Blog Archive

November 2012

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    Personal Budgets are proven to improve care

    Norman Lamb has announced that the government will invest £1.5 million in implementing the personal budgets before 2014 to those who receive continuing care, which is around 56,000 people.The pilot for the scheme, which took place over the last three years, showed that there were significant improvements in the quality of life and mental well being of those involvedThe evaluation showed that the...

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    Disabled could be kicked out for having adapted rooms

    Under the Government's size criteria rules for the social sector, working age social tenants face having their housing benefit cut for having spare bedrooms, and it appears that this will be the same for disabled tennants who have extra rooms to suit their disability.Based on current plans, around 660,000 social tenants face losing an average of £14 a week from next April as a result of the new...

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    Scottish Older people may give up Safety Alarms after charges are added

    So far, only around 7% of the 13,500 users have indicated they no longer want the service due to cost according to the group themselves, but opposition councillors say up to 3000 will give up the alarm. The withdrawal rate is expected to increase, as 30% withdrew in Edinburgh when charges were introduced.Cordia said:Any imposed standard charge for this service, to reflect increased costs...

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    Homeless Charities Given &poound;5m in Payment By Results

    It is designed to work with rough sleepers who miss out on support because they are neither long-term rough sleepers nor new to the streets.The GLA worked with the Communities and Local Government department and social finance advisory service Social Finance to develop the homelessness bond, which will run for three years.  Its aim is to reduce rough sleeping by helping people into stable...

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    Cracks begin to appears in NHS

    The King's Fund review raised concern about A&E waits and finances but has said overall performance was holding up well.The think tank analysed published data on performance, including waiting times, patient surveys and safety reports.It found that on many measures performance was being maintained and in areas such as reducing the use of mixed-sex accommodation and infection control standards...

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    Another Remploy Factory to Close

    Dozens of Remploy factories are closing under UK government plans to switch spending to help individual workers.In a statement, Remploy said the Springburn site had been earmarked for closure in March after being assessed as "not being commercially viable".The firm said:As part of its efforts to avoid compulsory redundancies Remploy sought bids for the Springburn factory as part of the Healthcare...

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    Mental Health Problems can develop in poor housing

    The report released yesterday arose from concerns about people living in bedsits being marginalised in an area of Essex.Researchers interviewed 19 bedsit residents and a number of landlords for Understanding the relationship between mental health and bedsits in a seaside town.They found that many bedsit residents moved into their current accommodation after relationship breakdown, bereavement,...

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    CQC finds vulnerable people are receiving poor care

     CQC is finding that the increasing complexity of conditions and older people living longer are impacting on the ability of care providers to deliver person-centred care that meets individuals’ needs.There is an increasing pressures on staff, both in terms of the skills required to care for people with more complex conditions and in terms of staff numbers.Across 2,500 nursing homes, in 15%...

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    Welfare Minister says Benefits is a Lifestyle Choice

    The minister was defending the governments decision to put a cap on benefits in an interview with The House magazine, as he believes that the present system is dreadful, and allows lone parents and sickness claimants to choose to have a lifestyle on the state, which is similar to the opinions previously expressed by George Osborne on the subject of benefits.When asked about whether he could...

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    Wake up call to bad care in NHS

    The Patients Association said the 13 cases studies should act as a wake up call to change the culture of NHS.

    The review said that although there is a lot to be proud of, there are still too many patients were still being let down, and the culture of the NHS means poor care remains unchallenged and unchanged.

    The report Stories from the present, lessons for the future consists of...

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    G4S Asylum Seeker Housing Declared Unfit

    Parliamentary inquiry into housing provided to asylum seeker families by G4S is not fit for children to live in.--> --> --> -->Women staying in hostels provided by G4S have reported that the state of their accommodation, frequent moves and the attitude of the private housing providers left them feeling degraded and depressed.They have given evidence to an inquiry examining whether...

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    Rehabilitation Revolution for Offenders - or is it?

    Secretary of State for Justice sets out a "Rehabilitation Revolution" to cut crime, better educate troubled young people and offering real value to taxpayers, but have we heard this before?

     As part of radical reforms aimed at tackling high reoffending rates, offenders released from prison will be met at the gates by a dedicated mentor who will help them in their rehabilitation and...

