Traffic jams: UK's worst motorway disruption revealed

Queuing traffic Image caption A fuel spill on the M5 caused 15 hours of disruption

The worst traffic jams in the UK left drivers facing up to 15 hours of disruption and tailbacks.

A fuel spill, broken down vehicles and an emergency viaduct repair were behind the most severe delays.

Traffic analysts Inrix said drivers and businesses lost millions of pounds in wasted fuel and time.

They looked at disruption on motorways and A roads between September 2016 and August 2017.

The M5 in Somerset saw the longest disruption and biggest tailbacks while three of the top five were on the M6.

On 4 August 2017, drivers faced up to 15 hours of traffic jams after two lorries collided and there was a fuel spill, which resulted in the carriageway of the M5 needing to be resurfaced.

Inrix said it caused problems for drivers up to 36 miles away.

It estimated the cost to the economy of this Somerset disruption as nearly £2.4m based on average fuel consumption, the number of people typically in cars and "assumptions" about the purpose of people's trips.

At the time travel company First Bus said it faced "unprecedented delays"[1] to services in North Somerset.

While the M5 saw the worst individual incident, it was the M6 motorway in Cheshire and Lancashire that featured most in the top five.

Bank holiday getaway

The second worst traffic jam of the year was on the M6 near Warrington on 7 April 2017.

Emergency work to repair Thelwall Viadict caused disruption and delays from junction 21 back to junction 16 of the M6.

Later in the year, the August bank holiday getaway saw drivers caught in long delays, again on the M6.

However, this time it was between Sandbach in Cheshire and Haydock after a "number of vehicles" including a lorry broke down.

In November 2016, lane closures on the A406W North Circular Road near Wembley in London, led to more than 14 miles of disruption;while a lorry fire near Preston[2] in December that same year closed three lanes of the M6 overnight 12/13 December.

Image copyright @LancsRoadPolice Image caption No-one was injured but there was 10 hours of disruption following a lorry fire on the M6

Even when the fire was out there were still delays because the road needed to be re-surfaced.

Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix, said:"While queuing is considered a national pastime for many Brits, nothing is more frustrating than sitting in traffic and it's a costly activity.

"Jams can be caused by all kinds of incidents but fuel spillages, emergency repairs and broken down lorries contributed to the biggest pile-ups this year."

Highways England, which is responsible for motorways and major trunk roads, said 85% of incidents were cleared within an hour.

"We will continue to ensure roads are reopened safely, but as quickly as possible," customer service director Mel Clarke said.

The list was compiled by taking the duration of the jam and multiplying it by the length of the queue.Delays caused by scheduled roadworks were excluded....

References

  1. ^ "unprecedented delays" (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ lorry fire near Preston (twitter.com)

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Hospital targets missed en masse as performance slumps

Hospital operationImage copyright stockvisual

The performance of hospitals across the UK has slumped with targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations now being missed en masse, BBC research shows.

Nationally England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit one of their three key targets for 18 months.

Only Scotland has had any success in the past 12 months - hitting its A&E target three times.

Ministers accepted growing demand had left the NHS struggling to keep up as doctors warned patients were suffering.

The findings are being revealed as the BBC launches its online NHS Tracker project, which allows people to see how their local service is performing on three key waiting time targets:

  • Four-hour A&E waits
  • 62-day cancer care
  • Planned operations and treatment

If you can't see the NHS Tracker, click or tap here.[1]

The BBC has looked at performance nationally as well as locally across the 135 hospital trusts in England and 26 health boards in the rest of the UK.

Locally there is just one service in the whole of the UK - run by Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust - which has managed to hit all three targets each time over the past 12 months.

Hospital staff the BBC has talked to have described how shortages of doctors and nurses, a lack of money and inadequate room in A&E departments in particular was making it difficult to see patients quickly enough.

While overall the vast majority of patients are still being seen in time, the BBC investigation shows how declining performance is affecting patients.

For example, the chances of not being seen in four hours in A&E has actually more than doubled in the past four years, with one in nine patients now waiting longer than that.

