Wednesday 23 February 2005

By Clare Jerrom, Lauren Revans, Derren Hayes and Amy

Billions ‘wasted’ on public services

England’s education, health and transport systems are falling
behind those of other countries, despite the extra billions of tax
payers’ money being thrown at them, according to an
independent report by the non-political organisation Reform.

The analysis undermines Labour’s attempts in the run up to a
general election to highlight improved public services as its key
achievement in the past eight years.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 23 February page

Kelly ‘betrays students’ with unambitious exam

Education secretary Ruth Kelly was expected to ignore calls to
subsume GCSEs and A-levels within an English baccalaureate-style
diploma today as she published the long-awaited white paper on
education for 14- to 19-year-olds.

But the former chief inspector of schools, Mike Tomlinson, who
chaired the group that recommended an over-arching diploma, said it
would be a “bureaucratic waste of time” if the
government simply opted for a solution that worked around existing

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 23 February page

Tory pledge to pensioners

Conservative leader Michael Howard stepped up his campaign
for the “grey vote” yesterday by promising to increase
the basic state pension in line with earnings and to offer a 50 per
cent cut in council tax for over-65s.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 23 February page

Are GPs in thrall top the drugs companies?

Campaigners fear the pharmaceutical industry, through its
hard-nosed sales techniques, has too much influence over the drugs
doctors give to their patients.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 23 February page

Happy Birthday. We are throwing you out of Britain

His mother was shot dead for her political beliefs. So was his
father. He was looked after by foster parents in London until he
turned 18. Then he was locked up so that he can be
‘dumped’ abroad. Soon we’ll be doing this to 16
year olds…

Source:- The Independent Wednesday 23 February page

Public sector basic pay to rise by up to 3% following

The government will increase the basic pay of a wide range of
people working in the public sector by between 2.5 and three per
cent following a number of reports from the pay review body

Source:- Financial Times  Wednesday 23 February page

Asylum seekers’ numbers drop

The number of asylum seekers arriving in the UK fell by two per
cent in the last quarter of 2004, according to Home Office

Source:- Financial Times  Wednesday 23 February page

Teenage talent wasted by ageism at work

Teenagers suffer worse age discrimination than 50-year-olds,
according to a study by the Employers Forum on Age.

The study also warned that companies were wasting the talents of
employees by judging their progress on their age rather than their
contribution to the business.

Source:- Financial Times  Wednesday 23 February page

Anti-anger drive

An NSPCC campaign is targeting parents under stress who hit out at
their children in frustration.

Source:- The Times  Wednesday 23 February page 4

31-stone man will sue over mental health custody

A man who weighs 31 stones who was taken to a mental health
hospital against his will because he could not stop eating is
planning to sue the local authorities.

Social services used powers normally used to detain people with
mental health problems who may be a danger to themselves or others
to detain Chris Leppard against his will.

Leppard suffers from Prada Willi Syndrome which means he cannot
tell when his stomach is full.

Source:- The Times  Wednesday 23 February page 5

Illegal migrant jailed for sex slave ring

A man who made money from trafficking Eastern European sex slaves
was jailed for 11 years yesterday.

Vullnet Ismailaj ran a prostitution empire which stretched from
Birmingham to London. He employed around 10 girls at any one time
and sold them for £4,000 each.

Source:- The Times  Wednesday 23 February page 21

Sex clinic records in skip

An investigation into how patient records from the Whittall Street
sex clinic on Birmingham were found discarded in a skip was
launched by health officials yesterday.

Source:- The Guardian  Wednesday 23 February page 7

Restraint time limit rejected

The government has refused to accept a three minute time limit for
face down restraint of mental health patients despite
recommendations from an NHS-commissioned inquiry.

The inquiry into David Bennett’s death recommended that
patients should only be detained after Bennett died having been
held face down on the floor for 25 minutes.

Instead, Nice guidance says the level of force must be justifiable,
appropriate, reasonable and proportionate.

Source:- The Guardian  Wednesday 23 February page 10

Doubts over drug tests on pupils

A study published today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns
that introducing drug tests in schools could lead to pupils moving
away from taking relatively harmless drugs such as cannabis to
drugs such as ecstasy and heroin to avoid detection.

Source:- The Guardian  Wednesday 23 February page 10

Babysitter ‘beat toddler to death against

A babysitter battered a toddler to death against a staircase
banister then bullied the child’s teenage mother into
covering up for her, a court heard yesterday.

