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Preview: Latest news from the public and voluntary sectors, including health, children, local government and social care, plus SocietyGua

Society | The Guardian



Latest Society news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 03:17:56 GMT2018-01-17T03:17:56Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
 



Mental health still losing out in NHS funding, report finds

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:01:09 GMT2018-01-16T00:01:09Z

King’s Fund says physical health services are still getting bigger budgets, five years after ministers promised ‘parity of esteem’

Mental health care providers continue to receive far smaller budget increases than hospitals, five years after ministers pledged to create “parity of esteem” between NHS mental and physical health services.

The disclosure, in a new report by the King’s Fund, has sparked concern that mental health patients are receiving poorer quality care because of the widening gap in income.

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Tory council criticised for 'demonising' rough sleepers in posters

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:26:09 GMT2018-01-15T15:26:09Z

Campaign by Gloucester city council suggesting people who beg on street may not be homeless is termed ‘shameful’

A Conservative city council has been criticised for “demonising” rough sleepers by suggesting they may not be homeless and discouraging people from giving them money.

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The Victorian slums are back – and housing developers are to blame again | David Olusoga

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:00:17 GMT2018-01-16T06:00:17Z

The housebuilding of the 19th century paved the way for slum tenancies. As inequality rises, miserable living conditions have returned

Same place, different time. It was in the early 1990s that I first walked down Falkner Street in Liverpool. Twenty-five years later and I’ve been back to make the BBC Two series A House Through Time, which tells the story of a single house and the generations of people for whom it was home.

Thinking back to the 1990s, when I was a student in Liverpool, I struggle to remember ever taking much notice of the city’s grand Victorian houses. Part of what made them unremarkable was that they were where many of us students lived and partied. It was only when friends studying in other cities came to visit, and were astonished by the grandeur of the houses local students called home, that we were reminded that these elegant terraces had been built for an altogether better class of occupant.

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'It feels so close to home': spate of stabbings unnerves London teenagers

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:22:36 GMT2018-01-15T16:22:36Z

At a talent show in London, many young people have stories about knife violence – and strong views on how to tackle it

One at a time, the children in the room stand up and perform in front of their peers and relatives – a song from Disney’s Frozen, a monologue from a play, a joke worthy of a Christmas cracker – while audience members observe a respectful quiet.

Along with a passion for performing arts, the youngsters assembled for the talent show at Croydon’s BME Forum have something else in common: in one way or another their lives have been touched by knife crime.

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Thangam Debbonaire: ‘The moment I saw the light about alcohol and cancer’

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:50:33 GMT2018-01-15T18:50:33Z

The Labour MP and former cancer patient tells how her mission to change Britain’s drinking culture is not a moral crusade – it’s about saving lives

After the elation of becoming an MP in May 2015, Thangam Debbonaire was still getting used to life at Westminster when she got the bad news. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 16 June 2015,” says the Labour MP for Bristol West, recalling the date with calm clarity. Days later she had to forsake her new home at parliament and begin undergoing the rigours of chemotherapy. She finally returned, in good health, in March 2016. “Rosie Winterton, Labour’s chief whip at the time, said: ‘Come back when you’ve finished treatment.’”


Determined to carry on as normally as possible, she set up her constituency office, hired staff and worked as much as she was able. “Casework was done, emails were answered and constituency visits were made when I was in my good weeks,” says Debbonaire. “On a chemotherapy cycle the first week’s pretty awful. But on the second and third weeks I tended to do constituency work.” One of the emails she received then turned out to be fateful and life-changing.

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Quarter of UK's poorest households are getting deeper in debt, IFS warns

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:01:09 GMT2018-01-16T00:01:09Z

Poorest households are spending 25% of monthly income servicing debts as UK borrowing rockets

One in four of Britain’s poorest households are falling behind with debt payments or spending more than a quarter of their monthly income on repayments, according to a study.

The latest evidence of mounting debt problems for some of the most vulnerable in society is shown in a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, at a time when borrowing on credit cards, loans and car finance deals returns to levels unseen since before the 2008 financial crisis.

