Not Everything Is The Fault Of The Government…

A former school secretary who suffered horrific injuries and nearly died in a road crash while working in Africa has criticised City of York Council.

What!? Why?

Mrs Heeles was one of four members of staff from York schools – St Mary’s and Westfield School – to go to their twin school, St Paul’s in Begoro in Ghana, in the February half-term breaklast year.They were in a minibus between the airport and a hotel in the host school village when it was hit by another vehicle.

OK, a road traffic accident. Not, surely, any fault of the council.

“They just didn’t know what to do with me. I had to ask for blood transfusions because I could feel myself dying.

“I asked them if it was clean blood because of HIV, and they said it was, but since I have been back home I have had to undergo testing, which has been horrendous, but I am all clear.” Mrs Heeles, already awake for nearly 24 hours, had to endure a two-hour ride in a make-shift ambulance to Accra.

OK, so, crappy Third World health services. Again, unless they’ve expanded York Council’s area of influence across the oceans, I can’t see how they can be blamed for either…

Maybe they didn’t provide any assista…


Mr Heeles used council travel insurance to fly her back to the UK, where she spent five-and-a-half weeks in Leeds General Infirmary.

Well, that’s not it, either.

She has had 23 operationsto reconstruct her arm, using muscle tissue from her back and skin grafts from her leg.She has also been left with osteomyelitis as a result of a water-borne bacteria infection doctors think she contracted in Ghana, meaning the bones in her shattered arm have crumbled.

The drugs used to treat her infection have also destroyed the hairs in her ear canal, meaning she will have balance problems for the rest of her life and needs to use a wheelchair to get around outdoors and a crutch indoors.

And none of those are the fault of the council either, just consequences of the accident and the conditions under which she was living abroad.

So, I’m intrigued.

She said a £15,000 pay out from the council’s travel insurance was used to buy a specially adapted car so she can still drive, but she can no longer work. She said she had received no compensation from the council and has been forced to take early retirement.

And what sort of extra compensation from the council is she expecting? It seems to me that they’ve done everything they need to…

Her main complaint against the council and the school, where she worked for nine years, is that there was no Health and Safety inspection carried out before the trip and they were not warned of the dangers.

Right. I see. So this school secretary needed the council to tell her that Ghana was a Third World country and unlikely to have the same standards of road safety and healthcare as York?

Couldn’t she just use common sense?

14 comments for “Not Everything Is The Fault Of The Government…

  1. ivan
    October 16, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Couldn’t she just use common sense?

    No Julia, she is/was in the school system – the most brainwashed in nanyism in the country. Those people have been taught not to think, the state will think for you.

    This is what the country is descending into and I’m afraid I don’t see it getting better any time soon.

    • October 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

      I agree – a symptom of our times.

      • October 17, 2011 at 5:31 am


  2. October 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

    There are chunks of the story missing. For instance, was the trip part of her work? This normally has insurance against career-ending events in the course of work.

    Instead, it sounds like the insurer paid out the travel compo and acted consistently with the services available in Ghana, but the long-term effects are not the their business unless this was written as a risk at the time.

    If she was on a non-contract activity and had only basic travel insurance….then she’s had what she is entitled to and should have made sure she uprated her insurance before getting eaten by polar bears or whatever.

    There might be an outside argument that whoever arranged the trip was under an obligation to warn her that she had only basic cover, especially if the school or council misrepresented it and claimed to have taken care of everything.

    If it’s got anything to do with York City Council’s wish to be seen to be doing twinning and diversity – and I will bet you 50p that some of yesterday’s names are connected to the school in Begoro – then that would strengthen her claim.

    In the meantime, why has she been forced to take early retirement? As we saw yesterday, York City Council:

    … will report on how many women, disabled and black
    and minority ethnic people it employs and how many of these
    are in higher paid jobs. The Group will be able to suggest
    ways that the council can employ more people from these
    communities in the future.

    She ticks two of those boxes now and if they import enough other people, she’ll even be an ethnic minority. I don’t say they should go as far as running over more of their employees to hit a diversity target, but surely York City Council should be hanging on to her?

    • October 17, 2011 at 5:32 am

      “…but surely York City Council should be hanging on to her?”

      Like everything else these days, home-grown won’t do. 👿

  3. LJH
    October 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

    She obviously didn’t benefit from the full multicultural experience. The local fatalism about roadworthiness, driving skills and road surfaces is due to the longstanding and widely respected belief that all accidents ultimately happen because of failure to keep the ancestors on your side or witchcraft; blaming the York City Council has the Ghanaians in stitches.

  4. October 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Vicarious liability. This means that the employer has liability in law even if they have no actual control over events or even if it is not their fault. There are legal precedents, so expect her to win her case.
    Okay, I’ve now had time to read through the whole report. The paper says she was working, therefore vicarious liability will apply.

    The question a court will ask is; was this a foreseeable event? A road traffic collision is always a foreseeable event whenever you send an employee away on business. The subsequent events may be less so, however, as already mentioned, this was a third world country with lower standards of infrastructure. Therefore, foreseeable will apply likely as not.

    Given this, and given that the employer has a duty of care, they should have ensured adequate insurance cover.

    So, As I said earlier, expect her to win her case.

    • October 17, 2011 at 5:33 am

      The only ones who really win here are the lawyers.

  5. Brian, follower of Deornoth
    October 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Working? In West Africa? Since when did teaching in foreign countries count as ‘working’ for British teachers? If they choose to hone their leftist credentials, they should be doing it on their own time.

    • October 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      I don’t thik she was teaching. However, she was on her employer’s business, so vicarious liability will apply. Like it or not 😐

      • Uncle Albert
        October 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm

        Vicarious liability it might be, but it’s hard to see what “business” the City of York might have on behalf of its council tax payers in Ghana.

        Sounds like she got the rough end of an anticipated free vacation at Righteousness-on-Sea.

        If I were religious I might call it karma.

        • October 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

          The business – for want of a better word – was this twinning nonsense. Like it or not, in law, they owed a duty of care and in this case, that means taking out suffient insurance.

  6. john in cheshire
    October 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    So, do-gooding is only OK so long as there’s no risk to the do-gooder? Why did she go there if she didn’t understand what she was signing up to?

  7. October 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    All right, we’ll let the government off … this once.

Comments are closed.