The NHS on the slide

The BBC research has found:

  • Wales has consistently failed to hit its targets.In 2012-13 it did not hit any of its monthly key hospital targets and in 2016-17 it was the same.The last time a target was achieved nationally was 2010.
  • England has seen the biggest deterioration.In 2012-13 it hit its key hospital targets 86% of the time, but in the last year it has missed every monthly target.
  • Scotland is the only part of the UK to hit its targets during the last 12 months, but has only managed to hit do that three times over the summer in A&E when pressures tend to be at their lowest.
  • Northern Ireland is failing to hit its targets despite making it easier to hit the goal for planned operations and care.Since March 2015 it has gradually reduced the target from 80% to 55% but has still not hit it.
  • The north-east is the top performing region in England.Services have hit their key hospital targets 71% of the time in the past year.
  • Twelve out of 135 English hospital trusts, four out of five Northern Irish health trusts and five out of seven Welsh trusts have failed to hit any target in the past 12 months.

'We don't have enough doctors'

Image caption Cancer doctor Prof Madhusudan suggests there are not enough staff to see the patients quickly enough

Prof Srinivasan Madhusudan, head of cancer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which has not hit the cancer target since April 2014, suggested there was simply not enough staff to cope.

"When I get to work I want to treat my patients as soon as I can.So do my colleagues."

But he added there was a limit to what could be done, pointing out there are 5,000 new cases a year at his hospital trust.

"There are only so many patients that you can treat.

"We have a team of 22 fantastic oncologists who are working very hard to do the best they can under what is quite a stressful situation."

Meanwhile, Ali Refson, an A&E consultant at London's Northwick Park hospital, said demand was "incredibly high" which meant it was sometimes impossible to hit the four-hour target.

"We sometimes feel we can't give the best care.We are working the hardest we can, but we are only human."

What does this mean for patients?

Image copyright Getty Images

Ministers across the UK have been quick to point out that most people are still being seen in time.

But the numbers waiting longer for care have been rising.

In A&E patients are now twice as likely to wait more than four hours than they were four years ago - 11% compared to 5%.

The proportion of people waiting over 62 days for cancer treatment has risen by a third in the past four years.Nearly one in five patients now wait longer.

The chances of delays before you have a planned operation or treatment, such as a hip replacement, has increased by nearly three-quarters in four years.Currently 12% of patients wait longer than they should.

It means there are now over 500,000 people on hospital waiting lists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that have waited too long.That compares to nearly 230,000 four years ago.

British Medical Association chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the situation highlighted by the BBC was "unacceptable".

He said while for some patients the delays were simply an "inconvenience", for many more they would have a "real impact on their treatment and outcome".

Time for 'honest debate'

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said record levels of investment were being put into the health service in Scotland.

She said efforts were being made to "shift the balance of care away from hospitals" and into the community that should make it easier to hit the targets.

And she added a ministerial working group had been established to improve cancer care.

A spokesman for the Department of Health in England said more money was being spent on services, and said despite the longer waiting times the majority of hospitals were still providing good or outstanding care, according to inspectors.

And he pointed out that because of the ageing population "health systems worldwide face similar pressures".

A Welsh government spokesman acknowledged some people were waiting "too long", but pointed to the rising demand being faced.

The number of A&E visits made each year across the UK has risen by a fifth in four years to top 30 million, while the number of cancer cases has risen by more than a quarter to top 170,000.

Nonetheless, Labour's shadow health secretary in England, John Ashworth, called the decline in performance "staggering".

Saffron Cordery, of NHS Providers, which represents hospital bosses, said it was time to consider whether these targets were still achievable unless more money was provided.

"It's time for an honest debate about what we can realistically expect the health service to deliver in such difficult circumstances."


The services where targets have been missed for whole year

England:

  • Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust
  • Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust
  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
  • The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust
  • Hull &East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Maidstone &Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
  • Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Wales:

  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
  • Hywel Dda University Health Board
  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
  • Cwm Taf University Health Board
  • Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Northern Ireland:

  • Belfast Health Trust
  • South Eastern Health Trust
  • Southern Health Trust
  • Western Health Trust

Based on performance against the monthly or quarterly targets for A&E, 62-day cancer care and planned operations for the most recent 12 months for which there is data.The way the targets work is different across the UK so the BBC has simply looked at whether the key targets are being me in each nation.


Research by the BBC's data journalism unit...

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Weinstein scandal: Game of Thrones actress 'felt powerless'

Actress Lena HeadeyImage copyright Getty Images

Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister on the popular HBO show, has accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

The Hollywood mogul was "furious" after she resisted his sexual advances, she details in a series of Twitter posts.

The British actress joins a list of over 40 women who have accused the producer of misconduct.

Also on Tuesday, Weinstein resigned from the board of directors[1] of his eponymous film production company.

He has been accused of rape, sexual assault and harassment, but has "unequivocally denied" any allegations of non-consensual relationships.

