans today,


because he needed to check on further problems with the euro. The


eurozone's inability to fix itself has prompted talks among


Conservatives of bringing powers back from Brussels, and a two-speed


Europe, with the UK in the slow lane.


Place that still echos with the battles of the Conservatives'


political past. Don't bind my hands, when I am negotiating on behalf of


the British nation. The pro- Europeans have definitely won the


territorial dispute, the former Conservative Central Office is now


the EU's London home. But the ideolgical struggle seems to be


going the other way. With some reading in the current upheels in


the single currency, a chance to - upheavals in the single currency, a


chase to push further away, you should never waste a good crisis.


With the new intake of Conservative MPs, this is an historic chance to


get real change in Europe. Unlike their predecessors, they don't


carry the battle scars of all the euro disputes carried out in the


building behind me. For them this is chance to discuss and solve an


issue that has been poisonous for a generation. The new intake in the


field sense something is wrong in Europe, that we need to see reform.


But, they do not want to withdraw all together. They want to find a


third way, between withdrawal and the status quo.


When David Cameron goes to Brussels, he knows that behind him the


Conservative Party is more united than ever on Europe. But, they are


united in a desire for change. George Eustice, used to be David


Cameron's press secretary, he's now a Conservative MP. When parliament


returns in the autumn, he's form Agnew group of MPs, trying to make


sure that they get the change that he says we need. The Conservative


Party is unanimous on this, in temples want to go stay in the


European Union, but to fundamentally change the way it


operates. I think that applies also to our Prime Minister. What we're


trying to do with the group we are forming, is to identify where the


centre of gravity is of the Conservative Party, to press for


real radical, genuine reform of the European Union.


So, where might the reforms start? High up on the new group's target


list are employment and social law, financial services regulation, and


justice and home affairs law. These could be relatively easy wins, but,


there would be much more resistance in Europe, to major institutional


reform. No-one wants to revisit the whole institution issue. Reform of


the Common Agricultural Policy and common fisheries policy, has


frustrated a whole generation of British politicians. In Europe,


among the leaders at least, there seems to be an impetus going in the


other direction. Politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy, pressing for more


integration, particularly tax and spending harmonisation for those


countries in the euro. If the rest of Europe decides to go ahead and


create a fiscal union, eventually they will have to incorporate those


changes into the treaty, and have our consent. That gives us an


incredibly strong hand and powerful bargaining position. In order to


make good on, that we have to have a sense of ambition on it, we can't


see this as subsidiarity, or renegotiating the 48-hour aspects


of the Social Chapter, we need sensible ambition, and a good team


of diplomats in Brussels who understand what a victory looks


like, and a clear shopping list of all the areas of public policy


where we think we are better off running ourselves than having this


country governed by Brussels. The omens for those Conservatives


who want to reform Europe couldn't be better. It is clear things will


change as a result of the eurozone crisis the status quo, as they say,


is not an option. And the Conservative Party is more united


on Europe than it has perhaps ever been. But, and it is a fairly


sizeable but, at this auspicious movement in history they find


themselves in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, traditionally


the most Euro-enthusiastic party in British politics. The Liberal


Democrats also believe in devolution, one of the things we


are arguing is not outright hostility to the European Union,


but we are arguing effectively for powers to be transferred back to a


national level. You think that is entirely consistent with a party


like the Liberal Democrats, who believe, let's face it, in localism,


and devolved powers. The Conservatives and the European


projects, have both moved a long way, since the big Tory bust-ups of


the past. A more united and clear Conservative backbench voice on the


issue, though, promises to put pressure on the current Prime


Minister. I'm joined now by the Conservative


MP, John Redwood and Lib Dem MEP, Boles. How quickly - Sharon Bowles,


how quickly could you start doing this? I think it has to be done


very quickly, because the agenda of the European Union demands it. It


is not a question of whether Britain wants a two-speed Europe or


not, we know the group of Euroland countries now feel they need to


make very rapid advances to a very strong central economic system.


think they are probably right in that from their point of view?


