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Society | The Guardian

  • ‘I knew the terror of lost time’: how my father’s dementia echoed my own alcoholism

    When my father began to forget words, and then basic skills, I sensed his fear. After my own alcoholic blackouts, I understood what he was going through

    The radio was playing in the background of my parents’ kitchen the first time my father forgot how to eat. It was July 2015 and the news was bad. My parents and I sat around the table where they had first taught me how to use a spoon. Though it was a mild night, my father huddled against the radiator for warmth.

    I can’t remember what to do, he said. He held his empty fork before him as though it were an alien object. What do I do, he asked, a tremor in his voice, with this? My mother’s fork was hidden in a twist of pasta that she had twirled up from her plate against the curve of her spoon, and he looked from it to his own in confusion. In the lamplight, fear changed the shape of his eyes. He knew a fork is not something you forget how to use.

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  • Disposable vapes should be banned to protect children, UK paediatricians say

    Single-use e-cigarettes growing in popularity among young people despite unknown health effects and environmental impact

    Children’s doctors are calling for an outright ban on disposable vapes to reduce their popularity among young people as the long-term impact on lungs, hearts and brains remains unknown.

    The government should ban single-use disposable vapes, which can be bought for just £1.99 and are most popular with young people, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has said.

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  • ‘It’s taught me everything about living’: Rachel Clarke on delivering palliative care from the NHS to Ukraine

    Ian Sample talks to Dr Rachel Clarke about her experience working in palliative care in the NHS and now with hospices in Ukraine. She tells him what dying can teach the living, what we can learn from the Covid pandemic, and reveals the anguish and defiance of trying to provide a dignified death in the midst of war

    Clips: BBC, Al Jazeera

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  • Revised report on impact of Covid lockdowns ‘adds little insight’

    Book based on May 2022 review ‘did lockdowns work?’ examines whether legally enforced interventions prevented deaths

    The overwhelming majority of academic studies have one chance to make a splash. Once that moment has passed – which tends to be when the paper is published – the spotlight moves on in the relentless search for new material.

    But not all studies adhere to that trend. Some return time after time. And it must come as no surprise that this happens most with reports that tackle questions of global importance, or that reach controversial conclusions, or manage to achieve both at once. As the Covid inquiry opens, the value of lockdowns is about as important as questions can get.

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  • Universities accused of hiding student suicide attempts behind GDPR

    Litany of ‘appalling’ safeguarding failures related at debate over need for legal duty of care for students

    Universities have been criticised for using data protection regulations as a reason for not informing parents that their child has attempted suicide, in a debate about whether there should be a legal duty of care for students in higher education.

    MPs taking part in the Westminster Hall debate were given a litany of examples of “appalling” behaviour by some universities, who were accused of telling students by email they would have to leave, awarding zero marks without explanation, and not calling emergency contact numbers in times of crisis.

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Community Care


Social Care Network | The Guardian

  • 'Don’t expect a survivor to tell you her experience of undergoing FGM'

    Specialist social workers explain how they support women and girls affected by the practice

    When social worker Sam Khalid [not her real name] first began working with women affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), she found there wasn’t much awareness of the brutal practice in the UK.

    She was in her first year at university, in 2011, on a placement with a Women’s Aid team. “The service I was placed in was just starting its FGM unit, and I learned about the practice and met and spoke to many survivors,” she says.

    This article was amended on 12 December 2018. An earlier version referenced statistics from a recent Guardian article which was taken down after the Guardian was notified of a fundamental error in the official data on which it was based.

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  • We want to attract the right people with the right values to social care | Caroline Dinenage

    New government recruitment campaign will raise the image and profile of the sector

    This year we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of our amazing NHS, but we must not forget that adult social care is also marking 70 years. The National Assistance Act 1948 that created many of the core elements of the modern social care system came into effect on the same day as the NHS act.

    In the NHS’s birthday month we have heard many stories of the dedicated nurses, doctors and support staff who have been saving and transforming lives across its seven decades. While these staff are rightly seen as the backbone of the NHS, hardworking care workers, nurses, social workers, managers and occupational therapists are, likewise, the foundation of the adult social care sector – and they have been on the same 70-year journey as colleagues in health. They are two sides of the same coin – inseparable and essential to each other.

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  • The UK project giving refugees another chance at childhood

    Young refugees face unspeakable trauma to get here. But a cross-charity initiative is helping them to rebuild their lives

    It is hard to be an adult when you feel like you haven’t had the chance to be a child.

    This simple statement has stayed with me over the last 12 months of working with young refugees and asylum seekers. Among them, a 17-year-old boy forced to sleep in a railway station for months; and another who witnessed the killing of his brother and father and escaped from his home country in fear of his life.

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  • UN: spend an extra £5tn by 2030 to tackle global 'care crisis'

    Report highlights risk of rising inequality against women worldwide

    The world economy faces a looming “care crisis” risking further division between men and women across the planet, according to a UN report calling for governments and companies worldwide to spend at least an extra $7tn (£5.3tn) on care by 2030.

