A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Mothers to get one-to-one childbirth care

Every mother will receive one to one care during childbirth,
according to Yvette Cooper on Friday.

Cooper gave details of a £100 million plan to modernise
childbirth services. She promised national standards by 2003 giving
women maximum choice in type of delivery and kind of support that
would be available.

The public health minister told a meeting of the National
Childbirth Trust in London that the government would recruit 2,000
extra midwives and provide women with more continuity of care
through their pregnancy.

Organisations representing mothers and midwives welcomed the
announcement, but said the government had yet to explain how it
would solve a chronic staff shortage.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 16 June page 4

Surviving Siamese twin Gracie goes home to

The Siamese twin, who survived the 20-hour operation to separate
her from her sister, will return to her home island of Gozo.

In a short hearing at the high court on Friday, an injunction
banning the identification of Jodie was lifted to disclose her real
name as Gracie Attard, in preparation for her journey home,
expected on Saturday.

Doctors at St Mary’s hospital in Manchester, where the
separation took place, have given Gracie the all clear to travel

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 16 June page 5

Serial sex offender who raped 11-year-old gets

A serial sex offender, who carried out a catalogue of attacks at
knifepoint, including the rape of an 11-year-old girl, was given 12
life sentences yesterday.

Alan Payne was found guilty of 17 offences in which he attacked
five girls aged between 11 and 18 during two weeks, last summer in
west London.

Payne was convicted of two rapes, two attempted rapes,
kidnapping, indecency and robbery. He was also sentenced to five
concurrent sentences of eight years for other offences including
sexual assault.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 16 June page

130,000 asylum seekers vanish

More than 130,000 asylum seekers have vanished and are believed
to be working illegally in Britain.

A report by the Immigration Service Union says that 484,525
asylum applications have been made since 1989.

Fewer than 10 per cent have been granted asylum, while 10 per
cent have departed either by removal or voluntarily. Almost 175,000
are awaiting appeals or have been granted temporary leave to stay
in Britain. The rest are missing.

The figure has doubled since 1998, and the news is likely to
increase controversy over the government’s handling of

Source:- Sunday Times 17 June page 2

Inquiry launched into vaccine ‘link’ with

An investigation has been launched into a possible link between
vaccines that contain mercury, and a rise in the incidence of
autism among children in Britain, by the World Health

Head of the immunisation division of the Public Health
Laboratory Service will analyse records of 500 GP practices to
check for a link between the use of vaccines and a range of
neuro-developmental disorders including autism.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of children exhibiting
mild to severe neurological problems, such as dyslexia and autism.
This follows the introduction of the measles, mumps and rubella
vaccine in 1998, and a sharp rise in the number of mercury based
vaccines given.

Source:- The Sunday Times 17 June page 26

Police to probe leaking of Bulger killers’

Investigations into the leaking pictures that could identify the
killers of James Bulger, after their release from secure detention
expected next month, have been launched by police from two forces
in the north of England.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables are set to be freed by parole
board meetings this week. They will take up new identities,
prepared by specialists in the home office unit.

An unprecedented ‘lifelong’ injunction prevents the
media from identifying them.

Two sets of pictures have been leaked and detectives in
Merseyside are searching for whoever passed two police photo-fits
of the murderers to a journalist last week.

More worrying is the leak of CCTV pictures taken within the last
two years.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 17 June page 1

New lives, new terrors for little James’s

The killers of James Bulger will learn this week if they can go
free. But new identities for Jon Venables and Robert Thompson may
not be enough to protect them from vigilantes?

Source:- The Observer Sunday 17 June page 8/9

Bulger mother hits out at ‘secrecy’ over
killers’ parole case

The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has hit out at the
secrecy surrounding the parole board hearings which will focus on
whether his killers can be freed.

Denise Fergus is demanding to know the identities of the three
members who will decide the future of Jon Venables and Robert
Thompson next week.

The pair were 10 when they abducted and murdered two-year-old
James in 1993, and are making separate applications for

Fergus has made her own submission to the board about why she
believes there is substantial risk to the public in releasing
Thompson and Venables.

“As the victim’s mother, I should have a right to know who
is sitting in judgement on giving leniency to his murderers. It is
another example of running the legal system for the benefit of the
offenders. Right down the line, ever since they were convicted,
they have had kid-glove treatment and special concessions,” she

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 17 June page 11

Asians trail in hunt for health jobs

Asian and black doctors and nurses face constant discrimination,
according to a report that highlights the National Health Service
as racist.

