A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Judge lets woman die eight years after

An older woman will be allowed to die in peace after a court
hearing yesterday, having been kept artificially alive for the past
eight years.

Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss, president of the family division
has granted the NHS trust caring for the woman, permission to
withdraw artificial feeding from her and let her die with

The woman is in a permanent vegetative state and has no
knowledge of her surroundings.

The decision has been welcomed by the family of the woman, who
have pleaded with doctors to abandon their efforts.

Claire Johnston, for the official solicitor, told the court that
the patient’s daughter felt “her mother was treated in a way that
was inappropriate and that the views of the family were not given
enough weight”.

The woman suffered a stroke 13 years ago, but continued to have
a worthwhile quality of life. In 1993 she was struck by a brain
haemorrhage and had remained unconscious in hospital.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 31/3/01 page 6

The ‘forgotten’ illness that can lead to

Doctors who believe a crippling disorder is confined to
childhood are overlooking more than a million adults who suffer
from the condition that could lead to criminal behaviour, it was
claimed on Friday.

The British Psychological Society’s annual conference heard how
up to 3 per cent of the adult population could have attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to leading
forensic psychologist, Susan Young, these people are not receiving
essential treatment or medication as psychiatrists and
psychologists believe children outgrow the disorder.Young believes
the disorder may affect up to 25 per cent of the prison

The condition is characterised by inattention, hyperactivity,
and impulsiveness, but ADHD in adults can be successfully treated
with the drug Ritalin. Little work has been done on the prevalence
of ADHD in adulthood. Young said: “I think what we are seeing is
the tip of the iceberg. We cannot possibly have identified all the
adults in the population with ADHD.”

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 31/3/01 page 9

Police drug seizures hit by Macpherson

The Macpherson report has been blamed for the sharp fall in drug
seizures by the government.

The report which stated police were “institutionally racist” has
led to the decline of stop and search procedures and a decline in
drug seizures – the first in ten years.

William Hague linked the report to rising crime in December, but
Downing Street rebuked the comments as “desperate and

However, the home office report yesterday shows a 13 per cent
fall in drug seizures in 1999, compared with a rise of nine per
cent the previous year.

It suggested the fall could be down to drug agencies
concentrating on heroin and cocaine, “but another possible factor
is the fall in the number of stop and searches, especially in
London, following the Macpherson report”.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 31/3/01 page 6

Paedophile is put on probation ‘despite

A predatory paedophile has avoided a jail term, despite
admitting he may abuse again.

Judge Selwood feared Andrew Wyer may be released without
supervision so opted for a penalty of two years probation in a
secure hostel with 24-hour supervision instead of a jail

Mental health experts at Broadmoor hospital claim Wyer, who has
psychopathic symptoms, is untreatable and could not be held under
the mental health legislation.

Wyer served the equivalent of a three-year jail term for
breaking a sex offender order barring him from contacting children,
Portsmouth crown court heard. He was placed on the order for
indecently assaulting a two month old baby and three-year-old

Judge Selwood said he had little choice but to impose a
probation order and release him from custody as he had waited so
long awaiting trial. He will remain on the sex offenders’ register
until 2004.

Source:- Independent Saturday 31/3/01 page 10

Jet set asylum seekers who know the perfect place to

A group of Czech gypsies have found an easy way to reach Britain
and claim asylum. According to a report in the Daily Mail on
Saturday, asylum seekers buy a plane ticket from Prague to London
for £80, claiming asylum on arrival. This guarantees them
months, if not years in Britain.

A Go flight into Stansted airport contained more than 30
passengers who lodged applications for asylum. The 11 families, of
the same gypsy group, are claiming persecution die to their

Immigration officials claim the number of immigrants can vary
depending on the price of flights which can vary from day to

On days when fares are low, groups of 20 to 30 asylum seekers
are uncommon. Many are sent to Oakington detention centre or
offered housing while their claims are processed.

An Immigration Source said many Czechs were perfectly happy to
return home for any medical treatment, confident they can return
and make a fresh asylum claim.