don't think it will work for all the mess, I would advise them to


have viewer members, but they have to try something because their


currency is besieged and under enormous pressure, I fear it will


do huge economic damage, I wouldn't want Britain to stand in their way,


if they think they can make a real go of it. It is an opportunity for


you to renegotiate some of the things David was saying in the


report? I'm not saying it is an opportunity, I'm saying the Euro-


crisis is so graves and the impact upon jobs and prosperity in western


Europe, as we can see, is becoming so serious, I think George Osborne


is right, Britain shouldn't stand in the way of these countries


trying to mend it, even though I think the remedy may not work. But


that requires them to say to Britain, surely, you are not going


to be part of this. If they really seriously wanted Britain's debts


and Britain's banks in the system as well. I can promise you the


markets would destroy it overnight. What do you make of it, would it


breach the coalition agreement? don't see that it would do that.


This was not something that was actually contenaced in the


coalition agreement. You would be fine with t you could stay in


Government with party that wants to renegotiate? The eurozone is


obviously going to go closer together, that is an inevitable


consequence. Some people would say it is inevitable from the start and


many wanted it. It is obviously a good thing for the UK if the


eurozone gets its act together, because if there is chaos there,


the contamination on to our economy is huge. But I think one has to


handle with care any idea of saying well we're not going to stand in


your way, but we will put a price upon it. You will be outside the


logic? But there will be many other countries outside as well, all


those who have to join, it will be harder to join the eurozone when it


is a fiscal union, many things, like the single market, still have


to be done across the 27. You are in favour, as we heart, George


Eustice, of devolution, localism, what about a bit of devolution in


the EU towards Britain, that would be the argument? I think it would


be very dangerous if we tried to cherry-pick, then I think we will


soon be put in dunce's corner and ignored again. We have had enough


of that following on from the financial crisis. What would be top


of the things that you would be looking at, and there? I have a


modest proposal, there is danger in cherry-picking item, we might not


choose enough or be granted enough. I wouldn't want to accept a huge


new set of restrictions on Britain for one or two items to come back.


My modest proposal is a deal, you Europe need our agreement to do all


the things you think you need to centralise. We promise to giveaway


our right to stop you on anything that you want to do, if you, in


turn, giveaway your right to insist we do anything that you choose to


do. We will choose what we want to do, we will be at the table.


will be move the table, you would be out of the room? We would


discuss each law in good faith f we like it we do it, if not we don't


do it. What is wrong with that? don't see how we would have any


allies forming any defences of British positions. Dealing with


financial services. You just have to veto it? I don't think you would


be given a veto on take it or leave it. And where do you think


Britain's place in the international scene is, it will be


much, much more through Europe. That is the way we have to


negotiate. Isn't the fundamental problem with the Liberal Democrats


is you have lost the argument and the British people on the argument,


it is not just Britain, where there is growing Euro-scepticism, it is


all over Europe, including in Germany. So you are simply on the


wrong side of history on this? have to separate out the European


Union and the single market, from feelings about the euro. They are


quite given. And I think if many people recognised the problems that


we would have, with a withdrawal or a partial withdrawal, from the EU,


what wo that do for the inward - would that do for the inward


investment. They would seeking to, and all foreign investment would go


into the core of the eurozone and we would be on the peripheral.


know that is not true, Britain is not within the principal club in


Europe, the euro, the biggest driver of finance, thank goodness


we are not. Our gift is staying out of it, and we would have destroyed


it because of the different type of economy and the big debts we have


got. We know we can get inward investment and trade with Europe


without being part of the euro. What Euro-sceptics wish to say is


we don't have to have all the common laws and all the central


Government they are imposing other areas either in order to be able to


trade very successful with them. We want a looser relationship. If that


looser relationship was put to a vote now, that side would win?


People always want to vote for cherry-picking, they want to vote


for free beer and longer cigarettes. I do not believe this is something


that would be on offer and be available. Attempting to negotiate


it would do us a great deal of harm, that we would not manage to achieve


it, and there would be huge retaliation against us on a whole


variety of legislation that was important to the EU. Huge


retaliation against us? I don't agree with T the EU has a good deal


out of Britain, they sell us many more fiscal goods than we sell them.