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Destitute UK asylum seekers get 80p rise in subsistence payments

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:58:53 GMT2018-01-15T13:58:53Z

Refugee groups welcome rise taking weekly payment to £37.75 but say amount leaves recipients struggling to survive

Nearly 40,000 destitute asylum seekers are to receive a “paltry” 80p increase in their weekly subsistence payments based on Home Office calculations that expect them to be able to feed and clothe a baby for just £28.94 a week.

Related: Rats, mould and broken furniture: the scandal of the UK's refugee housing

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Doctors and nurses: ‘When May and Hunt tell the public the NHS is not in crisis, that is a lie’

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 09:00:23 GMT2018-01-14T09:00:23Z

Ambulances queuing up outside A&E, operations cancelled for lack of beds… Could this winter prove the last straw for our struggling National Health Service? Those on the frontline speak out…

An 81-year-old woman with chest pains dies while waiting three hours and 45 minutes for an ambulance. Patients are photographed lying on the floor of an A&E unit that has run out of beds, trolleys and chairs. Memos from inside another hospital reveal that its doctors “have been on their knees with workload pressure”. Over six weeks more than 90,000 emergency patients get stuck in the back of an ambulance outside a hospital, waiting to be transferred into the A&E.

These events, which have all happened in England since late November, graphically illustrate the winter crisis tightening its grip on the National Health Service in recent weeks. Worrying, but at the same time predictable. Similar things happen every winter. Flu, bad weather and people struggling to breathe is a recurringly risky combination.

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'Dementia towns': how Japan is evolving for its ageing population

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 02:55:43 GMT2018-01-15T02:55:43Z

With one in five elderly Japanese predicted to have dementia by 2025, entire communities are working to improve the lives of older citizens

It took a round of golf to convince Masashi Tsuda that something was really wrong with his memory. Then in his mid-50s, the sales rep couldn’t remember the four-digit number for his changing-room locker. Months earlier, he had struggled to get to grips with his office’s new computer system. On another occasion, his mind went blank as he was about to give a work presentation.

Despite twice being reassured by doctors that stress was the cause of his moments of absent-mindedness, Tsuda was eventually diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease five years ago.

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The habitable homes bill could transform lives. MPs must back it

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:38 GMT2018-01-17T00:00:38Z

This Friday, parliament must not pass up the opportunity to give tenants a fighting chance against rogue landlords

This coming Friday, 19 January, a bill is to be debated in parliament that could hugely improve the lives of many people in England.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill would give private and social tenants the ability to take landlords to court if their home is unsafe. Over a million homes are thought to pose a serious threat to the health or safety of the people living there. This classification, also known as a “category 1 hazard”, covers 795,000 private tenancies – one in six of the privately rented homes in the country.

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The new work and pensions secretary is an insult to disabled people

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:37:00 GMT2018-01-16T13:37:00Z

In previous roles, Esther McVey never cared about the impact of her policies and appeared to relish removing disability support

As backlashes go, the days following Esther McVey’s appointment as the new work and pensions secretary have seen intense criticism. Between 2012 and 2013, as minister for disabled people and later employment minister, McVey was famed for defending the indefensible, saying it was “right” that people were having to use food banks and claiming that benefit sanctions “teach” jobseekers to take looking for work seriously – going as far as comparing unemployed people to naughty schoolchildren being punished by a teacher – despite the destitution and death that sanctions have since caused

Related: Calls for Theresa May to reconsider Esther McVey's move to DWP

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Alys Cole-King: ‘Suicide in the NHS family is particularly resonant for me’ | Hélène Mulholland

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:00:25 GMT2018-01-16T13:00:25Z

Suicide prevention expert Alys Cole-King wants distressed NHS colleagues to seek support themselves during the winter crisis

Reports by overstretched NHS staff of the pressures of the winter crisis moved Dr Alys Cole-King to fire off a series of tweets last week:“You matter as much as your patients”, she said encouraging anyone struggling at work in the NHS to tell someone, with a link to online self-help material for those feeling suicidal.

