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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: Sat, 19 Aug 2017 02:13:53 GMT2017-08-19T02:13:53Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017

UK retailers say government must be tougher on obesity

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:14:38 GMT2017-08-18T18:14:38Z

British Retail Consortium says government must move beyond voluntary agreements if it wants to make a difference

British retailers have called for the government to take tougher action on tackling obesity and consider mandatory measures to ensure more companies make their products healthier.

Public health bosses have urged food manufacturers to make chips, pizzas, crisps and burgers healthier, and ministers are expected to issue “strong guidance” on how to reformulate products popular with children.

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Homelessness survey finds 386 people sleeping rough in City of Sydney

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 05:34:10 GMT2017-08-18T05:34:10Z

More than 85% of the 507 crisis accommodation places in the city were full, while a further 162 people were in temporary accommodation

The number of homeless people in Sydney sleeping on the city’s streets this winter is at the second highest level on record, a new survey has shown.

The City of Sydney’s latest count, conducted on Tuesday, found 386 people sleeping rough in the council area this winter.

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Pizza and crisps makers urged to reduce fat to tackle childhood obesity

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-08-17T23:01:07Z

Public Health England widens focus from cutting sugar as children are copying adults in consuming too many calories per day

Public health bosses are urging food manufacturers to make chips, pizzas, crisps and burgers healthier, opening a second front in efforts to tackle childhood obesity.

Public Health England wants to go further than the focus on cutting sugar by demanding firms that make products eaten regularly by children ensure they are far less fattening by reducing the calories in them.

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Britain is failing young people in custody | Letters

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:17:45 GMT2017-08-17T18:17:45Z

The neglect of young people represents state-sanctioned child abuse, argue Deborah Coles, Prof Joe Sim and Prof Steve Tombs from Inquest

Inquest’s work with bereaved families has consistently revealed a litany of systemic neglect, violence, institutional complacency and short-sighted policies which contribute to the deaths and harm of children and young people (Report on Northants children’s prison finds rise in violent incidents, 9 August).

These deaths are the most extreme outcome of a system that fails some of society’s most disadvantaged children and young people. Ten years ago, in July 2007, the judge at the inquest into the death in 2004 of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, asphyxiated as a result of being restrained by three officers at Rainsbrook, delivered a damning indictment of the treatment of young people in custody, and wrote a 17-page letter to the then secretary of state for justice and lord chancellor saying that it would be “wholly unforgivable and a double tragedy” if there was any delay in learning from and acting upon the lessons of Gareth’s death.

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New sperm creation method could overcome genetic male infertility – study

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:00:01 GMT2017-08-17T18:00:01Z

Healthy sperm have been created in mice with a common form of infertility, raising hope for future treatment for men with extra sex chromosomes

A common genetic cause of male infertility has been overcome in mice using a technique that creates healthy sperm in the laboratory, scientists have shown.

The research raises the future prospect of hope for men who cannot father children because they have three instead of two sex chromosomes.

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Newcastle hospitals chief sacked for gross misconduct

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:55:10 GMT2017-08-17T17:55:10Z

Sir Leonard Fenwick, longest-serving NHS chief executive, dismissed after inquiry into claims of inappropriate behaviour

The longest-serving NHS hospital boss has been sacked for gross misconduct and is being investigated by the service’s internal anti-fraud police.

Sir Leonard Fenwick was dismissed by the board of Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals foundation trust after 39 years for misconduct involving “inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues”.

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Survival of premature babies more likely now than in mid-1990s, study shows

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:30:14 GMT2017-08-16T22:30:14Z

Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy are also less likely to have severe disabilities, although some risk of delayed development remains

Premature babies born in recent years are more likely to survive and less likely to have severe disabilities than those born in the mid-1990s, research has revealed.

According to the World Health Organisation, around 15 million babies worldwide are born before the 37th week of pregnancy every year, with premature babies at higher risk of severe disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, as well as a greater chance of delayed development of language and motor skills.

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Leaseholding as the utopian alternative | Letters

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:04:50 GMT2017-08-16T18:04:50Z

Cohousing schemes save up their ground rents for improvements and for emergencies, writes Jane Blackburn

I write in support of Stephen Hill’s letter (It’s not leaseholds that are the problem, 4 August). Leasehold tenure is the choice of many utopian communities, from the garden cities of the early 20th century to the cohousing schemes now emerging in Britain.

At Cannock Mill Cohousing Colchester, we have taken matters into our own hands to get the retirement lifestyle we want – because there isn’t enough choice in today’s property market for people retiring. We are developing a spacious site so that we can downsize to something appealing for our later years, which we intend to manage ourselves.

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Wax on, wax ouch: pubic grooming has a high injury rate, survey reveals

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:00:05 GMT2017-08-16T15:00:05Z

A quarter of those who groom their pubic hair have suffered mishaps from cuts to burns and rashes – some requiring medical help – researchers have found

Whether it’s shaving, waxing or laser hair removal, pubic grooming has become commonplace – but more than a quarter of those who remove hair have met with mishap in the process, research has revealed.

The study found that 76% of US adults quizzed said they removed some or all of their pubic hair, with almost 26% of those who groomed reporting that they had sustained at least one injury while doing so, ranging from cuts to burns and rashes.

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'Austerity causes a lot of suffering': record number of food banks report stock shortage

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:15:35 GMT2017-08-16T12:15:35Z

Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest food bank network, says supplies dwindling this summer as welfare sanctions bite

In a storage room at a food bank in Kingston, south-west London, the manager raises his hand above his head to show how high the crates of canned fruit get in October. Today, the stack barely reaches his knees.