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    Local Authorities will have to start paying �£7.3m for Youth Offending Services

      Plans to devolve funding for youth remand services to local authorities from next April will have the biggest burden on London Capital Councils.

      Ministry of Justice (MoJ) proposals would cost the capital's boroughs £7.3m, London Councils has calculated, and removal of funding will create a massive shortfall.

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    Website to help care leavers live independently

     The leaving care website is a further measure of local efforts to promote and assist learning, improve understanding of the needs and challenges faced by young people in and leaving care.Six young people worked on the project with the support of Purpledot, a digital media company based in Dungannon, and in doing so, three of them achieved NVQ Level 2 Use Digital and Social Media in Marketing...

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    NHF asks Osborne to reject further welfare cuts

    Housing associations have urged the chancellor not to announce further welfare cuts in his statement next month on future plans for reforms.

    In a submission issued ahead of the 5 December announcement, umbrella body the National Housing Federation calls on George Osborne to reject further welfare cuts and ensure a...

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    Homeless shelter scrapped as it loses funding

    Plans for a night shelter in Newquay to protect homeless people during the winter months have been scrapped.--> --> --> -->An action group was established last year after soup kitchen managers and mental health charity leaders revealed up to six people were dying every winter on the resort's streets.The town council put aside £2,500 to equip a property that would be managed by an...

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    Minors held in police cells under Mental Health Act

    The law allows police to take people they think are mentally ill and in "need of care or control" to a safe place for a health assessment for a maximum 72 hours.A place of safety for assessment would usually be a hospital or care home, but police stations are also permitted under the Act; of 42 forces replying to a freedom of ­information plea, 35 had held minors under the Mental Health Act last...

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    Spread the Warmth to Stop Older People from Suffering

    Winter can have a massive impact on older peoples lives. and increases associated health problems for older people including heart attacks and strokes, respiratory problems, pneumonia and depression.During the winter, isolation can also intensify having an adverse effect on physical and mental well-being.Age UK's Spread the Warmth campaign is for people to make winter time less worrying for older...

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    Children in Need raise record donations

    This shows that in spite of difficult times, Children in Need has not lost site of the poverty and struggles surrounding some children's lives at the moment.The help that they give to thousands of families struggling to survive, as well as those children suffering from abuse and neglect, is even more important in times of austerity.It is easy to lose sight of the real issues behind the scandals...

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    Incurable conditions are being disability assessed by ATOS

    New figures reveal that 18,450 cancer sufferers have had to undergo multiple tests between October 2008 and February this year.Another 2320 people with multiple sclerosis have been through repeated work capability assessments as well as hundreds of others with Parkinson's and dementia.Although not all the tests involved face-to-face assessments, it is an unnecessary stress on someone who is...

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    57 new psychoactive drugs detected this year

    The rapid spread of the market in legal highs, partly driven by organised crime, is revealed in the annual report from the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction published on Thursday.The drug experts say that while cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines continue to be the main players for those taking stimulants across Europe, they are now competing with a growing number...

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    Social Workers are inadequate with Personal Budgets

    Personal budgets had increased opportunities to get out of the house and socialise and boosted independence, including because being able to employ a personal assistant made them less reliant on family.Service users and family members said their care was better because of the greater choice and control they had over services, with some changing providers with which they were not happy, according...

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    Political Party Launched for Anti-NHS reforms

    The party's members say the Act - which was pushed through Parliament by the coalition despite fierce opposition from NHS professionals, patient groups, unions and Labour - will allow the NHS in England to be "broken up and sold off".It is co-led by Richard Taylor, a former Kidderminster hospital consultant who was MP for Wyre Forest from 2001 to 2010, and Clive Peedell, a consultant clinical...

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    Hunt's Social Care Funding Figures are out of date!

    The figure was quoted from a report written by Richard Humphries for the King's Fund in March 2011. Mr Hunt used the report to support his claim that councils could cope with a 7% cut to their social care budgets if they both used a £7.2bn transfer of funding from the NHS and made 2% efficiency savings.Recent PostsPopular PostsBlog PageHome PageFrom this, he deduced that councils should not have...

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    New ways to measure child poverty

    A new range of indicators will be introduced including family stability, worklessness and educational achievement. Duncan Smith, in a joint move with the schools minister, David Laws, will say the new measures better reflect the reality of poverty today. He will stress the most recent figures, showing that since the coalition was formed in 2010, 300,000 children had moved out of relative income...