Many black and Asian doctors and nurses are left languishing in
their careers while white colleagues are rapidly promoted.

The report from the King’s Fund will be published this
week, and will say the service is specifically
‘anti-Asian’, with doctors from India, Pakistan and
Bangladesh finding it difficult to get on.

Editor of the report Naaz Coker said black and Asian nurses were
voting with their feet and leaving the health service despite the
desperate need for more staff.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 17 June page 10

Most wanted paedophile may be in UK

One of the world’s most dangerous paedophiles is thought
to be in the UK, according to American investigators hunting the

Eric Franklin Rosser was arrested in Bangkok last year, but
vanished when freed on bail.

Rosser is listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as one
of its 10 most wanted criminals, and is accused of operating a
child pornography distribution ring in Thailand and molesting girls
in America.

British police confirmed last week they had been alerted.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 17 June page 11

Abortion boat admits Dublin voyage was a publicity

Doctors on board the boat, which sailed to Dublin last week to
carry out abortions, have admitted they never expected to treat a
single woman, and the voyage was just a charade.

Members of the Women on Waves foundation claimed that eight
women a day would be ferried aboard on small boats, and the trawler
would sail 12 miles offshore to international waters where
terminations could be carried out legally.

The 100ft Dutch trawler Aurora set sail for Ireland without a
licence to carry out abortions.

Dr Gunilla Kleiverda, a leading Dutch gynaecologist admitted the
voyage had been intended to trigger a media circus.

“We didn’t really expect to see more than two or three
women,” she said, “It is a pilot project to see if women were
willing to come.”

Source:- Sunday Telegraph 17 June page 10

Elderly care is sabotaged

This week the staff and residents of an old people’s home
in Rugby, Warwickshire, will meet to launch a fight back against
the way in which, for eight years, local authority and social
services officials have successfully managed to defy central
government policy and have brought Britain’s independent care
homes to the brink of destruction.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 17 June page 15

Labour scraps free nursing care pledge

Pensioners will have to pay for medical care in nursing homes
despite the government’s pledge that it would meet the full

Source:- The Sunday Times Money supplement 17 June page

Bulger killers’ release ‘not a foregone

The release of James Bulger’s killers is ‘not a
foregone conclusion’ despite the ruling by Lord Chief
Justice, Lord Woolfe, that “further detention would not serve any
constructive purpose”.

The first of two hearings to decide the future of Jon Venables
and Robert Thompson will take place today. Two parole hearings will
decide their immediate prospects.

Lord Woolfe’s suggested that it would only be a couple of
months before the two murderers win their freedom, but one source
said last night: “These hearings are not just a foregone conclusion
that they will be released shortly.”

“The key issue for the parole board is whether they are a risk
to the public,” the source continued.

If the board decides either or both of the youths can be
released, they will receive new identities.

Source:- The Times Monday 18 June page 1

Violent patients shown red card

NHS staff will be protected from abusive patients under
proposals that will be announced by the health secretary today.

Alan Milburn will tell a conference of NHS staff in Birmingham
that hospitals should adopt a “red card” system, which would ban
persistent offenders from premises for a year.

Patients would be given one warning, but dismissed if they
repeated the behaviour.

Milburn will say: “Violent and abusive behaviour should not be
tolerated in the NHS, whether committed by patients or their

“Witholding treatment should only ever be a last resort, and
should be subject to stringent safeguards. But where a patient is
persistently violent or abusive and where no other course of action
proves possible, I will stand four square behind trusts who take
tough action to protect staff,” he will continue.

Source:- The Times Monday 18 June page 2

Separated twin goes home to row over £1m media

The separated Siamese twin Gracie Attard arrived home on the
Mediterranean island of Gozo yesterday, amid controversy over media
deals from which her family will benefit from at least £1

Ten-month old Gracie, who doctors say will lead a normal life,
landed at Valetta airport with her parent, Michaelangelo and Rina,
on a chartered Air Malta flight.

The homecoming was marred, however, after former friends of the
family accused them of being motivated by greed.

Last Friday, lawyers succeeded in lifting a ban from Gracie, so
that newspapers, Granada television and ‘Now’ magazine could use
pictures of her.

Tony and Pat Hubble accused the family of being “focussed on
money”. They said after months of providing financial support to
the couple, the Attard’s lawyers demanded the return of
photographs and threatened action over money.

