Catholic agencies given deadline to comply on same-sex adoptions

By Mithran Samuel, Amy Taylor and Derren Hayes

Catholic agencies given deadline to comply on same-sex adoptions

Catholic adoption agencies must comply with laws outlawing discrimination against gay people by the end of 2008 or lose access to public funding, the government said yesterday.

In the interim, faith-based agencies will have a statutory duty to refer applications from same-sex couples to other agencies who will take them, but there will be no long-term exemption, as desired by the Catholic Church.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 5

Cost of pre-school childcare continues to rise, says survey

The cost of childcare for pre-school children rose by 6 per cent last year, well above the rate of inflation, meaning that the average weekly cost of a full-time nursery place is now over one-third of average earnings.

A survey by the Daycare Trust showed that nursery places now cost £152 per week on average, and the charity urged the government to do more to make childcare affordable.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 5

Reid threatens court action as dispute puts jail crisis plans at risk

Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers will deliver a scathing assessment of the state of the secure estate in her annual report today.

She will highlight the scale of self-harm among women and the plight of prisoners with mental health and substance misuse problems, and say overcrowding is harming efforts to rehabilitate inmates.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 6

Coroners to get new powers to prevent avoidable deaths

Public and private sector bodies will face new duties to respond to calls for action to prevent avoidable deaths by coroners, under plans unveiled by the government today.

At the moment, coroners can tell such bodies how they can improve, but the new duties will toughen their powers. The move was welcomed by campaign group Inquest.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 10

NHS cash crisis deprives thousands of treatment for blindness

A Labour MP is leading a campaign to force primary care trusts to fund drugs that can help prevent blindness.

Alice Mahon is raising the issue of people who have age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness, and is threatening to take her local PCT, Kirklees and Calderdale, to court to force it to fund drugs shown to improve vision in affected people.

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 1-2

Ministers intensify pressure on lone parents to return to work

The government looks set to increase pressure on lone parents to return to work, with possible proposals expected to include limiting benefits when children reach 11, as opposed to the current 16.

Work and pensions secretary John Hutton will outline the vision in a speech today which will look at how to increase the employment rate among lone parents, which is currently 56.5 per cent.

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 16

Should NHS charge for ‘doubtful’ treatments?

Prescription charges should be scrapped and patients charged for ineffective treatment to help manage the NHS financial crisis, public health leaders said yesterday.

The Association of Directors of Public Health suggested that hip replacement surgery and cataract operations could be chargeable in the early stages of the conditions.

President Tim Crayford said it was not logical to charge people for proven drugs such as statins to reduce cholesterol, while providing free treatments that did not work.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 4

Elderly are most at risk of robbery ‘by own children’

Action on Elder Abuse has renewed calls for adult protection to be placed on the same statutory footing as safeguarding children, after releasing a report showing the scale of financial abuse of older people.

It said cases reported to the charity last year involved older people having millions of pounds stolen, with half of all alleged perpetrators being sons or daughters.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 30 January 2007 page 9

Drug giant ‘covered up safety fear on Seroxat’

A drugs firm covered up evidence about the safety of a drug linked to a number of suicides, it was claimed yesterday.

Seroxat was banned for under-18s in 2003.
Scrutiny of thousands of documents from manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline found that it had fears about Seroxat’s safety for a long time before it was banned for the group.

Source:- Daily Mail, Tuesday, 30 January 2007, page 34

Scottish news

McLeish: free care scheme is affordable

Henry McLeish, the former first minister, has insisted free personal care for older people is affordable in the long term, provided ministers had the political will to see it through.

He also queried whether councils claiming to have run out of cash for free care had actually done so, suggesting some may have raided budgets for the elderly to spend on other services.

David Manion, chief executive of Age Concern Scotland, said FPC was “absolutely affordable”, but its implementation so far had been woefully lacking.

Source:- The Herald, Tuesday 30 January

Blair gay adoption deal denouncedThe Catholic Church in Scotland has denounced Tony Blair’s decision not to grant an exemption from gay rights laws for faith-based adoption agencies and made clear its two offices now faced closure.

The Prime Minister’s compromise would – from April when the new UK-wide equality law is due to come into operation – give adoption agencies until the end of 2008 to adapt themselves to the new legislation or close.

During this 21-month transition period, agencies which do not cater for homosexual couples will have a statutory duty to pass them on to another agency.

Source:- The Herald, Tuesday 30 January

Rise and rise of autism is a riddle the experts can’t crack

By any measure, the rise in autism rates in the past 20 years has been astronomical. Pre-1990 estimates put the number at about four or five cases per 10,000 people.

But a study published last year in the medical journal the Lancet suggested that the condition now affects one person in every hundred.
Such a huge surge has inevitably led to much speculation about the cause, but there has not been a definitive answer.

Source:- The Scotsman, Tuesday 30 January

Welsh news

Number of families living in B&Bs falls

The number of Welsh homeless families with children forced to live in B&Bs has fallen vastly, new figures show.

Data from Welsh councils show that 72 families were in B&Bs at the end of December, half the number in 2005.

Source:- Western Mail, Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Autism changes ahead

A new strategy to improve services for people with autism is being launched today by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The strategy will be backed by an extra £1.7 million for local authorities.

Source:-Western Mail, Tuesday, 30 January 2007


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