They would want to carry on trading with us, there are international


rules requiring them to do so on fair basis. They get a large


contribution of cash out of us, and that has gone up. You think we get


a lot of trade out of it? I don't agree, the trade makes mutual sense


to trade with each other and international agreement now. When


we first joined the European Union, it was tarrif based and it helped a


bit. But the tarrifs have surpassed with the European Union does. We


can be relaxed, I would like to do it in a friendly spirit, I want to


stay friends, and trade with them, and some common law that makes


sense. But British people feel it is too intrusive and they don't


want to end up bossed around and sent big bills for a scheme that


seems to be in a lot of trouble. While the world's attention has


been diverted by the continuing economic malaise, and other matters,


the regime of Bashar al-Assad has slowly been tightening its grip in


Syria. As Ramadan begins, a Al- Assad's soldier's militia seems to


have killed 140 people, even in the town of Hama, even countries like


chine fla and Russia are sounding concerns, but there is no appetite


for military intervention. There is a question of whether a coherent


policy in Syria is stop the change of regime.


It may be a month of fasting and prayer across the Muslim word. But


President Assad isn't allowing subjects time for contemplation.


The death toll over the last three days is thought to be more than 130.


In the city of Hama and elsewhere, protestors have been targeted by


Government snipers and tank shells. Today, amateur footage, that can't


be verified, apparently shows more military vehicles approaching the


town. And protestors burying their dead. They killed with the bombing


and the attacks on hospitals. One of them had a sniper shot, and the


other he was killed by a bomb. do you think the Government is


doing this to you? I think because we are protesting, we are


embarrassing them when we protest in huge numbers. It is like a


punishment. How do you think can all end, do you think that


President Assad can stay in power? No, no, not any more.


It is a remarkable testament to the tenacity and bravery of the


opposition, that so many ordinary Syrians are still willing, after


1700 have already died in the last few months, to risk their lives by


going out, unarmed, on to the streets. If anything, the mood in


Hama and other cities, is now hardening, with widespread refusal


to consider any compromise with the regime. And yet, the opposition are


still a long way from victory. One reason, among many, is they have no


clear national structure, or leadership. Not surprising in state


where independent organisations have been banned for decades.


The headquarters of one of Syria's main opposition groups s above a


tiling store, in an outer London suburb. I'm going to visit a senior


figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. Its exiled members watching today's


events back home, have escaped the ruthless oppression of the movement


inside Siria. TRANSLATION: The only solution, or


way out in Syria, is for this regime to leave power. To give it


up. Also there should be a clear and determined international


position, which will ensure that this current political regime is


isolated. The Syrian people will then be perfectly able to provide


an alternative Government. But no- one knows what kind of alternative


Government the protestors would provide. The opposition includes


Islamists and liberals, leftists and nationalists. And the picture


is further complicated by Syria's sectarian divide. About 85% are


Sunni Muslim, about 10%, including much of the ruling elite, belong to


the Alawite sect. And about 5% are Christians. The regime's played


down those divisions. Claiming that it treats all citizens equally. And


some, particularly in the minority communities, are now afraid,


rightly or wrongly, that they might fare worse under a more democratic


Government. In London, not in dam mass cushion there is a television


station where Syrians can discuss such issues. This station claims to


reach an audience of three million in Syria by satellite. It is openly


anti-regime, even giving advice on forms of civil disobedience, but it


is honest about divisions within the opposition. If you asked the


opposition in public, are you in favour of talks with the regime,


they will say no, because they know the mood on the street in Syria is


very much anti- holding any talks or dialogue with the Government.


However, within closed circle, many are willing, and I would say many,


especially those who are independent, who don't have a


political party to be answerable to, many of these people are willing to


enter into talks with the Government, they believe they can


get a political advantage out of this, and maybe believe out of good


intention that is they can save the country from spiralling into an


armed conflict. After the continued bloodshed of the last month,


America's attitude to President Assad has hardened. And today, even


Russia, a long time ally of the regime, indicated it wouldn't


oppose a UN resolution condemning the crackdown. But the


international reaction is still too muted to have much effect on the


regime. Some believe a spiral of further violence.


