By Clare Jerrom.
Brown defies unions over reform of public
The government will not be swayed from reforming public
services, according to Gordon Brown yesterday.
Emphasising a commitment to private finance and a fundamental
reform of public services, he told the Transport and General
Workers’ Union conference: “Just as schools exist for school
children, the NHS exists for patients; public services exist not
for the public servant but for the public who are served.”
Brown’s defence of the public service reforms follows
controversy over private sector involvement and criticism from
Britain’s largest union, including Unison.
Source:- The Times Friday 6 July page 2
Foster girl tours the TV studios
The teenage girl in foster care, who has been denied a place at
private school Gordonstoun by social services, took full advantage
of the media attention yesterday.
Suzanne Turley was told on Wednesday that a decision over her
future had been made. Last night, as she toured television studios,
she still awaits this decision.
“They have been saying since May that a new decision is
imminent, but it never comes,” she said. “I hope that all this
publicity will highlight the merits of my case.”
Wrexham Council has said it “listened carefully” to her argument
for attending the school in Scotland, but Turley believes the block
is down to its bias against private schools.
Source:- The Times Friday 6 July page 9
Blunkett unveils crime shake-up
A “tough but tender” approach to sentencing criminals, was
announced by David Blunkett yesterday, that will keep thousands of
minor offenders out of prison and place a fresh emphasis on
The shake up signals the end to the automatic release for
serious sexual and violent offenders who have served two thirds of
their term. There will also be longer and tougher sentences for
The home secretary said he wanted to introduce a new “virtual
clip round the ear” for young petty offenders by introducing
“acceptable behaviour contracts” to curb anti-social behaviour.
The reform proposals will go out for consultation before the
cabinet decides the final legislation, to be introduced in the
autumn in a new police and criminal justice bill.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 6 July page 1
Inquiry into psychiatric hospital deaths
There will be an inquiry into four unexplained deaths of
psychiatric patients more than 25 years ago.
Relatives of one of the victims, who was found drowned, gassed,
burned and drugged to death, have come up with fresh evidence for
police at County Durham.
The head of Darlington Memorial Hospital and a senior
psychiatrist were forced to resign at the time. A report by a
barrister found “appalling complacency”.
Relatives have complained that more sinister leads were not
followed up, including suggestions that another patient was a known
arsonist and had threatened to burn the hospital down.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 6 July page 7
Disabled tests will be eased
Current claimants of incapacity benefit actually face a more
stringent medical check than the government proposals for
three-year so-called MOT tests, the department of work and pensions
admitted last night.
Labour backbenchers have been up in arms over the proposals from
Alistair Darling and endorsed by Tony Blair.
Disability groups claim the government is trying to attract
right wing support, and the Disability Rights Consortium wrote to
the prime minister demanding an urgent meeting yesterday.
The GMB union which represents many disabled workers, said the
government could take the heat out of the argument by guaranteeing
that severely disabled people would not face re-tests.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 6 July page 8
‘Oscars’ for the forgotten
A ceremony in Manchester last night, which marked the end of NHS
week, celebrated the commitment of social care and health workers,
whose achievements usually go unrecognised.
The 22 awards are intended to mark outstanding innovation by
individuals and organisations.
Presenting the awards, health secretary Alan Milburn said: “NHS
and social care staff across the country do a fantastic job, often
in very challenging circumstances. It is great to be able to
recognise their achievements publicly through the health and social
Linda Couchman from Cheshire social services, who won the
lifetime achievement for social care said: “We never ever read
about social workers doing a good job, but we save people’s
lives daily – out of poverty and social stigma. The standard
of care the public sector wins is second to none.”
Source:- The Guardian Friday 6 July page 10