A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and Sunday.

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

One NHS trust blights waiting list record

One single NHS trust was blamed for wrecking the NHS waiting
list figures.

Monthly figures showed 280 patients had to wait for more than 15
months for an operation at Royal United Hospitals in Bath. But in
the rest of England there was just one patient waiting the same
length of time.

Health minister John Hutton said firm action was being taken,
and several senior managers had either resigned or been

But, he said, despite the problems in Bath, the number of
patients waiting for more than 15 months was now the lowest on

The number of patients waiting 12 months for inpatient treatment
was at its lowest since 1996 and there was now the lowest number of
patients waiting more than 26 weeks for an initial outpatient
appointment since records began.

Source:- The Times Saturday 11 May page 6

Drugs chief says soft line is risk to

The Brixton experiment on liberalising cannabis prosecutions is
flawed, according to the leading drugs investigator at Scotland

Deputy assistant commissioner Mike Fuller said the experiment in
Lambeth, south London, had left members of the public thinking that
cannabis had been legalised and risked encouraging children into
drugs use.

Under the scheme, users found with small amounts of cannabis
receive an informal warning and have their drugs confiscated.

Fuller said one clergyman in Brixton had complained to police
that children were arriving at school “stoned” on cannabis, and
parents were concerned that liberalisation would lead to the use of
hard drugs.

Source:- The Times Saturday 11 May page 8

Internet and pay TV upset prisoners tell tale

Prisoners who are released early with electronic tags could risk
going back to jail if they surf the internet or watch pay per view

Technicians have warned that either activity could block signals
transmitted from the ankle bracelets to private monitoring centres
via telephone lines. Probation officers said this could lead to
prisoners being accused of breaking their curfew.

A teenager in north west England was returned to prison after
his stepfather’s internet surfing meant staff could not
confirm the boy was at home.

Signals have also been disrupted by answering machines, mobile
phone masts and blocks of flats.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 11 May page 10

Judge’s ruling is sought over three-year-old HIV

A high court judge was asked to make an urgent ruling on the
future of an HIV positive three-year-old girl whose father has
refused to allow her to be treated.

The private hearing was before Mr Justice Charles on Friday and
neither Camden council, who made the girl ward of court, or the
lord chancellor’s department would say what decisions were

The girl and her father were met at Heathrow airport last week
when they arrived from Australia. The parents of the girl fled
there after the high court ordered the child should be tested
because her mother had the disease.

After the mother died, the father became embroiled in an ongoing
battle with social services in Victoria, Australia.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 11 may page 16

60 days in jail for mother who let girls play

A woman has become the first parent jailed for allowing her
children to play truant.

Patricia Amos was sentenced to 60 days in prison for not sending
her two daughters to secondary school.

The case was brought by Oxfordshire council in a battle that has
lasted two years.

It will set a precedent for other errant parents who permit
their children to remain absent from school.

Education officials said the action was taken as a last resort
after finding no improvement in school attendance over a number of

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 11 May page 17

How ‘legal tricks’ can keep young criminals
out of jail

Delaying tactics from defence lawyers means two thirds of trials
involving young criminals are postponed or abandoned, magistrates
warned yesterday.

The warnings fuel concern that barristers are using legal tricks
to keep their clients out of prison.

One London magistrate said lawyers invented “frivolous excuses”
to delay trials in the hope they would collapse. The longer a trial
is delayed, the more likely the defendant will not be

Les Ford, who sits on the bench at Balham, south London, said:
“It’s hard to say the exact percentage that collapse, but of
trials that go ahead, we are talking about only three in 10 that go
ahead on the day of a trial.”

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 11 May page 47

Roddick goes down and out to help the

Anita Roddick has gone undercover to help the large number of
homeless people in London.

Roddick will spend the coming week wrapped in old clothes, and
appealing to passers by and a crew with hidden cameras will film
the reactions of the public towards her.

Filming of the project has begun and reactions have been

“A small number of people realised that it is Anita, and they
have been very interested to know why she is doing it,” said a
spokesperson from Discovery Channel, which will screen the series
called ‘Skin Deep’.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 12 May page 7

Bullying is rife in Britain’s ‘caring

Bulling has become prevalent in the ‘caring’
professions, according to new research.

A study of NHS staff had found three in five people have
witnessed bullying at work in the past two years. One in 10
sufferers show symptoms similar to those of post traumatic stress

Almost 19 million working days are lost each year in Britain
because of bullying at work, researchers say.

“It is disturbing to find such widespread abuse identified among
people whose jobs are caring for others,” said Noreen Tehrani, the
psychologist who carried out the survey.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 may page 4

Prisons to tackle literacy problems

The education of prisoners is to be given a boost through a
multi million package to provide basic adult classes in jails.