State TV is now broadcasting pictures, it claims, show armed


protestors. The opposition says such cases are almost unknown.


According to some sources, revenge attacks on Government agencies are


increasing. There are signs of civil war happening in Syria are


showing, it is a reality. There is footage of armed men in Hama,


unverified, but still an indication perhaps that people in Hama are so


desperate at the moment they are willing to raise arms, and we are


talking about Kalashnikovs, rifles, where as the regime has tanks and


artillery. It is still possible, many believe,


that peaceful resistance in Syria, will eventually topple the regime.


But the tipping point is not yet in sight.


As we mentioned the UN Security Council has been meeting tonight in


an emergency session on Syria. We are joined live from New York. What


has bank happening there? We are getting positive noises from the


Security Council, they say that they are nearing agreement on the


content of some form of statement, after about 24 hours of


negotiations. This is based on a British resolution that has been


circulating for several months now, which, in essence, condemns the


violence in Syria, demands it stops, says that Syria should get serious


about political reform. Makes no mention of sanctions or other


reform, or military intervention. Despite that for the last couple of


months the Europeans have faced stiff opposition from five members


of the council, because they feel any resolution or statement could


be the first step in the slippery slope of some kind of Libya-style


intervention. But the mood here has changed since the violence in Hama


at the weekend. One Security Council diplomat said to me there


is less tension around the table, we all seem to be speaking the same


language to a degree. That seems to include the vote toeholder, Russia


and China, they appear to be - veto holder, Russia and China. They


appear to be ready to take steps. It will be whether it is a less


binding statement or one that will become law. We will find out that


tomorrow. A disturbing investigation into


cervical cancer tests on young women, the rules were changed in


200, moons there is no longer routine screening for women under


25. The result has been a chaotic situation where many young women's


tests are left unprocessed. Many GPs are unceasingly alarmed,


especially as incidences of cervical cancer in women in their


late 20 are on the rise. It has never been an enticing


prospect, but women have put up with having a smear test, because


it is the only way to detect the early signs of cervical cancer.


When Jade Goody was diagnosed with the disease, in the full glare of


reality TV, it was better than any advertising campaign could have


hoped for. She was 27, soon after there was a sharp increase in the


number of women going for smear tests. Those under 25 and inspired


by Goody were told they were too young for a test. Women used to be


routinely screened by the age of 20, in 2003 the Government raised the


age to 25, because they said early testing might do more harm than


good. We have been approached by GPs who say what this actually


means is tests they are carrying out on women under 25, that they


think are necessary, are being rejected, in some cases they are


destroyed by the labs, just because they fall outside the screening


guidelines. The freedom of information request by Newsnight,


found hundreds of young women's samples were being rejected. There


are 111 labs in England that process smear test, we asked each


one what they did with samples from women under 25. 99 of those labs


actually responded and told us in total more than 700 women's smear


tests were rejected last year on the grounds of age. But it really


just seems to depend on where you live. There is this lab here in


Manchester that rejected 51 sample, then there is another one in


Gateshead that say the strictly speaking it doesn't have to process


them, but it does because it is the right thing to do, they said. It


all seems to be a bit of a postcode lottery, that means there are


hundreds of young women going in for these invasive test that is


aren't even going to be looked at. Most cases of cervical cancer is


linked to the human papillomavirus virus, that is about unprotected


sex, and smoking. GPs say they know who should and shouldn't be tested,


they are angry that their clinical acumen is being ignored. Some


trusts process them, others won't, they have "zero tolerance", and


they are sending them back, what do you think of these? I think if a GP


has made a clinical decision to do a smear, that smear should be


processed. The decision not to process it should not be made by


lab with no details about why that smear is being done. I have known a


young women at age 22 die of cervical cancer. Why I work women


have sex from an early age, sometimes as young as 13 or 14, it


is a brave thing for a young women to present for a smear. Doing a


smear and then getting it rejected by a lab, is absolutely horrifying,


because it, in a sense, undermines me as the GP, but more so, it


undermines the patient who has presented for care.


