News round up: Dementia costs £23bn; Public sector strikes

Dementia is ‘greatest health challenge’ charity warns

More than 820,000 people have the condition costing the economy £23 billion a year, according to new findings in a report from Oxford University.

Dementia costs more than heart disease and cancer put together, the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said, which commissioned the report. Cancer costs £12 billion per year, while heart disease costs £8 billion per year.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Dementia ‘costing £23bn a year’

Dementia costs the country £23 billion per year and more than cancer and heart disease combined but receives a fraction of the funding, according to a “wake-up call” report out today.

The number of sufferers at 822,000 is also 17 per cent higher than has previously been estimated and will pass the one million mark before 2025, the Alzheimer’s Research Trust (ART) said.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Public sector workers plan major strikes in run-up to election

More than a quarter of a million public sector workers are poised to take major strike action in the run-up to the general election in a campaign designed to bring “maximum disruption” and embarrassment to the government.

The strikes, over plans to reduce civil servants’ redundancy pay-outs by up to a third, would be the first major battle Gordon Brown has faced over public-sector cuts.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Public sector workers to vote on industrial action

Gordon Brown faces a series of national public sector strikes in the run-up to the general election which could cause chaos in courts, prisons, ports and jobcentres for weeks, it was announced last night.

Hundreds of thousands of civil servants will be balloted tomorrow (thurs) to back a programme of rolling industrial action throughout March over plans to slash their redundancy payments by a third to save £500million.

Read more on this story in The Times

Fightback over claims on mental illness and its prevalence among black people

The debate about the prevalence of mental illness among black and minority ethnic (BME) people is threatening to pitch equalities campaigners against the government.

A manifesto for mental health services for people from BME groups is being drafted by the Afiya Trust charity, a move prompted by two concerns: that the government’s latest mental health strategy, New Horizons (NH), signals the end of specific efforts to address treatment inequities between some BME groups and wider society; and the appropriation of recent research by the government in the development of its NH strategy, and ­latterly, by the British National party (BNP) to suit their own agendas around race and mental health.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Crown Prosecution Service says daughters did not assist mother’s suicide

Two daughters who sat with their mother for four days as she lay dying will not be charged with assisted suicide. Jane Aiken Hodge, 91, who had high blood pressure and mild leukaemia, held a “Do not resuscitate” card. She wrote a letter to her GP saying she did not want to be revived when she took an overdose of sleeping pills in June last year.

Read more on this story in The Times

Institute calls for stability before cuts

The UK should wait until its economy has stabilised before moving to cut spending, says the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

“What we should do is to have a fiscal expansion now and a fiscal contraction in the future,” said Ray Barrell, economist at the institute, who on Tuesday presented the body’s quarterly economic forecast.

Read more on this story in The Financial Times

Gordon Brown: I was right to borrow so much money

Gordon Brown insists he was right to run up Britain’s largest-ever state deficit, despite a doomsday warning that savage spending cuts and tax rises are needed to balance the books.

A report from a leading economic forecaster dealt a major blow to the Government’s plan to reduce the vast national debt, saying it is on course to fail.

Read mlore on this story in The Daily Mail

Lancet retracts ‘utterly false’ MMR paper

The Lancet today finally retracted the paper that sparked a crisis in MMR vaccination across the UK, following the General Medical Council’s decision that its lead author, Andrew Wakefield, had been dishonest.

The medical journal’s editor, Richard Horton, told the Guardian today that he realised as soon as he read the GMC findings that the paper, published in February 1998, had to be retracted.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Former Premiership star’s daughter, 18, is found hanged at home hours after arrest over ‘fight with boyfriend’

The party-loving daughter of a former Premiership footballer has been found hanged hours after being arrested by police over an allegation she assaulted her boyfriend.

Sibylle Sibierski, 18, had recently moved out of the £1.5million family home and into her own flat.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Labour spending has ‘failed’ to improve child health

The government has failed to “significantly improve” children’s health despite spending more than £10bn and producing a policy every six months over the last decade, according to the Audit Commission.

In a report published today, the spending watchdog found that childhood obesity has risen from 10.1% to 13.9% between 1995 and 2008.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

We do offer drug addicts treatment in prison

Mark Johnson is passionate about drug treatment in jails, but his opinions overlook the facts (Drug users must be heard in the battle against addiction, 20 January). Despite what he says, the voices of users are heard – a key driver for making methadone more widely available was the class action taken by almost 200 ex-prisoners a few years ago.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

An equal start in life is vital for children’s health and hopes

Children who have a healthy start in life, especially the early years, grow up to be healthier adults. However, an Audit Commission report, Giving Children a Healthy Start, says that the health outcomes for under-5s have improved only marginally since 1999.

The inequalities gap between under-5s from rich and poor families has barely changed over the last decade, and despite the government investing £10.9bn, some indicators – such as obesity and dental health – have worsened.

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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