Related: By the end of my first year as a doctor, I was ready to kill myself

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017 – in pictures

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:05:39 GMT2017-12-04T15:05:39Z

The Guardian Public Service Awards 2017 celebrated the tireless work of innovative public servants and projects. An audience of 280 guests, including shortlisted candidates, journalists and sponsors, were in attendance

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: Congratulations to all our winners

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 10:29:56 GMT2017-11-29T10:29:56Z

The winners of this year’s awards have paused, thought and come up with fresh ways of delivering services that are yielding huge benefits

Related: Guardian Public Service Awards 2017 overall winner: Hertfordshire county council

It’s a well-worn maxim that insanity is doing the same thing time and again and expecting different results. Yet that is still how many of us think and behave. The winners of the Guardian Public Service Awards 2017 are the exception: they have paused, thought and come up with fresh ways of delivering services that are yielding huge benefits.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017 overall winner: Hertfordshire county council

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:55:32 GMT2017-11-29T09:55:32Z

An overhaul of how to approach families is yielding outstanding results and has won Hertfordshire the care award and overall title

Hertfordshire county council’s new way of working with looked-after children and their families is turning lives around and saving millions of pounds at the same time. Its remarkable success is even attracting national attention, and being tested by four other local authorities.

England’s chief social worker for children and families, Isabelle Trowler, believes the model being developed by the home counties authority could have a “profound” effect on the national system. “I think Hertfordshire might just be our national treasure.”

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017 Public Servant of the Year winner: Stephen Smith

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:55:32 GMT2017-11-29T09:55:32Z

Smith has spent 25 years encouraging other people with learning disabilities and campaigning to improve the quality of services

Stephen Smith, who has been voted by the public as Public Servant of the Year in the 2017 Guardian Public Service Awards, has been an avid campaigner for people with learning disabilities for the past 25 years. After volunteering his time with organisations including Jigsaw (a self-advocacy group), People First, and Castle Supported Living in his home county of Lancashire, Smith became a project worker with the peer advocacy project React (Research in Action) six years ago.

Smith draws on his own insight of having a learning disability to shape and improve the quality of services for others. Those who work alongside him describe Smith as an inspirational character.

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Care cuts could put patients' safety at risk, warn MPs

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:09:53 GMT2018-01-17T00:09:53Z

Commons public accounts committee has warned against advice to cut spending to NHS’s Continuing Healthcare

Calls for cuts to the cost of care for some ill and disabled patients could put safety at risk, MPs have said.

Officials want local health bodies to cut the amount spent on the NHS’s Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding packages and NHS-funded nursing care by hundreds of millions of pounds over coming years.

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May appoints minister to tackle loneliness issues raised by Jo Cox

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:30:36 GMT2018-01-16T22:30:36Z

Tracey Crouch tasked with implementing recommendations from commission set up after the MP’s death

Theresa May has appointed one of her ministers to lead on issues connected to loneliness, implementing one of the main recommendations of a report into the subject by the Jo Cox Commission.

Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport and civil society, will head a government-wide group with responsibility for policies connected to loneliness, Downing Street said.

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Obesity surgery 'halves risk of death' compared with lifestyle changes

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:00:28 GMT2018-01-16T16:00:28Z

Latest study lends support to experts who say more operations should be carried out in UK

Obese patients undergoing stomach-shrinking surgery have half the risk of death in the years that follow compared with those tackling their weight through diet and behaviour alone, new research suggests.

Experts say obesity surgery is cost-effective, leads to substantial weight loss and can help tackle type 2 diabetes. But surgeons say not enough of the stomach-shrinking surgeries are carried out in the UK, with figures currently lagging behind other European countries, including France and Belgium – despite the latter having a smaller population.

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I was a doctor prone to fainting. This is how I got over it

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:51:39 GMT2018-01-16T09:51:39Z

Like 12% of medical students, the graphic sights of the operating theatre caused me to faint. But slowly, after many queasy incidents, I learned how to cope

Medicine is great, but it involves pain, pus and blood. For some, seeing those things is a problem. When I started medical school, I was worried. Before applying, I had spent a night in the local casualty department as work experience. I watched a junior doctor try to prise a splinter from a young woman’s hand. It was hurting her, and she kept yelping. The doctor got irritated and said the anaesthetic “should be working by now”. He kept digging into her hand with a scalpel tip; she started to cry. I felt lightheaded, my skin went cold, I moved my legs to keep the blood flowing, but seconds later I fainted.

