Stephen Hawking: I’m worried about the future of the NHS

Stephen Hawking at the Royal Society of Medicine

Stephen Hawking has said he is worried about the future of the NHS, in a speech critical of government policy and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Cambridge University scientist, who publicly backed Labour in the election, accused Mr Hunt of “cherry-picking” evidence to support his policies.

The 75-year-old also said he was concerned about the involvement of the private sector in the NHS in England.

But Mr Hunt said some of Mr Hawking’s comments were “pernicious”.

A statement released by the Department of Health after the text of the speech was given to the BBC in advance said extra money was being invested in the NHS and it had recently been ranked as a top-performing health system.

Prof Hawking, who has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life that has impaired his movement and ability to speak, delivered the speech at a conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, organised to air concerns about the future of the NHS.

The author of A Brief History of Time, who is a Labour supporter, said he had been motivated to speak because of the role the health service has played in his life, saying if it was not for the NHS he “wouldn’t be here today”.

In the speech, Prof Hawking listed a number of occasions on which the NHS was there for him.

This included an episode in 1985 when he caught pneumonia in Switzerland.

Doctors there suggested his ventilator be turned off to end his life, but his wife refused and he was flown back to Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge where he received treatment and recovered.

Fourteen years after that, he had pioneering throat reconstruction surgery in London after his condition worsened and he was struggling to eat and breathe.

“I have had a lot of experience of the NHS and the care I received has enabled me to live my life as I want and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe,” he said, referring to his theories on black holes and the origin of the Universe.

His speech then listed some of the developments in the NHS that concerned him, including the move toward what he called a “US-style insurance system”.

He said he believed there had been an increase in private provision of care, including the use of agency staff, that was leading to profit being extracted from the health service.

“The more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow and the more expensive healthcare becomes. The NHS must be preserved from commercial interests and protected from those who want to privatise it,” he said.

He said that a publicly provided, publicly run system was the “most efficient” and so those who say we cannot afford the NHS are wrong.

“We cannot afford not to have the NHS,” he added.

His speech also mentioned Mr Hunt by name.

In a section about the move towards a seven-day NHS, Prof Hawking said that while he would like there to be more services available at weekends, the government has failed to carry out “proper due diligence”, particularly with regard to whether there would be enough staff.

He quoted from a letter he put his name to last year explaining how Mr Hunt “cherry-picked” research to put his case.

The health secretary initially said on Twitter that Mr Hawking was a “brilliant physicist but wrong on the lack of a weekend effect” in the NHS.

He also said the associated with weekend NHS services was “the most comprehensive ever”.

But hours later he posted two further tweets, in which he said Mr Hawking’s concerns, about the development in the UK of the type of insurance system seen in the United States, were a “pernicious falsehood”.

He also said the Conservatives had provided the NHS with more money and medical staff than ever before.

Skip Twitter post by @Jeremy_Hunt

Most pernicious falsehood from Stephen Hawking is idea govt wants US-style insurance system.Is it 2 much to ask him to look at evidence? 1/2

— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) August 19, 2017


End of Twitter post by @Jeremy_Hunt

Skip Twitter post 2 by @Jeremy_Hunt

NHS under Cons has seen more money,more docs and more nurses than ever in history.Those with private med insurance DOWN 9.4% since 2009! 2/2

— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) August 19, 2017


End of Twitter post 2 by @Jeremy_Hunt

The Department of Health responded to Mr Hawking’s comments by pointing out that the numbers of staff working in the NHS were increasing and it “makes no apology” for tackling the weekend effect.

The statement pointed out that only about 8% of NHS funding goes to the private sector.

It also said that “despite being busy”, the NHS had been ranked as the “best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 wealthy nations” in a recent study by the Commonwealth Fund.

“The government is fully committed to a world-class NHS, free at the point of use now and in the future – that’s why we’re backing it with an extra £8bn of investment over the next five years,” the statement said.

Visits to UK rise amid fall in pound

Tourists outside Buckingham Palace watching as guardsmen take part in the Changing of the Guard in central London

The number of visitors to the UK rose to 3.5 million in June, up 7% from the same month last year, according to official figures.

The number of visitors from North America shot up by 34%.

While in the UK, the visitors spent £2.2bn, a rise of 2%, .

The increase comes as the weak pound makes the UK more affordable for visitors, but also follows terror attacks in London and Manchester.

Meanwhile, UK residents took a June record of 7.2 million trips abroad, up 4%.

