Thursday 29 May 2003

By David Callaghan, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Judge hits out at social workers’

A high court judge has reported social workers from an unnamed
metropolitan council to the Social Services Inspectorate for lying
to a magistrates court.

Mr Justice Wall said social workers failed to tell a
child’s natural mother the child had been removed from foster
parents because the foster father was being investigated for child
pornography offences.

The boy’s mother allowed him to be taken into care and he
was placed with foster parents with 33 years’ experience. The
council made an application for an interim care order, but the day
before the hearing the foster father was arrested as part of
Operation Ore, the national internet pornography investigation.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 29 May page 9

Takeaway pizza may end meals on wheels

Former minister Stephen Byers has said older people should be
given tokens to buy takeaways or home help services. He told a
Social Market Foundation conference that the present system was
bureaucratic and too restrictive, and did not give older people
enough choice.

He said meals-on-wheels should continue for those people who did
not want to use tokens and top it up with their own money.

Source:- The Times Thursday 29 May page 7

Tax credits cause town hall chaos, say

The Conservatives claimed Chancellor Gordon Brown’s new
system of tax credits has caused chaos in town hall benefit
departments. They say in London there were an estimated £15
million in overpayments due to false assessments of people’s

Many people received their tax credit payments after the April
deadline, which meant their income was wrongly assessed for housing
and council tax benefit.

Source:- The Times Thursday 29 May page 14

Jailing parents may have little effect on

New research shows that jailing parents for their truant
children has failed to reduce school truancy rates.

A study of 43 local authorities by Ming Zhang, an education
welfare officer with Kingston-upon-Thames council, shows that
between 1999 and 2002 showed only a slight improvement in school
attendance records for secondary schools.

He called for pupils aged 13-18 to be prosecuted to ease the
truancy problem.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 29 May page 8

Scottish newspapers

5,000 nursery nurses stage walkout

The campaign by nursery nurses for improved pay and conditions
was stepped up yesterday across Scotland as walkouts in council-led
nurseries were staged at the Borders and Lothians.

Around 5,000 nursery nurses are involved in the action causing
the closure or partial closure of hundreds of nurseries, and
parents face further disruption today with continued strike action

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 29 May

Cost fears on vulnerable children

The Scottish executive has been accused of failing to consider
the cost of mainstreaming children with special needs, which could
amount to around £121 million a year.

Auditor general for Scotland Roger Black said in a report that
even the mainstream schools, which were most successful at
including children with special needs had not met all their

He warned MSPs to be aware of the costs before passing any

Source:- The Herald Thursday 29 May

Parents angry at vote to move pupils

Parents expressed anger yesterday at councillors’ vote to phase
out a school for pupils with special needs in South Lanarkshire
over four years. The council said the 218 pupils who attend
Craighead will be moved to units attached to mainstream secondary
schools at Hamilton,  Blantyre, Larkhall and Lanark.

A Craighead school board spokesperson said parents were
“dumbfounded” that councillors had voted this way in the face of
such huge opposition from parents.

Source:- The Herald  Thursday 29 May

Welsh newspapers

Hospital challenge

Bed blocking in Gwent, south Wales, is seriously hampering
attempts to maintain emergency and elective services.

A Welsh Assembly target to reduce the number of patients
classified as bed blockers presents a huge challenge, according to
Gwent Healthcare Trust’s head of performance, Alan

The area is a priority for the assembly’s new Change Agent
Teams (CATS), which have been set up to improve admission and
discharge of patients between community and hospital settings.
Health bosses though remain concerned that there are still
considerable problems to overcome.

Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 28 May page 15

Doctors in Wales earn considerably less than English GPs

Welsh GPs earn nearly £11,000 a year less than their
English counterparts, according to new figures from the Association
of Medical Accountants (Aisma).

The average English GP earned £81,653 while those in Wales
earned £70,691.

Plaid Cymru health spokesperson Dr Dai Lloyd, who is himself a
GP, said one of the reasons for lower salaries in Wales was that
there was very little private practice in the principality.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 29 May page 5

Post-election figures show waiting lists on the rise

The number of people waiting for hospital treatment in Wales is
on the increase.

New figures show that there were rises in both in-patient and
outpatient waiting lists, and Welsh Assembly targets on
orthopaedics, cataracts and angiography were not being met.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 29 May page 5

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