By Clare Jerrom.
Blunkett fury as judge says lorry asylum fines are
The home secretary is angered by a high court judge who ruled
yesterday that fining lorry drivers £2,000 for each illegal
immigrants they bring into the UK is unlawful.
Mr Justice Sullivan ruled the fine breached the European
Convention on Human Rights’ guarantee of a fair trial.
The home office considers that the fines are a key part of its
attempt to maintain the integrity of the UK frontier, and fears the
ruling will increase the number of attempts to enter the country
The introduction of the scheme did reduce the number of illegal
immigrants from 1,423 in March 2000 to 587 the following month.
Fines totalling £14 million have been imposed, but only
£2 million paid due to appeals.
The home office said an immediate appeal against the ruling
would be launched.
Source:- The Times Thursday 6 December page 1
NHS made to pay for recommended drugs
The government pledged to end “postcode-prescribing” yesterday,
and said that all drugs recommended by the National Institute for
Clinical Excellence must be provided to all NHS patients.
The change means that from next month health authorities and
trusts will be obliged to comply with the institute’s
But, the NHS Confederation said no extra money would be made
available by NICE, and primary care trusts would be forced to use
existing funds, or cut other services.
Source:- The Times Thursday 6 December page 8
Private ops offer to cut NHS queue
Alan Milburn will announce today that some NHS patients who have
waited more than six months for operations, will soon be able to
obtain treatment in the hospital of their choice in Britain or
The innovation, which will see patients treated in public or
private hospitals, will start in London where the waiting lists are
the longest. The health secretary will allow some patients with
categories of illnesses to go elsewhere for treatment from April
onwards under a pilot scheme.
Ministers have pledged that by 2004, no one will have to wait
for an operation for more than six months.
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 6 December page 1
Braille labels on spirit bottles
Braille labels have been introduced on spirit bottles by the
Co-op supermarket to enable blind and partially sighted people to
determine the product name, size of bottle and alcoholic
Until now, Braille has only appeared on bleach bottles. The move
is welcomed by the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 6 December page 8
Whiting blames bad luck
The man accused of murdering Sarah Payne was either “the
unfortunate victim of an extraordinary accident” or the man that
kidnapped and killed the eight-year-old schoolgirl, Lewes crown
court heard yesterday.
Timothy Langdale QC questioned Roy Whiting about the forensic
tests, and said they offered the “clearest possible evidence” she
had been in his van.
Whiting insisted it was “just coincidence” and “bad luck” that
he had been implicated and said: “It wasn’t me.”
Langdale questioned him about 22 fibres found on Sarah’s
remains which the prosecution claim came from items in his van.
Whiting denies kidnap and murder.
The trial continues.
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 6 December page 12
Carers warned over risk of smacking
Childminders who smack children put themselves at risk, said the
head of the watchdog monitoring childminders yesterday.
Maggie Smith, head of Ofsted’s early years division, told
the all party select committee on education and skills that her
department warned childminders against smacking even if they have
permission to do so.
Her advice goes against government policy, which leaves
decisions about smacking in the hands of the parents.
The policy has provoked outcry from child care groups and MPs
since it was suggested last year.
Source:- The Independent Thursday 6 December
Autistic comedian is a turn for the better
An autistic woman from Essex has broken new ground by having a
comic play performed professionally.
Nita Jackson, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome grew up
with continuous bullying, which left her on the verge of
But help from the National Autistic Society meant Nita’s
talent could flourish and she is about to have her autobiographical
novel published in the new year after her sell out run at the
Brentwood theatre in Essex.
The Times Christmas Appeal is urging people to support NAS and
help others with autism.
Source:- The Times Thursday 6 December page 4
Minister takes crisis cancer centre away from NHS
North Glasgow NHS Trust will lose control of the crisis-ridden
Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow, it has emerged.
A doctor currently working for the Scottish executive is to be
installed as director of the cancer centre, health minister Malcolm
Chisholm is expected to announce today. Dr Adam Bryson will take
over on Monday.
The unprecedented move is a slap in the face for the chief
executive of the trust Maggie Boyle and her board. They have come
under mounting criticism over the exodus of consultants at the
Beatson – four of which resigned in the past month.
Union officials and health managers are likely to welcome the
removal of the unit from the trust’s control.
Source:- The Herald Thursday 6 December