Related: 'I fainted quite a bit': what I learned from my nursing placement

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Early menarche and menopause linked to cardiovascular disease risk – study

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 23:30:09 GMT2018-01-15T23:30:09Z

Increase screening for women who start their periods at a young age or those reaching menopause early, experts suggest

Women who start their periods at an early age, or experience an early menopause, are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, new research suggests.

While researchers say it is not clear whether reproductive factors are driving the increased risks, they say that more frequent screening of women whose reproductive history suggests that they might be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease could help to prevent or delay its onset.

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A&E staff were too busy to treat my daughter, woman tells inquest

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 19:20:34 GMT2018-01-15T19:20:34Z

Bethany Shipsey, who took overdose of diet pills, died at Worcestershire Royal hospital ‘on exceptionally busy day’

The mother of a young woman who died after taking a overdose of diet pills had to help treat her daughter herself because accident and emergency staff were too busy, an inquest has heard.

Carole Shipsey, herself a nurse, said she took her daughter Bethany’s pulse and even changed the electrodes on a monitor.

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Woman jailed for setting bed on fire 'killed herself in prison'

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:54:02 GMT2018-01-15T17:54:02Z

Inquest hears Emily Hartley, 21, who had mental health problems, had been sentenced for breaking bail conditions

A 21-year-old woman was found dead in prison while serving a sentence for arson after setting herself on fire, an inquest jury has heard.

Emily Hartley died in the grounds of HMP New Hall near Wakefield on 23 April 2016. She had been allowed into the exercise yard of the women’s prison at about 3pm and was found hanged.

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I survived sepsis eight times. But can care workers spot this deadly illness?

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 08:24:50 GMT2018-01-15T08:24:50Z

Care staff are increasingly likely to see sepsis, but there is no standard training to make them aware of the symptoms to look out for in clients

I am a survivor of sepsis. Not once, not twice, but eight times.

Sepsis – also known as blood poisoning – kills more people than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. It affects more than 260,000 people and claims 44,000 lives every year in the UK. But it is not spoken about in training for social care workers, even though they are increasingly likely to see it.

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Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don't know

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 08:01:50 GMT2018-01-15T08:01:50Z

What’s the evidence behind medical cannabis? While many attest to its healing powers, research into the full potential has long been legally restricted

The movement to legalize medical marijuana has its roots in the 1980s and early 1990s, the worst days of the US Aids epidemic. The disease was a death sentence, and stricken young men sought out marijuana for relief and solace. In San Francisco’s Castro District, a gay Vietnam veteran named Dennis Peron ran an illegal dispensary to supply them. Peron went on to co-write Proposition 215, which California passed in 1996, becoming the first state to allow medical marijuana – med for short.

Related: High time: introducing the Guardian's new cannabis column for grownups

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Psychotherapist Philippa Perry's guide to resilience in the workplace

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:00:49 GMT2018-01-15T07:00:49Z

Want to be less stressed in 2018? The author and broadcaster advises on how to deal with difficult times at work

Your strength is not in your resilience, it is in recognising and owning your vulnerability. We need to be ourselves with other people for most of the time, not just the person we feel we ought to be. If you are in a business environment where everyone seems to be wearing a “game-face” and therefore you feel you must wear yours too, you run the risk of feeling unsupported, isolated and disconnected.

It is stressful doing something that stretches you, that you have not done before, that might not work, but not all stress is bad. Stressing yourself is a way of keeping your brain fit. No stress at all means you are not getting a mental workout. You can, though, have too much of a good thing.

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Medical students urged to volunteer as NHS winter crisis worsens

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 21:30:37 GMT2018-01-14T21:30:37Z

Exclusive: Emails seen by the Guardian reveal inexperienced undergraduates are being asked to help in A&E units and wards

Medical students are being urged to help relieve the NHS winter crisis because hospitals are so short-staffed they are struggling to cope with the surge in patients, the Guardian can reveal.

Despite their lack of experience, undergraduates are being asked to volunteer in A&E units and on wards reeling under the weight of extra demand caused by the cold weather, an outbreak of flu and people suffering serious breathing problems.

