Wednesday 30 July 2003

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Blair defies critics with plan to speed up NHS

Tony Blair will pledge to accelerate the pace of his market
driven reforms of the health service today.

Facing down a ground swell of opposition from Labour MPs to his
plans to release hospitals from state control, the prime minister
will announce the best performing hospitals will be in line for
extra financial freedoms before the next general election, expected
in spring 2005.

The first wave of reform will see 25 hospitals eligible for
“foundation” status by April 2004. A further 38 could join them a
year later.

Source:- Financial Times Wednesday 30 July page 2

Patients may have to show proof of identity

Health ministers backed David Blunkett’s plans for a
national identity card in a move aimed at curbing the abuse of the
health system by overseas visitors.

The formal backing for ID cards increases the likelihood that
the government will press ahead with them when the home
secretary’s consultation on the issue ends in the autumn.

Meanwhile all patients may be asked to provide passports or
utility bills as proof of their identification to access free

Source:- Financial Times Wednesday 30 July page 4

HIV migrants will still get treatment

Immigrants suffering from HIV will still be eligible for
treatment on the National Health Service under new proposals.

According to human rights legislation, illegal immigrants and
failed asylum seekers with HIV can seek to remain in Britain on
‘compassionate grounds’.

To remain indefinitely, asylum seekers have to be from a country
where HIV treatment is not freely available.

The government may consider introducing compulsory screening for
asylum seekers from ‘high risk countries’.

Source:- Daily Mail Wednesday 30 July page 10

Child trafficking suspects held after police

Twenty one people were arrested yesterday as part of an
investigation into the discovery of the torso of a Nigerian boy in
the river Thames.

The gang of suspected people traffickers was detained after dawn
raid across London by police officers as part of the investigation
into the death of the boy, known as Adam.

The raids came as a report by Unicef revealed that children are
being imported into the UK from an increasing number of countries
to be used in prostitution and as cheap labour.

Source:- Financial Times Wednesday 30 July page 5

Teen drug abuse

More British youths are taking cocaine and ecstasy than ever
before, according to a study by Adfam National, which helps
families cope with drug abuse.

Cocaine use has risen from one per cent of the population in
1994 to five per cent, while ecstasy use has risen from four to
seven per cent in the same period.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 30 July page 2

Asylum seeker dispersal ‘a waste of

The government’s asylum dispersal policy is costly and
ineffective and driven by a desire to “appease a fearful white
electorate”, according to one academic.

Vaughan Robinson of the migration unit at the University of
Wales at Swansea says the policy of dispersal has spread the
“burden” of asylum seeker populations away from a small number of
high profile pressure points to a large number of locations around

However the report ‘Spreading the burden’ highlights
that the choice of sites for dispersal has often been driven by the
availability of cheap housing and many of the chosen sites are no
better equipped to accommodate asylum seekers than in the

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 30 July page 7

Refuge for young sex slaves to shut

The only safe house in Britain designed to protect children who
are trafficked into the UK for the sex industry is to close because
a council says it is not cost effective.

West Sussex Council is planning to close the unit despite the
fact that a Unicef report into child trafficking in the UK calls
for more safe houses to be built to protect these children.

John Leaver, the deputy director of social and caring services
at the council said in a letter this week that cost was a factor in
the decision to close the house, which was originally set up after
social services realised that scores of children who had been
placed in foster care after arriving from West Africa were

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 30 July page 9

Pressure to mimic stars ‘robbing children of

Children as young as 10 are being robbed of their innocence by
the pressure to copy scantily clad pop stars such as Kylie Minogue,
according to the leader of a teaching union yesterday.

Jim O’Neill, chair of the Professional Association of
Teachers, argued that primary school pupils were losing their
innocence because they were bombarded with lewd images and exposed
to inappropriate storylines on television before the 9pm

O’Neill told the union’s annual conference in
Harrogate that the new minister for children, Margaret Hodge,
should force television stations to stop showing programmes with
sex and bad language before the watershed.

Source:- Independent Wednesday 30 July page 8

Asylum seekers flown home – at £2,700

Forty seven failed asylum seekers were flown home to Afghanistan
yesterday costing the tax payer around £130,000.

Only a fraction of the Home Office chartered flight were filled
making the price per ticket around £2,700 each.