Despite being fired as chairman of The Weinstein Company studio on 8 October he had continued until Tuesday to hold a position on the company's board.

Weinstein, who has been expelled from the Academy[2] of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that present the Oscar awards, still owns 22% of his company's stock, according to Variety magazine.

Image copyright YANN COATSALIOU Image caption Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood

In her Twitter posts, Heady described sharing a lift with Weinstein after he had invited her to his room to show her a script.

"The lift was going up and I said to Harvey, 'I'm not interested in anything other than work, please don't think I got in here with you for any other reason, nothing is going to happen,'" she recalled.

"I don't know what possessed me to speak out at that moment, only that I had such a strong sense of don't come near me.

"He was silent after I spoke, furious.

"He walked me back to the lift by grabbing and holding tightly to the back of my arm," she said, adding that she felt "completely powerless".

After he allegedly "whispered" that she should not tell anyone about the encounter, she writes:"I got into my car and cried."

Headey's story comes as other Hollywood actresses shared their stories of sexual harassment and impropriety in show business.

On Monday, Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon said she had been harassed by an unnamed film director when she was 16 years old[5], during a speech to the Elle Women in Hollywood event.

Jennifer Lawrence, who has won a Best Actress Oscar, spoke at the same event and described a casting call where she was made to stand nude in front of producers who criticised her weight.

"After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet," the star of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle told the Los Angeles audience.

Hollywood continues to speak out

DreamWorks film studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg meanwhile told a Wall Street Journal conference[6] of Weinstein:"Make no mistake about it:he is a monster."

He added Weinstein had been protected by other men around him, who he described as "a pack of wolves".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jeffrey Katzenberg pictured with Harvey Weinstein at a charity event in 2005

Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg also got involved by writing a Facebook post about his early days at Miramax Films.

He wrote the movies Beautiful Girls and Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead at the time Weinstein's profile was rising in the film industry.

In his post[7], he said that while he never heard any rape allegations, he was aware of Weinstein's "dreadful" behaviour - and said "everybody" else knew, too.

'I kept my mouth shut'

"I was there.And I saw you.And I talked about it with you," he wrote."You, the big producers;you, the big directors;you, the big agents;you, the big financiers.

"And you, the big rival studio chiefs;you, the big actors;you, the big actresses;you, the big models.

"You, the big journalists;you, the big screenwriters;you, the big rock stars;you, the big restaurateurs;you, the big politicians."

He said others chose to ignore what was going on because they were enjoying themselves and because women were told it would ruin their careers if they said anything.

At the end of the piece, Rosenberg apologised for not doing anything.

"I reaped the rewards and I kept my mouth shut," he said."And for that, once again, I am sorry."

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lauren Holly at a charity foundation event in February 2017

Beautiful Girls actress Lauren Holly has also come forward, sharing her story of harassment, describing an encounter she had with Weinstein.

The pair arranged a meeting in a hotel, which she didn't find "abnormal at all" because she had routinely met producers, writers and directors in their suites.

She described the early stages of the meeting as normal, but said things turned sour when Weinstein walked into the hotel suite "wearing a hotel bathrobe".

'I pushed him and ran'

"He said, 'OK, let's get to it, this is what we've got going on at my company, these are the scripts we have in the pipeline, this is what I think might be right for you,' and he gestured for me to follow him."

Holly recounted that she followed him into the bedroom part of the suite as he continued talking.

Weinstein then showered and, when he emerged, was naked and started to approach her.

Holly said she started to run away, but that Weinstein began to threaten her, saying she needed to "keep him as [her] ally" and that it would be a "bad decision" if she left the room.

At that point, Holly said, she "pushed him and ran".


Follow us on Facebook[10], on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts[11], or on Instagram at bbcnewsents[12].If you have a story suggestion email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.....

References

  1. ^ resigned from the board of directors (www.bbc.com)
  2. ^ been expelled from the Academy (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ Who has accused him of what? (www.bbc.co.uk)
  4. ^ Did everyone really know? (www.bbc.co.uk)
  5. ^ when she was 16 years old (www.bbc.co.uk)
  6. ^ Wall Street Journal conference (www.wsj.com)
  7. ^ In his post (deadline.com)
  8. ^ How the scandal unfolded (www.bbc.co.uk)
  9. ^ UK police investigate new claims (www.bbc.co.uk)
  10. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  11. ^ @BBCNewsEnts (twitter.com)
  12. ^ bbcnewsents (www.instagram.com)

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