David Callaghan and Alex Dobson.
Long stay patients win benefits concession
The government has announced that older people will not now lose benefits
for the first six weeks of a hospital stay. The change will also apply to
people claiming income support or incapacity benefit.
Patients will now be able to claim benefits for the first 13 weeks of a
hospital stay, pensions minister Ian McCartney announced.
He made the announcement just hours before MPs were due to debate the issue
in parliament. He said the government had decided to be ‘more generous’.
"Over 97 per cent of people who go into hospital are not affected by the
rules – but I want to do something more to ease the worry and disruption for
the other 3 per cent."
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 26 February page 11
Blindness in elderly treatable
A new campaign to raise awareness about a curable cause of blindness, is to
be announced in the House of Commons.
A survey by the Patients Association shows that only 3 per cent of the
population is aware of age-related macular degeneration.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 26 February page 10
Blunkett orders tighter security at asylum centres
Home secretary David Blunkett has announced tighter security at asylum
detention centres following the escape of 22 detainees from the Yarl’s Wood
centre following a fire 12 days ago.
He also said new sprinklers would be fitted at two removal centres. Blunkett
said the 22 escapees were still at large, and he did not believe anyone had
died in the fire.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 26 February page 4
NHS Direct is unsafe, say GPs
GPs have claimed the NHS Direct medical advice service is slow and unsafe. A
group of doctors from Kent is resisting the government’s attempts to integrate
the service with GP co-operatives.
Dartford and Gravesham is a pilot area for the scheme. Dr Tony MacDonnell,
chairperson of Dartford and Gravesham ‘Doctors on Call’, said: "There are
patients who have to wait up to two hours for a nurse to call them, who then
says they should call an ambulance urgently. We find that very difficult to
A department of health spokesperson said this was a local issue, but similar
problems are believed to be affecting other areas.
Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 26 February page 15
Health Minister is urged to order public inquiry
Welsh Assembly health and social services minister Jane Hutt is being urged
to hold a public inquiry into the way a residential home for older people in
Cardiff was run.
Conservative assembly member Jonathan Morgan has described the story of
Hazelcroft residential home as one marked by "mismanagement, mistrust and
almost tribal hatred between staff", and he is again calling on the minister
to carry out a full investigation.
Morgan first demanded an inquiry during a debate at the assembly last month,
and the minister said at that time that she would take advice from the Social
Cardiff council say that all the allegations have been investigated
thoroughly, and where allegations relating to levels of care were found to be
proved, appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.
Source:- South Wales Echo Monday 25 February page 2
Chaos threat as private care homes give ultimatum
The Welsh Local Government Association has issued a stark warning that there
is a crisis facing the security of older residents in some privately run homes
The warning comes after some home owners issued ‘ultimatums’ to councils over
the levels of fees they receive.
The Welsh LGA says that a number of the home owners are asking for
substantially increased fees, and have rejected the level of fee increases put
forward by local authorities. In some cases owners have issued notices withdrawing
Sir Harry Jones, chairperson of the Welsh LGA, said: "Local government
recognises the pressures on the private sector, but issuing such ultimatums is
an unacceptable way forward not least because of the distress and uncertainty
caused to residents and their relatives".
He called on home owners who had issued ultimatums to move away from such
action, and to negotiate a realistic and reasonable way forward with their
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 26 February page 7