However, with the fall in the value of sterling putting them at a disadvantage, the amount they spent leapt by 15% to £4.6bn.

The big increase in visitors from North America, from 483,000 in June of last year to 650,000 this year, was “clearly buoyed by the particularly sharp drop of the pound against the dollar since mid-2016”, according to Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club.

The number of visitors from Europe rose by 2% to 2.241 million.

The best month so far this year was April, with 3.7 million visitors coming to the UK – up 19% from a year earlier.

Over the April-to-June quarter the number of visitors from overseas rose to 10.75 million, up 8% from the same period a year earlier.

But while holiday visits were up by 20% to 4.7 million over the same three months, business visits were down by 4% at 2.4 million.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and this continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.”

Google’s stance on neo-Nazis ‘dangerous’, says EFF

Stop Fascism protest sign outside the White House

Decisions by Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare to eject a neo-Nazi site from their services were “dangerous”, a US-based digital rights group has said.

The Daily Stormer had denigrated 23-year-old Heather Heyer who died while protesting against a far-right rally in Charlottesville.

This led to a backlash in which multiple web firms kicked the site off their platforms.

But this response.

The tech companies have not yet commented on the EFF’s statement.

“We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous,” the EFF said.

“Because internet intermediaries, especially those with few competitors, control so much online speech, the consequences of their decisions have far-reaching impacts on speech around the world.”

It added that it believed “no-one” – including the government and private companies – should decide who is able to speak or not.

Google and GoDaddy said earlier in the week that it was cancelling the Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains as it had violated the terms of service.

And Cloudflare’s chief executive explained that he made his decision after the site’s administrators .

The Daily Stormer is currently inaccessible on the open web, after various domain providers and hosting firms – including one in Russia – banned it from their services.

However, it has relocated to the dark web.

Dark web network Tor has said it has no plans to stop the Daily Stormer from using its technology.

“Tor is designed to defend human rights and privacy by preventing anyone from censoring things, even us,” the Tor Project explained .

But the list of businesses that have shut out the Daily Stormer and other neo-Nazi or white nationalist sites has now grown very large.

Payment giants Mastercard, Visa , Paypal and American Express all said this week that they would take a tough stance on sites that engaged in illegal activities.

Paypal, for example, mentioned sites that incite hate, racial intolerance or violence.

And music streaming services offered by Google, Deezer and Spotify have said they would remove music that incites violence, hatred or racism.

Spotify said: “We are glad to have been alerted to this content – and have already removed many of the bands identified, while urgently reviewing the remainder.”

Kit Kat accused of copying Atari game Breakout

kit kats

Kit Kat’s maker Nestle has been accused of copying Breakout, the 1970s computer game, in a marketing campaign.

Atari, the company behind some of the most popular early video games, has filed a suit alleging Nestle knowingly exploited the game’s look and feel.

a game similar to Breakout but where the bricks were replaced with single Kit Kat bars.

Nestle said it was aware of the lawsuit and would defend itself “strongly” against the allegations.

Breakout was created as a successor to “Pong” by Apple founders, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

In the advert, which is titled “Kit Kat: Breakout”, a row of people, of varying ages and appearance, share a sofa and play a video game during their work break. In the game depicted, a primitive paddle moves side-to-side to bounce a ball into a collision with the horizontal bars ranged across the top of the screen.

Atari alleges that the similarity with its original game “is so plain and blatant that Nestle cannot claim to be an ‘innocent’ infringer”.

The legal complaint against Nestle, filed in a San Francisco court on Thursday, claims that the Swiss chocolate maker had hoped to exploit “the special place [Breakout] holds among nostalgic Baby Boomers, Generation X, and even today’s Millennial and post-Millennial ‘gamers'”.

Nestle’s spokesperson said: “This is a UK TV advert that ran in 2016. The ad no longer runs and we have no current plans to re-run it.

“We are aware of the lawsuit in the US and will defend ourselves strongly against these allegations.”

Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka resigns

Former Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka

The chief executive of Infosys, Vishal Sikka, has resigned from his post with an unconventional and lengthy letter blaming “personal attacks”.

In the letter Mr Sikka said the “continuous drumbeat of distractions” contributed to his decision to resign.

It follows public criticism of the company and its board by its founders.

Infosys is one of India’s largest IT services firms. Shares in the firm plunged 9% following news of Mr Sikka’s departure.

Mr Sikka was appointed in June 2014 and tasked with turning around the struggling business.