Half of all prisoners have the reading skills of a child of 11
or younger, rendering them virtually unemployable, and creating a
vicious circle that encourages them to return to crime when they
are freed.

Research has shown that re-offending could be slashed by 12 per
cent if every prisoner had some form of education.

The new investment will be announced this week at a conference
on prison education in Birmingham this week.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 May page 12

Schools report rise in number of younger pupils with

There is an alarming increase in the number of children
displaying symptoms of autism, according to teachers.

A survey by the National Autistic Society suggests that 124,000
school children in England and Wales have educational difficulties
associated with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

The new report, published today will fuel concerns about the
link between the combined MMR vaccination and autism.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 12 May page 6

Refugees face life at a foot and mouth dump

Three “villages” for asylum seekers are to be built where
thousands of foot and mouth carcasses were buried.

One village will be built at Throckmorton airfield in
Worcestershire, and two others will be erected at RAF Newton in
Nottinghamshire, and on Ministry of Defence land in

More than 130,000 animal carcasses were dumped at

The rural location of all three sites will disappoint refugee
campaigners that hoped sites would be chosen near cities to enable
asylum seekers access to legal aid and other facilities and

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 12 May page

Diane Pretty dies in hospice: she’s free at last,
says husband

The woman who lost a battle two weeks ago to allow her to commit
suicide, has died, her family announced last night.

Mother of two Diane Pretty, who suffered from motor neurone
disease, started to experience breathing difficulties 10 days

Her husband Brian who was at her bedside at a hospice near her
home in Luton said she was “free at last”.

Pretty fought a test legal challenge in recent months through
the British courts to the House of Lords, and then to the European
court of human rights so her husband could help her to kill

She wanted the courts to grant her husband immunity from
prosecution because to assist with suicide is a crime punishable
with up to 14 years’ jail.

The director of public prosecutions said he could not sanction a
crime to be committed and the courts upheld his decision.

Source:- The Times Monday 13 May page 3

End asylum soft touch says Hain

Europe minister Peter Hain called for a Europe-wide asylum
policy to tackle the “soft touch” of southern Mediterranean

Hain said that “some southern Mediterranean countries” do not
process asylum seekers in the same way as Britain.

He described the problem of the refugee camp at Sangatte, near
Calais in France, as “intolerable”, urging the French government to
be more pro-active on the issue.

There should be a crackdown on trafficking migrants, he said,
plus “the same admission procedure at every point of entry, the
same holding arrangements, the same reception arrangements
throughout Europe”.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 13 May page 1

Door open for short-term immigrants

David Blunkett is to announce a new scheme to enable unskilled
and semi-skilled economic migrants to come to Britain legally to
fill labour shortages in key areas of the economy.

But the two new short-term casual labour schemes will not carry
the right to settle in Britain or to bring families.

They are to be accompanied by a complete overhaul of the working
holidaymakers scheme, under which 40,000 Australian, New Zealand
and South African young people come to Britain each year for up to
two years.

The decision to open up routes to legal migration came as
figures showed that 183,000 more people migrated to Britain in 2000
than left.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 13 May page 6

Welsh newspapers

Thirteen-hour trek to see doctor

Welsh patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) have
to travel to the other side of England for treatment.

There are around 25,000 people with ME in Wales, but only 11
specialist neurologists to treat them, and some patients have to
travel as far as Durham to get help. Sufferers from the condition
say that it is generally misunderstood, and that services for
children are even worse than those for adults.

Michelle Penny, a 17-year-old from Cardiff makes a 13-hour round
trip to Durham every six months for a one-hour consultation with Dr
Nigel Speight, one of Britain’s leading experts. He was a key
contributor to a report by the chief medical officer in England,
earlier this year, which officially recognised the condition as one
that required support from health and social workers.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 13 May page 1

Couple forced to sell their farm after racist

A racist campaign has made life on a hill farm in west Wales a
nightmare for a farmer and his Welsh-born mixed race wife.

Monty and Sue Lodge have sold all the stock on their 300-acre
farm near Llandovery, in Carmarthenshire, and plan to move as soon
as possible. They have received three racist letters, a death
threat and have suffered a sabotage attack over the last three

Now the couple have decided that they no longer want to stay in
the area, and Sue Lodge has written to the first minister in the
Welsh assembly, Rhodri Morgan, protesting against racism.

Monty Lodge has lived and worked in the area for the last 15
years. He said that they were being forced to move because the
effect on their lives had been devastating.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 13 May page 3





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