FGM: Ban Ki-moon backs Guardians global media campaign - Fri, 31 Oct 2014
UN chief launches grants initiative in Kenya as part of Guardian-UNFPA push to change how female genital mutilation is reported and perceived
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is backing a groundbreaking global media campaign led by the Guardian to revolutionise how female genital mutilation is reported and perceived across the world, with the aim of ending the practice.
Speaking at a key meeting with the heads of all of Kenyas main media organisations at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, he announced five international FGM reporting grants co-funded by the UNFPA, the UNs population fund, and the Guardian which will see key journalists in Kenya focus on FGM in an attempt to eradicate the harmful practice within a generation. Ban said he hoped the Kenyan model could act as a template that could be replicated across the continent. Continue reading...
Put calorie labels on beer, wine and spirits, say public health experts - Fri, 31 Oct 2014
Alcoholic drinks are fuelling obesity epidemic and most have no idea how many calories their drinks contain
Beer, wine and spirits are fuelling the obesity epidemic and should be labelled with the calories they contain, say public health experts.
A large 175ml glass of 13% ABV (alcohol by volume) wine contains 160 calories, a bottle of alcopop contains 170 and a pint of 4% ABV beer contains 180. Continue reading...
A Teddy Boys charter: from the archive, 31 October 1958 - Fri, 31 Oct 2014
The inaugural meeting of the National Association advocates no victimisation or violence, but attracts few actual Teddy boys
16 September 1956: Teddy boys run riot when the clock strikes one
The idea of a National Association of Teddy Boys captured the imagination of quite a few people in Birmingham tonight - but it did not attract many Teddy boys. Scarcely more than a couple of dozen turned up for the inaugural meeting.
At the time that the meeting was due to begin, not a single narrow trouser, sideburn, or eccentricity of dress was visible in the large hall of the Friends Institute in Mosley. Ten minutes later, the first arrived: two solemn young men, one in stark black and another in electric blue. They sat down sheepishly and there was a muttered If this is going to be a sermon, lets go. When they did return, it was with a small, respectable body of supporters, and in this staid manner the new age of official Teddy boy unionism was ushered in. Continue reading...
Simon Stevens, PFI and the need for realism about NHS funding |@guardianletters - Thu, 30 Oct 2014
Perhaps Simon Stevens should rethink his defence of private finance initiative contracts in the NHS (The NHS is on life support. Can this plan revive it?, 24 October). Last year it required a massive public campaign to prevent the illegal downgrading or closure of A&E and maternity services at Lewisham hospital which was proposed in response to the problems in an adjacent hospital suffering crippling PFI payments. Lewisham hospital is now part of a new NHS trust and is once again threatened by extortionate PFI payments.
Our research shows the trust could save up to £18m a year by challenging the PFI profiteers. In the last financial year, the PFI companies accounts list a profit of £7.49m from service contracts and £1.82m for directors remuneration and administrative costs. The annual interest repayments were approximately £18m. The average interest charges on PFI contracts is 8% per annum, but borrowing through government the standard before PFIs were forced on public authorities is half that, reducing the trusts charges to £9m. These unjustified costs totalling £18m represent a 46% reduction in the trusts current annual PFI unitary payment of £39m. Continue reading...
Nasty side effects of for-profit healthcare | @guardianletters - Thu, 30 Oct 2014
Your feature (How sick are the worlds healthcare systems?, g2, 30 October) demonstrated that any form of healthcare, irrespective of where in the world it is, that involves the for-profit private sectors is de facto not only more expensive but less efficient and subject to corrupt practices by drug companies, other suppliers and practitioners. You could have included Cuba in your survey as a contrast. It has a wholly public-funded and regulated healthcare system that, despite over 50 years of a US-imposed boycott, manages to treat its citizens in an equitable and efficient way, as well as despatch its medical staff to many other countries of the world where there are health problems, including to Sierra Leone to help with the Ebola crisis. Britain also once had an exemplary national healthcare system before New Labour and the Tories began privatising it piecemeal and tearing the guts out of it. Perhaps lessons to be learned?
I note in reference to the Chinese health system: Physicians are so underpaid that they often must supplement their salaries with kickbacks from drug companies and patient bribes. I spoke in Beijing this year about the reform of doctors pay systems and heard that doctors in China often supplemented their earnings as described in the article but there was no must about it. Such supplements are corrupt whether in the UK, China or anywhere else. Doctors in China are officially paid (not underpaid) roughly one and a half times the average earnings in Chinese society not as generous a differential as in Europe, but doctors still earn from official sources noticeably more than the average worker. Although I did hear of a determination to increase that differential. Continue reading...
Assistant director, medical pay and workforce, NHS Employers
Most disabled ex-Remploy staff unemployed, trade union claims - Thu, 30 Oct 2014
One year on from factory closures, only a quarter of disabled former staff are currently in work, GMB report finds
Most disabled workers laid off after the closure of Remploy factories have not found another job a year after they shut, according to a new report.
The GMB union said only one in four ex-Remploy staff were in work, and many of those were on shorter hours and less pay. Continue reading...
What should the next government do to support the ageing population? - Thu, 30 Oct 2014
Sponsored Q&A: Expert views from our live discussion on what policies should be put in place for older people
Read the discussion in full
Lord Filkin, chair, Centre for Ageing Better: six quick thoughts on what I would want to see from each political party: Continue reading...
Set out a vision to maximise all the benefits of a longer life
Face the facts of our biggest social change and how different England will be in five and 10 years time
Recognise the asset of more older people and think how we can utilise this
Listen to people more, be more focused on the public and more joined up!
Assess the increased needs and cost of health and social care and have an honest conversation with the public about why we will have to spend more and the choices of how we pay for this
Set out how the NHS will change from a hospital-centric system to a community based one
Punitive drug law enforcement failing, says Home Office study - Thu, 30 Oct 2014
UK government study finds no evidence that harsh sentencing curbs illegal use and documents success of Portugals decriminalisation
There is no evidence that tough enforcement of the drug laws on personal possession leads to lower levels of drug use, according to the UK governments first evidence-based study.
Examining international drug laws, the groundbreaking Home Office document brings to an end 40 years of almost unbroken official political rhetoric that only harsher penalties can tackle the problem caused by the likes of heroin, cocaine or cannabis. Continue reading...