The company announced he was resigning as chief executive and managing director with immediate effect, but would stay on as executive vice chairman.

Infosys chief operating officer U. B. Pravin Rao will take over as interim chief executive, the firm said.

The move follows disagreements between the company and its founders, who were unhappy with various decisions taken by the board.

The firm’s founders, who still own 12.75% of Infosys, had questioned a pay rise granted to Mr Sikka and the size of severance payouts given to other employees.

In his resignation letter, Mr Sikka covers a wide range of topics – from artificial intelligence, to the Charlottesville tragedy, Brexit and US President Donald Trump – as he explains his decision to step down.

He notes constant “distractions” frustrated his efforts to grow the company.

“Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks,” he said.

“This continuous drumbeat of distractions and negativity over the last several months/quarters, inhibits our ability to make positive change and stay focused on value creation.

“Allegations that have been repeatedly proven false and baseless by multiple, independent investigations,” he wrote.

Under Mr Sikka’s leadership the firm, which exports IT services, has shifted away from traditional IT services to focus on new products.

Some parties, including the company’s founders, have been critical of the approach.

The bitter acrimony between the board and Infosys founders had been brewing for some time. But Mr Sikka’s decision to quit the company under these circumstances has left investors and shareholders worried.

In his first comments to analysts following his resignation, Mr Sikka described the continuous allegations against him by the founders headed by Mr Narayana Murthy as ‘sickening’. The Infosys board has backed Mr Sikka and squarely blamed Mr Murthy – the main founder of the company – for Mr Sikka’s resignation.

Infosys has been grappling with challenges the IT industry has faced in recent years. With the Trump administration cracking down on H1-B visas, which were primarily issued to Indian IT employees, profits of Indian IT firms have been under pressure.

The US is a significant market for the Indian IT industry, contributing more than 60% to overall revenues. There’s also the rise of artificial intelligence, which has led to massive job cuts at Indian IT firms.

In a statement, Infosys said it was “profoundly distressed” by the personal attacks on its management team in recent months.

The company denounced its critics and said the allegations had “harmed employee morale and contributed to the loss of the company’s valued CEO”.

It praised Mr Sikka’s efforts in providing a new direction for the company, increasing revenues and reducing employee attrition.

Mr Sikka will receive an annual salary of $1 in his new role as executive vice chairman.

Ford CEO doesn’t see robot army on roads anytime soon

SAN FRANCISCO — Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett doesn’t foresee a robot takeover when it comes to the advent of autonomous vehicles.

Hackett outlined his vision for future mobility at Ford’s City of Tomorrow event in San Francisco on Thursday. Rather than predict an all pod-car streetscape within the next decade, he said technology will gradually augment current challenges, easing pain points such as limited parking and vehicle access that commuters deal with on a daily basis.

“When you paint the robots as perfect and humans as imperfect, we’ve made a big mistake,” Hackett said. “We don’t need the robot to get around.”

Hackett, who formerly headed Ford’s Smart Mobility subsidiary before replacingMark Fields as CEO in May, has been tasked with formulating Ford’s mobility strategy in an increasingly competitive field. The company has invested in various transportation technologies, including lidar-maker Velodyne, mapping startup Civil Maps, bikeshare company Motivate, ride-sharing startup Chariot and autonomous driving startup Argo AI.

In July, Hackett said he was using his first 100 days as CEO to review Ford’s future product plans — which includes the introduction of a Level 4 self-driving vehicle for commercial use by 2021.

To make the most of technological innovations in transportation, companies must examine every perspective, Hackett said, and work to create an egalitarian system. While automated technology can ease problems such as crash avoidance, navigating traffic accidents and parking options, it can’t fully address problems of equal access on its own.

Hackett said a combination of analog and new technologies will be necessary to create a better transportation environment.

“Networks only get stronger by inclusion, there’s no gain by carving someone out,” he said.

Hackett acknowledged that some of Ford’s competitors in autonomous vehicle development have gained an advantage in data collection by operating services off of smartphones, adding that to deliver effective mobility services, Ford must be able to understand consumer patterns and preferences.

“We need to be able to piece together these attributes of what inside a city are the pain points for customers today,” he said. “We can then marry that technological capability to the stepping stones of the pain points in a city.”

How hackers are targeting the shipping industry

A laptop being used in a mock cyber attack

When staff at CyberKeel investigated email activity at a medium-sized shipping firm, they made a shocking discovery.

