A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Mothers sue over epilepsy drug damage

Dozens of mothers with epilepsy are to sue the NHS after giving
birth to children with learning difficulties and birth defects as a
result of being prescribed the drug sodium valporate during their

A group of 20 women has won legal aid to launch action for
compensation against health authorities, citing negligence.

“We have expert medical evidence to show that these women were
not advised of the risks they faced and were not always given
appropriate medication,” said Nina Roland, solicitor acting for the

Hundreds of children are believed to have been affected. A lack
of communication between the NHS has been blamed by senior
neurologists, who have called for more epilepsy specialists and a
review of referral procedures.

Source:- The Times Thursday 24 January page 1

Teenagers deny they murdered Damilola

Four youths denied murdering schoolboy Damilola Taylor in
November 2000 on a south London housing estate.

They entered their pleas at the Old Bailey, where a high profile
trial is likely to last for up to three months. Reporting
restrictions have been issued to prevent the four teenage boys
being identified.

Damilola was stabbed in the leg as he walked home from an
after-school computer class. The 10-year-old bled to death in a
stairwell on the north Peckham estate.

The three 16-year-olds and one 14-year-old also deny charges of
assault with intent to rob and manslaughter.

Source:- The Times Thursday 24 January page 5

Legal loophole lets killer parents escape

Only a quarter of parents who kill or seriously injure their
children are convicted, according to police force statistics

Parents can get away with murder if they blame each other and
there is no independent evidence. The legal difficulty means only a
third of those suspected of child killings ever stand trial.

Following a 1985 court of appeal ruling, parents or carers
cannot be prosecuted for murder or GBH if the prosecution cannot
prove which of them struck the fatal blow.

Detective Inspector Malcolm Bacon of Sussex police collated the
findings from police forces in England and Wales.

The findings have convinced Bacon that a change in law is
needed. “There’s obviously a big gap that needs to be filled
in the law, possibly by introducing an offence of homicide
following neglect or cruelty,” he said.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 24 January page 6

Woman arrested over Tube girl

A woman has been arrested in connection with the girl who was
abandoned outside a Tube station in north London.

The woman has been arrested on suspicion of abandoning the
10-year-old girl in November, and has been released on police bail
to return in April.

The child told police she flew from Ethiopia with a male
relative who left her outside the station.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 24 January
page 6

Scottish news

Glasgow council reaches capacity to accommodate asylum

Glasgow’s population has increased with 8,000 extra men,
women and children as a result of the asylum dispersal programme,
it has been revealed.

Around 2,500 accommodation units have all been taken by asylum
seekers as the process enters its third year. The council is
contracted to lease the units as part of its £105 million
contract with the National Asylum Support Service.

City councillors say the number of new refugees being sent to
the city will drop to a “trickle” and a one out, one in basis, with
areas such as Sighthill and Castlemilk now full.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for Glasgow council said officials
were looking at other areas with high levels of void housing, to
avoid asylum seekers becoming isolated by scattering them across
the city.

The spokesperson said: “There are still a number of vacant
properties around the city, and we are looking at rented
accommodation, and we may draw on a broader range of

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 24 January

Welsh newspapers

The Most Disturbing Report You’ll Ever

A shocking report reveals that the residents of a Cardiff home for
older people were slapped, insulted and neglected.
An inspection into the way that the Hazelcroft Residential Home was
run also raises questions over missing medication including
anti-depressants and the sleeping drug Temazepam.
The home which is now closed for refurbishment has had a troubled
history with staff over the last two years making frequent
complaints about each other.
Last year the Deputy Mayor of Cardiff, Lynda Thorne said she had no
major concerns about the way the council managed home in Fairwater,
Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 23 January page 1 and
Page 5
Hutt ‘rewards poor health management’
The National Assembly of Wales has been accused of rewarding poor
financial management by giving millions of pounds to hospitals and
health authorities which have failed to manage their books.
The announcement by the Assembly that it would bail out failing
trusts with some £41 million has been criticised because those
trusts which have managed to keep within budgets are not to receive
any extra cash.
Jane Hutt, Assembly minister for health and social care, said that
the debt write-offs were a new start for the New Year.
Source:- Western Mail Thursday 24 January page 1
UK Appeal over baby considered
Police who are trying to find the mother of an abandoned
three-month-old baby boy are considering launching a nationwide
appeal to find her.
The baby, named Oliver by the officers who found him, was left in
the garden of a house in Newport, south Wales, which is not far
from links to the M4 motorway.
The police say they are baffled that no-one has so far come forward
to identify the baby who was abandoned at the weekend. They will
consider launching a television appeal if there is no new
information within the next 24 hours.
Source:- Western Mail Thursday January 24 page 1





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