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    Schizophrenia Care needs urgent changes

    The Abandoned Illness shows that there are unacceptable errors in the way schizophrenic care is given, and this area of mental illness has been badly let down.Schizophrenia and psychosis cost society £11.8 billion a year but this is in part due to lack of investment in prevention and effective care. A large focus of the care for schizophrenia is secure care, despite this being the most expensive...

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    Commemoration Service for Homeless people

    The theme of this year's service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church was called ‘Welcoming Angels Unaware'.Rev Richard Carter of St Martin in the Fields, who lead the service, said:[This] is one of the most moving and important services that takes place at St Martin's each year. The list of those who have died is frighteningly long. The title of the service this year leads us to think about...

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    Social Enterprise awards for the sector

    1 in 7 of all social enterprises is a start-up, more than three times the proportion of start-ups in the mainstream SME business sector. And over half (58%) of social enterprises grew their business last year, compared to 28% of SMEs (Social Enterprise.co.uk).The sector’s flagship awards, now in their 14th year, are organised by Social Enterprise UK, who are working with partners in Scotland,...

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    Is social care a postcode lottery because of Localism?

     Many people are shocked to discover that social care is not free at the point of use - unlike the NHS. The Health Service will pick up the bill if you're elderly and in need of hospital treatment; but if you're too frail to get out of bed in the morning or you can't cook for yourself any more, then you'll probably have to pay for any help you require.That is unless the local authority assesses...

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    An extra £48bn public spending cuts are required by 2018

    According to the report, Fiscal Fallout, the likelihood of a greater than anticipated black hole in the nation's finances - the March Budget implied only £26bn of cuts would be needed beyond the current Spending Review period - suggests unprotected Whitehall departments will see their budgets shrink by nearly a quarter (23%).In effect departments would face sharper yearly cuts of 3.7%...

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    Going Home is not an option

    Most of the 385,000 people who are under 25 and claiming housing benefits are working, looking for work, sick or disabled, and more than half of them are parents who are raising children.The prime minister's answer to save the money from this housing benefit claim is for them to move back in with their parents, with the only exemption being those who have suffered domestic violence; but Crisis...

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    Over 1,000,000 people claim Mental Health benefits

    This was up from 824,110 in the same month of 2002, an increase of over 200,000 in ten years.158,370 claimants were aged between 45-49, an increase of over 50% compared to 2002; 82,790 claimants were aged between 18-24, an increase of nearly 30% since 2002; while the largest percentage increase (62.65%) was in the over-60 age-group.The charity Hull and East Yorkshire Mind has had a 20% increase...

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    London councils challenged on excuses for moving families on benefits

    Councils in London have admitted to moving families needing accomodation outside of the capital due to to the cost and strain on rescources. Families are being moved to cheaper locations, and councils have said it would be impossible to meet their homelessness duties in London.Newham London Borough Council first had the controversial plans to export benefit dependent families to cheaper areas of...

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    MP for Northern Ireland requested further housing benefit concessions

    He has been widely praised for securing the continuation of payment of the housing element of universal credit directly to landlords, rather than paying it to tenants.He also secured more regular payments of benefits and an extra six months until the majority of the reforms begin.But he said landlords needed to take a role in ensuring the impact of the reforms for tenants was minimal and would be...

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    Charity treasurer jailed for writing £27k of cheques to himself

    Wrench had been a volunteer at the charity, which helps people suffering with multiple sclerosis, for 6 years; between March 2010 and February this year had written himself 71 cheques out of the Macclesfield branch's annual income of £100,000.As treasurer, he is required to complete the annual reports before 31st October, but by January had not submitted them. He then gave his notice for this...

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    Housing association in Pilot scheme takes 5 tenants to court

    GreenSquare has around 400 tenants involved in the project while the city council has around 1,600 and have had to take five of them to court as they were not paying.This was, however, fewer problems than they had anticipated.Ann Cornelius, executive director of GreenSquare, has found that 50% of the tenants were adapting fine to direct payments but the other half were struggling.She said:Fewer...

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    Council has failed to promote equality for disabled and older people

    Devon Council increased fees by an average of 6.6% in 2012-13, following two consecutive years of fee freezes and resulted in local care homes raising this with the high court.Judge Milwyn Jarman QC concluded that the consultation process was "a fair one which gave a sufficient opportunity for a meaningful response", and the way that it calculated the costs faced by providers was "based on...

