Thousands will lose care home places as NHS ‘can no longer pay bills’

Thousands will lose care home places as NHS ‘can no longer pay bills’
Tens of thousands of sick and elderly people are set to lose their free care home places under a clampdown on NHS spending.

Tighter rules are to be brought in on which care home residents qualify to have their bills paid by the NHS. The changes mean that most of those now supported by the state will have to pay their own fees in future, council chiefs warn.

Source:- Daily Mail, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 28

Asbos failing to rein in hard core of persistent offenders, says report
Antisocial behaviour orders are ineffective with a hard core of persistent offenders whose behaviour is blighting communities across Britain, according to a report by the government’s official spending watchdog published today.

Over 55% of those given an Asbo did not comply with its conditions and a hard core of 20% breached them more than five times, the National Audit Office report said.

Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 4

Pre-Budget report: move towards voluntary sector and private firms
The government is launching a drive to switch the delivery of public services from local councils and Whitehall to the voluntary sector and private companies, the chancellor said yesterday.

Among the areas expected to be handed over to the so-called “third sector” are the National Offender Management Service (formerly the probation service) and Jobcentre Plus, which is run by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The changes were welcomed by the voluntary sector but could lead to a major row with public-sector unions.

Source:- The Guardian, Pre-Budget report special section, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 4

New delay to local government report
The much-delayed report by Sir Michael Lyons into local government funding has been delayed again, and is now expected to be published by the March Budget.

Source:- FT, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 8

European court asked to rule on forced retirement at 65
A challenge to the law that allows employers to force staff to retire at 65 is to be referred to the European court of justice, a move which employers’ advisers warned could open public sector bosses to age discrimination claims.

Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 15

Social workers cleared
Social workers have been cleared of blame for the deaths, in Northampton in 2004, of two boys in their burning bedroom. Nathan, 2, and Jeremy Miller, 18 months, had been locked in by their parents. An inquiry found tht different agencies failed to share concerns about Lindsey and Scott Miller.

Source:- The Times, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 2

Services failed girl
A registered sex offender was able to rape a girl over three years from the age of 5 because of failings by police, probation and child services, according to a report. Kevin Hazelwood, 40, from Brighton was on the sex offenders register and under the supervision of the probation service at the time.

Source:- The Times, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 2

Ability gap widens as top primary pupils leave the rest behind
The gap between the most and least able primary school children is widening, official figures suggest.

Source:- The Times, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 6

Children harassed by abusive text messages
A fifth of young schoolchildren have received abusive text messages on their mobile phones, according to a survey of 1,500 children aged 8 to 13.

Source:- The Times, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 6

Deaf defendant walks free in rape case confusion
A deaf man accused of repeatedly raping a disabled woman has been allowed to go free because he is unable to understand the court case against him.

Emmanuel Etoundi, 41, went on trial accused of a string of sex attacks on the woman, who has learning difficulties.

Source:- Daily Mail, Thursday 7 December 2006, page 21

Scottish news

Coalition divided over adoption bill
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have failed to agree a common stance on the adoption bill, as it reaches its final stages.
Two Labour amendments have opened up a split in the coalition. One by Paul Martin states that a court or adoption agency should take into account “the value of a stable family unit in the child’s development”. Since the rest of the bill appears to treat same-sex couples entering into civil partnerships as a stable family unit, it is unclear how controversial this would be.
But his colleague Michael McMahon’s amendment gives faith-based adoption agencies the right “not to assess a person as a prospective adopter” and instead refer the request on to another agency which might be able to do so.
Source:- The Herald, Thursday 7 December 2006

Capital launches Scotland’s first scheme to attract volunteers
Scotland’s first locally dedicated strategy to help attract and keep volunteers has been launched.
Edinburgh became the first city in the country to have a dedicated plan of action for volunteering – for a range of services including health and welfare – with the unveiling of the consortium of key stakeholders including the city council, health and the voluntary and community sector.
Source:- The Herald, Thursday 7 December 2006

Union takes council to court over equal pay
Scotland’s highest court is set to hear a legal challenge that could force every council in the UK to settle the issue of equal pay.
Union leaders are planning to sue Falkirk Council over its threats to dismiss workers who refuse to sign new employment contracts.
Some 400 council staff in Falkirk have been told their pay will be cut – with a number of employees losing up to £10,000 a year as part of job re-evaluation. In September, workers were asked to sign new contracts or face dismissal and they have until the end of the month to accept the new terms.
Source:- The Scotsman, Thursday 7 December 2006

Fury at youth crime ‘broken promises’
One of the country’s leading experts on youth crime is to brand the Scottish executive’s record on it a disgrace.
Dr Alan Rutherford, the former chairman of the Airborne Initiative – the alternative youth custody scheme closed by the Executive two years ago – will claim ministers have broken their promises on youth crime.
Addressing a high-profile youth justice conference in Edinburgh, Dr Rutherford will lambast the first minister for failing to learn the lessons of the Airborne Initiative.
Source:- The Scotsman, Thursday 7 December 2006

Ministers act to wean Scotland off £55m a year antidepressant habit
Doctors issued more than 3.5 million prescriptions for antidepressants in Scotland last year, three times what they were handing out 13 years ago, official figures have revealed.
A huge increase in the number of people seeking help for depression, combined with a shortage of alternative therapies, is blamed for the massive increase in the issuing of drugs such as Prozac.
Scotland spends 40 per cent more per head of population on antidepressants compared to the rest of the UK, costing the NHS £55 million a year.
Source:- The Scotsman, Thursday 7 December 2006

Welsh news

Budget report offers ‘wriggle room’
Welsh ministers were looking at whether the £9bn allocated to Wales by chancellor Gordon Brown yesterday in his pre-Budget report would end their own funding stand-off.

Talks over the assembly’s £14bn budget for next year broke down this week.

Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and independent AMs say that they will vote against the minority Labour administration’s funding plans unless they allocate more money to education.

Source:- icWales, Thursday December 7 2006


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