Paul Pickhaver says the facility receives fewer donations in summer, so whatever comes in goes straight out of the door for distribution. In recent weeks, it has run low on instant coffee, tinned vegetables, fruit juice, squash and many other items.

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The way residents and tenants are treated is a stain on modern Britain

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 09:36:35 GMT2017-08-18T09:36:35Z

The Ledbury and Grenfell residents were repeatedly dismissed when they raised safety concerns. Frontline housing staff must do more to listen and act

Following the news in 2017n has been like riding an out of control rollercoaster. As soon as one story dissipates, another rears its head
with little chance to analyse and contextualise anything that occurs.
Take the news about housing: after the shocking tragedy of Grenfell Tower, an eyewatering number of tower blocks were revealed to have similarly unsafe cladding as the government fire tested samples sent in by councils and housing associations.

Related: May orders national inquiry after 100% failure rate in high-rise cladding tests

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Severe birth trauma has left me terrified of having another child

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:58:03 GMT2017-08-17T11:58:03Z

Normally associated with soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder affects 20,000 new mothers in the UK each year

I have revisited the day my daughter was born more times than I can remember. Almost every night since it happened, the trauma I experienced creeps back. Yet the medics involved will not have given that day a fleeting thought. It feels like an insulting paradox, that such a life-changing moment for one person is but an everyday event for another.

My labour didn’t go to plan. I experienced a searing white-hot pain when my drug-free water birth ended in an episiotomy without painkillers. I was terrified when dozens of medical staff rushed back and forth with equipment talking in urgent, hushed tones about a falling heart beat. Above all, I felt powerless, a total loss of control, and that I had no value as I lay naked on my back with strangers’ hands and faces around my exposed groin. As a result, I suffered birth trauma and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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A new Waitrose means more evictions, what should be done? | Dan Wilson Craw

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:32:01 GMT2017-08-17T06:32:01Z

Landlords shouldn’t be able to kick people out when a new shop pops up in the area. We need a change in the law

  • Dan Wilson Craw is the director of Generation Rent

If you were trying to persuade people that gentrification is a positive process, Waitrose is one example you could use. The company is owned by its workers, who get better pay and employment terms than other high street chains. Its products might be higher end than other shops, but it’s somewhere to get fresh produce with reliable provenance.

For local homeowners the arrival of a new store in the local area is a positive thing. Lloyds estimates that, in addition to the immediate benefits, a nearby Waitrose adds £40,000 to the value of a house, a premium known as the Waitrose effect.

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The world's challenges can't be solved by so-called heroic leaders

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:20:32 GMT2017-08-16T06:20:32Z

Individualistic leaders such as Donald Trump are utterly misguided – global problems can be solved only through shared, collective leadership

  • John Bryson and Barbara Crosby are co-authors of Leadership for the Common Good: Tackling Public Problems in a Shared-Power World

Leaders such as the US president, Donald Trump, or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may claim they can fix what ails their societies, but the dangers of a “heroic” leadership mode become clearer all the time.

The most important problems facing the world, including poverty, climate change and national security, have now expanded beyond the competencies of any single individual, organisation or sector.

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Liz Sayce: ‘The UK thinks it is a leader in disability rights. But it has a long way to go’ | Mary O’Hara

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:00:11 GMT2017-08-15T13:00:11Z

As disability rights campaigners head to Geneva to challenge the government’s record, long-time advocate Liz Sayce says policies promoting disabled people’s full participation in society are urgently needed

In the quarter century that Liz Sayce, 63, has been an advocate for disability rights, she has witnessed momentous changes. But the former chief executive of Disability Rights UK (DRUK), who stepped down from the role earlier this summer, believes that the movement has reached a critical moment.

Related: 'A human right, not a bonus': readers on campaigning for disability rights

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Gender dysphoria patients deserve better treatment than I can give them | Zara Aziz

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:00:37 GMT2017-08-15T11:00:37Z

GPs don’t have the time or the expertise to provide the holistic treatment that transgender patients require. Proper services are required urgently

Gender identity clinics have seen a huge demand for services in recent years. Waits can vary from 12 to 18 months in most cases, but can extend to three years in some parts of the country. It is estimated that about 1% of the population is transgender, although some believe this figure to be higher. Many have a higher incidence of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

Those waiting months for their first appointment can resort to buying unverified hormonal treatments on the black market, seeing private specialists (often online) or looking for support and prescriptions from their GP. Private specialists can reassure them that their GP will prescribe and monitor their treatments. This leads to some difficult conversations with patients.

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Our valuable young carers need proper housing options | Sarah Woolley

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 06:33:35 GMT2017-08-14T06:33:35Z

Young adult carers who spend hours looking after their loved ones shouldn’t do so at the expense of their own lives, health or housing

Eighteen-year-old Reece has been looking after his own family for at least the past decade, including his mum, who suffered kidney failure in 2015, his nan and his little brother, who has just turned four.

Thousands of young people like Reece provide crucial assistance to relatives affected by illness, disability, mental health issues or addiction. There are estimated to be 376,000 young carers aged 16-25 in the UK. But despite a change in the law in 2014 to ensure councils allocate more resources for carers like Reece, young adult carers like him are at real risk of homelessness.

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The council pays me to protect trees from destruction – but for how long?

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 09:12:40 GMT2017-08-12T09:12:40Z

Tree officers have the power to challenge developers and conserve urban trees in the interest of the community. But cuts to budgets are jeopardising that

I think most people would agree that trees are an amazing asset to a town or city. But with more and more developments being squeezed onto any available parcel of land, urban trees are under threat. You might have read about the outcry in Sheffield, where the council has felled more than 4,000 trees to make room for a £2bn highway maintenance scheme.