“Someone had hacked into the systems of the company and planted a small virus,” explains co-founder Lars Jensen. “They would then monitor all emails to and from people in the finance department.”

Whenever one of the firm’s fuel suppliers would send an email asking for payment, the virus simply changed the text of the message before it was read, adding a different bank account number.

“Several million dollars,” says Mr Jensen, were transferred to the hackers before the company cottoned on.

After the NotPetya cyber-attack in June, major firms including shipping giant Maersk .

In fact, Maersk that the incident could cost it as much as $300 million (£155 million) in profits.

But Mr Jensen has long believed that that the shipping industry needs to protect itself better against hackers – the fraud case dealt with by CyberKeel was just another example.

The firm was launched more than three years ago after Mr Jensen teamed up with business partner Morten Schenk, a former lieutenant in the Danish military who Jensen describes as “one of those guys who could hack almost anything”.

They wanted to offer penetration testing – investigative tests of security – to shipping companies. The initial response they got, however, was far from rosy.

“I got pretty consistent feedback from people I spoke to and that was, ‘Don’t waste your time, we’re pretty safe, there’s no need’,” he recalls.

Today, that sentiment is becoming rarer.

The consequences of suffering from the for Maersk included the shutting down of some port terminals managed by its subsidiary APM.

The industry is now painfully aware that physical shipping operations are vulnerable to digital disruption.

Breaking into a shipping firm’s computer systems can allow attackers to access sensitive information. One of the most serious cases that has been made public concerns a global shipping conglomerate that was hacked by pirates.

They wanted to find out which vessels were transporting the particular cargo they planned to seize.

A report on the case by the cyber-security team at telecoms company Verizon describes the precision of the operation.

“They’d board a vessel, locate by barcode specific sought-after crates containing valuables, steal the contents of that crate – and that crate only – and then depart the vessel without further incident,” it states.

But ships themselves, increasingly computerised, are vulnerable too. And for many, that’s the greatest worry.

Malware, including NotPetya and many other strains, is often designed to spread from computer to computer on a network. That means that connected devices on board ships are also potentially vulnerable.

“We know a cargo container, for example, where the switchboard shut down after ransomware found its way on the vessel,” says Patrick Rossi at consultancy DNV GL.

He explains that the switchboard manages power supply to the propeller and other machinery on board. The ship in question, moored at a port in Asia, was rendered inoperable for some time, adds Mr Rossi.

Crucial navigation systems such as the Electronic Chart Display (Ecdis) have also been hit. One such incident is recalled by Brendan Saunders, maritime technical lead at cyber-security firm NCC Group.

This also concerned a ship at an Asian port, but this time it was a large tanker weighing 80,000 tonnes.

One of the crew had brought a USB stick on board with some paperwork that needed to be printed. That was how the malware got into the ship’s computers in the first instance. But it was when a second crew member went to update the ship’s charts before sailing, also via USB, that the navigation systems were infected.

Departure was consequently delayed and an investigation launched.

“Ecdis systems pretty much never have anti-virus,” says Mr Saunders, pointing out the vulnerability. “I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a merchant ship Ecdis unit that had anti-virus on it.”

These incidents are hugely disruptive to maritime businesses, but truly catastrophic scenarios might involve a hacker attempting to sabotage or even destroy a ship itself, through targeted manipulation of its systems.

Could that happen? Could, for example, a determined and well-resourced attacker alter a vessel’s systems to provoke a collision?

“It’s perfectly feasible,” says Mr Saunders. “We’ve demonstrated proof-of-concept that that could happen.”

And the experts are finding new ways into ships’ systems remotely. One independent cyber-security researcher, who goes by the pseudonym of x0rz, recently used an app called Ship Tracker to find open satellite communication systems, VSat, on board vessels.

In x0rz’s case, the VSat on an actual ship in South American waters had default credentials – the username “admin” and password “1234” – and so was easy to access.

It would be possible, x0rz believes, to change the software on the VSat to manipulate it.

A targeted attack could even alter the co-ordinates broadcast by the system, potentially allowing someone to spoof the position of the ship – although shipping industry experts have that a spoofed location would likely be quickly spotted by maritime observers.

The manufacturer behind the VSat unit in question has blamed the customer in this case for not updating the default security credentials. The unit has since been secured.

It’s obvious that the shipping industry, like many others, has a lot of work to do on such issues. But awareness is growing.

The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have both recently launched guidelines designed to help ship owners protect themselves from hackers.