Fewer than 150 Afghans have been returned to the country since
home secretary David Blunkett gave the go-ahead in April for
rejected asylum seekers to be deported to the war-ravaged

Source:- Daily Mail Wednesday 30 July page 15

Half of 15-year-olds ‘have taken

Almost half of 15-year-old teenagers have tried drugs and one in
five is a regular abuser according to a government report.

A survey of 10,000 children in 321 English schools, carried out
by the Department of Health, shows that 45 per cent of 15 year olds
have tried cannabis, sniffed glue or used harder drugs at some

The research, however, shows that drug use among girls is

Source:- Daily Mail Wednesday 30 July page 15

Cash switch clashes with ‘value’

Millions of pounds intended for services for people with
learning difficulties has been spent by cash strapped strategic
health authorities on other services.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 30 July page 4

Divisions over premium pay strategy

Government plans to pay a salary premium to social workers
handling the toughest cases has caused confusion in the sector and
split the profession.

Directors of social services have welcomed the move but public
sector union Unison believes the move signals a shift towards a
“divisive” system of regional pay.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 30 July page 4

Call for national standard

The government should introduce a national standard for
organisations seeking to involve young people, says David Cutler,
the outgoing director of the Carnegie Young People Initiative.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 30 July page 4

Past present

Eileen Fursland on a life-changing law that will grant birth
parents of adopted children the right to seek news about them.

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 30 July page

Travelling in comfort

Pioneering website opens tourism options for disabled people

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 30 July page 87

Scottish news

Roll-over Beethoven to stop rough sleepers

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is to be played repeatedly in a
multi-storey car park in a bid to deter rough sleepers from using
the venue to rest overnight.

The composer’s work will be played on a loop 24 hours a
day at the John Street car park in Stoke-on-Trent during a two
month trial.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 30 July page 5

Executive moves to tackle the ‘hidden shame’
of child prostitution

The deputy minister for young people said yesterday that more
should be done to uncover the extent of the problem of child
prostitution and warned that children who run away from home and
are then drawn into prostitution were especially at risk.

Euan Robson called for the full weight of the criminal justice
system to be used against adults who exploited them.

He announced new guidelines to protect Scotland’s runaways
and said research would be undertaken to discover the true extent
of the problem.

“Child prostitution robs children – boys as well as girls – of
their childhood,” said Robson. “We know it goes on, but all too
often it happens behind closed doors – a hidden shame.”

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 30 July

Four years in jail for woman who poisoned girl, eight,
with salt

A woman who poisoned an eight-year-old girl with salt leaving
her with permanent brain damage was given a four year jail sentence

Susan Hamilton of Edinburgh was told the effects of her actions
on the child had been “disastrous” . She had been found guilty of
assault to the endangerment of life at the high court in Edinburgh
in June.

The girl, who had a history of complex health problems, was fed
by Hamilton using a tube through her nostril and down her throat.
The Crown said this allowed Hamilton to administer solutions
containing large doses of salt from which the child repeatedly fell

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 30 July

Welsh news

Baby horror

A heroin addict allegedly attacked a four-month-old baby causing
her ‘horrific injuries’, Cardiff crown court heard

Kevin Manley denies a charge of causing the baby grievous bodily
harm with intent, cruelty and a charge of causing grievous bodily
harm to the child’s mother.

The court heard that Manley had been left to look after the baby
and he is alleged to have lost his temper and caused the child a
number of serious injuries in a violent outburst.

The case continues.

Source:- South Wales Argus pages 1 and 7

Assembly urged to save project hit by loss of Diana fund

The Welsh assembly should step in to save a project threatened
with closure because money from the Princess Diana Fund has been
stopped, say Plaid Cymru.

The Life Options scheme helps young people with complex
disabilities plan for the future but a £70,000 payment to the
charity has been cancelled.

Shadow Welsh health minister Dai Lloyd is calling on the
assembly to provide emergency funding because he says the service
offered by the Life Options scheme is unique.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 30 July page 5

Report finds disabled often struggle to

Access to Welsh polling stations for disabled people is getting
worse, according to a new report.

The Polls Apart Cymru study found that in three areas of Wales
there were no accessible facilities for disabled people. The report
– published by Scope Cwmpas Cymru, Scope UK and the Disability
Rights Commission says that disabled people face considerable
difficulties when they want to vote but that many of the barriers
they encounter could be easily removed.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 30 July page 7

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