Related: Michael Gove demands end to Sheffield tree-felling programme

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Will the healthcare data revolution spell the end for doctors' autonomy?

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:36:47 GMT2017-08-11T10:36:47Z

Research by NHS Improvement has revealed doctors, medical directors and even entire hospitals that seem undisturbed by poor outcomes for patients

NHS Improvement’s drive to raise clinical standards is prising open the sensitive issue of doctors’ autonomy, and shows how the legal and professional boundaries of medicine are constantly shifting.

The Get It Right First Time programme is uncovering massive and unacceptable differences in performance, such as a 25-fold variation in orthopaedic surgical site infection rates.

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As fire services get closer to the police, they risk losing people's trust

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 06:50:52 GMT2017-08-11T06:50:52Z

In some communities there is a strong taboo around talking to the police - firefighters worry this could be extended to them too

In July Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst became the first PCC to take over the running of a fire and rescue service, exercising a new option introduced earlier this year by the Policing and Crime Act. Meanwhile, Hertfordshire county council’s cabinet voted to object formally to a similar proposal. Is closer collaboration between police and fire services necessarily a good thing?

The government drive to bring police and fire services closer together is based around the assumption that blue-light services have much in common. Yet one fire service’s recruitment advert suggests that less that 10% of a firefighter’s time is spent on blue-light work.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: what happens next

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:40:57 GMT2017-08-01T11:40:57Z

Entries have now closed for nominations to this year’s awards. Here’s what happens next

Entries have now closed for the 2017 Guardian Public Service Awards.

Many thanks to all who entered. This year’s awards, supported by EY, includes eight categories for public service projects and teams, plus the two categories for individuals: public servant of the year and the new award for leadership excellence.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: meet the judges

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:10:25 GMT2017-06-14T07:10:25Z

Our panel of experts will ensure the Guardian awards go to the very best entries submitted by those in public service

Who’s going to be judging this year’s Guardian Public Service Awards?

As in previous years, we have assembled a panel from the Guardian’s own team of editors and journalists, together with experts from the field of public service, including those with in-depth knowledge of local and central government, as well as services delivered by private and not-for-profit organisations.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: key dates & FAQ

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:06:54 GMT2017-06-14T07:06:54Z

Full timeline for the awards and all your questions answered

14 June 2017: Awards launch
31 July 2017: Extended deadline for entries - entries close at midnight
22 September 2017: Shortlist announced. Voting opens for Public Servant of the Year.

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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: categories and criteria

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:07:29 GMT2017-06-14T07:07:29Z

Our judges are looking for the very best teams and projects from central and local government, housing, health, social care and the voluntary sector

Now in their 14th year, the Guardian Public Service Awards, supported by EY, aim to showcase the improvements and innovation underway across UK public services and recognise brilliant ideas, techniques and measurable impact.

This year the Guardian’s Society networks, which serve communities of dedicated staff working in housing, health, social care, the voluntary sector,criminal justice and central and local government, and SocietyGuardian, have set out once again to recognise and reward excellence across public services.

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Out of office: a guide to taking a holiday from your smartphone

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-08-17T06:00:00Z

The belief that you needed to be connected to the office 24/7 can lead to burnout. An expert explains how business owners can log off on holiday

My “aha” moment came on holiday about five years ago. Despite telling my team that I didn’t want to be disturbed and I wouldn’t be replying to emails, I found myself firing off replies to everything in my inbox. Then came the email marked “urgent”, which said: “Shall we print the phone number in blue or black on the new letterhead?” I knew then that I had a problem.

Related: Stop saying yes to everything: how to set boundaries for your business

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Teen drug overdose rate in US rose 20% in 2015 after years of decline

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:00:28 GMT2017-08-16T12:00:28Z

A new report has also found the rate of overdose from synthetic opioids has increased sixfold since 2002, while heroin death rates have tripled

The number of American teens to die of a drug overdose leapt by almost a fifth in 2015 after seven years of decline, a study by the National Center for Health Statistics has found. The jump in fatalities was driven by heroin and synthetic opioid use and by an increasing number of deaths among teenage girls.

Deaths among teenagers represent a tiny portion of drug overdose deaths nationally – less than 2%.

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How has the nursing profession changed your life?

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:30:35 GMT2017-08-16T09:30:35Z

We want to hear why you love being a nurse, or how a nurse helped your recovery as a patient

The pressure on NHS nurses is well documented. There are more nurses leaving the profession than joining it, with 40,000 unfilled vacancies, a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to work in the UK in the past year and strong support for industrial action over pay.

Related: I shunned studying medicine to become a nurse. Here's why

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Sexual health shake-up in south-west London unsafe, experts say

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:00:32 GMT2017-08-16T06:00:32Z

Cost-cutting plans in three boroughs will lead to more STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies, senior doctors warn

Senior doctors have warned that a major shake-up of sexual health services in three London boroughs will lead to more unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

As concerns grow about the funding of sexual health services across England, 14 experts in the field at St George’s hospital in south-west London have written to NHS and local council leaders branding the money-saving changes “unsafe, unworkable and unsustainable”.

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From standup comedy classes to free massages – wellness at work goes mainstream

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:00:31 GMT2017-08-16T06:00:31Z

It’s not just corporate giants like Google that run impressive wellbeing schemes. Smaller businesses are coming up with innovative ways to keep staff happy

When it comes to looking after people’s health and wellbeing in the workplace a complimentary bowl of fruit no longer cuts it. The corporate wellness industry is worth over $40bn (£31m) worldwide according to the Global Wellness Institute with companies looking after their workers’ wellbeing in a much more holistic way.

