Tag Archives: care

Cyril Smith inquiry: PM’s pledge on ex-Rochdale MP’s documents

Cyril Smith
Image caption Cyril Smith was a governor at Knowl View

Prime Minister Theresa May has made assurances documents relating to the late Cyril Smith will not be withheld.

An inquiry is investigating alleged sexual abuse of boys by the former Rochdale MP in care institutions.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy told the Commons she received a letter from Ms May stating security services work would “not prevent information being shared”.

The Labour MP said Home Secretary Amber Rudd had told her some papers would be held back for “national security”.

Rochdale abuse inquiry: What has been revealed?

Ms Nandy said: “Last month in this house, the home secretary told me that some papers would be withheld from the Cyril Smith inquiry for national security reasons.

“This week the prime minister has written to me to say we are clear that the work of the security services will not prevent information being shared with other such inquires.

She added: “So can she can confirm to the survivors of Cyril Smith who have waited for justice for decades that she was wrong and that the prime minister is right?”

Ms Rudd replied: “I am happy to confirm the prime minister is always right and I will certainly look carefully at the letter that she has received to ensure that we comply with it.”

Smith was a Liberal MP for Rochdale between 1972 and 1992.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has heard allegations of abuse at Cambridge House hostel and Knowl View residential school, where he was a governor.

It will publish its findings next year.


New plan announced to prevent suicides in Bradford

A new initiative starts today to drive down suicide rates in Bradford.

Organisations including Bradford District Care Trust are joining forces with other mental health providers, emergency services, local councils and voluntary community groups to adopt a zero suicide approach. The partners are coming together across the whole of West Yorkshire and the Harrogate area to work on a plan to reduce suicide by 10 per cent and as much as 75 per cent in targeted areas.

Simon Long, interim deputy director of mental health acute and community services at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust was fully committed to the joint strategy.

The plan, which was going to be announced today in Wakefield, sets out how people at risk will be identified sooner rather than later and before it’s too late.

Danny Sculthorpe, ex-professional rugby league player and trustee of the charity State of Mind, was due to talk about his experiences of living with mental health and the impact this has had on his work, life and family. The initiative includes plans to develop a real time system to identify apparent suicides, as well as a high risk decision making tool to help GPs, social workers, commissioners, and those working in communities work better together.

It also sets out how technology can help by developing an innovative suicide prevention phone app, improving suicide bereavement services and providing better care for children, young people and adults at risk of self-harm and suicide.

“We are delighted to have contributed to the development of the West Yorkshire wide suicide prevention strategy. We will continue to work with public and private sector agencies to look at new ways of making suicide prevention a central focus and to create an awareness and support for actions that prevent suicide,” said Mr Long.

In England, nearly 100 people a week die by suicide. In 2015, the Yorkshire and Humber region had the highest suicide rate in England. It is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 and the biggest killer of men under the age of 50.

Mike Doyle, deputy director of nursing and quality in South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and regional lead for suicide prevention, said: “This new approach of bringing agencies together to work collaboratively has already achieved dramatic results internationally and will encourage a culture change across West Yorkshire and Harrogate in the way we view and treat suicide. It will provide coordinated support to local people and aim to reduce the number of suicides significantly.”

One scheme already being run in partnership between Bradford District Care Trust, Bradford Council and a Shipley-based mental health charity is a crisis care service called Haven. The day-time service at The Cellar Trust in Farfield Road, is an alternative to A&E for vulnerable people in distress who are having a mental health crisis. The idea is to make sure people get help earlier and have the best chance of a brighter future.

Muckamore Abbey Hospital: Four staff members suspended

Muckamore Abbey Hospital
Image caption The hospital cares for adults with an intellectual disability, behavioural or mental health problems

Four staff members have been suspended from Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Antrim while police investigate allegations of the “ill-treatment” of patients.

The BBC understand it centres on the care of at least two patients.

Muckamore Abbey Hospital provides acute inpatient care to adults with an intellectual disability, behavioural or mental health problems.

A spokesperson for the Belfast Health Trust said that an incident had come to light several months ago.

