By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.
Labour plans will harm NHS, warn experts
The care of the most vulnerable patients will be hit by
Labour’s plans to give the private sector a bigger role in
running hospitals, an influential group of health experts warns
They accuse the government of paving the way to “large-scale
privatisation” of the National Health Service.
The letter to The Independent is from eight academics
studying variations in health care standards.
They reserve some of their strongest words for the private
finance initiative, under which companies shoulder the cost of
building new health facilities with the public sector leasing them
“The high cost of the private finance initiative has resulted in
money intended for patients being channelled away from patient care
and into the coffers of business. Evidence from the first wave of
PFI hospital schemes shows planned reductions in NHS beds of 30 per
cent and cuts in staff budgets of up to 20 per cent to meet the
escalating costs of private finance.”
The academics claim the new Health and Social Care Act has the
potential to limit access to health care free at the point of
delivery. They say the new care trusts, which it creates, will be
able to charge for “personal care” which could include looking
after frail older people and sufferers of long-term illnesses such
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 29 May page
Blair’s local council set to reject
The prime minister’s local council in County Durham could
face criticism from refugee agencies and the home office for
failing to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.
Rural authorities such as Sedgfield council, are opposing the
plans for market towns and counties to receive their first influx
of asylum seekers, saying they have insufficient housing to cope
with up to 11,000 refugees by next March.
The home office has been forced to look at rural England as an
alternative, as a result of the huge numbers of asylum seekers
staying in London and the south-east.
Sedgefield, with less than 1 per cent of its population from
ethnic minority groups, argues it lacks the necessary
infrastructure to cope with asylum seekers without back up from
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 29 May page 15
Alzheimer’s patient in NHS lottery
An elderly woman has been denied her expensive drugs for
Alzheimer’s disease, because of the reluctance of her new
consultant to prescribe them and the health authority to pay for
In spite of Nice’s ruling to ensure that all patients are
treated equally throughout the country, Barbara Woodward’s
case is an example of post-code prescribing.
Woodward was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. Her
consultant prescribed her Aricept, which costs more than
£10,000 a year per patient.
When the couple moved to Northampton from Swindon, to be closer
to their daughter, they were told they would have to pay £165
a month for the tablets, a sum exceeding their pension.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommended in
January that all Alzheimer’s patients thought by their
consultant to benefit from the drug, should be prescribed it.
The Northampton Health Care Trust, which runs the clinic
Woodward attends, said that only a limited amount of funding had
been made available by the health authority for the drugs in the
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 29 May page 5
Labour pledges £150m lottery cash to poor
Lottery funds totalling £150 million, would be poured into
poor communities missing out on resources, under a re-elected
Labour government, Gordon Brown said yesterday.
The move follows criticism that London and other affluent areas
have enjoyed unfair shares of the grants.
The Chancellor said an annual fund would give 50 disadvantaged
areas a fairer share of lottery cash to help solve local
Places likely to benefit include Torbay, Darlington and Great
Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 29 May page 7
Judges to keep an eye on offenders
Ministers are considering an overhaul of sentencing, which would
give a corps of 35 specialist judges the power to review
offenders’ behaviour and progress after release from jail or
during non-custodial sentences.
The move would give them a significant role in enforcing
penalties handed out by the courts.
The proposals are part of a report by John Halliday, a retired
senior civil servant, and are likely to win the backing of the Lord
Chief Justice, Lord Woolfe, who supports the government’s
drive for seamless sentencing, which mixes a period of custody with
punishment in the community.
Currently, judges have little knowledge of what happens to an
offender after the he leaves the court to start punishment in the
community. The home office wants to give them an active role in
enforcing and monitoring penalties.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 29 May 2001 page 4
Child sex abuser dragged from court by mob
A man accused of obscene offences against children was dragged
from court by a screaming mob causing police to intervene with CS
Nicholas Walker admitted taking obscene photographs of four
girls and a boy aged between four and 13 years when he appeared at
Portree Sheriff Court on the island of Skye. After police restored
order they had to form a cordon round Walker in the dock. Sheriff
McPartlin jailed Walker for three months.
Source:- Daily Record Tuesday 29 May page 1
Services fail fathers
Social services fail to respond to the needs of fathers involved
in the care of their children, according to a new study, Dads in
Pilton, by Edinburgh Family Service Unit. The researchers worked in
the Pilton area of Edinburgh and found that more fathers than
expected were deeply involved in the care of their children. The
fathers involved in the study reported that they felt unable to
take up support from social services which appeared to be geared to
mothers only – a feature the researchers believe is
replicated across the UK.
Source:- The Herald Tuesday 29 May page 3
Private care faces cash crisis
The owners of privately run residential care homes will tell the
Scottish executive today that they face a deepening cash crisis
which could see the wide scale closure of homes and the eviction of
residents. The meeting will hear demands for more generous payments
from local authorities. Scottish Care, which represents 800 of
Scotland’s 1,100 private residential and nursing homes, will
demand a minimum of £55 more per resident per week in order to
stand still. Jim Proctor, vice chairperson of Scottish Care, said
that the care of 34,000 older people and 56,000 jobs were at
Source:- The Herald Tuesday 29 May page 6