Related: Wellness in the workplace: how health initiatives can boost staff productivity

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UK needs 71,000 more care home places in eight years, study predicts

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 22:30:22 GMT2017-08-15T22:30:22Z

Britain faces a worsening social care crisis with people living longer but with substantial care needs, researchers say

An extra 71,000 care home spaces are needed in the next eight years to cope with Britain’s soaring demand as people living longer face more health problems, a study has found.

New research predicts there will be an additional 353,000 older people with complex needs by 2025, requiring tens of thousands more beds.

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Vaginal mesh implants: 'I really thought I was dying'

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:00:12 GMT2017-08-15T14:00:12Z

Carolyn Churchill was in agony after mesh surgery, but doctors were reluctant to blame her implant, even suggesting the pain might be a mental health issue

Six years ago, Carolyn Churchill, 57, from near Pontypridd in Wales, was in a long-term relationship, worked as a chef, and spent hours each week walking with her dogs and looking after her granddaughter’s pony. She was busy and content, but was bothered by stress incontinence, which affects roughly 10% of women.

“Never knowing when you’re going out if you’re going to wee yourself. It really got to the stage where it was embarrassing,” she recalls.

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'Scandal' of vaginal mesh removal rates revealed by NHS records

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:00:12 GMT2017-08-15T14:00:12Z

Traumatic complications mean one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support will require surgery to extract it, figures suggest

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

Thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, according to NHS records that reveal the scale of traumatic complications linked to the devices.

The figures, obtained by the Guardian, suggest that around one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

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How I became homeless: three people's stories

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:00:37 GMT2017-08-15T11:00:37Z

The number of families affected by homelessness is expected to double by 2041. We asked people to share their experiences

The number of families affected by homelessness is expected to more than double in the next two decades, with a further 200,000 households affected by 2041, according to a report.

Those sleeping rough will soar by fourfold to more than 40,000 in the same period, according to research by Heriot-Watt University, commissioned by Crisis, the homelessness charity.

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From burgers to breaded mackerel: how Croydon is fighting the fat

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:22:12 GMT2017-08-15T09:22:12Z

On one of London’s unhealthiest high streets one in four children is obese, but now the council has stepped in

The high street in New Addington, south Croydon is one of the unhealthiest in London. Dotted between a launderette and a betting agent on a small curved parade are 10 fast food takeaways. There will soon be 11.

In the borough of Croydon there are 424 fast food shops, which predominantly sell calorific and unhealthy food such as fried chicken and burgers, according to data released by Public Health England last year. It has the second highest amount in London, after Westminster.

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NHS waiting times and treatment access are a postcode lottery, report warns

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 05:30:06 GMT2017-08-15T05:30:06Z

Wide disparities found in waiting times and referral rates across England for procedures involving medical technology, with south-east faring worst

Waiting times and access to treatments on the NHS involving medical technology are little short of a postcode lottery with dramatic variations across the country, a new report has revealed.

The study found wide disparities between the performance of NHS England clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for patient waiting times and referral rates across a host of different treatments, including hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery.

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GPs in England 'unconfident' discussing physical activity with patients – report

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 05:05:05 GMT2017-08-15T05:05:05Z

Less than two-thirds of doctors feel confident discussing activity levels and almost a third have never heard of national guidelines

The majority of doctors in England are unfamiliar with recommended levels of physical activity, with fewer than two-thirds confident about discussing the topic with their patients, researchers have revealed.

Set out in July 2011 by the Chief Medical Office, national guidelines recommend that adults aged between 19 and 64 undertake 75 minutes of intense activity or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.

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What are your experiences of care homes in the UK?

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:54:22 GMT2017-08-14T09:54:22Z

One in six care homes are in danger of insolvency. We’d like you to share your experiences

Around 420,000 people over the age of 65 are being looked after in 11,000 residential care homes in the UK. But a report released on Monday has warned that one in six care home companies is in danger of insolvency.

Rises in the living wage have driven up costs, and many care homes are facing bankruptcy. The percentage of nursing homes struggling had increased by about 5% compared with the previous year.

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I was labelled a bad kid in care. That really hurt

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:55:36 GMT2017-08-16T09:55:36Z

It’s easy to judge or stereotype children in care, but it’s not helpful and can be damaging

• Ellen Maloney is a care experienced adult

The closest I came to getting into trouble at school was when I was six years old. I was colouring in large pictures of sunflowers and my best friend, Anna, wanted to borrow my crayons. I didn’t object to sharing in principle but Anna always put them back in the wrong order and I had a very particular way of keeping all my belongings.

I believed that every action I took had the power to impact my entire day; if I was to keep my pencil case on the left side of my desk rather than the right, my day would unfold in an entirely different way than it would otherwise. I really believed that letting Anna mess up my crayons could have terrible consequences. My teacher came over, but when I tried to explain she peered over her glasses and said: “You are a strange little thing!”

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‘Caring for my elderly parent from afar risks turning him into the child’

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:30:32 GMT2017-08-16T06:30:32Z

Judith Cameron’s 91-year-old dad is in decline, and she’s concerned she can’t always be there for him. But he says he’s in good health and doesn’t need her to worry so much about him

‘But I remember something when it’s important,” Dad protests. We’re sitting in his back garden on a warm summer’s afternoon. “If you’ve forgotten it, how do you know if it’s important?” I ask. “Don’t treat me as if I was your child.” He turns back to his newspaper and I sigh.

