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Society | The Guardian

  • Obelisk celebrating pioneering Lady Mary Wortley Montagu given highest listing

    Aristocrat introduced smallpox inoculation to Britain, saving many lives, yet remains largely unknown

    It is a monument that celebrates the achievements of someone who would, her supporters say, be far better known if she had been a man.

    But now a 300-year-old obelisk is being given one of England’s highest listings because of the remarkable story it tells of an overlooked medical pioneer.

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  • Why are we still struggling to get contraception right? – podcast

    As the pill becomes available over the counter and free of charge in England, Madeleine Finlay talks to science correspondent Nicola Davis about the problems women in the UK face in getting access to appropriate contraception, and how unwanted side-effects and lack of support have led to a rise in the popularity of fertility awareness-based methods. She also hears from Katie about her own journey trying to find the right contraception for her body

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  • Huge delays to access maternal mental health care in England called a scandal

    Exclusive: NHS figures obtained by Labour reveal 11,507 women sought care but did not get any last year

    Almost 20,000 women a year living with mental health problems triggered by being pregnant or giving birth are being denied support by the NHS, the Guardian can reveal.

    Furthermore, those who do receive mental health help for their trauma are having to wait up to 19 months to start treatment in some parts of England because specialist services are so overstretched.

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  • Why are so many councils going ‘bankrupt’? – podcast

    Nottingham council is the latest to in effect declare itself bankrupt, and one in 10 county councils in England are at risk of following suit. What does it mean for the services that so many people rely on? Jessica Murray reports

    It happened in Woking, Croydon, Thurrock, Birmingham – and now Nottingham. All over England, local councils are issuing section 114 notices, in effect saying they have gone bust. But what does this mean in terms of the services they provide, and why is it happening?

    Jessica Murray is the Guardian’s Midlands correspondent and has been reporting on the pressures councils are facing. Council leaders say austerity has meant the funding they get from central government has been reduced. But the Conservatives claim bad management and risky investment by councillors is to blame.

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  • Pornography websites will have to check users’ ages, under draft guidelines

    Ofcom proposals will require online providers to seek proof of being over 18 to stop children accessing content

    Online pornography sites will be required to use age-checking measures to ensure users are over 18, under new guidelines.

    Communications watchdog Ofcom has launched a consultation under the Online Safety Act to stop children from accessing websites that display or publish pornographic content.

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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

  • We won’t stop speaking out about Gaza’s suffering – there is no climate justice without human rights | Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future Sweden

    Young climate activists haven’t ‘been radicalised’ – solidarity with marginalised people has always been at the heart of our message

    More than 15,000 people, of whom at least 6,000 were children. That’s how many people Israel has reportedly killed in the Gaza Strip in a matter of weeks – and those numbers are still rising. Israel has bombed basic societal infrastructure and civilian targets such as hospitals, schools, shelters and refugee camps. Israel has imposed a siege, preventing food, medicine, water and fuel from reaching the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the occupied Gaza Strip, leading Oxfam to accuse Israel of employing “starvation as a weapon of war”.

    Dozens of United Nations experts have described the situation as “a genocide in the making”, hundreds of international scholars have warned of an unfolding genocide and prominent Israeli genocide expert Raz Segal has called it “a textbook case of genocide”. But most of the world, particularly the so-called global north, is looking the other way.

    This article was written by:

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  • The Guardian view on Gaza’s devastation: don’t look away. See the bigger picture too | Editorial

    As Israel pursues Hamas, the horrifying cost to civilians demands our attention. The ramifications don’t end there

    We cannot and must not look away from what is happening in Gaza. Half its population was forced from the north by merciless bombardment; now the Israel Defense Forces’ attacks upon the south have intensified and dozens of tanks have entered. Adults and children alike anticipate their deaths. More than 15,900 people in Gaza have been killed already, the vast majority of them women and children, according to Palestinian officials. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has directed the military to act with “increasing force” in its pursuit of Hamas, this time facing an even larger, denser population in even more desperate circumstances.

    The IDF says its concern for civilians is evinced by its evacuation orders. Given the lack of power and connectivity, even the most assiduous would struggle to keep up with complex and fast-changing instructions – and this is a hungry, exhausted, grieving and traumatised population, many of whom have already moved multiple times. In any case, there is nowhere to go: “Safe places have no water, no sanitation, are often not safe anyway … They are not safe in hospitals, they are not safe in shelters,” James Elder, a Unicef spokesperson, said on Monday.

    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 a dismal inheritance: the UK does not need another bout of austerity | Editorial

    Fixing a broken economy with service-led growth and increases in public investment as well as welfare spending should be seriously considered

    Adam Smith, the father of economics, condemned as unproductive the labours of “churchmen, lawyers, physicians, men of letters of all kinds; players, buffoons, musicians, opera-singers, opera-dancers”. How wrong he turned out to be, says the Resolution Foundation thinktank. It points out that the creative industries accounted for 6% of the UK economy last year, and have grown faster than the UK economy overall since 2011.

    The report, Ending Stagnation, says the last 15 years of low growth and high inequality have seen a living standards gap worth £8,300 open up between typical households in Britain and those in France, Germany and the Netherlands. It suggests fixing this by growing the UK economy through its service sector – and the work of Smith’s “grave” lawyers and “frivolous” musicians – to pay for higher investment and higher benefits.

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  • Fight over the Elgin marbles casts a bad light on Rishi Sunak | Letters

    Readers respond to the British prime minister’s refusal to return the Parthenon sculptures to Greece, and his snub of the Greek prime minister over the issue

    Those who oppose the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece should see the remaining sculptures in the purpose-built Acropolis Museum in Athens, where – proudly displayed – they glow in the natural light for which they were created. Compare that with the British Museum’s dreary presentation – lifeless specimens languishing out of context in a grey, windowless hall – and there’s no question which is the better place for them.

    It is inconceivable that the British public care remotely as much for these marbles as the Greeks do – and imagine the joy, gratitude and benefit for our international reputation if we restored them to their home.

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  • Giving children books is good – but saving libraries for them is even better | Letters

    The lack of access to well-stocked libraries should concern us more than the number of children owning books, writes Prof Paul Sturges. Plus a letter from Jill Webster on a memorable teacher

    Your report quotes National Literacy Trust statistics showing that 8.6% of children do not own a book (Almost a million children in the UK do not own a book, 28 November). This was my own experience in the 1940s and 50s. However, both my mother and grandmother were regular readers. They did not own books, but used libraries. I was introduced to the local public library early on, and reading quickly became the centre of my life. I went on to become a librarian and worked in cooperation with national and international library organisations in later years after I became an academic.

    That so many children today do not own a book is disturbing, but it’s just as bad, or worse, that their access to libraries is shrinking. A number of local libraries have been closed under pretty much every local authority, and book budgets are terribly constrained. This denies children the access to the enormous range of books that libraries have been able to offer in the past. Ownership of a few books is really no substitute for this.
    Prof Paul Sturges
    Stanton by Bridge, Derbyshire

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