Newswire: We need to ‘join the mission and boldly go’ - The UK should have involvement in both human and robotic elements of space exploration if it wants to play a full & active role in the unique opportunities that will define space exploration during this century.
This is one of several recommendations made in a report published recently by the UK Space Exploration Working Group (SEWG), an advisory committee established by the UK Government’s British National Space Centre (BNSC).
The SEWG was tasked in January this year to review current worldwide plans for space exploration as defined by the Global Exploration Strategy – an international initiative that involves 14 national space agencies including the UK - which outlines the ambitions of the world’s space-faring nations including China, Russia, India and Japan.
The Global Exploration Strategy heralds a new era of exploration that will see humans and robots working in partnership on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars, while fleets of unmanned probes venture out across the far reaches of the solar system.
Commenting on the report’s recommendations Professor Keith Mason, Chair of UK Space Board and CEO of The Science and Technology Facilities Council (a key partner in BNSC) said: “The working group has produced a comprehensive report and set of recommendations which will contribute and feed into the new UK Civil Space Strategy currently being developed by BNSC and scheduled for publication this autumn”.
DH: Matron comes back as a Regulator - A new hospital regulator with powers to impose fines and close down entire wards in hospitals that do not meet hygiene requirements will be introduced and hospitals across England will undergo an aggressive programme of intensive deep cleaning.
Trusts already undertake deep cleaning programmes on a ward-by-ward basis, but this will be the first time hospitals have been asked to deep clean their entire site restoring surfaces and fabrics as close as possible to their ‘original’ condition.
The deep cleaning could cost as much as £50m, but Strategic Health Authorities will be expected to manage the funding of this programme from within their own regional financial plans. The government claims that each of the ten SHAs has the resources to do this in this financial year.
The new regulator is intended to have a much stronger focus on safety & quality across all health and adult social care services, in both the NHS and independent sector. It will replace three existing bodies (Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission), building on their existing experience & expertise and simplifying cross-boundary working.
The proposals to create the new regulator will be introduced in the Health & Social Care Bill in the next Parliamentary session, while Trusts will be expected to begin their deep cleaning programmes as soon as possible.
DCSF: Dealing with the dark side of an e-world – The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has launched an online cyberbullying campaign which also includes new guidance and a short film to help schools tackle bullies who use the internet or mobile phones to bully other children or abuse their teachers. It also published new guidance to teachers about how homophobic bullying can be addressed in schools and a summary of the Government's overall approach to bullying.
Estimates vary, but a recent study by the DCSF showed that up to 34% of 12-15 year olds had experienced some form of cyberbullying. There is also growing concern from teaching unions that school staff are increasingly becoming the victims of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can include posting upsetting or defamatory remarks about an individual online and name-calling or harassment using mobile phones. These may be general insults or include prejudice-based bullying. In other cases bullies physically assault other children and post images of fights online or send recordings via text messages to other people.
Defra: Switch bulbs if you can’t switch off - Defra has announced that the most energy-guzzling light bulbs in Britain will start disappearing from shop shelves early next year as part of efforts to cut CO2 emissions. This ‘voluntary’ initiative will see energy efficient light bulbs replace their least efficient equivalents on shop shelves over the next four years.
Its aim is to save up to 5m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2012 from UK electricity generation - the equivalent to the carbon emissions of a typical 1 Giga Watt coal fired power station.
Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock has also written to retailers to progress the initiative announced in Budget 2006 to encourage more energy efficient set top boxes and other consumer electronics, including setting targets to reduce stand-by power.
DCSF: Good policy, but will there be the staff resources to carry it out? – The Department for Children, Schools and Families, has announced a new programme of intensive support for writing in primary schools - Every Child A Writer. It also announced the roll out of intensive support and one-to-one tuition in reading & maths: Every Child A Reader (ECAR) and Every Child Counts (ECC).
The Government will spend £144m over the next three years into rolling out nationally the two programmes and claims that, by 2011, 30,000 seven-year-olds who need help with maths and 30,000 six-year-olds who have difficulty reading will get intensive one-to-one tuition through ECAR and ECC each year.
Every Child Counts will be a partnership between the Government and the new charity - Every Child a Chance – set up by the KPMG Foundation and a coalition of business partners, charitable trusts and others.
CRE: As always, it comes down to communication, communication, communication - The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has used its official powers to hold a Formal Investigation into regeneration schemes in England, Scotland and Wales.
In this, one of the most important pieces of work carried out by the CRE in its 30 year history, the impact of these schemes on local communities has been revealed. The report highlights the hidden human cost of regeneration schemes.
Billions of pounds of public money are being invested to create brighter futures for some of the most deprived areas in this country. However, this investigation has revealed that the communities that these schemes are affecting are not being properly involved in the process.
The report highlights that new buildings and public spaces must allow for interaction between different communities. However, the CRE found that often these schemes create further divisions between these groups.
Local authorities and public bodies have a key role to play in this process. They are the organisations that are uniquely placed to shape and revive the communities they serve.
Building on examples of effective regeneration, the report recommends how local authorities can put in place plans and governance structures to ensure race equality is embedded in the policy & practice of regeneration, so that it has a real impact on communities.
The CRE argues the need for strong local leadership in order to ensure that regeneration delivers benefits to all members of society. This issues a warning to the government and other national bodies that they must provide leadership & support for local authorities to help them achieve this.
HC: Remember, some day you might end up old and in hospital - The Healthcare Commission has called for NHS trusts to do more to ensure they consistently provide dignity in care to older people, including offering adequate nutrition and privacy.
Publishing a national report on dignity in care, the independent watchdog is warning NHS trusts of further checks, including unannounced visits, where there are clusters of evidence suggesting a problem at a hospital or on a ward. It is also asking patients, their carers and the public - and their representative bodies like Age Concern - to come forward and tell the Commission where they have reason for concern.
Examples of best practice included one trust that had introduced a new gown to protect patient modesty and another where senior nursing staff spent Fridays on the wards to better understand the challenges. But the Commission also found that in some cases, there were inadequate arrangements for providing privacy through curtains and locks on toilet & wash facilities.
The Commission’s inspections found not all trusts had clear policies relating to dignity issues for older people, including nutrition and privacy. The Commission recommends that attendance on training courses on equality, diversity and the practical aspects of dignity must be mandatory & be ongoing, not just available to staff at induction.
The inspections found that all trusts inspected had mechanisms for involving older people in their care but they were not always put into practice. Systems for involving older people & their carers from minority ethnic groups were not robust and there was a greater reliance on family members to provide translation in these cases.
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