His last remark stops my cajoling and I concentrate on pouring our cups of tea. We both know that my daughter Sophie needed full-time care following a rare brain infection and that she died just a couple of months before my mum’s death in 2006. Indeed, I wrote a column for this newspaper, Who Cares?, about life as a carer. I know that my dad isn’t consciously comparing the relationships, but it still resonates. And in a broad sense, there are similarities.

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Do we really need 200,000 more care home beds? | David Brindle

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:55:31 GMT2017-08-16T05:55:31Z

With more older people living independently than ever, old age should not mean moving in to a care home

  • David Brindle is the Guardian’s public services editor

Do we really need almost 200,000 more care home beds over the next 20 years to support Britain’s ageing population? That’s the arresting projection of new research suggesting that the typical 65-year-old can expect to live with significant care needs for two to three years of the rest of their life.

The study is one of the biggest of its kind and has been welcomed by Sir Andrew Dilnot, author of the shelved 2011 blueprint for care funding reform, as evidence that spending on older people’s care “will need to increase substantially and quickly”. But what kind of spending should that be?

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What does Brexit mean for people with disabilities?

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:44:42 GMT2017-08-14T08:44:42Z

Disability rights currently safeguarded by EU legislation may be under threat, while grant funding could be withdrawn without replacement

The European Union (EU) has been influential in the development of disability rights legislation in the UK. There is now a very real danger that Brexit will result in a reduction in rights currently safeguarded by the European court of justice, as well as the withdrawal of much-needed financial support from European structural and investment funds.

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Vulnerable children in England 'falling through cracks' in social services

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 05:00:33 GMT2017-08-14T05:00:33Z

Charity says 140,000 youngsters considered in need of help because of neglect or abuse are not being offered any

Tens of thousands of vulnerable children in England flagged to social services because of neglect or abuse are not being offered any help by local authorities, a report warns.

Research by the charity Action for Children warned that children were only getting help when they reached “crisis point”, and that they were ending up in a “revolving door” of being re-referred to services.

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At the National Citizen Service we help teenagers build a better future | Letters

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:03:54 GMT2017-08-10T18:03:54Z

By the end of this year we will have supported 400,000 teenagers to build friendships across social divides and build skills for life and work, says NCS’s Michael Lynas

Norma Hornby (Letters, 9 August) is right to shine a light on the challenges teenagers are facing. Many struggle with exam stress, body image, mental health, online bullying, and prejudice. The communities they grow up in are all too often divided, the job market is competitive, and financial hardship is, for many, an everyday reality. Despite this, our young people are fighting for a better future, for themselves and their communities.

By the end of this year National Citizen Service (NCS) will have supported more than 400,000 teenagers to build friendships across social divides, build skills for life and work, and build stronger communities. We are delivering real results, for example boosting university admission by almost 50% for the poorest, and delivering a social return of £8 for every £1 invested. Government funding has allowed us to offer these vital opportunities to the young people who need them most, reaching the most disadvantaged in our society.

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Connor Sparrowhawk psychiatrist admits failings but denies misconduct

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:09:17 GMT2017-08-10T14:09:17Z

Dr Valerie Murphy tells tribunal she failed to spot teenager had epileptic seizures in weeks before he drowned in NHS care unit

A consultant psychiatrist has admitted failing to spot warning signs before a vulnerable teenager suffered a seizure and drowned in a bath at an NHS care unit.

Dr Valerie Murphy said she now accepted that Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, had at least two epileptic seizures in the weeks before his death.

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Packing up: homeless leave Sydney's 'tent city' – in pictures

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:14:34 GMT2017-08-11T08:14:34Z

Residents of the informal camp packed up their belongings and moved away after six months on the streets of Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD. The peaceful exit came after weeks of wrangling between the city council and the state government

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The homeless of Martin Place's tent city ordered to tear it down – video

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:54:48 GMT2017-08-11T07:54:48Z

Six months of shelter, support, solidarity and political standoff have come to an end after occupants of the tent city in the centre of Sydney began packing up their belongings. The camp’s residents started the slow process of removing their tents on Friday under the supervision of police, who had been granted new powers to clear the area under legislation passed by the New South Wales parliament this week.

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Don't feel grateful for social housing. It's a basic human right | Lisa McKenzie

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 06:23:51 GMT2017-08-11T06:23:51Z

We should stop seeing social housing as scarce or precious. It’s as much a necessity as good healthcare and education

  • Lisa McKenzie is an LSE sociology fellow

Today, 1.61 million people in England live in council housing – only 8% of the population . In 1979, it was 42% of people. Back then, people with no hope of the relative stability of owning property had somewhere stable to live. Now, social housing has become the holy grail, a rare and seemingly precious resource only for the most needy. But the idea that property is a precious financial resource is dangerous. Viewing it in this way can easily make us forget that housing is in fact a necessity, a social good, just like healthcare and education.

Related: ‘Housing should be seen as a human right. Not a commodity’ | Patrick Butler

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Homelessness in NSW: failing to meet the social housing need

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:00:36 GMT2017-08-10T18:00:36Z

The state passes move-on laws in response to homeless people camping in Sydney’s Martin Place, but where can they move to?

The availability of social housing in New South Wales has failed to keep up with increases in population and demand.

Related: NSW government passes law to tear down homeless camp in Martin Place

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What are your experiences of homelessness?