“Following concerns identified in relation to the conduct of a small number of staff in Muckamore Abbey Hospital, Belfast Trust has placed four members of staff on precautionary exclusion from work while a full internal investigation is undertaken,” it said.

Families of other long-term patients are being kept informed of the investigation.

The Belfast Trust says it has introduced additional measures and is assured of the ongoing safety and care of the community of patients in the hospital.

Det Ch Insp Tracey Mageean said: “We can confirm that we are working with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust regarding a number of allegations into ill treatment of patients at a hospital facility in Antrim.

“This is a live investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.

“The safeguarding of any vulnerable victim is a priority for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

Chancellor urged to back Bradford in his Autumn Budget

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe has urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to deliver “a fair deal for the Bradford district” in his Autumn Budget on Wednesday.

Councillor Hinchcliffe said: “It’s time for a radical change of direction because people in Bradford deserve the same opportunities and investment as people anywhere else in the country.”

She said he could address the north-south divide by investing in Bradford’s communities, public services, social care, ease demand pressures on the NHS and provide capital resources to support local investments which “can deliver huge returns” and unlock economic growth, for example in enterprise zones, high-speed rail, regeneration projects, skills and employment.

She added: “Bradford is globally connected, we are among the UK’s top exporters. We are home to over half a million people and we are the youngest city in the UK with a quarter of residents aged under 16 and they are the future of the northern powerhouse.

“We have 17,000 businesses and a £9.5 billion economy. We have high business start-up rates, which reflects a tradition of industry and entrepreneurialism. Bradford can be a great asset to a post-Brexit Britain.

“The Council is working with businesses, communities and partners to attract more investment, improve infrastructure, connect more people to the economy, lead the resurgence of our city centre and support the growth of our manufacturing, digital and health and care sectors. Collectively we are working hard to promote Bradford as a place of choice in which to live, work, study, invest and to visit.

“We’ve been ambitious in the plans we’ve submitted to him but at the same time they are perfectly achievable proposals which will deliver a clear return on investment for the public purse. This week’s Budget gives the Chancellor his opportunity to address the north-south divide by investing in our communities and public services which have been hammered so hard by his government’s austerity programme.”

Man, 42, jailed for leading police on high-speed chase through housing estate

A CRACK cocaine user who was involved in a high-speed pursuit around a housing estate only nine days after being given police bail has been jailed for 22 months.

In August, 42-year-old Craig Stanley breached a restraining order by assaulting his partner at her Shipley home, but just over a week later he sped away from police after he being spotted driving a Vauxhall Meriva without insurance and without a licence.

Prosecutor Patrick Palmer told Bradford Crown Court on Monday that during the pursuit, which started shortly before 11pm on a Saturday, Stanley drove at up to 70mph in 30mph zones and went through a red light on the wrong side of the road.

Mr Palmer said Stanley was effectively doing “circuits” of the Holme Wood estate before he eventually crashed into a parked van.

“The defendant still managed to keep driving for a short distance before he stopped and attempted to run off,” said Mr Palmer.

The court heard that Stanley already had more than 30 convictions for nearly 70 offences on his record although he had no previous offences of dangerous driving.

At a hearing earlier this month Stanley, of Hall Street, Shipley, admitted breaching the restraining order and assaulting his partner and yesterday he was sentenced for those matters together with the dangerous driving, driving without a licence and without insurance.

Solicitor advocate Andrew Walker, for Stanley, conceded that his client had problems with Class A drugs, but he said the defendant had tried to address the addiction with a degree of success following his release from a previous jail sentence in May.

Mr Walker said Stanley’s use of crack cocaine was the catalyst for the domestic violence offences, but his partner was still standing by him.

He urged Judge Jonathan Rose to consider suspending the inevitable prison sentences saying that Stanley was now at a crossroads in his life.

But the judge said Stanley had an unenviable record and the restraining order imposed by the court appeared to have had no impact on him whatsoever.

Judge Rose said the dangerous driving offence committed while on bail indicated that Stanley did not care one jot for the law.

