Court clears Meadow to practise again
Doctors who give mistaken expert evidence in child abuse cases were granted immunity in law from disciplinary action yesterday in a groundbreaking high court ruling that cleared the controversial paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow of serious professional conduct.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 18 February 2006, page 1, page 12

A loving family can boost children’s intelligence
Depriving children of a loving family environment causes lasting damage to their intelligence, emotional wellbeing and even their physical stature, according to the most extensive study of social deprivation yet by the American Association of the Advancement of Science.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 18 February 2006, page 7

Alzheimer’s drug rethink
The Department of Health has asked its advisory body to think again about how drugs for Alzheimer’s disease are prescribed following criticism of its proposals last month.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 18 February 2006, page 10

BNP chief retrial
Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, is to face his retrial on race hate charges on May 15, a hearing at Leed crown court has decided.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 18 February 2006, page 4

Community penalties backed
Proposals that juvenile robbers who use “minimal force” should not normally incur a custodial sentence were backed by the home secretary. Charles Clarke said yesterday that he was satisfied that draft guidelines set out by the sentencing guidelines council were “broadly right.”
Source:- The Times, Saturday 18 February 2006, page 32

Private jail death
A convicted robber has been found hanging in his cell at a privately-run jail. Thomas Ashworth, 28, from Liverpool, who had been serving nine years, was found by staff at Dovegate prison in Staffordshire yesterday.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 18 February 2006, page 39

Mistakes on release of violent offenders
A litany of mistakes which raise serious questions about the way violent offenders are assessed upon release from prison is to be exposed by a damning report into the murder of the millionaire financier John Monckton.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 19 February 2006, page 1

UK baby shortage will cost £11 billion
Britain is suffering a baby shortage with potentially disastrous consequences as work pressures force young women to shelve plans for a family, according to dramatic new research from the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 19 February 2006, page 1

Whistleblower accuses staff of abuse at care home
An employee of United Response, which runs more than 100 care homes across England looking after people with learning disabilities, turned whistleblower to report on “appalling” events he witnessed at a care home in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 19 February 2006, page 4

Selection in schools fails most children, says study
The majority of children who live in areas which operate selective education do worse at school than they would have done if they lived elsewhere, new research a York University professor has found.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 19 February 2006, page 11

Cannabis psychosis
New studies have once again linked cannabis dependency and mental illness. The Observer reveals the plight of young users struggling to deal with the disturbing effects of a drug once considered “safe.”
Source:- Observer, Sunday 19 February 2006, page 21

Chatrooms paedophile campaign nets 50 a month
A police operation to catch paedophiles who groom children in internet chatrooms is turning up suspects at a rate of 50 a month. Police launched the virtual global taskforce in January 2005 to encourage children who are approached online by someone they suspect is a paedophile to report details of the conversation.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 19 February 2006, page 14

Anger on failures in checks on offenders
Alarming lapses in the monitoring of two violent offenders who were released from secure hospitals to murder three people have been revealed by inquiries into the killings. The Home Office said there was an ongoing problem with monitoring violent offenders with mental health problems after they had been released, saying quarterly reports on such patients are not always submitted to the home secretary by social workers and psychiatrists, as they should be.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 20 February 2006, page 11

Cuts in social services and jobs to make the budgets fit the cap
At least 20 local authorities risk being capped this year after proposing council tax increases of 5 per cent or over. Many authorities say that they have only been able to keep council tax in single figures by making severe cuts in social services, library services and road maintenance and cutting jobs.
Source:- The Times, Monday 20 February 2006, page 6

Ministers in drive to force public services out to tender
A drive to give people the ability to force the authorities to put public services out to tender has been launched by ministers in a move aimed at creating more of supplier market in public services. Across government, in health, social care, local government and schools, ministers are planning to add “voice” to its growing policy of “choice”, or are examining doing so.
Source:- Financial Times, Monday 20 February 2006, page 2

Anti-ageing drugs point to retiring at 85
Britain’s workforce will face a retirement age of 85 by 2050, as novel anti-ageing therapies trigger a sharp rise in life expectancy, scientists have claimed.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 20 February 2006, page 5

Teenagers form gangs to stay safe, study suggests
Teenagers are so worried about clashing with their peers and adults that they form gangs to stay safe and avoid trouble, according to research by the Glasgow Centre for the Child and Society.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 20 February 2006, page 10

Shortage of midwives putting lives at risk
A chronic shortage of midwives is putting the lives of women and their unborn children at risk, the government has been told. Up to one in 10 midwifery jobs in the NHS has been vacant for at least three months and more than three quarters of maternity units say they are experiencing problems recruiting staff.
Source:- The Independent, Monday 20 February 2006, page 4