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 04:21:13 GMT2017-08-10T04:21:13Z

As the number of families affected by homelessness is expected to rise by double in 2041, we want to hear from charity workers and those affected by this

The number of families affected by homelessness is expected to rise by more than double in the next two decades, with over 200,000 more households affected by 2041, a report has warned.

Those sleeping rough will soar by four-fold to reach over 40,000 in the same period, according to research by Heriot-Watt University, commissioned by Crisis.

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The race to rescue Cambodian children from orphanages exploiting them for profit

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 22:25:23 GMT2017-08-18T22:25:23Z

Despite good intentions, Australians and others from western countries are often propping up Asian orphanages that separate children from families. Now there’s new efforts to tackle some of the consequences of ‘voluntourism’

Much was hidden from the tourists visiting Sinet Chan in her rundown Cambodian orphanage.

When they returned to their hotels, cameras full and best intentions sated, they remained oblivious to the reality of what they had just supported.

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Just 30% of Grenfell Tower fire funds have reached victims

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:07:44 GMT2017-08-18T15:07:44Z

Those entitled to payments include next-of-kin of those missing or dead and people who required hospital treatment

Less than a third of the total funds raised for people affected by the Grenfell tower fire has reached victims, as it emerged that almost £3m has been distributed in the past week.

The Charity Commission said £5.8m of the £19m raised has reached survivors, bereaved families and those still displaced from their homes more than two months after the fire. Almost half of the total has been sent to distributing organisations.

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Carrots and communism: the allotments plotting a food revolution

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:42:01 GMT2017-08-17T06:42:01Z

Our workers’ co-operative community market garden partners with the council to ensure that locally grown, healthy food is affordable and accessible to all

  • Ru Litherland works at OrganicLea

One cold grey February morning, back in 2001, we turned the key and opened the creaking gate on to a world that could not have been further from the built-up street just strides away. As far as the eye could see, scattered sheds teetered on the edge of a tidal wave of dense bramble. Halfway down the hill, just as the path disappeared into this surge, were plots 20 to 24: our new allotments. Whatever else, this was going to be groundbreaking stuff.

Driven by the vision that more food can and should be grown in London, we set up OrganicLea on a derelict allotment in Chingford, east London. The Lea Valley, which for centuries used the river to transport food down the Thames, from Saxon settlers growing celery in the sixth century to Italians growing cucumbers in glasshouses in the 1950s, was a good place to start.

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Charlie Gard parents set up foundation with £1.3m of donations

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:01:06 GMT2017-08-15T16:01:06Z

Charlie Gard Foundation, named for boy who died after long legal battle, will aim to help other children with rare illnesses

The parents of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old boy who died last month after a long legal battle, have said they will use £1.3m donated by well-wishers to set up a foundation in their son’s name to help other children with rare diseases.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates announced their decision on a fundraising website. After the couple appealed for cash to cover his medical bills on the GoFundMe page more than six months ago, they received donations from more than 84,000 people.

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Seven ways to improve the Social Value Act | Russell Hargrave

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 06:33:07 GMT2017-08-15T06:33:07Z

Forcing councils to consider social impact is a great idea but it’s not working. Here’s what small charities and community businesses say needs to change

Small charities that deliver public services have a problem.

The government grants that once helped to fund this work are drying up fast – their total value halved in the decade between 2004 and 2014, according to the NCVO, and has continued to drop ever since. This leaves organisations dependent on income from local council contracts, where the complex tendering process is stacked against smaller providers. At risk of being squeezed out completely, they face what the Lloyds Bank Foundation earlier this year called a “broken commissioning landscape”.

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Small fraction of Grenfell donations given to victims, regulator reveals

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:05:41 GMT2017-08-10T18:05:41Z

Charity Commission says £2.8m of the £18.9m collected for survivors of June blaze has been distributed to them to date

Only a fraction of the £18.9m collected for survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster has been distributed to them to date, according to data released by the Charity Commission.

The regulator said £2.8m had reached victims – less than 15% of the total raised by charities led by the Red Cross, the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation and the Evening Standard.

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We could end homelessness. But the Tories choose not to | Abi Wilkinson

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 09:36:44 GMT2017-08-10T09:36:44Z

More than half a million people in the UK will be homeless by 2041, according to a stark report by Crisis. Yet the government could solve this if it wished

If you live or work in a major UK city, the news that homelessness is rising will come as no surprise. I have a friend who spends most of his time abroad and returns to London once every few months or so. He told me that each time he visits, he’s struck by the noticeable increase in the number of people sleeping rough.

In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, many of us have grown accustomed to averting our eyes as we pass figures hunched in doorways – perhaps chucking a small handful of loose change into a styrofoam cup before hurrying on our way. Though these little acts of charity do not offer any long-term solution, they’re enough to allay our guilt for a while. We’re good people. We care. We might not be able to fix things, but we’re doing what we can.

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Number of homeless in Britain expected to double by 2041, Crisis warns

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:01:21 GMT2017-08-09T23:01:21Z

Charity’s research predicts 575,000 people in Britain will have no roof over their heads unless government takes urgent action

The number of people forced into homelessness is expected to more than double to half a million by 2041 unless the government takes immediate action, a homelessness charity has warned.

Related: We could end homelessness. But the Tories choose not to | Abi Wilkinson

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Tony Blair: UK civil service has genuine problem with change

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 16:58:36 GMT2017-08-10T16:58:36Z

Former prime minister describes civil servants as brilliant in a crisis, but unresponsive over reform to health and education

Former prime minister Tony Blair has criticised the UK civil service, saying there is a “genuine problem with the bureaucracy” of the country. He has said UK civil servants are “superb” at coping in a crisis, but failed to implement major reform during his time in office.