Patrick Rossi points out that crew with a poor understanding of the risks they take with USB sticks or personal devices should be made aware of how malware can spread between computers.

This is all the more important because the personnel on board vessels can change frequently, as members go on leave or are reassigned.

But there are more than 51,000 commercial ships in the world. Together, they carry the vast majority – 90% – of the world’s trade. Maersk has already experienced significant disruption thanks to a piece of particularly virulent malware.

The question many will be asking in the wake of this and other cases now being made public is: What might happen next?

Calories in popular foods must be cut, say health officials

Junk food

Targets are to be set to reduce calories in pizzas, burgers and ready meals as part of the government’s drive to tackle child obesity in England.

Health officials believe the move is needed as people are consuming 200 to 300 calories too many each day.

It could see the size of products reduced or ingredients changed in food and drinks bought in supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants.

The targets are expected to be set by Public Health England within a year.

They will be voluntary, although officials at the government advisory body said if the industry did not respond they were prepared to legislate.

  • 260 in a typical burger with cheese in a bun
  • 880 in a 10-inch takeaway pizza
  • 237 in a Krispy Kreme chocolate iced ring doughnut
  • 338 in a Greggs tuna mayonnaise white sub roll
  • 54 in a 400g tin of Heinz spaghetti


The calorie-reduction programme comes after the success of the decade-long drive to reduce salt content in food.

It will be modelled on the sugar-reduction programme that was included in last year’s child obesity strategy and which committed the industry to reducing the amount of sugar in certain foods by 20% by 2020.

PHE chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said good progress was being made on the sugar target and it was now time to consider tackling calories.

She pointed out that only a quarter of calories come from sugary foods so if successful it could have a major impact.

“We have a serious problem – one in three leave primary school either obese or overweight,” she said.

“If we want to tackle this we have to look at calories. There are a number of ways it can be done – we can reduce the size of the products or change the ingredients.”

  • As a guide, an average man needs around 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight
  • For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000
  • These values can vary depending on age, size and levels of physical activity, among other factors
  • School-age children are advised to consume anywhere between 1,600 and 2,500
  • People on average consume between 200 and 300 calories more than they should


She also defended the child obesity strategy, which was announced last August, amid criticism from campaigners that it had failed to have the impact it should have.

Dr Tedstone said she was “delighted” with it as it was the first time there had been a cross-government commitment to tackling the issue.

The plan also included the levy on sugary drinks, which is due to come into force in April 2018.

Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said it looked forward to seeing “ambitious” targets being set to cut calories.

But she said the food industry was continuing to “get away with bombarding children with adverts that we know encourage unhealthy food choices”.

“Failing to tackle this area is significantly undermining the impact of the child obesity plan. After one year, it is scraping along with a C grade, rather than topping the class with an A star,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drink Federation said it welcomed “broadening” the focus away from only sugar.

“Singling out the role of individual ingredients and food groups does not help consumers to make good choices about their diet, lifestyle or general health.”

She said companies were playing their part by making healthier options available and providing nutritional information on packs.

She added: “Our industry has a proud track record of reformulation to remove salt, fat and sugar from food and drinks. This work will continue as we rise to the challenge of PHE’s sugar reduction targets and engage with this new focus on calories.”

Detroit 3 to tout performance and vintage cars at Woodward Dream Cruise

DERTOIT — Ford, Chevy and Dodge will turn to the Woodward Dream Cruise, a classic-car celebration in suburban Detroit, on Saturday to generate some marketing buzz on their offerings.

Ford signed on in June on as the event’s one-year presenting sponsor, replacing Chevrolet’s previous six-year sponsorship. The extravaganza is expected to draw around 1.5 million people.

While Ford will host its mainstay event, Mustang Alley, a pony car display, it will also introduce a new driving-skills exhibit. The Driving Skills for Life program will teach drivers safety techniques through a virtual reality app, made to simulate the experience of driving a Ford vehicle.

For more Dream Cruise coverage from Autoweek, the auto enthusiast affiliate of Automotive News, click here.

“This year we are expanding Mustang Alley west for the first time to create a larger footprint than years past,” a spokesman for Ford said. “We’re also adding the Driving Skills exhibit as a free event to draw in more people.”

Dodge, on the other hand, wants racing enthusiasts to take a shot at smoky burnouts during Roadkill Nights “Powered by Dodge.” The thousands of people expected at Roadkill Nights can also take a thrill ride with a professional driver in a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Charger SRT Hellcat or Viper.

