Ten things we learned in 2014 thanks to OpenWorld News

Ten things we learned in 2014 thanks to OpenWorld News0

2014 was a great year for OpenWorld News, and it was all topped off with a nomination at the British Journalism Awards for Investigation of the Year. Thanks to all those who supported our journalism.

Here’s a reminder of ten things we learned this year thanks to OpenWorld News


1. Supermarkets selling unlabelled Halal meat

Supermarkets and restaurants were selling Halal-slaughtered meat – but with no labelling, customers were completely unaware.

Halal - OWN 2014


2. Hospitals incinerating unborn babies as waste

Our investigation caused the NHS to ban the incineration of all foetal remains from miscarriages and abortions.

Shortlisted at the British Journalism Awards for Investigation of the Year.

Foetal - OWN 2014


3. Britain’s weapons sales to Russia

As the Government condemned the Kremlin for the annexation of Crimea, we revealed the UK was supplying £86m of arms to Russia.

Russia - OWN 2014


4. The true scale of child sexual exploitation

For the first time, our investigation revealed how many children all over England are at risk of sexual exploitation and grooming gangs.

CSE - OWN 2014

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Journalist Paul McNamara interviewed on BBC Radio about our investigation into missing children

Following our investigation into thousands of children going missing from local authority care, journalist Paul McNamara was interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio by presenter Iain Lee.

Listen to the full interview below.

Our investigation as published exclusively in the Sunday Times and found almost 5,000 children going missing from local authority care, including babies just months old.

Alarm raised as 19 babies vanish from council care0

BABIES are among almost 5,000 children who have disappeared from council care in the past two years.

A boy only a few months old went missing nearly two years ago and has not been found. Another 18 babies also vanished, some for months at a time.

Experts described the figures as “alarming” and accused councils of leaving some youngsters at risk from child abusers.

Tom Rahilly, head of strategy for looked-after children at the NSPCC, said: “When children and young people in care go missing it should be no different to when any other child disappears from home.This is very alarming.”

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws show at least 4,852 looked-after children were reported missing between January 2012 and December 2013.

Many disappeared on more than one occasion, with a total of 24,320 cases logged.

Baby hands

Of the 138 councils in England and Wales which responded, 34 provided detailed data showing there were 992 cases of children absent for at least five days, 34 missing for at least six months, and eight for more than a year.

While the vast majority were teenagers, those who disappeared included six toddlers and dozens of children aged 4-9.

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Mums at risk as hospitals send them home late

THOUSANDS of new mothers are being discharged from hospitals in the middle of the night as a shortage of midwives leaves maternity care at “make or break point”, a Sunday Times investigation reveals.

Almost 33,000 women were sent home after giving birth between 11pm and 6am in the past three years, despite experts warning that discharging exhausted new mothers in the early hours puts them at risk.

Patients’ groups branded the figures “unacceptable”, and maternity workers urged the government to pump money into a service struggling to cope.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Being discharged in the middle of night is not appropriate under any circumstances, more so when women are feeling vulnerable after going through an exhausting delivery. This is unacceptable and put patients at risk.”

Baby feet

Figures obtained under freedom of information rules reveal that 12,335 new mothers were discharged between 11pm and 6am during 2013 — the equivalent of 34 women every night.

The data, revealed in responses from 81 of the 167 NHS health trusts in England and Wales, show a worsening situation, with the number of late-night discharges rising from 10,696 mothers in 2012 and 9,801 in 2011.

Mandi Riley, 26, was discharged from Liverpool Women’s Hospital late at night following difficulties during the birth of her daughter Jessica. She claimed she was left in tears after having to make her way home after 11pm on a cold, snowy night in 2009.

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Sickbed UK does poorly

BRITISH hospitals have fewer beds per person than almost every country in Europe, shock figures have revealed.

In a survey of 28 nations the UK came second from bottom — beating only Sweden — with fewer than three beds for every 1,000 Brits.

That is way below the figures for some of Europe’s poorest countries. Even hard-up Bulgaria had seven beds per 1,000 citizens.

Hospital beds stock image

Official figures show almost 12,500 operations have been cancelled so far this winter as hospitals ran out of space. The latest data from the European Commission — which saw Germany at No1, with 8.3 beds — has sparked fears of an NHS crisis.

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UK has fewer doctors per person than most of EU

THE UK has fewer doctors per person than almost all other European countries, new figures reveal.

Health groups and unions last night branded the situation “extremely worrying” and urged the Government to “get a grip” on staffing levels.

It comes as figures produced by the European Commission show the UK has 2.71 practising doctors for every 1,000 people.

Hospital corridor three people

It puts us 24th in the league table of 27 European nations – behind some of the poorest countries, including Bulgaria, Estonia and Latvia.

Only Poland, Romania and Slovenia have fewer doctors per head.

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Ten things we learned in 2013 thanks to OpenWorld News

1. The youngest person tasered by police was a 12-year-old schoolgirl

The 12-year-old girl, from Merseyside, was shot with a 50,000 volt stun gun after threatening to harm herself. Our revelation kicked off a national debate about the use of Tasers on children. Children’s charities condemned the use of Tasers on youngsters, but ACPO lead on armed policing Simon Chesterman insisted Tasers are safe.

Daily Mail - Police using Tasers on children as young as 12


2. Comic Relief invests millions of donated funds in tobacco and arms companies

All credit to BBC’s Panorama for making this one stick, but we first revealed Comic Relief’s decidedly unethical investment strategy back in August in the People newspaper. In fact, we’d spoken to the story’s unstoppable, original source Andrew Goodwill four years earlier and carried out detailed research showing exactly where money donated to the charity goes. It was Chris Atkins’ Panorama show, however, in December, that finally caused the media storm it deserved. The programme was good enough to credit OpenWorld News director Guy Basnett for his earlier research.

The People - Red face day

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Record numbers of pensioners end up in hospital after taking illegal drugs

ALMOST 1,000 pensioners have been hospitalised after taking illegal drugs as the swinging 60s generation hit old age, The People can reveal.

The number of OAPs poisoning themselves with cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines has TRIPLED in the last decade.

And almost half of those rushed to A&E last year were OVER 75.

Experts blame the spike on the ‘sex, drugs and rock n’ roll’ generation – who were in their teens and twenties when The Rolling Stones, Jimmi Hendrix and The Who were strutting their stuff – reaching old age.

Jimi Hendrix memorial

David Raynes of the National Drug Prevention Alliance said: “We are getting to the period where people who grew up in the sixties are of that age.”

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Our investigation into police using Tasers on children featured on Radio Talk Europe

Following our investigation into police using Tasers on children OpenWorld News director Guy Basnett was invited on Radio Talk Europe to discuss what we’d found with Bill Padley.


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