Related: Blair reveals he 'toyed with Marxism' after reading book on Trotsky

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Our pioneering project has cut reoffending and paid a 3% dividend | Rob Owen

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 06:33:01 GMT2017-08-09T06:33:01Z

Using social impact bonds, investors can now bet on the success of a public service like ours and get a good return

  • Rob Owen is chief executive of St Giles Trust

At the end of July my organisation, the St Giles Trust, celebrated the success of the world’s first ever Social Impact Bond (Sib), when we announced that our work with 2,000 offenders had yielded a dividend of 3% for investors.

Public services aren’t usually measured this way, but Sibs are a private capital investment model where investors bet on the success of a public service rather than buying shares in a private company. Their money finances a “payment by results” public service commissioned by the government. If the service provider meets its targets the bond’s investors get a dividend.

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Everyone deserves a civil service career, including ex-offenders | Ian Watmore

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 06:23:08 GMT2017-08-03T06:23:08Z

A more diverse civil service needs to hire more people with criminal records, to help turn lives around and to set a good example to other employers

  • Ian Watmore is the first civil service commissioner

Back in 2008 when I was a permanent secretary in the civil service, my then secretary of state, John Denham announced to great applause that I had just recruited the first civil service modern apprentice – a young woman called Marzena Bujalska.

It turned out to be a defining moment more generally as employers realised the government was serious about apprenticeships, with a “do as we do, not just as we say” approach.

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Birmingham refuse workers hate to see rubbish piling up – but our strike is vital

Sat, 05 Aug 2017 09:08:08 GMT2017-08-05T09:08:08Z

Working on the bins is a hard and dirty job that we do with pride. We can’t let the council gloss over cuts with the public any more

I’ve been working for Birmingham’s refuse service for over a decade now, or “the bins” as me and my mates call it. I say mates because that’s what my colleagues are. We’re a close-knit bunch doing a hard and dirty job serving the people of Birmingham.

The day starts early at 6am and finishes at about 3:35pm. It’s fast paced. We have a target of 100 houses an hour to meet.

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Experts attack Channel 4's 'exploitative' Child Genius

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:07:10 GMT2017-08-18T14:07:10Z

Wendy Berliner of Education Media Centre says she is ‘horrified’ by programme that purports to identify Britain’s cleverest child

Child Genius, the Channel 4 series that will claim to identify the country’s cleverest child, has been compared to a circus exploiting children by educational experts and criticised as a “missed opportunity” by an authority on gifted children.

The current series has repeatedly run into controversy. Its makers were accused of putting children as young as nine years old under pressure akin to child abuse. Parents were also accused of pressuring their children and of cheating to help them improve their scores. And viewers have targeted the young contestants for getting upset when they fail to perform as well as they hoped.

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Man down: why do so many suffer depression in silence?

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 07:00:07 GMT2017-08-13T07:00:07Z

When Kevin Braddock hit rockbottom, he had every intention of killing himself. He recounts what happened next – and reveals why so few men ask for help

It was a Monday when Robin Williams killed himself three years ago – Monday 11 August 2014. His death was shocking even if in hindsight it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the world’s funniest man might also be the most sorrowful, too – a person despairing to the point of ending it all.

It’s a date I remember well, because I’d spent the previous day trying to do the same thing. I was in the psychiatric ward of the Berlin hospital which I’d been manhandled into by friends the day before, and I was waiting to see the doctor who’d asked me to promise that I wouldn’t kill myself.

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Paramedic stress: 'We're micro-managed by people checking response times'

Sun, 02 Apr 2017 16:08:58 GMT2017-04-02T16:08:58Z

A man who has been a paramedic for 20 years describes the stresses that led to him taking two months’ sick leave in 2015

Peter (not his real name) has been a paramedic with an NHS regional ambulance service in the south of England for almost 20 years. He took two months’ sick leave because of stress in 2015.

I once turned up at a house where a woman and her daughter were crying hysterically because her husband – a man in his 30s – had passed away from a heart attack. And then the couple’s son came home from school to find his dad lying there and his mum and sister in that state. It was awful. I ended up crying with the family while we waited an hour for the police to arrive.

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Midwives to end campaign to promote ‘normal births’

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 23:28:28 GMT2017-08-11T23:28:28Z

Official body calls for shift in language and approach in attempt to stop making mothers feel like failures

Midwives are to end their campaign for “normal births” and change the way they talk about childbirth in a move intended to avoid making mothers who opt for medical interventions feel like failures.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has run an initiative since 2005 encouraging expectant mothers to give birth without medical interventions including epidurals, inductions and caesareans.

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Jamaican woman, 117, is oldest person on Earth

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:13:31 GMT2017-04-17T17:13:31Z

Violet Brown becomes oldest registered person after death of Italian Emma Morano, also 117

A Jamaican woman born 117 years ago has become the oldest person in the world after the death of Emma Morano, the Italian woman who was previously the oldest human being on the planet when she died at 117 on Saturday.

Morano, who was thought to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s, was also one of the five oldest people in recorded history.

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Why opioid deaths are this generation’s Aids crisis | Mary O’Hara

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:00:10 GMT2017-06-27T11:00:10Z

The soaring numbers of deaths from overdoses in the US and UK requires a radical and fast rethink of drugs policy

Dr Daniel Ciccarone, a San Franciso-based public health researcher and physician told me of a recent encounter which, despite 17 years in the field, left him stunned. “I talked to a [heroin] user in West Virginia. Nice guy. Manages to keep his habit and keep his job. He’s 10 years out of high school. He’s 29. He went to his high school reunion. I kid you not – half of his high school class is gone. Died. It was mostly [opioid] pills and heroin.”