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    Norfolk Council give taxpayers a voice after losing funding

    The county are now beginning a review of where the council is spending money to find where the second round of cuts will come from.Council Leader, Derrick Murphy, said:We want to see essential services protected and, wherever possible, enhanced, whoever delivers them in the future. To do this, we need to re-balance our income so that in future we generate much more for ourselves.We can't rely on...

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    Creating millions of Dementia Friends

    The idea is to help make everyday life better for people with dementia by changing the way the nation thinks, talks and acts. Dementia Friends will be trained to know the facts for dementia, so that if there is someone that needs the help in the community, then it they are there to help them and the person is met with kindness instead of unawareness, and to pass this knowledge on to those around...

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    Cuts to housing benefits making it difficult to foster

    It has been estimated that fostering services need to recruit a further 7,100 foster families in the next 12 months to keep up with the growing number of children in need of a home.At a time when the numbers of children in the care of the state are at a 15-year high, the Shadow Children's Minister said:I believe that foster carers need more and more consistent, support.  For too long the ...

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    Care homes recommended!

    However, they have found that in spite of good reviews being left, there is a feeling of negativity towards being in a care home, and people express guilt and pain at moving their relative to a home.This is mostly due to the negative image that care homes have, mostly from the bad press they receive when something negative is discovered in a care home, and this can leave a general misconception...

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    People with learning disabilities need extra services but get access to less

    The research found instances of where some local mental health services improved equal access, but found that this is not common practice and there are areas where service users reported insufficient adjustments had been made.The briefing launched from this study, Equally accessible?, calls on providers and commissioners of mental health services to look at this problem and suggests:Paddy...

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    £10m social investment funding for homeless people

    The fund will be managed by Resonance, a specialist social investment organisation.L&Q is one of the largest social landlords and manages more than 66,000 homes, mostly in Greater London.Broadway has already offered its lettings service to private landlords and operates in 20 of the 32 London boroughs. The new fund will allow it to expand its operation in purpose-bought property.Waqar Ahmed,...

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    Local investment from Council pensions could double

    Under the terms of a consultation unveiled by communities secretary Eric Pickles today , this would be doubled to 30%, freeing up to £45bn of LGPS funds for house-building, transport or regeneration projects.Mr Pickles said:Unlocking town hall pension pots so they can be used to invest in vital infrastructure projects is a common sense decision that will help this country complete on a...

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    Drug Addicts and Alcoholics will lose sickness benefits if not seeking treatment

    Currently anyone claiming sickness benefit has to obtain medical evidence to prove they are entitled to claim but ministers want to extend the concept of 'conditionality' used to force the jobless to seek work to welfare payments for those with health complaints as well.Under the new rules, claimants with a treatable ailment or addiction would be expected to attend regular sessions with a health...

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    Domestic Violence Refuges are exempt from Direct Benefit Payments

    Iain Duncan Smith says refuges for victims of domestic violence are to be exempt from rules covering the direct payment of housing benefit.Under universal credit, combining benefits in to one single payment, the housing element of the payment will go straight to tenants. Under the current system many tenants have their housing benefit paid to their landlord.Charity Women's Aid raised concerns...

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    iPads to diagnose Dementia!

     The procedure will involve completing a series of tests on an iPad with their local doctor, and the results will be received within ten minutes to tell their GP if they have a normal or abnormal memory.Those with an abnormal memory would be referred to an NHS brain health centre where they would have more in depth memory tests while hooked up to an MRI scanner, where a new programme can detect...

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    Healthcare assistants taking over nursing roles to save money

    Putting vulnerable patients in the care of well-meaning but "unreliable" nursing assistants raises "serious concerns about public protection", a commission led by Lord Willis of Knaresborough, the Liberal Democrat peer, says in a report published today.Healthcare assistants are employed for simple tasks like keeping patients fed and hydrated or taking their temperature, but are not currently...

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    Blind people's benefits at risk - act now!

    One of the main assessments for Personal Independence Payment will be a new, "objective assessment" that focuses on the ability of an individual to carry out a range of key activities necessary for everyday life. This will be used to re-assess working age claimants and will take evidence from healthcare professionals in to account.The proposals mean PIP will continue to be paid as a...