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Social work leaders must stop hiding and give our profession a voice

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:12:12 GMT2018-01-16T09:12:12Z

We have much to learn from colleagues in healthcare about raising the public profile of the issues facing the sector

Social work leaders must learn to engage with the public and the media if we are to raise public awareness of the issues facing the profession.

Social workers are fully aware of the issues: funding shortages, a reliance on expensive locum staff and a workforce propped up by newly qualified social workers. But does the public know this? I am doubtful it does.

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Tories urge Theresa May to fund NHS by raising taxes

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:13:42 GMT2018-01-11T18:13:42Z

Former business minister Nick Boles proposes national insurance overhaul to create revenue stream for health service

Theresa May is facing growing calls from Conservative MPs to consider higher taxes to fund the struggling NHS, with Nick Boles suggesting an overhaul of national insurance.

Boles, a former business minister who was treated for cancer last year, published a paper on Thursday proposing a rebranding of national insurance to “national health insurance” to associate it specifically with the NHS.

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How best to ensure the future of the NHS | Letters

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:52:51 GMT2018-01-10T19:52:51Z

Robert Colvile of the Centre for Policy Studies denies plans to ‘demolish’ the NHS; Mita Dhullipala and Harrison Carter express the hopes and frustrations of medical students

Polly Toynbee (Opinion, 9 January) refers to a “sinister phalanx of Tory lobbies” pressing for “a royal commission on NHS funding”, with ourselves at the head – with a secret agenda to “demolish” the principle of a universal health service. This is impressively wrong. The call by Maurice Saatchi – the chairman of our thinktank – for a royal commission has been echoed by many medical professionals, as well as such non-Tory figures as Alan Milburn and Norman Lamb, both former health ministers. Our proposal states explicitly and repeatedly that the founding principles of the NHS must be respected, and fully accepts that additional funding will be needed: all we ask is that the commission examines alternatives for this beyond general taxation, for the simple reason that the public will almost certainly be reluctant, or simply unable, to pay the colossal amounts required on current trends.

Nor is our proposal limited to NHS funding alone, as Polly also suggests: we argue that a royal commission should examine the alarming gap in health outcomes between rich and poor, the linkages between health and social care, the case for and against greater private sector involvement, and so on. There are millions who do not have the choice to opt out. We owe it to them to work out what the NHS could be doing better – and to put it on a sustainable footing for the coming decades.
Robert Colvile
Director, Centre for Policy Studies

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Housing association merger will lead to social cleansing, warn tenants

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:39:53 GMT2018-01-11T14:39:53Z

Plan by London’s Notting Hill Housing and Genesis to create mega landlord fuels fears that more social housing will be sold off

Tenants in west London have warned that a plan to create one of the UK’s biggest housing associations will lead to the social cleansing of poorer families from wealthy areas.

The proposed merger between London-based housing associations Notting Hill Housing (NHH) and Genesis, would create a mega landlord with a combined annual turnover of £676m and 65,000 homes in management, many in sight of Grenfell Tower, which was destroyed by fire in June. But the associations have between them sold off 800 street properties in the last five years and used the proceeds to build more homes in cheaper areas, leading to fears that further sell-offs are planned.

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Rats, mould and broken furniture: the scandal of the UK's refugee housing

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 18:27:38 GMT2018-01-10T18:27:38Z

The Home Office says that asylum seekers deserve ‘safe, habitable’ homes. What too many of them get is filth and squalor

The cramped upstairs box room was meant to be used by one of Duminda’s children, but it is not in a fit state. An old mattress is propped up against the wall, and behind it is an expanse of black-green mould. In the downstairs bathroom, there is similarly widespread damp, and a smell that suggests the problem is serious. “We worry about the kids’ health,” Duminda tells me.

He and his partner, Kriti, are both from Sri Lanka. If either of them were to return, he says, they would be at risk of violence and imprisonment. He received his last asylum refusal from the Home Office two years ago; she was turned down around the same time. They are now preparing a fresh claim, and anxiously waiting.

