UK
19/11/2013 03:51 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Morning Headlines: NHS Staffing, Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge And Typhoon Aid

PA
Sunrise in central London

'SAFE STAFFING' ORDER FOR TRUSTS

Hospital bosses are to be forced to set safe staffing levels on wards in a bid to prevent another care crisis similar to the one at Stafford Hospital.

From next April, each hospital trust will have to publish staffing levels on a ward-by-ward basis, including the percentage of shifts that meet safe staff levels, the Department of Health (DH) said.

And trust boards will have to publicly examine staffing levels, a spokeswoman said.

THINK-TANK URGES MORE NHS CHARGES

Ministers should consider extending prescription charges, as well as introducing new fees for visits to NHS GP surgeries and some elements of hospital care, to raise £3 billion a year for the health service, a think-tank has said.

In a report, Reform noted that many other countries charge for elements of healthcare which are free at the point of use in England. New charges on a greater range of prescriptions could raise £1.4 billion, charges for GP visits £1.2 billion and hospital care charges £200 million, said the report.

The think-tank recommended that any reform should include exemptions for people on low incomes - but not necessarily for all pensioners.

£29m FOR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE SCHEME

Millions of pounds are to be made available for measures to bring offenders and victims together - including face-to-face confrontations.

At least £29 million will be made available over the next three years for restorative justice - the process of bringing those whose lives have been ruined by crime or conflict together with those responsible for the harm.

A recent study by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) linked the conferencing process with a 14% cut in re-offending, while 85% of victims who took part said they were satisfied with the experience.

CHECK KIDS' MOBILES, PARENTS WARNED

Parents are putting their children at risk of sexual abuse by failing to carry out basic checks on their mobile phones, a report has warned.

The study into child sexual exploitation found a lack of understanding among families that paedophiles often try to contact children through the mobile devices.

Smartphones are now a "key tool" used by sex offenders targeting children, according to Pace (Parents Against Child Exploitation), which commissioned the study along with Virtual College's Safeguarding Children e-academy.

DUKE AND DUCHESS TO VISIT CHARITY

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will today visit a crime prevention charity that supports prisoners, ex-offenders and young people.

William and Kate will spend time at the Only Connect head office in north London to find out about its work, which sees it reaching 10,000 young people at risk of offending every year, along with hundreds of adults.

Only Connect carries out programmes in prisons and schools across the capital, and an independent report has shown that it more than halves the expected rates of reoffending.

LOTTERY FUND £5m TYPHOON AID PLEDGE

The Big Lottery Fund is donating up to £5 million to help the relief effort in the Philippines after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

The organisation, which distributes funds for good causes raised through lottery ticket sales, said it will make the cash available to UK-based charities working with communities in the disaster-ravaged country.

It comes after a host of celebrities, including chef Jamie Oliver, actor Alan Rickman and boyband One Direction took part in a telethon at London's BT Tower to help a donation campaign.

MOTORIST IN COURT OVER ACCIDENT

A motorist who tweeted about an alleged accident involving a cyclist will go on trial today.

Trainee accountant Emma Way, 21, from Watton, Norfolk, will appear at Norwich Magistrates' Court accused of careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident. She denies the allegations.

Speaking after an earlier hearing, her solicitor, Simon Nicholls, said: "She says she was not driving carelessly on that day and that because of that she was under no obligation to report an accident."

SPY CULTURE 'OUT OF CONTROL' - PEER

The technology used by Britain's intelligence agencies is "out of control", former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has warned.

Lord Ashdown, a former special forces soldier and spy, called for an inquiry to address questions of privacy in the digital age.

He said surveillance should be targeted against individuals or groups, not against "the whole nation" as recent operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden were.

MINISTERS' DECISIONS 'HARM NATURE'

Ministerial decisions are "more likely to harm nature than to support it", experts have warned as they published research that found the Government is failing to meet nearly one third of its own environmental targets.

In an annual audit of the Coalition's pledges on wildlife and the countryside, charities found nine out of 25 key commitments were not being met while good progress had been made on just four.

Wildlife and Countryside Link's report raised serious concerns about the impact of controversial planning reforms on green belt land and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, warning that protections for such areas are "uncertain" and do not appear to be a priority.

BODY IN WELL WAS BEATEN AND BOUND

A man whose body was found in a well had been assaulted and tied up, police said.

Detectives believe the body, which was discovered by workmen at an address in Audley Drive, Warlingham, Surrey, on Friday, had been in the well for about two years.

A post-mortem examination on Sunday did not discover a caused of death, but did reveal that the body, confirmed as that of a white man, had injuries consistent with an assault before it was bound up and placed in the well by an unknown person, Scotland Yard said.