A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Nine NHS trusts accused of ‘massaging’
waiting lists

Nine NHS hospital trusts have been accused of massaging waiting
list figures in a deliberate bid to meet government targets for
shorter patient queues.

Independent spending watchdog the National Audit Office reveals
duplicity, secrecy and distortion of patient records, and nearly
6,000 patients were affected. Some were forced to wait longer than
they should have done while their condition deteriorated.

Nigel Crisp, chief executive of the NHS, said any managers who
were found to have falsified waiting lists would in future face
dismissal for gross misconduct and banned from working in the

Among the most serious cases were Bart’s NHS Trust in
London and Salford Royal.

Source:- The Independent Wednesday 19 December
page 1

Prisons inspector ‘shooting from

The former chief inspector of prisons, who has publicly
criticised the government’s handling of Britain’s
prisons, was attacked by Labour yesterday.

George Howarth, who had been home office minister between 1997
and 1999 accused Sir David Ramsbotham of “shooting from the hip”,
and displaying lack of judgement during his term as chief inspector
of prisons.

“He saw something and jumped from A to Z without working out how
the other letters fitted in between,” he said. “His judgement was
on occasion found wanting.”

Earlier this week, Ramsbotham accused ministers and home office
officials of pushing him out of his job in an “appallingly
underhand way”, and said by the time he left his role, he was
barely speaking to Jack Straw.

Howarth insisted, however, that this was down to the former
chief inspector and not the former home secretary.

“Jack Straw is a very hard secretary of state to fall out with.
I suspect that he was not the cause of any deterioration,” he

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 19 December page

Councillors blamed at Climbie inquiry

Labour councillors who withdrew millions of pounds from Haringey
social work department have been accused of contributing to the
death of Victoria Climbie, who should have been protected by social

Former Labour chairperson of social services in the London
borough, Craig Turton, told the public inquiry that the ruling
Labour group slashed the child protection budget to please middle
class constituents who wanted a greater emphasis on schools.

He said social workers responsible for Victoria’s case
were left to struggle with unmanageable workloads because teachers
belonging to the Socialist Education Association had an “unhealthy”
influence on decisions about the council budget.

“This led to additional resources being provided for education
services – seen as an electoral priority – at the
expense of all other council services, including social services,”
he concluded.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 19 December page 8

Call for global group to fight child web

The head of the United Nations children’s fund is calling
for greater censorship of the internet to combat child pornography

Carol Bellamy, executive director of Unicef, said concerns about
freedom of expression should take second place to the urgent need
to protect youngsters from child porn sites, which are a breeding
ground for international paedophile rings.

Delegates at the Second World Congress Against the Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Children in Japan called for a world
organisation to pursue child pornographers across the borderless

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 19 December page 17

Childminder faces jail for shaking baby boy to

The childminder who shook a baby boy to death in a violent fit
of temper last night faced a prison sentence after being found
guilty of the charge.

Linda Bayfield took gulps from an asthma inhaler when an Old
Bailey jury passed a unanimous manslaughter verdict after seven
hours of deliberation.

Bayfield was granted bail as sentencing was adjourned for a
month to allow reports to be prepared.

The jury was not told that she had been acquitted by Croydon
crown court in 1986 of actual bodily harm against a three-year-old

Bayfield continued to be registered as a childminder and in July
shook Joshua Osborne so violently that he suffered sever brain
damage and died in hospital.

A report by Croydon council into the tragedy, published today,
said that nine complaints received about Bayfield during her 25
years of childminding had involved “inappropriate chastisement” of
children in her care.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 19 December page 9

Blunkett rejects Payne campaign

The home secretary will meet the parents of murdered schoolgirl
Sarah Payne again next year after rejecting their demand for the
public to have controlled access to the sex offenders’

Michael and Sara Payne spent more than an hour with David
Blunkett yesterday to press their case. They discussed whether a
“buddy system” could be launched to provide convicted paedophiles
with a confidant if they were tempted to re-offend.

Sara Payne said Blunkett told them he was not convinced that
unlimited public access to the register would help to protect

Source:- The Times Wednesday 19 December page 8

Guardian Society

Creating a stir

Great menu, plus free bed and board…seems just the place
for a cosy holiday. But this is one of Her Majesty’s
hotels’ and it’s rapidly slamming the door on the old
image of nasty prison food.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Outmoded care

Wakefield damned for failing clients

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Faith in face-to-face

Donors unfazed by charities’ fundraising techniques

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Time is the healer

Imagine having your health and housing problems both addressed
by your doctor. Debbie Andalo on a pioneering trade-off that
guarantees 30 minutes with the GP.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Best of trends

In an increasingly competitive world, charities can’t
afford to be amateurish. Linda Jackson on the volunteer
organisation that provides professional expertise.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Out in the cold

While many services close over Christmas, social workers are
left to cope with people in crisis.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Benefits of sharing

Living standards relaxed for alcohol and drug care centres

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Home owner frozen out

Ombudsman rules ‘negative views’ a factor in care

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 19 December page

Scottish newspapers

Councils attacked over 3,000 evictions

Shelter Scotland has condemned local authorities in Scotland for
acting more like hard-headed businesses than social landlords in
pursuing evictions against tenants in arrears at the same rate as
banks do in relation to private homeowners.

The first national evictions figures collated by the Scottish
executive revealed that 3,000 tenants were evicted by Scottish
councils this year. The most “aggressive” local authority was North
Lanarkshire with 823 actions pursued in court and 47 evictions

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said that
“evictions remained a last resort”, and was the ultimate sanction
in anti-social orders. Shelter Scotland said that anti-social
behaviour accounted for only 3 per cent of evictions. A Scottish
executive spokesperson said: “We exhort local authorities to manage
arrears and use eviction only as a last resort.”

Source:- The Herald Thursday 19 December page 7

Health deficits rise tenfold

More health trusts in Scotland are operating at a loss and their
deficits are almost 10 times higher than three years ago, a report
by the auditor general Robert Black will reveal today.

Eight of the country’s 28 trusts suffered a combined
overspend of £53.9 million in the year to 31 March 2001 up
£5.8 million on last year when the deficit increased by
£24 million.

Tayside University Hospitals, the subject of a damning report in
July, accumulated the largest deficit of £15.9 million. The
overall deficit has been practically wiped out with a government
injection of £79 million in September. However, Black warns
this was a one-off payment and raises concerns that the health
service remains critically under-funded.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 19 December page 1








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