Inquiry into mistreatment of Ugandan refugee
The healthcare of asylum seekers in Britain’s detention centres is to be independently monitored after a catalogue is suicides and alleged mistreatment. The move follows a decision by the chief inspector of prisons to hold an inquiry into how a Ugandan woman was reduced to a state of mental collapse during seven months in detention.
Source:- The Independent, Monday 20 February 2006, page 6

Council tax rise pushes family bills over £2,000
Council tax bills are to increase by more than twice the level of inflation this year, marking a doubling of the property tax in 10 years.
Source:- The Times, Monday 20 February 2006, page 1

Labour ministers ignore their laws on equality, say race chiefs
The government has failed to follow the rule that every new law and policy must be examined for its impact on different ethnic groups. Campaign for Racial Equality head Trevor Phillips has now threatened to take Whitehall departments to court.
Source:- Daily Mail, Monday 20 February 2006, page 25

50 years of the Prince’s Trust
I’m so proud of all the 500,000 youngster we have helped, the Prince of Wales writes.
Source:- The Sun, Monday 20 February 2006, page 10

I’m no hoodie
A mum aged 58 who wore a hooded top on a bad hair day was ordered to take it off by a Tesco guard in West Swindon because of a hoodies ban.
Source:- The Sun, Monday 20 February 2006, page 24

Scottish news

Age Concern slams charges for meals at home
Council chiefs have been accused of breaking the law by charging elderly people when care workers prepare meals in their homes. West Lothian Council is currently the only local authority in the Lothians to charge pensioners for preparing food, despite laws introduced in Scotland which specify that elderly people should be given free personal care. But council leaders say the law on free personal care is “ambiguous”.
Source:- The Scotsman, Saturday 18 February 2006

McConnell: council failed heroin girl
First minister Jack McConnell has accused council professionals of “incompetence” in the case of an 11-year-old heroin user.
He said they had been guilty of a potential “lack of caring” for the girl, who was admitted to hospital after collapsing at her primary school in Glasgow last month. It emerged she had been smoking the drug for more than two months while she was under the care of the social work and education department at Glasgow Council at the time.
Source:- The Herald on Sunday, 19 February 2006

Domestic abuse a reality for 12 per cent of Scottish teens
More than one in ten young people have been hurt or frightened during a fight with their partner. A major new survey of the views of nearly 1400 young people aged between 14 and 18 years old across Scotland has signalled that attitudes towards violence in relationships has vastly improved in recent years. But the research – which will be published shortly by NHS Health Scotland – also discovered 12 per cent of teenagers had been physically hurt or frightened during a fight or argument with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Source:- The Herald on Sunday, 19 February 2006

Children prescribed Ritalin
Thousands of Scottish children are wrongly being labelled hyperactive and given controversial drug Ritalin, a leading academic has warned. Edinburgh University academic Dr Gwynedd Lloyd says doctors are wrongly diagnosing ADHD when many youngsters are just behaving badly as a normal part of growing up. She claims this is leading to “widespread abuse” of the controversial drug methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin, by doctors who over-rely on checklists when deciding on medication for children.
Source: The Scotsman, Monday 20 February 2006

Welsh news

Disabled man wins battle to put wheelchair on bus
A disabled man has won his fight to be able to use his local bus.
Simon Morris, 40, who uses a motorised wheelchair and suffers from multiple sclerosis, has been told by the bus operator First Cymru that they will find a way to get him on board.
Morris has been fighting to get to use the buses for a year.
Source:- Western Mail, Saturday 18 February 2006

Homelessness warning over city’s plans to cut social work team
The number of rough sleepers in the capital is set to increase due to money saving measures being followed by Cardiff council, union officials have alleged.
GMB officials said the council plans to cut three social workers from a specialist city centre team that work to tackle homelessness.
Source:- Western Mail, Saturday 18 February 2006
Disablity charity hits out at dropping of free home care policy
A disability charity has heavily criticised the assembly government’s decision to ditch its pledge to offer free home care to disabled people arguing that it doesn’t know all the facts.
Leonard Cheshire made the comments after it emerged that a Scottish academic who wrote a report that persuaded the government to eradicate its plans wrote a different report last month saying the policy had proved to be affordable in Scotland.
It has also become clear that pilot projects that would have evaluated the free home care policy across four local authority areas of Wales were stopped before they had been completed.
Source:- Western Mail, Monday 20 February 2006

Wales to get its first clinic to treat anorexia
The first clinic to work with people with anorexia in Wales could be open within about two months.
The move comes after it was revealed that 58, 000 Welsh people have chronic eating disorders.
Source:- Western Mail, Monday 20 February 2006







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