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We need a national strategy to tackle rural homelessness | Charlotte Snelling

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 07:02:41 GMT2018-01-10T07:02:41Z

Current policy fails to address the particular needs of homeless people in rural areas, where bad weather and limited shelter make problems worse

When Storm Caroline swept across the UK in early December and large parts of the country were covered in snow, some people were happy to contemplate a white Christmas. But for many others, particularly homeless people in rural areas, the prospect of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow is more frightening.

Since 2010, the number of people sleeping rough in England has more than doubled, with 4,137 individuals recorded as rough sleepers in autumn 2016. New figures due to be released later this month by the Department for Communities and Local Government are not expected to show any improvement; if anything the figures are likely to show a worsening situation.

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Nurses priced out of housing developments on former NHS sites

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:01:05 GMT2018-01-09T00:01:05Z

Four out of five homes on NHS land sold by government too expensive for nursing staff and only one in 10 offered at social rent

Four out of five homes built on former NHS sites that have been sold off to private developers will cost more than nurses can afford, according to new research.

Fifty-nine NHS sites, including many former hospitals, have already been sold to housebuilders as part of the government’s public land sale programme to boost housing supply. But the large majority will be unaffordable to nurses, according to the New Economics Foundation (NEF) thinktank. It found that in London none of the homes will be in reach.

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Windsor council leader sparks backlash with rough sleeper remarks

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 14:33:47 GMT2018-01-08T14:33:47Z

Opposition group says Simon Dudley brought borough into disrepute with call for police to clear streets before royal wedding

The leader of Windsor council is facing a motion of no confidence for bringing the borough into disrepute over his call for police to clear rough sleepers from the streets before the royal wedding.

Related: Princes and paupers: homeless fear Windsor has social cleansing plan

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Lady Lucan leaves fortune to housing charity Shelter

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:44:27 GMT2018-01-14T18:44:27Z

Dowager Countess of Lucan, whose husband vanished more than 40 years ago, was found dead at home in September

Lady Lucan, whose husband famously vanished more than 40 years ago, has left her fortune to a homeless charity after cutting her children out of her will, Shelter confirmed.

Veronica, the Dowager Countess of Lucan, was found dead at home in Westminster in September, after she had been reported missing.

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How Oxfam became the rising star of UK's online fashion industry

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:34:47 GMT2018-01-14T14:34:47Z

Trade director hopes to double size of web operation after it reported 33% sales growth over Christmas

It’s one of fashion’s best kept secrets, a website where you can buy luxury brands such as Burberry, Prada and Miu Miu as well as the best of the high street for a steal.

Sales were up 33% at Christmas as shoppers bagged vintage and designer clothes for the party season but the company is not listed on the stock exchange like the web giant Asos and there is no chance of it ever being taken over. And if you look closely some of the clothes might seem familiar.

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Charities want to make an impact. But poverty porn is not the way | Jennifer Lentfer

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:32:17 GMT2018-01-12T11:32:17Z

Our job is to tell compelling stories without trivialising people’s lives – and to promote a more nuanced narrative about how to achieve lasting change

Pity, guilt and shame are easy emotional levers to pull, and ones that have become tempting to indulge in as funding is squeezed. We have seen how one well-crafted message can raise awareness of a problem and increase donations in the blink of an eye – from the Kony 2012 film, which became a viral video sensation for Invisible Children, to the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than £75m for motor neuron disease research.

Related: Ed Sheeran Comic Relief film branded 'poverty porn' by aid watchdog

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Manchester attack fundraisers say they still have £21,000 to spend

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:18:51 GMT2018-01-11T16:18:51Z

Two people who raised £70,000 for homeless man but could not find him have given most to charities, says JustGiving

Two people who personally received more than £70,000 in charity donations pledged for a homeless man hailed a hero after the Manchester Arena attacks say they have yet to spend £21,000 of the money.

The Guardian asked last week where the cash, donated by members of the public via the crowdfunding site JustGiving for a man called Steve Jones, had gone.

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The 2018 Public Leaders Network editorial advisory board

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:11:59 GMT2018-01-12T16:11:59Z

Leaders from public, private, community and the voluntary sectors, with rich expertise in public service, comprise this year’s board

The Guardian public leaders network is delighted to announce the members of its 2018 editorial advisory board, who will provide the network’s editorial team with expert insight on a wide range of public services and inform our coverage over the coming 12 months.