Gracie has £350,000 in a trust for future medical treatment
from the pictures, and £200,000 from an interview with Trevor
McDonald last December. Another £50,000 will be earned from
the Attard’s 50 per cent share of worldwide syndication of
the pictures.

Source:- The Times Monday 18 June page 5

Fear for handicapped with elderly parents

Many adults with Down’s syndrome are being cared for by
older parents, who are unfit to look after them, according to
charity Mencap.

Around 26,000 adults with severe learning disabilities are
living with parents aged 70 or over, who are too frail to provide
adequate care. In some circumstances, those with learning
difficulties are caring for elderly parents.

The charity adds that the government’s plans to close
long-term treatment centres by 2004, and the shortage of
alternative care, will mean many people with severe learning
difficulties will not have suitable accommodation when their
parents die.

David Congdon, director of public affairs at Mencap, said at
least 6,000 extra housing places a year are needed to begin to
solve the problem.

He added that the longer life expectancy of Down’s
syndrome sufferers had worsened the housing shortage.

Source:- The Times Monday 18 June page 10

Adoption law to close Internet loophole

The loophole in inter-country adoption will be closed under
plans from the government.

Couples bringing children from abroad will have to obtain
approval from adoption agencies or face criminal sanctions.

Plans for the overhaul of adoption laws will be included in the
Queen’s speech this week as ministers present a programme of
legislation dominated by the reform of public services.

The adoption and children bill was introduced after the public
outcry when Judith and Alan Kilshaw boasted of buying twin girls
over the internet.

The Queen’s speech on Wednesday will focus on criminal
justice, education, welfare reform and health.

Source:- The Times Monday 18 June page 12

Blow for the old as Labour backtracks on care home

The government was accused of backtracking from its promise to
pay the nursing bills of old people living in care homes, by
charities yesterday.

It was claimed that the size of payouts will fall short of the
real bills pensioners face.

The charities and analysts say that old people will receive a
top rate of £100 a week for the share of their care home bill
that goes on nursing, when Alan Milburn announces the scheme in

Some will get less depending on an assessment of how much
nursing the need, likely to be carried out by social workers.

They estimated the real cost of nursing to be between £140
and £180 a week.

Age Concern said the government’s plans would fail to help
thousands of pensioners who should be included.

A spokesperson said: “It looks as if the government is
backtracking on its pledges on nursing care. It appears that only
nursing carried out by registered nurses will be covered.”

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 18 June page 7

Scottish newspapers

Cosgrove’s paedophile theory fails in

Columnist Gillian Bowditch criticises the report, Reducing the
Risk, launched last week, which proposes a 73-point plan for
protecting children. The report, compiled by a panel of experts and
chaired by Lady Cosgrove, emphasises that the main risk to children
comes from people they know living unobtrusively in the community.
Bowditch cites the number of children killed by strangers and the
failure of community services as reflected in the low ratio of
convictions for child abuse.

Source:- The Sunday Times Scotland 17 June page 17

Sighthill festival aims for harmony

The Sighthill area in Glasgow is to host a cultural and sporting
festival aimed to promote racial harmony in what organisers believe
will be the biggest event of its kind apart from the Notting Hill
Carnival. Sighthill has been chosen as the location due to the high
number of asylum seekers and refugees accommodated there and
increasing reports of racist attacks. The festival is planned for
30 June.

Source:- The Herald Monday 18 June page 5

Private care fight moves to Glasgow

The dispute over payments for privately-run residential and
nursing home care is set to move to Scotland’s largest
authority as a crunch meeting is set up for tomorrow between home
owners’ organisation, Scottish Care, and Glasgow Council.
Scottish Care, a major provider in Glasgow, is seeking an increase
of £50 per resident per week while so far the Convention of
Scottish Local Authorities has offered between £4 and £6
per week. The situation is further complicated due to
Glasgow’s resignation from Cosla earlier this year.

Source:- The Herald Monday 18 June page 6

Drug therapy fears for children

A parent member of a Scottish working group set up to define
national guidelines over the use of controversial drugs like
Ritalin for hyperactive children, has quit amid claims of a bias
towards drug therapy. Barbara Naumann, a social worker from Fife,
resigned from the Scottish intercollegiate guidelines network
(SIGN) as the Scottish executive released statistics reflecting a
massive leap in the numbers of children taking Ritalin
(methylphenidate) over the past five years. In 1995, 1,015 were
prescribed the drug, but this increased to 17,988 by 1999. In the
first six months of 2000 prescriptions stood at 10,838.

Source:- The Herald Monday 18 June page 7




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