Thursday 19 June 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, June 19, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

NHS is the world's best healthcare system, says international panel of experts
The NHS has been declared the world's best healthcare system by an international panel of experts who rated its care superior to countries which spend far more on health. The same study also castigated healthcare provision in the US as the worst globally. Despite putting the most money into health, America denies care to many patients in need because they do not have health insurance and is also the poorest at saving the lives of people who fall ill, it found. Furthermore, the NHS spends the second-lowest amount on healthcare among the 11 – just £2,008 per head, less than half the £5,017 in the US. Only New Zealand, with £1,876, spent less. The UK came first out of the 11 countries in eight of the 11 measures of care the authors looked at. It got top place on measures including providing effective care, safe care, co-ordinated care and patient-centred care. The fund also rated the NHS as the best for giving access to care and for efficient use of resources. The only serious black mark against the NHS was its poor record on keeping people alive. On a composite "healthy lives" score, which includes deaths among infants and patients who would have survived had they received timely and effective healthcare, the UK came 10th. The authors say that the healthcare system cannot be solely blamed for this issue, which is strongly influenced by social and economic factors. GUARDIAN

Rabbit-hutch Britain: Growing health concerns as UK sets record for smallest properties in Europe
Britain is in the grip of an invisible housing squeeze with millions of people living in homes that are too small for them, according to new research which reveals that more than half of all dwellings are failing to meet minimum modern standards on size. The poorest households are being hit hardest, with estimates suggesting that four-fifths of those affected by the Coalition’s “bedroom tax” are already forced to contend with a shortage of space. The findings will put pressure on the Government, which announced it was to develop a national space standard – although this will only be enforced where it does not impinge on development. Critics argue that the UK already has the smallest properties in Europe following the end of national guidelines in 1980. The average floor space for a dwelling in the UK as a whole is currently 85 sq metres, whilst new-builds average only 76 sq metres – putting Britain at the bottom of a league table of 15 countries including Ireland, Portugal and Italy. When analysed by floor space instead of the number of rooms, 55 per cent of all homes fail to meet the industry-wide standards. Overcrowding causes health problems including depression, insomnia and asthma. INDEPENDENT

Credit Suisse and Yorkshire BS fined for selling financial product with “close to zero” chance of success
Credit Suisse designed a product, called "Cliquet", to provide a minimum return, with the apparent potential for getting back significantly more if the FTSE 100 performed consistently well. Both the banks had promoted the products' potential maximum return, which investors had almost no chance of getting, the Financial Conductor Authority (FCA) said. The FCA said that the probability of getting back a minimum return was between 40% and 50%, while the chance of a maximum return was "close to 0%". The product was sold to 83,777 people, typically people with limited investment experience. Tracey McDermott, FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "CSI [Credit Suisse] and YBS knew that the chances of receiving the maximum return were close to zero but they nevertheless highlighted this as a key promotional feature of the product. This was unacceptable." BBC NEWS

A third of UK households 'in poverty'? Research claims 18million struggle to afford decent housing, food and heating
Researchers found that the numbers ‘in poverty’ had increased sharply over the past 30 years from 14 per cent to 33 per cent of households despite the size of the economy doubling. The majority of children who suffer from multiple deprivations live with one or two siblings, with both parents, have at least one employed parent, and are white and live in England. 5.5 million adults go without essential clothing, 2.5 million children live in damp homes and 1.5 million children live in households that cannot afford to heat their home. The report is by the Poverty and Social Exclusion report funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Anti-poverty campaigners claim that full-time work is not always sufficient to escape poverty. Low wages and working conditions in many parts of the UK mean that one in six adults in paid work is suffering from a low income and cannot afford basic necessities. Whist wage growth remains low, full-time work is not sufficient to escape from poverty for a 'large number of people', with almost half the employed poor working 40 hours a week or more. DAILY MAIL

UK Uncut protesters blockade Vodafone stores across country
Anti-tax avoidance protesters UK Uncut held a series of demonstrations at Vodafone shops across the country on Saturday, claiming that they forced at least four to close. The demonstrators warned that more actions were planned in the coming weeks, with the Vodafone's AGM in late July thought to be a prime target. Groups targeted 10 Vodafone stores across the country, including the flagship Oxford Street shop in central London. Protesters descended on Vodafone outlets in Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow, as well as in Cornwall and Grimsby. They also targeted shops in Newbury, Norwich, Peterborough and St Albans on Saturday. They were protesting the tax avoidance schemes employed by Vodafone, a company that admitted in December 2013 that it has paid "little or no corporation tax" in the UK. Vodafone said it had closed only two stores in response to the protests. GUARDIAN

Half a million people now waiting for a passport after backlog DOUBLED in just three months as ministers 'lost control'
The backlog of passport applications threatening to ruin thousands of family holidays this summer almost doubled in just three months this year. Passport Office chief Paul Pugh admitted 480,000 people are now waiting for their travel documents - some 200,000 higher than last year. Mr Pugh, who revealed he earns £104,000 a year, blamed a 'substantially higher intake' of applications. But unions told MPs the figure was even higher. By June 8 the number of people waiting for their passport had hit 493,289, union chief Mike Jones told the Home Affairs Select Committee. Just 12 weeks earlier, the figure stood at 289,892. Jones said he wanted the 550 jobs cut since 2010 reinstated and a 'guarantee' of no more privatisation. He added: 'We've got a crisis caused by a lack of jobs.' In response to the crisis, the Passport Office has increased the number of examiners and call centre staff by a further 200 on top of the 1,000 staff already redeployed to deal with a surge in applications running at a 12-year high. Emergency staff earn up £70 an hour. Around 100 Home Office staff based in the North have been asked to move to the Liverpool Passport Office for up to two months. This is on top of the 250 backroom staff at the Passport Office which have already been redeployed to the front line. DAILY MAIL

Doctors urge WHO to rein in e-cigarettes market
More than 100 leading public health doctors and specialists from around the world have signed a letter to the director general of the World Health Organisation, Margaret Chan, calling for new controls on e-cigarettes and warning that they may be a stalking horse for the tobacco industry. The experts want the WHO to bring e-cigarettes under the same tight controls as tobacco products, with bans on advertising and promotion. They say there is insufficient evidence so far that e-cigarettes are harmless and can help people to quit smoking. Their biggest concern is that, if advertising and marketing are allowed, smoking will be "renormalised", undermining public smoking bans and undoing decades of effort to marginalise cigarettes and persuade people of the harm they do. GUARDIAN

Which? reveals record energy company complaints Complaints to the big six reach all time high
The latest figures on how many complaints the energy providers receive show that complaints are on the rise again. Npower is still worst - it received 450,000 complaints in the first three months of 2014 alone. A staggering 1.7 million complaints have been made to the major six energy providers in the first three months of 2014. This is the highest quarterly number of complaints received by the energy companies since consistent recording began at the end of 2012. WHICH

Victory for Ovo Energy customers as watchdog backtracks on decision to stop the supplier paying interest on bill overpayments
More than 13million households are in credit with their energy suppliers, according to price comparison website uSwitch. One in five is owed more than £100. But only Ovo and rival Scottish Power offer some kind of payment to customers whose money they hold on to. Last week, Ofgem caused outrage when it tried to ban the firm from paying 3 per cent interest on their balance to customers who have built up a credit. The bonus has made households more than £1million since 2010. It claimed the interest payment was too confusing and breaks its new rules on the number of discounts suppliers can offer. But in a U-turn the regulator now says it will make an exception and allow Ovo Energy to continue making this payment. This is a huge perk. Scottish Power currently rewards customers with up to £12 on overpaid balances between £133 and £500. DAILY MAIL


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