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Jo Johnson's new jobs show northern transport again taking backseat | Mike Amesbury

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 07:23:23 GMT2018-01-12T07:23:23Z

Making Jo Johnson minister for transport and London sends the wrong signal about the government’s commitment to infrastructure beyond the capital

  • Mike Amesbury is Labour MP for Weaver Vale

Among the confusion and chaos of the recent government reshuffle, one change went largely unnoticed, except by those who want to see a fairer balance of infrastructure between London and the north.

The minister of state roles for transport and for London have been made a dual post, and given to Jo Johnson, the former universities minister.

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Switch Brexit billions into AI to transform UK health and social care | Colin Cram

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 11:56:58 GMT2018-01-08T11:56:58Z

Switching £175m a week - half the Brexiteers’ promised savings - into technology could transform UK public services

The global race is on to develop artificial intelligence and it’s a race being led by China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, according to the OECD, which says those four countries account for 70% of global AI development. China alone plans to spend £11.5bn to become the global leader in AI by 2030.

Other countries are also investing in AI. Last October, the United Arab Emirates became the first nation with a government minister dedicated to AI, while Singapore is working with private firms to encourage AI development, including the development by Singapore-based Marvelstone of a major AI hub, with funding for 100 start-ups

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My charity sees the toll of job losses on mental health - we struggle to meet demand

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 10:40:11 GMT2018-01-06T10:40:11Z

I work in one of the poorest areas of the north east. At a time when we’re needed most, we’ve seen our funding cut by 60%

As chief executive of a small mental health charity in one of the poorest areas of north east England, I don’t sleep well. We deliver frontline recovery services in Redcar & Cleveland and in 2011 our funding was cut by 61% in one fell swoop. We used to get £350,000 from the local authority; now we manage on £135,000.

Meanwhile, mass unemployment and financial pressure have taken their toll on people’s mental health and we’ve seen demand more than double. The steelworks used to be the lifeblood of our community and its closure in 2015 has been catastrophic.

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The 8p banana that showed Bogotá needed open public spending | María Victoria Angulo

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 11:35:36 GMT2018-01-03T11:35:36Z

Something was rotten in the Colombian capital’s school food contracts. We faced fierce resistance trying to fix the problem, but we fought to achieve transparency

• María Victoria Angulo is education secretary for Bogotá

On a typical school day in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city, about a million pupils, from four to 18 years old, will sit down for a meal at one of our 384 public schools.

Balanced nutrition is crucial for children’s development. The food we provide may well be their main meal for the entire day. So when concerns were raised in 2016 over the quality, delivery, price, and even the origin of our meals, we took them very seriously.

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Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 09:00:06 GMT2018-01-07T09:00:06Z

In this extract from his new book, Johann Hari, who took antidepressants for 13 years, calls for a new approach


• Johann Hari Q&A: ‘I was afraid to dismantle the story about depression and anxiety’

In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression – one that was quickly swept aside, because its implications were too inconvenient, and too explosive. American psychiatrists had produced a book that would lay out, in detail, all the symptoms of different mental illnesses, so they could be identified and treated in the same way across the United States. It was called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. In the latest edition, they laid out nine symptoms that a patient has to show to be diagnosed with depression – like, for example, decreased interest in pleasure or persistent low mood. For a doctor to conclude you were depressed, you had to show five of these symptoms over several weeks.

The manual was sent out to doctors across the US and they began to use it to diagnose people. However, after a while they came back to the authors and pointed out something that was bothering them. If they followed this guide, they had to diagnose every grieving person who came to them as depressed and start giving them medical treatment. If you lose someone, it turns out that these symptoms will come to you automatically. So, the doctors wanted to know, are we supposed to start drugging all the bereaved people in America?

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What is Jerusalem syndrome?

