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Stuck in DWP limbo: 'Sometimes I think I would be better off dead' - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
Mandatory reconsideration of fit-for-work appeals can pitch claimants into a Kafka-esque maze, leaving them penniless and hungry, an MPs report notes

Tucked away in this week's work and pensions select committee report on employment-related disability benefits is a section on an innocuous-sounding policy called Mandatory Reconsideration (MR).

Its blandness hides a host of Kafka-esque sins, however; this is truly a monstrously perverse and bureaucratic generator of poverty and stress.

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Number of children trying smoking drops to record low - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
NHS statistics show one in five pupils aged 11 to 15 have tried cigarettes, the lowest level since records began in 1982

The number of children trying cigarettes has dipped to the lowest level on record, new figures suggest.

One in five pupils aged 11 to 15 said they had tried smoking, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) found.

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Number of drug users in England and Wales rises to 2.7m - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
Figure up 230,000 on last crime survey, with 8.8% of adults saying they have used illicit drugs in past year

The number of adults using illicit drugs in England and Wales rose by an estimated 230,000 to 2.7 million over the last year, crime survey figures show.

The increase was driven by more people saying they had used cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and ketamine. Nearly one million people or 3% of adults used class A drugs including powder cocaine, heroin and ecstasy in 2013/14.

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Sharp rise in number of NHS trusts with financial concerns - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
Number of NHS trusts referred to health secretary by auditors rose from five in 2012-13 to 19 in 2013-14

The number of NHS trusts referred to the health secretary over financial concerns increased almost fourfold in a year, a report reveals.

Nineteen were flagged up to Jeremy Hunt in the financial year 2013-14, compared with five in 2012-13, according to the Audit Commission. Twenty-four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were also referred.

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Suicide survival stories must be told, says Australian mental health chief - Thu, 24 Jul 2014

A Sane Australia study reveals the mental health system is missing a key ingredient the advice of survivors

Survival stories from those who attempt suicide should drive mental health interventions but have been missing from policy discussions, Australias national mental health commissioner has said. Prof Ian Hickie said this omission was partly because of societys often callous view towards suicide.

A study of 31 people who had attempted suicide was released by the mental health charity Sane Australia and the University of New England on Thursday.

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Risk of infecting surgery patients with CJD not taken seriously, say MPs - Wed, 23 Jul 2014
Ministers accused of complacency over hospital safeguards to prevent contamination of instruments with human form of BSE

Health officials must do more to prevent the spread of variant CJD, the human form of BSE, say MPs. They warn that the ongoing risks of infection are not being taken seriously enough.

Some hospitals may have put patients at risk by failing to decontaminate surgical tools used on people with vCJD, and it was impossible to know if the national blood supply was clear of the infectious agent, they said.

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Sacked Baby P chief Sharon Shoesmith won payout of more than £600,000 - Wed, 23 Jul 2014
Sum includes £217, 266 in compensation for loss of office and £377,267 for salary, fees and allowances

Haringey council has had to pay out more than 600,000 to its former children's services boss Sharon Shoesmith in compensation for unfair dismissal, unpaid wages, and pension contributions, according to reports.

Shoesmith was sacked without compensation by the north London council in December 2008 after a public and media outcry over the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, a year earlier.

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Benefits reform | @guardianletters - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

Sadly the proposed reforms of the benefits system laid out in the Oakley sanctions review (Benefit sanctions hit most vulnerable people the hardest, report says, 22 July) cannot solve the underlying problem the report reveals: that the welfare state is being managed without any sense of humanity for those who need its support. If care and compassion was at the heart of our welfare system, claimants would not be sent letters informing them they were being sanctioned without explanation or asked them to complete meaningless and demeaning tasks for no reason. Putting in place procedures to ensure that letters are thoroughly proof-read can only paper over the cracks if the entire rationale and motivation behind the operation of the welfare state is about hitting sanctions targets. We need a completely new approach to welfare one that prioritises the wellbeing and interests of the very people it is there to support.
Natalie Bennett
Leader, Green party of England and Wales

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Autism charity wins government youth participation grant - Thu, 24 Jul 2014

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Ambitious about Autism has been awarded a £528,000 government grant to encourage youth participation among 16- to 25-year-olds.

David Laws confirms cut to council school support grant - Thu, 24 Jul 2014

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Local authorities will find it harder to help struggling schools improve as a result of a 16 per cent cut in a government education grant next year, council leaders have warned.

Major children’s charities to join forces on early intervention - Thu, 24 Jul 2014

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The chief executives of four of the country’s leading children’s charities have agreed to take part in a panel debate on the future of early intervention services at a CYP Now conference in September.

Government announces civil orders to tackle FGM - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

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Civil orders designed to prevent female genital mutilation (FGM) are to be created as part of a range of measures to tackle the issue, the government has announced.

Daily roundup: School admissions code, extremism, and jobseeker's allowance - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

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Attempts to help disadvantaged children get into best schools; report on 'Trojan Horse' plot published; and review backs jobseeker's allowance sanction system, all in the news today.

Barnardo's calls for better education on the dangers of 'sexting' - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

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Barnardo’s has urged police forces not to take a “heavy-handed” approach to dealing with young people found to have sent explicit images of themselves to friends.