Ciccarone is on the frontline of efforts to understand and combat the US’s rapidly escalating opioid crisis and he makes no bones about the scale and impact of what he says is an unprecedented public health emergency. “We are moving beyond an epidemic. I would call it a crisis,” he says.

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Emotional health in childhood ‘is the key to future happiness’

Sat, 08 Nov 2014 20:34:03 GMT2014-11-08T20:34:03Z

LSE study says money, success and good grades are less important

Mick Jagger famously couldn’t get it, but now economists think they know what’s required to get some satisfaction.

After investigating the factors in a person’s life that can best predict whether they will lead satisfied lives, a team headed by one of the UK’s foremost “happiness” experts, Professor Richard Layard, has come up with an answer that may prove controversial.

Continue reading...Lord Richard Layard, who is emeritus professor of economics at the LSE.Lord Richard Layard, who is emeritus professor of economics at the LSE.

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Queen of Cartels: most famous female leader of Mexico's underworld speaks out

Mon, 16 May 2016 11:08:45 GMT2016-05-16T11:08:45Z

Released from prison, Sandra Ávila Beltrán gives her first interview in almost a decade and recalls life inside the upper echelons of the Mexican drug world

Inside the front door of Sandra Ávila Beltrán’s home is an altar and lit candles that form a crowded shrine to her first husband (riddled by gunfire), her second husband (stabbed through the heart) and her brother (tortured to death). All were murdered during Mexico’s ongoing cocaine wars.

Ávila is the stuff legends are made of – one of the few women with access to the highest levels of cartel life. She has lived, worked and loved inside the upper echelons of the Mexican drug world since the late 1970s. At the height of her career, she showed a propensity to carry suitcases with millions of dollars in crisp $100 bills.

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My secret life as a high-functioning drug user

Sat, 14 May 2016 09:00:32 GMT2016-05-14T09:00:32Z

From midweek binges to the dealer with a loyalty card, one twentysomething asks when a habit becomes an addiction

It’s Saturday night and I’m having dinner at a friend’s house. After dinner has been cleared, someone produces a small bag of cocaine and begins to cut it into lines at the table. I take a gram of cocaine and another of MDMA. I smoke some weed and drink three to four glasses of good red wine.

We dance. The 15 of us who have gathered – old friends, some of whom I’ve known since school – push aside the coffee table and twirl around the living room, holding hands, laughing and marvelling at how lucky we are to have these exact friends and to be exactly here, in this moment. “You lot are the best,” we say over and over.

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Is 10% of the population really gay?

Sun, 05 Apr 2015 07:00:08 GMT2015-04-05T07:00:08Z

Drawing on the widest survey of sexual behaviour since the Kinsey Report, David Spiegelhalter, in his book Sex By Numbers, answers key questions about our private lives. Here he reveals how Kinsey’s contested claim that 10% of us are gay is actually close to the mark

For a single statistic to be the primary propaganda weapon for a radical political movement is unusual. Back in 1977, the US National Gay Task Force (NGTF) was invited into the White House to meet President Jimmy Carter’s representatives – a first for gay and lesbian groups. The NGTF’s most prominent campaigning slogan was “we are everywhere”, backed up by the memorable statistical claim that one in 10 of the US population was gay – this figure was deeply and passionately contested.

Related: Gay Britain: what do the statistics say?

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Media Files:

Why men use prostitutes

Fri, 15 Jan 2010 00:37:00 GMT2010-01-15T00:37:00Z

The reasons why many men pay for sex are revealed in the interviews that make up a major new piece of research

Read the research project's report on men who buy sex (pdf)

'I don't get anything out of sex with prostitutes except for a bad feeling," says Ben. An apparently average, thirtysomething, middle-class man, Ben had taken an extended lunchbreak from his job in advertising to talk about his experiences of buying sex. Shy and slightly nervous, he told me, "I am hoping that talking about it might help me work out why I do it."

I, too, was hoping to understand his motives better. Ben was one of 700 men interviewed for a major international research project seeking to uncover the reality about men who buy sex. The project spanned six countries, and of the 103 customers we spoke to in London – where I was one of the researchers – most were surprisingly keen to discuss their experiences.

Continue reading...Seven hundred men were interviewed for the project, which aimed to find out why men buy sex. Photograph: Christina Griffiths/Getty Images/Flickr RMSeven hundred men were interviewed for the project, which aimed to find out why men buy sex. Photograph: Christina Griffiths/Getty Images/Flickr RM

Media Files:

Why I'll never have another smear test

Thu, 22 May 2003 10:10:48 GMT2003-05-22T10:10:48Z

New research suggests cervical screening doesn't work - and could even do more harm than good. Can it really be true? Anna Saybourn thinks so

For the past 15 years, I have obligingly trotted down to the doctors' every three years, breathed deeply, chatted with the practice nurse and tried to ignore the discomfort as the speculum opens me up for inspection. I have done it because regular cervical screening is what sensible, health-conscious women do. It's recommended. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Except maybe it isn't. Last month, the British Medical Journal published research that suggests that I, and millions of other women, may have been wasting our time. In order to save one life from cervical cancer, the research found, 1,000 women would need to be screened for 35 years. Worse, the researchers suggested that testing might do "more harm than good": women born after 1960, they found, have a 40 per cent chance of having a smear test labelled abnormal at some point in their lives - with all the anxiety, investigation and treatment that implies - even though the chances of this leading to cancer are minimal.

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