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 31/3/01

Down’s babies denied care

Children suffering Down’s syndrome have been refused surgery on
the grounds that it was not worthwhile, considering their

A study of cardiac surgery at Royal Brompton Hospital in London,
says that parents of children with Down’s syndrome were often told
it would be better not to risk heart surgery, as the child’s
condition meant it would be stressful to look after them until

The report condemns the treatment of parents whose children died
after heart surgery in the hospital and its sister hospital
Harefield in west London. Parents did not receive adequate support,
were denied facts about their child’s health and were treated badly
when informed of their child’s death.

Two families are now taking legal action against Royal

The report attacks the government for failing to produce
adequate resources to cope with families who have suffered their
child’s death,

The inquiry was launched after 49 complaints in 1999 from
families with children being treated for congenital heart

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1/4/01 page 2

Weldon rounds on magistrates

Too many women are being sent to prison by middle class
magistrates, according to novelist Fay Weldon

The author is accusing middle class magistrates of letting their
social prejudices lead them to penalise women for minor

“The majority of women are sent to prison for feckless offences
relating to drink and drugs. These things are not considered to be
middle class problems,” she said.

Weldon will chair a conference next week on women in prison,
organised by support organisation Nacro and the Prison Reform

A report will be launched at the conference suggesting most
women are jailed for non violent offences and pose little danger to
the public.

Source:- Independent on Sunday Sunday 1/4/01 page 13

Girls fostered to lesbians goes home to

A two year old girl, fostered to a lesbian couple, has been
returned to her father after a legal battle.

The girl was taken into council care and fostered to the
lesbians. The council became involved after the mother said she
couldn’t cope with the baby, but did not want the father to have

The father alleges he has now spent more than £100,000 in
legal fees to reclaim his daughter.

Social workers claimed he had no rights to Baby X because of the
hostility between him and the child’s mother. A family court in
Nottingham has now handed the man his daughter allowing him to see
her regularly for six months permitting experts to monitor the bond
between them.

The man said: “I have nothing against lesbians generally, but I
did not think they should be looking after my child. I had to
discover for myself that my own child had been taken into care of
social services and that custody had been granted to this couple at
a court hearing without my knowledge. How could it be right that
two women, total strangers, could get custody of my daughter?”

The father is suing Nottingham Council for the distress caused
to himself and his daughter and applying for his legal costs to be
paid by the social services department.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday Sunday 1/4/01 page 41

Decision on twins

The future of the internet twins should be decided this week.A
high court hearing will take place to decide if the twin girls,
adopted over the internet by Judith and Alan Kilshaw, should return
to America or remain in Britain.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 1/4/01 page 28

Alan’s 10 years of lonely torment

Plight of elderly man locked in unheated attic and ignored by
authorities exposes failure in care laws.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1/4/01 page 12

Abuse inquiry at top school is abandoned

An inquiry by social workers and detectives into claims of
alleged abuse involving a former priest at the London Oratory
school has been abandoned.

Claims that Father David Martin abused pupils at the elite Roman
Catholic state school cannot be taken further, as police have said
there is “no evidence to substantiate the allegations”.

Children’s charity Childline received anonymous letters from
people claiming to be pupils at the comprehensive in south west
London, and they triggered a four-month inquiry.

The letters accuse Martin of abusing them and express fears they
may have contracted the HIV virus.

The priest died in 1998 aged 44 of an Aids-related illness.

Andrew Christie, Hammersmith and Fulham’s assistant director for
social services, said: “We treat all allegations of this type very
seriously, and have conducted a very full and detailed
investigation. We have found no evidence to support the allegations
contained within the anonymous letters.”

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 2/4/01 page 30

Parkinson’s victims ‘face age prejudice in the

Unacceptable levels of age discrimination in the NHS are placed
on older Parkinson’s disease sufferers, research has found.

The study has found a clear link between age and GPs’ decision
to refer a patient to a specialist for effective drug

The younger the patient, the more likely a referral, the report
of 400 doctors by the Parkinson’s Disease Society found.