Chevrolet will occupy its traditional spot at the “triangle” — where Woodward and Old Woodward meet north of Detroit in Birmingham — to show off its pickups and the Camaro and Corvette.

Although the event entertains thousands with food, music and speedsters, Ford also sees it as an opportunity to extend its marketing reach.

“Dream Cruise is all about the sheer joy and freedom of the automobile, and Ford has always celebrated car culture,” Ford marketing chief Mark LaNeve said in a statement. “From Fiesta to GT, we’re obsessed with making driving fun and we’re committed to celebrating that passion with enthusiasts of all ages in the birthplace of motoring.”

Here are additional details about the brands’ plans:

Ford Performance

    • Mustang Alley , in its 19th year at the Dream Cruise, features an array of muscle cars and the 2018 Mustang.

    • Vaugn Gittin Jr. will show off his toy collection, including an RTR Mustang and Formula D race car.

    • At multiple spots along Woodward, Ford will display its performance catalog, including the 2018 Mustang Shelby GT, Focus RS and F-150 Raptor.

    • The Driving Skills for Life exhibit will help new drivers master their vehicles by simulating the experience of driving through virtual reality.

    • Ford car clubs that don’t have a separate location on Woodward can show their vehicles at the enthusiast meetup at Memorial Park in nearby Pleasant Ridge.

    Dodge Showcase

      • Dodge’s celebration of old-style muscle, Roadkill Nights, started on Aug. 12 on one-quarter mile of Woodward in Pontiac. It will continue through Saturday Aug. 19.

      • An M-1 course neighboring the Roadkill Nights track will host a car show, simulators and dyno tests. Last year the event drew around 30,000 spectators.

      • A celebrity drag race will take place that evening at 6:30 p.m., featuring Roadkill hosts and celebrities from “House of Muscle” and “Hot Rod Garage.”

      Chevy Showcase

        • Chevy will have Heritage displays of its pickups aand the Camaro and Corvette as well as Redline Edition models and the full Chevy lineup at the confluence of Woodward and Old Woodward in Birmingham.

        • The triangle formed by Woodward and Old Woodward will also showcase the new Camaro ZL1 NASCAR Cup Series Race.

        • At 13 Mile and Woodward, Chevy will have a Performance and Motorsports display including concepts that feature performance parts and accessories. Race cars will also be on display here.

        • The Corvettes on Woodward Event — a main attraction for Corvette owners in past years — has been canceled this year, with hopes of resuming in 2018.

Newcastle health boss Sir Leonard Fenwick sacked

Sir Leonard Fenwick

The longest-serving chief executive in the NHS has been sacked for gross misconduct.

Sir Leonard Fenwick joined what later became Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 1977, and has been on extended leave since January.

A disciplinary panel dismissed him after an investigation into claims of bullying and abusive behaviour.

Sir Leonard described it as “an orchestrated witch hunt”, but the trust denied this.

The trust has referred “a number of concerns” arising from the investigation to the NHS counter fraud team, known as NHS Protect.

Sir Leonard said this team had “yet to approach” him.


He said there had been pressure on him to leave and claimed ageism was at play.

“A catalogue of opportunity to undermine” him had been collected because he was “seen as yesterday, rather than tomorrow”, he said.

In response to accusations of bullying, he accepted he had a reputation for “being a little strident”.

“I do not apologise for that; I run a tight ship,” he said.

“I’m not a bully but I can show some measure of intolerance on occasions.

“There are those who may feel a little timid or a little anxious but I do look at outcomes and quality.”

He said it was “absolute nonsense” that he could swear and shout if angry and “certainly not in public setting”.

“In a private team meeting, in my close team, where, yes, I can see things drifting, I may have some strong words – but that’s management,” he said.

An investigation was carried out by an HR specialist outside the trust into “a number of issues raised by different sources”.

This led to a two-day disciplinary hearing, which found “allegations relating to inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues were proven”.

The trust said the decision to dismiss Sir Leonard “was not taken lightly, but made after very careful, lengthy and detailed consideration of the investigation report and Sir Leonard’s response to the allegations”.

The trust’s latest annual report revealed Sir Leonard was paid between £245,000 and £250,000 a year, but his pension sums were no longer shown as they had been drawn and taken in a previous year.

Earlier this year claiming Sir Leonard forced the resignations of two consultants caught having sex with junior members of staff on hospital premises, with the suggestion the action alienated some staff.

The trust said it denied any suggestion the extended leave was connected to the handling of any internal disciplinary matter.