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Saturday 2- Monday 4 February

Dr Peter Carterís interview with Sunday Telegraph The Sunday Telegraph contains an interview with Dr Carter on why healthcare assistants need better training and regulation. Dr Carter said patients are being put at risk because some staff on hospital wards for older people have less than an hourís training. NHS Trusts can offer training to healthcare assistants, but are not obliged to. No records are held to show how much training an average worker receives before starting. Dr Peter Carterís interview with Saturdayís Times The Times contains an interview with Dr Carter, warning that a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, is inevitable. Dr Carter said the cuts in nursing staff, low morale and pressure to meet financial targets had created an atmosphere of fear and put patients at greater risk of poor care and neglect.

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Thursday 31 January

Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, yesterday apologised for the failings that lead to hundreds of deaths at Mid Stafford NHS Foundation Trust. Sir David said the NHS had let people down, and promised to give patients Ďmuch more cloutí. The apology was made ahead of the publication of the Francis report into the scandal next week.

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Tuesday 29 January

More than 60 organisations, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, are calling for sugary drinks to be taxed, adding up to 20p a litre to their price, in order to improve children's health. A report by Sustain, a food and farming charity, said the Government could raise £1bn a year from a duty on sugary drinks, which could pay for free school meals and measures to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables.

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Saturday 26-Monday 28 January

The Independent contains an article on the Francis report into failings of care at Mid-Staffordshire Trust, which is to be published next week. The Independent interviewed Ron Street, 79, a close friend of Gillian Astbury, who died at Stafford hospital. The Sunday Times reports that relatives of those treated at Stafford Hospital, claim Labour politicians at every level ignored their calls to investigate systematic neglect. The Observer examines a report by the Patients Association, which warns that hospitals are risking a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire Trust scandal by failing to scruntise mistakes and neglect by staff to improve the quality of care. The report, Listening and Learning, says weaknesses in the NHS's complaints system means that poor care risks are not being spotted and stopped.

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Friday 25 January

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham outlined plans to reform social care by charging everyone whether they needed services or not. Currently people must pay for their own social care and many are forced to sell their homes to afford the costs. Mr Burnham made the announcement as part of a review into Labourís health policies, which included brining health and social care together into one service.

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