A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Care home ‘zombies’

Thousands of older people in residential and nursing homes are
being sedated for no apparent medical reason.

As many as 88,000 older people are being kept under a “chemical
cosh”, turned into zombies and stripped of their dignity simply to
make life easier for their carers, a report claims.

Between 1999 and 2000, the number of prescriptions for anti
psychotic drugs for the over 60s rose by around 70 per cent from
252,700 to 428,800, says the report compiled by MP Paul

The report cites research suggesting that 10 per cent of
residents in care homes have psychotic symptoms, but around 30 per
cent are treated for them.

Burstow’s report warns: “As many as one in five admissions
to hospital are linked to inappropriate drug therapy.”

Source:- Daily Mail Wednesday 5 December page 33

Stowaway fines for hauliers to be outlawed by

A high court judge is expected to declare today that the
government’s policy aimed at stemming the flow of illegal
immigrants is unlawful.

The system of fining lorry drivers £2,000 per stowaway they
carry into the country is in direct contravention of European
legislation, according to Mr Justice Sullivan.

The government is likely to ask for a stay of execution pending
an appeal, but the judge could refuse.

It is understood that £8 million of fines have been levied
on hauliers after immigrants were found in vehicles, and around
£1 million on the freight company English, Welsh and

Source:- The Independent Wednesday 5 December
page 2

Bleach drink kills woman in care

An 80-year-old woman in care has died and five residents have
been left in a critical condition after drinking a bleach like
liquid they were given.

A care assistant is thought to have confused two similarly
packaged products and mistaken the dishwasher rinse with a
blackcurrant cordial.

Ten older women at Lady Astor Court, a private care home in
Slough, are thought to have been given the liquid.

Joan Walters has died, while two remained seriously ill. Three
residents were stable in hospital. Others were treated by a

Six members of staff have been suspended and the placement of
new clients by Slough council has been temporarily suspended while
an internal inquiry takes place.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 5 December page

Paper fined for Bulger order breach

The publishers of the Manchester Evening News have been fined
£30,000 yesterday for contempt of court in breaching an
injunction to protect the two killers of James Bulger.

President of the high court family division Dame Elizabeth
Butler-Sloss ruled that information printed on the day Robert
Thompson and Jon Venables were due to be released in June was
enough to lead anyone with local knowledge to identify where they
were being held in secure units.

Greater Manchester Newspapers Ltd now face costs of more than
£150,000 unless the ruling is overturned in an appeal. The
company was ordered to pay the attorney general’s costs of
£43,000 and its own legal costs are estimated to be

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 5 December page 2

Milburn BUPA deal ‘breaks election

Alan Milburn was accused of breaking an election pledge not to
let private clinical staff run “express surgery” units, after he
struck a deal with Bupa yesterday.

Public sector unions called the health secretary’s
decision to use a private hospital in Surrey as the first
fast-track centre a “declaration of war”.

Milburn was also criticised for the timing of the announcement
– a week after the Chancellor played down the role of the
private sector in the NHS.

The deal, if concluded will offer a further 5,000 operations a
year for NHS patients through an express surgery unit at East
Surrey hospital.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 5 December page 6

No reason for council tax rise, says Byers

Council taxes will be increased next year to pay for nursing
care of older people, it was claimed last night.

Stephen Byers, secretary of state for transport, local
government and the regions, told MPs yesterday that total support
for local councils in England next year would be £47.3
billion, which is a 7.4 per cent increase. But only £9.2
billion from the local authority grants will go towards social
services for older people, children and people with a

Byers told Parliament “with these grant increases”, he could see
no reason for large council tax increases next year.

But local authorities claimed he had not listened to their
warnings about the strains on social services departments.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 5 December page 8

Whiting breaks silence in Sarah Payne trial

The man accused of murdering Sarah Payne said he had nothing
whatsoever to do with her kidnapping, killing and burial.

Roy Whiting said it was a coincidence that he had a white van
fitting the description of one seen by Sarah’s brother Lee at
the time of her disappearance, and a red and black shirt and white
t-shirt matching those Lee claimed Sarah’s abductor had

It was also coincidence he had visited three locations where
children could be found playing on the day she disappeared, and
that he was driving with a knife, rope and baby oil in his van.

Whiting said “memory blanks” accounted for his failure to offer
an alibi.

He denied murder and kidnap.

The trial continues.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 5 December page 9

Guardian Society

Going quietly

The scandal of how older people in care are being prescribed
drugs that they may not need is one that has gone unheeded for far
too long, says a new report. James Meikle on the problems of
monitoring medication policy inside care homes.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 5 December page

Neglect charge

Administration of ECT ‘too variable’

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 5 December page

All eyes on one pot

Community projects in deprived areas could lose funding

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 5 December page

Quick thinking

Mike George reports on how intermediate care services in
Sheffield are helping to keep older people out of hospital

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 5 December page

Putting on the Ritz

YMCA angered by government aide’s sound bite on NHS

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 5 December page

Scottish newspapers

Crimes of violence increase

Crimes of violence in the west of Scotland have increased by
12.3 per cent in the first half of the year, according to official
figures which will be presented to Strathclyde Police Board

Race crime, including violent attacks, is also continuing to
rise having doubled in recent months. Overall crime has increased
by 5.4 per cent indicating that Strathclyde is failing to meet
Scottish executive targets to reduce crime by 2 per cent each

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 5 December page 2

Teacher fails to win job back

The teacher found guilty of assaulting his daughter in a
dentist’s waiting room last Christmas, who subsequently won
an appeal against being struck off the teaching register by the
General Teaching Council, will not be given a teaching post by his
employer, North Lanarkshire Council.

The man will continue to be employed by the council but not in a
teaching capacity. It is believed to be the first time a teacher
has been reinstated by the GTC and then refused a teaching post by
a local authority.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 5 December page 1

Care worker loses sacking case

North Lanarkshire care worker, Sinclair Upton, has failed to win
his unfair sacking case having been dismissed by the council for
attempting to pretend he was a social worker in order to access
files held on his nephew.

Upton, a care worker at a home for older people, had been
wrongly issued with an ID card for a social worker. In visiting his
nephew in a drugs rehabilitation unit he wore his ID in a prominent
place, described himself as an employee of the social work
department and asked for the confidential file. An employment
tribunal in Glasgow found in favour of North Lanarkshire

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 5 December page 7









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