A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

RCN chief attacks ‘Third World’ care for the

NHS care for older people was attacked by Britain’s top nursing
leader yesterday.

In her final speech as general secretary of the Royal College of
Nursing, Christine Hancock said it was time to eradicate “Third
World” standards. She said it was unacceptable that the most frail
and vulnerable people in society continued to suffer the indignity
of being left for hours on hospital trolleys.

Hancock, who is stepping down after 12 years, also condemned the
decision not to fund all long-term care for older people in nursing
and residential homes. She said it was “simply wrong” that the
government had agreed to pay for nursing care, but not personal
care, claiming it illogical that if the same person was in hospital
receiving the same care from the same people, they would not pay
for it.

“Nurses will not let this issue drop. We will continue to
campaign until everyone in long-term care gets the health care they
deserve by right, free on the NHS.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 24 May 2001 page

Appeal court rewrites family law

The Children Act 1989 was rewritten by three appeal court judges
yesterday, to give judges the power to check on whether social
workers are properly carrying out plans for children in care.

Lord Justices Thorpe and Sedley and Lady Justice Hale ruled that
the courts had a duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 to ensure
rights guaranteed by the act are not infringed.

Neil Garnham, counsel for the Department of Health, said it was
arguable the judges had exceeded their jurisdiction in writing a
new provision into the act.

The judges refused the DoH permission to appeal to the House of
Lords, but the law lords are almost certain to hear an appeal.

The ruling was made in two test cases where children had been
taken into care over concerns about their parenting.

In one case in Torbay, the council decided that two younger of
three children, should be returned to their mother, who had left
her abusive partner, in six to nine months’ time. The care plan was
not initiated due to a financial crisis at Torbay Council which led
to substantial cuts from the social services budget.

The second case involved Bedfordshire Council who sought care
orders for two children with a manic depressive father. The parents
had separated and were back together undergoing therapy, but were
unlikely to be able to care for the boys for a year, and foster
parents could not keep them much longer.

The judge wanted to make an interim care order so he could keep
an eye on what happened but felt case law forced him to make a full
care order and drop out of the picture.

President of the high court’s family division Dame Elizabeth
Butler-Sloss will meet with the Health and Lord Chancellor’s
Department to discuss it.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 24 May 2001 page 4

Record lead for Labour

Labour has maintained a record position in the polls, with just
two weeks until polling day. The latest MORI poll, undertaken on
Tuesday, confirms expectations of another Labour victory.

Labour support is now put at 55 per cent, the Tories are at 30
per cent and Liberal Democrats are at 11 per cent.

Source:- The Times Thursday 24 May 2001 page 1

Briton on child sex abuse charge in Romania

A British businessman could face an eight-year jail sentence
when he stands trial in August, having been arrested on paedophile
and weapon charges in Romania.

Police released footage filmed during surveillance of Neal Mason
on state television. According to police, the scenes allegedly show
him “touching and caressing” five boys.

Mason went to Romania a year ago to set up a tourist related
business. Neighbours complained of boys entering his home, some
allegedly as young as ten. Police claim he offered them sweets and
money to accompany him home for illegal sex. He denies the

He could face three years in prison for the corruption of a
minor and up to five years for the possession of a gun.

Source:- The Times Thursday 24 May 2001 page 5

Alcohol alert

There are fresh concerns about the consumption of alcohol in
Britain, as a report has revealed that twice as many people are
dependent on drink than on all other drugs put together, including
prescription drugs.

The report from Alcohol Concern says there is growing public
concern over alcohol misuse but a lack of resources devoted to the

Source:- The Times Thursday 24 May 2001 page 9

Pair guilty of cruelty, but not murder

A couple were found not guilty of murdering their four-month old
daughter because no one could be sure which one had dealt the final

Mr Justice Hopper told the jury at Bristol Crown Court that it
was more important there should not be a miscarriage of justice,
than a guilty person be brought to account.

He was speaking after the jury found Andrew Snee and Sharon
Brennan guilty of causing cruelty to their daughter Chloe, who died
from severe head injuries in 1999.

A post mortem examination of the baby showed she had suffered a
fractured skull, blood clot and swelling of the brain. Snee and
Brennan had blamed each other for the wounds.

Doctors and health visitors had noticed bruises, scabs and marks
on Chloe in the months before she died, the court heard.

Snee and Brennan were warned to expect a jail sentence.

Source:- Independent Thursday 24 May 2001 page 14.

Scottish newpapers

Racism fighter claims law failed her

A leading campaigner against racism has claimed that the
Crown’s decision not to prosecute a man she alleges attacked
her reflects the system’s failure to take racist violence

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, was
allegedly attacked in March this year after she parked her car in
Glasgow’s affluent Hyndland area as she went to attend a
meeting of the Stephen Lawrence steering group. She claims that a
dispute about parking led to a well-dressed, middle-aged male
physically assaulting her and describing her as a “black bastard”.
The case was not prosecuted by the Crown “due to a lack of
admissible evidence”.

Qureshi said: “If it happened to me in an area I know in the
middle of the afternoon, it makes you wonder what is happening to
asylum seekers in the city.”

Source:- The Herald 24/5/01 page 3

Council may invoke libel laws in housing

A confidential document has revealed that Glasgow Council and
the Glasgow Housing Association are considering invoking
legislation to combat alleged slander, libel or interference with
the statutory process of transferring Glasgow’s housing

The document also allegedly warns staff to look out for
misinformation against the transfer by those “with motivations
other than the interests of Glasgow’s tenants”. The
revelation drew anger from the Campaign Against the Housing Stock
Transfer. Campaign leader Sean Clarkin said: “This is not
acceptable. The council and GHA are behaving in an arrogant and
defensive fashion.”

If the majority of council house tenants vote in favour,
Glasgow’s 87,000 housing stock will transfer to the
management of the Glasgow Housing Association.

Source:- The Herald 24/5/01 page 12

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