Earlier this year, the Department of Health issued new guidelines,


telling labs to take a "zero tolerance" approach to any samples


from women under 25. The guidelines clearly are that women under 25


shouldn't be screened. The tests have already been done, would it


not be better to process the one that is have been done?


ultimate answer is it should not have been taken in the first place.


In women aged 20-25, one in three will have an abnormal test result,


it doesn't mean there is an increased risk of cervical cancer,


it means there are transient abnormalities that in most cases


would have gone way on their own. But having an abnormal test is


anxiety-provoking, very upsetting, and likely to lead on to further


investigation and treatment. It is the treatment that can have the


future effect on pregnancy outcome. Actually, these women are not being


harmed, and in fact they are being benefited by not having their


cervical cytoologist test reported. That guideline is not popular with


everyone. That is not sensible, it is crazy, companies are well


trained doctors, in most practices - GPs are well-trained doctors, in


most practices it is a specialist in gynaecology, they can examine


the patient and appropriate tests taken, a swab for infection or a


smear, as that patient is at more risk of developing a cancer, but to


send straight to a gynaecology department is a waste of man power,


time, and money, and not sensible. Some campaigners have been


campaigning since the age was raised to 25? The feeling is we


should offer smears to the age of 20, the British Medical Association


thinks the same, they voted 3-1 in favour last year that we should do


cervical veening from 20. We don't want to see young women dying.


Cervical cancer is a disease that is totally preventable, and the


skrooning process is not to find cancer but - screening process is


not to find cancer but cells that will turn to cancer later. That is


why some labs are ignoring the guidelines. At St Thomas's Hospital


in London they accept tests from under 25s because they want to


detect the precancerous stage? Women up to 25 are very frightened


to find they have cancer, however early. It is not common to get


cervical cancer aged 25-29, but the numbers have, in fact, gone up,


since 2003. In my view, it is better to treat it when it is CIN3,


than when it has already become invasive. That is what cervical


screening is all about. Labs say they have written to doctors when


they reject a test. But it is not clear if the message gets back to


patients. Many will be left wondering why bother having a smear


test if it won't be processed. The NHS screening programme has told us


it is an evolving system and they hoped the number of unprocessed


smear also go down next year, as GPs become more aware of the


guidelines. Admiral Mike Mullen, America's top


military officer, is on his way back to Washington, after a


farewell visit to troops on the battlefields of Afghanistan and


Iraq. The outgoing chairman of the joint Chief-of-Staff, told soldiers


in Afghanistan that America is winning the war, but it was now


time to hand over the fighting to the Afghans. Lyse Doucet was


travelling with the Admiral and some of his famous friends on his


farewell tour. Admiral Mike Mullen knows the drill. He's made this


trip so many times. But every detail is sorted in his world. Even


where he stands when he takes the first questions from the small


group of journalists travelling with him. I have tried to go during


the summers, because it is brutally hot. The engines are already


revving. We are heading on to the plane now, heading out to the


region again, it is a really tense time, a worrying time, both for


Afghans and their supporters what are your thoughts? I get that it is


tense and it is worrying, I can tell you this has been a tense


engagement and a worrying campaign for years. Have a nice flight?


Thanks. It is going to be a long flight.


And we are flying cargo. There aren't many direct flights between


Washington DC and Kandahar in Afghanistan, if you want to go this


is how you have to do it, with the US military. There are not many


luxuries on the military transport plane, but they do have the flat


bed seats, a few hours sleep on the way. We need t you barely touch


ground in Kandahar and we are on the road. First stop, what they


call All Hands Call. The 64-year- old Admiral likes to share his


experience with the young troops. Many of you succeeded that somebody


made a difference in your life. The only thing I ask when I talk to an


audience like this is you figure out way to make a difference in


somebody else's life. And more importantly, hear from them. This


is said to be the bit of the job the Admiral loves, meeting the


soldiers on the frontline, and hearing their stories. Handing out


coins, or medals is a military tradition. Morale is high in these


troops, some aren't clear why they are here. What is the official


answer for why we are here still, that you would say to an Afghan who


says you got Osama Bin Laden, why are you still here. There is a lot


more to Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda is not dead, they are still


threatening us, internationally they are still coming after us.


