A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Woolf says prison crowding could cause more

Prison overcrowding is so bad that there is a danger of riots
and a repetition of the disturbances at Strangeways prison in
Manchester a decade ago, according to the lord chief justice.

Overcrowding has reached “intolerable” proportions, Lord Woolf,
who chaired the report on the Strangeways riot, said. He told
judges they would be irresponsible to ignore this factor when
imposing sentences.

Lord Woolf told a criminal justice conference in London that the
prison population was 44,000 and falling when he delivered his
report on Strangeways.

“Now it is about 70,000 and expected to rise above 83,000 by
2008,” he said. “If our criminal justice system is to work as it
should, I cannot believe we can contemplate with equanimity a
prison population of that size.”

He added that courts should jail fewer offenders and for shorter
periods. Judges should recognise that “they have no option but to
confine the use of prison sentences to those offenders for whom
there is no alternative and when they pass sentence, they should
ensure they are no longer than necessary.”

Source:- The Times Friday 21 June page 6

Elderly asked to report care abuse

Reports of bullying and abuse allegations made by people living
in residential and nursing homes are to be published in annual
welfare reports.

Residents of the 30,000 care homes in England are being asked to
fill in a confidential “comment card” asking whether they feel
happy, safe, well cared for and if they know where they can go for

People suffering from dementia will be able to indicate views to
inspectors using diagrams.

Director of adult services at the National Care Standards
Commission, Heather Wing, said the measures were designed to
improve standards and stamp out abuse in nursing homes.

The scheme will be administered by the National Care Standards

Source:- The Times Friday 21 June page 6

Asylum plans ‘repugnant’ –

Tony Blair’s plans to crackdown on illegal immigration,
were attacked by Clare Short yesterday, as she condemned the
proposals as “morally repugnant” and “a very silly idea”.

The International Development Secretary’s comments came as
Britain and Spain prepared to water down their plans to link the
European Union aid and trade that is given to poor countries with
their record on immigration and asylum. The issue will be priority
on the agenda at a two-day summit of EU leaders in Seville, Spain,
starting today.

Short agreed with criticism levelled at the British-Spanish plan
by France, Luxembourg and Sweden, which have warned that cutting
aid could deepen poverty in poor countries.

“It was an idea that I’m pretty confident isn’t
going to run. It’s really a very silly idea,” she said.

The prospect of taking away aid from refugees from the Taliban
regime who returned to Afghanistan was “a piece of nonsense,” she
added. “So it’s morally repugnant to sort of hurt the poor of
the world in order to get your way with a different policy intent
– but it wouldn’t work either.”

Short, whose comments were made in an interview for this
weekend’s GMTV Sunday Programme recorded yesterday,
hinted that Britain and Spain would be forced to abandon their
original plan.

Source:- Independent Friday 21 June page 1

Scottish newspapers

Police ‘fiddle’ crime

Autism figures increase

New figures have revealed that the number of children suffering
from autism in Scotland has increased by 22 per cent.

The statistics, revealed from a census of schools, have been
seized by groups campaigning against the controversial MMR vaccine
which counters measles, mumps and rubella.

The three diseases are also shown to be on the increase as more
parents reject the MMR vaccine in spite of government declarations
that it is safe.

Source:- The Herald Friday 21 June page 1

Hospital buy-out to cut waiting times

The Scottish executive has bought a private hospital, HCI in
Clydebank, in a bid to cut waiting times.

Malcolm Chisholm, health minister, said the £37.5 million
purchase would include the entire facility of 52 beds already in
use with room for expansion. The hospital opened in 1994 at a cost
of £180 million including £30 million of public

Source:- The Herald Friday 21 June page 1

Welsh newspapers

Care fears for victims of dementia

Huge variations in health services for older people with
dementia have been uncovered.

A new report by the Audit Commission highlights a severe
shortage of specialists, and big differences in the level and
quality of care depending on where a person lives.

According to the report many people with mental health problems
are not getting the appropriate level of care, and a survey of more
than 700 Welsh GPs revealed that only 40 per cent feel they have
enough training to diagnose and manage dementia.

The report also focused on the need for more training for staff
in nursing and residential homes to help them care for older people
with mental health problems, and that health and social care
agencies should improve the way they work together.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 20 June page 15




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