He ordered the forfeiture of the Vauxhall car used by Stanley in the incident and jailed him for 14 months on the dangerous driving.

But the judge added a further eight months to the sentence for the assault matters and breaching the restraining order.

Stanley was also banned from driving for three years and he must take and pass an extended driving test at the end of the disqualification period.

Dame Katherine Grainger urges improvements in athlete welfare

Dame Katherine Grainger is Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete and the first British woman to win medals at five successive Games

UK Sport chair and Olympic gold medallist Dame Katherine Grainger has urged British sports to improve athlete welfare.

Several governing bodies are embroiled in bullying allegations and Grainger said they must “rise to the challenge” of improving high-performance culture.

The 42-year-old rower, who won rowing gold at London 2012, said there was “a lot more to do” on duty of care, and that this would mean more medals, not fewer.

It comes as UK Sport releases new guidance to coaches and staff on how to treat athletes with more respect.

The funding agency says coaching staff will be given guidance on four so-called “golden threads” of a positive and winning sporting culture – inspiration, integrity, the pursuit of excellence, and respect – tailored to “12 critical moments in an athlete’s journey through their sport”.

What is the background?

UK Sport’s ‘no-compromise’ funding strategy, which allocates money according to medal potential, has been credited with transforming the country’s Olympic and Paralympic fortunes.

But months of negative headlines involving athlete complaints have raised fears that medal success has come at the expense of welfare.

Last week, British Gymnastics became the latest governing body to be dragged into the crisis, after inquiries into duty of care standards at British Cycling,British Swimming,British Canoeing,GB Taekwondo and the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association among others.

Commonwealth champion Dan Keatings told BBC Sport he experienced a culture of “bullying and manipulation” throughout his time as a British gymnast, and several of his former team-mates are in dispute with the governing body over their refusal to sign new contracts.

Last month, MPs on a parliamentary select committee were told that British athletes were threatened with not being selected if they spoke out about classification concerns in Paralympic sports.

Meanwhile, Jess Varnish is suing British Cycling and UK Sport after she claimed to be the victim of bullying and discrimination when she was dropped from the Olympic squad last year.

If her lawyers successfully argue that she should have had employee status as a competitor and therefore better protections, the case could have major ramifications for all contracted athletes who are funded by UK Sport.

‘There is a lot more to do’

“I recognise and accept that there have been a number of difficult issues across a range of sports in recent months that have challenged our system, and we have to rise to that challenge,” said Grainger, who became one of the most powerful figures in British sport when appointed in July.

“These issues do not take away from the achievements of our athletes and coaches, but neither can we brush them under the carpet or just hope that they go away.

“We have to aim to be the best in the world at athlete welfare, culture, governance and integrity just as we aim to be so in performance.

“And we have to be seen to be the best in order to maintain public trust and pride in our achievements.”

June 2017: Athlete welfare a huge concern – UK Sport chair Grainger

UK Sport has already appointed a new head of integrity and says it has conducted a review of policies across the high performance system.

It is also understood to be considering more funding for the British Athletes Commission.

Last week the sports minister Tracey Crouch said she was open to appointing an independent ombudsman to investigate cases of bullying and discrimination, a key recommendation of Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson’s duty of care review earlier this year.

“We have done a lot already but there is a lot more to do,” added Grainger. “In particular we have to concentrate on putting these new and improved policies into action.

“Getting our culture right is simply the right thing to do. This isn’t about putting welfare before performance because there isn’t a choice between the two.

“I genuinely believe that a better culture will lead to a stronger system and that in turn will help improve performances.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirm Caldey Island sex abuse reports

Caldey Abbey

Dyfed-Powys Police has told BBC Wales it received reports of historical sexual abuse perpetrated by a monk on Caldey Island in the 1970s and 1980s.

The force investigated in 2014 and 2016 but could not prosecute as the monk, Father Thaddeus Kotik, died in 1992.

The Guardian newspaper has reported that Caldey Abbey has paid compensation to six women who were abused as children.

BBC Wales has attempted to contact Caldey Abbey in Pembrokeshire.