Unison figures reveal sharp fall in children's centres funding - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

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Local authorities have closed or merged nearly 300 children’s centres over the last four years after making tens of millions of pounds of budget cuts, research by the union Unison has found.

Child protection outsourcing plans 'dead in the water', claims Loughton - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

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Controversial plans to allow councils to outsource child protection services are “dead in the water” following the departure of Michael Gove from the Department for Education, former children’s minister Tim Loughton has claimed.

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Exclusive: Trusts seek to shield wage bills with income ambitions - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
English hospitals have reduced the amount they expect to save on wage bills this year, as they focus on cutting costs in other areas and boosting income

A&E patients 'will wait longer' - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
Patients should expect “inevitable” greater waits in A&E departments, two health charities have warned.

More trusts with financial concerns - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
The number of NHS trusts referred to the health secretary over financial concerns increased almost three-fold in a year, a report has revealed.

HSJ to host third annual pathology seminar - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
The HSJ Pathology seminar returns this autumn to explore the pressures affecting providers and commissioners in pathology

‘Buddy’ trust could double their money under bonus scheme - Wed, 23 Jul 2014
The leading hospitals ‘buddied’ with failing trusts under the special measures regime received some £1.5m to cover their costs last year.

Call to address GP numbers 'crisis' - Wed, 23 Jul 2014
More must be done to address the “crisis” in the number of family doctors working in the NHS, leading medics have said.

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Chief social worker: ‘Tell us how the Mental Health Act code of practice can better support you’ - Thu, 24 Jul 2014

The Mental Health Act code of practice is being revised for the first time since 2008. Social work’s input to the process will be crucial, writes Lyn Romeo

Staffing cuts mooted in plan to plug mental health trust’s £15m funding gap - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

Review of services in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey puts forward cost-cutting plan after finding services 'unsustainable'

Experts warn over heightened suicide risk for mental health patients post-discharge - Wed, 16 Jul 2014

Analysis of suicides over 10-year period finds suicide risk especially acute in first two weeks after leaving hospital

Labour calls for two-year deadline to end inappropriate learning disability hospital placements - Tue, 15 Jul 2014

Move comes as NHS England announces voluntary-sector led project in latest bid to curb use of inpatient services for people with learning disabilities

NHS England to ‘urgently’ open more children’s mental health beds - Thu, 10 Jul 2014

Move comes as official review finds too many young people being sent long distances for care due to bed shortages and staffing problems

Local services hit as social workers join mass strike action over pay - Thu, 10 Jul 2014

Councils report reduced services as social work and social care staff walk out over 1% pay rise offer

Consultation on revised Mental Health Act code of practice launched - Wed, 09 Jul 2014

Department of Health invites social worker feedback on first revisions to code since 2008

An animated insight into life on a mental health unit - Thu, 03 Jul 2014

See the result of film collaboration between staff, patients and a professional animator...

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Scottish regulator confirms charity status of two Brethren schools - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
The Oakwood Education Trust and the Springvale Education Trust, both affiliated to the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, were part of a review of 39 schools by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

Lisa Nandy calls for urgent investigation into Big Society Network grants - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
The shadow civil society minister urges the Prime Minister to respond to the National Audit Office report that criticised the Cabinet Office and the Big Lottery Fund over the management of more than £2m of funding

Unicef raises £3.1m from UK donations during Commonwealth Games opening ceremony - Thu, 24 Jul 2014
The international children's charity says nearly 600,000 people each made a £5 text donation to its Put Children First campaign after celebrities promoted the appeal

Electoral Commission releases guidance on the lobbying act - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

Charity continues tribunal challenge - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

Regulator's views on Islam come under close scrutiny - Tue, 22 Jul 2014
The Charity Commission's words and actions have worried some Muslim charities. Sam Burne James reports

Payroll giving drops £21m this year - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

New Sorps published by regulators - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

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Other News
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Government advisors consider hep B jab for infant schedule - Thu, 24 Jul 2014

Government public health advisors are to consider introducing a hepatitis B vaccine into the routine infant immunisation schedule, to bring it in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.

GPs should not have to provide evidence for benefits claims, say MPs - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

Patients shouldn’t be ‘relying’ on GPs to supply supporting evidence for work capability assessments, a report by the House of Commons’ Work and Pensions committee has said.

GPs most trusted by public to protect their data - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

The public trust their GP practice to protect their private information and use it appropriately more than the rest of the NHS, banks or Government ministers, an Ipsos MORI poll has found.

Pulse launches e-petition to stop GP practice closures - Wed, 23 Jul 2014

Pulse has today launched an e-petition for the Department of Health to step in and stop the threatening tide of GP practices closing amid funding swings.

Health unions ballot members on strike action over pay freeze - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

More than 300,000 NHS workers could go on strike over a pay freeze, after two unions announced plans to ballot their members.

Fitness-to-practise process is 'threatening the lives' of doctors, think-tank warns - Tue, 22 Jul 2014

The purpose and the scope of the GMC’s fitness-to-practise process needs to be ‘re-appraised’ as it is ‘threatening the lives and livelihoods’ of doctors, according to a new think-tank report.

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