    Making the case for spending on support for children, old people and the neediest in society to double by the end of the next decade, the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) warned demographic changes alone mean the current path for care funding falls far short of requirements.

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  • Theresa May got it wrong with her cash boost for the NHS. Here's why

    Assessing what the health service needs is essential before giving it more money to meet demand

    Four key things were missing from Theresa May’s announcement of extra money for the NHS.

    There was no admission that there is an NHS crisis that needs tackling. Or that money is needed now for both the the health service and social care. Without this emergency cash injection, there will be insufficient time and resource to make the necessary preparations to avoid a repeat – or indeed worsening – of last year’s winter crisis in the NHS and social care with the trail of waits, delays, suffering and extra deaths that accompanied it.

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Opinion | The Guardian

  • A campaign against inheritance tax led by a multimillionaire? These really are desperate times for the Tories | Polly Toynbee

    While ministers look to the Telegraph for policies and Nadhim Zahawi fights for the status quo, Labour has a bold, serious vision

    Governing parties in their death throes thrash about, gasping for life rafts and hunting through old lists to recapture the tried-and-tested vote-winners of yesteryear. The campaign by more than 50 Tory MPs and the Telegraph to abolish inheritance tax is a prime example. Didn’t it work its magic once before, when George Osborne spooked Gordon Brown out of calling an election in 2007 by promising a £1m threshold? Surely, therefore, it will work again in the Conservatives’ hour of desperate need?

    This time, Labour is not spooked. Far from it. Nothing could be more comic than the multimillionaire Nadhim Zahawi leading this campaign, the man whose only memorable moment in his brief chancellorship was being sacked for failing to declare an ongoing investigation into his personal tax affairs. A party of zillionaires campaigning against a tax that only the likes of them need to pay looks like clueless insouciance. It shows how far their feet have drifted from terra firma. Yet again, their trusty Telegraph has led them madly astray – as it always does.

    Polly Toynbee is a Guardian columnist

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  • Nicola Jennings on Vladimir Putin facing a counteroffensive – cartoon
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  • The Guardian view on Bruno and Dom’s legacy: defend nature’s defenders | Editorial

    One year after Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips were killed in the Amazon, their work explaining what is happening there goes on

    The decision by Brazilian police to charge two more men with the murders of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips, in the Javari valley region of the Amazon, brings the possibility of justice one step closer. To the three fishers already in custody for the shootings, which took place one year ago, have been added the alleged leader of a transnational illegal fishing network, Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, nicknamed Colombia (where he also has citizenship). A fourth fisher, Jânio Freitas de Souza, is alleged to have been one of Silva Villar’s henchmen on the Itaquaí river, where the killings took place.

    For friends and supporters of the two men’s work defending the Amazon and its Indigenous inhabitants, the investigation’s progress offers some relief. If such acts of violence go unpunished, criminal organisations that wield power in the Amazon will be further emboldened in their use. But even if convictions are secured, this will be the exception and not the rule when it comes to attacks on environmental defenders – defined by the United Nations as people who strive to protect human rights relating to nature.

    Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here.

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  • The Guardian view on asylum policy: cruelty is a feature not a bug of the system | Editorial

    Dehumanising language is key to legislating brutality for Rishi Sunak’s government

    Contrary to popular opinion, Britain is a country with few asylum seekers, in contrast with its comparable neighbours. Last year, it recorded 74,751 asylum applications. While this was the highest annual number for Britain since 2002, France had more than double that number and Germany more than three times as many. Rather than sharing the burden of the chaos in much of the world with rich-country peers, Rishi Sunak wants fewer asylum seekers.

    To do this he demonises those already here, and those coming on boats. The former are wrongly portrayed as merely economic migrants who have abused British hospitality for their own needs, creating backlogs and wasting state resources. The latter are customers of unscrupulous people smugglers. Dehumanising language is key to legislating brutality.

    Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here.

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  • Keir Starmer says he wants to empower local communities. The Jamie Driscoll affair suggests otherwise | Simon Jenkins

    Blocking the North of Tyne mayor from standing for Labour again shows how deep the party’s centralism runs

    It’s what they do, not what they say. All opposition leaders are localists until it matters. Keir Starmer said in January he wanted to “take back control” for local communities. The Labour leader wants them to have more say over jobs, transport, energy, climate change, housing, culture, childcare and finance. He wants to liberate what is now recognised as the most centralised state in Europe. So why, now, has the Labour leader decided that the people of the North of Tyne area will not be permitted to reselect their current mayor, Jamie Driscoll, to stand for Labour at the next election? Why did he agree in March that his predecessor as leader, Jeremy Corbyn, should not be reselected as MP for Islington North?

    Whatever the perceived misdeeds of these two politicians, surely these are matters for their respective communities to decide on. Come to that, I notice in the past few weeks that, despite his devolution speech, Starmer wants no devolution of power over council tax rises, local housing decisions or the siting of wind turbines, among other things. Nor will he tolerate any nonsense from Scottish people about “taking back control” of Scotland. He may want to move on “from slogans to solutions”, but whose solutions?

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