A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Care homes ‘swallowing up handouts for the

Funding aimed at helping older people in care is not reaching
them, according to their families yesterday.

They claim nursing home owners are pocketing the cash

Since last autumn, £100 million has been spent trying to
ease the burden for families facing huge care home bills. Thousands
of older people are forced to sell their homes to meet the

Depending on how much nursing care residents need, they receive
£110, £70 or £35 a week, but this funding is paid
directly to the care home, rather than individuals.

Some operators have increased their bills to swallow all the

Health minister Jacqui Smith said: “Of course, nursing homes
have to consider their costs. However this government invested
£100 million to fund free nursing care this year.

“Payments made to nursing homes should be deducted from the fees
charged to older people,” she added.

“The extra NHS funding must benefit the people for whom it was
intended. I am sure most nursing homes will ensure this happens.
However, where there is doubt I will be writing to them to seek
clarification,” she concluded.

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 29 January page 30

Government split over fate of Afghan asylum

Two government ministers were split over the fate of Afghan
asylum seekers in Britain yesterday.

Home office minister Lord Rooker claimed the government could
return thousands of asylum seekers to Afghanistan following the
overthrow of the Taliban.

International development secretary Clare Short disagreed with
the minister. She said the government had to put the interests of
vulnerable people first.

She stressed the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remained
fragile and she feared there would be a fourth year of drought.

Britain has not returned any Afghan asylum seekers since 1978 as
it was deemed dangerous.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 29 January page 13

Schoolgirl ‘stabbed bully as she

A schoolgirl left her house in the middle of the night and
stabbed an alleged bully repeatedly in the head, St Albans crown
court heard yesterday.

The mother of the ‘bully’ woke up when her daughter
was screaming. She rushed to her bedroom, and found a figure
dressed in black claiming the girl had ruined her life.

The mother intervened and pushed the attacker to the floor. The
victim needed 14 stitches in wounds to her head.

The attacker, aged 14 who cannot be named, denies attempted
murder of the schoolgirl and her mother and a charge of

Stuart Trimmer for the prosecution said that arguments among
schoolgirls led to the attacker being excluded from a circle of
friends, and she was sent abusive text messages.

In January last year, the defendant who believed she was
excluded, took a drug overdose and was admitted to hospital.

The trial continues.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 29 January page 3

Prison officers threaten action over 6% pay

A pay increase for Britain’s 30,000 prison officers could
result in a dispute over public pay.

The increase, which is more than is being offered for teachers,
police and NHS staff, has been decided upon by an independent pay
review body, and could result in cuts of £40 million to prison

The pay award could increase overcrowding in jails, and threaten
delicate government negotiations over police pay.

Prison service chiefs have told the independent pay body they
can only afford to pay staff an extra 1.8 per cent – £16

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 29 January
page 10

Welsh newspapers
Silence on asylum centre plan
The NHS Trust responsible for a disused hospital in south Wales
that may be used as an asylum centre, has had no contact from the
home office, although the local MP has been briefed on the
Sully Hospital, in the Vale of Glamorgan was put on the market last
year, and is now understood to be on a shortlist of eight sites
across the UK that could house asylum seekers.
There has been strong local opposition to the plan and health and
social services minister, Jane Hutt, who is also Assembly member
for the Vale of Glamorgan, said that she would be contacting the
home office to ensure that they were fully aware of local
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 29 January page 2
Report recommends psychiatric hospital should be closed

An independent report recommends the closure of a 70-year-old
psychiatric hospital in Swansea, and its replacement with a
building more suited to 21st century care.
The report carried out jointly by the National Centre for Public
Policy at the University of Swansea and the Sainsbury Centre for
Mental Health found that acute wards at the hospital were becoming
dangerous and unsafe.
The report also highlighted the need to make a series of
improvements in practice particularly in three mixed-sex wards
where female patients felt vulnerable.
There were also serious concerns over illegal drugs and alcohol
being brought to the hospital with staff concerned over
confrontations if they carried out the hospital’s search
Swansea NHS Trust officials said at a monthly board meeting
yesterday that closure of the hospital was unlikely to happen in
the next 10 years.
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 29 January page 8









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