Last week, the government pledged to eradicate ageism in the
NHS. Health secretary Alan Milburn said patients should be treated
according to clinical need and not age.

Around 11 per cent questioned said they never referred
Parkinson’s patients over 81.

The charity’s chief executive Mary Baker said she feared doctors
began treatment without referring the patient, opting for drugs
more likely to lead to unpleasant side effects.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 2/4/01 page 5

Depressed blame GPs

Sufferers of depression who attempt to commit suicide blame
their GP for not helping them in their hour of need, a report
published today claims.

More than 40 per cent of the 176 people surveyed by the
Depression Alliance said their doctor could have done more to help
them and prevent their suicide attempt.

The study coincides with National Depression Week and states
that more than half of those surveyed visited their GP in the month
leading up to their attempt, but the visits did little to persuade
them from trying to kill themselves.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 2/4/01 page 8

Probation staff rebel over plan to withdraw social
security cash

Probation officers have attacked the government for its plans to
remove benefits from people who fail to abide by community
punishments handed out by the courts.

The removal of benefits from offenders for up to 26 weeks will
be piloted in four areas in England later this year, according to a
circular issued by the home office.

The National Association of Probation officers has told members
to refuse to comply with the plans as they believe the idea will
lead to an increase in property crime.

The success of the pilots in Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Teeside
and the West Midlands, will depend on probation staff reporting
offenders who “breach” their community punishments.

If introduced throughout England and Wales, it could lead to
30,000 people a year being stripped of their benefit

Napo spokesperson Harry Fletcher said: “This is a bizarre
sanction. If benefits are taken away, the only alternative source
of income will be begging or stealing. This will increase

Source:- Independent Monday 2/4/0 page 2

Portillo ‘appalled’ by Tory MPs’ race

Michael Portillo launched a scathing attack on two fellow MPs
who complained about immigration ‘diluting’ British culture.

The shadow chancellor said he was “appalled” by comments made by
John Townsend and Christopher Gill. Portillo said the party “needs
to move on” and extend equality to all Britons, regardless of their
ethnic background or sexuality. He continued to state that their
remarks had no place in Conservative policy and did not represent
the party today.

Source:- Independent Monday 2/4/01 page 9

Bail for Briton highlights fears over ‘scores of
paedophiles’ operating on beaches in Goa

The British man arrested in Goa last week on suspicion of
paedophilia has been released on bail, raising fears he may flee
the country before he can be brought to trial.

John Middleton was said to have been living with three Nepalese
boys aged between 13 and 15 when he was arrested.

Middleton is not alone and among tourists there are an unknown
number of paedophiles preying on impoverished children.

Sociologist Dr Nishta Dessai says: “There are scores of
paedophiles on the beaches where we work. The ones we fear most are
the long stayers who run some kind of establishment in Goa and only
go home to renew their visas. We fear them because they encourage
other paedophiles to come.”

Middleton was said to have been a regular visitor to Goa, and
had come to the attention of two other non governmental
organisations, Childline and Jan Ugahi, which work to safeguard
children at risk.

Source:- Independent Monday 2/4/01 page 14

Scottish newspapers

Children could be given legal aid for children’s

Law lords have ruled that a boy should have the right to apply
for legal aid in connection with a referral to the children’s panel
in a decision which could have sweeping changes across the

The 16-year old boy had allegedly been involved in an assault
back in October 1999. The procurator fiscal decided not to
prosecute him but referred his case to the children’s panel. The
boy and his mother denied the grounds so their case was referred to
the sheriff court, but the decision was put on hold pending an

Lord Rodger presiding judged that there was a breach of the
European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to a
fair trial. This is on the grounds that children’s panel members
are volunteers who could be removed by the secretary of state at
any time.

Lord Rodger said: “I am satisfied there are substantial grounds
for considering that his right to a fair trial requires that he
should have the right to apply for legal aid.” Rodger also warned
that this did not mean all children had the same right

The boy’s lawyer, Cameron Fyffe, claimed the ruling was a
fundamental victory of rights which would lead to sweeping changes
to the children’s hearing system.

Source The Herald 31/3/01 page 1



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