Susan Holdsworth repeatedly smashed Kyle Fisher’s head into
the rails on both sides of the stairs, it was claimed. The toddler
died in hospital two days later, Teesside Crown Court was

It was also claimed that Holdsworth then intimidated the
child’s mother Clare Fisher into lying for her.

Source:- Daily Mail  Wednesday 23 February page 29

The people’s game

Despite the extraordinary wealth of the top professional football
clubs, their investment in local community programmes is pitiful.
As new research suggests that clubs can be a force for social good,
David Conn says it is time for soccer to get back to its

Source:- Society Guardian  Wednesday 23 February page 2,
3, 4 and 5

In-the-blood money

Many of the Milltown Boys, forty-something from a rough Welsh
council estate are experts at working the system – not for
vast sums of cash, they claim, but to help feed and clothe their

Source:- SocietyGuardian  Wednesday 23 February page 8 and

Too much, too young

Are disabled children better off in mainstream childcare?

Source:- SocietyGuardian  Wednesday 23 February page

What else can I do?

After working as a senior manager in children’s services,
47-year-old Sue wonders what options are open to her in other

Source:- SocietyGuardian  Wednesday 23 February page

Scottish news

Sharp rise in homeless families

New figures from the Scottish Executive show a sharp rise in the
number of homeless people. The figures revealed a 12% jump between
September 2003 and September 2004 in households with children
living in temporary accommodation, such as hostels and shared
council flats.

From March 31, 2002 until December 2004 the number rose by 64%. In
addition, the number of families with children forced to stay in
B&Bs rose 20% in the year ending December 31, 2004.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 23 February

Helpline keeps 12,000 patients waiting

Around 12,000 patients are being left waiting for health advice
each week by the NHS 24 helpline as it struggles to cope with staff
sickness and recruitment problems.

Targets for clinical safety and responsiveness are among nine
out of 15 key indicators missed last year, a report to the body’s
chief executive has revealed. The document also shows a rise in
days lost to staff illness and an increase in the number of
employees leaving the service in the last three months of 2004, as
NHS 24 was rolled out across Scotland.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 23 February

 Rise in school exclusions is evidence of tough

The number of pupils excluded from Scottish schools has risen
sharply over the past year. Figures show that in 2003-04 there were
38,919 exclusions, a rise of 7% on the previous year, but the
number of pupils permanently removed from the school register fell
by 40%.

A quarter were due to disobedience, 22% involved verbal abuse of
staff and 14% involved physical abuse of fellow pupils.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 23 February

Smokers face total ban inside

Some long stay and psychiatric hospitals are the only NHS
facilities in Glasgow that will be able to be exempt from a smoking
ban if proposals put forward by the Greater Glasgow NHS Board are
given the go-ahead. The plans, which would even ban smoking in the
grounds of NHS buildings, are out to consultation until 30 May.

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 23 February

Borders first for new social work checks

The Borders social work department is to be the first in
Scotland to undergo a tougher national inspection regime aimed at
preventing failures in services for adults and children with
learning disabilities. It will undergo the monitoring process
during a week-long inspection in May. It followed investigations by
the Executive’s Social Work Services Inspectorate (SWSI) and
the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) last year that
pointed to failings at many levels in social work and health-care
over a 30-year period.

Source:- The Scotsman Wednesday 23 February

Car park scandal

A new survey has found able-bodied drivers in Glasgow were
prepared to take every bay allocated to the disabled at
supermarkets, health centres and railway stations. At one Focus DIY
store in Glasgow, researchers discovered that none of the 10 cars
parked in 12 reserved spaces had disabled badges, while at a health
centre none of the five cars parked in the disabled area should
have been there.

Source:- Daily Record 23 February

Welsh newspapers

Matron choked man, 94, carer tells jury

A carer told a court that she had seen a nursing homes matron stuff
food down a man’s throat until he choked and died

Kelly Fitzgerald told the jury at Caernarfon Crown Court that Avola
Humphreys wasn’t giving 94-year-old William Pettener any time
to swallow.

Pettener died at Bodawen Nursing Home in Tremadog, Porthmadog, in
April last year.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 23 February

‘Appeals don’t work’

Independent appeals panels who parents can appeal to against a
school’s decision to exclude their child are putting children
back into school who have misbehaved, it has been alleged.

Chris Howard, of NAHT Cymru, said, that it was right and proper
that appeals could be made but that there was evidence that
children who were rightfully permanently excluded were being

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 23 February



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