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    Cuts from reforms may clash with "troubled families" initiative

     The ‘troubled families' initiative was launched by prime minister David Cameron in August 2011, in the wake of the riots in London and other cities. The programme aims to turn around the lives of 120,000 families with a history of anti-social behaviour.But CPAG said its research into the impact of welfare reform on local authorities showed ‘conflicts' between the changes and other...

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    Councils are to house Homeless families from London elsewhere

    Research by the Guardian newspaper, shows benefit caps have left many councils facing a ‘practically impossible position', leaving them no option but to seek housing options outside capital, according to some local authority officials.Some councils are reported to estimate up to a third of families affected by the introduction of the £26,000 benefit cap, the local housing allowance cap and...

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    Patients may be turned away from homes as NHS drop funding by £s;250 p/w

    Strategic health authority NHS London has decided to impose a flat weekly fee of £700 for continuing care patients, but this is £250 less on average than is currently paid to providers, according to the English Community Care Association (ECCA), National Care Association, National Care Forum and Registered Nursing Home Association.They also condemned NHS London's decision to unilaterally impose...

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    Health is being affected more in poorer areas

    The places with the highest death rates were areas around Manchester and Liverpool, parts of Yorkshire, around Birmingham, and deprived boroughs of London..Deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) have more than halved across England overall, however the rates for men and women aged 65 or older, the decline was smaller in the most deprived communities, which has meant that the gap between the...

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    Hospital Sued Over DNR on Man with Cerebral Palsy

    A coroner has raised concerns about the way Carl Winspear received medication in hospital last year, writing an official letter to the Department of Health (DoH) and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS foundation trust over drug procedures at Sunderland Royal hospital.Relatives want to clarify the law on how DNR decisions are reached for patients without mental capacity to decide and force the DoH in...

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    NCVO income falls by 27% after reductions in grants

    This is following a reduction in the grant they receive from the Cabinet Office of over 50%, £1.09m to £500,000, and loss of all its funding from Capacitybuilders, which was £1.6m in 2011.The NCVO's yearly income fell over a quarter from £10.14m to £7.39m, and over the year reduced it's staff from 115 to 88. Donations fell from £60,000 to £36,000 and membership also dropped from 8,375 to...

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    DWP Criticised on Welfare Reforms

    The housing associations and councils will be sending the direct payments to around 12,000, but instead of publishing the full results, the DWP has given the results of a 1,639 tenant baseline survey which was carried out before the pilots started.The full results are now not going to be released until next year, which will leave minimal time for the landlords to see what the best way to alter to...

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    Calls for Independent Investigation on Atos

    Leaked information from the tendering documents reveal that the firm said it would work with a number of disability organisations to carry out eligibility tests for a new disability benefit.Four of the organisations named in the document said they had no contact with Atos before being named as possible partners and strongly objected to any suggestion that they planned to co-operate with the...

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    £7m Social Impact Bonds to Tackle Youth Unemployment

    It has announced this week that it has awarded two contracts worth £7m from the Innovation Fund's second funding round to two social impact bonds managed by Social Finance. The social impact bonds will fund interventions to work with around 2,500 vulnerable 14-15 year-olds in the North-West of England. The programmes will be delivered by charities Adviza and Teens and Toddlers. Investors into...

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    Food banks rise to highest numbers across the country

    As the cost of living continues to increase, more families are reaching crisis point and are having to ask for help. Extra food banks are being set up due to the demand, some are even being set up by the council, as the pressures of the current economic climate are rising.According to the Trussell Trust reports, the charity network said it had fed almost 110,000 people since April alone, compared...

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    Poll shows worsening opinion of NHS reforms

    Seven in ten mentioned either of these changes meant services would get worse.The public was split over the outlook for the NHS, with 35% saying they thought things would get better and 32% making a bleak prognosis for the NHS over the next few years.Some 43% said they expected the Government's reforms to make things worse, compared with 38% in last December's survey.The number of people who...

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    Emergency Mental Health Legistlation Approved

    The error meant doctors who sectioned patients in England did not have the right authority to do so.Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insists all were qualified to make the clinical decisions and that no patient was wrongly detained.Mr Hunt said:We believe that all the proper clinical processes were gone through when these patients were detained. They were detained by medically qualified doctors. We...

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