Court papers seen by The Guardian said Kotik carried out the abuse between 1972 and 1987 and the women, who were on holiday at the time, believe there may be many more victims.

Kotik worked in the abbey’s dairy and befriended families who regularly visited the island.

After gaining the trust of parents he would babysit the children and sexually abuse them, the papers suggest.

The women, who are not identified, said the abbey knew about the offences and failed to report Kotik to the police.


In civil proceedings against the abbey, they said it was liable for the alleged assaults which occurred on its property by Kotik who was charged with the safekeeping and care of the children.

The women said that Kotik “terrified them into silence” and said if they told anyone their parents would not want them and leave them on the island with him.

In 2014, one of the women e-mailed the current abbot of Caldey Abbey, Brother Daniel van Santvoort, and told him that the effect of the abuse had been catastrophic.

She said: “Father Thaddeus’ perversion has left me with ongoing feelings and experience of severe anxiety, fear, guilt and sadness.

“I have lived my life feeling a deep and misunderstood level of self-hatred and an inability to trust and believe in another person truly loving me.”

The Guardian reports Brother Daniel had heard allegations previously about Kotik and in response he wrote: “I have heard occasionally about this serious matter as regards Father Thaddeus.”

He told her that the monastery knew about his offences and that he had been banned from contact with islanders and visitors in the 1980s but it had not been reported to the police.

“I am fully aware now of this terrible criminal offence and Father Thaddeus should have… been handed over to the police – something that never happened,” he added.

Brother Daniel forwarded the e-mails to Dyfed-Powys Police who asked for a formal statement which she submitted.

However, they did not contact her again.

In response, a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that in 2014 and 2016 we received reports of non-recent sexual abuse that occurred at Caldey Island with the named offender being the deceased Thaddeus Kotik.

“These reports were recorded as crimes and victims contacted by police.

“During the investigation, information was obtained to confirm that the perpetrator was deceased and therefore a prosecution was not possible.

Appropriate professional support was offered and the matter was drawn to a close.

“Dyfed-Powys Police always encourages anyone who has suffered abuse to come forward and report it by calling 101.”

Brother Daniel apologised to the woman but, according to the Guardian, during the legal proceedings the abbey claimed it had no knowledge of the abuse.

‘Apology request’

The Guardian reported it also argued there was an “evidential disadvantage” in that none of the monks at the abbey during the time of the allegations were still alive and claimed it was not liable as the priest was not employed by the abbey to provide care for children.

The defence therefore required the claimants to prove each offence.

According to the Guardian, it also argued that the victims were out of time to sue for damages and it was not possible for the abbey to have a fair trial.

It is also reported that the abbey asked the court not to allow the claim because the seriousness of the allegations was likely to attract attention that may threaten the continued existence of the abbey.

The women accepted what the Guardian describes as “meagre” compensation payments and received no apology.

The solicitor representing the women, Tracey Emmott, told The Guardian: “It took the issuing of court proceedings before the out of court settlements were offered and even then my client’s request for a formal apology as part of the settlement package was never forthcoming.”

Primary school children get elderly pen pals from local care homes

For a generation of children used to tablets and emojis, hand written letters might seem like something consigned to the history books.

But teachers at one primary school think pupils are missing out by not putting pen to paper, the way their grandparents did.

The school in Kidderminster has teamed up with two local care homes to launch an inter-generational pen pal scheme.

Social care: MPs seek cross-party group to ‘sustain’ NHS

Woman helps man walk with a stickImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The MPs argue that only a cross-party approach can deliver a sustainable settlement

Ninety MPs have signed a letter calling on the prime minister to set up a cross-party convention on the future of the NHS and social care in England.

They say a non-partisan debate is needed to deliver a “sustainable settlement” to fund social care costs.

The letter to Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond said patients were being “failed” by the system.

A government spokesperson said it was “committed” to making the sector sustainable.

The government had already provided an additional £2bn to social care over the next three years, the spokesperson added.

Non-partisan approach

One-third of the MPs who have signed the letter are Conservative.

They include Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health select committee, former education secretary Nicky Morgan and Andrew Mitchell, a minister under the last government.

