PREMIER’S OFFICE-Premier Starts Process To Avoid Health Sector Disruptions The province will introduce legislation this fall for a fair and impartial system to prevent service disruptions in the health care and related sectors, Premier Rodney MacDonald announced today, May 15. “Nova Scotians deserve to be protected from disruptions to health care, just as health-care workers deserve an effective system for collective bargaining,” Premier MacDonald said. “A system of arbitration is our preferred option at this time. However, if a truly compelling alternative comes to our attention, we will give it serious consideration. “Collective agreements will continue to be negotiated, but we need a fair process to enable health-care workers and their employers to resolve disputes if negotiations reach an impasse. We cannot close the doors of our health system any more than we can do without the services of police or firefighters.” The premier has asked Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent to oversee a dialogue with Nova Scotians and stakeholders from acute-care facilities, long-term-care facilities, homes for special care, and ambulance services. The objective is to help develop a fair, impartial and independent alternative to strikes or lockouts when collective bargaining reaches an impasse. “We also want to draw on the best practices of other health-care systems as we design a made-in-Nova Scotia solution,” said the premier. Nova Scotia is one of only two provinces in Canada where the right to strike or lockout in the health sector is the same as in private industry. Nova Scotia will have a new process designed to avoid a work stoppage like the recent one at the IWK Health Centre that resulted in the cancellation of services. “I believe our current system of resolving impasses in this sector has failed all of us — workers, management, and the public,” said Premier MacDonald. “Our government is committed to a system that is fair to both health-sector employees and Nova Scotians who expect and deserve health care.”
The baby trial began in July 2009 and almost half of the 2,800 infants taking part were given the new jab.In 2013, the outcome of the trial on the infants was announced and concluded that the new vaccine offered no increased protection. Professor Beverley, a principal research fellow at the University of Oxford until 2010, complained formally to the university. An inquiry was launched and concluded that although there had been no wrongdoing, it “would have been good practice for the potentially adverse reaction observed in the monkey experiment to be reported to the authorities in a more timely fashion.” Professor Helen McShane, one of the lead scientists who developed the new vaccine, has said that the purpose of the monkey study was to “test the aerosol delivery” to the animals, not to “yield safety information”. She said it was a “failed experiment” because “there was no difference “ between the groups. Prof McShane told the Telegraph that there was no delay in providing data from the monkey experiment to regulators. She said she did not think that families in South Africa were exploited and that regulators had signed off the information sheet that was given to parents. Almost 1,500 babies in South Africa received the new jab and parents were paid in the region of £10 for taking part.The South African regulator which approved the trial admitted to this newspaper that the information sheet given to parents “could be construed as misleading”, raising questions about whether families were sufficiently informed.The scientists at Oxford who carried out the trial maintain that the jab was safe for children and that their experiment was approved by several regulators in advance. They said they followed the infants’ development for two years after the immunisation was given – a time period approved by the regulators. The monkey study that concerned Prof Beverley began in November 2006 and the application to test the vaccine in the Western Cape was submitted 18 months later.Around this time, Prof Beverley said he heard that the animals in a study had to be euthanized “rather rapidly”. All the monkeys were infected with TB, but one group was given the widely used BCG jab, a second was given no immunisation and a third was given BCG plus new vaccine. He said people affected by tuberculosis were often poor and “not very highly educated”, making it particularly important that they were given “clear, understandable information.” Oxford University is embroiled in an ethics row after scientists were accused of questionable conduct over a controversial trial of a new vaccine on African babies.Professor Peter Beverley, a former senior academic at the university, complained that scientists planned to test a new tuberculosis vaccine on more than a thousand infants without sharing data suggesting that monkeys given the immunisation had appeared to “die rapidly”.“Certainly here in this experiment there was no evidence whatsoever that this is an effective booster vaccine,” Prof Beverley said.He claimed the information was not given to regulators when an application to do the trial was initially submitted.In the monkey study, five out of six of the animals infected with TB who were given the experimental vaccine had become “very unwell” and had to be put down. An information sheet given to families in South Africa participating in the trial said the vaccine had been tested on animals and humans and was “safe and effective” in animals. Professor Jimmy Volmink, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, told The Telegraph the information sheet did not appear to reflect the evidence from the monkey study, which was “not right”. She added that the monkey trial contained a “limited” number of animals and Professor Beverley was “disgruntled”.South African Medicines Control Council, which was one of the regulators who approved the trial, said that a “large body of data” – apart from the monkey experiment and which included previous human trials – was considered as part of the approval process. They also said that the monkey experiment was “not a trial of the vaccine in monkeys” and that “there was no suggestion that the vaccine was unsafe in the monkeys or that it had caused disease or death”However, when asked about the information sheet that was given to parents, the regulator said, “In retrospect the information on efficacy achieved in the animal studies could be construed as misleading”, although the “evidence of safety in the previous human studies was fairly reported”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.