Due to the upcoming Bank Holiday, the next newsletter will be published on Wednesday 01 June 2011
Defra: We need to plan & prepare for both too much and too little rain - This Spring’s intense dry spell is a sign of things to come and water companies need to be prepared to avoid water shortages, Environment Minister Lord Henley warned recently.
The recent dry weather which saw just 24% of the average rainfall for April is likely to become a more frequent occurrence in the future due to the impacts of climate change. Therefore long term planning is needed to ensure sufficient water is available during hotter, drier summers.
Lord Henley issued the warning as Defra published reports from each water utility company which identify the risks that climate change will pose to their service, and what actions they are taking to address them.
It follows a drought summit called by Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman on Monday with water companies, farming groups and environmental organisations to make sure the country is prepared for the possibility of drought conditions following the long dry spell.
The research identified 3 areas of particular concern:
* Employment: People from many ethnic minorities are proportionately less likely to enter employment, be paid equal salaries, and be promoted, than their White British counterparts, meaning it is harder for them to escape poverty
* Location: Where you live has a huge impact on how likely you are to escape poverty
* Care: Changing demographics mean that caring responsibilities are going to alter in the near future. A study in Birmingham suggested that by 2026, 1 in 4 people over 65 will be from minority ethnic groups (the current figure is 1 in 8). This could have big implications for care services providers
Following the findings of this review, the JRF is launching a £1.3m programme on poverty & ethnicity in the UK. Over the next 5 years it will investigate the reasons for the links between poverty & ethnicity in the areas identified above.
TKF: Is the government listening? - The King’s Fund has called for significant changes to the government’s health reforms to enable the NHS to provide a ‘new model’ of care that meets the challenges of the future. In its response to the government’s listening exercise on the Health and Social Care Bill, the Fund says it supports the need for reform, but argues that it must be based on a clear diagnosis of NHS performance and the challenges it faces.
It calls for the NHS to be re-orientated to deliver a new model of ‘integrated’ care, based on stronger collaboration between health professionals and more effective co-ordination of services.
The response argues that integrated care offers the best prospect of improving services for patients and addressing the key challenge facing the NHS – demographic change and the increasing number of people with long-term conditions such as diabetes, asthma and dementia.
It draws on evidence from the NHS and the United States showing that integrated care delivers better outcomes for patients with long-term conditions and improves the quality of specialist services such as cardiac, cancer and stroke care.
Newswire – HPA: All right so far - The Health Protection Agency, Environment Agency and Northern Ireland Environment Agency monitoring stations have reported further minute traces of radiation associated with events at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan. Overall, the levels are lower than those observed in the previous update published on May 5.
The levels being detected mean there is no risk to public health in the United Kingdom from the environmental concentrations resulting from the release of radioactive material at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The monitoring equipment is extremely sensitive and can pick up trace levels well below any potential risk to human health.
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