Tories George Freeman, former policy adviser to Mrs May and Sir Nicholas Soames, are other signatories.

Labour MPs to sign include Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Hilary Benn, Frank Field and Caroline Flint.

Among the Liberal Democrats to have signed are Sir Vince Cable, Sir Ed Davey, Tim Farron and Norman Lamb.

A similar initiative with a much smaller group of MPs launched earlier in the year demanded “swift” action – and resulted in a meeting with Downing Street officials.

The latest letter, now backed by a broader range of senior parliamentarians, said the general election had interrupted these plans.

“The need for action is greater now than ever,” it said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption MPs told Mr Hammond and Mrs May that people needing care were “too often failed”

The letter argued that only a cross-party NHS and social care convention – a forum for non-partisan debate – could deliver a sustainable settlement for these services where conventional politics had failed to do so.

“We understand that fixing this is immensely challenging and involves difficult choices,” the MPs said.

“We all recognise, though, that patients and those needing care are too often failed by a system under considerable strain.”

The letter urges the government to address short-term pressure in the health system in next week‘s Budget – and to establish a cross-party process to work out longer term solutions.

Councils have complained that the government has not given them enough money to plug shortfalls in social care funding.

A growing older population, and greater demand for care and nursing homes, has put pressure on local authorities.

‘Kicked down the road’

The government said MPs were already going to be consulted on social care, ahead of it publishing a green paper policy statement next year.

A government spokesperson said: “We have announced a cross-government green paper on care and support for older people with input from a group of independent experts.

“We recognise that there is broad agreement across parliament that reform for social care is a priority and look forward to hearing a range of views.”

NHS Health Check: Which local services are under threat?

But Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare system, said promises to reform funding were being “kicked down the road”.

He said: “The government promised reform before the election, then said there would be a green paper before Christmas.

“Now it has been put off until summer next year – and even then we are not being promised firm commitments.”

Events turn spotlight on babies born too early

CITY Hall has turned purple to recognise the hundreds of babies born too soon in Bradford.

On Friday staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Neonatal Unit (NNU) who care for around 500 babies every year were also marking the day with all things purple to raise awareness of babies born early needing special care.

Guests invited along to the unit on the day included the Lord Mayor of Bradford Abid Hussain and Gemma Collins-Ellis, an ambassador for UK premature and sick baby charity BLISS.

The awareness day also saw the start of the unit’s new rucksack welcome packs given to all mums arriving at NNU.

The rucksacks contain hats, blankets and nappies for the babies encouraging parents to get involved with their babies as soon as possible. They also have basic items for mums like toiletries.

Senior Neonatal Sister, Suzi Minchella said: “Often mums don’t have time to plan or get organised when babies are brought into the neonatal unit so these items can help.

“The welcome packs also help to bring a sense of normality to surroundings which at first can seem very daunting.”

Families past and present were also been invited to take part in the day.

Sister Minchella added: “It’s lovely to see past families coming back with their babies and young children who are now thriving.

“It’s also really helpful for families of the babies who are on the unit at present to meet them as it gives them hope and encouragement on what can sometimes be a long journey before they can take their babies home.”

Bradford’s neonatal unit cares for around 500 babies each year from around the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Last year the unit was one of the first in the UK to use an innovative video-link bringing parents and their tiny new tots together – even when they are apart.

An innovation called BabyView means parents are able to see their baby on a PC screen, an iPad or tablet and even on a smartphone, just by linking to the web address on their internet browser or by downloading an app which helps take away some worry and anxiety.

While an estimated 15 million babies around the world are born prematurely each year. One million of them do not survive their early birth.

Bradford Hospital’s Charity helped the unit organise events and bring in donations from around the district.

A wishlist of toys and equipment including cot mobiles, soothers, books and babygrows as well as sensory lights has been put together on Amazon to help the unit give a homely feel for parents and babies. It can be found at

A wish tree for parents to hang handmade tags, recording their hopes and wishes for their babies and the unit is also being planned.

Money raised by the Awareness Day will be split equally between the Trust’s Children’s Charity (Neonatal Trust Fund) and BLISS.