Category Archives: Society

UK prison officers sent to work up to 60 miles away ‘to plug staffing gaps’

Penal reform campaigners say ‘failing system’ has required dozens to engage in detached duty in runup to Christmas

More than 230 prison officers have been asked to work in other prisons in the runup to Christmas as governors across England and Wales face a major staffing crisis, penal reform campaigners have claimed.

Official documents that outline measures to tackle staff shortages in prisons during November and December have been seen by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

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Posted in Chris Grayling, Law, Prisons and probation, Society, UK criminal justice, UK news, World news | Comments Off

NHS nurse shortage forces health service to recruit overseas

Four out of five new nurses in hospitals came from abroad in 2013-14, most from Spain, Portugal and the PhilippinesThe NHS is facing such a chronic shortage of homegrown nurses that four out of five new nurses in hospitals have come from abroad, new he…
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Posted in Health, Migration, NHS, Nursing, Society, UK news, World news | Comments Off

Church of England poised to name first female bishop

Woman to be appointed as bishop of Stockport on Monday, four weeks after governing body voted for historic law change Continue reading…
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Posted in Anglicanism, Christianity, Equality, Religion, Society, UK news, World news | Comments Off

Ireland to hold referendum on gay marriage in May

Campaigners welcome deputy prime minister’s announcement, as latest opinion poll shows 71% of electorate would vote yes Continue reading…

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Posted in Catholicism, Christianity, Europe, Gay marriage, Ireland, Life and style, Marriage, Religion, Sexuality, Society, World news | Comments Off

Sierra Leone resorts to scare-tactics campaign in Freetown to curb Ebola

Western area surge will use tactics used in UK drink-driving campaigns to scare people into changing their behaviour Continue reading…
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Posted in Africa, Ebola, Health, Sierra Leone, Society, World Health Organisation, World news | Comments Off

The Tories’ plan for poor people: stop them breeding

Iain Duncan Smith’s call for ‘behavioural change’ revives an old party trope of sneering at the lower orders

There can rarely have been a better fit for Ebenezer Scrooge than Iain Duncan Smith. He told Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Sunday Politics that he wants child benefit limited to a family’s first two children. It would save money and prompt “behavioural change”.

For a country already failing to replace its population, with just 1.9 babies per woman, dissuading child-bearing is a mistaken and nasty ambition. When Scrooge asks, “Are there no workhouses?” he is told that many would rather die than go into one. “If they would rather die,” Scrooge replies, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

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Posted in austerity, Business, Economic policy, Economics, Family finances, Iain Duncan Smith, Money, Pay, Politics, Social exclusion, Society, UK news, Work & careers, World news | Comments Off

Seven ways to end loneliness

As Christmas approaches, not everyone will be among loved ones but individuals and authorities can all do their bit to help

In the run-up to Christmas most of us make the extra effort to spend time with our family and friends – and this time with loved ones reminds us of those who are sadly without such companionship. A recent BBC poll revealed that 10% of those aged over 65 expect to spend Christmas mostly on their own and, using established research into the prevalence of loneliness, it’s estimated that about 1,100,000 older people in the UK feel lonely all or most of the time. Of course, loneliness can occur at any age: in 2010, the Mental Health Foundation discovered that more than a third of young people between 18 and 34 worried about feeling lonely.

We have seen a huge amount of awareness this year about the need to help people who spend Christmas alone, but we must sound a note of caution: loneliness is a serious public health issue that must be addressed all year round. As the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said, loneliness and isolation is as “bad for you” as “smoking 15 cigarettes a day” and “worse than obesity”.

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Posted in Charities, Christmas, Health, Health & wellbeing, Health policy, Life and style, Mental health, Older people, Politics, Public services policy, Society, Voluntary sector, World news | Comments Off

Why do doctors get such a hard time in songs?

A new paper for the BMJ looks at medics’ portrayals in songs from everyone from the Beatles to Leonard Cohen. And it doesn’t look good

Why do doctors get such a raw deal in rock’n’roll? It’s a question very few of us have ever bothered to give the grave attention it deserves. However, at long last, a pair of medics have made an in-depth study of the matter, published in this week’s British Medical Journal.

“Empathy for doctors is rare,” complain writer Rob Stepney and medical student Nick Surawy Stepney, in their essay “Healer, dealer, heart stealer: portrayals of the doctor in popular music”. Surveying the history of rock’n’roll, which is strewn with references to the profession, they find that doctors are called out on countless occasions for lyrical emergencies – only to find themselves depicted as creeps and villains.

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Posted in Culture, Doctors, GPs, Health, Music, NHS, Society, World news | Comments Off

Which health websites can you trust?

With online health advice ranging from the helpful to the hysterical, where should you turn when illness strikes? Health experts share the websites they recommend

Picture the moment. It is 3am and you have a really bad stomach ache. You are scared and in pain. “Time for Drs Google, Yahoo or Bing,” you think, typing your symptoms in to your favourite search engine. In England alone, there are 50,000 organisations offering web-based help in health and social care. They range from the evidence-laden to the random, the sensible to the crazed, and the helpful to the hysterical.

So how to make sense of it all? Nearly all of us – 87% in both the UK and the US – use the internet, and searching for health information is one of the most popular activities. More than 80% of internet users seek health information or advice. The information is plentiful and free: only 2% of those seeking health information online in the US, for example, pay for it. But we are obviously wary – or perhaps healthily sceptical – of what we read online. A US survey by the Pew Research Center showed that the vast majority of people still ultimately rely on a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice, 60% also ask relatives and friends and nearly a quarter ask people with the same condition.

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Posted in Health, Health & wellbeing, Life and style, Society, Technology, World news | Comments Off

Muna Hassan: ‘One of us mentioned vaginas and Michael Gove went really red!’

The young anti-FGM campaigner who told David Cameron to ‘grow a pair’ has helped to get the issue on the political agenda this year

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Posted in Female genital mutilation (FGM), Health, Health & wellbeing, Politics, Society, UK news, Women, World news | Comments Off