News round-up: Health inequalities for poorest; Marriage rate lowest since 1862

Healthy living is cut short by 17 years for poorest in Britain

The poor not only die sooner, they also spend more of their lives with a disability, an “avoidable difference which is unacceptable and unfair”, a government-ordered review into Britain’s widening health inequalities said today.

Despite 10 years of the largest public spending increases on health since the creation of the NHS, and rising prosperity levels generally, people in England living in the poorest neighbourhoods will, on average, die seven years earlier than others living in the richest parts of Britain, the study finds.

Read more about this story in The Guardian

Acrimony after collapse of secret talks on extra £6bn social care funding

Efforts to reach a secret cross-party agreement on the funding of social care ­collapsed yesterday amid acrimony after the Conservatives claimed Labour was planning to impose a £20,000 “death tax” to fund a national care service.

At prime minister’s questions, under pressure from David Cameron, Gordon Brown refused to rule out the levy to fund social care for the elderly in a white paper due next month. But Labour revealed that the Conservative frontbench held two rounds of talks in December and January to see if an all-party consensus could be reached.

Read more about this story in The Guardian

Silenced: the Labour councils that dared to join care revolt
The row over Gordon Brown’s social care plans intensified last night when it emerged that five Labour councillors were put under pressure to withdraw their names from a campaign against his pledge to help the elderly.

All five Labour authorities that signed a letter to The Times criticising Mr Brown’s free home care idea as flawed and unfunded issued retractions within hours of the Department of Health learning of the existence of the letter. It also emerged that Downing Street knew of the operation to silence the Labour councils.

Read more about this story in The Times

New recovery centres will help wounded soldiers to rebuild lives

Severely wounded soldiers will be helped to find a new role in the Army or to return to civilian life under measures to ease the strain on the military of employing people unfit for active service.

The Ministry of Defence is announcing a £70 million plan today to build three recovery centres to help about 200 Service personnel every year to come to terms with their injuries and work out what to do next.

Read more on this story in The Times 

Marriage rate in Britain falls to lowest level since 1862

The marriage rate has fallen to the lowest level in at least 16 years Photo: Stephen Shepherd
For the first time ever fewer than 2 in 100 women, over the age of 16, got married in a single year. In 2008 the marriage rate for women fell from 2 per cent to 1.96 per cent, less than half the rate 25 years ago.

The rate for men has shown a similar decline, according to the annual figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Shocking picture shows how elderly patient was abandoned for two days in hospital store cupboard with little food or medication

Confused and in pain, 80-year-old Doris McKeown is kept in a hospital cupboard while she awaits emergency surgery.
The pensioner was stored away for 48 hours in a tiny windowless room, with only shelves of hospital supplies for company.
On the door outside was a sign saying ‘Dignity in Care’.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail





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