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:28:27 GMT2018-01-16T15:28:27Z

A British tourist who went missing in the Negev desert may have a rare psychiatric disorder that affects religiously inspired visitors to the holy city

The disappearance of Oliver McAfee, a 29-year-old British tourist who was last seen in November, has raised the possibility that he may be suffering from a disorder known as Jerusalem syndrome. McAfee had been cycling through the Negev desert in southern Israel, and a search was started after hikers found his wallet and laptop. The Telegraph reports that a trail of pages torn from the Bible were found, along with notes McAfee had made, which led investigators to believe he had deliberately gone into the desert – there were references to the story of Jesus going into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. It has been suggested that McAfee, reportedly a devout Christian, may have developed Jerusalem syndrome, where people experience religious delusions.

Related: British tourist missing in Israel may have Jerusalem syndrome

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Starved, tortured, forgotten: Genie, the feral child who left a mark on researchers

Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:00:19 GMT2016-07-14T11:00:19Z

More than four decades after she appeared in a Los Angeles County welfare office, her fate is unclear – but she has changed the lives of those who knew her

She hobbled into a Los Angeles county welfare office in October 1970, a stooped, withered waif with a curious way of holding up her hands, like a rabbit. She looked about six or seven. Her mother, stricken with cataracts, was seeking an office with services for the blind and had entered the wrong room.

But the girl transfixed welfare officers.

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Education secretary urged to act over report on abuse at his former school

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:30:41 GMT2018-01-16T12:30:41Z

Survivors of abuse at St Ambrose College want Damian Hinds to push for publication of independent review

Survivors of abuse committed at a Catholic school attended by the education secretary, Damian Hinds, are asking him to press for the publication of an independent review they claim has been hushed up.

Hinds was a pupil in the 1980s at St Ambrose College near Altrincham in Greater Manchester. Alan Morris, a former chemistry teacher, was jailed for nine years in 2014 for indecent assault and gross indecency against 19 boys between 1973 and 1990.

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A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:00:10 GMT2017-12-15T07:00:10Z

The UN’s Philip Alston is an expert on deprivation – and he wants to know why 41m Americans are living in poverty. The Guardian joined him on a special two-week mission into the dark heart of the world’s richest nation

“You got a choice to make, man. You could go straight on to heaven. Or you could turn right, into that.”

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The forgotten unemployed: 300,000 jobless Britons not claiming benefits

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:01:13 GMT2018-01-02T00:01:13Z

Study finds many people are not claiming support they are entitled to and warns some are put off by the benefits system

About 300,000 British people without jobs or on very low wages are not claiming benefits they are entitled to, according to a thinktank study urging the government to focus more attention on the issue.

The report from the Resolution Foundation says the “forgotten unemployed” are disproportionately likely to be older women or young men, who are missing out on at least £73 a week and potentially far more.

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Confidence? We just didn’t have the class | Brief letters

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:13:58 GMT2018-01-16T17:13:58Z

Self-belief | Obesity | Mary Shelley | The new Guardian

• Hadley Freeman may be right that maleness seemed a necessary factor in acquiring confidence (Weekend, 13 January), but it is not sufficient. Neither I, nor my male friends leaving Huddersfield in the late 1960s for elite universities, managed the trick: we didn’t have the social class.
Neil Hanson
Huddersfield

• Admire your fat body (Opinion, 16 January), but be reminded of future medical issues. I am in my 60s with a prediabetes warning. I should have been aware of the dangers of sugar and carbs years ago.
Lorrie Marchington
High Peak, Derbyshire

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Calls to close privately run NHS clinic after death

Sat, 05 Jan 2013 19:46:22 GMT2013-01-05T19:46:22Z

Lack of a ventilator following a routine knee operation is the latest in a series of scandals

The brother of a woman who died after routine treatment at an NHS surgical clinic run by a building firm has called for the centre to be closed after an investigation found that, at a crucial moment, it did not have a ventilator available.

Anita Mansi, who was 86, died last summer from multiple organ failure two days after a knee operation at the controversial Surgicentre, an NHS service in Hertfordshire run by Carillion, formerly part of Tarmac. She had previously been in good health. Hers was one of three deaths that prompted an independent investigation before Christmas into the care of four patients, including one who survived treatment at the Surgicentre.

Continue reading...Anita Mansi: 'she was to be discharged then was dead within 48 hours'Anita Mansi: 'she was to be discharged then was dead within 48 hours'


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