They still would choose to kill as many Americans as they possibly


comfortable while they are down they are a long way from being out.


There is still plenty of work to do. Back to the tarmac.


Admiral Mullen has some help on the trip to cheer up the troops.


Everyone wants their picture taken. With basketball giant Karl Malone,


magician, David Blaine, and the ever-smiling comedian, Jon Stewart.


None of these stars have been to Afghanistan before. Admiral Mullen


is taking them across the southern provinces that have seen the worst


fighting in this war. Our next stop, Mel mand. All this is a novelty for


them. But it is their way of showing appreciation for what the


troops do every day. The main reason for coming on the trip


honestly was to be able to let them know that we are thinking about


them Stateside. It is a long war, it is a tough war, and they have


bourne the burden of this overwhelmingly, the military


families, and just to let them know people are thinking about them.


When you go back to the television studio, what will you tell the


world about this? This is for me and between me and then. Admiral


Mullen's message on this trip is security is much better, but the


Taliban are still able to carry out major takes and assassinations. The


US sent in tens of thousands of extra troops last year, to try to


turn the tide. But this war has gone on for a decade now. This is


about the Afghan people, and this is also about putting the Afghan


security forces in charge of their own destiny. Over the next few


months, some of the US soldiers here could be going home, as part


of President Obama's exit plan, but by 2014, the Afghans are meant to


be fully in charge. The big question is, will they be


ready? These Afghans say they will be.


They proudly sing that they are soldiers and they defend their


country like lions. There is concern there won't be enough well-


trained troops and police to take on a determined enemy like the


Taliban. Colonel Aziz heads the training at this base. He says they


are Afghan too they can defend their country from any threat. But


most Afghans hoped that by now they wouldn't be preparing for war. They


would be living in peace. The US and other NATO armies had big


dreams. Now there is not much time left. Before these American


soldiers will be playing ball back home, hoping they did some good


here. Why do you think you are doing something for America here?


Not only for America, just, mostly for the civilians of Afghanistan,


to better the place. This is a war worth fighting? Yes mam, I do think


it is, yes mam. Admiral Mullen knows this is likely


to be the last time he's out here with his troops, he know he leaves


behind a country beset by major problems, bad Government, big


corruption. But it is up to Afghans to sort them. He feels he fought


the good fight, even if he knows it's not over.


Local health trusts and hospitals will be allowed to develop or buy


smaller systems. Miliband plan to curb union hold over Labour Party,


that will be an interesting Labour Party Conference. The eurozone


problems and the US problems too. The FT has Spain and Italy rushing


to stem bond crisis debt costs hit highs for the two countries. The


Mail has thousands of bureaucrats recruited since the election,


despite Cameron's pledge. That's all from tonight, we're back


Good evening, a misty and muggy night. A few thunderstorms in


eastern England. Most start Wednesday, dry, fairly cloudy,


sunny spells developing. Temperatures rising through the day.


A humid day in store, setting us some thunderstorms for eastern


parts. North West England and the East Midlands, largely dry and


sunny. From the north-east, down to the London area, anyone is at risk


from a torrential thunderstorm during the afternoon. Mostly dry on


the coast, but sunshine hazy through the afternoon through


South-West England and Wales. Here temperatures into the low 20 still


feeling humid, especially in those spells of hazy sunshine. Isolated


light showers through the afternoon. Northern Ireland stays dry and


bright, with some good spells of hazy sunshine. Across Scotland a


generally dryer, brighter day than what we saw today, more in the east


and it will feel warmer. But it is a changover from Wednesday to


Thursday, contrast, temperatures will hold the same for northern


areas, but there will be some heavy downpours develops, further south,


temperatures take a huge drop, as we knee potentially torrential rain


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